"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. November, 2015

In this issue:


Rebuilding a Korean Landmark

The Korean Methodist Church and Institute in Manhattan has embarked on a grand-scale project to rebuild their deteriorating building. Demolition has begun on the structure tucked into a 25-by-100 foot lot on West 115th Street near Columbia University. The $5.6 million project is expected to take two years to complete.

The church had $4.4 million in hand when the project began, including $1 million donated by one of its church members. It still needs to raise the balance, and is hoping to receive $300,000 from the conference.

The decision to demolish the building and start anew was many years in the making.

“The greatest concern has been whether we made a right decision. Once the church conference had a final green light to go ahead with construction, fear has been literally gone,” wrote Yun. “The whole church as one body now accepts the new construction as our duty and opportunity to rebuild our church spiritually again.”

While the new build will not provide any additional space for their ministries, it will address the deteriorating condition of the building and provide a much safer environment that meets current codes. A decision about keeping the facade will be made once the rest of the building is demolished.

The church and institute were established in 1921; it was the first Korean church in the eastern

At the groundbreaking for the new Korean Methodist Church and Institute, from left, construction manager Taras Hankewycz; church elders Intaek Rim and Hyunjoong Kim; Rev. Denise Smartt Sears; Bishop Jane Allen Middleton; church elder and chair of building committee Youngbin Choo; KMCI Pastor YongBo Lee; Rev. Sungchan Kim; Rev. William Shillady; and Grace Lee.

United States. They moved to the current location in 1927. Since its inception, KMCI has held to a mission to serve as a center of its ethnic community, and a venue for worship. Many leaders, especially those in the movement to free Korea from Japanese colonial rule, have been nurtured within their walls.

Early on, Korean students studying locally were offered rooms on the third and fourth floors. The church also served as a temporary home for various student and independence organizations According to the current pastor, Rev. YongBo Lee, the church plans to install a memorial hall within the new building to hold artifacts, photos and documents from the independence movement, as well as the piano that is believed to have been used by Ahn Eak-tai to compose the “Aegukga,” South Korea’s national anthem.

While the 200 members are displaced during the construction, the church will use leased space one block away at the Broadway Presbyterian Church.

“Our church has been the center for Koreans for the past 100 years. We have a vision we will serve our community for the next 100 years,” church historian Chang Yun wrote in an email. “Based on our rich history, we are excited to envision new horizons with God’s bountiful blessings.”

Metropolitan Pastors Provide Sandy Help

Asbury UMC (Croton-on-Hudson)

Inspired by her Sandy recovery experience with the cabinet this summer, Metropolitan District Superintendent Denise Smartt Sears recently organized a team of pastors to spend three days in mission in Brooklyn and Queens.

It was wonderful to spend time with colleagues as we helped meet a need in the community. The team from the Metropolitan District did painting and cleaning at two different sites on two of the days. The second day they spent serving a hot lunch and distributing non-perishable food at the United Methodist Mission Center in Far Rockaway.

Nearly three years after Hurricane Sandy, there are still many homes and businesses in need of repair. According to Rev. Wesley Daniel, one of the work site coordinators in Brooklyn, the United Methodist Church is the only organization remaining in the area to provide recovery. While the destruction is not immediately visible on the outside of homes in Brooklyn, many continue to suffering from the effects of flooding from the storm including mold and other damage.

Jung Ung Moon and Melissa Hinnen work to pull down a bathroom ceiling.

One of the groups cleaned out a man’s basement apartment that had been damaged by more than five feet of flooding; many of his belongings had been destroyed. After we removed the trash, we began the process of pulling out bathroom fixtures and sheetrock that were growing mold. Another team will come and begin the rebuilding process so that the man can finally return to living in his apartment.

As we sorted through photographs and other items of sentimental value, the man said how thankful he was to have the assistance because he has wanted to tackle it, but didn’t know where to begin. For the first time in three years, he is able to see his floor now that all of the debris has been cleared away. He shared that his hope was restored by our presence because organizations had promised to help him but the United Methodist Church was the only one who had followed through.

Above: Metropolitan District Superintendent Denise Smartt Sears, third from left, brought a team of pastors to work serving food at the UM Mission Center in Far Rockaway. Below: Pastors Siobhan Sargent, Lydia Lebron-Rivera, and Denise Pickett chat with the cook at the UM Mission Center in Far Rockaway

Gillian Prince, who helps coordinate recovery work in Brooklyn, says that when Hurricane Sandy first swept through the New York area in October 2012, the New York Conference was able to respond quickly.

“Because we already had a structure in place through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), we were able to get to work immediately using the funds donated from United Methodists and volunteers from throughout our connection,” Prince said.

While we can be proud that the United Methodists were one of the first groups to offer relief and are continuing to respond in long term recovery, Prince and Daniel are concerned about the steady decline in the numbers of volunteers. To volunteer as an individual or a team, go to www.nyac.com/recovery.


Read the stories and see the videos in this special report
looking at the current status of the Sandy recovery effort.

Bishop, Cabinet off to Cambodia, South Korea

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton has headed off on an international mission journey along with district superintendents: Rev. Denise Smartt Sears of Metropolitan, Rev. Elizabeth Ott of New York /Connecticut, Rev. Timothy Riss of Catskill Hudson, Rev. Kenneth Keiffer of Connecticut, Rev. Sungchan Kim of Long Island West; and Ross Williams, chief financial officer, Rev. Matthew Curry, director of Connectional Ministries, and myself.

