The Vision
The Newspaper of The New York Conference of The United Methodist Church February 2019

In this issue

Surrendering to Power, Presence of God

One of my favorite “go to” illustrations is a piece from John R. Aurelio’s book, “Fables for God’s People.” It is called, “The Thimble.”

One day, after a hard day’s work, a thimble got to thinking about itself. “I’m really rather remarkable,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I do believe that I’m the greatest thing there is!”

“Not so!” said the bucket. “You are no more than a thimble. I am many times your size. I am the greatest thing there is!”

“Not quite!” said the barrel. “You are no more than a bucket. I am many times your size. I am the greatest thing there is!”

“Hardly!” said the lake. “You are no more than a barrel. There is nothing greater than me!”

“Ha!” said the ocean. “You are merely a lake. There is nothing greater than me!”

“I am greater than you!” said the earth. “I am the greatest thing there is.”

“Nonsense!” said the sun. “There is nothing greater than me. I am the greatest!”

“Hogwash!” said the solar system. “You are no more than a Ping-Pong ball in my playground. There is nothing greater than me!”

“I beg your pardon!” said the constellation. “Look at me. Can anything be greater than me?”

“Enough!” rumbled the universe from one end of its infinite vastness to the other until everything, everywhere shook at its voice. “Need anything more be said?”

“Yes!” said God to the universe. “You are no more than my thimble!”

There is SO much going on around us. The world is in a state of conflict. The country is in a state of chaos. The church is in a state of uncertainty. And, in every venue, there is a consistent question: “What are we going to do?”

What ARE we going to do? What is the best strategy to pursue? Who can consult us or train us or inspire us to such a degree that the light bulb will come on and, as a result, an amazing strategy will emerge, a new angle will be pursued or, perhaps, the long sought-after answer will be found.

And, in the meantime, while we wait for this amazing breakthrough, fears and angers express themselves with emotions that reveal our deepest longings. Little discretion is used as to when and where and how we express ourselves and, as a result, hurts grow deeper, walls grow higher, and solutions seem farther and farther away.

It is the Achilles heel of the human spirit. We believe that it has been placed on our shoulders and ours alone to find an answer, reveal a way forward, or discern a solution to our deepest hurts, longings and fears. It is the dilemma of leadership. We have been groomed to believe that effective leaders are the ones who always have a solution that will break through the barriers and reveal the answers we have hoped to find all along.

It is the dilemma described in “The Thimble.” This fable is about self-sufficiency combined with an over exaggerated view of self. We have groomed ourselves to think that we have the answers: our opinions are right just because we think them, our feelings are justified just because we feel them, and our answers are only found in the small confines of the world as we experience it. And before we know it, like a thimble, a barrel, a lake, an ocean, a sun, a solar system, a constellation, and a universe, we fall victim to the belief that, “I am the

greatest thing there is. There is nothing greater than me!”

We hear those very words from world leaders, to be sure. But lest we judge, we also hear those words from anyone who is convinced that their position on an issue is absolutely right.

Adam and Eve felt that way once when they disobeyed God in the garden. Noah felt that way when he got drunk after the flood. That same feeling got to Moses. He transitioned from stutterer to self-sufficiency and, as a result, could only look at the Promised Land from a distance. It happened to David when he thought that he was beyond judgement as an adulterer. Peter felt that way when he relied on himself as he attempted to walk on the water. His companions indulged in that elixir when they walked on the road debating who among them was the greatest. Saul was convinced of its truth until he blinded on the Damascus Road. It is, you see, the story of humanity.

But the biblical record reveals one, clear, ultimate truth. God is God and we are not. Humanity always believes that it has the right answer and is willing to even boast about it. But God is God, greater than we can imagine and the only one who can ultimately guide us through the morass and show us the path to the Promised Land.

In the next few days, the church as we know it will gather to conference about “the way forward.” Proposals have been drafted, positions have been established, petitions have been crafted, and strategies have been determined.

“We have a plan, a way through, an answer to our dilemma. Our way will be the great unifier! Our solution will make the most sense! Surely, our way is the greatest thing that there is!” If we’re not careful we will simply be the next in line of those who thought they knew what was right and failed.

In the midst of these human tendencies, I wanted to write today to ask you to contemplate with me the real answer to the problems we face. I believe the real answer is surrendering ourselves to the power and presence of God. It’s taking the time to breath just long enough to capture the scent of God’s grace and love. It’s opening our eyes to the reality of the greatness of God in our midst. It’s listening for the still, small voice that, when heeded, guides us into solutions we had never dreamed were possible. It’s pausing just long enough to ask God to intervene in our deliberations. And it’s realizing that in the big scheme of life as we know it, we are just a thimble in comparison to this God who is the architect of everything we know, the sustainer of everything we have, and the answer to every problem we will ever face.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow, but to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

You and I are nothing more than a thimble. We would all do well to remember that simple little fact. And there’s only one thing to say about that: Thanks be to God!

The Journey Continues, . . .

Thomas J. Bickerton
Resident Bishop

First New Appointments Announced

It is the intention of Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton to make the following appointments effective July 1:

Adrienne L.M. Brewington to Babylon, LIE District

David T. Ball to St. John’s in Elmont/Valley Stream, LIW

Delores M. Barrett to Brooks Memorial in Jamaica, LIW


Special Annual Conference Called

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton is calling for a special session of the New York Annual Conference on Saturday, March 16 for the purpose of reviewing and discussing the results of the special called session of the General Conference .

All clergy and lay delegates to annual conference are expected to be present for the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. event at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase, N.Y. Members and visitors who will attend must register online by March 1 .

Driving directions and public transportation information are available on the college website. More information, including registration, is available on the conference website, and will be updated as needed.


Conn. District Gets to Work in PR
Eleven people from the Connecticut District spent January 30–February 6 in Puerto Rico helping rebuild homes in Arecibo that were damaged by Hurricane Maria. The next team from the NYAC will be heading to the island nation in early April.

