"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. May, 2015

In this issue:

Finishing Touches

A group of volunteers, at right, adds a wooden cap to the top of the new seawall at Camp Quinipet.

Greg Nissen

Hurricane Sandy damaged the original bulkhead, and Camp Director Greg Nissen, above left, led the effort to rebuild it. Beth Ann Graf, chair of the Camps Governing Board said, “The work Greg did on that will assure a secured camp coastline for a very long time.” During the spring cleanup weekend at Quinipet, Nissen caught up with Len Buxton, who is credited in part with bringing the sailing program to the Shelter Island camp. Nissen, who ended his 12-year tenure as director last month, participated in the sailing program as a teen. He will be remembered as a hands-on director, for his attention to financial detail and vision for the camping programs. To he and Amanda, we say Godspeed.

Quinipet Seawall

Worship Team Seeks Photos, Water

Brothers and Sisters of the NYAC,

The Annual Conference Worship Team is finalizing its plans for “Dancing with the Spirit” next month at Hofstra University, as we come to share in the means of grace of holy conferencing.

To fully participate in worship we invite you present the following gifts from your congregation:

1. Photos of baptisms, especially those that have taken place in the past year, but any images of the rite in unique places, reflecting the diversity of your ministry setting and showing the full participation of the Body of Christ. Please send .jpg files to Won Tack Lee at wontack.lee@nyac-umc.com by May 15.

2. A time to remember our own baptisms will be included in our opening worship, memorial service, and Act of Repentance Service for the Healing of Relationships and

Repentance with Indigenous People. Each church is invited to bring a small (1 oz.) vial of water that has been blessed in your congregation on Sunday, June 7, to be added to the waters from around the conference. These waters will be presented during the opening worship service at 1 p.m., Wednesday, June 10

3. Banners representing churches and ministries are also invited as part of the opening procession on Wednesday. If your church would like to participate, please contact Heather Sinclair at heather.sinclair@nyac.umc.com by June 1 for final instructions.

Above all, come prepared for dancing in the Spirit! Thank you for your worshipful participation. If you have any questions, please contact Sinclair by email or phone at 203-913-8148.

In Christ’s Service,
The Annual Conference Worship Team

UMC Gives $9.6M To Fight Malaria

The people of The United Methodist Church made a historic donation to the Global Fund on April 22 with a gift of $9.6 million, the single largest contribution made by a faith organization to the Geneva-based institution. Approximately 12.5 million United Methodists throughout the world contributed to the Imagine No Malaria initiative through donations and grassroots fundraising efforts, ranging from pancake breakfasts to 5K runs to lemonade stands.

“It is on behalf of and with much appreciation to the people of The United Methodist Church that we make this gift,” said Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who leads the church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign. “Today we celebrate, with our partner the Global Fund, the work we are doing to end preventable deaths from malaria on the continent of Africa. Our work is making a difference.”

The contribution makes The United Methodist Church one of the most significant non-government contributors to the Global Fund. The money will be used to purchase and distribute insecticide-treated bed nets and other tools to control malaria in Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

“The United Methodist Church’s contribution to fighting the scourge of malaria is admirable and

outstanding,” said Dr. Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund. “This money will allow hundreds of thousands of African children to sleep under a bed net, significantly improving their chances of living malaria-free lives.”

The check presentation will be held at an event on Capitol Hill among a group of lawmakers, United Methodists and members of a wide variety of secular and global organizations and is among a number of global events held to mark World Malaria Day on April 25.

In 2010, The Global Fund and the people of The United Methodist Church joined forces in the fight against malaria. At the core of this partnership is the Imagine No Malaria campaign, which puts faith into action by empowering the people of Africa to improve

health infrastructure and achieve a sustainable victory over malaria. The partnership leverages the denomination’s network of hospitals and clinics in Africa and the powerful commitment of United Methodists, along with the scope and resources of the Global Fund to achieve impact on a greater scale than would be possible alone.

The United Methodist Church has pledged up to $28 million to help those at-risk enjoy malaria-free lives, and has raised $18.1 million for the Global Fund to date. Imagine No Malaria is near its goal of raising $75 million for the battle against malaria.

Bishop’s Challenge

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton has urged all of our congregations to donate $10 per member to Imagine No Malaria to meet the $1.2 million pledge made by the conference. These donations will be received during the evening mission celebration on Friday, June 12, at annual conference at Hofstra University.

5/15–16 “Day of Dance” Conference
The Spirit Builders Ministry of the NYAC is sponsoring this event at the New Rochelle UMC. No dance experience is necessary; choose from five different classes that will meet from 6–9 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $20 per person; or $15 person for a group of five or more. Registration form and more information can be found at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/1003823. Contact Rev. Sheila Beckford at sheila.beckford@nyac-umc.com with any questions.

5/16 Sower: Seeds of Faith & Finance
Ed Ruppman, a strategic planner, is bringing this program of financial planning with a Christian perspective to the Simsbury UMC from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Ruppman considers this free service as ministry; nothing will be sold at these sessions. The program is for both pastors and laity concerned about their finances. The church is at 799 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, Conn. Contact Jon Gice at jon_gice@sbcglobal.net to register.

5/16 Mozambique Luncheon
The Mozambique-NYAC sister connection will be celebrated with a lunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the NYAC Learning Center, 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, N.Y. Contact Annette Griffith, annette.griffith@earthlink.net, at for additional details.

More events available on the NYAC calendar>>

5/17 City Society Annual Meeting
New Jerusalem UMC will host the society’s annual meeting at 3:30 p.m. Featured speaker will be Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church, New York, N.Y., and the executive director of The Middle Project, an institute that prepares ethical leaders for a more just society. The church is located at 484 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. For more info and to register, go to www.nyac.com/eventdetail/818132.

6/4 Camp Scholarship Fundraiser
Five Points Mission will hold this annual event beginning at 6 p.m. at Christ Church United Methodist in Manhattan. The funds raised will allow children to attend Camp Olmsted. Rev. Dr. Bill Shillady and the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew will be honored for their commitment to children and the Olmsted Center. The event will include a silent auction, a live auction and refreshments. For more information or to RSVP, contact April Callender at acallender@umcitysociety.org, or call 212-870-3938.