Some of us have never traveled on a mission journey before, and some are very seasoned. Together we anticipate a very meaningful time. We ask for your prayers as we begin our journey on November 12.

One of the many highlights will be the dedication of Okroch Methodist chapel and the parsonage on Sunday, November 15. Our itinerary also includes time for Bible study and fellowship at Raksmei and Samrath Methodist churches, to celebrate the women’s ministry Livelihood projects, gatherings with Cambodia Methodist Bible School students and members of the Phnom Penh Methodist Church. We

Okroch Methodist Chapel

will also tour the genocide museum and killing fields, and Angkor Wat, a temple complex that is the largest religious monument in the world and considered to be the seventh Wonder of the World.

The partnership between the Methodist Mission in Cambodia (MCC) and the New York Conference has existed for several years. In 2010, the conference funded the purchase of land in Okroch to build a church and parsonage after Rev. Romeo del Rosari, the director of MMC invited the NYAC Youth Ambassadors in Mission to worship at Okroch. Since then the relationship has been blossoming, and will be strengthened during our visit.

We are also excited to participate in the naming of the chapel at the new Okroch Methodist Church in honor of Rev. Dr. Randolph Nugent. Nugent, an elder in the NYAC, served as the general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries from 1981 to 2002 and appointed the first missionary to the Cambodia Mission.

After we leave Cambodia, we will visit Seoul Korea and be hosted by the Incheon Methodist Church for four days. There we will tour the demilitarized zone and the Appenzeller Museum, Korea’s first western-style modern educational institution that was established in 1885 by the first Methodist missionary to Korea, Henry Appenzeller.

I invite you to join us on this mission journey with your prayers and to follow us on the conference’s web site at http://nyacvim.blogspot.com/, Facebook page and under the Twitter hashtag #nyacumc.

Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie
Team Leader
Conference Mission Coordinator

11/19 Open Enrollment Deadline
Clergy must make choices on insurance and flexible spending accounts during the HealthFlex annual election which runs until November 19. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Start at www.gbophb.org Click on “Annual Election” (or “HealthFlex/WebMD” under account login).
  2. Log in (WebMD username and password).
  3. Use the “Coverage Advisor” to help your decision-making process if you have a choice of plans.
  4. Click on “Annual Election” or “HealthFlex Plan Benefits” to reach the HealthFlex online benefits portal.
  5. Choose your HealthFlex plan, FSA or HSA elections.
  6. Approve and confirm your elections before you log out.

11/26–28 Conference Office Closed
The New York Conference Center in White Plains will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

12/4 Orientation to Ministry
The Board of Ordained Ministry is holding an information session from 6–9 p.m., Friday, December 4, for any persons who might be interested in a career in ministry—high school students, young adults or adults. Anyone who is inquiring, exploring, or declaring their intention to be a candidate for ministry is required to attend one of these events before they can be certified, according to the 2012 Book of Discipline. Registration info for the event at St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield, Conn., is available at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/orientation-to-ministry-2788795. Space is limited to 50 participants. Contact Rev. Eileen Daunt with any questions at Eileen.Daunt@
, 845-883-6372 home, or 914-629-7865 cell.

More events available on the NYAC calendar>>

12/24–26 Conference Office Closed
The New York Conference Center in White Plains will be closed for the Christmas holiday.

1/1–2 Conference Office Closed
The New York Conference Center in White Plains will be closed for the New Year’s holiday.

1/9 Safe Sanctuaries Workshop
This workshop, scheduled at First UMC, 21 Fern Drive, Torrington, Conn., will be led by Cassandra Negri. The 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. workshop is designed for congregations who don’t have a written Safe Sanctuaries Policy. The workshop prepares a core team of 4 or 5 people to work with the congregation to write a policy, as well as providing information on how to train trustees, teachers, parents and pastors on the implementation of that policy. Registration details at http://www.nyac.com/eventdetail/2413373.

1/12–14 Bishop’s Convocation
Bishop Jane Allen Middleton invites NYAC clergy and spouses to join her in a time of spiritual renewal at Villa Roma Resort in Callicoon, N.Y. Deb Clifford, the founder of Inspired Church, will lead three sessions for clergy on “The Pastor as Coach.” Clifford works with leaders, teams, and church organizations to become strong, vibrant and inspired. Dr. Mackie Norris will lead three sessions for spouses and one joint session with clergy and spouses on health and wholeness. Register at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/1818625 on or before January 4 to receive the “early-bird” rates. Sign up for the Wednesday night talent show by contacting Enrique Lebron at lefam2k2@yahoo.com, or 631-805-1966.

1/18–19 Conference Office Closed
The New York Conference Center in White Plains will be closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

2/20 Lay Servant Training Begins
The Long Island East District will hold training sessions for local church and certified lay servants at the Westbury and Hamptons Bays churches on February 20, 27, and March 5, 12 and 19. Contact the LIE District office at 631-366-2396, or liedistrict@nyac-umc.com.

Got an Event to Share?

