HERNDON, Va. March 18, 2014 /Discipleship Ministries/ – The board of directors of Discipleship Ministries officially installed the Rev. Dr. Timothy L. Bias as the agency’s new General Secretary (chief executive) during its March board meeting.
The installation service was conducted at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Va., which hosted the March 6-8 session as part of the board’s continuing effort to meet in The United Methodist Church’s jurisdictions, where ministry occurs.
During an evening meal, board members and agency staff engaged in conversation with lay and clergy leaders of the Virginia Annual Conference to learn about their work and how Discipleship Ministries could support their efforts to make world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ.
The board voted to commission an assessment to make an up-to-date listing of current Discipleship Ministries resources available that touch on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBTQ) issues. The action came after the board received a letter from Love Prevails, a group seeking the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church.
The agency received special recognition from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits for its contribution to help the church reach the goal of $25 million to help the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI). The funds will provide pension support for retired pastors and their spouses in UMC's central conferences in Africa, the Philippines and Europe.
The board's Committee on Central Conference Matters reported about the success of the e-reader program pilot project at the Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia. Plans are under way to expand the program, which provides e-readers loaded with theological texts, to other seminaries in Africa. In addition, expansion of the e-reader program to the Philippines Central Conference will be explored with the help of Bishop Rodolfo Alfonso Juan, a Discipleship Ministries board member. The pilot project was funded by Discipleship Ministries and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. The United Methodist Publishing House provided select texts for the e-readers.
In other business, the board:
- Approved Curriculum Review Committee proposals
- Received Discipleship Ministries's Quadrennial Evaluation Report for the Connectional Table
- Initiated a process for receiving and reviewing legislation for 2016 General Conference