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Amid Controversy, The United Methodist Church Gathers in Fort Worth

Contact: Loralei Coyle, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@TheIRD.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@TheIRD.org; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy


WASHINGTON, April 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Institute on Religion and Democracy will be sending a team led by UMAction Executive Director Mark Tooley to the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The United Methodist Church has over 11 million members in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. The General Conference, which meets every four years, is the denomination's top legislative body.

The denomination is divided over hot button issues like homosexuality, with U.S. church leaders being more theologically and politically liberal than their overseas counterparts. In response to this, some U.S. leaders have proposed dividing the U.S. church from the overseas churches. IRD/UMAction supports a conservative perspective that affirms traditional church teachings and opposes the global segregation of the church.

What: The United Methodist Church’s General Conference
Who: 1,000 Delegates of the United Methodist Church
Where: Ft.Worth, Texas
When: Wednesday, April 23 thru Friday, May 2

Available for Interviews:
Mark Tooley—Executive Director, The United Methodist committee (UMAction) of the Institute on Religion & Democracy. Mark is the editor of UMAction Briefing, a publication with a circulation of over 480,000 households. Among the publications that have published his articles are The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, The Washington Times, Crisis, Touchstone, and The Chicago Tribune. Mark's book, Taking Back the United Methodist Church, was recently released by Bristol House Publishers.

Jerald Walz—Vice President for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Jerald has been a delegate to four United Methodist Annual Conferences, and has observed two United Methodist General Conferences and two General Assemblies of the National Council of Churches. In March 2005, Jerald was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. With a B.A. from Asbury College and a M. A. in Government from the Johns Hopkins University, Jerald has taught as an adjunct professor of Public Policy in Pepperdine University’s Washington DC program.

White papers are available on line at www.TheIRD.org:

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Global Board of Church and Society
War & Peace
Marriage & Homosexuality
Accountability in the Church
Addressing Political Resolutions by the Church