Meet Barbara

See an article about Barbara and Connections and Misfits from the March 26, 2011 issue of the Austin (TX) American-Statesman
See interviews with Barbara from the May/June 2005 issue of Zion’s Herald magazine and the December 30, 2006 issue of the Temple [Texas] Daily Telegram
Barbara Wendland
Barbara Wendland is

starbullet a lifelong Methodist

…a lay delegate in 1996 and 1988 to General Conference, the worldwide governing body of the United Methodist Church (UMC), which meets every four years …a lay delegate in 2004, 2000, 1996, and 1988 to UMC Jurisdictional Conference, the body that meets every 4 years to elect UMC bishops …a speaker at church-related events throughout the U.S. …a graduate of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, a 2-year ecumenical program sponsored by the United Methodist Church …a member of the UMC’s General Board of Church and Society and its Executive Committee, 1996-2004 …in her local congregation, First United Methodist Church of Temple Texas, a long-time Sunday School teacher and choir member, past chairperson of numerous committees and projects, and frequent developer and teacher of short courses about theology, church membership, and spiritual growth. Barbara has been a member of this congregation for more than 50 years, but because of what she sees as its increasingly narrow and outdated interpretation of the Bible and Christianity, in 2006 she stopped participating. She soon received an e-mail from an FUMC pastor informing her that this pastor had been ordered to have no further contact with Barbara or her husband. They never received any explanation of this order, and they have been removed from the FUMC mailing list. (For more, see the November 2013 Connections.)

starbulleta writer

Misfits-miniauthor of Misfits: The Church’s Hidden Strength (St. Johann Press, 2010) To see the Table of Contents and some other pages of this book, click on this link to go to its Amazon page.

Spiritual Family Treesco-author (with Larry W. Easterling, a United Methodist clergyman) of Spiritual Family Trees: Finding Your Faith Community’s Roots (Alban Institute, 2001)

partnersco-author (with Stanley J. Menking, retired Associate Dean of Perkins School of Theology) of God’s Partners: Lay Christians at Work (Judson Press, 1993)


author of articles in church-related periodicals, including Zion’s Herald, Circuit Rider, Upper Room Disciplines, United Methodist Reporter, and Christian Social Action

author and publisher of Connections

starbulleta university graduate in math and theology

a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in mathematics

recipient of a Master of Theological Studies degree from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary

formerly a mathematician and computer programmer in the geophysics research department of a major oil company

starbulletan active participant in family and community

since 1959 a resident of Temple, a central Texas town of 70,000

since 1959 the wife of a business owner and active volunteer in church, civic, and professional organizations

the mother of a grown daughter, and foster mother of a Brazilian foster daughter

past president of community-volunteer organizations

starbullet a philanthropist

trustee of a small family charitable foundation, contributing to the arts, education, and medicine in addition to organizations and projects that promote progressive Christianity (But because the foundation has no staff and the trustees are already aware of many more deserving organizations and projects than they can afford to contribute to, they neither accept nor respond to unsolicited grant requests, and the foundation does not and legally cannot contribute to the cost of Connections.)

starbulletan award recipient

Recipient of the first Advocate for Public Religious Literacy (APRL) Award, given in 2016 by the Westar Institute, the home of the Jesus Seminar. This national award recognizes an individual who demonstrates a commitment to public religious literacy through outstanding and measurable contributions to his or her community; translates religion scholarship into forms that are accessible and engaging for public audiences such as schools, churches, libraries, and community groups;  reflects a spirit of openness and dialogue with those who hold different views; and is a member of the public who does not currently hold an academic appointment at an institution of higher learning in religious studies, biblical studies, or related fields.

…2007 recipient of the annual Seals laity award given by SMU’s Perkins School of Theology