The Board of The United Methodist Publishing House (Cokesbury and Abingdon Press) met at its new Nashville headquarters building on October 10-12, 2016, to organize for the 2017-2020 quadrennium.
Rev. Dale Cohen, Senior Pastor of Canterbury UMC in Birmingham, will serve on the UMPH board as a member of the Customer Focus Committee.
The newly constituted board made up of 25 members (down from the previous 43 members by action of the General Conference to achieve a more workable size and reduce costs) worshipped, reviewed priorities including new initiatives for building digital capabilities for serving now and in the future, and affirmed the next year’s budget.
The Reverend Brian K. Milford was elected as the President & Publisher (CEO) and the new board began its work by selecting Justice Cornelia Clark as Chair, Reverend Thomas Salsgiver as Vice Chair, Reverend Sunyoung Lee as Secretary and Tammy Gaines as Treasurer.
The board heard reports including learning about a successful year including sales of $61.8 million with a favorable net revenue to invest in infrastructure, pension funding and other ministry needs.
The gathering also marked the retirement of Neil Alexander who has served as President and Publisher since 1996.
In a special evening dedicated to the theme of “Building Loving and Just Communities,” the board heard from keynote speaker Rev. F. Willis Johnson who challenged all to take responsibility for tackling the consequences of failed systems and broken relationships. He reminded all that God calls us to enlist wherever we are in the struggle for human justice and reconciliation. Willis’ new book Holding Up Your Corner; Talking About Race in Your Community, authored in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, where Rev. Willis is senior minister at Wellspring Church, will be published in December by Abingdon Press.
Board Chair, Tennessee State Supreme Court Justice Cornelia A. Clark, urged members to work earnestly to extend the publishing ministry. She said, “From the first book steward in 1789, John Dickins, to the most recent Publishers Neil Alexander and Brian Milford, ‘spreading the books’ has been our holy calling as we provide quality resources to help more people in more places come to know and deepen their love of God through Jesus Christ, learn to love God, and choose to serve God and neighbor.”
The United Methodist Publishing House is a publisher and distributor to Christian clergy and laity, with primary responsibilities for the publishing and distribution for The United Methodist Church. The Publishing House is a fully self-supporting agency and receives no general church funds.
Cokesburyis the retail and customer services arm of The United Methodist Publishing House, which serves more than 11 million UMs worldwide as well as a broad ecumenical audience representing many denominations and independent churches, with books, Bibles, curriculum, worship resources, and church supplies. Cokesbury offers more than 200,000 products to congregations through at www.Cokesbury.com and the Cokesbury Contact Center 1-800-672-1789.
Abingdon Press is the primary publishing imprint for The United Methodist Publishing House and has a tradition of crossing denominational boundaries with thought-provoking and inspirational books. Abingdon Press titles include a wide array of quality Bibles, Bible studies, small group studies, Christian living, fiction, devotional, academic, professional, and reference titles published each year to enrich church communities across the globe. Visit AbingdonPress.com.