Mississippians take seats on UM boards


From Staff and Wire Reports

FORT WORTH, Texas --Experience at all levels of The United Methodist Church should serve him well as a member of the denomination's Supreme Court, the Rev. Joe May says.

May was elected first alternate to the Judicial Council on April 28 during the 2008 General Conference at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

"I'm looking forward to serving the church in that way – a new and unusual way," May said. "I've had experience on boards and agencies, as a pastor, administrator and a supervisor. I think that will give me a unique perspective."

In addition to May's election, Dr. David Beckley, president of Rust College in Holly Springs, was elected to the University Senate, and David Stotts of Madison was named to the board  of directors for the General Council on Finance and Administration. Stotts serves as Mississippi Conference treasurer.

 The Rev. Maxie Dunnam, former president of Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., and a Mississippi native, was also elected to the University Senate.

The nine-member Judicial Council acts as the church's top legal arbiter and will be made up of five clergy and four laity through 2016. "The buck stops there," May said. "I'm looking forward to the appointment."

As first clergy alternate, May would be called on to hear issues whenever a seated member can't attend one of two meetings held each year. He would also become a seated member should another be unable to complete his or her term. May, pastor a Anderson UMC in Jackson, began his term with the closing of General Conference. In addition to serving the local church, May has been a district superintendent, administrative assistant to the bishop and is a member of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

The University Senate, established in 1882, is one of the oldest accrediting bodies in the country. Its mission was to ensure that schools, colleges and universities related to the church were worthy of carrying the denomination's name.

In recent years, regional bodies have accredited academic institutions, and the senate has focused more on how institutions are related to The United Methodist Church.

The 25-member body of professionals in higher education has responsibility for supporting the development of institutions whose aims are to address significant educational, cultural, societal and human issues in a manner reflecting the values held in common by the institutions and The United Methodist Church.

The senators are from five electing bodies, including the National Association of Schools and Colleges and Universities of the denomination, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, General Conference, Council of Bishops and the University Senate.