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Rev. Dr. Robert Hayes Joins Global Methodist Church and is Designated Bishop Emeritus

By Walter B. Fenton

Global Methodist Church Bishop Emeritus Robert E. Hayes, Jr.

At its May 22, 2023, weekly meeting, The Global Methodist Church’s Transitional Leadership Council (TLC) received the Rev. Dr. Robert Hayes, Jr. as a clergy member in the new denomination and then immediately voted to confer upon him the title bishop emeritus. Hayes joins Bishop Emeritus Mike Lowry as the only other bishop granted that status.

The GM Church, just over a year old, has welcomed over 2,500 local churches and received over 2,750 clergy members. During its transitional season the TLC is guiding the denomination prior to its convening General Conference, slated for the fall of 2024. The Council designated Hayes as bishop emeritus in the light of his many years of service as a bishop in The United Methodist Church and his fidelity to the Wesleyan expression of the Christian faith.

“My greatest hope for the Global Methodist Church is that this new expression of Methodism will find deep roots and flourish in the decades and centuries to come,” said Hayes. “I pray it will feed the souls and spirits of people who have long been in search of a faith that is true to the Word of God, and without fear or reservation will preach a Gospel that is not ‘tossed to and fro’ by the winds of a society that has lost its direction and purpose. My hope is that the Church will honor the Wesleyan tradition in unique ways, and foster a spirit of hope, goodwill, and provide a place where all ‘whose hearts are as our hearts’ can be a part of this new and exciting opportunity to serve God and advance His Kingdom.”

Hayes will continue to serve as bishop-in-residence at The Woodlands Methodist Church (The Woodlands, Texas), a congregation that recently voted to join the GM Church. In addition to serving as the lead preaching pastor at TWMC’s chapel and traditional services, Hayes serves as a mentor and chaplain to the church’s staff, and is integrally involved in the church community.

“My greatest joy serving at TWMC is being ‘re-introduced’ to the joy of parish ministry!” said Hayes. “It is my very first love, going back to the very beginning. Serving with so many people in this large and yet intimate congregation has given me a ‘second wind’ of excitement and pleasure.”

Prior to his service at TWMC, Hayes served for 12 years as the Bishop of the Oklahoma Area of the UM Church, and before his tenure as an episcopal leader, he had an illustrious career serving local churches, as a college professor and chaplain, and as a district superintendent in the UM Church’s Texas Annual Conference. Delegates to the UM Church’s South Central Jurisdictional Conference elected him a bishop in 2004.

“I am overjoyed that my former bishop, Bishop Robert Hayes, has joined the GM Church and this movement to reclaim the historic Wesleyan understanding of the Christian faith,” said Ms. Cara Nicklas, the TLC’s chairwoman and an attorney based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “He brings wisdom and a commitment to keep us grounded in sound doctrine. As a beloved former bishop in Oklahoma, Bishop Hayes is known for his sound teaching, his spiritual leadership to pastors, his eloquent prayers, his love of hymns, and his warm-heartedness.”

After graduating from Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas, Hayes earned a Master of Theology degree at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree at Drew University in Madison, N.J. He is a third generation Methodist pastor. Both his grandfather and father served churches in Texas, and his father worked alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s.

“It is a great joy to welcome Bishop Emeritus Robert Hayes as the second ‘bishop emeritus’ in the Global Methodist Church; he is a true servant of Christ,” said GM Church Bishop Emeritus Lowry, a current member of the TLC. “Bishop Emeritus Hayes brings to the Global Methodist Church the highest level of personal and professional integrity! During his ministry as a highly effective local church pastor, annual conference executive, and bishop, he has repeatedly demonstrated a winsome ability to reach across boundaries with an inclusive ministry sharing the love of Christ by word and deed! His deep commitment to ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ’ is the hallmark of a lifetime of stellar service to the Lord and Christ’s church.”

Widely known for his genial manner, his ability to defuse confrontations, and to help people understand current events in the long history of the Christian faith, Hayes will serve as an advisor and rich resource of wisdom and counsel for the GM Church.

“I see one of the greatest challenges the GM Church will face will come in convincing people that it will take time to make the changes we seek. Everyone wants things to happen right away. In this ‘instant gratification’ society of ours, we want immediate results,” said Hayes. “I would remind people that it didn’t take a year for us to get into this situation, and it will take a lot longer than a year for us to get our house in order. It takes time to accomplish a monumental task, and it is my prayer that the people and churches who are joining us will give us the grace and time to establish a denomination that will stand the test of time.”

In addition to his service at TWMC, Hayes is a much sought after speaker and preacher. He is also the author of Strength for the Journey, a collection of devotionals published in 2007.

“While Bishop Emeritus Hayes will continue to enrich The Woodlands Methodist Church with his eloquent and profound sermons, the entire denomination will benefit from his years of experience,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, the GM Church’s Chief Connectional Officer. “Bishop Emeritus Hayes courageously stepped forward to serve as one of the TLC’s original members back in March 2020. His stature in the UM Church and the respect he commanded in the denomination, conferred legitimacy upon the fledgling efforts to create a theologically orthodox denomination in light of the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.”

To listen to a recent sermon by Bishop Emeritus Hayes, click HERE.

You can learn more about the Global Methodist Church by exploring its website.

The Rev. Walter Fenton is the Global Methodist Church’s Deputy Connectional Officer.

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