PEORIA, IL—United Methodist senior editor Kay DeMoss reports that the Rev. Laurie Haller, until now a pastor in Michigan and the author of the inspirational memoir Recess, was elected a bishop. On Saturday, July 16, 2016, she was assigned by the United Methodist Church to serve the people of Iowa.
Her election was marked by—a black eye. Literally. And DeMoss reports that Laurie handled the mishap in her characteristic style. Laurie turned it into a spiritual lesson. That’s the kind of utterly honest tone she strikes in Recess, which shares many real-life stories and lessons she has drawn from them.
At the regional gathering of church leaders, called the United Methodist North Central Jurisdictional Conference, DeMoss reports:
“I am the first bishop ever to be elected with a visible black eye,” she said addressing the body after election. “I got it from a stray piece of airplane luggage and decided not to cover it up. It reminds me that I offer myself in utter transparency, honesty and vulnerability.” She continued, “It reminds me of all who live under oppression and those with wounds so deep that no one knows they exist.” …
“I think Laurie brings an amazing depth of spirituality,” said Alex Plum, another of Detroit’s lay delegates. “It is not enough for us to rely on politics or look at the divisions, if we are going to have true unity that only comes in Jesus Christ. Laurie’s commitment to Christ is the promise she brings to this church.”
The new bishop is the latest in a series of women elected from the West Michigan Conference, beginning with the historic consecration of Bishop Marjorie Matthews in 1980. Matthews was the first woman to enter the episcopacy of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader was then elected in 1992 while serving as Superintendent of the Grand Rapids District. In addition, Bishop Linda Lee, of the Detroit Conference, was elected bishop in 2000 with endorsement by the West Michigan Conference.
Care to read more?
Here is Kay DeMoss’s full story on the election of Laurie Haller at the Peoria conference.
And, here’s a second DeMoss story from the conference.
Learn more about Laurie’s inspiring memoir, Recess: Rediscovering Play and Purpose.
Or, you might want to go to Amazon right now and get your own copy of the book in print or for your Kindle.
Finally, if you are intrigued by this unusual book and its author—then you’ll want to learn more about the Rev. Faith Fowler and Cass Community Publishing, which brought Laurie’s book to the world.
Finally, here is a three-minute video clip of Laurie as she was introduced to the conference after her election was announced.
In this clip, she briefly mentions her black eye, talks about the focus of her faith and ministry, recalls those who inspired her—and reaches out to members of the church. (The video clip was produced for NCJC by Dakotas UMC.)