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

2/16–17 BMCR Weekend
Best-selling author and leadership consultant Bonnie St. John will be the featured speaker at this two-day gathering of the NYAC’s Black Methodists for Church Renewal at the New Rochelle UMC, 1200 North Avenue, New Rochelle. St. John, who was the first African-American to win medals in Winter Paralympic competition as a ski racer, is the chief executive officer of the Blue Circle Leadership Institute. She worked in the White House during the Clinton administration as a director for the National Economic Council. The weekend includes a 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. workshop on Saturday, and worship and dinner from 4–6 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $30; more information and registration details may be found on the NYAC website.

2/23 Early Response Team Training
The session runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at First UMC, 162-10 Highland Ave., Jamaica, N.Y. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Online registration is required. Please bring $10 payment for background check and badging.

2/23–26 2019 Special Session
Delegates to the specially-called 2019 General Conference will gather in The Dome, part of the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis. Guests and observers to the conference may register online. See related stories below.

3/9 2020 Budget Hearings
The conference Council on Finance and Administration will gather from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Learning Center to hear requests for funding for the 2020 calendar year. 

3/9 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:

  • March 9: Tremont UMC, 1951 Washington Ave., Bronx
  • March 30: 1 to 5 p.m. at Huntington-Cold Spring Harbor UMC,
    180 West Neck Rd., Huntington, N.Y.

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

3/16 Special Annual Conference
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton is calling for a special session of the New York Annual Conference on Saturday, March 16 for the purpose of reviewing and discussing the results of the special called session of the General Conference. All clergy and lay delegates to annual conference are expected to attend the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. event at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase, N.Y. Members and visitors who will attend must register online by March 1. Driving directions and public transportation information are available on the college website. More information, including registration, is available on the conference website, and will be updated as needed.

4/6 Early Response Team Training
The session runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tremont UMC, 1951 Washington Ave., Bronx. N.Y. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Online registration is required. Please bring $10 payment for background check and badging.

4/26–28 “Converge” Youth Retreat
All youth in the Long Island East and West, and the Metropolitan districts are invited to this weekend at Camp Quinipet on Shelter Island. The event starts Friday at 7 p.m. and concludes at noon Sunday. Register through your local church by March 31; details can be found here.

6/6–9 New York Annual Conference
The four-day event runs from Thursday to Sunday. More details to come as the date draws closer.

7/10–14 Youth 2019 Registration
“Love Well,” the national gathering for United Methodist youth and their leaders in Kansas City, promises four days of discipleship, worship, Bible study, big-name musical artists, service opportunities and life-changing fun. YOUTH 2019 is for youth grades 6–12 and their leaders. For more information, go to http://youth2019.com or @youth2019 on all social media platforms.

Vision Deadlines for 2019
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 2019 are March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 5, August 2, September 6, Octobwer 4, November 1, and December 6. Please send any stories, photos, ideas, or questions directly to vision@nyac.com.


Heading to General Conference 2019

Please continue to hold all 864 delegates, especially those from our conference, in prayer before, during and
after the gathering in St. Louis. And pray, too, for the bishops who will preside throughout the four days.

Each day of the specially called General Conference—from February 23–26—will be live streamed from America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis. The advance schedule indicates that each day will begin with worship at 9 a.m. EST, and end with adjournment at 7:30 p.m. The NYAC will be posting regular updates to Facebook and Twitter (#nyacumc #gc2019), and providing a daily wrap-up on the website.

Opening With Day of Prayer

The Praying Our Way Forward team of the Council of Bishops has released the schedule for the Day of Prayer, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST in the St. Louis America’s Center Convention Complex on Saturday, Feb. 23, the first day of the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. The event will be live-streamed at www.umc.org/live.

During the Day of Prayer, all bishops, delegates and staff will gather on the floor and observers will be in the seating and outer concourse areas of The Dome at the America’s Center.

The day will start with plenary prayer, continues from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with prayer for missional needs for each of four regions of the world, includes consecration of the General Conference’s prayer space and concludes with another plenary prayer segment from 3 to 4:30 p.m. There will be a break for lunch/conversation or fasting/self-directed prayer from 12:50 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

“This will be a wonderful act, signifying and recognizing our dependence on God to lead us forward as a United Methodist Church,” the statement from the bishops said.

NYAC Worship Connections

The New York Conference will be well represented during the times of worship planned for morning and late afternoon at the General Conference.

Raymond Trapp, director of music at Vanderveer Park UMC in Brooklyn, is serving as worship and music director—a role he will also have for the 2020 General Conference. He has responsibility for developing the overall worship and music programming and for providing musical leadership at both events. Trapp will also be bringing some of his vocalists to St. Louis.

Each day will be centered around a theme, Trapp wrote in an email. Sunday’s theme is “This Little Light of Mine;” Monday is “Holy Spirit, Come to Us;” and Tuesday morning is “Do Not be Afraid” and Tuesday evening is “God is Able.”

“I pray that people will remember the experience of worship as meeting them at their point of need,” said Trapp. He offered an acronym for W.O.R.S.H.I P.—When Our Reality Seems Hard Invoke Prayer/Praise.

Working along with Trapp as the worship/stage director is Ximena Varas, who is the pastor at St. Andrew’s UMC in New Haven, Conn.

Stephanie Parsons and Linda Mellor are responsible for the altar visuals which will change with each service and were crafted to give the appearance of stained glass. The two are members of the New Paltz UMC and have crafted the visuals at the last several gatherings of the NYAC at Hofstra University.

Revising Some of the Plans

BY HEATHER HAHN

UMNS | Modifications could be coming to the Modified Traditional Plan.

Proponents of the Traditional Plan and its related modified version have offered revisions to the legislation heading to the special General Conference on Feb. 23–26.

Meanwhile, backers of the One Church Plan are recommending deleting three sentences in that legislation.

The goal, for all three plans, is to address constitutional issues that the Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church’s top court, identified in a ruling last year.

The plans are among the proposals offering very different directions for the denomination as it navigates a potentially church-splitting divide over homosexuality.

