NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – More than 590 youth and their sponsors from across Indiana heard Bishop Mike Coyner answer three dozen questions he selected from more than 113 questions submitted by the youth. Subjects ranged from what is your favorite color to do you believe everyone is going to heaven?

The question-and-answer session was an hour-long segment of the larger six-hour “Connect” Confirmation Rally sponsored March 6 by the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church and hosted by First United Methodist Church in Noblesville. Other segments included speaker Scott Greene, small group conversations, a visit by John Wesley, founder of Methodism portrayed by Central District Superintendent Bert Kite, and a concluding service of Holy Communion.

From answers to their questions, youth learned the two hardest things for Bishop Mike to do each day are getting up and going to bed. He said he wakes up thinking about all the things he needs to do during the day and has a difficult time settling in at night, because his days are very busy and filled with things for him to reflect on.

Coyner said he is one of 50 active United Methodist bishops in the United States that includes 16 women bishops – an answer to two questions.

He answered many questions quickly, such as favorites:

  • Color – blue,
  • Sport – basketball,
  • Food – Arnie’s pizza,
  • Ice cream – butter pecan,
  • Bible passage – Romans 8,
  • Best friend – his wife, Marsha, and
  • Soap opera – “I don’t watch soap operas.”

He answered a question about memorable moments saying, “There are many, including my call to ministry, marriage to Marsha, the birth of our children Laura and Steve… God gives to us a whole series of memorable times. I may not have lived my most memorable moment yet.”

Coyner shared about his baptism at First United Methodist Church in Anderson, Ind., when he was only a few months old. He said his mom told him that he screamed through the sacrament.

When asked, “Why do you have to be baptized?” He responded “To know the love of God.”

Dearborn Hills confirmands wanted to know if he would come speak at their church. He said, “Yes, I’ll come if you’ll write and ask me.”

Another youth wanted to know what’s different about United Methodists. Coyner said, “I think what makes us unique is that we are asked to love God and love our neighbors. We do so through food pantries, feeding the hungry and actions like that. If you love God, you take care of your neighbor to be faithful to God.”

He also shared that two years ago his mom was near death. Her family and friends surrounded her and prayed for her in her hospital room. He said his mom responded, “What more could I want (in life). I’m surrounded in love by family and friends. God is with me.” She survived.

When asked if he gets angry, he said, “Yes, I usually get angry at God, when God doesn’t do things my way.” He went on to say, “I talk to God a lot, especially when driving, but not with my eyes closed… Remember, God is a friend.”

“So, does everyone go to heaven?” Coyner said, “That’s up to God.” He said he believes “we need to confess our sins, ask God’s forgiveness and receive Jesus Christ as our savior.”

He complimented the confirmands for thinking about God and the church and for coming together as they readied themselves for confirmation and membership in The United Methodist Church.

The rally was led by the Rev. Brian Durand, conference associate director of youth, young adult and campus ministry, and a conference task force. This event was paid for in part by conference tithes.

A Together photo

In the midst of praise band drums and canned goods bound for area pantries, Bishop Mike Coyner takes on more than 30 of 113 questions handed to him for answers at the conference-wide confirmation retreat held March 6 at Noblesville First UMC.

“I may not have lived my most memorable moment yet.”

– Mike Coyner