—More than 1,300 United Methodist clergy (about 3 percent of the denomination's total) have signed an "In All Things Charity" statement affirming "appropriate liturgical support" for same-sex marriages and dissenting from the denomination's teaching on homosexuality. The statement began circulating after the denomination's quadrennial meeting in 1996 in which voting delegates reaffirmed that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" (CT, June 17, 1996, p. 58). Signatories released the document as a show of support for Omaha, Nebraska, pastor Jimmy Creech, who faces a church trial after presiding at a "covenant partnership" service of two women.
—The Alabama Supreme Court ruled January 16 that Circuit Judge Roy Moore may continue to display a plaque of the Ten Commandments behind his bench and to allow prayers to be recited publicly before sessions begin (CT, Dec. 8, 1997, p. 60). The court rejected a religious-freedom lawsuit on technical grounds, saying the judiciary will not "become a political foil."
—Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), with headquarters in Redlands, California, has appointed Gary Bishop, 50, chief executive officer. Bishop replaces Max Meyers, 62, who is returning to his native Australia. MAF formed in 1945 and is active in three dozen countries.
—Mark Sweeney is the new executive director of Leadership Network in Dallas. Established in 1984 by Bob Buford, Leadership Network provides networking and resourcing to senior ministers and staff of large congregations.
—The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics has been established at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with $1 million in gifts from friends and supporters ...1