WASHINGTON— On Dec. 17 the United Methodist Men’s Ministry awarded President George W. Bush for his faithful treatment to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The award certified Bush as the 426th member of the Society of John Wesley Fellows.
“The John Wesley Award is given to clergy, laymen and laywomen who have demonstrated their commitment to Christ and their understanding that this faith affects every aspect of their daily life,” said the Rev. Joe Harris, top staff executive of the Commission on United Methodist Men in Nashville, Tenn. “The recognition of President Bush as a John Wesley fellow emphasizes the significance of this award and honors him for his daily walk with Christ.”
Gilbert Hanke, national president of United Methodist Men presented the award during a ten minute meeting with Bush at the Oval Office. Afterwards, Hanke offered a prayer to the President.
“Being the Christmas season,” Hanke said later, “our prayer included a request for ‘peace on earth and good will to all.’”
Hanke also told Bush, a member of the Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, that he was the first president to receive the award.
“How many Methodist presidents have there been?” Bush asked.
“I don’t know, but you’re the best,” Hanke replied.
“Right answer,’ the president answered back, adding, “and now I have this award named for John Wesley. Thank you so much for coming all the way from Texas to give me this.”
The United Methodist Men Foundation was created in the early 1980s to ensure that scouting ministries (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire and 4-H) would always be a focus of the denomination. The foundation now supports scouting, evangelistic ministries, a prayer line and other men’s ministries.