Assembly 2018

Women Bishops Stand With United Methodist Women at Assembly 2018

Women Bishops Stand With United Methodist Women at Assembly 2018
Bishops Joaquina Filipe Nhanala and Sandra Steiner Ball during closing worship at the United Methodist Women Assembly 2018 in Columbus, Ohio

Nine women bishops joined United Methodist Women for the closing service of The Power of Bold quadrennial Assembly in a show of mutual support, celebration of progress and a joint commitment to the ongoing struggle for gender justice in church and society. The event’s host area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer also joined the closing Communion service with the bishops as celebrants.

Joining the closing ceremony were Bishop Cynthia Fierro-Harvey of the Louisiana Episcopal Area, South Central Jurisdiction; Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area, Northeastern Jurisdiction; Bishop Sharma Lewis of the Richmond Episcopal Area, Southeastern Jurisdiction; Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, Pittsburgh Episcopal Area, Northeastern Jurisdiction; Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, Mozambique Episcopal Area, Africa; Bishop Karen Oliveto, Mountain Sky Episcopal Area, Western Jurisdiction; Bishop Tracy S. Malone, Ohio East Episcopal Area, North Central Jurisdiction; Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball, West Virginia Episcopal Area, Northeastern Jurisdiction; Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor, Holston Episcopal Area, Southeastern Jurisdiction; and Bishop Gregory Palmer, Ohio West Episcopal Area, North Central Jurisdiction. Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the Birmingham Episcopal Area in the Southeastern Jurisdiction joined the event earlier in the weekend.

“This is a proud moment for United Methodist Women to be here with this great Assembly of our membership, to be celebrating 150 years and have the participation of so many of our women bishops and our host bishop,” said Harriett Jane Olson, United Methodist Women CEO, in a press briefing before the closing service. “We are so grateful for the kind of support we’ve received and particularly on this session when we’re marking such an important anniversary.”

During the service, the bishops shared how the support of local United Methodist Women members and national programs like Mission u, formerly Schools of Christian Mission, had helped shape and prepare them for them for ministry.

“Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this great celebration,” said Fierro-Harvey, speaking on behalf of the gathered bishops in the pre-service press briefing. “We know that when you gather this many women together amazing things happen. United Methodist Women has always been incredible in providing the foundation and support for what we do as pastors in our local churches and now as bishops.”

Olson and the bishops lamented the church’s recent failure to ratify proposed amendments that would have added gender inclusion in the United Methodist Church’s constitution and a recommittal to work together for gender equality.

“Women bishops gathered after we got the news of the amendments not getting the necessary two-thirds of votes in the annual conferences, and we made a statement to The United Methodist Church that provided a glimpse into the need for equity and gender equality for women and girls in our churches and across the world,” Fierro-Harvey said. “Yes, we’ve made some headways, but we have a lot of work to do. And now so along with United Methodist Women and others across the connection, we hope to go back to our annual conferences with this amendment and make a decision that’s better informed.”

Yvette Moore directs communications strategies and marketing for United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 5/21/2018 12:00:00 AM
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