To take effect, any legislative changes will need to be brought to the floor and approved by a majority of delegates when the denomination’s legislative assembly meets in St. Louis.

In its unanimous Decision 1366, the Judicial Council found the One Church Plan largely in line with the denomination’s constitution, but found more constitutional issues with the Traditional Plan. Both plans emerged from the work of the bishops-appointed Commission on a Way Forward.

The Judicial Council opted not to rule on a third commission

proposal, the Connectional Conference Plan, because it already involved multiple amendments to the denomination’s constitution.

To be ratified, a constitutional amendment requires at least a two-thirds vote at General Conference and then at least two-thirds support among annual conference voters around the globe. Other petitions in the plans require a simple majority.

The plans all involve multiple petitions, each of which seeks to alter different parts of the Book of Discipline—the denomination’s policy book. The original proposed petitions, without the recommended revisions, can be found in the Advance Daily Christian Advocate.

At present, the Discipline prohibits “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions. However, a number of United Methodists have publicly violated these prohibitions.

The Judicial Council found the 17 petitions in the One Church Plan to be constitutional, except for one individual sentence each in three petitions. Proponents of the One Church Plan say those sentences simply can be dropped without changing the nature of the proposal.

The Judicial Council upheld the Traditional Plan’s mandatory penalties for officiating at same-sex unions as constitutional. However, the court ruled that certain portions of the plan strayed from the constitution on matters of due process and by elevating adherence to requirements related to homosexuality above all other requirements.

Of the plan’s 17 petitions, the court ruled seven unconstitutional and identified unconstitutional portions in two others.

The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, who submitted the Traditional Plan on behalf of the commission, on Feb. 1 announced revisions to that plan and related parts in the Modified Traditional Plan to bring them in line with the ruling.

Specifically, he and other plan supporters recommended dropping three petitions that created a new body, the council relations committee, within the Council of Bishops to hold fellow bishops accountable.

Instead, plan backers are suggesting a substitution of a Modified Traditional Plan petition that creates a new Global Episcopacy Committee to hold bishops and conferences accountable. 

That petition would also need to be modified to delete reference to the council relations committee.

Several revisions to the Traditional and Modified Traditional plans also would require the upholding of the Discipline in its entirety.

Lambrecht urges delegates to pass one of the submitted exit plans that allows congregations to depart the denomination without seeking approval of its annual conference. The Judicial Council will be present at the Special General Conference and could be asked again to weigh in on legislation.

Under the denomination’s constitution, one-fifth of General Conference delegates or a majority of bishops can ask the Judicial Council to rule on the constitutionality of any General Conference action.

How will General Conference decide?

UMNS | The Commission on General Conference has announced a process to help delegates prioritize legislation.

On the first day of legislative action, February 24, delegates will basically be asked to rank the plans and petitions they would like to focus on. Delegates will consider petitions that comprise a plan as one unit and petitions that are not part of a plan individually.

The plans and petitions will be listed one at a time on the video screens in numerical order by petition numbers. Delegates will then be able to indicate whether they consider each a high priority or a low priority by pressing either 1 or 2 on their voting device.

New voting devices using smartcard technology will make voting simpler and more secure. Each delegate will have a smartcard which can only be used once. On-screen prompts give delegates easy instructions to direct them on what to do, how they are voting, and to confirm receipt of the vote.

Results of the ranking will not be shown until completion of the process for all plans and petitions. At that time, the outcome of all the rankings will be projected, with all plans and petitions listed by percentage.

On February 25, the day all delegates meet together in legislative committee, they will work on perfecting plans and petitions in order of priority. Legislation receiving an affirmative vote will be brought to the plenary floor on Feb. 26 for further debate and final votes.


Worship team: Trapp, Varas, Parsons and Mellor

A Message from the NEJ Bishops

We bid you grace and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ:

During the Northeastern College of Bishops meeting on January 28–30, we, your bishops, prayed for the Church, and in particular the clergy and laity of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.

As the Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis on February 23–26 is just days away, we invite each congregation and every member to join us in even deeper and more fervent prayer. We seek your prayers as the delegates receive and act upon the report from The Commission on a Way Forward and corresponding petitions. Along with the Apostle Paul, we pray that the “God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 CEB).

Please lift this session of holy conferencing in prayer in each of your churches this Sunday and throughout the week. On Saturday, Feb. 23, the General Conference will dedicate the entire day to prayer. This will be available through live-streaming and we invite as many as possible to pray along with the conference delegates, bishops and attendees.

We are confident that God will work all things together for good as God’s people are faithful in prayer and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As John Wesley said, “Best of all, God is with us.”

—The Northeastern Jurisdiction Bishops


Trusting in Possiblity of “Water Walking”

“Come,” [Jesus] said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

—Matthew 14:29–31

So, what will YOU be doing during the special session of the General Conference later this month?

As I have traveled across the breadth and depth of our wonderfully diverse annual conference, there have been a myriad of opinions expressed about the what and how of this gathering; however, what keeps tickling my spirit is the why? Why are we fighting each other when we “Christians” have been called to make disciples, love the Lord our God with our whole being; and love our neighbors as ourselves?

Seems to me we are focusing on everything, but the main things. And, maybe . . . just maybe if we actually focused on Christ, we would overcome all of the “stuff” that is preventing us from living into the calling God has made on the lives of our faith communities . . . maybe!

It is when Jesus calls Peter out of the safety of the boat that he begins walking on the chaos, uncertainty, scariness, and unknown depths of the water. But, what is encouraging is that Peter actually is going where Jesus went . . . in the manner Jesus went! Peter becomes a “water walker” because he accepts the invitation from Jesus and focuses on Jesus. What a word of hope and encouragement for congregations trying to find the courage to step out of their “boats”.

Unfortunately, Peter loses his focus, takes note of the “wind” and begins to sink. Now, I do not claim to know the future, but I am one who believes that, if we, that is our Church, continue focusing on the “winds” around us, we will continue to operate out of focus and continue to sink in importance to those who need Christ most . . . the last, least and lost!

