"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, 2015

In this issue:

2015 Annual Conference

"Heed the Call, God Will Qualify"


“Remember, this is not your call. This is God’s call,” said retired Bishop Ernest Lyght to the candidates and clergy gathered for Saturday morning’s celebration of ministry. “If God sends you, God will qualify you.”

He went on to tell those to be ordained that although the Board of Ordained Ministry had qualified them, and the clergy session had qualified them, they wouldn’t truly be ready until “God qualified them.”

Lyght, who has served the New York Conference as both resident bishop and interim, was the guest preacher for the recognition of five local pastors, the commissioning of 11 provisional members, and ordination of three on June 13 at Hofstra University.

Following the processional with dancers waving flags and clergy in red stoles, interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton opened the morning service with prayer and then went on to introduce Lyght, Christian Methodist Episcopal Bishop James Walker, and the two other retired UM bishops present, Herbert F. Skeete and Alfred Johnson.

Rev. Eileen Daunt, registrar for local pastors, presented those to receive the license: to Peter L. Brown, Walter C. Haff, Donna R. LeRoy, Amy A. Tompkins, and Ximena A. Varas. John Parille, who was unable to attend, was also recognized as a new local pastor. The group was given new red scapulars as a sign of their accomplishments.

Conference Lay Leader Renata Smith, Rev. Bill Pfohl, and Rev. John Simmons presented the 11 candidates for commissioning, with Arletha Miles-Boyce named as a provisional deacon, and the rest as provisional elders:

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton, above, congrats Daniel Cho, Suhee Kim and Hwi Joon Park on their ordination. Bishop Ernest Lyght urged the group to keep in step with Jesus.

Bishop LyghtKarina Feliz, Melissa Hinnen, Steve Young Dong Kim, Yountae Kim, Joyce Jayoon Lee, Sunjoo Lee, Sharon Petgrave-Cundy, Alison VanBuskirk Philip, Siobhan Sargent, and Derrick Watson. Philip was not present at the service, having given birth to her first child just days earlier.

Smith, Pfohl, and Rev. Vicki Fleming then introduced the ordination class of Daniel Cho, Suhee Kim and Hwi Joon Park. Bishop Middleton conducted the general examination of the candidates.

Lyght likened a life following Christ to that of a marching band.

“I’ve seen people walking all raggedy in a band,” he said. They’re all out of step . . . it’s easy to fall out of step, but we need to get in step with Jesus Christ,” Lyght said as he stressed the need for a strong and consistent prayer life.

“God’s way is the only sure way,” Lyght said. “You don’t need a GPS. God prepares the way and God provides on the way.”

When parishioners have leaned on him as pastor a little too much, Lyght has told them, “If you’re following me you’re in some deep trouble. If you’re following Jesus Christ, we’re in the same boat.”

The newly commissioned, take in the cheers PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE PARSONS
Wrapping Up Conference Business

2016 Budget

The budget of $8,143,308 was passed quickly in the plenary session. When no questions were raised after the budget presentation, Bishop Middleton prompted laughter by asking the body, “Are you all okay? Are you alright?” The 2016 budget is a 1.9 percent increase over 2015. The approved budget can be viewed here: http://www.nyac.com/cfa

Bishop Middleton enters the arena

Petitions & Reports

All but three of the petitions and reports considered in the legislative sections were placed on the consent calendar. A petition entitled, “Eliminate Bias Against Rural and Suburban Ministries,” was pulled from the consent calendar, but was voted down on the floor. The three petitions—support for the Walk to Emmaus, fossil fuel divestment, and changes to the Discipline paragraph 161.F on human sexuality—were all passed in plenary.

Sixteen of the approved petitions will be submitted to the 2016 General Conference for consideration. The 16 deal with issues of accessibility, bias against those with disabilities, the systemic effects of racism, regulation of E-cigarettes, gender identity, religious liberty, and codified discrimination in the United Methodist Church.

