Something new is coming to our Annual Conferences this year: The Bishop’s Bundle of Books. I have been working with Bill Cross, who by the way is retiring this year as the Manager of the Cokesbury Store in Indianapolis after a long career, and we have selected a bundle of 5 books with a retail value of nearly $100. These are being bundled by Cokesbury into a special offer for only $66 including sales tax. That represents a 30% discount, which is even better than Cokesbury normally gives to clergy.

Here is what I am asking: I would like for our clergy to buy the bundle of books, to read them, and to join together in reading/discussion groups during this upcoming Conference year. I know that many of our clergy are already in small groups for Bible study, sermon preparation, or other types of sharing, so it would be convenient to use those groups to discuss these books. Other reading group options will be offered at Annual Conference for you to join. Then at our Pre-Lenten services next February, we will have an afternoon time of sharing further discussion about these topics.

I am also asking that our local churches make sure that our clergy have funds in their continuing education accounts for professional expenses in order to purchase these Bundles.

We are doing this project for several reasons:

  1. It is a nice way to celebrate Bill Cross’ retirement from Cokesbury, and I appreciate his enthusiastic support of clergy over the years.
  2. It is a good way to encourage our clergy to read, to share together, and to discuss new ideas.
  3. It is a witness to the fact that continuing education for clergy is a high priority in the United Methodist Church here in Indiana.

So please join me in purchasing and reading The Bishop’s Bundle of Books. Just for your information, here are the titles that Bill and I have selected:

  1. The Book of Hard Choices: How to Make the Right Decisions at Work and Keep Your Self-Respect, by James A. Autry and Peter Roy
  2. Provocative Grace: The Challenge in Jesus’ Words, by Robert Corin Morris
  3. The Gospel According to Starbucks, by Leonard Sweet
  4. Keep the Call: Leading the Congregation Without Losing Your Soul, by Jill Y. Crainshaw
  5. Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism, by Martha Grace Reese with Afterword by Brian McLaren

I invite you to join me in reading, studying, and sharing together. Thank you.

from Bishop Michael J. Coyner