We welcome the opportunity to help publicize events that have a wide appeal to people across the conference in The Vision. To make it easier to publish your event, please send the information as a simple Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx suffix). Do not send it as a completed flyer, poster or as a PDF. Your event information will most likely appear on the “Save the Date” page. Email the event details directly to vision@nyac.com, and be sure to include contact information. The deadline for all the remaining 2015 issues is the first Friday of each month, with posting to the web site approximately 10 days later.

Noble Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Rev. Derrick-Lewis Noble, who has been on medical leave for the past few months, has announced that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition to the MS symptoms, Noble reported that he is experiencing some other issues with back and joint pain.

“I am being treated by a great team of physicians including medical doctors and specialists in alternative medicine,” Noble wrote in an email sent out to the conference.

Noble is consulting with Bishop Jane Allen Middleton and some of the NYAC

staff to determine his ability to continue his work as director of Congregational Development and Revitalization.

In that same email, Bishop Middleton wrote, “Our God has unlimited power to heal and we pray that Derrick will fully experience that healing.”

Noble offered gratitude for the signs of support he has received.

“Your love and concern have been constant sources of encouragement and strength for me. Thank you for caring, for understanding, and for letting me know that I’m in your thoughts. I miss you

Rev. Dr. Derrick-Lewis Noble
Rev. Dr. Derrick-Lewis Noble

terribly and will keep you updated as to where we go from here.”

Board of Church & Society Hires New Staff

The Board of Church and Society has appointed two new part-time staffers to organize social justice actions and increase communication about all of the CBCS activities and opportunities in the conference.

Sheila Peiffer has been named coordinator of social justice organizing, engagement and advocacy; and Bruce Lamb, associate coordinator.

Peiffer, who will be focusing on prison ministry initiatives, has a long history of working on Catholic Church reform in a number of different organizations, including the American Catholic Council and the Women’s Ordination Conference. Her passion for social justice has ranged from resettling Vietnam War refugees, to teaching in the Rising Hope prison ministry program, to facilitating a coalition of reform groups.

Peiffer has a master’s in theology from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y. She served 20 years in parish ministry, five years as a campus minister, and has done extensive work in retreat ministry. She is married to

Sheila Peiffer Bruce Lamb
Sheila Peiffer Bruce Lamb

Rev. Steven Peiffer, elder in the UMC and currently pastor of First UMC in Wallingford, Conn. She can be reached at churchandsociety@nyac-umc.com.

Lamb, who is the associate pastor at Mount Calvary/St. Mark's UMC in Harlem, will concentrate on immigration issues. He is completing his master’s of divinity at Union Theological Seminary, and serves on the steering committee of Methodist In New Directions (MIND), and is a member of the young adults committee of the NYAC.

A native of Sugar Land, Texas, Lamb moved to New York in 2009 to pursue a career in broadcasting and worked at NBC’s TODAY Show and CNN before leaving to pursue ordained ministry. He can be reached at: bruce.lamb@nyac-umc.com.

“Accompaniment” Puts New Eyes On Immigration


Scripture is filled with stories telling us to welcome the immigrant. We are reminded in Leviticus 19:34, that “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were alien in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Jesus was an immigrant refugee during his childhood. Hebrews tells us “[d]o not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

To that end, the Chinese United Methodist Church has been awarded the “Chrysalis: Birthing Immigrant Justice Movements Through Accompaniment” grant. Chinese UMC, located in the heart of New York City’s Chinatown is partnering with the NYAC Justice For Out Neighbors Coalition (JFON) and the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City for the Chrysalis Accompaniment Project. The Chrysalis Project will use the grant money to fund a training program to provide companions to accompany immigrants to their required check-ins. Thousands of immigrants are required to check-in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as they fight their deportation cases. In many cases, close family and friends cannot accompany them to their check-ins for fear of being detained, because they may be undocumented as well.

“There are times that people have to go in three times a week, and every time you go in there is trauma and fear,” explained Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition. “Anytime that someone checks in, is a day that they could be deported.”

Ragbir says the training program informs people of the inhumanity of the current immigration check-in process and helps them understand what their roles are in the process.

“Both the immigrant and volunteer have a role in this process,” said Ragbir. “First, the volunteer’s role is to support the immigrant in this process. Second, if something does happen they will be able to share information quickly with the family and the office and this makes a big difference.”

The accompaniment program is a way for Christians to offer witness. Volunteers are called “witnesses” and the immigrants are called “friends.”

“Our Scriptures are about helping each other and being there for each other. Welcoming the stranger in their midst,” said Ragbir. “This program goes one step further to help hold the system accountable to treat the immigrants with respect and dignity.”

Experience shows that the more eyes witnessing Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity, the more persons will be willing to speak out on behalf of an immigrant, the more likely it becomes that deportation can be avoided or delayed, or even that a positive outcome can be achieved through the immigration system. Volunteers will literally “accompany” the immigrant through various aspects of our broken system—everything from immigration and Customs Enforcement interviews to appearances before the courts. In doing so, the accompaniment programs hopes to expose the injustices of the system and encourage greater fairness within the system. In addition, the program hopes to encourage greater awareness on the part of the volunteers, and greater activism to change the broken system.

“I know the feelings of going by yourself and I know the feelings of having people, my angels, going with me. Let me tell you it’s a different feeling. I feel bad when I see all those immigrants sitting there by themselves and I know how they are feeling,” said immigrant Jean Montrevil, “This program is a blessing to them.”