Corporate Session

The Board of Trustees reported:

• The sale of four church buildings in the past year: Norwalk First, Woodmere/Lawrence, Port Chester/Summerfield, and Tompkins Corners

• The sale of Camp Epworth, and the Port Chester UMC parsonage.

• The pending sale of the Rye UMC

The plenary voted to:

• Discontinue two churches: Mamakating UMC in the Catskill Hudson District, and The Community Church of East Norwich in the Long Island East District.

• Support a proposal to pursue selling the episcopal residence in New Rochelle, and buying a new home before the new bishop arrives in September 2016.

• Reject a resolution dictating that the proceeds from the sale of the First UMC of South Norwalk and its parsonage be available for ministry use in any urban area, not just the Norwalk area. The resolution was rescinded by the trustees following the vote.

Rev. David Czeisel gets into the beat for the processional.

Trustees Election

Rev. David D. Henry was elected to fill a vacancy in the class of 2018 on the conference board of trustees. Members of the new class of 2019 are Rev. Dr. Brian R. Bodt, Tiffany French, Colette H. Stanford, and Claude N. Stuart.

Church Mergers

Six churches have merged; the mergers require no action on the part of the voting body.

•  Broadway Temple and Christ Church United Methodist in Manhattan have merged as Christ Church.

•  Mount Calvary and St. Marks in Manhattan have merged with the name to be determined.

•  Grace English and Grace Spanish in Manhattan have merged as Grace UMC.

UMCOR Relief Kits

Kits brought to Hofstra to be shipped off to UMCOR numbered 3,727. In that total were 3,498 health kits, 18 sewing kits, 140 birthing kits, 64 school kits and seven layettes. The Connecticut District topped the donations with 1,114 health kits.

The youth orchestra from NY Plainview UMC


•  Young Clergy Debt Assistance Program: $7,578.75. (It was reported by the trustees that 12 young clergy have been helped thus far through this program begun by Bishop Martin D. McLee.)

•  Black College Fund: $5,372

•  Anchor House: $4,966

•  Imagine No Malaria: $61,215.60. (That brings the total collected to $732,155.97 toward the conference goal of $1.2 million. You can still donate by sending a check with “INM” on the memo line to: Imagine No Malaria, 20 Soundview Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. We have until May 2016 to complete pledges.)

The five newly licensed local pastors wear red scapulars to mark their changed status.

MFSA Award

Rev. Scott Summerville was awarded the Gwen and C. Dale White Award at the Methodist Federation for Social Action dinner on June 11. Summerville, who has served Asbury-Crestwood UMC in Tuckahoe, N.Y., since 2000, has 30 years experience in parish ministry in urban, small town and suburban settings.

According to Rev. Paul Fleck, Summerville was selected for his outstanding advocacy on behalf of those on the margins both inside and outside of the church, particularly LGBTQ persons. Lately, he has been active in encouraging the conference to be more open in encouraging LGBTQ persons’ participation in ordained ministry through the “We Are” project.

Summerville is also a trainer for both clergy and laity in issues relating to church conflict, congregational health, and professional boundaries and ethics for clergy.

The Spirit Builders performed during the Saturday ordination service.

26 Churches Earn Mission Awards

Mission “GLocal” awards were presented to the following 26 churches (listed by district) during a dinner on June 12:

Catskill Hudson

Gold: New Paltz

Silver: Kaaterskill and East Jewett

Bronze: Overlook, Monticello, and Hillsdale


Gold: Golden Hill and Simsbury

Silver: Bristol Prospect and Great Hill

Bronze: First Ansonia, First Wallingford, and Shelton

Long Island East

Gold: Babylon, Centerport, New York Plainview, and Long Island Korean

Silver: Islip and Union, East Northport

Long Island West

Bronze: Immanuel-First Spanish


Gold: Wakefield Grace

Bronze: Bronx Epworth

New York/Connecticut

Gold: First Stamford, New Canaan, and Shrub Oak

Bronze: Putnam Valley Grace

To learn more about this award and the qualifications, go to the conference web site at: www.nyac.com/glocalaward.

