Good News Board Affirms 28 Clergy For Taking The Lead In Renewal By Filing Charges Against Sprague
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 6, 2003
Contact: Mr. Steve Beard – 859-858-4661
James V. Heidinger II – 859-858-4661
Good News honors Heidinger, plans agenda for General Conference
The board of directors of Good News, meeting in Wilmore, Kentucky, January 29-31, honored Dr. James V. Heidinger II as the recipient of the third annual Edmund W. Robb Jr. United Methodist Renewal Award. The award presented to Heidinger was in recognition of his years of service to the United Methodist Church and his leadership as the president and publisher of Good News magazine.
“Though Jim Heidinger is always the first to nominate others for recognition and encouragement, the board of directors, by unanimous vote, has chosen to present the Robb Award to him because of his outstanding contribution to the cause of renewal within and beyond the United Methodist Church,” said Dr. Scott Field, chairman of the Good News board of directors. “We find him to be a leader with a keen mind, a servant spirit, and a pastor’s heart. If there were more like Jim Heidinger in the leadership of the church, then perhaps the hope of a vital, compassionate, articulate United Methodism would not seem so far off.”
The award was presented at a banquet for board members, staff, friends, and colleagues from Asbury Theological Seminary, Asbury College, and Lexington, Kentucky.
Heidinger is an ordained United Methodist clergyman, has been the president/publisher of Good News since 1981, and is the author of United Methodist Renewal: What will it take? as well as Theological Malpractice: Essays in the Struggle for United Methodist Renewal. In addition to his work with Good News, Heidinger is also the chairman of the Association of Church Renewal, a network of renewal ministries within mainline denominations in North America.
Good News presents the Robb Award annually to a person or persons whose life and ministry have made a significant contribution to renewal within the United Methodist Church.
The Good News board also spent time refining plans and agenda for the 2004 General Conference. Dr. Scott Field, pastor of Wheatland-Salem UM Church in Naperville, Illinois, will again be leading the Good News team for 11 days on site in Pittsburgh, with a legislative agenda focusing on Episcopal accountability, doctrinal integrity, the continuation of the Call to Reform which seeks accountability from national leaders of the Women’s Division, and petitions strengthening the church’s stance on sexuality, marriage, and divorce.
Good News directors also affirmed, though with sadness, the action by 28 United Methodists who have joined in a complaint against Bishop C. Joseph Sprague (Chicago Area). The board agreed with those filing the complaint that Bishop Sprague’s denials of major doctrinal tenets such as the Virgin Birth, the full deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the atoning death of Christ are egregious denials by a United Methodist episcopal leader that, indeed, threaten “to undermine and overturn the apostolic faith and the theological traditions of The United Methodist Church.” Such teachings, the directors agreed, amounted to the “disseminaton of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The United Methodist Church,” which is listed in The Book of Discipline as a chargeable offense (Par. 2702 1f).
The board also heard first hand reports of revitalized women’s ministries across the church and was heartened to learn of the growing strength of the Good News/RENEW Call for Reform effort. Increasing numbers of women are getting involved in seeking change at the New York office of the Women’s Division, the office which oversees the ministry of United Methodist Women. “Unfortunately, recent responses, including one just posted on the Women’s Division’s web site, remain woefully inadequate,” says L. Faye Short, President of the RENEW Network for women. “We remain hopeful that as increasing numbers of women across the church call for change in leadership directions in New York, that UMW officers and directors will realize the current crisis of confidence toward its current leadership.”
The board also heard plans for its 2003 Summer Celebration which is a national convocation set for the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Columbus, Ohio July 24-26, 2003. Under the theme “A Healthy Church: Called to Congregational Health; Caring for Spiritual Health; and Committed to Connectional Health,” the Celebration will feature as major speakers Dr. George Hunter, Rev. Joy Moore, Dr. Robert Gagnon, Mr. George Mitrovich, Rev. Dick McClain, and Dr. Scott Field. Youth, children’s programs and nursery facilities will be provided making the Celebration an event for the entire family.
The Good News board of directors meets twice annually and is composed of 40 United Methodist clergy and laity from across the United States. The board is chaired by Dr. Scott Field, senior minister of Wheatland-Salem United Methodist Church, in Naperville, Illinois.
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