The Vision
The Newspaper of The New York Conference of The United Methodist Church February 2018

In this issue

Gathered in the sanctuary of First UMC Miami are clergy members of the NYAC: Elizabeth Abel, from left, Susan Chupungco, Michael Barry, K. Karpen, Gene Ott, David Gilmore, Jessica Anschutz and Jordan Scruggs.
In Search Of ‘Fresh Expressions’ For Church

In mid-January, Rev. David Gilmore, director of Congregational Development and Revitalization, and a team of seven clergy persons made a fact-finding trip to Miami, Florida, to investigate the validity and applicability of “cloning” their model of “Fresh Expressions” to the New York Conference. The trip followed a conversation with Bishop Kenneth Carter of the Florida Conference, and Rev. Dr. Cynthia Weems, superintendent of Florida’s Southeast District.

Fresh Expressions (FX) is a movement that began in 2004 as the result of a Church of England report about the state of the nation’s churches and the need for a new direction.

According to the Fresh Expressions UK website, “Fresh Expressions are new forms of church that emerge within contemporary culture and engage primarily with those who don’t ‘go to church.”

Rev. Dr. Weems and Rev. Dr. Audrey Warren, pastor
at FUMC Miami, offered three other characteristics
of their FX ministries:

• Fail fast . . . succeed sooner.
• Not intended to cost money.
• No staff costs (including pastoral support).

The team visited three ministries each in a different setting—suburban, urban and rural, respectively The Fruitful Field, The Breakfast Club, and Branches, Inc. The following are excerpts from the clergy site reports:

Elizabeth C. Abel

. . . It was Branches that sparked a vision for my current context and had my full attention. The ministry happening there is holistic and serves the whole community from toddler to adult. The ministry of the corporation in conjunction with the church is fluid and seamless. Though two separate entities, they appear to have the formula right. At a time when churches seem to be moving away from forming their own not-for-profit organizations, Branches, Inc. serves as the lead and the church as a partner really impressed me . . . I can envision that sort of a model here and I would love to have my try at it.

With primary visions of a not-for-profit and the current opportunity to develop and build a parish in my current ministry context, I feel that exploring a Fresh Expression ministry in the South Bronx, might be a feasible design and plan for the South Bronx. As we are currently developing the cooperative parish this model serves as a strong potential for our context and resources.

Rev. Michael Barry

The four basic thoughts I’m left with are:

• Strategically alleviating the burdensome financial concern of buildings and property does make room for new and meaningful ministry expressions, giving permission for the congregations/leadership to focus on the community rather than on staying alive.

• Congruency/alignment/vision from the bishop, cabinet, district superintendents, pastors and laity is critical for these new expressions to work. Fruitful Gardens was missing one of these key elements, and it was clear that potential growth and discipleship opportunities were being missed.

• Sharing space with outside agencies and community partners is critical to the future of the church and any fresh expression. 

• Conference support (appointments and funding) of ministry teams in local communities and contexts should be consistent and encouraged. Creativity and “specific” vision can’t be legislated, but must be cultivated by dynamic leadership. Investment, specialized training and granted permission are critical to the launching and fruitfulness of a “fresh expression.”

Susan Chupungco

One of the things that was impressed most upon me throughout this trip was the minimization of financial support to underwrite programs for congregations engaged in the fresh expressions movement by the annual conference.

Instead, the most significant way that support was offered came in the form of equitable compensation to keep creative and passionate pastors in the mission field and serving churches that couldn’t otherwise support them on their
own . . .

I walked away from Fresh Expressions wondering how I can better inspire, encourage, and invest in my own laity. I have gifted, talented, capable people who need me as their pastor to develop them as leaders through coaching, training, and equipping them for the work that God has called them to. I confess that I am not sure I know how to do this. This will be an area that I will work to develop as I proceed in ministry . . .

Lastly, the lack of fear and the very clear way in which the Florida Annual Conference has communicated its goal to move from more than 600 churches that exist now, to 500 churches with 500 Fresh Expressions by 2025 took me by surprise. We don’t like to talk about closing churches. The Florida Annual Conference has offered a hopeful alternative to closing by encouraging creative engagement with the community and risk taking.

Jessica Anschutz

The Fruitful Field

• Paid youth interns program was such an inspiration to see how they hire . . . and train them and help them develop life-long skills (public speaking, resume prep, mock interviews, cooking, finances)

• Hosts regular opportunities for people to visit/see the garden with open house every two months (seems another untapped opportunity for the congregation and garden to work together).

• Annual conference financial support is minimal ($500), but proposal takes a long time to complete (20 hours)

First UMC Miami

• Significant role of laity in leadership of the Breakfast Club as those who share the Good News (pastor peaches every 3rd Sunday)

• Long history of starting satellite congregations (8)

• PBJ parties gathering people in the diaspora to make PB&Js rather than gathering at the church, creative ideas to engage more people in the ministry to persons experiencing homelessness

Branches Inc./Branches UMC—a third place, “we space not me space”

• Incredible example of a non-profit and congregation working together—faith-based non-profit in the lead aids in fundraising

• Program names reflect their goals—children’s program is grow; youth program is climb, adult programming is achieve

K Karpen

. . . A surprising side benefit of the trip was the way our group began to talk among ourselves about ways of working together to better serve the people of New York.

Each of the projects we visited pre-date the Florida Conference commitment to Fresh Expressions. The Fruitful Field is about 10 years old, Branches goes back about 20 years, and the Breakfast Club has been around since the late 1980s. Still, the Fresh Expressions philosophy seems to match and even influence each of the projects. There is clearly excitement about using and expanding this model. And the focus on reaching out to love and serve people where they are resonates with me. This is the way to be the church in the times we live in.

The Fruitful Field: The highlight . . . was hearing the youth who work there tell their stories. It’s clear that those 6 acres of gardens and woods are both ‘church’ and ‘home’ to these teens. What a great example of mentoring, youth employment and youth empowerment.

The Breakfast Club: First UMC of Miami is clearly engaged with the homeless community of Miami on a deep, trust-filled level. I’ve seen models where hungry people are fed only after sitting through some sort of worship, which has always seemed backwards to me. The Breakfast Club got this right, meeting the physical needs of people, then offering spiritual food to those who desire it. Nearly all stayed for worship . . .