Cross Donated

The stunning six-foot acrylic cross that was the focal point of the altars all week has been donated to the annual conference. The cross, which holds red, orange, and yellow foil triangles, was given by David and Helen-Marie Berthold, and Alfred and Peggy Hanson. Helen-Marie and Peggy are sisters. The Bertholds own the company that manufactured the cross, Ehren-Haus Industries in Fort Mill, S.C. The Hansons, who are members of the Trinity-Boscobel UMC, serve on the conference worship team.

Special thanks to The Vision team for conference: Stephanie Parsons, Won Tack Lee, Denis Stuart, Jennifer Harmer, Peggy Laemmel, and Melissa Hinnen.

A welcome from Shinnecock Elder Elizabeth Thunder Bird Haile

Waters from across the conference were mingled

Lay delegates create breath prayers

Rev. Sheila Beckford, left, and Rev. Dr. Leslie Duroseau escort Bishop Jane Allen Middleton to center stage

The dramatics arts team performs in opening worship

Others line up to share stories of grace received in holy conferencing


...was a day to honor transitions as we celebrated the retirement of 18 clergy members (above) and and mourned the loss of 26 clergy, laity, and their loved ones, below, including Bishop Martin D. McLee.

John Wesley paid a visit to explain how conference should be a means of grace

The music was stunning and inspiring, from a haunting solo with violin during the memorial service (above left)
to the Harriman UMC music team featuring siblings, Wendy Paige and Jermaine Paul (above right),
who got the gathering on their feet at the end of the day.


...was a day to commission new missionary Elizabeth Tapia, at right, and thank retired missionary, Joyce Hill, below; to offer healing for past atrocities and current trials; to celebrate strides to eradicate malaria.

Act of Repentance: Kevin Tarrant (above) plays a native drum and chants; gray ribbons are tied on as reminders of the covenant to “never again” allow injustices against Native American people (above right).

Bishop Middleton joins “malaria superheroes” at mission celebration (above); prayers for healing at anointing service (left).

NYAC Faces

Even Imagine No Malaria Coordinator Lynda Gomi isn’t safe from sneak attacks by the little biters.

Singers from the conference music team

Rev. Dr. Derrick-Lewis Noble offers his report on church revitalization

Right: outgoing and incoming secretaries
Fred Jackson and Margaret Howe

Worship leader Rev. Charles Ryu

Zamzam Quraishy of Hicksville UMC shares a moment of grace

5/15–16 “Day of Dance” Conference
The Spirit Builders Ministry of the NYAC is sponsoring this

7/1 GC Volunteers Needed
Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles during the 2016 General Conference. Those roles include recorders, channel “B” identifiers, verbatim transcribers and copy editors. The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly, will meet in Portland, Oregon, from May 10 to 20, 2016. All volunteers are responsible for their own travel and expenses. Those interested can apply online by July 1 at www.umc.org/who-we-are/general-conference-2016.

7/1 Submit GC Petitions
If you are submitting a petition to the 2016 General Conference without digital media (on a CD or USB drive), it must still be typed, double-spaced and submitted by July 1. Handwritten or hand-printed submissions will not be accepted. The final deadline for petitions using digital media is Oct. 13. For more information, go to: www.umc.org/who-we-are/online-petition-submission.

7/3 Conference Office Hours
The conference office begins its summer hours and will be closed on Fridays and Saturdays throughout July and August.

7/23–25 Mission u
This year’s program will explore “Journeying to Wholeness, Holiness, and Happiness,” as it convenes at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Studies will include “Created for Happiness: Understanding Your Life in God,” a geographic look of Latin America, and “The Church and People with Disabilities.” The Saturday sampler for those looking for a one-day program will also be offered. This year there are two housing options: stay on campus for $325 or make your own reservation at the Ethan Allen Inn and register as “a commuter” for $235. For additional details and to register by July 1, go to www.nyac.com/eventdetail/910766. Gail Ross is serving as registrar, and can be contacted at ross4som@yahoo.com.