6/10–13 Gathering for Annual Conference
Clergy and laity will comes together at Hofstra University for the 216th session of the New York Annual Conference. With a theme, “Dancing with the Spirit: Conference as a Means of Grace,” the event will begin with a joint worship service for clergy and laity at 1 p.m. Wednesday. For additional details see the story on Page 3; to register go to www.nyac.com/ac

7/23–25 Mission u
This year’s program will explore “Journeying to Wholeness, Holiness, and Happiness,” as it convenes at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Gail Ross is serving as registrar, and can be contacted at ross4som@yahoo.com. Studies will include “Created for Happiness: Understanding Your Life in God,” a geographic look of Latin America, and “The Church and People with Disabilities.” The Saturday sampler for those looking for a one-day program will also be offered. For additional details and registration, go to www.nyac.com/eventdetail/910766.

8/2–8 Camp Lead for Youth
Camp Lead is a youth-led leadership program held at the conference’s Camp Quinipet on Shelter Island. Youth are sponsored by their church and need a letter of recommendation from the pastor or church council with application. Contact Neal Bowes, NYAC youth consultant, youth@nyac-umc.com for details.

Got an Event to Share?

We welcome the opportunity to help publicize events that have a wide appeal to people across the conference in The Vision. To make it easier to publish your event, please send the information as a simple Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx suffix). Do not send it as a completed flyer, poster or as a PDF. Your event information will most likely appear on the “Save the Date” page. Email the event details directly tovision@nyac.com, and be sure to include contact information. The deadline for all the remaining 2015 issues is the first Friday of each month, with posting to the web site approximately 10 days later.

Jones Offers Perkins Lecture, Lyght to Preach

Rev. Dr. L. Gregory Jones, professor of Christian ministry and former dean at Duke Divinity School, will present the second Perkins lecture at 4 p.m., Wednesday, in the Mack Arena at Hofstra.

Rev. Dr. Gregory JonesJones is a theologian whose work centers on the nature of forgiveness, the significance of Christian ministry and pastoral leadership, and social innovation and entrepreneurship. He also provides strategic vision for leadership education at Duke Divinity, and serves as senior strategist for the Fuqua-Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Between 1997 and 2010, Dr. Jones served as the eleventh dean of the divinity school.

He is known for teaching that fosters students’ imaginations to explore the implications of theology for everyday life, for research that promotes interdisciplinary conversation among scholars, and for commitment to traditioned innovation in institutional leadership.

The author or editor of sixteen books, he has also published more than 200 articles and essays. Dr. Jones and his wife, Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones, have written Adult Bible Studies and two books in the Living the Good Life Together series for the United Methodist Publishing House. He is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The Perkins lecture is in honor of Dr. Bill Perkins, an elder in the NYAC who helped establish the conference learning center that is named in his memory.

Preaching Lineup

Rev. Sungchan Kim, superintendent of the Long Island West District, will preach during the 10:15 a.m. Memorial Service and Communion on Thursday. Those being recognized, commissioned and ordained will hear from Bishop Ernest

Lyght during Saturday morning’s service. Lyght, who retired in 2012, served the New York Area from 1996 until 2004 when he was transferred to the West Virginia Area.

Reports & Resolutions

For the latest versions, go to: www.nyac.com/acwww.nyac.com/ac.

Meal Time Speakers

Thursday Dinner

Wesley Fellowship: Rev. Scott Kelso, a retired UMC pastor and author of “Ice on Fire: A New Day for the 21st Century Church,” has now devoted his life to an apostolic preaching and teaching ministry. Scott is currently pursuing a doctor of ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary in Ohio.

Friday Lunch

Black Methodists for Church Renewal: Rev. Dr. Marvin Moss is senior pastor at Salem UMC in Manhattan. Prior to coming to Salem, Moss served three churches in Georgia that grew both in membership and outreach during his tenure.

Methodists in New Directions: Rev. Dr. Althea Spencer-Miller is currently assistant professor of New Testament studies at Drew Theological School. She also serves as an affiliate minister at the Church of the Village in Manhattan.

Friday Dinner

Church & Society: Rabi Ragbir, an immigration activist and executive director of New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, which is an interfaith network of congregations, organizations, and individuals, standing publicly in solidarity with families and communities resisting detention and deportation in order to stay together.

Volunteers in Mission: Rev. John Calhoun, an ordained elder of the New York Conference, serves as a mission advocate for the General Board of Global Ministries. Mission advocates are missionaries assigned to assist U.S. annual conferences, districts, and local churches to understand and participate in global mission. Calhoun most recently was the director of St. Luke’s UMC’s Family Center in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine. He has also served posts in Moscow, Kenya and Jordan.


Register online at www.nyac.com/ac as soon as possible, or no later than May 27. There will be no onsite registration at Hofstra this year. Those who register before May 1 receive a $25 discount; those who register after will pay $250. The one-day fee for clergy retirees and

spouses for Thursday, June 11, is $20 per person. The cost for the mission dinner on Friday night is $25 per person ($6 for regitrants for the full conference - choose this meal during registration). Register online for both of these events.

Please remember that your registration is not complete until payment has been received—either by receipt of your check or by credit card at the time of online registration.

Health Screenings

Once again, participating in the Blueprint for Wellness Screening is easier than ever for NYAC HealthFlex members (and spouses). Quest Diagnostics will be available from 6–9 a.m. on June 5 and 6 during annual conference at Hofstra University.

To pre-register, call 1-866-908-9440 (employer group: “HealthFlex” or
“United Methodist Church,” or go online to www.gbophb.org, log into WebMD and select “Quest Blueprint for Wellness.” Walk-ins will be limited! To receive the most accurate results, you should fast overnight. 

