The American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. has announced that a feared recall of missionaries will not happen in 2005. Last summer, American Baptist leaders said they needed to close a $1.5 million budget gap to prevent the recall. “A dramatic increase in giving combined with extraordinary cost reductions due to the actions of missionaries and staff have allowed us to avoid a mandatory recall of missionaries this year,” said Charles H. Jones, acting executive director of American Baptist International Ministries, in late February. He said giving through the World Mission Offering and other denominational channels provided more than $1 million in support to his division. In addition, more than a dozen missionaries chose to take part in a “voluntary recall” to reduce costs and have pursued other ministries.

The United Methodist Church in Germany has elected Rosemarie Wenner, 49, its first woman bishop and the denomination’s first female bishop outside the U.S. “We rejoice with the Church in Germany in the election of Rosemarie Wenner to the episcopacy,” said R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodists’ General Board of Global Ministries in New York. Day noted that she took part in last year’s General Conference in Pittsburgh. The Germany church body has 65,000 members.

The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago is mourning the killing of Michael Lefkow, secretary of the diocese’s standing committee and husband of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow. Michael Lefkow, 64, and his mother-in-law, Donna Grace Humphrey, 89, were found shot to death February 28 in their home on Chicago’s north side. The Lefkows have been members for nearly 20 years of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, Illinois. Bishop William Persell of Chicago praised Lefkow’s dedication “to serving workers and those living on the margins of our society.” Lefkow, an attorney in criminal and employment law, held many roles in his church, including singing in several choirs and working with congregations pro bono through the Episcopal Volunteer Lawyer Network. The Chicago Police Department, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service were investigating the murders and say it’s possible that the crimes were committed by members of a hate group.