"Write the vision clearly on the tablets, that one may read it on the run." — Habakkuk
The Vision
The Newspaper of The New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. October, 2014

In this issue:

Bishop Lyght, Then Middleton to Preside

Bishops Middleton & Lyght As of October 1, Bishop Ernest S. Lyght returned as episcopal leader of the New York Conference on an interim basis until December 31. On January 1, Bishop Jane Allen Middleton will assume the post of resident bishop until a new bishop is appointed to the NY Conference following the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

Bishop Neil Irons, who had been serving as interim since July 1, concluded his term early because of health concerns. Irons was brought in to serve while Bishop Martin D. McLee was on a six-month medical leave. McLee died on September 6.

The Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops recommended the assignments and the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops approved.

Bishop Lyght served churches in southern New Jersey before assignment as New York resident bishop in 1996. In 2004, he was assigned to the West Virginia Area, and then sought early retirement at the end of 2011 for his own health issues.

Middleton—often referred to as a daughter of the NYAC—was the superintendent of the Connecticut/New York District when she was elected to the episcopacy in 2004. She served the Susquehanna (Central Pennsylvania) Conference before retiring in 2012. In the NYAC, Middleton led churches in Simsbury, Naugatuck, and New Canaan, Conn.

Middleton, who lives in Connecticut, led the recognition, commissioning and ordination service at the 2014 Annual Conference at Hofstra University in the absence of Bishop McLee.


Separately, in an email dated September 23, the “Appointment and Extended Cabinets of the New York Annual Conference express our love and appreciation to all who have stood in solidarity with us and with our Conference as we mourn the passing of Bishop Martin D. McLee.

“Whether you traveled to be with us at the funeral at Riverside Church, or connected with us while watching the live stream of the service on the internet, or lifted us to the light of God in your prayers, please know we are grateful for your ministry to us at this challenging time.

“May the peace of Christ surround you—and, indeed, all of us—as we continue to journey through these days. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”


Kim Installed as Superintendent

As the afternoon sun filtered through the stained glass windows at Grace UMC in St. Albans, Queens, Rev. Sungchan Kim was officially installed as the superintendent of the Long Island West District on September 28. Song, dance, and prayer marked the joy-filled celebration, which was begun with a greeting from Rev. Alpher Sylvester, pastor of the host church.

Kim, who most recently served as pastor of Marn-Baeksung UMC in Staten Island, was introduced by Rev. Adrienne Brewington as a man who is “incredibly calm and extremely humble.

“When he speaks, his words are wise and measured,” the dean of the NYAC cabinet said.

During the covenant service, Kim was presented with symbols of the superintendency—globe, Bible, bowl and towel, bread and wine, Book of Discipline and the like—by lay and clergy members of the LIW District.

Rev. Kim Installation
The Judah Praise troupe dances to
“I Won’t Go Back.”

Rev. Matthew Curry, chair of the LIW Committee of Superintendency, welcomed the Kim family, including Kim’s son and daughter. Rev. Moonsuk Kim, the superintendent’s wife, is the pastor of Christ United Methodist Church. Kim himself was born into a Methodist parsonage in Korea, and has a brother who is a pastor and one who is a music minister.

Curry pointed out the words from the song used by the liturgical dancers, “I Won’t Go Back,” as a new mantra for the district under the guidance of Kim. A change in superintendents provides a fresh opportunity to move communities forward in faith.

In his message about practicing “PHD ministry,” District Superintendent Kim spelled out the three components:

• Preach the Gospel

• Heal the sick

• Drive out the demons

“All clergy and lay persons . . . are PHD ministers for Jesus when we preach the Gospel by healing,” Kim said. “We proclaim the kingdom by healing the sick.”

But he lamented that many people don’t believe in the power of Jesus’ name. When people are sick, “they don’t call the pastor first, they call the doctor first. And as he began to sing, “Because He Lives,” he asked those gathered to join him.

“We have the authority to heal by the grace of Jesus,” he said. “Not just pray for the sick, but to heal them.

“The Spirit of Jesus had been given to us; we need to practice it. If we keep on waiting there will be no change,” Kim said. He urged the gathering to repeat the command for healing morning, noontime and evening, and noted that the only way to be equipped for this mission was to pray first.

Rev. Kim Installation
Rev. Sungchan Kim, left, receives a loaf of bread, one of the traditional symbols of his new office, as Rev. Matthew Curry looks on at center.

As a way to punctuate his message, Kim invited those who were in need of any kind of healing to come forward to be prayed over by himself, his wife, and members of the cabinet.

Rev. Kim Installation

Rev. Kim Installation

Above: The recessional following the installation; Above: the youth and children’s choir of the host church and a pensive District Superintendent Sungchan Kim. ; Below: singers from Kim’s former church, Marn-Baeksung UMC in Staten Island.

Rev. Kim Installation

The Voices of Praise adult choir joined with the children’s choir at Grace UMC in singing the anthems. The Judah Praise troupe from King’s Highway UMC offered a dance interpretation of “I Won’t Go Back.” A soloist and four other singers from Marn-Baeksung UMC provided two incredible numbers as backdrop to the offering.

More than $10,000 was received in the offering to benefit the Methodist Mission at Far Rockaway and the continuing recovery work at Sheepshead Bay UMC, which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

As the service drew to a close, Rev. Patrick Perrin called the roll of LIW congregations. For those present, he asked those gathered to respond, “Hallelujah, amen;” for those notably absent, “Have mercy, Lord.”

District Superintendent Kim succeeds Rev. Kenny Yi, who is now serving an appointment in extension ministry.


Save the Date

October/November Sower: Seeds of Faith & Finance

Ed Ruppmann, a strategic planner, and John T. Henderson, an attorney, are bringing their program of financial planning with a Christian perspective to a number of churches across the conference this fall. Both men consider this free service as ministry; nothing will be sold at these sessions. The program is for both pastors and laity concerned about their finances. Dates and places are as follows:

Oct. 19, 11:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., United Methodist Church of Bay Shore, 107 East Main St., Bay Shore, N.Y. Please contact Donna Lechner to register at 631-666-7194, or office@bayshoreumc.org. Lunch will be served at 11:15 a.m., seminar begins at noon.

Oct. 25, 9:30 a.m. to noon: New Milford UMC, 68 Danbury Rd., New Milford, Conn. To register, call the church at 860-354-4596, or email Office@newmilfordumc.org. A light continental breakfast will be served.