Health Kits

Health kits for UMCOR will be collected beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 4. Health kits provide basic necessities to people who have been forced to leave their homes because of human conflict or natural disaster. Health kits are also used as learning tools in personal hygiene, literacy, nutrition, and cooking classes. Detailed information can be found at, http://www.nyac.com/files/fileslibrary/

Live Streaming

Live streaming of all of the events in the arena will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, with the combined opening worship for clergy and laity. All plenary events will be live streamed through a link available on the NYAC web site.

Updates and Social Media

Daily updates of The Vision will be available in print at Hofstra and on the web site on Thursday through Saturday. If you would like to volunteer to write about any of the events at conference, please contact Vision Editor Joanne Utley at vision@nyac.com. Posting of photos and news will be made regularly on the conference Facebook page so make sure you’ve hit the like button on the page—New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Also, we’ll be tweeting with the hashtag #nyacumc if you want to be part of action.

Howe Considered for Conference Secretary

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the New York Annual Conference,

Grace and peace to you! It is with great joy that I share some very good news!

After consultation with the district superintendents, I will present Margaret Howe for election as conference secretary at our upcoming annual conference session. I can’t imagine a more qualified person for this position, or a person more committed to the mission and ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Margaret has served the church on local, district and conference levels. She is a member of New Paltz United Methodist Church and serves as the church treasurer. As a certified lay servant, she assists in leading worship and preaching. She also co-teaches a class with her pastor, Rev. Bette Sohm, in the Rising Hope Ministry Program at Woodbourne Correctional Facility.

On the Catskill Hudson District she serves as one of four district lay leaders, as district statistician, as a trainer in the stewardship/finance area, and has been a frequent guest leader in the New Consecration Sunday Stewardship Program.

On the conference level, Margaret is a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry and served on the Council of Finance and Administration from 2004–2012. She is currently chair of the Personnel Committee, but will resign from this position once she is elected conference secretary.

Margaret HoweShe is a wife, mother and grandmother and says of these roles, “what wonderful experiences and challenges.” She retired after a 30-year career from NYNEX (Verizon). She says of retirement, “In my retirement I have found great joy in working for the United Methodist Church—I believe that is where I am called.” Margaret wants to “make a difference” in her retirement and she certainly already has!

Margaret will be succeeding Rev. Fred Jackson, who has done a remarkable job for the past four years as conference secretary. Not only has he made the announcements at annual conference with wit and humor, his obituaries are beautifully crafted tributes to those who have joined the Church Triumphant. Fred retired from the NYAC in 2010 after a distinguished pastoral career, serving churches in Stratford, Poughkeepsie, Hicksville, Norwalk, Catskill and Kensington. Fred has also served on many conference committees including the Board of Ordained Ministry, Conference Sessions, Rules Committee and CF&A. Fred will be missed!

At annual conference we will say to Fred, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” To Margaret we will say, “Welcome!” How blessed we are to have two such gifted persons serving God through the New York Annual Conference!

In Christ’s love,
Bishop Middleton
Jane Allen Middleton

Debt Assistance Applications Available

New Appointments

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton intends to make the following appointments at the 2015 session of the New York Annual Conference, to be effective July 1:

Victoria Kittoe to Faith UMC, Staten Island (LFT) and St. Mark’s UMC, Staten Island (LFT); she currently serves Summerfield in Bridgeport.

Donna LeRoy to Roxbury (LFT), which is part of the Upper Catskill Larger Parish; she is currently unappointed.

Paul Moller as a district hire to Andes (LFT), which is part of the Upper Catskill Larger Parish; he is currently unappointed.

Dorothy Caldwell to Community in Massapequa; she currently serves as co-pastor in the cooperative parish of Central Valley, Harriman and Monroe, N.Y., churches.

Johnny Ceasar to Village Church of Bayville (LFT) and Carpenter Memorial (LFT); he currently serves Christ in Beacon, N.Y.

Karen Burger to Mamaroneck; she currently serves in Mount Kisco.

Siobhan Sargent as an associate to St. Paul and St. Andrew; she currently serves in the same position as a district hire.


Dear Sisters and Brothers of the New York Conference:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the risen Christ.

One of the many legacies our conference has received from the powerful ministry of Bishop Martin D. McLee is the Young Clergy Debt Assistance Program.

The idea for this fund was the creation of Bishop McLee who had a profound desire to provide financial support to clergy aged 40 years or younger serving in the New York Annual Conference. This fund, to which many have already generously contributed, is intended to relieve in a small way the burden of educational debt that many have accumulated.

The first offering that is received at the New York Annual Conference opening celebration service on June 10 has been designated to that fund. I hope you will come prepared to give generously with church funds and personal funds.

I am pleased to announce that applications to the Young Clergy Debt Assistance Program are now being received.

To be eligible for a grant, the following three requirements must be met by clergy:

• Be a licensed local pastor, or be ordained or in the process of becoming an ordained deacon or elder in the United Methodist Church;

• Have been appointed or assigned to a ministry as a superintendent’s supply in the NYAC for the past three years, and,

• Have academic debt.

Grants will be awarded on a one-time basis. However, clergy with excessive academic debt may reapply in succeeding years.

The expectation is that clergy participating in this program will develop his or her own long-term financial plan, using resources such as the UMPIP program, IRA or college savings programs for dependent children, and web sites such as, www.creditkarma.com.

The application and guidelines are on the New York Annual Conference web site along with a copy of this letter at, www.nyac.com/newsdetail/1020202

All applications will be reviewed by the committee; those received after July 2 will not be considered. Applicants who qualify according to the guidelines will be contacted within 30–45 days after the deadline.

I am grateful to Bishop McLee and to those persons who have generously donated to this fund, making this financial relief possible to our young clergy.

In Christ’s service,
Bishop Middleton
Jane Allen Middleton

Council of Bishops Issues Pastoral Letter on Racism

BERLIN: The Council of Bishops issued a pastoral letter on racism to the 12.8 million people of The United Methodist Church affirming the sacredness of all lives and renewing their commitment to work for an anti-racist, pro-humanity church. The action came at the end of the Council’s weeklong meeting in Berlin after prayerful reflection and discussion about the topic. Earlier in the week, President of the Council Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. had also issued a letter calling for prayer and healing.

