Bishop Ward Visits Meridian

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Bishop Hope Morgan Ward began her tenure as the first woman to serve in the post for the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church on Sept. 1.

Ward said she plans to fill that role by listening to the people within the church.

"The symbol of the Episcopal office in the UMC is the shepherd's staff," said Bishop Ward. "And a bishop stands in the midst of the people, listens to the people, leading them forward toward the vision God has given us."

Ward said she is hoping the churches will continue to work together to build a stronger foundation for communities across Mississippi.

"It's my hope that our churches can continue to grow from strength to strength, that they will be light in the world, that they will be confident of their calling and their ministry, that they will be joyful and that joy will overflow," Ward said.

The bishop added that the church may provide a foundation for the community, but it is the people within the church that must put forth the effort.

"I expect people to be eager to be a ministry in the community, for them to be eager to join hands with their neighbors in meeting needs, and welcoming people into the church," she said.

Bishop Ward is one of only two women appointed by the National Conference of the United Methodist Church this year.