Oct. 26, noon to 2:30 p.m.: Woodbury UMC, 4 Church St., Woodbury, Conn. Contact Jay Hockenberry to register at 203-262-6664 or jayho@charter.net. A light lunch will be served.

Nov. 1, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: John Wesley UMC, 260 Quincy St., Brooklyn, N.Y. Contact Riki Aghoghovbia at riki.agho@gmail.com to register. A light breakfast and lunch will be served.

Nov. 8, 9:30 a.m. to noon: Cornwall UMC, 198 Main St., Cornwall, N.Y. Contact the church at 917-701-8013, or cornwallumc@hvc.rr.com to register. A light breakfast and lunch will be served.


10/18 “Getting Your House In Order . . .” Seminar
This four-hour seminar will help answer questions about getting your affairs in order while you are healthy and can make decisions that are important to you. This program is designed to meet the needs of all adults. 8:30–9 a.m., sign in and continental breakfast; 9 a.m.–1p.m., seminar and lunch. Carriage House, Jesse Lee Memorial UMC, 207 Main Street, Ridgefield, Conn. 06877. Space is limited; please register by October 16 by contacting Carole Stathis at 203-733-7794, or email cmstathis@comcast.net. Seminar is free; free-will offering for lunch.

10/25 Deacons Day Apart
All deacons, diaconal ministers, deacon candidates, and certified persons in specialized ministries are invited to attend this program with Rev. Wendy Vencuss who will speak about spiritual formation. Cost is $15 for the event from10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Learning Center, 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, N.Y. Register at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/114058. Contact Sonia Jermin at bronxjermin@verizon.net for additional information.

10/25 “Building Spiritually Fulfilled Men” Retreat
All pastors and men over age 15 are invited to the 34th Annual UMM Retreat from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Paul UMC, 173-01 108th Street, Jamaica, NY 11433. Featured speaker is Long Island West District Superintendent Rev. Sungchan Kim. Donation: $30, breakfast and lunch included. For more info, go to: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/417114.

More events available on the NYAC calendar>>

10/25 UMW Conference Annual Meeting
Meeting and celebration from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Bible UMC, Dix Hills, N.Y.

10/25 Re-Think Evangelism—Get Their Names
Rev. Bob Farr, the director of the Center for Congregational Excellence at the Missouri Annual Conference, will lead this exploration of ways to share your faith without anxiety at Woodbury UMC, 577 Woodbury Road, Woodbury, N.Y. Topics include how to change the habits of leaders and entire congregations, so that the invitation to discipleship is natural, constant, systemic, genuine, and easy. The daylong event is sponsored by the Parish Resource Center of Long Island, with a discounted rate for individuals or teams from United Methodist churches on Long Island. To register and more info, go to: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/190568.

10/27–31 Get Thee to the Clergy Clinic
Active clergy and their spouses have the unique opportunity to participate in a health clinic at New York Methodist Hospital. In four days, you will receive a thorough physical examination and any follow-up tests that may be indicated. Overnight accommodations and virtually all expenses beyond a $50 registration fee are covered by the hospital. For details and the registration form, go to, www.nyac.com/eventdetail/198564. Or contact clinic coordinator, Rev. Elizabeth Braddon at elizabeth.braddon@gmail.com.

11/1 “Healing the Shepherds” Retreat
The Oratory of the Little Way in Gaylordsville, Conn., is inviting clergy to retreat for the day, and receive spiritual and emotional healing for the hurts often experienced in their leadership positions. Join Bishop Alex McCullough, Oratory spiritual director, in confidential fellowship from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided; a freewill donation is suggested. Register by phone at 860-354-8294, or email: oratory1@sbcglobal.net. Overnight accommodations are available in the retreat house. The web site is www.oratoryhealing.org.

11/2 Young Adults Remember Bishop McLee
The young adults of the conference are planning a service of healing and wholeness in song, dance, art and love to remember Bishop Martin McLee and other saints who have passed this year. The event is planned for 3:30 p.m. at New Rochelle UMC, 1200 North Avenue, New Rochelle, N.Y.

11/8 Safe Sanctuaries Workshop
This workshop, led by Elizabeth Christie, is designed for congregations who don’t have a written Safe Sanctuaries Policy. The workshop prepares a core team of four or five people to work with the congregation to write a policy, as well as providing information on how to train trustees, teachers, parents and pastors on the implementation of that policy. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m., and the workshop at 10. Register at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/445029. Direc any questions to elizabeth.d.christie@gmail.com.

11/8 “Go On” Tour Youth Event
Don’t miss this chance to jump on the “Go On” tour bandwagon in advance of Youth 2015 at the First UMC, 38-24 149th Street in Flushing, N.Y. Go On Tour features the music of Christian hip-hop artist Tedashii and speakers from the Youth 2015 lineup for a dynamic time of worship from 1-5 p.m. Keynote speaker in the New York stop is Derrick-Lewis Noble, NYAC’s director of congregational development and revitalization Tickets, available at www.Youth2015.com, are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Contact NYAC youth consultant Neal Bowes at neal@jesseleechurch.com with any questions. Youth 2015 is a national discipleship event for UM youth, and takes place every four years with the next gathering June 24–28, 2015, in Orlando.

11/15 Clergy Mates Day Apart
Rev. Sonia A. Jermin will lead an exploration of “Seeking God’s Shalom Through Prayer” at this 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. event at First UMC, 227 East Lincoln Ave., Mount Vernon, N.Y. Registration fee is $15, go to www.nyac.com/eventdetail/251428 to sign up.

1/13–15 2015 Bishop’s Convocation
“It’s A New Day” with interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton and featuring the NYAC’s Director of Congregational Development & Revitalization, Rev. Dr. Derrick-Lewis Noble at the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center, Callicoon, N.Y.


SANDY RECOVERY:
Fall Perfect Time for Done-In-A-Day Volunteers

October is here, but is your summer vacation over? No! You can still participate in the Long Island Summer “Daycation: Done In A Day” program.

The concept remains a simple one: start early … end late … done in a day! Simple projects will be completed in one day—more complicated projects can be done in one-day segments.

Our DIAD work is continuing into October; as long as good weather lasts. Small teams of three to five people are encouraged to volunteer by contacting:

Long Island: Peggy Racine, 516-795-1322
Staten Island: Samantha Christian, 347-252-7979
Brooklyn: Gillian Prince, 718-594-7972
Connecticut: Gina Grubbs, 914-330-2599

* * * * *

In mid-August, Long Island received its highest recorded rainfall; an amount only expected once every few centuries. The rain flooded streets, parkways, homes and local businesses. Damage assessments now being done by the local municipalities as well as some disaster response groups will determine how best to help those impacted. FEMA will join with state and local authorities to help with assessments in Suffolk County, in response to a letter from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, requesting its help.