It’s hard to build trust with those who are chronically homeless. We find that some folks who sleep on the steps of our church are reluctant to come into the building to get warm, receive services, worship, or sleep in the shelter. Clearly, the gracious people of First UMC have worked hard to be a place people feel safe and at home.

Gene Ott

Fertile Fields: . . . Between the community vegetable plots and the CSA [community-supported agriculture] portion behind it, I was inspired by what was possible with a vision for feeding people and supporting a non-traditional ministry . . .

Unfortunately, as a great as Fertile Fields was, I remain troubled by the disconnect between the church and the ministry. The community around the church has changed with largely Haitian families who have little interest in gardening for fun. There also seems to be little interest in reaching out to those families to see how the ministry might work for, or with, them. That said, Fertile Fields has great potential and would benefit from more intentional use by the local church or the district.

First Church Miami: The shower ministry [to the homeless] was also impressive both logistically and because it returns some dignity to those folks who are often perceived to be without it. Stepping into a safe area to get cleaned up
would be a vital ministry anywhere, but especially in South Florida . . .

When we discovered that the plans for the building included selling it . . . so that the site can be redeveloped, my mind was blown. First has decided that they no longer wish to be property managers and instead would rather focus on their ministry. Because of this, they’re relocating for nearly three years while their old building is torn down, a new building is built with low-income housing, and new worship and office areas are built within that building. I was inspired and bummed by this news. Inspired because I feel that this is an amazing way to move forward and bummed because I doubt that very many of our churches would have the holy boldness to carry out such a plan.

Jordan Scruggs

Some of my takeaways from the experience:

The role of the Annual Conference and District Superintendents in making space for and being supportive of “Fresh Expressions” is absolutely essential . . . Rev. Weems talked about the importance of the “permission giving” and risk-taking on the district and conference level that enabled innovation to bubble up in the communities she serves . . .

By way of an (admittedly imperfect) analogy: it’s possible that some people stopped buying things at shopping malls because they realized that capitalism and consumerism are often deeply problematic and cause other people pain. It’s also likely, however, that they stopped buying things at malls because something else came up: internet giants like Ebay and Amazon. In the same way, it’s probably true that some people stopped coming to church because they caught onto a lot of hypocrisy that they found morally objectionable. It’s also likely that they stopped coming to church because they have found better alternatives for spiritual community in places and spaces that they find to be more easily accessible.

One economic shift that can be exciting for the church is that millenials have less giving power than our predecessors. The financial reality for millennials means that no matter how many of us show up, our giving capacity will never amount to the financial resources that existed before.This means we don’t have the financial option to continue doing ministry and church in the same way.


Working in the Florida Keys were Jackson Rogers, Rev. Joseph Piccirillo, Kevin Sweet, David Crompton, Rev. Arlene Wilhelm, Steven and Janet Gagliano, Peter Hoernes, and Tom and Wendy Vencuss.
NYAC Disaster Relief
Helping Texas, Florida & PR

This past month the NYAC deployed its first team to Florida and its second to Texas in response to hurricanes Irma and Harvey. A first team is scheduled for Puerto Rico at the end of February and another for April. In addition, more than 600 clean-up buckets were delivered to Mission Central and the NYAC Disaster Response office closed out its formal Superstorm Sandy program, having completed its UMCOR grant commitment.

Florida

A team from various NYAC churches was the first to be assigned to the Florida Keys as the Florida Conference began its hurricane Irma relief and recovery effort there. Based out of Marathon, the group worked to repair storm damage to the Big Pine UMC which will host volunteer teams and serve as a recovery center for the many survivors of the storm.

Team members assisted the local case manager by visiting persons in the community and distributing information to homeowners.

The team also provided direct assistance to two homeowners affected by Irma. One homeowner, who survived 14 hours in the back of her trailer floating in floodwaters on a mattress with her two dogs, lost her mobile home and was living in a temporary FEMA trailer. She also lost her bicycle—her only means of transportation. At the end of the week, team members presented her with a “trike,” complete with a helmet, basket, and bell. With tears of gratitude she cried, “I can’t believe this. I now have my independence back!”

Team members were: Jackson Rogers (New Paltz UMC); Rev. Joseph Piccirillo, Kevin Sweet, and David Crompton (Avon UMC); Rev. Arlene Wilhelm (Hyde Park UMC); Steven and Janet Gagliano (Babylon UMC); Peter Hoernes (Shrub Oak UMC); and Tom and Wendy Vencuss.—Tom Vencuss

Texas

The Volunteers in Mission team to greater-Victoria, Texas, was spearheaded by Simsbury UMC in Connecticut and supported by St. Mark’s UMC in Rockville Centre, N.Y. The team of five volunteers arrived in Victoria on January 20, worked from that Sunday until the close of the trip on January 27. The team was generously housed in First UMC in Victoria. 

Two homes were selected for the team: one in Victoria, ravaged by wind and rain damage, and the other in Cuero, which suffered incredible flooding by the nearby Guadalupe River. The project in Victoria included drywall installation, mudding, sanding, and taping, as well as closet installation and bedroom painting. The Cuero project consisted of drywall installation, mudding, sanding, and taping.

The stories of the homeowners were both humbling and inspiring, and after a week of hard work, the team felt encouraged to call others to action. There is much work to be done throughout Hurricane Harvey-damaged Texas, and the NYAC is hoping to send as many teams as possible.

Team members included Cassandra Broadus-Garcia, Beth Nelson, Peg Mayer, Gus Alvarado, and Melissa Salyk-Virk.—Melissa Salyk-Virk

Sandy Recovery

A little more than five years have passed since Superstorm Sandy came ashore in the New York/Connecticut area. While so much has been done, and attentions have been turned to more recent events, much work remains. More than 1,700 families were assisted by the NYAC, but thousands still remain in temporary housing awaiting elevations from government-backed rebuild programs or other forms of assistance. Although we have closed out our formal Sandy response effort, the NYAC will continue to work with the St Bernard Project, through our “Done in a Day” program, to provide assistance to homeowners.

Emergency Service Centers

The NYAC has received a $90,000 grant from UMCOR to assist in addressing the needs of persons from Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands who have relocated to the US-mainland, either temporarily or permanently. This assistance will be through local assistance centers.

