Helen Rhea Stumbo Receives Renewal Award


Helen Rhea Stumbo

By Walter Fenton-

The Good News Board of Directors bestowed the Ed Robb Jr. United Methodist Renewal Award on Helen Rhea (Luce) Stumbo of Fort Valley, Georgia.

The award is presented to a clergy or layperson that has clearly demonstrated his or her dedication to the renewal of the UM Church. It is named after the late Rev. Edmund Robb Jr., who served as a Good News director and chairman of the board. Robb was known widely for his tireless efforts to renew the UM Church. He is most widely remembered for joining with Dr. Albert Outler to establish A Foundation for Theological Education, a ministry that continues to have a lasting impact on the future direction of the church.

Stumbo was presented with the award on October 29 during Good News’ President’s Dinner, hosted by the Rev. Rob Renfroe, current president and publisher. Over two hundred friends and supporters of Good News turned out for the event at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia.

With Wesleyan roots going back six generations, Stumbo was raised in a strongly evangelical Methodist family. Blessed to have had a family which consistently modeled orthodox biblical faith, she has been passionate about renewal efforts in the United Methodist Church since 1972 when she attended the General Conference in Atlanta as a volunteer in Good News’ first fledgling political strategy efforts. Since then she has served on and also chaired the boards of Good News, the Institute of Religion and Democracy, and The Mission Society.

“Oh, that United Methodism might have more leaders like Helen Rhea Stumbo!” said the Rev. Dr. James Heidinger II, president emeritus of Good News. “Helen Rhea has blended beautifully her gifts for executive-level leadership with authentic and mature Christian devotion.”

An active member of the Fort Valley United Methodist Church, Stumbo has served in denominational leadership at local, district, conference and national levels. She represented the South Georgia Conference at the 1980 and 1984 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. She also served as a director of the General Board of Global Ministries and as a member of the General Commission on the Mission of the Church during the 1984-88 quadrennium.

In her annual conference, Stumbo has served on the Conference Executive Committee of United Methodist Women, the Committee on the Episcopacy, and she spent eight years on the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

She was an Editor and a Contributor for the Woman’s Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson. She and her husband John also owned Bristol House, Ltd., a publishing company that served the evangelical wing of the UM Church for many years.

In 1983 Mrs. Stumbo and a partner founded Camellia & Main, Inc., a retail store, which later expanded into a nationwide mail order catalog. She worked full-time as president of the company for 25 years.

Walter Fenton is a United Methodist clergyperson and an analyst for Good News.


  1. Rev Joe Rand says

    Congratulations and best wishes to Helen Rhea Stumbo from an old friend .

  2. Ann Coker says

    Congratulations, Helen Rhea. Yes, you are a true leader and a faithful supporter of what’s right. I remember well our association at Good News and your trust in recommending me to contribute to The Woman’s Study Bible. God bless you.

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