The letter reads:

“Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ!

We, the bishops of The United Methodist Church, are meeting in Berlin, Germany, 70 years after the end of World War II. As we gather, we renew our commitment to lead, as together we seek to become the beloved community of Christ.  

We are a church that proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. On every continent, people called United Methodist are boldly living the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Yet, the people of our world are hurting, as injustice, violence and racism abound. Our witness to the dignity of all human life and the reign of God is needed now more than ever.

Our hearts break and our spirits cry out, as we see reports of migrant people being attacked and burned in the streets of South Africa, note the flight of Jews from Europe, watch the plight of

Council of Bishops President Warner Brown Jr.

Mediterranean refugees and see racially charged protests and riots in cities across the United States that remind us that systems are broken and racism continues. The evidence is overwhelming that race still matters, that racism is woven into institutional life and is problematic to communal health. This reality impacts every area of life—in the church and in the world.

Racism is prejudice plus intent to do harm or discriminate based on a belief that one is superior or has freedom to use power over another based on race. Xenophobia is an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange. Racism and xenophobia, like other sins, keep us from being whole persons capable of living up to our full potential. They deny the profound theological truth that we are made in the image of God with

the handprint of love and equality divinely implanted in every soul.

As bishops of the Church, we cast a vision for a world community where human worth and dignity defeat acts of xenophobia and racism. We acknowledge that silence in the face of systemic racism and community fears serves only to make matters worse.

We commit to lead, model and engage in honest dialogue and respectful conversation and invite people of faith everywhere to join us. Let us repent of our own racial bias and abuse of privilege. May we love God more deeply and, through that love, build relationships that honor the desire of people everywhere to be seen, valued, heard and safe. As we proclaim and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, may we lead the way in seeking justice for all, investing in and trusting God’s transforming power to create a world without hatred and racism. 

As United Methodists, we affirm that all lives are sacred and that a world free of racism and xenophobia is not only conceivable, but worthy of our pursuit. We renew our commitment to work for a Church that is anti-racist and pro-humanity, believing that beloved community cannot be achieved by ignoring cultural, racial and ethnic differences, but by celebrating diversity and valuing all people.

“This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.” 1 John 4:21 (CEB)

Nepal Relief Challenge: Accessing Rural Villages

UMNS—Accessing rural villages in Nepal affected by the massive April 25 earthquake remains a significant challenge, say United Methodist missionaries there.

Katherine T. Parker is assigned by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries to the United Mission to Nepal. She said the latter agency is working to bring assistance to Northern Dhading, where it has existing partnerships and knowledge of the local population.

Many villages in Dhading, a district immediately west of Kathmandu, have high rates of earthquake damage, but reaching those areas is difficult.

“We are exploring both porters and mule trains as well as helicopters,” Parker said in an email to United Methodist News Service. “However, helicopters seem to be in short supply and high demand.”

As the earthquake’s death toll climbs past 7,000, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and other faith-based partners in the ACT Alliance are continuing to respond. Some 8 million people are affected and 3.5 million are in need of food assistance.

Nearly $317,000 in online gifts for UMCOR’s Nepal emergency and related Advance projects and missionary support through the Board of Global Ministries had been had been donated by Monday morning, May 4. UMCOR’s partners include the United Mission to Nepal and Global Medic.

Priority on poor and marginalized

While the focus in Dhading for United Mission to Nepal will remain on the poor and marginalized, “the specific emphasis and some approaches will change” because of the earthquake, Parker noted.

“We have already been working on community-based mental health issues and trauma healing throughout Nepal and anticipate an increased role here,” Parker explained, adding that community-led total sanitation also will remain a priority.

United Mission to Nepal has been working with several relief agencies to respond to immediate needs after the earthquake, especially CASA from India, a member of the ACT Alliance and partner with UMCOR on other disasters.

“My personal role in the response has been changing day to day, but I continue to provide support to the effort, while also conscious of other responsibilities in our work in long-term development,” Parker said.

In a May 4 situation report on its web site, United Mission to Nepal reported that a team of paramedics has arrived in Dhading from United Mission Hospital Tansen, and were waiting to be dispatched to North Dhading.

Warehouse space for relief supplies also has been identified in Dhading and teams of volunteers have been trained and are ready to depart, with plans to start distribution to some 8,600 households by the end of the week.

Five districts have serious damage

Dr. Mark Zimmerman, a United Methodist missionary and medical doctor serving in Kathmandu as director of the Nick Simons Institute, called Dhading one of the five districts outside the Kathmandu Valley that were most serious affected. The others are Gorkha, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, and Sindhupalchok, he noted in an April 29 report.

“There are regions of these districts with 90 percent of houses uninhabitable; food, housing, and sanitation are acute issues,” he wrote in his observations. “The districts of Lamjung, Dolakha, Makwanpur, Kabre, and Lalitpur suffered moderate effects, other districts are minimal.

The World Health Organization has linked with Nepal’s Health Ministry “to coordinate an impressive deployment of medical teams from across the world,” he said. “In addition to these, the Nepal army has linked with military teams from other countries.”

U.S. Marines have now arrived in Nepal, according to a May 4 report from National Public Radio.

Earthquake in Nepal
Earthquake survivors navigate through piles of rubble in Kathmandu, Nepal. To read Bishop Jane Allen Middleton’s response to the earthquake, go to: www.nyac.com/newsdetail/1022468.

As immediate needs are met, public health issues will become more prevalent, Zimmerman said.

“Rebuilding Nepal will be the major task—housing, families, and institutions. The development organizations that have been here for decades will continue their work, only with heavier loads in these affected districts.”

Response is ‘enormous and chaotic’

In an earlier letter describing how their family and other churchgoers experienced the Nepal earthquake, his wife, Deirdre, noted that while people are being treated for their injuries “little in the way of any aid has reached the tens of thousands of people huddled around their devastated homes and villages.”

