Bishop returns to Columbus to speak at Epworth United Methodist Church

The Rev. Tony Crosby says a special speaker is coming to Epworth United Methodist Church in Columbus for a homecoming service on Sunday.

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, the bishop of the Florida Conference, will give sermons at both 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. In 2018, he will serve as president of the Council of Bishops composed of all active and retired bishops of the United Methodist Church.

The public is invited.

“This is exciting to have someone like this come to Epworth,” Crosby said.

The bishop, headquartered in Lakeland, Fla., earned an undergraduate degree at Columbus College before getting his master’s from Duke University Divinity School.

“It was an experience he had at our church that put him on the path to ordained ministry and becoming a clergy in this denomination,” Crosby said. “A couple of years ago at our own South Georgia Conference he shared the testimony of how the acceptance and love he felt in our little church’s youth group impacted him.“

Crosby said when Carter was a teen his parents divorced and his mother did not want to remain in the church they were attending. Someone invited them to Epworth and Carter still gives testimony to the hospitality he received in the congregation.

“So what this means is that the hospitality and love we showed someone a long time ago has borne much fruit and was the seed planted for one who is now one of our denomination’s top leaders,” the pastor said.

Carter is the author of eight books, including the recently released “Pray For Me: The Power in Praying for Others.”

He is chairman of the United Methodist Church Holistic Strategy for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Task Force on Human Rights and Investment.

Larry Gierer: 706-571-8581, @lagierer