7/30–31 Drew Music Institute
The Drew Theological School presents its 10th annual summer music institute, “T.R.A.N.S.—Worship Beyond Borders.” (Trans: a Latin noun or prefix, meaning across, beyond or on the opposite side.) Learn and grow in a community that moves across, beyond and into the opposite side where God and love is found. Instructors include Mark Miller, Tanya Linn Bennett, Lydia Muñoz, Jim McIntire, Rev. Chris Heckert, Eric Valosin, and Teresita Matos-Post. For more info and to register, go to: www.drew.edu/theological/programs-of-study/conferences-lectures/smi/.

8/2–8 Camp Lead for Youth
Camp Lead is a youth-led leadership program held at the conference’s Camp Quinipet on Shelter Island. Attendees are required to currently be in grades 8–11 and must be a first time participant. Each church is allowed a maximum of two participants; each attendee should have a letter of recommendation from the pastor or church council. The church will support the attendee by paying the $495 registration fee. For details, go to: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/1036958.

9/10–12 Local Pastor Licensing School
The Board of Ordained Ministry will hold its second licensing school for local pastors at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn. The four modules will meet on September 10–12, October 8–10, November 5–7, and December 3–5. Attending all four modules is necessary to complete the licensing requirements. Clergy instructors will train these soon-to-be pastors for a firm foundation for local church pastoral ministry. For further information about the school, contact Rev. Eileen M Daunt, local pastor registrar, at Eileen.Daunt@nyac-umc.com.

10/2–4 NEJ Leadership Conference
The Northeast Jurisdiction is providing a high-energy training opportunity for emerging leaders with the “See, Know, Love” conference at Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Penn. The keynote speakers for this transformational leadership conference will include:

  • Fiona Haworth, a spirit-filled, hospitality-driven corporate executive who brings the best of the boardroom to the church
  • Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, a visionary, boundary-breaking Lutheran pastor
  • Leaders from The Chapel, a United Methodist church that is revolutionizing discipleship

Costs include: $25 for registration, and $140 for the meal plan. Rooms are $159 a night. Scholarships for young emergent leaders are available. For additional information and to register, go to: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/1007904.


More events available on the NYAC calendar>>

Got an Event to Share?

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Middleton: Pray, Speak Out Against Injustice

Grace and peace in the name of our risen Christ!

Our hearts are broken as we mourn the tragic deaths of nine members of the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston, South Carolina, including the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was a dedicated pastor and a state senator. This cowardly, brutal act, committed as Christians gathered for worship and prayer, is a violation of all that we hold sacred. We cry out, “How long, Oh Lord?” as yet again innocent persons are the victims of racist gun violence.

Surely, Jesus weeps with us at this atrocity. Can there ever be an end to racially motivated massacres? The outrageous violation of the holy space of our sister Pan Methodist congregation is an outrage to all people of faith and a threat to all houses of worship. Most of all, racial ethnic congregations are confronted with the possibility of being targeted.

We must continue to speak against the systemic, insidious evil of racism and its unimaginable consequences. This tragedy is but one instance of many layers of injustice heaped upon persons

who by the color of their skin are marginalized and discriminated against. In this time we must search our own hearts for any ways in which we by commission or omission perpetuate this evil.

I call upon the churches of the New York Annual Conference to hold the families of these victims in prayer and to renew our commitment to work for justice for all persons.

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton

UM Bishops Reach Out After Charleston Shooting

In the wake of the tragic shooting of nine people attending Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is reaching out to their colleague bishops in the African Methodist Episcopal Church with a message of prayer and healing. 

The bishops also called upon United Methodists to support victims of violence and to work to end racism and hatred. Their message echoed that of a pastoral letter on racism issued by the council to the denomination in early May.

A letter from the President of the Council, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., to the bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church reads:

“Dear Bishop Bryant and colleague African Methodist Episcopal Bishops,

Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior of our broken world.

Your sisters and brothers in the Council of Bishops and congregations of The United Methodist Church are in prayer with and for you in the wake of the racist murders and hateful violence at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  May the Holy Spirit endow you with a full measure of love, wisdom and courage as you lead the Church and witness to the world in this consequential time.

We join in mourning the tragic loss of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and the other victims who were meeting with prayers offered to the One who is our hope.  

People pray outside Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., after deadly shooting at “Mother Emanuel,” the oldest AME church in the South.

We are all now a part of a global prayer meeting for these families and all families and communities deeply wounded by racism and violence.  We unite voices in proclaiming, “If God is for us, who can be against us? ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!” (Romans 8)

As other recent events of violence and racism have compelled us to do, again we call on United Methodists and all people of good will to support the victims of this and all acts of violence, to work to end racism and hatred, to seek peace with justice, and to live the prayer that our Lord gave us, that God’s “kingdom come, (and) will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

We go forward with Wesley’s assurance that “Best of all God is with us.”

In Christ’s Love,
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., President
The Council of Bishops

The United Methodist Church is in a full communion relationship with the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the other member Methodist denominations of the Pan-Methodist Commission.

Dishonesty May Be More Painful Than Illness

By Rev. Jim Stinson
Consultant for Older Adult Ministries

Jim Stinson“There has to be something very wrong with me. I can’t eat. I am losing weight. I have a lot of pain, unless I take a lot of medicine. My doctor and my family tell me not to worry. It is nothing that will not heal in time. But I don’t believe them! Why are they lying to me? I wish they would be honest with me. I feel like I can’t trust them.”

How sad! And yet I hear older people express the same emotion many times. In this instance, I know she has end-stage cancer and the family has convinced the doctor that she is too old and frail to handle the news.

My suspicion is a different reality. The family members are likely not willing to deal with her response to such news. They are afraid they will not be able to face it. She is suffering as much from their lack of honesty, and thereby not getting the emotional support she is clearly needs. To be sure, the family loves her deeply and would do anything else for her. They forget, or don’t hear, an increasingly used statement in my ministry with this age group.

“Our older adults mostly have not reached the age they are by hiding from truth. They are often stronger spiritually than we think. They did not get to this age by being weak, they have learned coping mechanisms throughout their lives.”

So I find myself reflecting once again on the pain and loneliness an older person must feel when they can no longer trust their loved ones or their doctor. They feel separated from the very ones they’d likely choose to share their feelings with, and suffer with, emotionally as well. In those times of reflection, I also wonder what a gift for both care receiver and caregiver is missed, out of a misunderstanding of each other. What could be a time of

deep sharing, of saying goodbye, of wrapping up one’s life journey becomes a time of physical care, doctor’s visits, and the skirting of issues, the acknowledgement of which would help everyone grow. It is often a missed last opportunity to truly be with a loved one.

What a blessing it is to hear someone say at the death of a loved one, “I have no regrets. Mom, Dad, whoever and I had the best time of our lives at the end. I don’t know what it was, but in those last months, we really got to know each other. We didn’t have any secrets.” It is truly a blessing to be part of such moments.

So, except in rare circumstances, follow the teaching we all know by heart: “The truth will set you free.”

Jim Stinson

Connectional Table Adopts Principles
for Discerning Plans

The Connectional Table, while meeting in Nashville in May, voted to adopt principles to aid United Methodists in discerning plans when shaping and guiding the mission and ministry of the church.  

“Because of the worldwide nature of our denomination, we have many views of who we are, who we are to be in God’s eyes and how we collectively achieve those aspirations,” the document stated.

“By adopting these concepts of discernment, we are asking people to understand that there are matters in the works that require patience,” said Fred Brewington, leader of the Connectional Table team that wrote the principles document. Brewington is a member of the New York Conference.

There are many formal and informal proposals addressing different aspects of the future structure, organization, relationships and processes requiring principles to assist the church as it discusses, approaches, engages and makes decisions. While the Connectional Table neither adopts or

endorses any of the proposals, the Connectional Table affirms principles to assist the church in the process of making decisions for the future, the document stated.

