A Word from Bishop Laura Merrill

Last week was perhaps the most extraordinary I’ve ever experienced. At the risk of repeating it one time too many, the delegates of the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church allowed the Holy Spirit to do some big work. Together, we elected our first Black woman bishop in the SCJ, we elected two…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 10/21/22

We talk a lot about living through extraordinary times, moments that feel anything but ordinary, even though there’s all sorts of ordinariness woven through them. Sometimes we use the word “unprecedented,” though there’s actually no time that’s been preceded by one just like it—from that angle, every time is unprecedented. What I can say about…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 10/7/22

There are folk saying that our nation is more divided today than at any time since the Civil War. Others say that’s not true, or that the divisions of the two times are different. All I know is what it feels like, which is really difficult. Our neighbors, our families, the people on the news…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 09/23/22

In the midst of all the swirling, both in the life of the church and my individual life, I was grateful the other night to hear the “Igniting Imagination” podcast with Father Greg Boyle. The podcast is produced by TMF and the Wesleyan Investive, and Father Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries. Many people…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 09/09/22

As I’m sure you know, the people of The United Methodist Church are in the midst of reorganizing ourselves, from the ground up. At issue for the past five decades have been the role, status, and affirmation of LGBTQ persons in the life of the United Methodist Church. There are other, connected issues as well,…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 8/26/22

 Y’all already know that I caught Covid, the end of July. Some of you have heard me talk about it more than you’d like! Now, four weeks out, I still feel draggy and sort of inflamed, although there’s no question that I’m getting better, little by little, for which I am very grateful. The reason…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill- 08/05/22

From the beginning, I’ve been scared of catching COVID. Not because I have underlying conditions, but because of the randomness of it. In the early days, before we knew how exactly it was transmitted, there was a story from New York City about a young man who got sick and went downhill fast. His wife…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 6/22/22

I am writing on the first anniversary of Juneteenth as a U.S. federal holiday and the 157th anniversary of its celebration by Black Americans. This is a holiday that embodies the tension between what we sometimes call the already and the not-yet. There is so much to celebrate, both historically and in the present, including…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill

I write following four days of training in clergy sexual ethics the week before last, for clergy across the Rio Texas Conference. Each clergy member of the conference was required to attend one of the four days. Our trainer was Becky Posey Williams, director of — for the General Commission on the Status and Role…Read More »

A Word from DS Laura Merrill 04/26/2022

I’ve been so struck by Sunday’s news photos of this year’s Easter celebrations in Ukraine. The beautiful tradition of preparing eggs, bread, and other special foods for the Easter feast and bringing them to the church for a blessing, before sharing them with friends and family—this practice stirs my heart. I ponder what it means…Read More »