Every faith community with whom I work can attest to the fact that I do not ask whether they are progressive or conservative, or members of a certain caucus, or leaning in a certain direction theologically. I don’t ask, because that is not what’s most important . . . to me. What is important is helping congregations and their leaders to regain our focus seeking out the One who enables us to become “water walkers” offering relevance and purpose to those who believe the church is passé and no longer necessary.

Because the Lord knows I occasionally need affirmation, there have been some wins in my work with faith communities who may have little faith and much doubt, but still believe God has kept them for a reason. I am referring to congregations who have prayerfully decided to move beyond what make them comfortable trusting that God is able and wanting to make them water walkers. In the wins we find courage to look past the winds believing that Jesus calls us to walk in holiness as we manifest the love of Christ to everyone we meet . . . and that gives me hope leading into February! What about you?

Stepping away from my window . . .


Scholarship, Loan Deadlines Fast Approaching

Additional information, including applications, for all of the following can be found on the NYAC website.

Gloster B. Current Scholarship

This scholarship was established in memory of Gloster B. Current, Sr., to encourage young persons of African descent to pursue careers in public service such as the ministry, social work, health care or government service. The applicant must attend an accredited institution of higher education, have leadership potential, financial need and be recommended by a pastor of a United Methodist Church. The deadline is April 15.

NYES Fellowship Program

The New York Education Society Fellows and Scholars scholarships support NYAC students attending an accredited college, university, technical, professional or graduate school. Awards typically range from $500 to $1000 for each academic year. Priority is given to 1) first-time applicants, 2) students entering helping professions, and 3) those actively involved in local UMC/campus ministry programs. Application deadline is April 15.

UMC Loans and Scholarships

This is a “one-stop shop” general application for more than 50 scholarship programs from the United Methodist Church dministered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Office of Loans and Scholarships. Apply once per year, every year. The scholarship programs criteria vary. With this one application, students are screened and reviewed for each program for which they are qualified.

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 any accredited institution within the United States.

Scholarship applications are by March 7, 2019; loan applications are May 2, 2019.

Urban Ministry Scholarships

Priority in the United Methodist City Society awards will be given to persons who have a desire to enter full time ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church in an urban setting.  

Applicants must be:

  • A member of a church in the New York Annual Conference.
  • Involved in urban ministries at their local church;
  • Pursuing programs that will lead to a degree.

Application deadline is May 10, 2019. 

James Family Fund Scholarship 

The Rev. Dr. William M. James Family Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by his friends after his passing.  Dr. James had hoped that this scholarship would 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.  

Application deadline is May 10, 2019.


Restoration & Redemption Possible Through JFON

The possibility of a reunion with his family became a one step closer for a client of New York’s Justice for Our Neighbor program (JFON) as 2018 was coming to an end. After an initial denial, Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) on December 17 granted a provisional waiver, which will allow the man to eventually be reunited with his family.

Earlier last year, an immigration judge agreed to administratively close proceedings based on the approval of a family petition filed by the client’s U.S. citizen son and the client’s pending application for the provisional waiver.  

JFON’s client is from Mexico and entered the United States without inspection 38 years ago. He sought help at JFON’s Manhattan office nine years ago after being placed in removal proceedings. JFON had managed to have the case adjourned until he was willing to surrender and resolve an open criminal case that stemmed from a 1989 incident in which the client was charged with criminal possession of stolen property. The charges in that case disqualified him from the only defense he had available—cancellation of removal.

Last year, he was permitted to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, a mere violation in New York—as opposed to a felony. The plea agreement made him eligible for the cancellation and the possibility of getting an immigrant visa through his son.

This man had much at stake including a 38-year residence, children who are U.S. citizens, and a wife with a green card. As an alternative to cancellation of removal, JFON asked the immigration judge to administratively close proceedings so this client can seek consular process with a provisional waiver. Administrative closure removes the case from the court’s calendar until the client or the government attorney specifically asks it to be re-scheduled.

With the provisional waiver approved, JFON will now ask the judge to terminate proceedings or to grant voluntary departure allowing this client to go abroad for an embassy interview in Ciudad Juarez. Because he entered this country without inspection, this client is not eligible to apply for a green card in the U.S.; current law requires an immigrant in these circumstances to complete the consular process in his or her home country.

But once a person who has lived without documentation in the United States for more than one year leaves, they are subject to a 10-year bar. It is possible to have the 10-year bar waived if the applicant can show extreme hardship to a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen spouse or parent. Fortunately, with JFON’s assistance, this client’s spouse became a green card holder just last year and they were able to demonstrate that his wife would suffer extreme hardship. Former President Barack Obama had revised CIS policy to permit persons like this client to apply for the waiver before departing the United States.

“As Christians, we’re supposed to be people that are about redemption and restoration,” said NY JFON Executive Director Rev. Paul Fleck. A case like this one demonstrates how convoluted and profoundly broken the system is. It’s not as simple as just ‘getting in line.’ Immigrating to the United States shouldn’t be this difficult. We continue to pray for a day when comprehensive immigration reform is enacted.”

NY JFON is a ministry of the New York Conference dedicated to providing free, high-quality legal advice and representation to vulnerable, low-income immigrants in the New York Metropolitan area. For more information about this ministry, go to the JFON website. To donate to the ministry, send a check to NY JFON, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1505, New York, New York 10115.


Fleck Named NY-JFON Executive Director

Jim StinsonNew York Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), an immigration legal services ministry of the United Methodist Church, has announced the selection of Rev. Paul Fleck, right, as its full-time executive director. Fleck has been active in immigrant advocacy in the New York Conference, having served as a past co-chair of the Conference Immigration Task Force and, more recently, helped found the New Sanctuary CT coalition that provides safe space for immigrants in Connecticut facing deportation.

Rev. Marjorie Nunes, JFON’s board chair, welcomed Rev. Fleck as JFON’s executive director, and stated, “Paul’s passion for this ministry is evident, and we look forward to having him with us.” Fleck, who has several years experience as an attorney, had been serving the Hamden Plains UMC in Connecticut as its pastor. 

