The outspoken dean of the Duke University Chapel, William H. Willimon, who once said “the greatest sin Christians can commit is boredom,” has been elected a bishop in the United Methodist Church. Many expect him to shake things up, or at the very least inject some humor into a denomination sometimes seen as stiff, rigid and highly bureaucratic.
“It’s a sign we’re not dead yet,” said Stanley Hauerwas, a professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School, referring to his friend Willimon’s election. “It’s a wonderful vote of confidence in the United Methodist Church.”
Eight years ago Willimon was nominated for bishop but did not win. Then he was considered too much of a critic by Methodist clergy and laypeople, who usually prefer effective church administrators.