Volunteers Assistance is Critical

In many ways this has been an unprecedented year for disaster events. In Texas alone, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has received some 900,000 applications.

According to one report, more than 500,000 homes in Texas were listed as having “moderate to extreme” damage. The

Congregations in Connecticut and New York continue to assemble cleaning buckets to aid in the hurricane cleanup and recovery.Team members in Victoria, Texas, included Cassandra Broadus-Garcia, Beth Nelson, Peg Mayer, Gus Alvarado, and Melissa Salyk-Virk

federal government has acknowledged the need for assistance from the volunteer and faith-based sectors in all disaster areas.

In Puerto Rico, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico and UMCOR are partnering with both federal and other relief agencies to address critical unmet needs.

In so many places, it is volunteer individuals and teams who bridge that gap of unmet needs, providing critical relief and recovery efforts through repair and rebuild, spiritual and emotional care, and direct assistance.

Early Response Team classes

ERT classes, UMCOR’s basic training for disaster response volunteers, are being held at the following locations:

• Centerport UMC, N.Y.: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., February 17. Register by clicking here.

• Avon UMC, Conn.: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 3. Register by clicking here.

• First UMC, Torrington, Conn.: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 10. Register by clicking here.

• Huntington UMC, Conn.: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 21. Register by clicking here.

We are looking to schedule at least 2 ERT Basic and 2 Recertification classes in each district throughout 2018. Contact Art Mellor for information and to schedule an event.

What can we do?

• Be prepared. Schedule an early response (ERT), long-term recovery, or disaster emotional and spiritual care training event in your church, cluster, or community.

• Find another person to partner with, and lead a team to one of the affected areas.

• Monitor the missions page on the NYAC web site for upcoming trainings and deployments.

• Be one of the “3Ps” of disaster response: A “player” serving on a team; a “prayer” supporting our volunteer teams and the communities they will serve; or a “payer” providing financial assistance to a local volunteer or team.

For more information on disaster response information and opportunities, contact Tom Vencuss at the NYAC Missions office via email, or call, 914-615-2224.


For a full lineup of events, go to: www.nyac.com/conferencecalendar.

Ongoing Immigration Prayers
Join the NYAC Immigration Task Force for a time of prayer for our country and immigrant brothers and sisters on Monday nights from 7:30–8 p.m. until further notice. Call-in number: 641-715-3580; group code: 780843#. Contact Pastor Ximena Varas for more information.

2/17: Early Response Team Training
Training for ERT certification through UMCOR will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Snow date is February 24.) Participants must be 18 years of age and submit to a background check. The $10 cost will cover the background check. Bring a bag lunch; coffee and tea will be provided. Register on the NYAC web site; call Warren Ferry at 631-875-5204 with any questions. The certification is valid for three years.

2/17–18: BMRC Weekend
The Black Methodists for Church Renewal will gather around the theme, “Moving to Higher Grounds: Organizing the Black Church to Prevail Against Injustice.” Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth will be the guest preacher and presenter. Times for the weekend event are 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and 3:30–6:30 p.m. Sunday at St. John’s UMC, 2105 Stuart Ave., Valley Stream, N.Y. Contact Rev. Sheila Beckford via email at sheila.beckford@nyac-umc.com to register.

3/3 Deacon’s Retreat With Bishop
Explore the theme, “Covenant in Community,” with other ordained and provisional deacons, and candidates for deacon’s orders in this gathering from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Stony Point Center with Bishop Bickerton. Register online; $30 cost includes continental breakfast and lunch. Contact Rev. Doris K. Dalton via email with any questions.

3/13 Lobby for HALT Passage
Join the Conference Board of Church & Society in Albany for a rally and visits to legislators in support of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act. Since this legislation is considered a model for the entire country, people from outside New York are welcome to help with this effort. Register online by March 2. Bus transportation is available from Manhattan. Questions to Sheila Peiffer at churchandsociety@nyac-umc.com

4/7 “Hulapalozza”
Get your hula on at this daylong event to support and encourage the UMC’s Abundant Health campaign, both locally and around the globe. Location is the First UMC, 227 E. Lincoln Ave., Mt. Vernon, N.Y. Registration information will soon be available on the NYAC website. To learn more about Hulapalozza, check out this video.

4/13–14 Day of Dance Conference
The two-day Day of Dance Conference to be held at Golden Hill UMC, 210 Elm St., Bridgeport, Conn. Friday night session will run from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner, breakfast and lunch will be provided. The cost is $20 per person within a group, or individuals for $25. Contact Rev. Sheila M. Beckford at sheila.beckford@nyac-umc.com for additional information.

5/5 & 12: Bishop’s Confirmation Rallies
Confirmands are invited to join Bishop Bickerton for a day of worship, discussion, and fun at one of two Saturday rallies from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.:

May 5: Grace UMC, 21 S. Franklin Ave., Valley Stream, N.Y.

May 12: Poughkeepsie UMC, 2381 New Hackensack Road, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Contact Neal Bowes at nealbws@gmail.com with any questions.

5/19: Missional Community Engagement Forum
Guest speaker for this event at the Edith Macy Conference Center is Andrew Roberts, author of “Holy Habits.” The center is as 550 Chappaqua Rd., Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. Contact Carol Merante at cmerante@nyac.com with any questions.

6/7–10 New York Annual Conference
In a schedule shift to include more youth and young adults, the annual conference will gather from Thursday through Sunday. The plans include:

• Ordination on Sunday, June 10.

• Special experience for confirmands during worship.

• Baptism for those who desire to receive the sacrament.

• Delegate voting for the Special 2109 General Conference Session.

• Simultaneous mission work in Nassau County.

• Reports/updates on disaster recovery in Puerto Rico from Bishop Hector Ortiz

7/27–29 Mission u
Stay tuned for additional details about this annual multi-generational weekend for learning, worship and fellowship.

10/14–25 “Journeys of Paul” Cruise
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton will host the nine-day journey aboard Royal Caribbean’s “Jewel of the Seas,” in conjunction with Educational Opportunities Tours. Beginning and ending in Rome, the trip includes stops in Taormina and Pompeii, Italy; Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, and Corinth, Greece; and Ephesus, Turkey. There is also an optional two-day tour of Vatican City on October 25–26. Find the reservation information online. If you have any questions, contact Rev. Chuck Ferrara, the regional representative for Educational Opportunities in our area.

