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

In this issue

Call for Help from NC/SC

Both the North and South Carolina annual conferences have put out calls for early response teams (ERT) to assist in the relief phase of the Hurricane Florence recovery effort. The powerful hurricane caused catastrophic damage in the two states. A first NYAC team will be led by Terry Temple of Hyde Park UMC from November 28 to December 5. Details are still pending.

An older youth/young adult team is also being planned for February 16 to 23, 2019.

Please contact Tom Vencuss at the NYAC Missions office if you’re interested in joining either of these teams, or leading another ERT trip.

The NYAC will also be deploying its seventh team to Puerto Rico from October 22 to 29. Additional teams will be scheduled throughout the winter and spring of 2019. 

A volunteer removes flooring at Trinity UMC in Conway, S.C., after flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Plan Approved for GC2019 Decision-Making


UMNS | The 864 delegates to next year’s special General Conference face a large task and only a short time to do it.

But whatever decisions the delegates make, the plan is for them to decide together—without the usual prologue of meeting in multiple legislative committees.

The Commission on General Conference, the international group of clergy and laity who plan the big meeting, has set the number of legislative committees at one. And all delegates will be on it.

Commission members—meeting October 3–5 at the United Methodist retreat center Epworth by the Sea on St. Simons Island in Georgia—voted for the plan unanimously. The move does not require any changes to the General Conference rules that delegates approved in 2016.

“Our guiding principles in creating this framework are transparency, fairness, full participation of delegates and stewardship of our limited time,” the commission’s Rules Committee said in its rationale for the decision.

“Our hope is that Christian conferencing as a whole body will enable us to receive the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst.”

While The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body typically meets for 10 days, the special session in St. Louis will be February 23–26, 2019. 

Over those days, the delegates will work on determining what direction the church should take in its longstanding debate over homosexuality—an impasse that already has some congregations heading for the exits. Nothing less than the denomination’s future could be on the line.

The Commission on General Conference in many ways represents the denomination it serves. The members, most of whom will be 2019 delegates, have diverse theological perspectives regarding homosexuality and church unity.

However, the plan for one legislative committee had broad support among commission members from the moment it was discussed.

The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s governing document, requires that all petitions properly submitted to General Conference “shall receive the vote of a legislative committee.” The Discipline also gives authority to the 25-member commission, in consultation with the secretary and the business manager of General Conference, to set the number of committees.

Having only one committee brings the advantage of transparency, a number of commission members said.

“I think there is a high level of mistrust in the body, and I think this particular approach lessens the mistrust because everybody hears what everybody else hears,” said the Rev. Lynn Hill, a commission member from the Tennessee Conference. In 2016, delegates took three days to debate the rules.

Under the process and schedule approved by the commission, Saturday, Feb. 23 will be a day of prayer and preparation. It will mark the culmination of the bishops’ Praying Our Way Forward” campaign to seek God’s help for church unity.

The first official day of the session will be Sunday, Feb. 24. Delegates will hear a presentation from the Commission on Way Forward—whose formation General Conference authorized in 2016 to help find ways to keep the church together. They will then spend the day in plenary discussion seeking to discern which of the multiple plans the majority of delegates want to refine.

This is not a day for amending legislation but instead determining what general direction the delegates want to go in. Bishops, who have no vote at General Conference, will preside over the day’s discussions.

On Monday, Feb. 25, the delegates will meet in legislative committee to amend and vote on petitions. Delegates will elect the chair of the committee from a pool of delegates who have been trained and served as committee chairs in 2016.

The delegates will return to plenary on Tuesday, Feb. 26 for final voting and to consider what their actions mean for the future, including the next regularly scheduled General Conference in 2020. Again, bishops will preside.

Each day of the special session will begin with worship, with prayers and praise also woven throughout the process. The overarching theme will be “God is Able,” said Raymond Trapp, the special session’s worship and music director.

At this point, delegates face 99 petitions.

Of those, 48 are in the report by the Commission on Way Forward. The commission’s report put forward three plans for the church’s direction, each of which contains multiple petitions. 

In addition, 51 other petitions were submitted by deadline in the proper format. Many of those comprise alternative plans for the church’s future.

The valid legislation will be made public in November, once translated into the official General Conference languages of English, French, Portuguese and Kiswahili, and mailed to delegates. The Way Forward Commission report is already in all four languages.

