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Pennsylvania pastor to become assembly business manager

 


Pennsylvania pastor to become assembly business manager

April 7, 2005

By Jackie Campbell*

PITTSBURGH (UMNS)—The Rev. Alan J. Morrison, who served as host operations director for the United Methodist Church’s 2004 General Conference, has been selected as the meeting planning director/business manager of General Conference, the denomination’s legislative assembly.

He will fill that role on staff for the church’s General Council on Finance and Administration. He succeeds Gary Bowen, who is retiring at the end of this year after more than 31 years at GCFA.

Morrison is pastor of Center Avenue United Methodist Church in Pitcairn, in the Pittsburgh area. In his new role with GCFA, he will be responsible for planning all of the agency’s annual meetings and workshops, as well as managing the business of General Conference sessions, which bring together delegates from all over the world to conduct the denomination’s business every four years.

Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who leads the church’s Pittsburgh Area, appointed Morrison to the new post, effective July 1.

“Alan was a major factor in the smooth operation and success of the General Conference hospitality in Pittsburgh,” said the Rev. Brian Bauknight, chairman of the host committee for the 2004 General Conference and a member of the Commission on General Conference. “His passion for detail and his excellence in follow-through (were) extraordinarily helpful. I think he is an excellent choice for General Conference business manager.

The Rev. Gail Murphy-Geiss, commission chairwoman, said Morrison is “the incarnation of Christian hospitality.”

Morrison’s interest in the business of General Conference dates back to his days at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio in the late 1980s. He graduated in 1990 with a master of divinity degree and a master’s in liturgical arts.

“This was a position I first spotted 17 years ago while I was in seminary, thinking that it would be something I’d like to do someday, never really thinking that day might really come,” Morrison commented.  “I’m still in awe of the opportunity that God has given to me.”

Morrison will move to GCFA’s new Nashville, Tenn., office, following an initial period working in Evanston, Ill., with Bowen, incumbent deputy general secretary for support services and business manager of the General Conference.

Bowen worked closely with Morrison during General Conference 2004 in Pittsburgh. “He was careful and saw to every detail,” Bowen said. “He was always available—and I never saw him show any irritation. He was just invaluable.”

After Pittsburgh was selected as site for the 2004 General Conference, Morrison attended the 2000 event in Cleveland for two weeks on his own time, observing every aspect of the operation and talking with those involved in keeping it running smoothly.
 
At the time, Morrison chaired the Western Pennsylvania Conference’s Supportive Ministries Team, which draws up the conference budget, determines each church’s mission share and oversees financial and administrative functions, including annual conference sessions.

*Campbell is a staff writer for the United Methodist Church’s Western Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference.

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