They Also Serve

Methodist and United Methodist Bishops Spouses, 1940-2018

Book - Paperback
They Also Serve
Paperback ISBN: 9781501893551
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E-Book ISBN: 9781501893568
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Published March 2020

Stories from the women and men who have served alongside Methodist and United Methodist bishops.

Stories from the women and men who have served alongside Methodist and United Methodist bishops.

When a bishop is elected in The United Methodist Church, it is not only the one elected who is asked to serve but his or her spouse and family as well. Hear the stories of how Methodist and United Methodist episcopal spouses have adjusted to and navigated this life-changing journey. While dealing with the full range of human experience—births, deaths, relationship struggles, and illness—they also travel the world, participate in mission and ceremonies, meet interesting people, and stand up for justice. Through hardships, celebrations, and everyday struggles, these spouses find their own paths of ministry, answering the calls that are also placed upon their lives. In these ways and many others, they also serve.

Praise for They Also Served

A meticulous labor of love by Jane P. Ives, They Also Served remembers faithful unsung Christians by chronicling previously unrecorded details of the spouses of episcopal leaders. Sometimes in the spotlight, often in the shadows, the bishop's spouses struggled to fulfill unpaid roles and undefined responsibilities in the church, usually far from family and friends. Ives empatheticlly highlights how these persons, usually without voice or vote, helped shape the church's mission and ministry.
- Dr. Donald E. Messer, Executive Director, Central for Health and Hope: Focusing on Global HIV and AIDS, Centennial Colorado.

Bishops may ebb and flow in their popularity based on their decisions, but their spouses are almost universally loved and admired. Jane Ives helps readers understand why that is the case with her comprehensive story of the impressive, diverse, and thoroughly dedicated women and men who have contributed so much to God's work.
—Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership Emeritus, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus sent the disciples out, two by two, to every town, and country, every charge and conference. Ives' book records the wisdom of sending two, and restores the names of those often forgotten in the story of the people called "Methodists," the spouses. These are remarkable oral histories as well as timelines of social holiness and global service. This is not a book about survival in ministry and marriage; it's a testimony to those who thrived in their calling.
—Heather Murray Elkins, Professor of Worship, Preaching, and the Arts, The Theological School of Drew University, Madison, New Jersey

This is a book about discipleship. It is also a book about ministry and itinerancy.

It tells stories of how God sometimes calls two people to the work of episcopacy, people who happen to be married to each other. It is a book that will make you laugh and cry!

This book is an important addition to the literature of Methodist episcopacy. And it is a hard book to put down!
—William Boyd Grove, Bishop (Ret.) of The United Methodist Church

Jane Ives has given the Methodist family a priceless treasure. Through an astonishing effort to collect memories and explore archival material, she has compiled a comprehensive record of episcopal spouses, their stories, accomplishments, and contributions to the church. But this book is more than a biographical dictionary. It offers a poignant, insightful account of the lives of bishops, their spouses and families, and the impact of the church's expectations on all of them. As a little boy, I knew firsthand the phone call: get on a train to New Orleans with your sister; your Daddy is going to be a bishop. Allow me to testify, then, that this book is the real deal -- genuine, human, and rich with faith and Spirit.
—Thomas E. Frank, Associate Dean for Continuing Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Laity and clergy active in United Methodist life and their spouses will want to immerse themselves in this "corporate" autobiography, which provides an overview of Methodism through almost 80 years of personal experiences and cultural change. Jane Ives, an episcopal spouse, has amassed here narratives, reports, and communications crafted by her spousal "colleagues," living and dead, as well as by those who have known them. For page after page, the reader will relive Methodism's sometimes gradual, sometimes dramatic evolution and its struggles with race, gender, inclusivity, and global relationships. The bishops' spouses have shown great creativity in making the most of their opportunities to be together during Council meetings: sharing ideas, establishing covenant and interest groups, and adjusting their organization to respond to changing needs. Ives has devoted the final third of the book to profiles of the spouses, some quite famous and others whose names are not even known. These vignettes illustrate how different episcopal spouses have lived out their own calling and how they have impacted the church and the world.
—Russell E. Richey, Dean Emeritus of Candler School of Theology and William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Church History Emeritus, Durham, North Carolina

About the Author

Jane P. Ives

Jane and her husband, Bishop S. Clifton Ives, revised and updated The Growing Love in Christian Marriage Pastor's Manual in 2001 and again in 2013. Jane posts "Best Practices and Recommended Resources" articles for a number of marriage and family ministry related-topics at , along with a Directory of United Methodist Marriage and Family Ministries resource persons, by annual conference, and a regularly updated list of Upcoming Events and Training Opportunities. Most of these articles can also be found at or Jane has also published Transforming Ventures: A Spiritual Guide for Volunteers in Mission and, with other writers, A Mission Journey: A Handbook for Volunteers. The Ives, who have been married for 55 years, have three grown and married children and