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'A sacred moment' caps installation of Dick Wills as bishop (Nov. 4, 2004)

'A sacred moment' caps installation of Dick Wills as bishop (Nov. 4, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

'A sacred moment' caps installation of Dick Wills as bishop

Nov. 4, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0192}

An e-Review Feature
By Cathy Farmer**

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Bishop Dick Wills (center) is presented with signs of the episcopal office during his installation service at Brentwood United Methodist Church here. Wills most recently served the Florida Conference as senior pastor at Christ Church United Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale. Photo by Cathy Farmer, Photo #04-0109.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - "If  I could have chosen an Area, this would have been it," said Bishop Dick Wills, the newly installed episcopal leader of more than 205,000 United Methodists in Middle and West Tennessee and Western Kentucky.

Wills served most recently as senior pastor of Christ Church United Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale, where he was appointed for 18 years. He was elected a bishop during the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference July 14-17.

Wills' comment followed a service celebrating his assignment to the Nashville Area, which includes both the Memphis and Tennessee annual conferences.

"What a privilege it is for me to be able to serve here, at this time, in this place in history," Wills said. "I believe the Church has an opportunity right now to soar or to decline.

"And I believe it has its best days in front of it."

Wills drew his optimistic conclusion after talking with pastors and laypeople of both conferences. "It's inspiring," he said. "I hear a willingness to reach out to people who don't know how much God loves them."

During his inaugural sermon, Wills asserted that "fundamental to life is growth." "What are you becoming?" he asked the congregation. "What is your church becoming?"

Wills said he believes the Church is close to losing two generations in America. "Our youth and our young adults may well spend eternity without Christ," he said. "The Church must continue to grow-that is so fundamental to what God has in mind for all of us."

The installation service, which featured the presentation of the signs of the episcopal office, was held at Brentwood United Methodist Church here Sept. 26.

"When the little boy (Munya Jumbi) placed the stole around my neck, it was a sacred moment," Wills said.

And he said he deeply appreciated the variety of people who were involved in the presentation of the episcopal symbols.

The service included liturgical dancers from Brentwood, the choir from St. John's United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tenn., the Brentwood Sonshine Choir, and the Gordon Memorial Chancel Choir.


This article relates to the Episcopacy.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Farmer is communications director for the Memphis Annual Conference.