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Published: Saturday, 5/8/2004

Criticism of Bush voiced at gathering

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR

PITTSBURGH Notes from the 11-day General Assembly of

the United Methodist Church, held here from April 27 through

Thursday:

America s most famous Methodist is not necessarily the United

Methodists favorite son.

President Bush and his wife, Laura, declined an invitation to

address the General Assembly, although the Chief Executive

did manage to fi nd time for a bus ride through Ohio and

Michigan.

Bishop McKinley Young of the African Methodist Episcopal

Church said at a news conference on e c u m e n i c a l

efforts that he was angered by President Bush s s t a t e m e n t

to journalist Bob Woodward, published in his book Plan of

Attack, that he consulted a higher Father, rather than his earthly father President George H.W. Bush, before attacking Iraq.

He is not the only one who hears from God, Bishop Young

said. We did not elect him priest of the nation. We elected

him president.

Asked if he objected to a president praying for divine guidance, Bishop Young replied: That is between him and God. We have a prophetic responsibility to say that he is not the only one who hears from God.

The Rev. Robina Winbush of Louisville, chief ecumenical of-

fi cer for the Presbyterian Church (USA), said that God s will is

heard in community and she urged President Bush to accept

the counsel of his church leaders.

The National Council of Churches is asking religious leaders to issue statements and hold services for peace during

the Memorial Day weekend, Ms. Winbush said.

Retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert said bitterly

that President Bush is the only U.S. president except Ronald

Reagan who has refused to meet with a delegation of Methodist

bishops.

One of the pains of my heart has been his claim to be ultra

religious but he hasn t found time to receive a delegation of

United Methodist bishops, The Rev. Dr. Margaret Mallory,

superintendent of the Toledo district, had a prime moment in

the national spotlight when she presented a proposal to make

the denomination s Book of Discipline more welcoming to gays

and lesbians.

Dr. Mallory, a member of the church and society committee,

made a moving speech in seeking to persuade delegates to add

the phrase Christians disagree on the compatibility of homosexual

practice with Christian teaching to the church s constitution.

The revision was rejected, but by keeping her cool and giving a

stirring talk from the epicenter of the controversy, Dr. Mallory

could benefi t when it comes time for the election of a new

bishop in the West Ohio Conference.

Dr. Mallory was endorsed as a bishop candidate along with the

Rev. Greg Stover of Cincinnati.

I was very humbled at fi rst that my conference would have

me in such a way, Dr. Mallory told The Blade.

They have made me the fi rst woman and the fi rst African-

American ever endorsed by the West Ohio Conference.

But at another level, it s a daunting task. I would be relying completely on God s guidance.

I couldn t do it myself.

Chicago s nondenominational WillowCreek Community

Church, has helped pioneer the use of multimedia tools

in church, utilizing computer PowerPoint displays, live drama,

and contemporary music during its worship services

that draw 20,000 people each weekend.

The multimedia angle is not reserved for Creekers, however.

On May 1, Cokesbury, the publishing arm of the United

Methodist Church, launched a project designed to help ministers

get in step with today s multimedia lifestyle.

Our surveys have shown that most pastors wanted to try

something new, but the biggest obstacle was not knowing how

to do it, Tammy Gaines said. It was not a matter of congregational

resistance.

A Cokesbury vice president and co-project leader of its

new Worship Connection, Ms. Gaines said the publishing company

is offering visual displays, sheet music, sermon helps, and drama scripts that can be packaged together according to sermon topics as needed.

It only takes a couple of clicks at www.worshipconnection.com

for United Methodist ministers to fi nd multimedia packages

they can put together on their own.

Cokesbury also is presenting several multimedia seminars

and workshops around the country, starting Sept. 30 at

St. Luke s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, where

the Rev. Kent Millard s thriving church has been using multimedia

presentations for years.



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