More than 1,000 homes on Long Island were damaged on August 13 and states of emergency were declared in the towns of Islip, Brookhaven and Babylon, according to Cuomo’s office. Islip Town was the hardest hit, recording

13.57 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, shattering a 2011 state record of 11.6 inches in upstate Tannersville during Hurricane Irene. By contrast, about half an inch of rain fell in New York City.

FEMA will decide if a disaster declaration can be made and federal aid dispersed. The town of Islip has estimated a loss of nearly $20 million, with many homes not covered by flood insurance because they do not lie within flood zones.

Given the urgent needs, volunteers are being sought to assist with these recovery efforts. The Long Island East District is recruiting trained ERT leaders and teams to help with the cleanup effort in Babylon, Brookhaven and Islip towns.

The LI Sandy Recovery office in Massapequa will coordinate all deployments, and will provide team leaders with tools and the necessary equipment for the tasks.

Housing is available in West Hempstead, Hicksville, Lindenhurst and Central Islip on a first come-first served basis.

Emergency response team (ERT) training can be made available if required.

Any person willing to volunteer, or needing any further information, may contact: Peggy Racine, Site Coordinator, LI Sandy Recovery office at 516-795-1322, or peggy.racine@nyac-umc.com. Please provide available date(s), along with any housing needs. If anyone desires ERT training, please indicate that in your response, also.


Free INM Resources for Advent

The Imagine No Malaria Initiative has prepared Advent materials that will be free to download at www.nyac.com/inm, beginning later this month.

The five weeks of Advent will be themed: hope, love, joy, peace, and imagine. These are all emotions that we want to be mindful of in this final leg of the Imagine No Malaria campaign: the hope that our brothers and sisters in Africa have that their children will grow up, the love that we feel for our UMC family around the world, the joy of giving to others, the peace a parent feels going to bed at night knowing her

child is protected from disease, and then imagine—imagine what these amazing children will do with their lives!

Downloadable resources include videos, PowerPoint graphics, bulletin inserts, prayers, liturgy and music resources, altar designs, children’s sermons and crafts.

The NYAC also has gift cards available to honor family and friends with a donation to the Imagine No Malaria Initiative. 100% of your donation will go to the Imagine No Malaria Initiative as part of the NYAC’s $1.2 million pledge. Click to order  www.nyac.com/inm


Epworth Sale
Bidding Epworth Farewell, Sale Comes to a Close

Every camper knows that you have to take the rain with the sun. All the groups and couples walking the grounds of Camp Epworth—possibly for the last time on September 13—were well prepared with raincoats and umbrellas.

After serving generations of campers across the New York Annual Conference for 55 years, Camp Epworth was in the process of being sold. While the purchaser was known only to those most directly involved in the process, Rev. Ginny Carle told those gathered that she believed they would be “very happy” when they learn the identity of the buyers. Carle is the pastor of Woodstock UMC and president of the NYAC Board of Trustees.

About 200 people gathered to take a last look at the camp and to share their memories of camp life. The tables beneath one of the picnic pavilions could barely hold the photos, albums and songbooks that campers and counselors had brought to share. Celebrants came from neighboring towns and from as far away as Colorado. It was a time to sing old camp songs and share stories, especially stories of the love that had blossomed and led to marriages that had lasted for years—some for 26, another for 50 years.

NYAC Director of Camping, Greg Nissen, said that the day was a bittersweet moment for him. While he had many happy childhood memories of the camp, he now found himself as the director who would sell off the camp. There were stories told about cooks like Harold and the Green Door ladies; memories of time spent in the Chapel in the Pines, or the Manor House, dips into Rondout Creek and excursions into the caves.

In a declaration of transition during the service, Catskill Hudson District Superintendent Jim Moore noted that the educational and environmental use of the soon-to-be-owners would continue the loving stewardship of the conference. The words of a litany seemed to sum up the emotions of the gathering: “As we say our fondest farewell to Epworth, we pray that it may indeed fare well, blessed by you and in good keeping. Good bye, Camp Epworth. God be with you, always.”

* * * * *

And so it was—17 days later—that the facility was formally handed over to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary for the sale price of $3.225 million.

According to the statement about the transaction, “this sale represents the combined efforts of the NYAC Camps

Task Force, the Camps Governing Board, Camps Executive Director Greg Nissen, and the NYAC Board of Trustees, in response to the vote of the 2012 Annual Conference to sell the property as needed. Because the camp was not generating adequate funds to stay afloat on its own, it was draining needed monies from the mission of our other camps at Quinipet and Kingswood, as well as creating a large debt to the NYAC and necessitating a capital loan at a high mortgage rate with a commercial bank for needed repairs at Quinipet . . .

“The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that provides care, rehabilitation and love to neglected, abused, and discarded “food animals” such as cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, ducks, and geese . . . Epworth will remain largely open space, except for the addition of a couple of barns to accommodate more animals.”

Net proceeds from the sale will be used to pay off debts owed to Bridgehampton National Bank and the conference, according to Carle and Ross Williams, the NYAC’s chief financial officer. Funds remaining will be managed by the trustees and used to fund capital improvements to conference-owned properties including the camps.

Top of this story: The red barn will soon house animals rescued from neglect.

Clockwise from above: A mother shows her daughters photos from her time at camp, pavilion provides shelter from the rain, Beth Ann Graf and Rev. Ginny Carle offer communion.



Hispanic Camp A Faithful Tradition

     What began as a weeklong camp experience for Hispanic youth from New York City is still going strong more than 40 years later as a family camping weekend. The event, which is organized by the NYAC’s Hispanic Council, is the longest-running gathering at the NYAC’s Camp Quinipet. This year more than 190 people from 11 churches joined in the Labor Day weekend gathering.
     The weekend afforded a mix of worship, fellowship and play for multiple generations—from toddlers to grand-parents—amid the natural beauty of the Shelter Island camp.
     “This is a special gathering time for the Hispanic community where we share with the full component of our families as a community . . . in an unhurried fashion,” said Rev. Arturo Maine, who has been participating in the event from the start.
     Special programming catered to the more than 30 children and youth in attendance. Married couples recommitted themselves in a special “love feast” facilitated by Rev. Sonia Jermin. And as has been the group’s tradition, the highlight of the weekend was the baptism of five people in the waters of Gardiner’s Bay. After a time of praise and worship, Rev. Maine and Pastor Jose Mora-Gil led the two men, two women and an 8-year-old boy individually to be immersed by water and the Spirit.
     Maine said the weekend is a time for the Hispanic community to “celebrate and fortify their Christian heritage,” to nurture their individual faith, and renew friendships.


