On the occasion of her last Annual Conference, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward was honored as she moves toward retirement on Sept. 1. The celebration began with video messages from persons in local churches up to the General Church level.
Following a photo montage of her life and ministry, her spouse, Mike Ward, gave a poignant tribute to their life together as they moved from place to place, ministry to ministry, and looking to their future as another “new start” with “continued service to God and continued devotion to each other.” The bishop’s mother spoke about her choice to attend Duke University and her call to become a pastor.
Viewers were then entertained by a reel of bloopers and out-takes from the Bishop’s weekly video messages.
The program continued with the Bishop’s grandson, Amos, sharing his grandmother’s favorite scripture – Isaiah 60:1 – and Gray Southern, chair of the Conference Committee on Episcopacy offering a prayer of thanksgiving. A beautiful rendition of one of the Bishop’s favorite hymns, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” ended the celebration.
Bishop Honored with Order of the Long Leaf Pine
Since 1963, North Carolina’s governors have reserved their highest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. Persons named to The Order become North Carolina “Ambassadors” with their names and award dates recorded on a Roster maintained by The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society.
Bishop Ward was presented this award on Thursday, June 17 by June Atkinson, member of First UMC: Cary and former North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction. In a video message bestowing the award, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, “I am inspired by how you have led the Methodist community with compassion and grace. You’ve built bridges, bringing together people from all backgrounds. Your generosity has helped so many North Carolinians in need, whether it’s helping rebuild from a natural disaster or fighting for our public schools. You’ve always been someone in the community who we could count on to make our state more just and fair. I’m so grateful for your service to the Methodist Church and to North Carolina.”
Offer your prayers and well-wishes to Bishop Ward and Mike by completing this comment form. We will compile the comments and send them to Bishop Ward after August 15.