While NYAC-JFON is able to help many immigrants seeking legal assistance, there are many for whom no legal remedy is available. Through the accompaniment training offered by and through the New Sanctuary Coalition, volunteers will learn to walk with the immigrant in our midst.

“The Chrysalis Accompaniment Program will serve not only to reach more deeply into the community and extend Chinese UMC’s welcome to all,” said Steven Lee, executive director of NYAC-JFON/Chinese UMC. “It will serve to strengthen the congregation’s commitment to ministries of justice.”

With exposure to the inhumanity and injustice of the current system comes awareness, and with awareness comes engagement and advocacy. The program hopes to move the volunteer from a mission of mercy to a ministry of justice. To sign up for the accompaniment training program please contact Chinese UMC at 212-267-6464. Congregations can also request accompaniment training at their own church by contacting the New Sanctuary Coalition at 646-450-2770.

Lamb is assistant coordinator for social justice, organizing, engagement and advocacy for the NYAC’s Board of Church and Society.

Remembering Those at Children’s Home

For most of us, the holiday season is a joyous time of warm, loving memories, giving and receiving, and spending time with friends and family. Please know that the Children’s Home continues to serve more than 400 children and their families year round, and some of those children will be with us during the holidays. The children range in age from newborn to 21 years, with the majority being teenage boys. Like all children, they have visions of special wishes and dreams being filled. Our goal is that each child receive something new that will help make this a very special time in their lives. For some, it will be the very first time they have received a gift for the holidays.

Here are a few ways to give:

•   Sponsor an individual holiday wish list for a child/children. Please contact Bonnie at 607-772-6904, ext. 122, or by email at holidays@chowc.org for information.

•  If you prefer to shop more generically, choose a gift from our “most requested gifts” list below.

•  Make a donation marked “gifts” that enables us to have more purchase power via quantity discounts and tax-exempt status.

We ask that all gifts be unwrapped and received by Tuesday, December 8, giving us the needed time to get things ready. Kindly make checks payable to the Children’s Home and designate the funds for “gifts.” Mail checks and gifts to: 1182 Chenango Street, Binghamton, NY 13901-1696.

On behalf of the board and staff of the Children’s Home, our children in care and their families, may your upcoming holidays be filled with happiness.


George T. Dermody

Most requested gifts on holiday wish lists

  • Ipod Shuffle; MP3 Players (without voice recording feature)
  • Gift cards in $20 increments
  • Gift certificates for movies, online music downloads, or restaurants
  • Batteries
  • New release and Disney DVD movies
  • Xbox 360 games (Game Stop)
  • Baby/toddler educational toys
  • Star Wars, Minions, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Disney Frozen merchandise
  • Transformers, action toys
  • Arts and craft supplies, drawing supplies, coloring books, scrapbooks and supplies, Fuzzy Posters
  • Bionicles/Legos
  • Dolls/Barbies
  • Remote control cars and trucks
  • Portable radios
  • Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards
  • Winter hats and waterproof gloves; fun socks
  • Bath and body products, makeup kits, Axe cologne, curling irons and flat irons
  • Haircare/nail gift cards, accessories and products (non-aerosol)
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Comforters, blankets, fleece throw blankets, sheets, pillows, character pillows
  • •  Board games: Connect Four, Memory, Clue, Monopoly, Skip-Bo, Apples to Apples Jr., Cranium Jr., Chutes & Ladders, Scrabble Jr., Candy Land

    •  Books: Glee, sports, Goosebumps, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

    •  Sports Equipment: Nike Youth Vapor Threat footballs, Nike outdoor game basketballs, baseball batting gloves, football gloves, baseball gloves

    •  Clothing: Team and brand name sports apparel—Giants, Jets, Yankees, Knicks, Heat, Lakers, Syracuse, North Carolina, and Duke; hooded sweatshirts (mostly adult large, XL and XXL); team and brand name hats/caps, Nike and Under Armour apparel, exercise shorts, and elite basketball socks

    Items containing parental guidance warnings are discouraged. Music CDs should be edited versions. No used items or food products. For health reasons, stuffed animals are discouraged.

    Adopt a Stocking

    Please label each stocking for a girl or boy and the age range.

    Girls and Boys ages 5–10
    Tube socks, ski caps, mittens, slipper socks, toothpaste/brush, brush/comb, tube shampoo, crayons, books
    Girls: Hair ribbons/barrettes, jewelry
    Boys: Small puzzles, games, small toy

    Girls and Boys ages 11–14
    Tube socks, caps, gloves, toothbrush/paste, brush/comb, tube shampoo, pencils/pens, slipper socks
    Girls: Hair clips/combs, jewelry, curling iron, small radio
    Boys: Pocket calculator, small radio, inexpensive digital watch

    Girls and Boys ages 15–18
    Tube socks, caps, waterproof gloves, toothbrush/paste, brush/comb, tube shampoo, pencils/pens, body wash, slipper socks
    Girls: Makeup, nail polish, Chap Stick, journals
    Boys: Wallets, Chap Stick, batteries (AA/AAA)

    Get Ready for Giving Tuesday—Dec. 1

    Every day, as part of the United Methodist Connection, you activate love, transform lives, and change the world through your faithful work. On Dec. 1, you are invited to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the Advent season by participating in UMC #GivingTuesday.