The adopted principles include:

•  Do no harm, do all the good we can, and  stay in love with God

•  Not act in haste and allow God to order our steps

•  Welcome the movement of the Holy Spirit and be open to new revelations

•  Engage in meaningful discernment with active listening

•  Respect our differences and embrace our unity in Christ

•  Be intentionally inclusive of all God’s people

•  Be mindful of the impact processes have on God’s people

•  Be willing to reposition the prism through which we view the world

•  Engage in radical openness to foster genuine dialogue and cooperation

The need for affirming principles resulted from the work of the Connectional Table during the current quadrennium, when members developed a heightened understanding  of how The United Methodist Church is configured in the many places around the world. Some examples of that work include:

•  The worldwide nature of the denomination and the implications that arise from it

•  What constitutes a Global Book of Discipline

•  Working on processes to fully and carefully address questions regarding the denomination’s jurisdictional structure in the United States within a global context

•  Collaborating with the General Board of Church and Society on the review and reshaping of the Social Principles


Rev. Milca C. Plaud

Rev. Milca PlaudRev. Dr. Milca Celeste Plaud, pastor of Co-op City UMC (Iglesia Evangelica de Co-op City), Bronx, N.Y., died on June 4, one day before her 62nd birthday.

Plaud was born in Puerto Rico, where she became a teacher, offering instruction in different subjects at a variety of grade levels. Her passion for teaching led to her ministry calling. She moved to Lancaster, Penn., to pursue a master’s in divinity degree at Lancaster Theological Seminary, and served as pastor of El Redentor UMC there.

In 1985, she moved to New York where she was appointed to serve the United Methodist Church of Co-Op City, then a Spanish-speaking congregation meeting in a community center. In her long tenure with the church, Plaud oversaw the construction of the church’s own building, the creation of an English-speaking congregation, and the founding of Crescendo Christian Music School.

Throughout her career, Plaud also worked as an editor of Spanish resources for the General Board of Global Ministries, and served on the Spanish Advisory Committee for “Intérprete” magazine with UM Communications. She also served on the Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the conference Board of Ordained Ministry, and was president of the conference Hispanic Council. Plaud was also named as chaplain for the Co-Op City Department of Public Safety.

Plaud is survived by daughters, Natalia and Claudia Celeste Alvarez-Plaud. A funeral was held at the church on June 9, with Bishop Jane Allen Middleton officiating.

Rev. Edward F. Dobihal, Jr.

Rev. Edward F. Dobihal, Jr.The Reverend Edward F. Dobihal, Jr., who founded Yale-New Haven Hospital’s religious ministries programs and co-founded the country’s first hospice, died on May 30 in Hamden, Conn., at age 87.

He was born in Baltimore in 1927, and began his pastoral service in the Baltimore Conference where he was received as a deacon in 1951 and appointed to attend school. The following year he was appointed to Lafayette Church in Jersey City, N.J. He was granted elder’s orders and full membership in 1953.

His ministry as a chaplain began with a 1955 appointment to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he eventually became director of Protestant chaplaincy training. In 1964, Rev. Dobihal moved to Yale-New Haven Hospital and became a full member of the New York Conference in 1966. His ministry continued in New Haven; in 1973 he became the director of the Department of Religious Ministries until retirement in 1989 with 38.5 years effective service.

Dobihal, who received a doctorate degree from Drew University in 1965, is remembered as a visionary who looked at the world and started projects that others couldn’t see or believed not be done. He helped create the Connecticut Hospice in 1974 and served as the first chairman of the hospice board. He was the husband of Shirley V. Dobihal for 67 years, and is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

A memorial service was held June 20 at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College Street, New Haven. Memorial contributions may be made to The First and Summerfield UMC, or to the Department of Spiritual Care at Yale New Haven Hospital, Hunter 507, 20 York Street, New Haven, CT 06510.

Frances Templin Olson

Fraces Templin OlsonFrances Templin Olson, the widow of Rev. Bernhard E. Olson, died May 30, at age 88. 

She worked at a variety of jobs including her aunt’s bakery, a greeting card factory, and a clothing factory, all in her native Indiana.

In New York, her work included managing Kent’s Dry Cleaners in Queens Village, N.Y., to employment for Scuder, Stevens and Clark Brokerage on Wall Street. She worked for Citibank in Melville, where she held various positions including credit card fraud investigator for 25 years. She held various positions in the churches in Hillsdale and Hancock, N.Y., as counselor for the youth fellowship.

