The Nebraska Delegation has issued a statement regarding the many proposals for change in The United Methodist Church scheduled to come before the 2012 General Conference April 24-May 4 in Tampa, FL.
“We embrace change that would create a structure for The United Methodist Church that is responsive to the needs of the global Church. In this time of change, we share a concern that in the midst of our desire to be flexible and efficient we not lose the diversity of voices at every level of decision-making. Our concern is not so much about the ability of individuals to represent the perspectives of others, but a concern that our decision-makers themselves reflect the rich diversity of The United Methodist Church.” March 24, 2012
The delegation also announced a unanimous statement regarding diversity in the episcopacy that was adopted last November.
“Recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst, and drawing from the blessings we have received from our many bishops, the Nebraska Annual Conference delegation affirms our willingness to trust in the episcopal election process, and the work of the episcopacy committee. We embrace the notion of a diverse episcopacy, and specifically welcome bishops who are women and/or who are representative of a diverse ethnic background.”
In keeping with its statement regarding diversity in the episcopacy, the delegation announced that it has officially endorsed the Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey for the episcopacy. Harvey is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and currently serves as the Deputy General Secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Delegation members listed her administrative, communication, pastoral and relational skills as assets that Rev. Harvey would bring to the episcopacy. This is the first episcopal endorsement that the Nebraska delegation has made since 2000, and was a unanimous decision.
The Nebraska delegation to the 2012 General Conference includes two clergy, the Revs. David Lux and Cindy Karges, and two laypeople, Lavina Schwaninger and Tom Watson. Its delegates to the South Central Jurisdiction conference in July are the Revs. Charles K. Murithi and Nan Kaye-Skinner, and laypeople Lisa Maupin and Katie Karges. Alternates are Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, Rev. Galen Wray, Dave Mendyk and Marilyn Zehring.