Monday, June 22, 2009


This is the season for transitions for many of our churches. Some pastors are moving to new appointments and with the moves come a number of transitions that need our special care. First and most importantly we should pray for all of the pastors and their families who will be moving this year. Moving always involves a disruption of life and routine and all of these details come together through the power of prayer. Churches should give special care to honor the ministry of the departing pastor with an appropriate celebration. Likewise new pastors should be greeted with hospitality at their first service and as they move into the community. Our church parsonages need to be ready and in good order and the family greeted with a meal on moving day. Even if the pastor owns their own home some kind of welcome can be devised. Providing information about the community for the new pastor is another way that church members can help with the transition.

Many pastors will not be moving this year but the first Sunday of July marks the beginning of a new appointment year. Churches can celebrate the return of a remaining pastor on that first Sunday. In all of our dealings with one another, let us be supportive, gentle and helpful. We are the Body of Christ, the Family of God. Let us make this our best transition year ever for every family in our area.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Monday, June 1, 2009

Call to Action

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church strongly supports the authority of the Food and Drug Administration regulating the ingredients in tobacco products, their devices, and their products of combustion in order to render harmless the greatest menace to human life in our country’s history.

Senate Bill S.982 will be on the Senate floor for action on Tuesday, June 2nd.  This bill will create a historic shift in public health policy almost half a century after the U.S.

Surgeon General first warned of the lethal dangers of smoking.  Congress is poised to give the Federal Government sweeping new authority to regulate the manufacturing of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The legislation, long resisted by the tobacco industry, could allow consumers to see for the first time what chemicals and other additives tobacco companies put in their products.  It would empower the Food and Drug Administration to put new limits on harmful ingredients and prohibit tobacco companies from marketing “light” cigarettes.

And it would give the FDA new authority to enlarge warning labels and severely restrict full-color ads for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The Senate bill has 53 co-sponsors including: Senators Carper and Kaufman from Delaware, Senator Casey from Pennsylvania, and Senators Cardin and Mikulski of Maryland.  Senator Spector has co-sponsored the bill in the past but has not formally done so yet.

As good United Methodist citizens we need to not only pray for passage of this legislation, but also encourage our Senators as they make this important step to protect the lives of God precious children.  So give a call or send an e-mail to your senators.  The Great Physician wants us to save lives this way.

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson