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

In this issue:

Annual Conference 2014

NYAC - 2014 - Ordination
Bishop Jane Allen Middleton, center, calls the 215th Conference to a close with the newly ordained elders. Photos by Stephanie Parsons.
Ordination Journey: 'The Final Frontier'

Editor, The Vision

With a celebration marked by music, dance and a video message from Bishop Martin McLee, the New York Annual Conference ordained 12 persons as full elders, commissioned nine as provisional members, licensed three as local pastors, and recognized the orders of one for full membership.

In the absence of McLee, retired Bishop Jane Allen Middleton led the traditional examination of the candidates in a morning service on June 7. Middleton was elected to the episcopacy while serving as a district superintendent in the New York Annual Conference.

As she began, Middleton invited the gathered clergy to relive their own ordinations.

“Feel the power of the day you were ordained,” she said, encouraging them to channel the joy and strength of that moment back into their current ministries.

Bishop Alfred Johnson filled in to offer words of encouragement and challenge to those being recognized using a sermon that had been crafted by McLee. Bishop McLee was unable to preside over the conference as he was receiving medical treatment under a doctor’s care.

“Your bishop loves you very much,” Johnson said with a smile, noting that McLee had sent not one or two other bishops, but three replacements, and a fully choreographed script for him to follow.

The sermon that McLee had entitled, “Is There a Rhyme to Your Reason,” began with a Star Trek themed video in which he can be heard proclaiming ordination as the “final frontier.” He went on to say that the ordinands have been on a journey to become the beloved community “living into the witness of the prophetic church.”

As Johnson continued to offer McLee’s sermon, members of the conference music team broke in with bits of songs

to punctuate the situations that new clergy may encounter. “Lions and Tigers and Bears” addressed trepidation; “Stop in the Name of Love” was a reminder to act in love; and, “I Say a Little Prayer for You” stressed the need for clergy prayer partners.

Ordination - Martha Epstein & Michelle Lewis
Martha Epstein, left, and Michelle Lewis are commissioned as provisional elders.

In her closing words to the gathering, Middleton said, “We are not here to navel gaze, we are here to witness. We are here to go where Jesus Christ has sent us.”

Those ordained as full elders were: Delores Barrett, Sheila Beckford, Delois Davis, Paul Fleck, Wongee Joh, Bernadette Logan, Halley Low, Beverly Morris, Jennifer Pick, Jennifer Tiernan-Bindler, Gerald “Jay” Williams Jr., and Hwan Christopher Yi. Yi is the son of outgoing Long Island West District Superintendent Kenny Yi.

Commissioned as provisional elders were: Michael Barry Jr., Mendis Brown,

Martha Epstein, Michelle Lewis, Matthew Querns, Milagros Solorzano, Michael Sparrow and Elisa Vicioso. Kathryn Dickinson was commissioned as a provisional deacon.

Rev. Min Seok Yang was received as from another denomination as a full member.

The authority to serve as local pastors was presented to Michael Jenkins, Pearlena Lobban, and Karin Squires.

The conference music team and choir provided music for the service along with the Glory Road Singers, a brass ensemble, and Cuyler Warren UMC Children’s Choir. Spirit Builders and Rev. Leslie Duroseau offered liturgical dance numbers.


$5,920 Ministerial Education

$5,008 Black Colleges

$7,215 Anchor House

$12,703 Imagine No Malaria

More news from annual conference>>

Ordination - Yang
LEFT: Rev. Min Seok Yang, right, is received as an elder in full connection by Bishops Middleton and Johnson. RIGHT: Tate Sigworth from the Jesse Lee Memorial UMC carries the cross in the ordination procession.

6/21 Myers-Briggs Workshop
Learn to love and serve others more completely by knowing yourself better at this workshop on the Myers-Briggs type indicators led by Rev. Dennis Winkleblack. The workshop for lay servants is from 9:30 a.m.
to 3 p.m. at the UMC of Waterbury, 250 Country Club Road, Waterbury, Conn. There is a $30 fee for the workshop due to the cost of the testing materials. Participants are asked to bring their own lunch. Registration form and additional information are available at: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/96793.

6/24 “Soul Repair” for Clergy
The Center for Clergy and Congregational Health and Wholeness at Drew Theological School will sponsor a clergy health day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rev. Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, author of Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War, will address the relationship of moral injury to rates of depression and poor health in many active clergy. Bishop John Schol, Greater New Jersey Area Annual Conference, will also share his theological and practical understanding of the need for clergy self-care. Anne Borish, General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, will share recent trends in clergy health and attendees will participate in role-playing situations common in the life of clergy. To register, go to: www.drew.edu/theological/clergy-health-day.

6/25 Dealing With Chronic Disease
The Oratory of the Little Way in Gaylordsville, Conn., offers this one-day workshop celebrating God’s presence in the exploring and healing of spiritual and nutritional factors in chronic disease. Led by Dr. Anthony Borrelli and Nutritionist Laurie Jones. 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Bring a bag lunch and free will offering. Register by calling, 860-354-8294, or email oratory1@sbcglobal.net.

7/24–26 Mission “u” Returns
Join the journey from “hole-ness to whole-i-ness” with studies on the church and people with disabilities, the Roma of Europe, and “how is it with your soul.” The one-day Saturday Sampler will again be offered on July 26. Registration and additional info about the event at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury be found at: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/77887.

Score Against Malaria

Harlem WizardsCome watch the UMC Skeeter Defeaters take on the Harlem Wizards in “Jump, Shoot & Score Against Malaria,” July 19 at Hofstra University. There will be a pre-game basketball clinic for youth in grades one to six, and a fun halftime show. Tickets for the 2 p.m. fundraiser are available online at www.nyac.com/inm. Prices are $15 for adult general admission, $10 for student general admission; $25 for reserved seating; and $100 for courtside seats. Each church is being asked to sell 10 tickets for the game. Or maybe you’d like to join the Skeeter Defeaters and put up your own basketball skills against the Wizards? For more info, please contact Lynda Gomi at, lgomi@nyac.com, or 914-615-2228.

7/25–26 Korean Peace Vigil and March
Join in this effort in Washington, D.C., to end the 61-years long Korean War and wage peace. This idea was initiated in the NYAC and approved by the 2012 General Conference; the reunification committee of Korean United Methodist Church, the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches and many other ecumenical partners have joined this call for peace. We will gather to witness the human cost of the unended Korean War, walk and pray together to raise our voice to end the war and establish peace for the people of the two Koreas and the world! For additional details, go to: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/123065.

8/2 Ministry With Young Adults
Ron Bell Jr., a founder and lead pastor of the Arise Church, will share insights from his ministry at this event titled, “It Was All a Dream.” Starting at 9:30 a.m. at the New Rochelle UMC, the free event is for young adults and those looking to start or nurture a ministry with them. The first 50 who register will get a copy of Bell’s book, “Bigger than Hip Hop: 7 Questions for Effectively Reaching Young Adults in Ministry.” For registration or event questions, contact Tiffany French at tiffanymfrench@gmail.com or 914-843-5318.

9/6 Sunday School Director Training
This event will include an open house at the Perkins Learning Center. 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Conference Center, White Plains. Contact Lynda Gomi at lgomi@nyac.com, for additional info.

10/25 Deacons Day Apart
Deacons of the conference will gather from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Learning Center, 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, N.Y. Contact Sonia Jermin at bronxjourney@verizon.net for additional information.

More events available on the NYAC calendar>>

Faith Leaders Seek Sentencing Reform

From Local and GBCS Reports

More than 1,100 faith leaders urged the U.S. Congress on June 3 to support a bipartisan sentencing reform bill to reduce mandatory-minimum sentences for federal drug offenses. The Smarter Sentencing Act (S 1410/HR 3382) passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and is poised for a vote by the Senate. The legislation would alleviate dangerous prison overcrowding and racial disparity in incarceration.

The letter, sent to all members of Congress, was coordinated by the Faith in Action Criminal Justice Reform Working Group, a coalition of 43 faith organizations chaired by the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). Endorsers include Roman Catholics, Jews, evangelical and mainline Protestants.

Rev. Jeff Wells, pastor of Community UMC in Massapequa, N.Y., and one of the signers from the New York Conference, was interviewed by RT News recently about the need for sentencing reform. RT is a Russian 24/7 English-language television news channel.

“I actually support this bill partly because my denomination is supporting it, but more importantly, because I believe it’s a small step toward dismantling what I see as a very unjust system of oppression and social control,” Wells said in the interview.

“My belief is what we need in addition to this Smart Sentencing law is a massive infusion of money into education, job creation and more humane drug treatment programs,” he said. The full interview segment can be viewed at, http://youtube/omrZllPA-FM.

On June 4, grassroots advocates of the Smarter Sentencing Act called senators to ask for their support and influence in bringing the legislation to the floor for a vote. The GBCS is asking all clergy and faith leaders to continue to contact their legislators urging their support of the bill.

Jeff Wells on Sentencing Reform

Nearly 30 years have passed since Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 that established mandatory-minimum sentences for drug offenses. The size and expense of the federal prison system has grown substantially, as a result. The federal system is the largest in the United States holding 217,000 prisoners, half of whom are incarcerated for a drug offense. Fewer than 8 percent of federal prisoners are incarcerated for a violent crime.

Faith communities are concerned about the impact of excessive sentences on individuals and their families. Those leaving incarceration often haven’t had adequate rehabilitation, their absence has strained family relationships, and the prolonged disconnect from communities has made finding employment exceedingly difficult.

The faith leaders’ letter states: “We are reminded that Scripture commands us, ‘Justice, and only justice shall you pursue.’ ” (Deuteronomy 16:20) The Smarter Sentencing Act is a step towards addressing racial injustice as well as reducing mass incarceration that characterizes our current justice system.

To read the full text of the letter, and for information on how to encourage your legislators to support the Smart Sentencing Act, go to: http://umc-gbcs.org/take-action.

UMC Divests from Firm Involved in
Israeli Occupation

The General Board of Pension & Health Benefits (GBPHB) of The United Methodist Church has instructed its investment manager on June 12 to sell immediately all shares in G4S, due in part to concerns about the company’s involvement in human-rights violations in the Israeli prison system and the military occupation of Palestinian territories.

This is the first time that a United Methodist general agency has included human rights violations related to Israel’s illegal settlements and military occupation in a decision to divest from a company.

“This is the first time that a United Methodist general agency has included human rights violations related to Israel’s illegal settlements and military occupation in a decision to divest from a company,” said David Wildman, executive secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice at the General Board of Global Ministries. “We celebrate this strong human-rights message both to G4S specifically and to other companies whose business operations support

longstanding human rights abuses against Palestinians.”

In addition, GBPHB, which manages an investment portfolio of over $20 billion, has placed a moratorium on any future purchases of G4S, the world’s largest security company with operations in over 120 countries. The moratorium will be in effect until a new investment screen is implemented that addresses human-rights violations such as those by the Israeli Defense Forces against Palestinians.

GBPHB investments shall be screened according to United Methodist values as described in the Social Principles, ¶717 of The Book of Discipline 2012, the denomination’s law book, and Resolution #4071 (“Investment Ethics”) of The Book of Resolutions 2012. In 2012, GBPHB adopted its sixth investment screen, which targeted private-prison companies. Other screens avoid investing in companies that derive significant revenues from gambling or the manufacture, sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages,

tobacco-related products, weapons or pornography.

G4S contracts with the Israeli Prison Service to provide management of security systems at prisons within Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

According to Amnesty International, B’Tselem an Israeli human-rights organization, and Defence for Children International-Palestine, Palestinians held in these prisons, including hundreds of child detainees, are routinely subjected to abuse and torture.

G4S also provides equipment and services for Israeli settlements and checkpoints in the West Bank and for the Separation Wall, constructed in violation of international law in Palestinian territory.

Last month, under mounting pressure from an international advocacy campaign, the Gates Foundation also made a decision to sell its holdings in G4S.

Leaving Space To Enjoy Daily Miracles

By Rev. Jim Stinson
Consultant for Older Adult Ministries

Jim Stinson

He was very excited as he asked me. Sitting outside of the Wicke Health Center, where he is a resident, from where he goes for dialysis three days a week, his free time is limited and is often marked by fatigue from the ordeal he endures every other day.

So it was especially meaningful that he was so excited and full of vitality as he asked. “Have you seen the Luna Moth?”

First of all, I wasn’t quite sure if I had ever seen a Luna Moth, nor would I have recognized one if I did. Second, I could not comprehend the excitement until he told me all about the Luna Moth. Endangered as a species, rare, and usually only spotted at night, for one who knows of nature’s wonders, the fact that he was seeing this moth (which by the way has an extremely short life span) was a cause for wonder.

That wonder was awakened by a moth of all things—it “made his day” and mine. His, because although he knew

about the Luna Moth, he had never seen one before; mine, because it caused me to stop and reflect at how many of the “little miracles” of life I miss because I get so busy looking at the big picture rather than the components of it.

I loved the fact that we could have a conversation free of the disease that keeps him pre-occupied, and could focus instead on the miracle of the Luna Moth.

In a strange way, doing so pushed me into a new place. It got me thinking about how I do ministry with and for older adults, many of who are preoccupied with what they see as the

Luna Moth

“big picture.” Many are so focused on the illnesses and frailties that often come with the aging process that they miss the little miracles that happen daily—the daily opportunities for joy and wonder. It also got me thinking about their caregivers, who often are so preoccupied with what’s wrong with mom or dad that they miss what’s right with their loved ones. They miss the everyday miracles of interacting with them, of feeling and sharing love.

Jim Stinson

My friend at Wicke Health Center knew a secret we all would do well to remember. No matter the situation, no matter the location, there are always Luna Moths. There are always the bright spots, if we know where to look.

Marge knew the same secret. Widowed six months earlier, still grieving, she was told she had the same cancer that had claimed her husband’s life. Seeing the “big picture,” I went to see her expecting to find a woman in despair.

Instead I found a woman who looked for the Luna Moth, as it were, and found it. We were talking about the diagnosis when she said, “You know, either way I can’t lose. Either I get more time with my kids and grandchildren or I get to be with Hughie sooner than I thought.” My initial reaction was that she was in denial about the real situation. As I watched her, as her cancer spread, that reaction changed. She faced everyday head on, but always with a sense that little miracles were occurring. She lived every minute of her dwindling life with a sense of joy.

So in caring for or about older adults, remember the Luna Moth and help those for whom you care to see it with you!

Wells Writes on
Williams Receives "Beatitudes" Fellowship

A paper that Rev. Jeff Wells wrote for two psychoanalysis conferences held on Long Island and at New York University was published last fall in the journal Psychoanalytic Dialogues (vol. 23, no. 4, 2013). 

Wells, the pastor of Community UMC in Massapequa, wrote in response to main presenter Sue Grand, Ph.D., at the 2012 conferences of the Suffolk Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, The Division of Psychoanalysis of NY State Psychological Association, and the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis.

Grand, Ph.D., whose paper was titled, “God at an Impasse: Devotion, Social Justice, and the Psychoanalytic Subject,” wrote about her struggle as a Jewish atheist psychoanalyst to treat a patient with a strong Christian worldview and impulse to self-giving to the detriment of his own health and wellbeing. 

In his paper, “The Self, the Other, and God,” Wells encouraged a rapprochement between psychoanalysis and religion, arguing that they share common purposes. He proposed that self-sacrifice and self-giving love, when balanced with sufficient self-care, are necessary components of a healthy human personality.

Dr. Grand and Rev. Wells also shared the podium with another respondent, Lewis Aron, Ph.D. Dr. Grand’s paper and the two responses were published together in August in the journal.

Wells’ writing of a slightly different nature can be found in the July 7–13 weekly devotional in the 2014 Upper Room Disciplines.

The Beatitudes Society has announced that Gerald “Jay” Williams, who was recently ordained an elder in the NYAC, has been awarded a $10,000 Beatitudes Fellowship.

He is one of eight emerging faith leaders from across the United States selected for the annual award. Williams is on loan to the New England Conference where he serves Union United Methodist Church in Boston.

The Beatitudes Fellowship identifies and equips a select group of young entrepreneurial faith leaders with the resources and relationships that empower them to create new models for church and social justice, and grow vital communities of faith in a pluralistic world.

The yearlong curriculum for the Fellows is project-based: each Fellow develops their own model for progressive ministry within their local faith community. The Fellows gather four times throughout the year for a week of coaching and customized mentoring to bring their idea to fruition. The curriculum is designed to develop each individual Fellow’s capacity for authentic leadership, while also building a community of peers for long-term mutual support.

Conference Delegates

The following clergy and laypersons were elected to represent the conference at the 2016 conferences. As the first clergy and lay members elected, Rev. Tim Riss and Fred Brewington, will serve as co-chairs of the delegation.

General Conference

May 10–20 | Portland, Oregon

CLERGY: Tim Riss, William Shillady, Noel Chin, Denise Smartt Sears

LAITY: Fred Brewington, Dorothee Benz, Dorlimar Lebròn Malavé, Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt

Jurisdictional Conference

July 11–15 | Lancaster, Penn.

Delegation includes the eight persons selected for General Conference.

CLERGY: Vicki Flippin, Kun Sam Cho, Sara Thompson Tweedy, Milca Plaud

CLERGY RESERVE: Constance Pak, Ken Kieffer, Adrienne Brewington, Paul Fleck, David Henry, Ed Horne

LAITY: Roena Littlejohn, Ximena Varas, Rashid Warner, Ross Williams

LAITY RESERVE: Steve Allen, Derek P. Miller, Jaewon Kim, Omar Hall, Yolanda Evelyn, Daisy Tavarez

Conference Report:
NYAC 2014 Music Team
The conference music team offered inspiration for ordination, and all through the week.
NYAC 2014 Health Kits
4,554 health kits were collected; twenty-nine clergy, spouses and laity were remembered in the memorial service.
NYAC 2014 Zan Holmes
Rev. Dr. Zan Holmes Jr., above, was guest preacher. New England Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, right, presided in the absence of Bishop Martin McLee.
NYAC 2014 Clergy Session
NYAC 2014 Ann Pearson
Rev. Ann Pearson encouraged the laity session to engage the community to grow their churches.

Conference Report:
NYAC 2014 Retirement Ceremony
The 2014 class of retirees numbered 18 and were celebrated for 498 years of ministry; Tom Theilmann, far left, is congratulated by Bishop Alfred Johnson. Other members included Harold Andrews, Richard E. Allen, Ann Pearson and Jin Kim.

NYAC 2014 Harlem Wizards Demonstration

NYAC 2014 Wesley Fellowship SpeakerHarlem Wizard Blackjack Ryan, above, shows off his basketball skills to promote the Imagine No Malaria game in July; GBOD General Secretary Tim Bias, right, greets the gathering before speaking at the Wesley Fellowship dinner.

NYAC 2014 Archives Award

NYAC 2014 Rev. FerraraArchivist Beth Patkus, above, presents an award for more than 90 years of ministry to First Spanish UMC, Manhattan, and its Pastor Luisa Martinez Buck. Rev. Charles Ferrara, left, offers ideas on vitality in his morning Bible study.