Vision Deadlines for 2018
The Vision is a monthly online publication of the New York Conference. Deadlines are always the first Friday of the month, with posting to the web site about 10 days later. The deadlines for 2018 are March 2, April 6, May 4, June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7, October 5, November 2, and December 7. Please send any stories, photos, ideas, or questions directly to vision@nyac.com.


UMCOR Sunday is March 11

A new year brings great potential for hope, generosity and compassion.

UMCOR Sunday, one of the most popular churchwide special Sundays with offering, is on March 11. The special offering taken that day will support the United Methodist Committee on Relief by helping to cover the agency’s operating budget. That makes it possible for UMCOR to direct 100 percent of all other contributions to the projects that donors specify, instead of using this money on administrative or fundraising costs.

In a recent letter to UM churches, Thomas Kemper, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, wrote: “It is a powerful statement that your gifts enable UMCOR to respond in times of crisis.

“UMCOR is present with heartfelt prayers, empathy, monetary donations and volunteering spirits after disaster strikes. We saw that over and over in 2017 when hurricanes Harvey, Irma

and Maria battered Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico, and again when mudslides swept through Sierra Leone.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is there for the long haul, thanks to your generosity. UMCOR is still present in Louisiana and West Virginia more than a year after floods devastated parts of those states. And that is just one example of UMCOR’s commitment to helping survivors get back on their feet.

The work of UMCOR also goes beyond disaster relief. As millions of refugees and migrants seek safety and opportunity, UMCOR is present. All over the world, UMCOR is there, providing compassion and hope to those who desperately need it.

Free resources to help churches prepare, promote and share about UMCOR Sunday are available online.


Unlocking Memories of the Love of God

Jim StinsonBY JIM STINSON
Consultant on Older Adults

She was in her nineties at the time and was a housebound member of my congregation. It was the first time I had visited her as the new pastor. As we were getting to know each other, she offered words that may not be exactly as I remember her saying. They do however express exactly what she wanted me to know:“I used to worry that I was forgetting little details of things I once could instantly recall. I don’t worry anymore when that happens. I find, if I wait just a little while, the memory kicks in. So you see I discovered there isn’t much I forget, it just takes longer for me to remember.”

There have been many times that these words have served as a reminder for me, especially when with older adults. They reminded me to give a person time to recall something, rather than to jump in with a “helpful” answer. Now that I am into my own older adult years, it is easier to remember the need to allow thoughts to come at the other person’s comfort level, rather than my own.

While with friends recently, I found myself hesitant answering a question one of them had asked. I knew I had the answer but could not instantly retrieve it. So I smiled and said, “Can I come back to that?” About the same age as I am, my friend,

who had raised the question, laughed and said,“It is good to know I am not the only one who forgets things.”

Edna was right all those years ago. Aging often slows down our memory. It is not necessarily unusual or unexpected. For many older adults, memory recall is a slower process than it was in younger years. (Having said that—minus an MD after my name—there is a caveat. If there is any doubt that a person’s slow memory recall is more than that, a visit to the doctor is in order.)

As those who minister with and to, this generation of elders, it is good to keep Edna’s insight in mind. Interestingly, our faith is one where memory is important. Memory is frequently mentioned in scripture.

The one that stands out at the moment is found in Isaiah 46:9.“Remember the former things of old, for I am God; and there is no other . . .”

From where this preacher sits, while still searching for answers to questions that begin with why, it helps to remember there is no other God, and my ministry has to take note of that reality everyday. While many older people may forget, the task of ministry is to be physical and spiritual reminders that our God loves each and every person—those with intact memories and those without. The task is to be the key for those who can’t open the memory and to let them see and sense this memory of old, this memory that they are loved.


Bishop Thomas Bickerton stands directly behind Rev. John DL Young, pastor of Flushing Chinese UMC, who along with his ministerial team (front row) will nurture the new congregation at Herricks UMC. In the back row from the left with the bishop are, Rev. Charlie Yun, Rev. David Henry, Rev. Julia Yeon-Hee Yim, Rev. David Gilmore and Rev. Sungchan Kim.
New Chinese UMC is Birthed

The newest congregation in the New York Conference, Herricks UMC, held its first worship service on January 7 with Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton and other members of the NYAC cabinet in attendance. The church, begun as a mission satellite of the Flushing Chinese UMC, will worship at the Hillside UMC in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

The venture crosses district boundary lines, and has the full support of both the Long Island district superintendents. The Flushing church is in Long Island West; the new Herricks congregation in Long Island East. The church’s mission is to reach out to the growing Chinese population in that area of Long Island. There has not been a Chinese-language UM ministry in Nassau or Suffolk counties, according to LIE District Superintendent Julia Yeon-Hee Yim

LIW District Superintendent Sungchan Kim saw an opportunity to provide a home for this new ministry after he learned that the Korean Presbyterian church that had been sharing space at Hillside had moved into its own building.

This newly available space proved to be an answer to the prayers that the Flushing Chinese congregation had been lifting for some three years.

Kim shared the Flushing church’s vision for a new faith community with Bishop Thomas Bickerton; Rev. David Gilmore, director of Congregational Development and Revitalization; and Rev. Bill Shillady of the United Methodist City Society. So the conference and City Society came together with the Flushing congregation to provide financial support for the mission church. Over the next five years, the NYAC will provide $100,000; the City Society, $50,000; and Flushing Chinese, $60,000.

The Hillside church, which is led by Rev. Charlie Yun, has offered use of the sanctuary and the parsonage at $1,000 and $1,500 monthly, respectively. The parsonage had been sitting empty for some time and was in need of nearly $20,000 in repairs. An advance of $9,000 from the Flushing congregation helped pay for that work.


2 Begin Work at NYAC

Jim StinsonAshley Davis has joined the New York Conference staff as an administrative assistant to the district superintendents. She began work in early December at the conference center supporting Rev. Denise Smartt Sears, Metropolitan District superintendent, and Rev. Alpher Sylvester, Connecticut District superintendent.

Davis has held administrative assistant positions in various industries, and has worked at her family’s real estate company and in her own events planning business. She lives in Stamford, Conn.

