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Written: 5/12/2010 Written by John Henderson West Ohio Communications Intern from Otterbein College       For their spring meeting in Columbus,OH, part of the West Ohio Conference, the United Methodist Council of Bishops met to focus on ministering enlarge>> with the poor and dealing with the effects of poverty locally and worldwide.      This meeting began with a weekend of bishop-led worship services and the daylong Rethink Poverty event where bishops led discussions about specific areas of poverty. The  day concluded with a rally at Broad Street United Methodist Church in Downtown Columbus, focused on supporting and raising awareness to children in poverty.  Over $1000 was  raised for the United Methodist Children's Home and Grace Children's Hospital in Haiti.      United Methodist bishops and their spouses were tested for HIV/AIDS on Monday May 3. Tes ts were administered by OhioHealth, a Columbus based healthcare system and ministry of the West Ohio Conference, affirming a commitment by the bishops to stand in support of those with HIV/AIDS, one of the diseases of poverty.      Bishops met daily May 2-7 to look at issues of poverty that must be addressed by the United Methodist Church. This  focus on the poor is one of the United Methodist Church’s four areas of focus established by the 2008 General Conference. enlarge>>      According to the initiative, “United Methodists seek to alleviate conditions that undermine quality of life and limit the opportunity to flourish as we believe God intends for all. As with John Wesley, we seek to change conditions that are unjust, alienating and disempowering. We engage in ministry with the poor, and in this, we especially want to reach out to and protect children.”      Bishops broke into groups halfway through the week to look at specific ministries with the poor taking place throughout the Central Ohio area. Six “best practices” events occurred throughout the afternoon where bishops picked areas of interest and were given presentations on programs working to engage those with lives in need.      The sites highlighted included an inner city ministry with the poor (The United Methodist  Church for All People), Marion Correctional Institution, and a Hispanic ministry helping people with immigration issues and poverty.      The Council of Bishops certified the results of the constitutional amendments approved by  the 2008 General Conference and voted on by annual conferences in 2009.   The council  elected Charlotte (North Carolina) Bishop Larry Goodpaster as the new president of the council, replacing Illinois Area Bishop Gregory Palmer.  Boston Area Bishop Peter Weaver  was elected to give the Episcopal Address at the 2010 General Conference in Tampa, FL.  
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