Conference Report:

NYAC 2014 MissionariesNYAC 2014 Missionaries







Left: Bishop Alfred Johnson congratulates Revs. Susanna & Young-Chuel Cho after the couple was commissioned as GBGM missionaries to Moscow; Right: new deaconesses MaryEllen Kris, Cecelia Elaine Williams Nelson, and Jane Wakeman were consecrated for various ministries in the conference.

2 Missionaries, 3 Deaconesses Consecrated

The Church of The Village

Three new deaconesses and two missionaries related to the conference were commissioned for service on Friday morning. In opening the service, Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie, NYAC mission outreach coordinator, gave thanks to God for, “calling among us servant leaders for the mission and ministries of the Church of Jesus Christ for the redemption and transformation of the world.”

Deaconess Sung-ok Lee of United Methodist Women introduced Mary Ellen Kris, Cecelia Elaine Williams Nelson, and Jane Wakeman to be commissioned. Other deaconesses in attendance were invited to stand in support of those being commissioned.

Bishop Alfred Johnson, who was presiding in the absence of Bishop Martin McLee, and members of the deaconess’ community placed their hands on each woman while the congregation extended their hands. Each was commissioned with the words, “I commission you to the appointed ministry on behalf of the United Methodist Church.”

The office of deaconess was first authorized in the Methodist tradition in 1888. Deaconesses and home missioners are laypersons who are called by God to be in a lifetime relationship in The United Methodist Church for engagement with a full-time vocation in ministries of love, justice, and service.

Deaconess Kris has been appointed as a consultant for Ministry with the Poor at the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM); she is a member of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew. Nelson, a member of New Rochelle UMC, will serve as a registered dietician/nutritionist at CityCare. Wakeman has been appointed as a psychologist in the Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut; she is a member of Golden Hill UMC.

Thomas Kemper, top GBGM executive, explained the importance of missionaries in the 21st century saying, “Sending missionaries is essential for the worldwide church.” He continued saying, “Missionaries incarnate the

Gospel where they serve, crossing boundaries of language and culture.”

He shared that the new missionaries, Revs. Young-Chuel and Susanna Cho, are originally from Korea and moved to the United States in the 1980s. This latest posting will be their second stint as missionaries in Russia, having served there previously from 1990 to 1996. Susanna will serve as pastor of the United Methodist Korean Ministry in Moscow; Young-Chuel will be the director of church development and spiritual life of the Central Russia Annual Conference.

Rev. Young-Chuel Cho has been serving as the pastor of the New Hyde Park Korean UMC. The couple’s son, Daniel, is also a pastor in the NYAC and currently serves as an associate at First UMC in Flushing, Queens.

Bishop Johnson commissioned the couple saying, “I commission you to take the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Rev. Tim Riss of the Poughkeepsie UMC and a director of Global Ministries placed an anchor cross around the Cho’s necks after they were commissioned. The anchor cross is a symbol in early Christian iconography that serves as a reminder to be firmly grounded in Christ while engaging in God’s mission.

The congregation responded, “We rejoice to recognize you as missionaries of the United Methodist Church. We will sustain you with our prayers; support your mission service; and together strive to minister to the needs of all of creation.”

Kemper closed with a benediction, “God of the harvest, how beautiful, how powerful and holy are the feet of these servants who bring the gospel of peace, who dare to speak about your love and sing your promises to this world you love.”

If you would like to support the Cho’s and their ministry, go to www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/How-to-Give. The Advance number for Young-Cheul is 3021961; for Susanna, 3021962.

Working for Clean Water

Mike Barbee, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) technical officer for UMCOR, and Bob Hawkins, right, demonstrate some of the problems for those without access to clean water during Friday night’s mission dinner. Barbee shared that some 1 billion people around the world lack water or sanitation services. His appearance helped educate those in attendance about the conference’s next big initiative after Imagine No Malaria.