Davis’ hiring is part of a move to consolidate the work of the districts’ support staff in the White Plains office. Her direct line—and now the direct line for the Connecticut and Metropolitan districts—is 914-615-2227.

Emails for the districts’ business should be sent to ctdistrict@nyac-umc.com and metdistrict@nyac-umc.com, respectively. Mail should be sent respectively to either Rev. Alpher Sylvester, or Rev. Denise Smartt Sears at New York Conference, 20 Soundview Av., White Plains, NY 10606.

In mid-January, Aparicio “Api” Castano begun work as the NYAC’s new property manager. He will be based in White Plains with responsibility for the conference center, the episcopal residence and discontinued churches managed by our conference board of trustees. Castano will also serve as a consultant to churches on real estate and construction matters when requested.

Castano is a seasoned real estate professional with expertise in facilities management, construction project management, and building systems and equipment. He has an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering and training in a wide variety of areas such as OSHA compliance, fire and safety, mold and mildew, lead-based paint, and pest management. 

Castano has been a volunteer with NYCares, tutoring math to high school dropouts and recent immigrants. He also volunteers at the South Street Seaport museum and has a passion for sailing and sailboat restoration.

He lives in New York City with his wife, Loida. He can be reached in the office at 914-615-2214, or by email at, acastano@nyac.com.


Assistants Sought for District Superintendents

The New York Conference is seeking two qualified individuals to serve as administrative assistants to support the needs of our district superintendents.

These positions will work cooperatively to record and disseminate information; schedule meetings and events; maintain files, lists and records; facilitate communication and perform other duties required to effectively manage the offices of our district superintendents.

Applicants must be proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook), be comfortable using social media and have the ability learn additional software applications. Applicants must also have excellent organization, communication and interpersonal skills as well as be proficient with grammar and composition. These positions

require the ability to exercise discretion with confidential matters and sensitive issues. Local travel and attendance at weekend events within the bounds of the Conference is occasionally required. Applicants should have relevant college coursework in business, technology and/or office administration and three to five years experience in an administrative role.

These full-time positions will be based in the Conference Center in White Plains. Salary is $40,000 to $50,000 based upon experience. Health, pension and other benefits are provided. A full job description is available in the classified section of the web site.

To apply please send a cover letter and resume to: jobs@nyac-umc.com.


Fall Nature Retreat Coming to Kingswood

NYAC CampsBY JANE WAKEMAN
Deaconess

Lifelong Kingswood camper, Rev. Beth E. Jones, will be returning to the Hancock, N.Y., camp for a weekend this fall to lead the retreat, “Deep Green Journey: Encountering God Through Nature.” Jones, who has been a pastor in the Susquehanna Conference of the UMC for 20 years and is currently the Williamsport District superintendent, first presented this retreat in 2017.

Jones believes that natural settings provide people an opportunity to slow down, develop their senses and think deeply about God. She focuses on the potential found in each of the four seasons as a way to sense God’s renewing influence in individual lives. Spring brings thoughts of renewal and new growth; summer is the season of response; fall is a time of release; and winter the time of receiving.

Each one of these cyclical concepts is richly manifest in the beauty of Kingswood. The farmhouse is the perfect place to come together, and also can serve as base for exploring the campsite. For those who may feel discouraged by the demands of hiking and trails, this weekend provides a less physically demanding experience. The point is to slow down and let the sounds, sights and aromas of nature be more fully known.

Jones explained that those who are uncomfortable with the

Jim Stinsonstructures and traditions of the local church might be drawn into a deeper spirituality in a natural setting. Some may find the retreat a welcome way of exploring their own sense of calling.

The daughter of a pastor, Jones and her family spent vacations at Kingswood, returning to the tent and trailer sites for 43 years. She is a certified hiking and backpacking guide and has recently completed the requirements for a nature therapy guide and master naturalist.

After becoming a district superintendent, she began developing weekend clergy retreats around the scriptural connections to nature in both the Old and New Testaments. Eventually Jones hopes to explore extension ministries for populations who have experienced barriers to typical worship experiences.

The dates for the Deep Green Journey retreat have not yet been set, but registration materials will eventually be available on the Kingswood web site.

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Go Vegan to Save Our Planet and Souls

BY REV. SUSUMU ANDO

Since I wrote an article for the Vision, “Food Chain: ‘We Are Comfortably Unaware’” nearly two years ago, climate change has only been worsening. We still do not see it as the top urgent issue in the 21st century. Instead, we are like the frog that slowly is being boiled alive because it will not perceive the danger in the future. We need a radical change in our lifestyles to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint for our children, our grandchildren, and all the coming generations, and save our planet from a catastrophic consequence.

Do you know the most effective step an individual can immediately, and must, do for climate change? Go vegan. Namely adopt a whole food, plant-based diet. There are five interconnected reasons to do so: climate change, the environment, animal cruelty, health, and spirituality.

Climate Change

A United Nations report says that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation (13 percent)—cars, buses, trucks, ships and airplanes—combined around the world. According to the Worldwatch Institute, livestock and their byproducts account for 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions because methane gas, mainly from the world’s 1.5 billion cattle, is 25 to 100 times more destructive than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. The livestock industry is the major contributor to our changing climate. That means that what we choose to eat with our forks affects the climate.

The Environment

The livestock industry is also the major polluter of our environment. The waste of animals is never treated by a sewage system like that of humans. The waste contaminates drinking wells, rivers and lakes, and flows into the ocean, creating some 400 dead zones around the world. Up to 91 percent of deforestation in the Amazon is caused by animal agriculture.

Five percent of water consumed in the United States is used by private homes. But, animal agriculture is responsible for consuming nearly 50 percent of fresh water in the United States, and 20 to 33 percent in the world today. A study has reported that by 2050, it will likely be impossible to feed the majority of the projected 9 billion people on the planet because of the shortage of grains and water created by rising earth temperature and droughts.

Animal Cruelty

Musician and activist Paul McCartney is quoted as saying,
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

We have no clue about how our diets cause animal cruelty in slaughterhouses. We do not directly kill animals, but our purchase of meat in a supermarket allows workers to do inhuman acts in an unsafe and unhealthy environment. Those workers suffer due to injuries and sicknesses. Many of them have post-traumatic stress disorder and depend on substances to numb their conscience.