Five campers including an 8-year-old boy were baptized in Gardiner’s Bay; couples shared a candlelit “love feast.”

 

 

 

 

 


Finding New Life in Saying Goodbye

By Rev. Jim Stinson
Consultant for Older Adult Ministries

Jim Stinson

“It seems as if we’re always saying goodbye.” These words came from a resident at our United Methodist Home in Shelton, Conn. It speaks to an all too common experience of older adults. Inevitably, as we age, more and more of our loved ones and friends precede us in death. It speaks to a sense of loneliness often found among the aging.

The comment got me thinking about the home’s upcoming annual memorial service. At this time, we will remember residents and staff members who have

died during the past 12 months. As usual the list will have about 100 names, which is to say, some parts of our community are dealing with death that many times a year. So I get it. I understand the sentiment, “It seems as if we’re always saying goodbye.” We, as a community are always saying goodbye. I was more than understanding of her feelings.

A few hours later while sharing this comment with another staff member, she said, “That’s true, but what’s also true is that we’re always saying hello. I am forever meeting new people and learning new names and hearing new experiences!” Her comment really struck me! While never wanting to minimize the sense of loss experienced by older adults, there is value in her observation. Attitude makes a difference in how loss of any kind is experienced.

All relocations come with loss as well as opportunity to have new experiences. All changes of routine bring disorientation as well as new possibilities.

I recently heard an expression that shocked me because it was exactly the

one I had used more than 20 years ago when my first wife died. My brother had died unexpectedly three weeks earlier and my sister-in-law and I were sharing our experiences and how we were coping with such a traumatic loss of our spouses.

She said, “It feels like I died with him.” It was certainly a feeling to which I could relate, as could anyone who has had a similar experience.

My response was “Irene, I understand that feeling, but the truth is Bob died, you did not; Judie died, I did not. We have to face that and find a new way to live.”

I heard the same expression from a man whose wife had died a few months ago. “I began to heal,” he said, “when I faced that fact and told myself I did not die.”

Attitude does not change the reality. But it does change how we cope with the reality. Listening to the pain of loss is an important part of care giving; but equally important is gently leading a person to see that as difficult as loss is to face, there is still a life to be lived and rediscovered.


Witness Provides Insight on Ebola Epidemic

UM News Service

These days, United Methodists in Sierra Leone who encounter one another at church cross their arms along their chests and bow—a way of greeting without touching.

That’s a necessary compromise in the wake of the Ebola epidemic that has gripped West Africa and claimed 3857 lives. And, to Beatrice Gbanga, it’s a sad compromise.

“We are a hugging community,” she said.

Gbanga, a United Methodist missionary and medical coordinator for the Sierra Leone Conference, served recently as an expert witness on the Ebola epidemic for some 50 clergy and laity in the North Texas Conference.

She briefed the group on a range of Ebola-related topics, everything from the basic medical science, to cultural challenges in preventing the disease, to the interfaith collaboration that has shared helpful messages on public health.

It was not lost on Gbanga that she was in the metro area that has seen the one confirmed case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S.—that of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man hospitalized while visiting Dallas who died October 8. 

Gbanga recalled watching transfixed at TV coverage of all the medical and emergency workers assigned to deal with the quarantine of the man’s family.


A sign warns of biological hazards in Sierra Leone, where current efforts are centered on preventing the spread of the Ebola virus.

“The disparity touched me,” Gbanga said. “I froze in the chair. I said, ‘For one family? Look at how many resources.’ … Would that happen for us?”

Gbanga traveled from Sierra Leone to the United States in July, for scheduled work meetings. She returns later this month.

Gbanga emphasized the devastation Ebola has meant for Sierra Leone, not only in 879 lives lost, but in a severely weakened economy and a total closing of the education system.

She noted that scarcity of medical personnel and resources is just one of the challenges. Another is the difficulty of distinguishing between malaria and Ebola, which have similar symptoms.

“We’ve lost a lot of health workers because they have been treating Ebola patients as malaria patients, and in the

process they (themselves) got infected,” Gbanga said.

One of the many cultural challenges is how West Africans deal with the death of a loved one.

“They’re going to wash that person, dress that person, open the casket or coffin, and bury them in such a way that they’re honored,” Gbanga said.

But with the danger of transmission of Ebola, she added, that practice has had to stop. Emergency workers retrieve bodies and families often aren’t even sure where the bodies are taken for burial.

Gbanga encouraged the clergy and laity to talk up contributions through the United Methodist Committee of Relief, which she said can acquire needed medical supplies both in and out of the country.

She had a further request.

“We are asking our brothers and sisters to continue in prayer, to pray for us, to pray for our leaders, and to pray for the countries that are willing to help us.”

How You Can Help

Read full coverage of the UMC’s response at www.umc.org/ebola.

Donate online at www.umcor.org/umcor/resources/
news-stories/2014/august/
0807ebolaemergency
.


Judicial Council Will Hear Appeal in Schaefer Case

UM NEWS SERVICE

The United Methodist Church’s top court will hear an appeal on October 22 of a decision to reinstate a pastor who had lost his ministerial credentials after performing a same-sex marriage ceremony for his son.

The appeal involving the Rev. Frank Schaefer, which provoked national media attention, is one of 21 docket items under consideration when the United Methodist Judicial Council meets Oct. 22–25 at the Marriott Courtyard Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee. 

After a hearing in June, the denomination’s Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals restored Schaefer’s credentials and ordered the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference to compensate Schaefer for all lost salary and benefits dating from Dec. 19, 2013.

The Rev. Christopher Fisher, who served as counsel for the church, has appealed that decision to the Judicial Council. The appeal contends the decision was at odds with the 2012 United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s lawbook, and previous Judicial Council rulings.

The council also has agreed to an oral hearing request, scheduled the same day, from the denomination’s Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference. That hearing is related to a petition filed by the conference asking for a “declaratory decision” about Book of Discipline guidelines regarding the process for the review and dismissal of a complaint against a bishop.

Two years ago, the conference, which raised about $90,000 for church projects in Uganda, had asked the Judicial Council to rule whether funds given to the East Africa Conference were used in accordance with the intent of the donors as required by Paragraph 258.4 of the 2008 Book of Discipline.