JFON operates immigration legal clinics at four locations in the Greater New York metropolitan area—Chinese UMC in Manhattan, Hicksville UMC on Long Island, John Wesley UMC in the Bronx, and La Promesa Mission in Flushing. To learn more about this important ministry in the NYAC, click here.


Share Your Health Ministry Stories

“I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly!”—John 10:10

We continue to be very excited about the NYAC Abundant Health and Faith, Activity, and Nutrition (FAN) ministries and are hoping to engage additional conference churches in this global health initiative.

The conference Abundant Health goals continue to:

  • Help support children locally and around the world with lifesaving health interventions. Your donations aid in those ministries. 
  • Encourage at least 100 of our churches to join the Abundant Health challenge of creating local health ministries of “body, mind, and spirit” and also to promote the FAN local church program and resource.
  • Seek success stories about existing health ministries and activities throughout the conference. Those stories can be shared in a survey on the NYAC website.

Upcoming Abundant Health events include April church

school workshops, Hulapaloozas at the Tremont, Huntington Cold Spring Harbor, and Verbank churches, and FAN training at the conference center.

The leadership team works with local churches and their communities to develop abundant health ministries and to host a “Hulapalooza” or other health events. The team has members who represent children’s activities, community gardens, Days for Girls ministry, drug awareness, fitness activities, mental health programs, meditation/Tai Chi, nutrition and healthy eating, pastoral care opportunities, older adults’ ministries, spiritual formation opportunities, Strengthening Families program, and youth opportunities for mission and service.

Please be in touch if you have any further questions or would like to plan an Abundant Health event or activity.

In faith,

Wendy Vencuss
NYAC Abundant Health coordinator
abundanthealth@nyac-umc.com


NYAC MISSION OUTREACH: FAR & WIDE
Mountains of Hope for Haiti

Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of articles highlighting NYAC mission initiatives on international, domestic, and local levels.

Haiti—often referred to as “the poorest country in the western hemisphere”—was once known as “the Pearl of the Antilles” because of its rich landscape and abundant resources. So much so that Spain, France, England, and others, fought over it and colonized it. Haiti gained its independence in 1804, the result of a slave revolt begun in 1791. It became the first black republic in the world. Following, its history reveals a complex, and often destructive, web of social, political, and economic policies, as well as foreign intervention. Its recent history includes major natural events as well: four successive hurricanes in 2008; hurricanes Isaac, Sandy, and Matthew; and, of course, the devastating earthquake of 2010. Yet there continues to be, among the people, an amazing resourcefulness, faith, and hope for the future.

The Methodist presence in Haiti started alongside the creation of the new country. British missionaries were invited in as early as 1808 by the President with the request to provide education opportunities. The legacy of some early established schools still exists.

The New York Conference mission in Haiti dates back to the 1970s. This connection was re-established by Pastors Tom and Wendy Vencuss and churches of the Connecticut District in 2002. In 2004, at the request of the circuit superintendent

and resident missionaries a new medical clinic was built in the mountain village of Furcy to provide basic health care to the thousands living in the surrounding rural communities. This mission became known as Mountains of Hope for Haiti (MHH).

MHH is based on a community-development model, working with both the Methodist Church of Haiti (EMH) and local leadership to identify resources and needs, and assist in the development of community-based initiatives. These include support for the medical clinic and the local primary and secondary school; the establishment of a farmers’ association, and a local sewing ministry. Volunteer teams have worked with the local church to provide medical and dental clinics, clean water projects, education enrichment opportunities, VBS-type activities, as well as share in times of worship, game days, music events, and community meals. It is a great partnership.

Over the years more than 50 NYAC congregations have been a part of Mountains of Hope. In addition, congregations from New England, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania are now supporting MHH and the greater Furcy family. In 2018, the NYAC Youth Ambassadors in Mission travelled to Haiti, and an NYAC dental team and a youth team are scheduled for April and July, respectively.

To see how you or your church can get involved in this mission, check the MHH website, or contact Wendy Vencuss via email.


A team from the NYAC builds the medical clinic in Furcy.

U.M. ARMY Offers Summer Missions for Youth

U.M. ARMY is celebrating its 40th year in mission/ministry and its 15th year in the Northeast. In 1979, 36 youth and adults from three Houston churches held the first U.M. ARMY mission week in Athens, Texas. Since that time, the program has grown to more than 60 ministries nationwide each year.

United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth (U.M. ARMY) provides an opportunity for youth and adults to experience Christian growth through service to others. Participants combine their strengths and resources to meet home repair and maintenance needs for low income, elderly and disabled homeowners unable to make the repairs themselves.

The available summer programs for 2019 include:

  • May 26–June 1 at Centerport UMC, Centerport, N.Y., young adults
  • June 9–15 at Apalachicola FUMC in Florida, mixed age
  • June 23–29 in Waynesboro, Va., mixed age
  • July 7–13 in Scranton, Pa., mixed age
  • July 14–20 in Dover, N.H., mixed age
  • July 28–Aug. 3 in Tom’s River, N.J., mixed age
  • Aug. 4–10 in Wethersfield, Conn., mixed age

In the young adult program, participants must be one year beyond high school. In the mixed age program, participants must have completed 7th grade or higher. Participants completing 6th grade may be permitted to attend, at the discretion of the mission week director. The registration fee is $300 per person.

For registration info and questions, contact Gina Grubbs, regional director, U.M. ARMY Northeast North via email or by calling 914-330-2599.


Earthkeepers Seek Creation Care Missionaries

Almost every time Rev. Pat Watkins introduces himself as a missionary for the care of God’s creation—an official designation through The United Methodist Church’s Global Ministries—it piques people’s interest. Many have even asked him, “How can I do that?”

This widespread passion around environmental issues prompted the development of a program that aims to commission 500 people across the United States for creation care work within the next seven years. Called Earthkeepers, the program is the brainchild of Watkins, Minnesota deacon Rev. Susan Mullin, and Dan Joranko, a professor at Vanderbilt Divinity School who specializes in community organizing.