What remains to be seen is how many of those additional 51 petitions will be deemed “in harmony” with the bishops’ call to the special General Conference. In July, the bishops announced the session’s purpose “shall be limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based upon the recommendations of the Council of the Bishops.”

Under a process approved by the Commission on General Conference, the 51 petitions outside the Way Forward report will be reviewed by the Committee on Reference. If the committee finds a petition not to be in harmony, it will be withdrawn. The actions of the Committee on Reference will be reported in the first daily edition of the Daily Christian Advocate, the official General Conference record.

Delegates can reinstate a petition ruled not in harmony by a two-thirds vote of General Conference delegates.

The Committee on Reference has five vacancies that need to be filled by the Council of Bishops. The group’s meeting will be scheduled after that.

Another question mark heading into 2019 is how the Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, will rule on the plans contained in the Commission on a Way Forward report. The bishops asked the Judicial Council to decide in advance whether petitions in the One Church, Traditional and Connectional Conference plans are in line with the church constitution. Changing the constitution requires a two-thirds vote of General Conference and two-thirds of the total annual conference votes.

The Judicial Council will meet Oct. 23–26, but it can issue its ruling on the plans any time after it deliberates.

Whatever the Committee on Reference or Judicial Council decides, General Conference planners hope they’ve provided a process for delegates to do their best work.

“I think people are coming to St. Louis expecting this to be different,” said the Rev. Laura Merrill, a commission member from the Rio Texas Conference. “My prayer is that folks come with a spirit of expectancy.”

In Other Actions

The Commission on General Conference tried out the new devices that will be used for voting and speaker recognition.  The devices, from the company Lumi, use smartcards, which make it impossible to vote more than once. Color screens provide prompts for users to vote, see how they voted or make a request to speak. The North Georgia Annual Conference uses the devices in its meetings.

The commission also decided to take two offerings during the special session—a collection for pages and marshals as well as another for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Unlike at the typical General Conference, the 2019 special session will not have an exhibit hall for businesses and ministries to market their services. However, the commission learned that general agencies and other ministry partners so far have pledged $38,500 to help fund the lawmaking gathering. This is in addition to financial commitments the General Council on Finance and Administration and United Methodist Communications have made to cover event costs. Some signs as well as gift bags for delegates will reflect these ministry partners’ work.

Sara Hotchkiss, the General Conference business manager, also announced that this week her office will start sending out invitation letters needed for delegates to receive visas to the U.S. Her office is registering the event with the U.S. government and notifying all U.S. embassies where delegates reside. She will also let different ports of entry know ahead of time which delegates will be passing through their gates.

Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service.

New Laws on Sexual Harassment Training

New York State and New York City have passed new legislation that mandates training and prevention of sexual harassment in all New York workplaces. All New York employers, including churches, are required to implement policies, procedures and training to enforce the new “Combating Sexual Harassment Law.”

There are several provisions that do not apply to our churches and affiliated organizations. These include: state contracts and bidding, mandatory arbitration, and reimbursement of public funds. 

Two provisions that are applicable to churches are:

  • Prevention of sexual harassment: All New York employers are required to adopt and establish a prevention policy that meets or exceeds the state standards.  There are no exemptions to this law for churches and clergy.
  • Harassment relating to non-employees: Employers may not permit sexual harassment of a non-employee or contractor in their workplace.

The NY Division of Human Rights is providing templates on their website to implement the new law. The main website contains information for the employer, your employees, and includes a frequently asked questions page.

Visiting the employer section will provides the information needed to inform and train employees, including updated training manuals, PowerPoint slides, and case studies for discussion. Finalized materials will be translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Bengali, Russian, Italian, Polish and Haitian-Creole as quickly as possible and available on the website.

If you decide not to use the materials provided by New York State, your training must:

  • Be interactive.
  • Include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights.
  • Include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment.
  • Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available  to victims of sexual harassment.
  • Include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints.
  • Include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors.

New York State Law

  • All employees must receive training annually and receive a written copy of the approved policy.
  • Existing employees must receive training between October 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019. 
  • New employees must be trained within 30 days of hire date.

New York City Law

If your church is located in New York City, please be advised that the city has its own regulations, which you can view here.

  • All employees must receive training annually and receive the provided fact sheet.
  • Existing employees must receive policy, notices and fact sheet before April 2019.        
  • A written policy must be put in place. (If needed, use the model policy provided by the state.)
  • Anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibility notices in English and Spanish must be displayed.
  • All employees must receive a fact sheet now, and at the time of hire.
  • New York City also passed the “Stop Sexual Harassment Act” for workplaces of 15 or more employees. 