The money had been sent to current Bishop Daniel Wandabula, who was then a district superintendent and project coordinator. In November 2012, the denomination’s finance agency lowered the bishop’s salary because of issues raised by financial audits conducted by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

In April 2013, Judicial Council ruled that Wandabula should pay $3,000 owed to a pastor in South Sudan, but took no other action because it found there was no evidence the complaint process regarding Wandabula had concluded.

Review of sexuality resolutions

Also on the October docket are reviews of decisions of law from bishops on annual conference resolutions related to sexuality.

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar ruled that a 2014 New England Annual Conference resolution urging a change in denominational policy toward same-sex marriage and an openness to all couples wanting to marry “is thoroughly aspirational in nature” and does not break church mandates.

Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey declared that language in a 2014 Detroit Annual Conference resolution to support lay members who chose same-sex marriage was aspirational, depending on the type of support. But she ruled “null and void” the call to stop filing complaints against those accused of violating church law or enforcing those laws.

Bishop Sally Dyck ruled a 2014 Northern Illinois Annual Conference resolution on marriage equality is “an historical and aspirational statement without prescriptive force which does not specifically negate, ignore or violate provisions of the Discipline.”

Bishop Marcus Matthews declared that the process used by the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference “to vote on the five human sexuality resolutions was lawful and did not violate the Discipline.” He also ruled that one of those resolutions, entitled “Agree to Disagree on Issues Pertaining to Gender and Sexual Minorities,” is aspirational and does not violate church law.

The Judicial Council’s oral hearings will be open to the public; however, the committee’s deliberations following the hearing will be closed. A decision is not expected to be announced until several days after the full meeting concludes on October 25.


2nd Panel on Human Sexuality Set for Nov. 1

UM News Service

Resolving the denomination’s longtime debate about human sexuality requires more United Methodists to be part of the conversation, say denominational leaders. 

That’s why leaders are streaming online panel discussions on human sexuality and inviting other United Methodists to contribute, said Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough.

The Connectional Table, which Ough chairs, plans to hold the second of three such public events from 8 to 10 a.m. CT, Nov. 1. The time of the event is in part because it would allow more members of the global denomination to participate.

“We need people across the globe to faithfully, respectfully and with a discerning heart be part of the conversation about a way forward,” Ough said. “This is really family business.”

Because of court actions this week, more than half of U.S. states likely will soon have legalized same-gender civil marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6 declined to review appeals court rulings allowing same-sex marriage in

five states. The following day, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, though that ruling is on hold for now. 

Next month’s conversation will feature seven bishops who contributed to a book on human sexuality and church unity, “Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church,” released by United Methodist Publishing House’s Abingdon Press.

The direction of the churchwide conversation is not a foregone conclusion, said Ough and other church leaders. United Methodists from around the world also will be able to ask the speakers questions through Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cttalks. Organizers also will select three video submissions from United Methodists to include in the discussion.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, episcopal leader of the North Carolina Conference, is the chair of the Connectional Table’s Human Sexuality Task Force, which has been working on a process for facilitating discussion on the issue.

United Methodists who would like to participate in this discussion have two possibilities:

• They can create YouTube video explaining a personal story that pertains to unity and/or human sexuality and pose a question about “Finding Our Way” to one of the bishops or the editor. Videos must be no longer than 2-3 minutes. Tag the video using #cttalks and email a link to aboggan@umc.org before Oct.17. Three videos will be selected and shown at the event.

• Participants also can ask questions on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cttalks during the livestream from 8 to 10 a.m. CT Nov. 1.

To watch live, go to umc.org/connectional-
table-webcast
on the day of the event.

Next month’s conversation will takes place in Oklahoma City, the day before the start of the Council of Bishops annual meeting. Confirmed participants include: Bishops Ward, Kenneth H. Carter, J. Michael Lowry, Gregory V. Palmer, Melvin G. Talbert, Rosemarie Wenner and John K. Yambasu. Also participating is Neil Alexander, president and publisher of the United Methodist Publishing House, who helped edit the book.


McFee Inspired by McLee Collaborations

I have the privilege of knowing a lot of people. In my travels, in my work on a widespread scale within the church, I have gotten to know and work with a lot of people. But not many have affected me, convicted me, stuck with me as much as Martin McLee did.

I’m not alone. This can be said by so many people because that is the kind of life Martin lived. And because he was a Bishop, thank God, his influence reached many in his too-short life. I can tell you how grieved I am that he won’t be around to be this witness and instigator of transformation but I’m just going to focus on the gratitude I have at this moment for the time we did have with him.

One story . . . well, maybe two. And then three things we can learn for our worship leadership from Martin.

I met him 20-something years ago when we were both serving in the North Texas Conference. We met at a youth event where I had them drumming and he had them rapping. Good combination. And we stuck like glue (we were “McLee and McFee”).

So when I wanted to enliven General Conference in 2008, I thought, “how about a rap from Martin McLee?” Mark Miller, my co-director for that conference said, “Who?” and I just grinned knowing I was going to get to watch two birds of a feather get to flock together. We invited him and he rapped and got the whole crowd going as he was known to do.

“When I say ‘halle,’ you say ‘luyah!’”

That service was a particularly difficult one as the conference dealt with divisive issues. We ended the service with the General Conference debut of a song Mark composed in my living room as we planned over a year earlier, “Draw the Circle Wide.” Martin was beside me on the stage at that moment and at the end of that song, arm-in-arm, with tears streaming, he looked up to heaven and said, “Yes!”

And so it is that Mark led the congregation at Bishop McLee’s funeral for the closing song, “Draw the


Marcia McFee raises her hands, at right, as she presides over communion with
Bishop McLee, center, during the 2014 Bishop’s Convocation on engaging worship.

Circle Wide” (with new second verse for the occasion). And I know Martin is still saying “Yes!” every time we draw the circle wider and include all in the circle of God’s never-ending, always-expanding grace and love.

Worship is one of the ways we express to God and to others that we intend to (and do) draw the circle wide. It is the place where we hold nothing back—our gratitude, our joy, our sorrow. Martin knew this and it pained him when worship was “tired,” as he put it.

When he became bishop, he called me and said, “I want to go to every district in my conference and do a workshop on worship.” Yes, a Bishop, wanted to go around workshop-ing! Because he knew that if he modeled the importance of offering the Heavenly Feast (not the fast) in worship as a bishop, the church might just get a Holy Ghost party happening.

