Today is a day for finishing up administrative details and preparing to leave. Sunday Jolynn and I will fly to Panama for the fall meeting of the Council of Bishop followed by two additional meetings (one for Methodist Bishop – UMC with Affiliated and Autonomous Methodist Churches in the Americas; the second a conference of ecumenical leadership in the Americas called CEMIAL). I ask that you keep both us and the entire Council in your prayers. At the COB meeting we will being discussing in depth the Call to Action Report. You can access the report in full at www.umc.org/calltoaction. There is much to consider and pray over. Clearly the church as a whole is calling the bishops to exercise greater leadership. Simultaneous with that call to greater leadership is ongoing resistance to the tough change that must take place. Obviously the two are not compatible. A wise friend commented to me recently, “The problem for the bishops is not that they need someone else to give them more authority [which I might add they do!]; it is that they [the bishops] need to take more responsibility.” In addition to The Call to Action Report, we will receive reports on the Four Focus Areas (Developing Leaders, New Places for New People & Transformation of Existing Congregations, Combating Poverty, and Eradicating Killer Diseases). Together we hope to learn and strategize on how we as a church might move forward in the both faithfulness and fruitfulness. I will try to write blogs during the 11 days that I am gone.