Compliance Checklist

  • Complete New York State training of all employees between Oct. 9, 2018–Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Ensure a written policy is put in place.
  • Anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibility notices in English and Spanish must be displayed.
  • All employees must receive a fact sheet now and at the time of hire.
  • Employers must keep record of completed training and compliance for each step above.

The NYAC Personnel Committee has developed an optional local church personnel manual that can be downloaded from their web page. If a church does not currently have an employee manual, it can edit the template to suit its needs and include the N.Y. language sited above.

Questions about implementing the policy and training may be addressed to Sally Truglia, NYAC human resource and benefits manager at, or 914-615-2220.

For a full lineup of events, go to:

10/20 Prayer Bead Workshop
Come experience a new way of praying with Protestant prayer beads from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Learn how to create prayer bead chaplets and how to create a prayer bead ministry at your own church. Led by Rebecca Ferguson to fulfill requirements for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project. Contact her to register at, or 845-645-1352.

10/20 UM Men’s Retreat
This annual retreat for all men in the conference will explore the theme, “Hearts on Fire for God,” from 9 a.m. to 4 Memorial UMC in White Plains. Guest speaker is Rev. John Simmons Jr., pastor at Brooks Memorial UMC. Suggested donation is $25. More information can be found here.

10/27 UMW Annual Meeting
All women of the conference are invited to this annual meeting and learning fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. James UMC in Kingston, N.Y. the theme is “The Power of Bold;” the $30 fee includes a continental breakfast and lunch. For additional info and to register go to the NYAC website here.

10/30 ERT Recertification
Update your early response team credentials at this session from 6:30–9:30 p.m. at Hyde Park UMC, 1 Church Street, Hyde Park, N.Y. The instructor is Terry Temple. Online registration is required. Please bring $10 payment for background check and badging.

11/1 Bishop’s Clergy Retreat
Bishop Grant Hagiya of the California-Pacific Conference will be the keynote speaker, exploring the book, “The Anatomy of Peace.” All clergy are encouraged to read this book from the

Arbinger Institute before the retreat, which will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Tarrytown House Estate. Registration info and additional details can be found here.

11/10 Hulapaloozas to Come
Churches across the conference are joining in the denomination’s “Abundant Health” initiative by sponsoring health and fitness expos for their communities. Wendy Vencuss, the NYAC’s Abundant Health coordinator, has worked with churches to plan the following “Hulapalooza” gatherings:

  • November 10: John Wesley UMC, 260 Quincy St., Brooklyn
  • December 1: Huntington-Cold Spring Harbor UMC,
    180 West Neck Rd., Huntington, N.Y.
  • March 2019: Tremont UMC, 1951 Washington Ave., Bronx

Check the NYAC calendar page for more details, or contact Wendy Vencuss to plan your own event.

11/17 Laity Convocation
Rev. Sue Nilson Kibbey, author of  “Flood Gates: Holy Momentum for A Fearless Church ,” will be the presenter. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tarrytown House Estate in Tarrytown, N.Y. Continental breakfast begins at 6:45 a.m. Details and registration info can be found here. Contact Conference Lay Leader, Roena Littlejohn, with any questions.

11/22–23 Conference Office Closed
The NYAC office in White Plains, N.Y., will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving.

12/24–25 Conference Office Closed
The NYAC office in White Plains, N.Y., will be closed in observance of Christmas.

7/10–14 Youth 2019 Registration
“Love Well,” the national gathering for United Methodist youth and their leaders in Kansas City next July 10–14, promises four days of discipleship, worship, Bible study, big-name musical artists, service opportunities and life-changing fun. Early bird registration is available through Jan. 31, 2019, and includes a discounted rate, plus a free spot for every 10 paid registrants. YOUTH 2019 is for youth grades 6–12 and their leaders. For more information, go to or @youth2019 on all social media platforms.