The last time I saw him was when he invited me earlier this year to come and teach about worship at his bishop’s retreat. The love and enthusiasm that he had nurtured in that group was evident. They were ready to go deep, to dig deep to bring the Word of God alive in all ways.

Three things we can learn from Martin’s worship leadership:

1. Don’t be afraid to show your passion. In fact, if you don’t, it is likely no one else will either. Now is the time to let go, let loose and let God!

2. Be an encourager. If someone has even an inkling of a gift for song, dance, art, poetry, draw it out of them. It will bless them, it will bless you, it will bless the whole congregation.

3. Fling open the doors and invite everyone in. Does your worship feel explicitly hospitable? Are you leading songs and ritual in ways that don’t assume everyone knows what is going on?

I am inspired once again by his life and will continue to do everything in my power to answer God’s call on my life in this ministry of teaching on worship. Because Martin’s witness will always stick with me.

Thank you, friend. Thank you, Jesus. “Yes!”

Love and miss you,
McFee


OBITUARY

Rev. Michael Dash

The Reverend Dr. Michael Inego Nathaniel Dash, a retired elder of the New York Conference, died in Atlanta on September 21.

Dash began his journey toward the ordained ministry in the British Methodist Church with a license to preach in 1955. Five years later he was a provisional member of the BMC. Elder’s orders were offered through the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas in 1963.

He moved to the United States in 1976, and became a full member in the NYAC in 1978. Although he retired from active ministry in 2006, he continued to teachat the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta until 2011.

Rev. Dash’s appointment history included pastoral service at Woodycrest in the Bronx, and as an associate at Metropolitan Community Church in Manhattan, as well his teaching career.

Dash is survived by his wife, Linda, and a daughter, Jan Dash, Nevis, West Indies.

A funeral was held at the Interdenom-inational Theological Center on September 25. A second service will be held October 11 at Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, 2560 Tilson Road, Decatur. In the true spirit of ecumenical ministry, Rev. Dash led Bible study classes and workshops at the church, where his wife was a congregant.

Expressions of sympathy and support may be sent to Linda Dash, 3484 Crowne Point Plaza, Decatur, GA 30032-6018.


NYAC Staff Cruises into Sunset with Pearson

BY BETH PATKUS
NYAC Archivist

A September Sunday cruise on the Hudson River gave the staff of the New York Annual Conference an opportunity to honor Rev. Ann Pearson, the retired former director of connectional ministries. Eleven staff members joined Pearson aboard an authentic Mississippi paddle wheeler, followed by food and fellowship at a nearby restaurant.

Prior to retirement in July, Pearson had served the conference for 21 years, first as a pastor at three Connecticut churches and then in the connectional ministries post. A native of Virginia, Pearson served as a student and then associate pastor at Woodbury UMC. She was ordained a deacon in 1993 and an elder in 1995, before being appointed to North Canton Community UMC and Washington Hill UMC. She was appointed director of connectional ministries on July 1, 2001.

Her appointment to the newly renamed position of director of connectional ministries coincided with “new beginnings” for the conference, including its move to 20 Soundview Avenue in White Plains. Pearson provided practical design input and envisioned the new learning center as a place where everyone in the conference could be brought to the table.

In her years as director, Pearson worked on many fronts to implement new ideas and priorities. In 2002 and 2003, she oversaw Revitalizing Congregations seminars, Igniting Ministries training events and Reboot@YourChurch.Now activities. In 2005, she initiated programs to address the Vision Table priority of evangelism. She began implementation of Natural Church Development in the conference at the direction of Bishop Jeremiah J. Park in 2006.

In summer of 2010, a “VBS on the Road” program was begun, and in 2011, Pearson answered the Council of Bishops’ Call to Action by helping map out strategies to challenge local churches in becoming Vital Congregations.

At the conference level, Ann guided the transition to the Connectional Ministries Vision Table in 2005. She also helped craft a new vision statement for the

Ann Pearson
Rev. Ann Pearson, far left, and some NYAC staffers before a Hudson River cruise;
below, a few of Pearson’s famous chirping connectional chicks.

NYAC, which was adopted at the 2006 Annual Conference. At the Jurisdictional level, she served as president of the Northeast Jurisdiction Directors of Connectional Ministries from 2006–2008, and served on the Jurisdictional Vision Table.

The connectional ministries office grew rapidly under Pearson’s oversight, beginning with the addition of a coordinator of mission/outreach position in 2003. Her focus on age-level ministries led to the use of professional consultants for children’s, youth and older adult ministries beginning in August 2004. A learning center consultant and Hispanic consultant were added in 2009. The use of technology also led to an online connectional ministries newsletter distributed via email, several iterations of a conference web site, transition to an online version of The Vision, and live streaming of annual conference beginning in 2011.

Pearson may be best remembered for traveling the conference giving workshops, preaching, and consulting at hundreds of churches, often giving demonstrations of the famous “yellow chick” to illustrate how our work is strengthened by being in connection with each other. She will also certainly be long remembered by staff and committee members for her ministry of nourishment clad in her UMC apron. Since seemingly no pastor ever really retires, Pearson will be chairing the October 2015 Northeastern Jurisidiction’s workshop on leadership at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania.

Enjoy your retirement, Ann—we will miss you!


2nd Panel on Human Sexuality Set for Nov. 1

UM News Service

Resolving the denomination’s longtime debate about human sexuality requires more United Methodists to be part of the conversation, say denominational leaders. 

That’s why leaders are streaming online panel discussions on human sexuality and inviting other United Methodists to contribute, said Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough.

The Connectional Table, which Ough chairs, plans to hold the second of three such public events from 8 to 10 a.m. CT, Nov. 1. The time of the event is in part because it would allow more members of the global denomination to participate.

“We need people across the globe to faithfully, respectfully and with a discerning heart be part of the conversation about a way forward,” Ough said. “This is really family business.”

Because of court actions this week, more than half of U.S. states likely will soon have legalized same-gender civil marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6 declined to review appeals court rulings allowing same-sex marriage in

five states. The following day, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, though that ruling is on hold for now. 

Next month’s conversation will feature seven bishops who contributed to a book on human sexuality and church unity, “Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church,” released by United Methodist Publishing House’s Abingdon Press.

The direction of the churchwide conversation is not a foregone conclusion, said Ough and other church leaders. United Methodists from around the world also will be able to ask the speakers questions through Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cttalks. Organizers also will select three video submissions from United Methodists to include in the discussion.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, episcopal leader of the North Carolina Conference, is the chair of the Connectional Table’s Human Sexuality Task Force, which has been working on a process for facilitating discussion on the issue.