Mullin, minister of faith formation and community outreach at Faith United Methodist Church in St. Anthony, was one of six people selected in 2014 to serve on the United Methodist Church’s Global Ministries Creation Care Team; she represents all of North America.

Mullin describes Earthkeepers as United Methodists who are aware of the ecological challenges in our world today and feel called to be part of a movement to transform the world. They can be laity or clergy, students, part-time or full-time workers, or retirees. Earthkeepers aren’t paid, although some may have a paid job that allows them to work on creation care projects.

Earthkeepers will participate in four days of intensive training in creation care theology and community organizing, and then commit to 10 hours per month of providing leadership for a community project or advocacy campaign. Each Earthkeeper would select his or her own project or focus area. They could include efforts like creating community gardens in urban “food deserts,” advocating for renewable energy policies, working for environmental justice by cleaning up toxic waste sites, or creating a green team within an annual conference.

Applications for the first group of Earthkeepers will be accepted through June 30 (download an application here), and the goal is to have the first 40 selected by this fall.

Earthkeepers must commit to quarterly meetings with other Earthkeepers in their region in order to receive ongoing support and training. To create these regional groups, Mullin and Watkins are focusing 11 annual conferences from which they hope to recruit the first group of Earthkeepers: Minnesota, Northern Illinois, West Ohio, East Ohio, Baltimore-Washington, Virginia, Tennessee, Memphis, Holston, North Georgia, and South Georgia. (That said, Mullin encourages anyone interested to apply, particularly if they know others in their area who are also interested and could be part of the same regional group.)

 “Many people have thought of God’s creation in terms of advocacy but not as a valid mission of the church,” said Watkins. “God’s creation is as appropriate a mission field as Nigeria or the Philippines or wherever else. In order to be in mission to God’s people, we have to be in ministry to God’s creation.”—Christa Meland

 

UMCOR Sunday Set for March 31

For more than 50 years, United Methodist congregations have been taking part in a special UMCOR Sunday offering, laying the foundation for the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s ministry of relief and hope.

Although UMCOR is known for its cleaning buckets, and school and hygiene kits, did you know the agency is also at work with the migrant crisis? Or did you know UMCOR provides legal services through Justice for our Neighbors (JFON)? How about clean water? Case management during times of disaster? 

The donations UMCOR receives through this offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, cover all of their administrative costs. Gifts like these make it possible for UMCOR to use 100 percent of all other contributions on the specific projects or missions designated. UMCOR does not receive United Methodist World Service or apportionment funds, so without these offerings, UMCOR would not exist.

Most congregations celebrate UMCOR Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is March 31 this year. If this conflicts with other events, local churches are encouraged to choose another date. Resources to promote this special Sunday offering—such as bulletin inserts, posters, and more—are available on the umcgiving.org website.

As the relief and development arm of the church, UMCOR allows United Methodists and churches to become involved globally in direct ministry to persons in need through programs of relief, rehabilitation, and service, including those that deal with displaced persons, hunger and poverty, disaster response, and disaster risk reduction. UMCOR also assists organizations, institutions, and programs related to annual conferences and other units of The United Methodist Church in their involvement in direct service to such persons in need.


“The Movement Continues” Emphasizes Our Calling

United Methodist Communications has launched a new advertising campaign that seeks to inspire church members and leaders to feel encouraged, assured and hopeful about the future of the denomination.

“The Movement Continues” campaign reminds us that the foundation of The United Methodist Church has always been to follow God’s call of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

“This campaign is an important reminder that the church will continue in our mission no matter how it might be structured or what the outcome of the 2019 Special Session may be,” said Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “God calls us in various ways, and we have responded throughout the church’s history, up until the present day and into the future. Our call does not change.” 

The ads use a series of verbs to focus attention on how we respond to God’s call: worship, love, pray, praise, serve, build, connect, teach, grow, heal, share, or study. For

example, “Moved to worship—our response to God’s call continues. The foundation of The United Methodist Church has always been to follow God's call of making disciples of Jesus Christ. We do that in many ways and many places. Yesterday. Today. Forever.” 

The new ads appear online, in various church publications and at the event venue for the 2019 Special Session in St. Louis.

A companion to the advertising is “The Movement Continues” website at UMC.org/movement. This site offers visitors an opportunity to read and watch stories of United Methodists responding to their own calls and learn more about our Wesleyan heritage as the people of The United Methodist Church.

In addition, the page offers resources for local churches and annual conferences to use, including downloadable versions of the ads formatted for use in social media, web banners and church bulletins.


Feet in the Local Church; Wings in Worldwide Church

BY GLORY E. DHARMARAJ, Ph.D.

“History has many cunning passages and contrived corridors,” says the speaker in T.S. Eliot’s poem, “Gerontian.”

In this poetic world, history is a scrutiny of the way we look at ourselves as well as discern the past, as history itself is apportioned to us in digestible sizes. But in today’s quantum leap of history, which is more like a muddled ball of chaos and confusion, an experience a few weeks ago made me stand tall, as I aligned myself with the rich mission history of the New York Conference.

Between Christmas and New Year, my husband and I were invited to the 25th wedding anniversary of Asha and Sundeep Thomas in Bangalore, India. They had transferred their membership from Indira Nagar Methodist Church in Bangalore, to Shrub Oak United Methodist Church in New York about 11 years ago, when my husband, Rev. Dr. Jacob Dharmaraj, was the pastor.

Just before attending that ceremony, I took a tour of the Indira Nagar Methodist Church in India. A large engraved granite plaque at the entrance grabbed my attention. It reads, “This church was built with the help of the churches of United Methodist Church, New York Conference, U.S.A.” As I read those words, it dawned on me how our rich mission engagement binds all Methodists together through the hub and spokes of our connectional system. As I often say, “Our roots are in the local church, and the wings in the worldwide Church.”

New York Conference has played a key role in the mission movement of the United Methodist Church. The first Methodist congregation in this country was organized in New York City in 1766 by Barbara Heck, an immigrant woman, often called the “Mother of American Methodism.”