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 the rest of 2018 are November 2 and December 7. Please send any stories, photos, ideas, or questions directly to

Clearing the Way In White Plains

In August, several members of the NYAC staff were part of a “Done in a Day” project at the home of “Miss Patricia,” a long-time member of Trinity UMC in White Plains. The project was to clear out brush that had over grown her property. A small, but energetic team cut, mowed, weed-whacked, trimmed, bagged and lugged for the better part of a day. Miss Patricia expressed her thanks by providing us all with a lunchtime feast, then sharing a photo. Team members included: Barbara Eastman, Rev. Denise Pickett, Nikki Rose, Judy Walters, and Tom and Wendy Vencuss.

Done in a Day, started as part of the Sandy Recovery effort

and has transitioned into a local church ministry. The goal is to engage local church volunteers in projects within their own community. A priority is given to seniors, persons with handicaps, single-parent families, or those who simply need a little “care and repair.” Projects are supported and resourced by the NYAC Missions office but the volunteers must come from local churches.

For more information please see the missions/local outreach page on the NYAC website, or call the Missions office at 914-615-2224.

What in the World is ‘Plarn?’

Many hands made for light work as balls of plastic yarn were rolled, and then crocheted into bed mats for the homeless. Tom Vencuss, below right, tries out a finished mat.

Pastor, Seymour UMC

Avid crocheters in Connecticut have taken on the production of portable and lightweight bedrolls—a bit of protection made with care and prayer. The mats are made out of plastic “yarn” from grocery bags and will be distributed to some of the homeless in our state.

The invitation to come together on September 22 to learn “plarn” (plastic yarn) production was answered by 13 churches (not all United Methodist); a total of 71 people attended.

Stations were arranged in the fellowship hall so that every stage in creating the plastic yarn could be experienced. As folks of all ages flattened, folded, cut, tied, and rolled this

plastic yarn into balls of “plarn,” the spirit of joy in the Lord was intensely gratifying.

The steps for making “plarn” are fairly simple; it is the crocheting that takes more than 30 hours—and 500 to 700 plastic bags—per mat. The bedrolls are a good way to re-use the plastic bags that are not recyclable.

Many folks have taken bags and pre-cut strips to continue this labor of love in their homes. But the fun is in getting together, so another event is planned, complete with the pizza that everyone raved about. Anyone interested in learning more may contact our new Connecticut District disaster relief coordinator, Laurie Casey, by email.

Wespath Prepares for Possible Change


UMNS | Whatever delegates decide at the 2019 General Conference, the denomination’s pension agency wants United Methodist clergy and lay workers to know their accrued benefits aren’t going anywhere.

However, Wespath Benefits and Investments is also looking at ways to ensure the benefits’ long-term sustainability.

“Our agency has been around for over 100 years. We’ve gone through world wars. We’ve gone through financial crises,” said Barbara Boigegrain, Wespath’s top executive.

 “As the whole world is changing, one thing we hope you can count on is Wespath and your benefits being there when you need them. That’s our focus.”

Wespath is the name under which the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits does business. Among other tasks, the agency manages investments for pensions and other retirement-plan assets on behalf of conferences, which are plan sponsors and legally responsible for paying benefits. In addition, the agency manages assets for more than 100 other United Methodist-related institutions.

Agency staff are doing whatever they can to prepare for the denomination’s uncertain future, and that means taking steps to make sure conferences can meet their pension obligations without disruption.

United Methodist bishops have called the special session of the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly for Feb. 23–26, 2019, in St. Louis, with the aim of ending the church’s

longtime impasse over homosexuality, which has threatened to splinter the denomination.

A report by the Commission on a Way Forward, including three plans for the denomination’s future, will be on the table. Also under consideration will be any legislation deemed in harmony with the bishops’ call for the special General Conference.

For more than a year, a planning team at Wespath has been looking at the possible outcomes.

The commission’s report includes an appendix on pages 85–93 that contains Wespath’s analysis, including a look at the report’s three plans—One Church, Connectional Conference and Traditional.

Whatever happens, Wespath is urging delegates to pass legislation in 2019 to require any congregation departing the denomination to pay, at a minimum, its fair share of unfunded pension liability for their conference.

“Any given local church has a whole history of clergy who have served it,” Boigegrain said. “When they pay pension contributions, they aren’t paying it only for that clergy person that’s in the pulpit right now. They are essentially contributing on behalf of all the clergy that have gone before because the benefits are funded over time and collectively.”

Legislation intended to ensure exiting churches don’t simply abandon their pension responsibilities is in all three plans. Wespath recommends such legislation in the event that any of the plans, or in fact if no plan, prevails.