    UMC #GivingTuesday celebrates people joining around a common cause. With more than 800 United Methodist-related Advance projects and more than 300 missionaries, your church community has the opportunity to select a ministry that fits your mission focus. And every gift made online through The Advance on Dec. 1 will be matched up to $1 million.*

    10 Ways You Can Get Involved:

    1.   Identify projects and/or missionaries to support. Invite youth or others in your network to research and present information about the importance of this mission focus.

    2.    Donate time, whisper a prayer, or create a non-financial way to support the missionary or project to supplement your financial gift.

    3.   Build teams to find creative ways to raise awareness and funds. Consider including other churches in your area. To build a team:

    A. Register your team at www.umcmission.org/gtteam.

    B. Determine how you will raise funds and awareness.

    C. Run your campaign/make your promise.

    D. Give online on Dec. 1.

    Giving Tuesday

    4.  Include banners and other promotion on your website and newsletters.

    5.  Insert a flier into your church bulletin and integrate stories of Advance projects and missionaries into meetings or sermons leading up to Dec. 1. Take time for a mission moment during Sunday worship. Give children boxes to collect money and get them excited about the project or missionary they are supporting.

    6.  Raise awareness about UMC #GivingTuesday through your annual conference social media networks. Share posts from UMCmission and help promote the campaign with messages such as:

    • Love Activated. Lives Transformed. World Changed. UMC #GivingTuesday 12/1 umcmission.org/give

    • Perfect antidote to overspending on #BlackFriday? UMC #GivingTuesday coming on Dec. 1! umcmission.org/give

    • Think one day of giving thanks isn’t enough? Get ready for UMC #GivingTuesday. Dec. 1! umcmission.org/give

    7.  Take a “selfless selfie” holding a sign with a UMC #GivingTuesday graphic that says, “On UMC #GivingTuesday I’m activating love and transforming lives. Please join me by supporting ______________ [insert project/missionary name] Dec. 1. www.umcmission.org/give.” Post these selfless selfies on social media and your website.

    8.  Post a graphic from the resource page (www.umcmission.org/giving-tuesday) and encourage people to upload a selfless selfie using one of the graphics.

    9.  Ask friends and family to make an early Christmas gift in your honor to your favorite Advance project or missionary on Dec. 1. Or make a gift in honor of those on your Christmas list. Do you still want to present a wrapped gift? Consider these options:

    • Accompany the notification with a token representation of the designated ministry (a framed map of the region, a water bottle for a water project, a hammer for a construction project, etc.).

    • Design or purchase a card that reflects the theme of the ministry or a photo of the missionary.

    10.  Send an email to your community network.

    * Global Ministries will allocate matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on Dec. 1, 2015, between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. CT. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. A project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds. See more at:

    Bishops’ Cohort Explores Urban Ministries

    Members of the Council of Bishops Cohort on Urban Ministry spent three days in late August in New York visiting a number of city churches and discussing the special challenges for each congregation. The tour is part of a multiyear effort to explore how to best lead the church in urban ministry. One of their stops was at Tian Fu church in Brooklyn. The group pictured at right includes Rev. Bill Shillady, from right, Tian Fu Pastor Zhaodeng Peng, Bishop Michael McKee of Dallas, Bishop John Schol of Greater New Jersey, NYAC Bishop Jane Allen Middleton, Bishop Sally Dyck of Chicago, Tian Fu Pastor Qibi She, and Long Island West District Superintendent Sungchan Kim. The group made additional on-site visits to St. Paul and St. Andrew, Grace, Salem UMC and Salem House; Butler Memorial; First Flushing, and Jackson Heights. They also held drive-by discussions about Co-Op City, Madison Avenue, Metropolitan, St. Mark’s and Mt. Calvary, Hanson Place and Bushwick in Brooklyn. Bishop Middleton hosted the cohort for a Broadway performance of “Amazing Grace.”

    Bradley Named New Camps Director

    Brooke BradleyThe Governing Board of Camping and Retreat Ministries has announced the hiring of Brooke Bradley as executive director, effective November 1. With nearly a lifetime of camping experience, Bradley most recently served with the Fresh Air Fund, working with campers and staff from the five boroughs of New York City. She is committed to making outdoor experiences available to broader and more inclusive groups.

    Bradley earned a degree in outdoor recreation from the University of Tennessee and spent five years as camp director with the Girl Scouts in Greater Atlanta. She has also helped expand the programs at Camp Fire Camp Toccoa, and with the Girl Scouts in Knoxville, Tenn.

    Bradley earned a master’s in education while working in a school based on positive discipline that, along with her teaching experience, enhanced her work with children and camp staff.

    A member of the New York/New Jersey standards committee of the American Camp Association, Bradley serves as a standards visitor and instructor. She credits the ACA for much of her professional development as well as affording opportunities to visit more than 150 camps and conference centers.

    Bradley, who has experience as a camper’s mom with her son John, is excited about working with the staffs of Camp Quinipet and Kingswood Campsite, and reconnecting with her early Methodist roots.

    The camps board also expressed appreciation to Lauren Ruiz for stepping into the role of interim director, especially during the busy summer months.

    Are You Called to Mission Service?

