Philip Amerson

Endorsement for Rev. Rev. Cara Stutz Costello for United Methodist Bishop

Philip Amerson

September 2022
President-Emeritus, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Retired Elder, Indiana Annual Conference United Methodist Church
500 N. Walnut, Suite #403
Bloomington, IN 47404-3821

I am pleased to endorse the candidacy of Cara Stutz Costello for election as a United Methodist Bishop. Her resume is filled with evidence of her commitment to be a person who continues to grow and learn. From her interest in Methodist history and polity, which she teaches at the seminary level, to her work in peace/mediation understandings, to her experience and evolving work in the areas of community organizing, Cara brings an open mind and spirit. Most compelling is her more than two decades of experience as a pastoral leader. It is here, in the parish, that she models best a commitment to both personal and social holiness as core to congregational life.

Rev. Stutz Costello is a collaborative leader who has demonstrated an ability to encourage creativity out of chaos. Her experience demonstrates that she offers space and time, an artist’s understanding of the ways the Spirit is at work, even when challenges seem most daunting. She is clear eyed about the expansive work of ministry as she writes: “Our hopes for the United Methodist Church are not for the sake of the Church but for the sake of the world. We will, by grace, make our way to the alley and the prairie, the far shores and rowdy bars, the dark corners and church altars. This future will take shape messily and in imperfect measure. But Christ does not wait until we do things right to call us to take action. We are called to go in His name to offer the stuff of heaven to transform the world.”

She understands the complex roles and responsibilities of ministry as mother, part of a clergy couple, and team member on pastoral staff. She knows our denominational need to welcome all of God’s people into full participation in our work. Her experience includes work at the conference and general church level as well. She seeks to “see things whole” and knows the dangers of top down, “let me give the answer” approaches to ministry. Cara appreciates the power and durability, of servant leadership – a leadership that seeks the gifts of others along the pathway as opportunities for witness and new initiatives to unfold. I am pleased to add my voice to others who celebrate the gifts Rev. Stutz Costello brings and endorse her candidacy.