United Methodists who would like to participate in this discussion have two possibilities:

 They can create YouTube video explaining a personal story that pertains to unity and/or human sexuality and pose a question about “Finding Our Way” to one of the bishops or the editor. Videos must be no longer than 2-3 minutes. Tag the video using #cttalks and email a link to aboggan@umc.org before Oct.17. Three videos will be selected and shown at the event.

 Participants also can ask questions on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cttalks during the livestream from 8 to 10 a.m. CT Nov. 1.

To watch live, go to umc.org/connectional-table-webcast on the day of the event.

Next month’s conversation will takes place in Oklahoma City, the day before the start of the Council of Bishops annual meeting. Confirmed participants include: Bishops Ward, Kenneth H. Carter, J. Michael Lowry, Gregory V. Palmer, Melvin G. Talbert, Rosemarie Wenner and John K. Yambasu. Also participating is Neil Alexander, president and publisher of the United Methodist Publishing House, who helped edit the book.


Church's Domestic Violence Response
Predates NFL News

UM NEWS SERVICE

What does the face of domestic violence look like?

It could belong to the person sitting next to you in church each Sunday, says Ginger Grissom.

She knows from experience. For eight years, as executive director of the United Methodist-supported Wesley House Community Center in Meridian, Miss., she has helped abuse survivors rebuild their lives. She is also a survivor, she says.

United Methodists, like Grissom, have been confronting family violence long before the NFL’s response to players’ assault charges was making headlines.

United Methodists for decades have helped support shelters for women and children. They also have worked with policymakers and law enforcement to treat domestic violence not simply as a private matter but as a crime.

In the past five years, United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men have collaborated to provide training and advocacy on the issue. Other United Methodist agencies, including the Commission on the Status and Role of Women and the Board of Church and Society, also are involved in advocacy. 

Still, Grissom and other advocates—including UMW and UMM executives—say church leaders can do more to address a problem seldom mentioned from the pulpit. 

A May survey by LifeWay Research, which included United Methodists, found about four in 10—42 percent—of Protestant senior pastors “rarely” or “never” speak about domestic violence. Nearly three in 10—29 percent—said they believe domestic violence is not a problem in their church.

Those pastors are wrong, Grissom pointed out.

“The church needs to be open (to the fact) that domestic violence happens,” she said. “It’s happening to people in every church in the United States. The only way that we can fight it is to know that … and to be open to bringing in professionals who deal with it every day.”

Daunting statistics

The numbers bear her out. About three in 10 women and one in 10 men have experienced violence or stalking by a partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 

Domestic violence crosses all racial, cultural and socioeconomic lines. Perpetrators can include plumbers,

business professionals and even clergy.

The people affected include not just abuse victims themselves but also their loved ones, especially their children.

Mississippi Area Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., like Grissom, has personal experience with the costs of domestic violence. When he was 18 in 1968, his mother was killed by his stepfather because she refused to give him money for alcohol.

His loss has shaped his ministry and has given him better understanding of why people stay in abusive relationships, he said.

“A lot of times, they are trying to be a savior of that man that they love,” he said.

“Pastors have to know that when they first offer assistance, they are probably going to be turned down. But if you remain a non-anxious presence, sooner or later that person will turn to you and you can offer resources to her.”

No matter the victim’s educational or financial background, leaving an abusive relationship is tough.

“Why do people stay? Most of the time it’s because of fear,” Grissom said. “And absolutely that fear is substantiated by statistics. The most dangerous time for any victim of domestic violence is when she chooses to leave. People die.”

Grissom said it took her 15 years to leave. Her story is similar to many other abuse survivors’ firsthand accounts. She found herself isolated from family, banned from eating fattening food and under financial and spiritual control.

“The fact is that I am survivor, but I am a survivor by the grace of God,” she said.

Working with men

Gil Hanke, the top executive of United Methodist Men, told a recent meeting of his commission that only men can stop domestic violence.

Women historically have done a great job of drawing attention to the issue and protecting those escaping abuse, he told United Methodist News Service. Now, men must step up.

“It has to do with how they view women, how they talk about women, how they tolerate the demeaning of women in the media and in their everyday conversations,” Hanke said. “Principled Christian leaders who are men don’t talk like that and don’t listen to things like that, and they do not assert their position at the cost of someone else.”

People have the misconception that domestic violence results because the

man is angry and has lost control, Hanke said. “In fact, it’s all about control.”

He now leads workshops that help men to think about how they treat and talk about women and help to raise awareness about domestic violence. United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women also work to connect churches with resources in addressing the problem.

What more the church should do

“Faith can either be a resource or a roadblock to ending violence,” said Jane Fredricksen. She is the executive director of FaithTrust Institute, which educates religious groups in addressing sexual and domestic violence. The institute works with United Methodist Women to provide training.

“A victim of violence may experience a crisis of faith questioning, ‘Why did God let this happen to me?’ or ‘I can’t divorce my spouse because God hates divorce,’ ” Fredicksen said.

A church needs to be a safe place where the battered can disclose their doubts and fears and still be reminded they are children of God.

Harriett Jane Olson, the top executive of United Methodist Women, urges pastors to discuss domestic violence with their congregations. But she warns that if they do, they should be prepared for people who feel trapped in abusive relationships to come forward.

Grissom stresses that when confronted with an abuse survivor, pastors should not try to go it alone in trying to help.

Swanson also advises pastors “not to try to be Superman” and save the day. For one thing, he said, doing so could put that pastor at risk.

But he urges clergy to get to know local law enforcement and make resources available to congregants. He suggests putting resources in restrooms where women can look at them privately.

Swanson, who is president of United Methodist Men, said he sees God at work in the attention the NFL’s troubles have brought to the problem of domestic violence.

“I realize that the church has to do so much,” Swanson said. “If there is anything I have learned as bishop, it’s that there are so many forms of evil out there that we are called to address every day.

“But this is one I think that can unite as a church across so many different lines. If nothing else, we can create a groundswell of awareness.”


Church's Domestic Violence Response
Predates NFL News

UM NEWS SERVICE

What does the face of domestic violence look like?

It could belong to the person sitting next to you in church each Sunday, says Ginger Grissom.

She knows from experience. For eight years, as executive director of the United Methodist-supported Wesley House Community Center in Meridian, Miss., she has helped abuse survivors rebuild their lives. She is also a survivor, she says.