    Global Ministries seeks missionaries to serve within the global Methodist connection in a variety of roles and ministries around the world. Global Ministries sends missionaries from everywhere to everywhere. Missionaries vary in age, trade-skills and occupations, and they serve in ministry with others as teachers, pilots, lawyers, agriculturalists, dieticians, physicians, nurses, administrators, accountants, pastors, photographers, journalists, community organizers, and Christian educators—just to name a few. They desire to learn about and to share God’s love in Jesus Christ in tangible, everyday ways.

    Mission personnel of Global Ministries are:

    •  Professing Christians who are familiar with and committed to The United Methodist Church and its doctrine, history and polity

    •  Able to articulate their call to missionary service

    •  Able to demonstrate experience and/or passion in mission and active involvement in the life and ministry of a faith community

    •  Willing to engage in ministry with people of different racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds

    •  Willing to serve in a context that best matches their gifts and experiences as discerned and affirmed by Global Ministries

    •  Willing to connect the church in mission by itinerating and cultivating financial and spiritual support

    Currently, we are seeking qualified candidates who wish to explore a call to mission service with the following gifts and experiences in various regions around the world:

    •  Experienced agriculturalist

    •  Health and medical professionals

    •  Hospital administrators

    •  Vehicle maintenance specialist

    •  Boy Scout project leader

    •  Congregational development specialist

    For more information about missionary service or to apply online, visit Global Ministries’ web site: www.umcmission.org/calledtoserve.

    If you know someone with these gifts and graces who may have a call to mission service, then please have them contact Global Ministries at missionaryinfo@umcmission.org for details.

    Native American Ministries Gather

    New York CoNAM members Elaine Winward, Holly Haile Davis, Neepoh, Rev. Doug Osgood and seated Myrna Clinton at the Edith Macy Conference Center.

    The conference’s Committee on Native American Ministries (CoNAM) recently hosted the Northeast Jurisdictional annual meeting at the Edith Macy Conference Center in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

    During the October 8–10 meeting, the group:

    •  Met with Rev. Fred Shaw from Ohio via Skype to discuss the Native American course of study.

    •  Heard from Dr. Heather Elkins of Drew Theological School about the courses she has developed on Native American theology and culture.

    •  Examined the Path 1 program “New Places for New People,” and the Lay Missionary Planting Network (LMNP) with an eye toward revamping them for use in Native American communities

    •  Learned that nine of the 10 conferences in the Northeast Jurisdiction will have held an Act of Repentance service by next year

    Rev. Doug Osgood, a member led the closing worship and Communion service. His message, filled with peace and

    reassurance; a good way to conclude this wonderful conference.

    The West Virginia Conference CoNAM will host the gathering in 2016.

    Advocacy as a Christian Witness in Diasporic Mission


    In one of Norman Rockwell’s drawings, an overwhelmed mother holds her little boy face down in her lap. At her feet lies a hammer, along with evidence of a destructive spree: a broken mirror, a shattered vase, and an eviscerated clock under her chair. Not being sure of how to discipline her child, the mother grips a hairbrush in one hand, and a book on child psychology in the other: To spank or not to spank? She doesn’t know the answer.

    Many in the church in global north are confused and lost over the missional issues of immigrant concerns and global diaspora, particularly about millions who are forced to flee from their native lands because of political instability, religious, racial, ethnic persecutions. What is our missional response to them? At times the multiplicity of responses given by experts threatens to devolve into cacophony.

    Embodying the Gospel

    Most of us are well aware that the church cannot carry on a monologue detached from the marginalized world with mere relief offerings but must stand in solidarity with them to address this huge human crisis. Pope John Paul aptly said, “Solidarity means taking responsibility for those in trouble.” Being in solidarity with the weak and vulnerable is more than extending compassionate services. Human charity is a hard emotion to sustain; over the long run, it cloys.

    True solidarity breaks down the illusion of disconnectedness and works for kinship, which is a cherished conviction. In the final analysis, being in solidarity with the broken and bruised, and gaining their trust and confidence will offer better opportunities to share the love of Jesus Christ.

    We need to be aware that there is a major difference between global diasporic mission and mission with the immigrants who have moved into our neighborhoods. Diasporic mission is primarily a global phenomenon set in motion by voluntary or involuntary conditions. Research professor Enoch Wan avows it as glo-cal in nature. It is border-less, pluralistic, transnational, multi-directional rather than homogenous. It is comprised primarily of people who were involuntarily or coerced to move.

    In diasporic mission, the focus is on holistic mission and contextualization that integrate evangelism and social concern. We cannot just proclaim the

    Gospel among refugees without also addressing their physical needs and becoming their advocate. The workers work best when they learn the languages, understand cultural nuances and are mindful of the practices of the faiths of others who are rootless refugees, while keeping one’s core faith identity. Mere proclamation with an intention to start church during human vulnerability will spawn only “exploitative-Christians.” Mission is contextual as well as comprehensive, and should never employ humanitarian aid for religious proselytization.

    Diaspora missiology does not replace “traditional missiology,” which is primarily evangelistic; rather, it supplements traditional methods with those that are geared to the new demographic realities of the 21st century. It is not a case of “either/or” in a mutually exclusive way as some tend to assume. In diasporic mission, participants are invited to stretch their imagination and look beyond the narrow perspectives of the present and to set themselves in the context of world realities on the one hand, and on the other hand, the analytics of root causes, power relations, and knowledges provided by the victims.

