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Larry Pickens holds a master of theology degree and master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a doctorate in ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary, and a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law. Larry is the pastor of Southlawn United Methodist Church i Chicago. Larry was the former general secretary of the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns of the United Methodist Church. During his tenure as the ecumenical staff officer these significant events took place. Pickens is currently a candidate for Congress in the Second Congressional District of Illinois.
- Organized and Moderated a major United Methodist Consultation on the Global Nature of the Church, This was a forum designed to help the United Methodist Church address global and ecumenical issues in Africa, The United States, Europe, the Philippines and Latin America Norcross, Georgia
- Organized and led a United Methodist Delegation to the Vatican and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
- Organized and led a United Methodist Delegation to Havana, Cuba for an Ecumenical Visit. This including an effort to mediate an existing dispute between the Methodist Church in Cuba and the Presbyterian Church regarding the status of the Theological School at Matanzas. This was also an opportunity for us to meet with ecumenical representatives from Cuba an address issues facing the United States and
- Organized Training Event for United Methodists attending the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Council of Churches, Chicago, Illinois- This was a training opportunity designed to prepare United Methodist delegates for the intricacies of the Assembly process. It was also an overview of the issues that we would encounter at the Assembly.
- Led the agency through a process of strategic planning as we charted a course for the ecumenical and interfaith ministry of the United Methodist Church. This process involved an environmental scan and mapping for the future ecumenical agenda of the United Methodist Church. Our aim was to project the direction of the agency as we looked forward 5–10 years.
- Created the Bridge Builder Award in honor of the late Bishop James K Mathews. The first award was given to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the 2008 General Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas
Pickens' extensive ecumenical and connectional involvement has included:
Connectional and ecumenical church experiences:
Delegate (First Alternate) to The General Conference of The United Methodist Church, Fort Worth, Texas- 2008 Delegate to The Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan- 2008 Board Member of Oikocredit- 2007 Participant in Ecumenical Peace Conference, Savu Savu, Fiji- 2007 Organized and Moderated a Major Consultation on the Global Nature of the Church, Norcross, Georgia- 2007 World Council of Churches, United Methodist Representative to the Joint Consultative Commission- 2007–Present World Council of Churches, Participant in Consultation on the Ecumenical Movement in the 21st Century in Geneva, Switzerland- 2006 Member of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches- 2006–Present Member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches- 2006–Present Delegate to the World Methodist Conference, Seoul, Korea- 2006 Organized and led a United Methodist Delegation to the Vatican and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity- 2006 Organized and led a United Methodist Delegation to Havana, Cuba for an Ecumenical Visit- 2006 Organized Training Event for United Methodists Attending the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Chicago, Illinois- 2005 Delegate to the Assembly on World Mission and Evangelism, Athens, Greece 2005 Coordinating Council Member of Churches Uniting in Christ- 2005-2007 World Council of Churches, Delegate to the 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil- 2005 World Council of Churches, Participant in the Ecumenical Officers Forum- 2004-2006 National Council of Churches of Christ of the USA, Delegate General Assembly- 2004-2007 National Council of Churches of Christ of the USA, Governing Board Member- 2004-2007 The Committee to Study the Relationship between the United Methodist Church and the Affiliated Autonomous Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean- 2004-2008 The Connectional Table- United Methodist Church- 2004-2008 The Judicial Council- United Methodist Church- 2000-2004 Delegate to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, Cleveland, Ohio- 2000 Delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church, Madison, Wisconsin- 2000 Northern Illinois Committee on Investigation- 1996-1999 People to People, Delegate to International Human Rights Conference, Havana, Cuba- 1998 Delegate to the People to People Seminar on the Legal System of South Africa- 1997 Delegate to the World Methodist Conference, Singapore- 1991 Delegate to the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Canberra, Australia- 1991 Delegate to the Assembly on World Mission and Evangelism, San Antonio- 1987 Northern Illinois Board of Ordained Ministry- 1988-1993 National Black Methodists for Church Renewal- 1986–Present Delegate to the World Methodist Conference, Nairobi, Kenya- 1985,
Community Service: The Human Relations Board-The City of Elgin, Illinois- 2001-2004 Marcy Newberry Association, Board of Directors- 1988-1993 Community Block Grant Advisory Board-The City of Chicago, Illinois-1988-1995
Other pastoral roles have included service at: 2008-2010 Northbrook United Methodist Church, Northbrook Illinois, Senior Pastor 2004-2007- General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, New York, New York, General Secretary 2001-2004 -First United Methodist Church, Elgin, Illinois, Senior Pastor 1998-2001- Maple Park United Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois, Senior Pastor 1996 - United States Trustee, Chicago, Illinois, Extern 1988–1998- Gorham United Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois, Senior Pastor 1985–1988- St. Mark United Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois, Associate Pastor
Pickens and his wife, Debra, have a daughter, Jessica.