South Central Jurisdiction of UMC to realign, drop bishop in 2012

Responding to a directive from the denomination’s top legislative body, United Methodists in the South Central region of the United States will make do with one less bishop in 2012. Through a Sept. 18 webcast, the 6,400 local churches in the South Central Jurisdiction – representing about 1.83 million members – learned the Nebraska, Kansas East and Kansas West annual conferences will be combined into one episcopal area at that time.

Dallas Area Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe, president of the jurisdiction’s college of bishops, reminded viewers that the 2008 General Conference had directed that body to reduce its numbers from 11 to 10 bishops.

The North Central Jurisdiction, of which the Indiana Conference is part, also will need to decrease the number of its bishops by one. – UMNS

It’s Crop Hunger Walk season

Fall marks the opening of the 40th season of CROP Hunger Walks, sponsored by Church World Service. The walks draw participants, including many United Methodists, from some 2,000 U.S. communities.

The walks raise around $16 million annually to fight hunger on both local and global levels. This year’s theme - “Enough for All” - has added significance as people in the United States and abroad face increasing joblessness and hunger in an ailing global economy. After expenses, one fourth of funds raised go to local hunger projects and ministries. Three-fourths of the funds go to world hunger relief through Church World Service and its global partners.

There are 28 CROP Hunger Walks in Indiana this fall. For more information about CROP Hunger Walks, visit www.cropwalk.org. – UMNS

United Methodist mission agency seeks chief executive

The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, based in New York City, has opened a search for a new general secretary to lead the international mission agency that has personnel, projects, and partners in 136 countries.

“The search committee is looking for candidates with strong commitment to the church and to mission, and with excellent leadership and management skills,” according to a public announcement.

The new general secretary, who is chief executive officer, will be responsible for leading a core staff of 288 and a missionary community of some 400. He or she must be able to “articulate the vision, values, and work of the board, and to follow through with a recent operational restructure.”

Bishop Bruce R. Ough of West Ohio, president of the board, and Dr. Maggie Jackson, a professor at Cleveland State University who heads the agency’s personnel committee, are chairing the search committee. The new general secretary will succeed the Rev. Ed Paup, who resigned on September 1 for health reasons.

Retired Bishop Joel N. Martinez, former president of the mission board, is serving as interim general secretary. – GBGM