    Mission with the “sinned-against” people

    Historically, mission movements in the global north have rarely engaged questions of immigration and global diaspora as missional issues. If we hack through the opaque theological thicket and saunter through mission archives, we still find ourselves in the same old starting place. At times, we are narrowly guided by favorite scripture passages and past traditional practices in order to discover missional comfort and seek ecclesial refuge. During the Christendom period everything seemed to be fixed and stable, but now the topography of the mission site is changed.

    The demise of colonization, end of Christendom and waning of denominational ecumenism on the one hand, and the emergence of globalization and instant communication on the other have transformed missional participation from the predictable to the adaptive, from the mono-directional and anticipated to multi-directional and flexible ways of engagement.

    In diasporic mission, witness to the Gospel comes mainly through advocacy

    work on behalf of the “sinned-against” and giving witness to the structures of power that create this sub-human condition. The agency of the diasporic communities is a key. In other words, we need to take the marginalized and repressed voices from the periphery and help amplify and facilitate these voices to be heard. This would mark a significant change in the way we do mission in a traditional sense. We cannot merely dispense throat lozenges that makes people feel better when the patients know what they need is a serious medical treatment.

    When I say our witness should be characterized by love and advocacy, I am not downplaying the reality of sin nor the need for transformation. However, it may be that hurting, disillusioned people need to find kindness through our caring action. During biblical times, when our Hebrew ancestors migrated from impoverished agrarian region to the advanced, urbanized Egypt, they had the invaluable advantage of having Joseph, who happened to be a blood relative, in the country’s top public office. Joseph’s advocacy and timely interference made this vulnerable diasporic community’s transition relatively easier. When problems arose for that community a few centuries later, it was Moses who stepped into the role of advocate.

    Biblical history also documents people from all walks of life who witnessed against the structures of power on behalf of the poor, oppressed and voiceless. We can cite only a few towering figures such as Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther, Paul, and Apollos who did the ministry of advocacy on a larger scale and cross-cultural context. There are a number of so-called “minor” role players. Suffice it to say that a vital key to the health and viability of diasporic communities lay in the availability and the power of advocacy to represent their needs.

    What is clear is that advocacy is a key ingredient in diaspora issues both past and present, and is increasingly being recognized in governmental structures as an important dynamic in the process of diaspora engagement. Wherever diasporas have appeared, their ability to cope and thrive has been in large part due to the willingness of those who carry influence and inspiration to serve as advocates and campaigners for vulnerable and scattered peoples. Wangari Muta Maathai, a Nobel Laureate, aptly said, “Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.”

    Communicating in Both Old & New Ways

    By Rev. Jim Stinson
    Consultant for Older Adult Ministries

    Jim Stinson

    A strange thing happened recently in the Stinson house during the sleeping hours. Someone, or some thing, caused my iPad to crack while my wife and I innocently slept. I discovered the crack during the wee morning hours when I went downstairs because my sleep had been disturbed. Could it have been the mysterious someone or some thing that played havoc with the screen?

    Later that morning, when we both were up and about, I asked Barbara—the last one to use the iPad and put it on the charger for the night—if it had fallen. She said it had not. Did you knock it on something, was the next question. She

    Jim Stinson

    said she had not and that it was fine when she plugged in the charger. I fully believe her. So the mystery remains.

    Meanwhile I am out $300, which is what the replacement cost. The end of the story is that every app had to be downloaded. Which is what prompted these thoughts.

    As much of a mystery as the origin of the cracking was, and is, the greater mystery quickly became how to accomplish setting up the new iPad (which I thought had been finished when I left the Apple store). Fortunately I figured it out and am now back in business. Barbara and I still love each other and we are creating plans to catch whoever or whatever sneaked into our home and cracked our iPad. You see, my generation is largely still catching up to our children and grandchildren in how these things work.

    It serves as a cautionary tale to congregations, who often assume that

    everyone knows their way around computers and lives comfortably in the digital world and can communicate accordingly.

    Well, as the saying goes, “Let me tell you something.” Not everyone in our congregations even owns a computer. Not all of our members are comfortable with new forms of sharing information, which many of our members take for granted. Be understanding of this reality and provide easily available printed information on tables in the narthex, inserts in bulletins, etc. If the information is time sensitive, make phone calls to those who have not moved into the digital world.

    Take the mystery out of communications for everyone who is stymied by the new ways. Creating hospitality for others is not just what we show to others, it is what we do for our own as well.

    Save the Date

    Will Randolph, director of Aging and Older Adult Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, will lead a workshop, “Recognizing and Using the Gifts of Our Older Adults,” for the New York Conference on May 14, 2016. Location is yet to be determined.


    Rev. Willett R. Porter

    Rev. Willett R. Porter, 88, died at home in Mahopac, N.Y., on November 4. Porter served the United Methodist Church for 64 years.

    A native of Brooklyn, Porter received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture (animal husbandry) from Cornell University in 1949, where he was a member of the Alpha Zeta fraternity and a coronet player in the Big Red Band. He received a master’s degree in theology from Drew University in 1952.

    Porter was ordained a deacon in 1951, and an elder two years later. During his ministry he served in New Paltz, Lloyd and Plutarch; St. Johns in Elmont; Mt. Kisco; and Mt. Hope in Mahopac Falls. He retired in 1989, but continued to serve in Mahopac until this last year.