Bishops Seek Judicial Council Ruling

The Council of Bishops has asked the Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, to rule on whether the proposed legislation for the One Church, Connectional Conference and Traditional plans passes the constitutional test. The Judicial Council meets October 23–26 in Zurich.

Included in the 231-page request from the bishops is the full Way Forward Commission report, 17 petitions related to implementation of the One Church Plan, 14 petitions for implementation of the Connectional Conference Plan and 17 petitions for implementation of the Traditional Plan.

The bishops have requested an oral hearing on the plans during the meeting at Zurich’s Placid Hotel. The docket for the meeting can be found here.

CBCS Program Coordinator

The United Methodist New York Conference Board of Church and Society is looking for a justice seeking person who is articulate about Wesleyan theology to manage the administrative responsibilities of the board. This is a 20-hour per week position.

The coordinator will report to the NY Conference Board of Church and Society, working closely with the executive committee and in deliberate collaboration with the New York Conference director of connectional ministries. While much of the work can be done remotely and hours are flexible, it is expected that there will be a weekly presence at the conference office in White Plains.

The CBCS is making great shifts to align itself with the mission, vision, and core values of the conference. Working directly with local churches, the board will equip churches to identify contextual justice needs in their community, provide education about Wesleyan faith in action, and provide connective tissue of needed resources for churches to live into their baptismal vows to embody justice work.

Additional requirements for the position can be found on the NYAC website classifieds section.

Advent Devotions Available
The Society of St. Andrew, a United Methodist partner that combats hunger, has released its annual Advent devotional booklet. The free booklet, titled “Surprises Along the Way,” features all new meditations for 2018. Copies may be ordered at the organization’s website as long as supplies last.

What Church Members Can Do About Bullying

Bullies have been a harsh reality of life as long as humans have been around, but social media platforms and smartphones sadly offer new ways to wound people. In today’s climate, the hurtful words or actions that used to end after the school day can follow students anywhere they go.

October has been designated Bullying Prevention Month in the United States and despite staggering statistics about the severity of this problem, there are things individuals can do about bullying.

Amy McMullen, an assistant youth director at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Highland Ranch, Co., believes the seeming anonymity of the internet can compound the issue.

“Cyberbullying is so popular and easy because it removes the human-ness. When we stop seeing people and merely start seeing words posted on a screen, we lose our sense of empathy, love, and kindness . . . Despite not seeing or hearing a person through Facebook or Instagram comments . . . there is, indeed, a human typing those words.”

Remembering our human connection and seeking to “do no harm” are key concepts as youth leaders, parents, friends, and families face the tough reality of today’s digital landscape.

1. Recognize the scope of the problem

In the U.S., government research shows that:

  • 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experience bullying.
  • 30 percent of young people admit to bullying others.
  • 70.6 percent of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.

And these statistics are pretty similar in other countries. Bullying is a fact of life for many young people so we need to find ways to reduce the risk and counter the consequences where possible.

2. Learn what bullying is and also what it is not.

This differentiation helps determine the best ways to seek resolution. Bullying is typically defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school age children that involves a power imbalance and is repetitive. More serious actions like hazing, harassment, and stalking, among older individuals, are not bullying. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else via digital devices.

3. Pay attention to warning signs

Notice whether a child is acting differently, or is dealing with unusual symptoms like unexplained injuries, lack of appetite, or sleeplessness. When you see signs, take appropriate action, whether by contacting the correct school representative, a mental health counselor, or a crisis hotline such as the U.S. Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

4. Emphasize empathy

Bullying has a powerful and lasting impact on all of the people involved, and addressing it well means considering many factors.

McMullen notes: “We understand that some of our youth may be victims of cyberbullying and that we need to support them and help them see that their value and worth go far beyond what someone may post; however it is just as important to understand that some of our youth may actually be the perpetrators of cyberbullying and many, if not all, will be witnesses of it. Emphasizing that there is a real-life person behind the screen is our main goal—partially for the youth who may be tempted to bully, but mostly for the youth who will witness it and do nothing. We emphasize the importance of

saying something, of standing up for those who are being bullied. And lastly, we help them understand that more often than not, those who bully have also been bullied themselves.”

5. Keep the conversation going and encourage kids to find activities they enjoy.

Talking with young peopleabout their school day, their friends, and what they like to do are good ways to help them know you care and that you can be trusted to hear their concerns and help as needed.

