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Unity commission hires two staff, honors Huston

 


Unity commission hires two staff, honors Huston

April 26, 2005       

NEW YORK (UMNS)—The United Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns has hired two new executive staff and dedicated its conference room to the Rev. Robert W. Huston, the agency’s founding chief executive.

The Rev. William Douglas Mills, a member of the Northwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference, will become associate general secretary for dialogue and interfaith relations, effective June 1.

Donald Hayashi, a former executive with the denomination’s General Council on Ministries, which recently disbanded, will become the associate general secretary for constituency relations, social justice and ecumenical formation, effective July1. Both were elected during the commission’s April 21-24 spring meeting in New York.

Huston, who served as the agency’s chief executive from 1965 to 1990, was honored during a reception in the commission’s newly renovated office space at the Interchurch Center. He was joined by the Rev. Bruce Robbins, who served in the position from 1990 to 2004, and the Rev. Larry Pickens, the commission’s current staff leader.

Robbins said Huston is “largely responsible” for the fact that the United Methodist Church is known as an ecumenical force across the world.

Huston extended that credit to all who have served with the commission. “Ecumenism was always a tough job. It is no less so today,” he said. “(But) it is not a lost cause because it is not ours to lose—it is God’s.”

Mills, currently senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Clyde, Texas, is a member of the World Methodist Council’s bilateral dialogue with the Salvation Army. He also serves on the council’s executive committee and is a member of its ecumenics and dialogue committee.

He has master of theology and master of divinity degrees from Duke University and a doctorate in philosophy from Texas Tech University. From 1997 to 2002, he served as chairman of the religion department at Eastern New Mexico University, as well as assistant professor of religion and director of the Wesley Foundation there from 1993 to 2002.

Hayashi, currently interim executive director for Project Equality, was an associate general secretary with the General Council on Ministries in Dayton, Ohio, from 1990 to 2004. Before that, he was associate council director for the denomination’s California-Nevada Conference from 1983 to 1990.

A graduate of Portland State University, he has been involved in various Japanese-American organizations and worked for the Japanese American Citizens League during the 1970s. He also served as a member of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race from 1972 to 1980 and 1984 to 1988.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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