If you spend a day in an animal sanctuary, you will learn how smart cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and turkeys are, especially pigs. They are as smart as a three-year-old toddler, and that they also feel joy and pain like our pets. Why don’t we want them to have long lives like our dogs (life expectancy 13 years) and our cats (15 years)?

This is the bloody fact: dairy cows are killed in four years, but have a life expectancy of 20 years; beef cattle are killed in 18 months versus 20 years; pigs can live 12 years, but are butchered in six months; chicken live 18 months instead of 8 years; turkeys five months instead of 15 years; and lambs are killed in eight months, but could easily live for 14 years. Sadly we indirectly slaughter animals to eat them because of our lack of nutritional knowledge.

Health

Many of us still believe this myth: We need to eat meat to get protein and drink milk to get calcium. Is that true?

All creatures, including human beings, need protein because the body does not produce it, but we don’t need to eat meat to get it. Animals such as cows, pigs, chickens and fish also get protein from plants. Even a lion in the wild mainly eats its prey’s intestines that include plants and organs

Human beings are physiologically created as herbivores and would do well to obtain protein from plants like strong animals such as the elephant and hippopotamus. When we eat animals as a source of protein, we also ingest the harmful animal substances for our bodies: saturated fats and cholesterol.

Do we know the body produces cholesterol naturally in the liver that is important for body functions? Foreign cholesterol from animal-based foods increases our low-density lipoproteins—or the LDL, bad cholesterol. We do not need to be rocket scientists to figure this out; it’s simple mathematics.

Body cholesterol plus no animal cholesterol equals levels of less than 150 mg/dL, which is body cholesterol alone.

Body cholesterol plus animal cholesterol from a typical American diet equals cholesterol levels of 200–300s mg/dL or more. Your LDL goes up because of saturated fats and cholesterol in animal proteins, and then medications are


needed to fight high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The medications increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Therefore, just do not eat animal-based foods to be healthy. It is simple!

A whole food, plant-based diet is not a gimmick. Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx offers a cardiac wellness program with the goal of reversing heart disease with a whole food, plant-based diet. The program, created and directed by cardiologist Robert Ostfeld, includes an initial one-on-one consult with Dr. Ostfeld as well as a four-hour educational session on adopting a plant-based lifestyle and followups.

The program’s web site says, “Patients enrolled at the . . . program are experiencing dramatic improvement in their health. Many of these patients who have been diagnosed with heart or blood vessel disease are losing weight, lowering their cholesterol and blood pressure, improving their energy levels and even reversing type 2 diabetes.”

The world organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has classified processed meat (hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage and some deli meats) as group 1 carcinogens—the same as asbestos, plutonium, and smoking. It is very sad that some parents don’t understand the dangers of processed meat and feed it to their children. Even some congregations provide hot dogs and sausage to children at church events. We need to educate ourselves about nutrition.

Spirituality

Before original sin, there was original blessing on the sixth day in the Garden of Eden. God created humankind in God’s image and said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.” (Genesis 1:29 NRSV) Likewise, God told all creatures who have the breath of life to eat green plants for food. God was very pleased because it was very good.

The garden of Eden was a vegan world. Also, the peaceable kingdom in Isaiah is the same, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (11:6–9 NRSV) There is no slaughterhouse in the beginning and at the end.

I did not realize the connection of these scriptures nor did not realize how eating animal-based foods had affected my soul for 60 years until I adopted a whole food, plant-based diet five years ago.

Now I understand what the Greek philosopher Pythagoras said about 2,400 years ago, “As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”

Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi said, “Violence begins with the fork.”

Yes, a true non-violence movement includes not only fellow humans, but also other creatures. Our Methodist founder John Wesley wrote, “I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can, and will, lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings to the broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of earth.”

I challenge you to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet for just a month in this new year to save our planet and our souls, and pursue the peaceable kingdom on the earth as it is in heaven.

Here are my three suggestions to begin this journey:

• Watch the documentaries, “What the Health,” “Forks Over Knives,” and “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.

• Read “How Not to Die” by Dr. Michael Greger, or “The China Study,” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD.

• Eat a whole food, plant-based diet, and have a blood test on the tenth day. Why? Because if you take medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, your doctor may need to reduce or stop those medications because everything quickly will become normal by a plant-based diet.

If you have any questions about a whole food, plant-based diet, please contact me. My email is susumu.ando@nyac-umc.com.

Rev. Susumu Ando is a retired elder of New York Conference, and earned a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell (Cornell University).


UMC Organizations Listed on Guidestar

The legal services department of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has announced that local churches and United Methodist organizations covered under the United Methodist group ruling can now be listed in Guidestar through an online application process.

Guidestar is the respected database of information about nonprofits. Once listed on Guidestar, United Methodist churches and organizations will have a way to demonstrate their 501(c)(3) status electronically, which will also be available to Guidestar partners. Some of those partners are Amazon Smile, Network for Good, Facebook, and Google for Nonprofits.

Steve Lambert, general counsel of GCFA, said “this move responds to requests from local churches to be listed as a charitable organization on a platform recognized by donors as reliable. We are happy to provide this solution to what has been a continuing issue for UMC organizations.”

 “Our United Methodist partners are taking a critical step to help increase the visibility of their individual churches,” said Adrian Bordone, a vice president at GuideStar. “We are thrilled to work with them to streamline the process which allows churches to get listed on GuideStar more easily. This will help increase access to donors who use our database as well as our more than 200 partners.”


UMW “Boldly” Gathers for Assembly in May

Michelle Alexander, Leymah Gbowee, Katharine Hayhoe and Hannah Adair Bonner will be featured speakers at the 19th quadrennial Assembly of United Methodist Women in Columbus, Ohio, May 18–20. The theme of the assembly is “The Power of Bold.” The event will mark the official celebration of the organization’s 150th anniversary and will also be a return to the location of the first assembly in 1942.

“Our movement was launched by the bold action of women who saw need and claimed their power as disciples of Jesus Christ to address it,” said Harriett Jane Olson, chief executive officer of United Methodist Women and additional speaker at the event.

“They sent women leaders—Isabella Thoburn, an educator, and Dr. Clara Swain, a doctor—to India to serve women and children in 1869. This daring continued when leaders took a bold stand for racial justice and moved their first assembly in 1942 from St. Louis to Columbus, where African-American women were welcomed at hotels and other public accommodations. The speakers at this year’s assembly are all bold leaders and experts in their fields of mass incarceration, economic inequality, maternal and child health and climate justice.”