6. Support anti-bullying groups and learn steps to take.

There are a variety of programs and school efforts working to address the problem proactively. Learn more about these and find ways to volunteer or donate. And keep in mind the best ways to respondon the spot. 

7. Remember this is our call as Christians.

The United Methodist Church has a zero tolerance policy for bullying. In 2016, these words were added to the United Methodist Book of Discipline: “Bullying is a growing problem in parts of the connection. It is a contributing factor in suicide and in the violence we see in some cultures today…As the Church, we can play a pivotal role in ending this problem. We urge churches to seek opportunities to be trained in responding to the needs of those who have been bullied, to those who perpetrate bullying, and to support those in authority who may witness or be called to intervene on behalf of those who have been bullied…We encourage churches to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for bullying, including cyberbullying, within their spheres of influence; stand with persons being bullied, and take a leadership role in working with the schools and community to prevent bullying.”

Church members can model love and respect within church walls, and continue the conversation when people leave the buildings and turn on their phones.

McMullen says the church should always be a safe space and offer the connections needed to make true friendships offline, too.

“Reacting to bullying and hate with more bullying and hate does nothing. It’s easy to send a nasty post back when someone says something mean; it’s harder to hold them with kindness. Kindness and understanding, however, are the only ways things will change and put an end to the cycle of bullying.”


Rev. Carole Paynter

The Reverend Carole Angela Paynter, the pastor of Smithtown UMC, died October 2, 2018, at Stony Brook University Hospital after medical complications. She was born October 9, 1961, in London, England, the daughter of Veda and Fitzroy Paynter.

She relied on the words of John 4:34 as personal motto. “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.’ ” (NRSV)

Rev. Paynter received an undergraduate degree from Barnard College at Columbia University, where she majored in psychology. She then pursued a law degree from Brooklyn Law School and was a practicing attorney for 27 years. 

She followed a call to lead people to connect with Jesus Christ and graduated cum laude from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in N.J. in 2012. She was a recipient of a United Methodist City Society Urban Ministry Scholarship. Paynter began her tenure in Smithtown in 2014, having previously served at Bethel UMC in Brooklyn. She was a member of the board of trustees at Anchor House and was the chair of the Long Island East District board of trustees.

Growing up in Montreal, Quebec, she discovered the Montreal Canadiens and got her own hockey stick and skates so she could practice with the neighborhood children. Paynter also loved to sing, play the piano, and dance. She was a student of Olga Spencer at the Negro Community Center in Montreal.

She is survived by daughter, Dominique; father, Fitzroy Paynter; siblings, Dawn and Stephen; step-father, Nicholas; aunts, Jean and Nola; uncle Eddie; and a host of cousins and friends in the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean. Her mother, Veda, preceded her in death.

On October 9, family and friends gathered at Paynter’s home church, St. John’s UMC in Valley Stream, to honor her memory on her birthday. A celebration of life service was held the next day at Smithtown UMC, with Rev. Dr. Allen N. Pinckney, Jr., offering the eulogy.

Rev. Dr. Jean Cale Arthur

The Reverend Dr. Jean Cale Arthur, 94, died September 16, 2018. She was born June 22, 1924.

Rev. Arthur felt called to the ministry at an early age, wanting to meet her community’s needs for both physical and spiritual healing. She was a registered nurse and served in India as a Methodist missionary in the 1950s, taking time off only to get her master’s degree in New York City, as well as additional certifications at London University in tropical medicine, before returning to India.

Arthur was ordained a deacon in the North India Conference in 1952. While in India, she was the director of nursing at the Clara Swain Hospital in Bareilly for two years, and then became the district evangelist appointed by the Methodist Church in Bijnor, and later in Moradabad.

She met her husband, Rev. Dr. Edwin Arthur, in India and they were married in 1959. After returning to the States, he led Methodist churches in Pennsylvania and New York, serving the White Sulphur Springs and Harris churches from 1962–63. A car accident in 1964, left Edwin Arthur unable to walk.

In 1966, Jean Arthur was appointed to New York churches in East Branch, Fish’s Eddy and Harvard. The family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1969, where she completed her

doctorate at Wesley Theological Seminary. From 1971–79, she led the Derby UMC in Connecticut, becoming an elder in the N.Y. Conference in 1973.

In 1979, the couple moved to Lake Mahopac, N.Y., where she served Lake Mahopac UMC and Mount Hope UMC in Mahopac Falls. She retired from the conference in 1990, but served the Holmes UMC from 1992 to 1996. After moving to Pinehurst, N.C., Rev. Arthur was a volunteer chaplain at a local nursing home.