NYAC 2014 Mission Dinner

Schaefer Tells MIND: Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear

The Church of The Village

“Out of suffering, a prophet has emerged,” said Dr. Dorothee Benz as she introduced Frank Schaefer at the Methodists in New Directions (MIND) lunch. Benz chairs the grassroots organization that works to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender people (LGBT) in the New York Annual Conference. Schaefer is a United Methodist pastor who was defrocked last year for officiating at the wedding of his son to another man.

Schaefer warmly greeted the packed room and thanked them for all of their support through his trial and the subsequent removal of his credentials. He shared his faith journey and asked for prayers as he approaches his appeal date later this month where he hopes to be “re-frocked.”

Schaefer’s testimony highlighted the fear that he believes has kept a movement for equality from forming because people are afraid of speaking up.

“Systemic homophobia strikes fear into LGBT people and allies. We don’t want to rock the boat. Don’t want to lose job security,” he said.

While he had affirmed and loved his son who is gay, and assured his son of

NYAC 2014 MIND Frank Schaefer
Frank Schaefer is greeted at the MIND dinner.

God’s love, Schaefer did not feel that his family could be open about who they were. He shared that he didn’t have the courage to share that theology with his congregation. When he included a statement in his personnel form, his district superintend didn’t file it because as an LGBT ally, the DS wanted to protect Schaefer.

When Schaefer’s son asked him to perform his wedding to another man, Schaefer said that he responded as an act of love, “not rebellion.” Comparing his actions to those of the Good Samaritan, he realized that, “Saying no would have done too much damage even if it meant I would become ritually unclean.”

As he was preparing to go to trial, Schafer said he was filled with fear. But

his fear was released as he remembered the love of Jesus on the cross.

“What Jesus did on the cross was a real class act,” he said. At his trial he declared that there must be a change in how the church responds to people who are LGBT.

“We have to stop treating them as second class Christians,” he said. “We have to stop harming beloved children of God. We have to reach out to them and treat them as Jesus would have treated them.”

Schaefer took out a rainbow-colored stole that had been given to him before the trial and as he put it on he said that when he placed it around his neck at the trial, “I vowed never to be silent again.” He continued, “And suddenly I felt complete peace . . . perfect love cast out all fear.”

He said that since that moment God has taken care of all the concerns he had previously had. Honorariums and support of groups like MIND have replaced much his salary. The affordable care act has allowed him to have health benefits that he had lost when he lost his clergy credentials.

He shared that his faith in the “true church” has been restored. He closed, “What people have intended for harm, God turned into an opportunity for healing.”

Scholarships Announced

The United Methodist City Society announced the following seven recipients (listed with their respective schools) for the 2014 Urban Ministry Scholarships:

Joyce Lee, Drew Theological School
Lea A. Mathews, Union Seminary
Deborah Normandia, NY Theological School
Lisa Asedillo Cunningham, Union
Jacqueline F. Carter, Drew
Soryyoung Kim, NY Theological
Melissa Hinnen, NY Theological

The New York Education Society awarded scholarships and grants to the following conference students; they are listed with their home churches:

Peter Della-Rocca, St. Paul and St. Andrew
Brendan Hughes, First, Torrington, CT
Tamara McDonald, St Mark’s, Brooklyn
Dominique Paynter, Bethel, Brooklyn,

Daniel Barber, Grahamsville
Leah DeLeon, St. Paul and St. Andrew
Marissa Downes, Reservoir
Amy Dunaief, Cornwall
Gordon Edwards Jr., Westchester
Kyshaun Gamory, Fenimore Street
Natalie Minard, Faith, North Haven, CT
Carla Phillips, First, Oceanside
AJ Tiedeman, St. Paul and St. Andrew

Emily Peck-McClain, Fort Montgomery
Jamela Wright, Newman Memorial

Maya Smith, New Rochelle

Brittney Fields, Trinity, White Plains

The Bishop McLee Scholarship, awarded in his absence by Rev. Adrienne Brewington, was given to Aaron Harewood.

