It was a modest gesture, but some United Methodists hope that President Bush’s first meeting with bishops in his own denomination will contribute to a new relationship with mainline church leaders.
While in Washington for a semiannual bishops meeting, Peter D. Weaver, president of the UMC Council of Bishops, and four colleagues had a private, ten-minute meeting May 3 with the president and aides at the White House. The five bishops then joined 13 other invitees from mainline churches whom Bush addressed briefly.
Two days later, Weaver sat together with Bush and first lady Laura Bush at the National Prayer Breakfast in the White House’s East Room. Weaver, who leads United Methodists in the Boston area, gave the closing prayer at the multifaith event that included music by a choir from St. Olaf’s College in Northfield, Minnesota.