She is survived by children, Pamela Arthur Stuart and Dion Arthur; grandchildren, Benjamin and Daniel Stuart; son-in-law, Kevin Stuart; sister, Patricia Cale Sink; and many nieces and nephews. Her husband died in 2003; she was also preceded in death by her brother, Donald Cale, and her parents, Norman and Helen Cale.

Rev. Barbara D. Knox

The Reverend Barbara D. Knox, 89, died September 8, 2018, at Wingate at Beacon in Beacon, N.Y. She was born March 24, 1929, in Newburgh, N.Y., to Irving S. and Dorothy B. Knox.

Knox became a provisional member of the New York Conference in 1989, serving at Trinity UMC in the Bronx, Pine Bush UMC, and Walker Valley UMC before retiring in 1995.

Survivors include several distant cousins.

There were no services. Cremation took place at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newburgh. Inurnment will be at the convenience of friends at Woodlawn Cemetery in New Windsor, N.Y.

Rev. Walter Herbert Schenck

The Reverend Walter Herbert Schenck died September 6, 2018, at age 77. He was born October 6, 1940, in Passaic, N.J. to Walter and Clara Crabtree Schenck.

Rev. Schenck began his career in the New Jersey Conference. He joined the New York Conference in 1970, serving several churches over the course of 33 years: Christ UMC in Brooklyn; Overlook UMC in Woodstock, N.Y; First UMC in Jamaica, N.Y., and Peekskill UMC. Much of his New York Conference career was spent ministering to college students and young adults, beginning in 1970 as campus minister at United Ministries in Higher Education, New Haven, Conn. He also worked for University & Young Adult Ministries at the UM General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM); as executive director of The Christian Association of The University of Pennsylvania; as associate director for urban ministry at The Fund for Theological Education in New York City; and as regional executive secretary for mission personnel at GBGM. He retired in 2003.

He is survived by his wife, Gay Alexander Schenck; sons, Jonathan (Stephanie Benziger) Schenck, and Adam (Spenta Cama) Schenck; his brother, Robert W. Schenck; and grandchildren, Andrew, Christopher, Feroze and Zahra Schenck.

A memorial service was held September 11, 2018, at the First Presbyterian Church in New Haven. Interment will be held privately in New Jersey at a later date.

Memorial contributions in Schenck’s memory may be made to Smilow Cancer Hospital by donating to Closer to Free, Office of Development, Yale-New Haven Hospital, P.O. Box 1849, New Haven, CT 06508, or to Doctors Without Borders USA.

NCC Calls for Withdrawal of Kavanaugh Nomination

UMNS | The National Council of Churches (NCC), whose members include The United Methodist Church, called for the withdrawal of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The October 4 statement said, “he has disqualified himself” for several reasons—including his temperament, character and multiple allegations of sexual assault.

The U.S. Senate eventually confirmed Kavanaugh, who was sworn in on October 8 and joined his fellow justices on the bench the following day.

Jim Winkler, a United Methodist and president of the council, and Bishop Darin Moore, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and chair of the governing board of the council, issued the statement. Winkler told United Methodist News Service they wanted to issue the statement before the U.S. Senate voted on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a motion for a cloture vote for Friday, Oct. 5, which would set in motion the

procedure to usher in the first vote sometime Friday and the vote on the full Senate floor on Saturday.

“This is the highest court in the land. Questions come before the court that need to be dealt with by justices that have the full confidence of the nation,” Winkler said.

Winkler said the nomination is a major national issue that many people of faith had spoken about. “We felt like the voices of our council needed to be heard in this debate.”

Kavanaugh’s angry and partisan attacks on members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were “shocking,” and demonstrated that he possesses “neither the temperament nor the character” essential for a member of the Supreme Court, Winkler said.

The United Methodist Church is one of 38 denominations that are part of the National Council of Churches. The council has more than 30 million members. According to the GCFA Financial Commitment Booklet for 2017–2020, the denomination has allocated almost $2.5 million for that four-year period, or about 5 cents per member per year.

The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Bishop: Thomas J. Bickerton

Editor: Joanne Utley

Vision e-mail:

Web site:

New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

20 Soundview Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

Toll Free: 888-696-6922
Phone: 914-997-1570