Michelle Alexander is author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” a stunning account of millions of African Americans imprisoned and then relegated to permanent second-class citizenship and legally denied enfranchisements won in the Civil Rights Movement. A legal scholar and civil rights litigator, Alexander now holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.

Leymah Gbowee received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Gbowee shared the prize with Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen native Tawakkol Karman. Gbowee and President Sirleaf became the second and third African women to win the prize. She founded and leads the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa that provides educational and leadership opportunities to girls, women, and youth in West Africa.

Named to TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the

World list for 2014, Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change. But Hayhoe may be best known because of how she’s bridging the gap between scientists and Christians—work she does in part because she’s a Christian herself. Together with her husband Andrew Farley, Hayhoe wrote “A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions,” a book that untangles the complex science and tackles many long-held misconceptions about global warming.

Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner is the director of the Wesley Foundation of Tucson, serving the University of Arizona. Previously she served as the founder and curator of The Shout, a spoken-word poetry collective based in Houston. In 2016, she was recognized as one of the 16 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2016, inducted as an honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and given the Prathia Hall Social Justice Award by WomenPreach! Dedicated to amplifying the voices of young women, she has produced two short film series, “The Impact of Sandra Bland” and “Facing Christmas” as well as a documentary released in 2017, “Awaken the Voice.”

Registration for the assembly is available online.

Did You Know?

Not getting the right emails from the New York Conference? Or are you getting the wrong emails? You can designate what emails you want to receive from the conference home page:

1. Click on “Subscribe to Our Emails” in the Quick Links menu.

2. Fill in your email address and name.

3. You’ll get a message that says “Email Found” and then an email will be sent to that address and you can choose what you wish to receive. Hit update.

4. If your email is not in the database, you’ll see a page that says “Manage Subscriptions.” Choose what you wish to receive and then hit update.


Parris Award Nominations Sought

Nominations are now being sought for the Shirley Parris Service Award for exceptional, uncompensated service to the United Methodist connection. Nominees should exemplify the selfless and loving example of Parris, whose lifelong devotion to Jesus Christ was expressed through her service to the local church, the New York Conference, and the jurisdictional and general conferences.

The award is presented during the annual conference at

Hofstra University in June. Nominees may be either lay or clergy; each nomination should include a descriptive resume of that individual’s service to his or her local church, the district, annual conference, jurisdiction and the general church.

Please contact Roena Littlejohn, conference lay leader, via email for additional information.


Archives Offer Record-Keeping Grants

Are your church’s historical records deteriorating? Wondering how to save them? The Commission on Archives and History is offering a grant program to assist local churches with the preservation of their historical records.

The commission makes available a total of $1000 for this grant program and expects to distribute this amount through several smaller grants. Deadline to apply for the 2018 grants is March 9.

The amount of the grant must be matched one to one by the local church. Activities such as purchase of storage furniture, boxes/folders, and environmental control equipment may be eligible. 

Applications are available on the NYAC web site, or contact Conference Archivist Beth Patkus. A promotional flyer is available.


Moderators Emphasize Mission as Key to “Way Forward”

The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward are urging United Methodists to engage in reflections on where they see mission at the heart of the denomination as well as seeing mission as significant for resolving conflict. Below is the statement from Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball, and Ken Carter:

Mission and the Way Forward in the Season after the Epiphany

At the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward, the members were asked to share three words that expressed their prayer for the church in the present moment. The 32 persons reflect the global nature of the church and a profound diversity of gender, age, theological perspective. They are laity, deacons, elders and bishops. The three words each shared then helped to create a “word cloud.” The more often a word is named, the larger it becomes in the word cloud (picture). 

In the Mission, Vision and Scope given to the Commission by the Council of Bishops, we are seeking to “design a way for being church that maximizes the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible”. This vision is deeply rooted in the movement of the gospel from a small village in Bethlehem to the ends of the earth. The revelation of the Christ to the Magi (the gentiles) in Matthew 2 signals the church’s calling to share the good news with all people. At our best, this has been the vocation of a missionary church and is the root of a global church, where we are sent “from everywhere to everywhere” in the name of Jesus.

For reflection:

• What does it mean that the commission sees “mission” at the heart of the way forward for our denomination?

• Could it be that we discover our unity as we are in mission together?

• What if mission became the primary framework for our work in resolving conflict?

• How are we called to be in mission together more fully with our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community?

• And what three words would express your prayer for the church in the present moment?

Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball, and Ken Carter


Applying for Scholarships, Loans

Scholarships and loans are available to qualified students from both the conference and national levels of the UMC. The deadline for both the 2018 Urban Ministry and James scholarships is May 11. Applications and additional information are available on the NYAC web site.

Urban Ministry Scholarship Program

The United Methodist City Society offers this award to persons who have a desire to enter full-time ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church in an urban setting.

Candidates must be a member of an NYAC church, involved in urban ministries at their local church, and be pursuing a degree at an accredited seminary. 

Rev. Dr. William M. James Family Fund Scholarship 

The James Family Memorial Scholarship was established by the generosity of Dr. James’ friends after his death. James had hoped that this scholarship would be able to encourage young people who aspire to be agents for the transformation of the world.

Limited funds are available for those persons who will be attending an accredited institution of higher education, have leadership potential and some level of financial need. They must be recommended by their pastor, a lay person who is a leader in the local church, and a teacher or professor.

UMC Loans and Scholarships

A one-stop shopping general application is provided for more than 50 scholarship programs from the United Methodist Church, administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Office of Loans and Scholarships. Apply once per year, every year. The criteria for each scholarship vary. After completing the application, students are screened and reviewed for each program for which they meet the qualifications.

Students may be undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral students; must be full active members of the UMC for at least one year (some programs require three years); have a minimum grade point average of 2.5, and are attending an accredited institution within the United States.

Loan applications are due by May 2; scholarship applications by March 7.


Celebrating 50 Years as UMC

Heritage Sunday is a day set aside each year for remembering our legacy as United Methodists. In 2018, this May 20 celebration takes on special significance as we mark the 50th anniversary of the denomination.

