Black United Methodists in the Indiana Area encourage North Central Jurisdictional delegates to support the Rev. Dr. Frank Beard for the episcopacy. Beard currently serves as superintendent of the Kokomo District in the North Indiana Conference.

South Indiana Conference Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), North Indiana Conference Black Methodists for Church Renewal and the Black United Methodist Pastors (BUMP) of the Indiana Area recently gave their joint endorsement for Beard

According to SIC BMCR Caucus Chairman, the Rev. James C. Anyike, "Dr. Beard has rendered faithful and diligent servant-leadership to the Church for many years. Having personally served as a pastor in the North Indiana Conference, I've observed how his gifts and graces enhance the life of the Church in the Conference and Indiana Area. Just as he is a blessing to the Indiana Area, we believe he will be a blessing to the total Connection."

Beard has led the North Indiana Conference Delegations to two General Conferences and serves on several connectional boards and agencies, including on the General Board of Discipleship. He also serves this year as the president of the North Indiana Conference's Cabinet.

Beard, 50, is a native of Blytheville, Ark. He moved with this family to Elkhart, Ind. in 1966.

Beard was ordained as a probationary clergy member of the North Indiana Conference in 1982 and as an Elder in 1985. He has served churches in Winchester, Ky., Middletown, Ky., and in Indiana at Anderson New Hope, Kokomo Beamer, Elkhart Faith as associate pastor, and Walnut Creek. The Bishop appointed him to the North Indiana Cabinet in 2004.

Concerning other NCJ episcopal candidates, the members of the North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Native American Ministries recently endorsed the Rev. Dr. Jerry DeVine, as an episcopal candidate. DeVine, of Battle Creek, Mich., has been instrumental in raising awareness of Native American Indian concerns in society and in The United Methodist Church. He currently serves as superintendent of the Albion District in the West Michigan Conference

Other candidates previously endorsed by their conference delegations (in alphabetical order) include:

The Rev. Dr. David Alan Bard of the Minnesota Conference. Bard is senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Duluth, Minn., and has served as superintendent of the conference's Northwest District (1998-2005). He was ordained an Elder in 1986.

The Rev. Dr. Timothy Bias of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. Bias is directing (senior) pastor of First United Methodist Church in Peoria, Ill. He was ordained an Elder in 1981 by the West Virginia Conference and has served churches in West Virginia and Illinois and as Director of Evangelism Ministries, General Board of Discipleship, Nashville, Tenn.

The Rev. Randolph Cross of the Dakotas Conference. As a pastor with 28 years of experience in a wide range of ministry settings, he has held appointments across both North and South Dakotas and currently serves as both the Lower James River District Superintendent and Dakotas Conference Director of Leadership Development and Connectional Ministries.

The Rev. Laurie Haller of the West Michigan Conference delegations. She is highly regarded as a leader of deep spiritual integrity, according to those endorsing her. Haller, of Grand Rapids, Mich., currently serves as superintendent of the Grand Rapids District.

The Rev. Dr. Larry Pickens of the Northern Illinois Conference for 23 years, having been ordained as an Elder in 1987. He has served as a pastor in Illinois, on the United Methodist Judicial Council and as the General Secretary of the General Commission of Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, from July 2004 to Dec. 2007.

For more information about the NCJ Conference and these episcopal candidates, log on to www.ncj2008.org and click on Episcopal Candidates.