United Methodists, like Grissom, have been confronting family violence long before the NFL’s response to players’ assault charges was making headlines.

United Methodists for decades have helped support shelters for women and children. They also have worked with policymakers and law enforcement to treat domestic violence not simply as a private matter but as a crime.

In the past five years, United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men have collaborated to provide training and advocacy on the issue. Other United Methodist agencies, including the Commission on the Status and Role of Women and the Board of Church and Society, also are involved in advocacy. 

Still, Grissom and other advocates—including UMW and UMM executives—say church leaders can do more to address a problem seldom mentioned from the pulpit. 

A May survey by LifeWay Research, which included United Methodists, found about four in 10—42 percent—of Protestant senior pastors “rarely” or “never” speak about domestic violence. Nearly three in 10—29 percent—said they believe domestic violence is not a problem in their church.

Those pastors are wrong, Grissom pointed out.

“The church needs to be open (to the fact) that domestic violence happens,” she said. “It’s happening to people in every church in the United States. The only way that we can fight it is to know that … and to be open to bringing in professionals who deal with it every day.”

Daunting statistics

The numbers bear her out. About three in 10 women and one in 10 men have experienced violence or stalking by a partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 

Domestic violence crosses all racial, cultural and socioeconomic lines. Perpetrators can include plumbers, business professionals and even clergy.

The people affected include not just abuse victims themselves but also their loved ones, especially their children.

Mississippi Area Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., like Grissom, has

U.S. Domestic Violence Hotline:

1-800-799-7233/1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

United Methodist Women and FaithTrust Institute are offering free webinars this fall on domestic violence issues; all are 2 to 3 p.m. ET. For more information, go to, www.umc.org/news-and-media/looking-ahead-upcoming-events.

l Wednesday, Oct. 29: Making Connections for a Coordinated Community Response

l Thursday, Nov. 13: Men’s Role in Ending Violence

personal experience with the costs of domestic violence. When he was 18 in 1968, his mother was killed by his stepfather because she refused to give him money for alcohol.

His loss has shaped his ministry and has given him better understanding of why people stay in abusive relationships, he said.

“A lot of times, they are trying to be a savior of that man that they love,” he said.

“Pastors have to know that when they first offer assistance, they are probably going to be turned down. But if you remain a non-anxious presence, sooner or later that person will turn to you and you can offer resources to her.”

No matter the victim’s educational or financial background, leaving an abusive relationship is tough.

“Why do people stay? Most of the time it’s because of fear,” Grissom said. “And absolutely that fear is substantiated by statistics. The most dangerous time for any victim of domestic violence is when she chooses to leave. People die.”

Grissom said it took her 15 years to leave. Her story is similar to many other abuse survivors’ firsthand accounts. She found herself isolated from family, banned from eating fattening food and under financial and spiritual control.

“The fact is that I am survivor, but I am a survivor by the grace of God,” she said.

Working with men

Gil Hanke, the top executive of United Methodist Men, told a recent meeting of his commission that only men can stop domestic violence.

Women historically have done a great job of drawing attention to the issue and protecting those escaping abuse, he told United Methodist News Service. Now, men must step up.

“It has to do with how they view women, how they talk about women, how they tolerate the demeaning of women in the media and in their everyday

conversations,” Hanke said. “Principled Christian leaders who are men don’t talk like that and don’t listen to things like that, and they do not assert their position at the cost of someone else.”

People have the misconception that domestic violence results because the man is angry and has lost control, Hanke said. “In fact, it’s all about control.”

He now leads workshops that help men to think about how they treat and talk about women and help to raise awareness about domestic violence. United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women also work to connect churches with resources in addressing the problem.

What more the church should do

“Faith can either be a resource or a roadblock to ending violence,” said Jane Fredricksen. She is the executive director of FaithTrust Institute, which educates religious groups in addressing sexual and domestic violence. The institute works with United Methodist Women to provide training.

“A victim of violence may experience a crisis of faith questioning, ‘Why did God let this happen to me?’ or ‘I can’t divorce my spouse because God hates divorce,’ ” Fredicksen said.

A church needs to be a safe place where the battered can disclose their doubts and fears and still be reminded they are children of God.

Harriett Jane Olson, the top executive of United Methodist Women, urges pastors to discuss domestic violence with their congregations. But she warns that if they do, they should be prepared for people who feel trapped in abusive relationships to come forward.

Grissom stresses that when confronted with an abuse survivor, pastors should not try to go it alone in trying to help.

Swanson also advises pastors “not to try to be Superman” and save the day. For one thing, he said, doing so could put that pastor at risk.

But he urges clergy to get to know local law enforcement and make resources available to congregants. He suggests putting resources in restrooms where women can look at them privately.

Swanson, who is president of United Methodist Men, said he sees God at work in the attention the NFL’s troubles have brought to the problem of domestic violence.

“I realize that the church has to do so much,” Swanson said. “If there is anything I have learned as bishop, it’s that there are so many forms of evil out there that we are called to address every day.

“But this is one I think that can unite as a church across so many different lines. If nothing else, we can create a groundswell of awareness.”


Financial Training for Clergy

Beginning in January 2015, a new training program in financial leadership is being offered to clergy by the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation. The two-year Financial Leadership Academy (FLA) will explore topics including personal finance, stewardship, church finances, non-profit fundraising and planned giving. A special invitation has been extended to NYAC clergy for this program that will include seminars, peer groups, and individual coaching.

The academy will meet six times in Delaware (in January, April and October of each year) for a three-day seminar with a keynote speaker and small group time with a trained facilitator. The first session is scheduled for January 13–15. Clergy who complete the academy will receive 80 contact hours of continuing education credits. 

Participants will be assigned to a peer group with a facilitator. The group will meet to develop an action plan based on

information gained during each seminar. Clergy will also be connected through an online community.

A peer group facilitator will help individual clergy develop an action plan at the conclusion of each seminar and follow up with group coaching calls. During the two-year program, the facilitator will also make an onsite visit.

The tuition is $1125 and may be paid in installments; the Mid-Atlantic Foundation is subsidizing the program. For a program brochure and to receive a registration form, go to: www.nyac.com/educationalopportunities.

For a program brochure and to receive a registration form, go to: www.nyac.com/educationalopportunities.


The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Bishop: Ernest S. Lyght, Interim

Director of Connectional Ministries: Claude I. Gooding

Editor: Joanne Utley

Vision e-mail: thevision@nyac.com

Web site: www.nyac.com

New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

20 Soundview Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

Phone (888) 696-6922

Fax (914) 615-2244