The first Missionary and Bible Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church was founded on April 5, 1819, by Rev. Dr. Nathan Bangs, an ordained elder of the New York Conference. This parent society later became the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). Just 90 days after that founding on July 5, 1819, the earliest women’s mission society in the United States was started. This auxiliary society is the historic forerunner of the United Methodist Women (UMW), and was founded at the Wesleyan Seminary on Forsyth Street with the purpose of inviting all the “females attached to the Methodist congregations . . . to form a Society.”1

With a plea and an appeal, the Society sent out a letter to all the women in the Methodist congregations saying, “Shall we who dwell in ease and plenty, whose tables are loaded with the bounties of Providence and whose persons are clothed with the fine-wrought materials of the Eastern looms; shall we who sit under the droppings of the sanctuary, and are blessed with the stated ordinances of the House of God, thus highly, thus graciously privileged,—shall we deny the small subscription this institution solicits to carry the glad tidings of free salvation to the scattered inhabitants of the wilderness?”2 This was the first organized effort to form a women’s missionary society in the Methodist Church. An unmarried African-American woman, Eunice Sharpe, went to Liberia in 1835. She was partially funded by the women of a local Methodist mission society in New York City.3

First Single Woman Missionary from NY

Soon the pioneering missionary spirit of the Methodist Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church leapt across two continents and reached Africa. In 1837, the society sent forth Ann Wilkins, below, a widow, as a missionary to Liberia. She founded the first Methodist Girls’ School in Millsburgh, north of Monrovia, Liberia.4

Jim StinsonWilkins was born near West Point, N.Y., along the Hudson River. When she was fourteen, she was converted to God, and later at a camp meeting in 1836, she committed herself to go as a missionary to Liberia, Africa. During the offertory, she put her offering and a note along with it, saying, “A sister who has little money at her command, gives that little cheerfully, and is willing to give her life as a female teacher, if she is wanted.”

Rev. Dr. Bang was deeply moved by the passion of this young woman. Wilkins work was fully supported by the funds of the Female Missionary Society. Later, other female missionaries followed in her footsteps.


A plaque in a church in India making connections to the New York Conference.

Long after Wilkins’ death, her letters written from Liberia were found in a chintz bag of one Mrs. Thomas Mason, the “first directress” of the Female Missionary Society of New York. These letters were true testimonies to Wilkins’ vision, passion, and dedication. In one she wrote, “My earnest desire and daily prayer is that all my pupils may come to be true-hearted Christians, and live to do much in disseminating the truth of the glorious Gospel….”5

Movement versus structure

Ann Wilkins found her resting place in Maple Grove Cemetery on Long Island, N.Y. Her monument bears the inscription, “Here lies Ann Wilkins, a Missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church to Liberia from 1836–1856. Died November 13, 1857 at the age of 51 years. Having little money at command, she gave herself. Erected by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society.”6

The Society that honored Ann Wilkins’ memory, the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is the first full-fledged missionary society of the Methodist Women founded in 1869 in Boston. This organization raised its own funds, administered it, and sent out extraordinary single female missionaries who founded schools, colleges, and medical centers all around the world.

This year the United Methodist Women members across the country are celebrating the 150th anniversary of this story of origin, while the General Board of Global Ministries celebrates its 200th anniversary. It befits us, New York Conference members, to celebrate three birthdays this year: March 23, the 150th anniversary of UMW; April 5, the 200th anniversary of American Methodist missionary movement; and July 5, the 200th anniversary of the first female auxiliary society founded.

Church-as-a-movement versus church-as-a-structure is a timeless struggle. We are poised in a unique moment that calls for celebrating the movement part of the church, lest we forget, while waiting for the structure part of the church to play out.

Dharmaraj is the former director of mission theology for the United Methodist Women.

To learn more about missionaries connected to the New York Conference, go to the Methodist Mission Bicentennial website by clicking here.

  1. Susan E. Warrick, “Mary Mason and the Female New York Missionary Society” in Methodist History 34: 4 (July 1996), 217.
  2. Frances Baker, The Story of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1869–1895 (New York: Hunt & Eaton, 1896), 9.
  3. Dana Robert, American Women in Mission, A Social History of Their Thought and Practice (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1997), 116.
  4. J.P. Durbin, “Mrs. Ann Wilkins” in The Ladies Repository 19:11 (November 1859), 641–42.
  5. Cora Perryman, “Ann Wilkins of Liberia Mission” in World Outlook (February 1964), 90–91.
  6. Frances Baker, 36–37.

Servelli Hired as NYAC Property Manager

Jim StinsonDaniel Servelli, right, has joined the New York Conference staff as the new property manager based out of the White Plains office.

Servelli most recently worked at BLT Industries in Stamford, Conn., as assistant property manager. In that role he was responsible for the daily management of several commercial facilities.

His primary responsibilities will be to care for the conference center building, the episcopal residence and discontinued churches within the portfolio of the Conference Board of Trustees. Servelli will also serve in a consulting capacity to local churches as time permits.

Servelli has a both a bachelor of arts degree and a master’s in business administration from Dominican College in Orangeburg, N.Y. He and his family reside in Stamford.

He can be reached via email or at 914-615-2214.


JOB OPENING

Receptionist/Administrative Assistant

The New York Conference has an opening for a receptionist-administrative assistant to work with the director of connectional ministries and the coordinator of Mission Ministries.

This position greets, assists and directs conference guests and inquiries, coordinates hospitality, meeting room use, and the conference calendar.

As the conference receptionist, this position assists employees and conference committee members with meetings, catering, and technical equipment use. This position maintains knowledge of the conference website to assist customers with navigating online information; updates the internal telephone listings, performs periodic maintenance on the phone system, sorts and delivers mail and packages.

The administrative assistant focuses on recording and disseminating information, scheduling onsite and off-site meetings and events, travel coordination, database management, facilitating communication and performing other duties as requested. Additionally, the administrative assistant will be required to keep financial records and track receipts and expenses.

A full job description and application details can be found in the classifieds section of the NYAC website.