“The emergency response is enormous and chaotic as huge amounts of aid and personnel arrive into the country,” Deirdre Zimmerman wrote. “Our windows continue to tremble night and day, only now with the roar of foreign military transport planes arriving.

“Predictably, a government which struggles under the best of circumstances is now overwhelmed with both the need and the response, and much of the aid is log-jammed in Kathmandu,” she added.

Another United Methodist missionary couple serving in Nepal, Dr. Lester and Debbie Dornon, currently are in the U.S. but continue to receive updates from their daughter, Hannah, who is teaching there and from other colleagues and friends.

“The difficulty now is getting food to the villages … and getting shelter and blankets to the people who will need it until homes can be rebuilt,” they wrote in a recent blog post. “Safe drinking water is also a problem.”

Jennifer Wilson, the daughter of the Rev. Bob Wilson, pastor of First UMC in Pittsburgh, and his wife Glenna, chair of the Western Pennsylvania Conference Poverty Team, has been working as a volunteer for a project related to human trafficking victims in Kathmandu. She is safe and plans to
stay in Nepal “as long as she can be helpful,”
her father said.

How to Help

Donations to support the response to the earthquake in Nepal and other international disasters can be made online through UMCOR Advance #982450 at www.umcor.org/. Checks also can be made out to your local United Methodist church. Write UMCOR Advance #982450 on the memo line and put in the offering plate.

UMCOR health kits meet the practical needs of communities affected by disaster. As UMCOR works to assess needs in Nepal, donations help replenish UMCOR’s health kit inventory. [You can bring your health kits to Hofstra during annual conference on Wednesday and Thursday.]


PRC Helping Churches Near and Far

Practical Resources for Churches (PRC) has been assisting churches for almost three decades, but the way they do that has changed over the years. The heart of PRC has always been with the consultants who work with churches to plan programs, retreats, and studies, as well as assisting those involved in other areas of ministry. In the early days of PRC’s history (when it was called the Parish Resource Center), a person usually had to make a personal visit to the center.

Nowadays, a consultation is more likely to take place online or by phone, and resources are delivered by mail. PRC staff also serve as curators of the abundant resources online to recommend those best suited for a church’s needs. These changes in the delivery mean that PRC’s services are no longer limited to a specific geographical area.

PRC is an ecumenical resource center with existing connections to many United Methodist churches. A number of UMC churches subscribe to the center, paying an annual fee based on worship attendance, which allows anyone from the church to work with the consultants. Last year, PRC answered 257 requests from subscribing United Methodist churches. Subscribing churches are also entitled to an annual three-hour on-site consultation.

Some of the areas PRC most frequently assists churches in are:

Faith Formation: PRC helps those who are choosing a Sunday school or confirmation curriculum; physical samples are available as well as online links to information and downloadable resources. They work with adult study groups to select resources such as DVD studies. Churches can chose to have lectionary curriculum resources mailed to them for each Sunday of the year. Some churches choose teacher training for their on-site consultation.

Worship: Churches receive help in planning many different kinds of worship, including seasonal ones. For example, PRC has helped

Vital Congregations

churches plan intergenerational Christmas Eve services and Blue Christmas services, as well as those based on the history of Christmas carols.

Programming: Churches looking to start new programs such as a caring ministry or shepherding program are given assistance from consultants, along with physical and digital resources. One church recently used their on-site consultation to learn about creating greeting cards and starting a card ministry.

Management/Organization/Finance: Help is available to plan stewardship programs, create narrative budgets, and plan for year round stewardship. Training is offered for trustees as well as audit and finance committees. Some churches have used their on-site training to get set up in QuickBooks.

Technology: With the rise of the internet and social media, PRC has stepped in to help churches create web sites and set up Facebook pages.

Workshop/Roundtables/Retreats: In 2014, 117 United Methodists from 26 different churches attended 10 different workshops, roundtables or retreats. Roundtables offer networking for Christian educators, women’s groups, administrative assistants, and new pastors. Many of PRC’s offsite events have been held in United Methodist Churches. Please contact PRC if you’d like to host an event.

Webinars: A few years ago PRC started offering webinars (online workshops) which people can “attend” in the comfort of their home or any location that has internet access. The live programming is recorded so they can be watched at any time. The conference has agreed to the cover the costs of the webinars so that any members of the NYAC can participate for free. Since last January, 331 United Methodists from 193 churches in 38 different states watched 29 webinars.

PRC has three physical locations on Long Island–Bellport, Commack and Rocky Point. You can visit their web site at www.prcli.org/; email info@prcli.org; or call 631-821-2255 for more information. They are also on Facebook and Pinterest.

ABOVE: New pastors are treated to a tour and lunch at the Rocky Point location. LEFT: Participants in a workshop about labyrinths explore a handheld and a pocket version of the tool for prayer.

Just Listening is a Gift to the Dying

“When it comes to dying, I’m an amateur. I haven’t done it—I think when I come to it, I will still be an amateur, somewhere between frightened and terrified.”

—Sam Keen, “Graceful Passages”

By Rev. Jim Stinson
Consultant for Older Adult Ministries

Jim Stinson

Bingo! Sam Keen speaks to a reality that bypasses some of the death-denying language of our culture and our church—the language of “Don’t be afraid, let your faith carry you through this passage in your life.”

“Don’t be afraid, we’ll be with you all the way.” Both statements can be

Jim Stinson

comforting, and both of which, in my experience, speak to a truth.

But neither they, nor any other statement changes the reality that death, even for people of faith, arrives for most with fear and terror at some level of their being. It is only when the fear and terror is mitigated by allowing the person to process their feelings that one becomes free to allow her/his faith to inform the dying process.

Any hint of judgment in our comment—“You must use your faith” kind of statement—often adds a level of guilt to the one afraid. Now that person has to wrestle with “what is wrong with me, I know better than to be afraid.”

More helpful is asking questions of the one dying and making statements that invite exploring the person’s deepest concerns.

• I wonder about what you’re feeling. Do you want to talk about that?

• Is there anything I can do or say to make this time easier?

• I am willing to listen. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have the time to listen. Maybe that will help.

