During the June 2014 session of our Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska, our Bishop, Larry Goodpaster, facilitated a panel discussion about the future of our denomination, and the conversation that has recently surfaced about the possibility of division. During that time it was announced that there would be a series of conversations at various sites across the conference during the coming months, open to interested United Methodists.
One of these sessions will be held at Christ UMC this coming Sunday, October 12, from 2:30pm–4pm in the Fellowship Center.
Clergy and laity from surrounding United Methodist churches will gather together to participate in this conversation and you, as a part of Christ UMC, are invited.
The ninety minute sessions will feature an introductory statement from the bishop related to the current state of the Western North Carolina Conference and the hope for the future. Following the bishop, one clergy and one lay person will each make a presentation on their dreams and hopes for our conference. Then, with a series of questions to prompt discussion, participants will be invited to talk together in small groups and brainstorm about the future of our churches and our witness in the area.
A key component and intent of this series of listening sessions is to share ideas and hopes, to design and dream about the future, and to collaborate through conversations as we, together, chart a course for our common ministry as United Methodist Christians in North Carolina.
As your pastors, we encourage you to consider participating in this conversation with a loving, gracious spirit, so that we might become more vital and unified as a congregation and as a denomination.
Rev. Michael F. Bailey & Rev. Louis Timberlake
About Bishop Larry Goodpaster
Bishop Goodpaster was assigned to serve as the Resident Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church in July, 2008, and reassigned in 2012. He was elected to the episcopacy in 2000 and served for eight years as the bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference in Montgomery, AL.
Prior to his election as a bishop, Goodpaster served as a pastor and district superintendent in the Mississippi Conference. His pastoral experience included a five-church rural charge, a new congregation, and several large membership churches. He has taught in a variety of settings and has written articles appearing in various denominational publications. His book, There’s Power in the Connection was published in 2008 by Abingdon Press.
For two years (2010-2012) Goodpaster served as President of the Council of Bishops, which includes United Methodist bishops from around the world. In that role, he preached at the opening worship service of the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, FL, and then presided over the opening session.
Bishop Goodpaster earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS, and both the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA. He has received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Huntingdon College (Montgomery, AL), Birmingham-Southern College (Birmingham, AL), and Millsaps College (Jackson, MS).
He has been married to the former Deborah Cox of Quincy, FL since 1971. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.