OBITUARY

Bernice E. Ford

Bernice E. Ford, 94, of Middletown, N.Y., died January 7, 2019. She was the widow of Rev. Newton B. Ford, who served the New York Conference for 30 years and died in 2000.

The daughter of Ward and Bertha Freese VanLoan, Ford was born on January 13, 1924, in East Jewett, N.Y. She and Newton were high school sweethearts. They were married in 1944, when Newton was on furlough during World War II. While Newton served overseas, Bernice worked in a clothing factory supporting the war effort.

Ford assisted her husband and played the organ in the various churches that he served, including Callicoon, Fremont Center, Hankins, North Branch, Grahamsville, Sundown, Highland Mills, Mountainville, Stamford and Harpersfield, all in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. She was an avid music box collector. Newton retired in 1992 and he and Bernice moved to Middletown, N.Y.

Survivors include a daughter, Nadine S. (Joseph) Bravo of Central Valley, N.Y; and a son, Neil R. Ford of Pine Bush, N.Y. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Christine (Eric) Wood, Cynthia (Christopher) Ladanyi and Catherine (Nicholas) White, and by great-grandchildren, Ryan Wood and Ethan Ladanyi, and three nephews.

A service of remembrance was held on January 26 at the Highland Mills UMC, Highland Mills, N.Y.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Highland Mills UMC Food Pantry, 654 Route 32, Highland Mills, NY 10930.


Bishops Respond to NY Reproductive Health Act

Editor’s Note: The following statement was released on January 31, 2019, by New York Area Resident Bishop, Thomas J. Bickerton, and Upper New York Area Resident Bishop, Mark J. Webb, about the Reproductive Health Act that was signed into New York State law earlier in the month.

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ!

The conversation about abortion has dominated the media over the last few days. In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, one of the most sweeping expansions of abortion rights since abortion was legalized in New York State in 1970. Some commend this action as a significant step toward securing women’s rights and health. Others fear the less restrictive provisions of the new law will lead to an increase in abortions and especially late-term abortions.

Although the number of abortions in New York State has declined in recent years (a trend mirrored across the country), New York has twice the number of abortions as any other state according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan research organization.

The new law now permits abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy in cases where a woman’s life or health are threatened or when an unborn child is deemed not viable and unable to survive outside its mother’s womb. It also allows health care providers to determine what constitutes a health threat to a pregnant woman and expands authorized health care providers to include not only physicians, but licensed nurse practitioners, physician assistants and licensed midwives.

As United Methodists, we are clear about several things related to abortion. Our Social Principles state, “The beginning of human life and ending of life are the God-given boundaries of human existence. While individuals have always had some degree of control over when they would die, they now have the awesome power to determine when and even whether new individuals will be born”. Our Social Principles also state that “We are equally bound to respect

the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child. We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers . . . We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics. We oppose the use of late term abortion known as dilation and extraction (partial-birth abortion) and call for the end of this practice except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life”. (Social Principles, ¶161K).” 

Our Social Principles challenge us to work for the “diminishment of high abortion rates” by “encourage[ing] ministries to reduce unintended pregnancies such as comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education, advocacy in regard to contraception, and support for initiatives that enhance the quality of life for all women and girls around the globe.” We urge you to talk with other leaders about how your church might engage in these kinds of ministries.

We are supportive of our church’s current stance on abortion as expressed in our denomination’s Social Principles and encourage you to use these principles as a basis of education and conversation on this sensitive issue in particular.

We know passions run high on all sides of the abortion debate and in the midst of those conversations we know God calls us to a future where the value of every human life – including every woman and every unborn child - is honored and protected. The way to that future will not be found through finger pointing, legislating, or even church programs, but only by walking the path of Jesus with one another. 

Grace and Peace,
Thomas J. Bickerton
Resident Bishop, New York Area

Mark J. Webb 
Resident Bishop, Upper New York Area


After Record Apportionment Giving, Mixed News in 2018

BY HEATHER HAHN
UMNS | For four consecutive years, The United Methodist Church kept breaking records in the number of U.S. conferences that paid full apportionments.

That trend came to a halt in 2018.

However, in its annual press release on church giving released late last month, the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration offered some decidedly mixed news.

This past year, 26 U.S. annual conferences paid 100 percent of requested giving to support general church ministries. That is down from 29 conferences in 2017 and 27 in 2016. The New York Conference has paid in full in each of those years.

Across the oceans, eight central conference episcopal areas—most of which contain multiple annual conferences—paid at least 100 percent apportionments. That is down from nine areas in 2017, the first year the finance agency reported giving from the central conferences—church regions in Africa, Europe and the Philippines.

All told, the overall payout rate of requested giving was down 1.8 percent from what the finance agency tallied the previous year.

But the overall dollar amount was slightly up by $19,473, compared to 2017 when the general church received about $133.2 million in apportionments. Thirty-five of 56 U.S.

conferences actually paid more in 2018 than in 2017.

The dollar amount of requested giving fluctuates from year to year, hence the variation.

“It is not always easy for an annual conference to pay its general church apportionment,” said Bishop Michael McKee, president of the finance agency’s board. He also leads the North Texas Conference.

“We appreciate the hard work of each annual conference and episcopal area that contributed to the church reaching the 90 percent collection rate for all apportioned funds. God be praised in our ministry together.”

The 26 U.S. annual conferences that paid 100 percent apportionments in 2018 are: Alaska, Baltimore-Washington, California-Nevada, Desert Southwest, East Ohio, Greater New Jersey, Illinois Great Rivers, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New England, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest, Peninsula-Delaware, Red Bird Missionary, Rocky Mountain, Susquehanna, Tennessee, Upper New York, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Yellowstone.

The eight episcopal areas in the central conferences that paid 100 percent are: Central and Southern Europe, East Congo, Eastern Angola, Eurasia, Germany, Liberia, Nordic-Baltic areas and the Davao area in the Philippines. Those episcopal areas encompass 29 of the 80 annual conferences in Africa, Europe and the Philippines. 



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

New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

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