Bishop's Blog Archive


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A Time for Patience, Prayer and Grace ©

As I write this, the results of the election for President of the United States are not yet known. In many of what political pundits term “battleground states,” there exists a razor thin margin between the two major party candidates. And, at last ...

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Reflections on An Honor, Some Insights, & A Hope ©

An Honor The following announcement was recently shared by Bishop Bob Farr, President of the South Central Jurisdictional (SCJ) College of Bishops, and Brian Hammonds, SCJ Episcopacy Committee Chair:  “The Council of Bishops has affirmed the actions...

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Ten Critical Mistakes to Avoid – A Guest Blog ©

I have recommended Rev. Mike Ramsdell’s weekly email “Endnotes” in several of my blog posts over the past several months. And I’m writing today to do so once again. His recent article “Ten Mistakes to Avoid in the COVID-19 Season” is brilliantly ...

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Emerging from COVID-19 as Healthy, Vital Churches ©

As we continue to engage in effective ministry during and after COVID-19, Bishop Lowry and the Cabinet are convinced that churches hoping to return to “the way things were” are not going to emerge from this season as healthy as those who are willing...

Emerging Ministry in the Little Ice Age ©

Among the many, many acts of faithful discipleship by CTC churches who are reaching out in the name of Christ during the COVID-19 pandemic is one shared by West District Superintendent Lisa Neslony. According to Lisa, Oakdale UMC is driving around “...

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Insights from “Leading Beyond the Blizzard” ©

Arguably, the most insightful piece of writing I have read during this season of chaos we call the “COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis” is based on a "Redemptive Edge" podcast by Andy Crouch, Kurt Keilhacker and Dave Blanchard called "Leading Beyond the ...

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A First Response ©

In the fall of 1972, I entered seminary at Perkins School of Theology on the Southern Methodist University campus. Later that same fall, America was riven by a contentious Presidential election. President Richard Nixon was re-elected in a landslide ...

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Here I Stand ©

When I started this blog site approximately 10 years ago, I chose to title it “This Focused Center” based on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. “Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same ...

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The Possible Future of Multiple Methodist Denominations ©

Yesterday was Epiphany Day, the day of the traditional celebration of the wisemen’s (magi’s) arrival in Bethlehem. Matthew shares this profound offering from Gentile non-believers (probably followers of Zoroasterism).  When they saw the star, they ...

Elements for Consideration in a “Deeper Conversation” over the Future of the United Methodist Church ©

Last week, I joined with other bishops in signing a letter that called for a “new form of unity in the Methodist witness.” Collectively, we went on to say, “We believe God can use our current brokenness as a springboard to multiply our Wesleyan DNA ...

Seeking New Expressions of Methodist Witness ©

I have joined a group of United Methodist bishops and issued a letter calling for deeper conversations regarding new expressions of the Methodist witness. It is my deep conviction that God in Christ through the Holy Spirit is calling us to a new form...

A New Thing ©

After the called General Conference in St. Louis, I (along with others) was asked to write a brief article for Circuit Rider, an online magazine put out by The United Methodist Publishing House. The writers were asked specifically to not re-argue or...

Council of Bishops Spring Meeting ©

On Saturday, April 28, Jolynn and I will fly to Chicago for the regular spring meeting of the Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church. The agenda is packed with significant items coming before the worldwide gathering of bishops. ...

Reflections on the Council of Bishops and the Way Forward ©

As I write, I am finishing a week of work at the Council of Bishops (COB) meeting in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. The COB (all United Methodist Bishops around the world, both active and retired) met Sunday night through Wednesday noon. The Active ...

Reflections on the Recent Judicial Counsel Ruling ©

As you have most likely already read, the UMC Judicial Council released its ruling on the validity of Bishop Karen Oliveto’s election and consecration by the Western Jurisdiction. In its decision – Decision 1341 – the Judicial Council ruled that the...

Of First Importance ©

I confess that the words caught me off guard Easter Sunday morning. They shouldn’t have. Scholars argue that the passage read is an early creedal statement of the newborn Christian movement. I had gone to Sunday worship in Boston at a non-United ...

Observations from the Wesleyan Covenant Association ©

Last Friday, October 7th, I experienced the high privilege of participating in the first meeting of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA). It was my honor to preach at the closing communion service and share with my friend and colleague Bishop Bob ...

Beware of Nostalgia ©

Two pieces of reading and variety of reflective conversations with a wide and extremely diverse collection of people have caught my attention recently. As he commonly does, Gil Rendle offers insightful reflections on the challenge a nostalgic longing...

THE COURAGE TO MARCH ©: Part 1

Central Texas Conference Episcopal Address given June 6, 2016 by Bishop J. Michael Lowry PART I – “A New Thing” I am mindful what day today is as I stand to speak to you. This is the day is the 72nd anniversary of what is commonly known as simply ...

Council of Bishops Letter to the Church ©

[caption id="attachment_2220" align="alignright" width="360"] Bishop Lowry presiding over a plenary session at General Conference 2016[/caption] Members of the Council of Bishops delayed their leaving Portland, Ore. following the end General ...

We Are More ©

On May 10th the United Methodist General Conference will convene in Portland, Oregon. Quadrennially (every four years) General Conference meets as the highest ruling body of The United Methodist Church. General Conference alone can speak for the ...

A New Church Being Called Forth by the Holy Spirit #8:

The Future Before Us I come now to the close of an eight part series on “A New Church Being Called Forth by the Holy Spirit.” I opened recalling how books on giving birth to one’s first child describe the emotional changes and feeling of an expectant...