There may well come a time when a person invites you to share your faith and what it says about their dying. In my work with the dying (nearly every day for the past 13 years, and often during the 40 years I pastored a congregation) I have been moved by the opening for faithful witness when I have been willing to wait for the invitation to do so. People are all too willing to engage that subject, but seem to do so on their on schedule, That most often happens when they feel safe speaking of anything, including their fears and terror, without being judged or having their feelings diminished.

So a word to those caring for or about someone of any age who is dying, offer the gift of willingly listening to their fears and worries, and when the time is right, share the good news that even with their fears, God is there for them to guide them on their way.

SPSA Divests Endowment of Fossil Fuels

The Board of Trustees of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew voted unanimously March 19 to divest its endowment of fossil fuel-related investments. The decision was based on both ethical and financial factors.

James F. Karpen, senior pastor at St. Paul and St. Andrew, says, “It is vital that the investments of a religious community be in harmony with our Biblical and ethical commitments; anything less smacks of hypocrisy. The current trajectory of the fossil fuel industry spells violence towards the environment and the people and creatures that share it. It is the sort of thing that must make God weep.”

The decision to divest was also grounded in financial and economic concerns. Gary Matthews of First Affirmative Financial Network advised that the balance sheet values of most large fossil fuel companies were overstated due to listed reserves that would not be produced or burned due to severe climate change impacts. Investors will eventually recognize these “stranded” assets as essentially worthless and the stock prices of these companies will likely suffer as a result. Thus divesting from fossil fuel companies might actually enhance the endowment’s long-term performance.

Rosina Pohlmann, leader of the St. Paul and St. Andrew “Green Team,” said, “Our hope is that the larger United Methodist Church will see this action and similar actions in other churches as incentive to take up the call for divestment.”

Three days prior to the trustees’ decision to divest, the church council voted unanimously to endorse a resolution put forth by the grassroots initiative “Fossil Free UMC” to divest the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits of fossil fuels. The resolution will be brought to regional annual conferences in June and then forwarded to the General Conference in 2016.

Giving to UMC?

There’s an App for That

The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), working in partnership with Vanco Payment Solutions has developed and improved the convenient mobile-device app that will allow members and visitors to make donations to the church while they are at church or if they are away.

The newly branded “Joyfully2UMC” has a scriptural reference to 2 Corinthians 9:7, and serves as a reminder that the app is another option to give cheerfully to the church of choice. The app is now available as a free download for Android™ and iOS™ mobile devices.

The app, developed for members of United Methodist churches, allows users to search and find a local United Methodist church. This can be done for one’s home church that use Vanco Payment Solutions, or for anyone traveling who would like to continue to donate to their home church or donate to a church in the area they are visiting. Type in the name of the church in the SEARCH box and follow the prompts. Additional materials to explain the Joyfully2UMC app can be provided for local churches to give to their church members and attendees by contacting the GCFA Shared Services department at SharedServices@gcfa.org, or by calling 615-329-3393.

“GCFA is dedicated to exploring opportunities and working with reputable partners to help local churches increase funds for ministry,” said Moses Kumar, top executive with GCFA.

If your church does not currently use Vanco Payment Solutions to receive funds, you can get more information about Vanco at 800-774-9355.



Director of Music/Organist

Grace UMC in Valley Stream, N.Y., seeks a director of music/organist to lead its vibrant music program upon the retirement of its current director/organist. Chief responsibilities are: playing the organ for one weekly worship service, directing the chancel choir, and supervising the music program of three vocal choirs, three hand bell choirs, youth orchestra, and one employee. The successful candidate will have proven experience in church music as organist and choir director and directing experience in one or more of these areas: church orchestra, hand bell choirs, youth/children’s choirs, contemporary and/or non-Western musical styles.

This is a half to three-quarter time position, with appropriate salary and benefits (including paid vacation, retirement contribution and right to first refusal for weddings and funerals.) Applications will be received until the position is filled, and will be reviewed beginning May 29. Questions can be addressed to the pastor, Rev. Matt Curry, at RevMCurry@gmail.com, or 516-825-1182.

To apply, send cover letter, resume and salary requirements to Music Search Committee at valleystreamjob@gmail.com, or Grace UMC, 21 S Franklin Ave, Valley Stream, NY 11580.


The following five jobs are with the General Board of Global Ministries and more details can be found on their web site at: www.umcmission.org/Learn-About-Us/
. Each job description includes a link for applying and submitting your resume to us online.

Executive Secretary

(Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation)

The primary purpose is to ensure that Global Ministries uses accurate and relevant information to inform its strategic and operational decisions by helping to develop methodological tools; establishing processes, procedures and mechanisms that support Global Ministries in strengthening its monitoring and evaluation practices; performance monitoring and evaluation work; staff training and partner capacity development; data management and reporting systems.

Requirements include a master’s degree in social sciences, management, or international development or related fields, and a working knowledge of statistical analytical tools such as SPSS. Candidates should have a minimum five years of progressive experience in designing, implementing, managing, and analyzing results of impact evaluations of development projects/programs. Proven experience with large scale surveys, sampling methods, databases, and computer-based statistical analysis is also desired.

Health Systems Officer

This position supports the “Imagine No Malaria” program in its health system as part of the overall Global Health Initiative of the UMC.

Requirements include a master-level degree in health administration/management, MBA, health economics, medicine, public health, health policy or related field. A minimum of 5 year’s experience working in health systems, ideally in middle and low income countries. Country experience in Francophone Africa and the ability to speak French is a plus.

Expertise in at least three of the following health system domains is desired: health care administration and management, service delivery, health care financing, health

management information, human resources, governance, policy, role of the non-state sector.

Candidate must have the ability to travel up to 40 percent domestically and internationally and be willing to relocate.

Senior Public Information Officer

The primary role is to articulate the messaging of the General Board of Global Ministries and the general secretary through news releases, talking points, and public statements. The information officer works with the general secretary, program staff, and communications staff to coordinate agency public relations.

A bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree in communication or journalism desired. Must have knowledge of best practices in journalism for print and web with strong project management skills. Also, strong communication, representation and negotiation skills with excellent spoken and written English. Fundraising skills a plus, and a thorough understanding of the United Methodist Church as well as theological studies is desired.

A minimum of two years of journalism experience required with working knowledge of multidisciplinary, multicultural teams.

Director of Mission Theology

The primary responsibility is to coordinate and implement the theological foundation for mission that is the core of the General Board of Global Ministries’ strategic plan, in collaboration with all offices of the agency and significant partners in the United Methodist connection. The acknowledged biblical, theological, and missional understandings of GBGM’s programing is the focus of this office. The primary purpose is to engage the Global Ministries staff and the church in studying theologically and critically the meaning, message and methods of Christian mission in today’s world.

A master’s degree in theology, or missiology, or religion is required; doctorate or equivalent preferred. Global, intercultural, and interfaith professional experiences from working in various church structures and diverse faith constituencies is desired with three to five years’ experience in theological education, missiology, ecumenical work or similar ministry involving theological analysis, research and writing.

Executive Assistant

The General Board of Global Ministries, the global mission agency of the United Methodist Church (UMC), is seeking an executive assistant who will work directly with the deputy general secretary who heads up the Mission Theology Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the General Board of Global Ministries as well as providing support for the offices of the Director of Mission Theology and the Executive Secretaries for Monitoring and Evaluation and will be responsible for the implementation, development, and administration of the various programs of the Mission Theology and Monitor and Evaluation Unit. Responsibilities can include research, training assistance, review of conference/meeting material, drafting memos and administrative protocols, event coordination, and constituent outreach. This position is based in New York.

Though Methodist-affiliation is not required, qualified candidates must possess the ability to analyze and evaluate the context in which the Church is called to Christian ministry, develop and sustain collegial relationships and mission partnerships; and develop action plans for advocacy for global justice, peace, and freedom. The candidate should have some experience working in a global, intercultural, and interfaith context. 


Katherine M. Dunlap

Katherine DunlapKatherine M. Dunlap, 61, died on April 19 in Margaretville, N.Y. She was the wife of Rev. L. Lawrence Dunlap, a pastor in the Upper Catskill Larger Parish (Andes, Fleischmanns, Halcott Center, Margaretville, and Roxbury).

Dunlap was born in 1954, and graduated from Saugerties High School in 1972. She worked as an office manager for Peconic Community Council on Long Island, and also served as deputy clerk in the townships of Sharon, Conn., and Delhi and Margaretville, N.Y. A member of Toastmasters, Dunlap also enjoyed drawing cartoons, cross-stitching and knitting.

Survivors include her husband, Larry; their three sons, Chester, Drew and Adam; sisters and brothers, along with many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held April 24 at the Seamon-Wilsey Funeral Home in Saugerties, N.Y. Burial followed at the Woodstock Cemetery. Contributions in Dunlap’s memory may be made to the Darmstadt Shelter, 3606 Holly Drive, Kingston, NY 12401 or to the donor’s local homeless shelter.

Rev. L. Lester McGonagle

Lester McGonagleRev. L. Lester McGonagle died in Lakeland, Fla., on April 18 at age 84. He was born in Punxsutawney, Pa., in November 1930.

McGonagle received an undergraduate degree from Penn State University prior to his seminary education at Drew University School of Theology. In 1955, he received a local preacher’s license in the Erie Conference with an appointment to attend school. Deacon’s orders and probationary membership followed two years later in the New York Conference, followed by elder’s orders and full membership in 1958. The next year he became a full member of the Pittsburgh Conference before returning to the New York Conference. His pastoral service record of 42 years includes the following appointments: Lake Mahopac and Mount Hope; Indiana, associate; Buchanan and Boscobel; Buchanan; Lynbrook; Community in North Yonkers, and Hyde Park.

After retiring in 1997, he and his wife, Martha, relocated to Lakeland, Fla., where he continued to serve God by actively volunteering at College Heights United Methodist Church in Lakeland.

McGonagle was preceded in death by three brothers, as well as his son, Stephen. Survivors include his wife, Martha, daughter Becky, and five grandchildren.

A gathering of family and friends celebrated his life and ministry on April 22 at the College Heights UMC. The family is planning a memorial service in Mahopac, N.Y., in the near future.

Contributions in honor of McGonagle may be made to Talbot House Ministries, 814 North Kentucky Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801, or to College Heights UMC, 942 South Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33803.

Rev. Russell D. Goodwin

Russell GoodwinThe Reverend Russell D. Goodwin died April 18, at age 82.

Rev. Goodwin was born in Yonkers, N.Y., but spent his early childhood in Hudson Falls and his teen years on Staten Island. After graduating from Zion Bible Institute, he followed in the footsteps of his parents when he began his ministry with the Assemblies of God.

In 1952, he received a license to preach and was ordained two years later. In 1967, Goodwin joined The United Methodist Church and was granted probationary status in 1970 and full membership two years later in the New York Conference.

Rev. Goodwin’s appointment history in the conference includes Bantam, South Bethlehem, Aldersgate in Dobbs Ferry, Carmel, Hampton Bays, St. James, and Trinity in Windsor, Conn., before retiring in 1995.

He is survived by his wife, Maria, and their children David, Debra, Dean and Jason; and five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

A celebration of Rev. Godwin’s life was held May 2 at Gramling United Methodist Church in Gramling, S.C. The service was led by the Revs. Rebecca Wilkins and Don Hope.

Memorial gifts in honor of Goodwin may be sent to the Gramling UMC, 14941 Asheville Hwy., Inman, SC, or the Lymphoma Society, 1247 Lake Murray Blvd., Irmo, SC 29063.

Rev. Louise Dominica Thomas

The Reverend Louise Dominica Thomas died April 17 at age 70 in Otisville, N.Y. She was born on October 26, 1944.

Thomas was granted the license to preach in 1982, and received deacon’s orders and became an associate member of the New York Conference in 1989. She served until retiring in 2009.