NYAC 2014 Denman Awards
Denman Awards were presented to Kevin Rushlo, center, and posthumously to William Listwan, whose wife Heather Listwan, right, accepted the award.
Laity Honored for Service, Evangelism

Three laypersons in the conference were honored for their various ministries during the Friday night service.

Barbara Edwards, lay leader at St. Paul’s UMC in Jamaica, was honored with the Shirley Parris Award. The award is named in memory of Shirley Parris, a laywoman who served in the local church, as conference lay leader, and as a four-time delegate to General Conference.

The Harry Denman Evangelism Awards were presented to Kevin Rushlo, and posthumously to William Listwan.

Rushlo is a member of the East Quogue UMC, where he serves as an usher and vice president of the UMMen.

In the nomination papers, Tom Mendenhall wrote that Rushlo “is what you might call a ‘gas pumping evangelist’.” Rushlo often shares his faith with customers at the gas station where he works, and invites them to join him at church.

His pastor, Rev. George Mangan, wrote, “Kevin is not afraid to claim Jesus Christ as the reason why he is willing to help those in need . . . I only wish I had a

NYAC 2014 Parris Award
Bishop Alfred Johnson seems to be telling Barbara Edwards to smile for the camera after she received the Shirley Parris Award from Renata Smith, right.

handful of Kevin’s to rock our communities.”

Heather Listwan accepted the Denman award in memory of her husband, William, who died in December 2013.

Drew UMC Pastor Tom Theilmann wrote of Listwan: “Any opportunity to serve others in the name of Christ got Bill excited and his enthusiasm was contagious.”

Listwan was a certified lay servant and UMCOR emergency response trainer, in addition to founding Spirit Walkers, an ecumenical hiking and prayer group.

NYAC 2014 Clergy Spouses
Clergy spouses offer a song of grace before the evening meal.


• The UMC of Hempstead and Iglesia Metodista Unida de Hempstead will merge to form Hempstead UMC. Rev. Rafael Garcia is the pastor.

• The Southhold and Cutchogue churches will merge to become the North Fork UMC. Pastor Tom MacLeod will serve the new church.


The two new members elected to the Conference Board of Trustees are:

• Deborah E. Bass, a former staff member of The General Board of Global Ministries, will serve in the class of 2016

• Alfida Figueroa is a lay missioner and member of Broadway Temple UMC, who will serve in the class of 2018

NYAC 2014 Frontier Foundation



At right, Higganum UMC in Connecticut was honored for their “Open Mike, Soup & Song Coffee House” by the Frontier Foundation. Pastor John Joon Woo Lee, third from left, and members of his congregation accepted the new grant of $5,000, which will enable them to expand this creative ministry.

NYAC 2014 Mission VideoNYAC 2014 Health Screening









Rev. Caroline Berninger, above, gets a health screening. Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie’s presentation, left, featured live video hookups from churches in both Ecuador and Cambodia—illustrating the “g-local” focus of the conferences’ mission work.

Conference Report:
NYAC 2014 Commissioning

NYAC 2014 Saturday

The commissioning class of eight elders and one deacon receives the applause of the gathering, clockwise from above; Bishop Herbert Skeet anoints Rev. Jay Williams before he was ordained; Spirit Builders offer a dance call to worship.

NYAC 2014 Ordination Yi

NYAC 2014 Ordination Dickinson

NYAC 2014 Local Pastors

Clockwise from left, Deacon Kathryn Clegg Dicksinson is commissioned; newly ordained Chris Yi, right, is congratulated by his father, Rev. Kenny Yi, center; Michael Jenkins, Pearlena Lobban and Karin Squires receive red scapulars after being recognized as licensed local pastors.

Photos by Stephanie Parsons

The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Bishop: Martin D. McLee

Director of Connectional Ministries: Ann A. Pearson

Editor: Joanne Utley

Vision e-mail: thevision@nyac.com

Web site: www.nyac.com

New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

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White Plains, NY 10606

Phone (888) 696-6922

Fax (914) 615-2244