The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) has established a theme, “Jubilee: The 50th Anniversary of the United Methodist Church.” Heritage Sunday resources for congregations and annual conferences will be posted on the Archives web site beginning March 1. These will include a slideshow about the history antecedent leaders and churches forming the United Methodist Church and a short video

for use in congregations and throughout the annual conference season.

Other liturgical, reading and educational resources will appear throughout the year. An academic convocation, “Merging Streams: Piety, Transatlantic Revivalism, the EUB Legacy, and the end of the Methodist Church’s Central Jurisdiction,” will be held July 9–12 at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. It is sponsored by the Historical Society of the UMC, GCAH, United Theological Seminary, and The EUB Advisory Council. For additional information, check the United web site.


OBITUARIES

Faith Natalie Wynne

Faith Natalie Wynne died January 23, 2018, at home surrounded by her children. She was the widow of Rev. Gene F. Black of the New York Conference, the mother of Rev. Betsy Ott, New York-Connecticut district superintendent, and the grandmother of Rev. Gene Ott, pastor of Yorktown UMC.  

Faith Glenwood was born September 22, 1921, in Hudson, N.Y. The eldest daughter of John B. and Florence (Wandel) Glenwood, she moved with her family throughout the Hudson Valley as her father, a United Methodist pastor, served local churches.

In 1939, she graduated from Kingston High School with honors and with excellence in Latin. Wynne attended Taylor University in Upland, Ind., graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in language in 1943. 

She married Gene F. Black on August 6, 1944. Rev. Black served churches in what is now the Catskill Hudson District of the New York Conference and the Oneonta District of the Upper New York Conference: Hensonville, Maplecrest and East Jewett, South and North Highland, Summit, Charlotteville, South Worchester, Delhi, Coxsackie and Earlton, and Franklin. The couple had two children, and Black died on November 19, 1970.

After Rev. Black’s death, she worked for Delaware County Social Services as a protective case worker and later was employed by The Hospital in Sidney, N.Y., as a social worker.

On October 8, 1977, she married Alfred C. Wynne of Ridgewood, N.J. She lived in New Jersey and Manhattan until his death in June 1981, when she returned to Franklin and cared for her father until his death in 1988. 

Wynne was a life-long United Methodist who in recent years attended the Aldrich Baptist Church in Franklin. She was an avid reader who belonged to the Onesiphorai reading club for 50 years, and enjoyed travel, baking, and knitting. She played the piano and accompanied her first husband, her daughter and a number of children’s choirs over the years. 

She is survived by her children, Gregory Francis (Frances) Black of Evansville, Ind., and Elizabeth “Betsy” Jane (Gary) Ott of Mahopac, N.Y.; five grandchildren, Lisa Black Zaleski, Erin Black, Amy Black, Gene (Erin) Ott, and Emily (Marcel) Galang; as well as eight great-grandchildren, Noah and Delia Zaleski, Anya and Ella Black-Andrade, Isaac and Amelia Ott, and Josephina and MacArthur Galang. Wynne is also survived by a sister, Gwendolyn Jones of Oneonta, N.Y., and brother-in-law, Lauren Black of Bloomington, Ind., as well as a nephew, several nieces and their children and grandchildren. 

A funeral service of death and resurrection was held on January 26, 2018, at the Franklin UMC. Memorial contributions may be made to the Franklin UMC, PO Box 374, Oxford, NY, 13830; or the Aldrich Baptist Church, RR 28, Franklin, NY 13775. Online condolences can be left at the Bennett Funeral Home web site.

Rev. Edwin S. Gault

The Reverend Edwin (Ted) S. Gault of Fort Myers, Fla., died January 8, 2018, at age 93.

Rev. Gault was born in Philadelphia in 1924 to Edwin and Helen Gault. In 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served for three years. With the help of the GI Bill, he received a bachelor of arts degree from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and then continued his studies at Oxford University. He earned a master of divinity from Yale Divinity School.

In 1950, Gault set off on a path of ecumenical service. He served as youth director at First Baptist Church, Bridgeport, Conn., and then as student pastor at South Middletown Methodist Church, also in Connecticut. He was ordained in the Methodist Church in 1952 and was appointed student assistant for youth work at Cairns Memorial Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, while pursuing doctorate coursework at the University of Edinburgh.

Upon his return to the United States in 1956, he pastored the following churches: The Village Church-Methodist in Bayville, N.Y.; High Ridge UMC in Stamford, Conn.; Commack UMC on Long Island; and Sheepshead Bay UMC in Brooklyn. From 1973 to 1988, he was appointed to the Interchurch Center in New York City, first as assistant director and then as assistant to the president. He served as NYAC conference secretary from 1963 to 1972.

Rev. Gault also served the wider Methodist church in many ways. He was a member of the NYAC Commission on Higher Education, Board of Pensions, and Committee on Rules. He served as a delegate to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference and to the World Methodist Conference in London, and he was chair of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Conference Secretaries Association.

His ecumenical work included involvement as a board member and president of the Ecumenical Foundation for Higher Education in Metropolitan New York; Nassau County Council of Churches; president of the Nassau County Ministers Association; and member of the board of directors of the Morningside Alliance in New York City.

After his retirement in 1989, Gault served as interim pastor at Orient UMC on Long Island and at New Paltz UMC. He performed numerous wedding and baptismal ceremonies around the country for family and friends.

He and his wife, Carol, moved to Florida in 1992. Ted enjoyed boating, a good baseball game, sitting on the beach, and traveling.

In addition to his wife of 44 years, Gault is survived by five children: Malcolm (Thip), Cathie, Fred (Eva) Ann (Steve), and Peter (Kelleen); 17 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister, Jan, and a son, Chuck.

A memorial service was held January 20, 2018, at St. Hilary’s Episcopal Church, 5011 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Memorial donations may be made to St. Hilary’s “Repay, Restore and Re-imagine Capital Campaign.”

An inurnment will take place 1 p.m., May 26, 2018, at The Columbarium at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave at 112th St, New York, NY. Cards of condolence may be sent to the Gault family at 1450 Medoc Ln, SW, Fort Myers, FL 22919.


The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Bishop: Thomas J. Bickerton

Editor: Joanne Utley

Vision e-mail: vision@nyac.com

Web site: www.nyac.com/vision

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