The appointment history of Thomas included Harriman and Southfields; Kenoza Lake, Fosterdale, Narrowsburg, Cochecton Center and Jeffersonville; Highland Falls and Fort Montgomery; Highland Falls; Baldwin; Cornwall; Ellenville; Ellenville and Westbrookville. Rev. Thomas was trained as a parish consultant for the conference and served as a mentor for candidates entering the ministry.

She is survived by her husband, William Thomas; daughters Lisa Brennan and Dawn Alvarez; a sister, nieces, nephews; eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

A funeral service was held April 20 at the Ellenville United Methodist Church in Ellenville, N.Y. Larry Powell, pastor of the church, Rev. Ken Cottington, a longtime friend for whom Thomas served as a mentor, and Rev. Jim Moore, district superintendent, participated in the service. Burial was at the Fantinekill Cemetery in Ellenville.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Ellenville Church, P.O. Box 591, Ellenville, NY 12428; or The Sarcoma Foundation of America, 9899 Main Street, Suite 204, Damascus, MD 20872; or any animal shelter or charity of the donor’s choice.

Helen Joslin Gould

Helen Joslin Gould died in Pittsfield, Mass., on April 4, at age 99 years. She was the widow of Rev. Dr. Ivan M. Gould.

Born in Rockville Center, N.Y., Gould was high school valedictorian, college salutatorian, a graduate of social work school and a certified social worker. Her work life included case work in Chicago, medical social work in Philadelphia and Charleston, W.Va., and case work with the Nassau County (L.I.) Family Court. She was executive director of Suffolk County Council of Churches, Visiting Homemakers of Huntington, L.I., and the Suffolk Community Council. Gould also was a consultant on aging to the state legislature, a board member of what is now Hertlin House, president of the Hampton Bays Library trustees. She was a cherished friend and a wise mentor to many.

She married Rev. Dr. Ivan M. Gould in 1938 when he was director of Youth Work for the International Council of Religious Education in Chicago. During World War II, Dr. Gould was director of the Serviceman’s Christian League based in Philadelphia, followed by years as executive of the Pennsylvania and West Virginia Council of Churches.

Mrs. Gould was an active member of the Merrick Church from 1953-1963 when her husband served the church. During her retirement, she was a member of the Southampton UMC. Her later years were lived out in Lenox and Pittsfield, Mass.

Gould is survived by sons James (Jim) Gould, and Rev. Dr. Ivan J. (Toby) Gould; daughters-in-law, Martha and Merri; three grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Condolences can be sent to Merri and Toby Gould, P.O. Box 45, Charlemont, MA 01339. Memorial contributions may be sent to Geneva Point Center, 108 International Road, Moultonborough, NH, 03254. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Ough to Lead Bishops Council

During their recent meeting in Berlin, the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church elected new officers who will assume their leadership roles in 2016.

The new officers of the council are:

• President: Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Dakotas-Minnesota Area

• President designate: Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr., Florida Area

• Secretary: Bishop Cynthia Harvey, Louisiana Area (re-elected for two years) 

• Connectional Table chairperson: Bishop Christian Alsted, Nordic and Baltic Area

• Executive secretary: Bishop Marcus Matthews, Washington Area

• Ecumenical officer: Bishop B. Michael Watson, North Georgia Area

Bishop OughBishop Bruce R. Ough

The ecumenical officer, executive secretary and chair of the Connectional Table each serve four-year terms. The president, president-designate and secretary serve two-year terms, which begin on the third day of General Conference. 

In accordance with the Council’s bylaws, an eight-member Leadership Discernment Committee—which is composed of one bishop from each U.S. jurisdiction and three Central Conference bishops—selected a slate of officers to present to the council for election by a two-thirds majority. Nominations for secretary and ecumenical officer may also be presented from the floor.

Judicial Council Reinstates Pay for Bishop

Bishhop WandabulaBishop Daniel Wandabula

In a recent 5 to 4 decision, the Judicial Council decided to reinstate the full salary of Bishop Daniel Wandabula of the East Africa Annual Conference. The Board of Directors of GCFA had elected to set the bishop’s salary at a lower rate beginning in 2013 because of inconsistencies in audits conducted by the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) and a lack of financial accountabilities and controls in that conference. This ruling reinstates the bishop’s full pay for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Bishop Michael Coyner, president of the Board of Directors for GCFA said, “the GCFA Board acted after careful and lengthy consideration of the results of the audits, of this body’s responsibilities, and the impact such an action would have on the Church. GCFA will comply with the Decision of the Judicial Council. Accountability in our United Methodist connection is important to the Board. The Board of Directors of GCFA is still concerned about how we fulfill our fiduciary responsibility to the whole Church as defined in . . . the Book of Discipline when there are questions about the misuse of funds.”

Moses Kumar, general secretary and treasurer of GCFA said “. . . GCFA and GBGM have worked diligently to provide measures for accountability and stewardship in the use of Church funds . . . Our actions will always be to ensure the

funds contributed by faithful members of The United Methodist Church are accounted for and used for their intended purpose. We will do as we are directed based on this decision.”

Magazine Focus on Asbury

Christian History announces an issue on Francis Asbury and the story of early American Methodism. Dynamic worship, energetic circuit-riding preachers, and a close-up, personal style of leadership made this movement perfectly suited to bring the word of God to the new nation of America. Read the stories, sing the hymns, and see images ranging from America’s first Methodist church to Asbury’s eyeglasses. To subscribe for free, or to make a bulk order, contact Dawn Moore at dawn@christianhistoryinstitute.org, or 800-468-0458, or go to www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine.

Kids’ Video on Wesley

The Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith is offering a video, The John Wesley Story, just for kids. In this action-packed episode, viewers will meet the bold founder of the Methodist movement. The video follows Wesley’s adventures including his miraculous childhood rescue, his failed trip to America, his dramatic experience at Aldersgate, and his world-changing choice to take his message to society’s outcasts.

The accompanying resources include a comprehensive leader’s guide and reproducible student handouts. For more details or to order, go to: www.torchlighters.org.

The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Resident Interim Bishop: Jane Allen Middleton

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