February 8, 2005

Edmund Robb Jr. a Methodist evangelist and a founder of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, died December 15 in his hometown of Marshall, Texas. He was 78. Robb helped to form the IRD in 1981 and was its board chairman for more than a decade.

William Hinson, 68, president of the Confessing Movement, a conservative group within the United Methodist Church, died December 26 in Huntsville, Alabama, after suffering a massive stroke a month earlier. The Georgia native was the former pastor of Houston’s First United Methodist Church, one of the largest churches in the denomination. Last May, Hinson sparked controversy by saying that it was time for an “amicable separation” between conservatives and liberals. When the idea circulated unofficially at the church’s national convention, Hinson joined with the UMC unity officials to issue a statement that said, “As United Methodists we remain in covenant with one another, even in the midst of disagreement.” One of the founders in 1995 of the Confessing Movement, Hinson was active in the World Methodist Council.