Her husband died in 1975. Survivors include three daughters Sandra, Judith, and Terese, all of Baldwin, N.Y.

A memorial service was held June 13 at First Church Baldwin, United Methodist.

Wilmetta Turkington Abel

Wilmetta Turkington AbelWilmetta Turkington Abel died March 30, at age 91.

She was born in Princeton, N.J., to William and Emily Turkington and grew up in Wilmore, Ky. Her father was on the faculty of Asbury College, then Asbury Seminary, and finally was dean of the seminary.

She graduated from Asbury College in 1945 and married Paul Frederick Abel, also an Asbury graduate, that same year. She worked in the college library while Paul attended Asbury Seminary.

The couple moved to New York in 1949, where Rev. Abel did graduate work at Columbia University. He was ordained in the New York Conference, and the couple began almost 40 years of ministry and service in the New York City area. She also worked as a receptionist in a hospital-based physical therapy department in Port Chester, N.Y.

Abel was a leader and active participant in the life of the churches to which her husband was appointed. She gave generously of her time and resources to help those in need in her communities. After Rev. Abel retired in 1987, the couple moved to North Carolina to be near their daughter and her family.

She was predeceased by her husband in 2007, and their son, Rick Abel. She is survived by a brother, Charles G. Turkington; sister, Betty T. Jensen; daughter and son-in-law, Carol and David Wellman; daughter-in-law, Janis Abel; four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service was held on April 13 at Epworth UMC in Durham, N.C. Burial was in Wilmore. Memorial gifts may to be made to the Wilmetta Abel Memorial Fund at Fishhook International, PO Box 910691, Lexington, KY 40591, or online at www.fishhook.org. Funds designated in Abel’s memory will benefit a Christian ministry serving elderly widows in India. 

New Agreement On Scout Charters

Supernatural Ministry Program Offered

In partnership with United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, Aldersgate Renewal Ministries is offering a fully accredited, three-year doctor of ministry degree in supernatural ministry. The program involves two-week long intensives in Dayton each year as well as an annual three-day peer session on the United campus and an annual three-day peer session at the Aldersgate Renewal Center in Goodlettsville, TN. Dr. Frank Billman and Dr. Timothy Burden are the faculty mentors for this group.   

United is committed to be led by the Holy Spirit and it is committed to the renewal of the church.

New students for August and January admissions. For more information contact Dr. Frank Billman at fbillman@aldersgaterenewal.org.

Note: Conference Chancellor Larry McGaughey offered the following information during his report to the annual conference.

For the past several years, the Boy Scouts of America have been revising their charter agreement signed with their chartering organizations, including local United Methodist churches. The UMC Conference Chancellors Association has been active in the negotiations, and an agreement has been reached on the outstanding issues including indemnification of the chartering organizations. If your local church is being asked to sign a new charter agreement, based on the most recent correspondence on June 2, it is okay to do so.

The revised agreement imposes an obligation on chartering organizations to conduct background checks and otherwise be vigilant and probing when selecting troop leaders and volunteers. If the scout troop is sponsored and run by the local church itself, the church

should do the background checks and carry adequate sexual misconduct insurance.

In order to protect the children first and foremost, background checks are something every church must do both with its own and with any outside-run child and youth programs using church facilities. If the local church rents space to an independent non-profit that runs the program, the church should include in the lease that the program will conduct background checks and carry adequate sexual misconduct insurance. The church must affirmatively monitor the tenant to confirm this is being done. Your church must protect itself, its pastor and volunteers, as well as any victims, by carrying adequate sexual misconduct insurance.

The conference minimum insurance requirements recommend coverage of $1 million, which is actually very low. You can view the conference insurance standards on the web site at: www.nyac.com/insurance.

The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Resident Interim Bishop: Jane Allen Middleton

Editor: Joanne Utley

Vision e-mail: thevision@nyac.com

Web site: www.nyac.com

New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

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