    Porter was very active in the conference serving with the conference disability committee and the Board of Pensions, as president of the NY Methodist Federal Credit Union, interim director of the New York State Methodist Student Movement, and longtime member of the Bowery Mission Ministries Board.

    An avid baseball fan, Porter was an umpire in the New Paltz Little League and past president of the Elmont Youth Athletic Association National Baseball League. Porter also was a life member of New Paltz Volunteer Fire Dept., where he served as chaplain. He was a charter member of the New Paltz

    Rev. Willett R. PorterLions Club, past president of Mt. Kisco Rotary Club, and on the boards of the Mt. Kisco Boys Club and Mt. Kisco Day Care Center.

    He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Shirley Bates Porter, of Mahopac, as well as sons: John B. (Gail) Porter, David B. (Paulette) Porter, W. Ross (Lisa) Porter, Steven R. (Mary-Ann) Porter; grandchildren: Melissa, Michael , Philip, Steven, Jr., Coryn, and Katelyn; and great-grandchildren Mark, Hadley, and Riley.

    A funeral service was held November 7 at the Mt. Kisco UMC, and interment followed at Oakwood Cemetery in Mt. Kisco. A memorial service honoring Rev. Porter’s life and ministry is planned for 2 p.m., December 13, at the Mt. Kisco United Methodist Church, 300 E. Main Street.

    Donations in memory of Rev. Porter may be made to the Mt. Kisco Rotary Scholarship Fund, PO Box 757, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549, and to the Mt. Kisco Food Pantry, PO Box 834, Mount Kisco, NY 10549.

    Search for Quilting-Making “Methodist Ladies”

    UMNS—When Joseph Briddock’s family found a handmade quilt among the tins of food in a CARE package delivered to their South London home, the only clue to its origin was a notation on the back: a gift from “the Methodist Ladies of New York.”

    Seventy years later, those words have faded with time, but Briddock’s curiosity remains intact. He would love to tell those women, or their families, what the gift meant at the end of World War II.

    “During the war my mother ‘traded’ ration coupons with other women, (such as) clothing coupons for food, so when she got the quilt, she was really happy to have something of real use,” Briddock explained in an email to United Methodist News Service. “We took the quilt with us into the air-raid shelters to keep warm, so it was of real value.”

    As Camila Ruz reported in an Oct. 17 story for BBC News Magazine, Briddock was 9 years old when the box arrived. While his father was fighting in North Africa, his mother, Annie, kept the family—including his brother and two sisters—together through food rationing and bombings.

    His father returned safely from the war, and his mother carefully looked after the quilt, which Briddock said “served many years of domestic duty” until her death in 1978.

    The story of who put the quilt into the CARE package is still unknown.

    Mark Shenise, a staff member of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, said the phrase “Methodist Ladies of New York” implied the quilt was either a project by the New York Annual Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) or a mission project by a group of women in one or more local congregations.

    Beth Patkus, archivist for the New York Conference, told UMNS she had seen references to quilting in old records. “I think it is most likely something that was done on the local church level,” she added.

    While Patkus could not find a specific reference to the Briddock quilt, she did find mention of the exhibition of “a box of partly finished garments prepared to be sent to relief in Europe” in the June 18, 1947, minutes of the regular quarterly meeting for the executive board, WSCS, New York East Conference.

    Joseph Briddock was just 9 years old when this quilt made by “Methodist ladies of New York” arrived in a CARE package given to his family in London after World War II. Briddock would like to know the identities of the church members who made the quilt.

    “It does certainly indicate they were doing something to contribute,” she noted.

    When the BBC contacted United Methodist Women about the quilt, the organization did some checking in the New York and Upper New York conferences and shared a photo of Briddock with the quilt on its Facebook page.

    “We received a lot of support and shares, but no clear leads that I know of on the members or family members of the ‘Methodist Ladies of New York,’” said Tara Barnes, interim editor of UMW’s Response Magazine.

    For Briddock’s family, the quilt from the anonymous “Methodist ladies” provided comfort during a difficult time and created a lasting emotional connection that prompted him to take the quilt to his home after his mother’s death.

    Briddock and his wife, Muriel, still have the quilt at their home in Dublin, where they moved 51 years ago from London. “We have four wonderful children and enjoy life,” said Briddock, who worked as a structural design engineer.

    Despite the lack of clues, he still hopes to be able to express his gratitude to the quilt’s creators.

    Wespath Backs Islip Housing

    Conference Email Addresses—Take Action Now! 

    Wespath Investment Management, through its Positive Social Purpose Lending Program and in partnership with the Community Preservation Corporation, purchased participation in a loan providing financing for an assisted living development in Islip, N.Y. Pollack Gardens contains 50 studio apartments for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. The project benefits from an annual contract through the New York State Office of Mental Health which funds services for residents as well as debt service payments of the property.

    Wespath is the investment management division of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church. The Positive Social Purpose Lending Program promotes affordable housing, community development and expanded loan opportunities in poor, under-served communities around the world. This 20-year old program has loaned approximately $1.8 billion for projects around the world.

    Back in 2012, the conference set up “ nyac-umc.com” email addresses for all pastors serving churches, and has continued to provide them to each new pastor as they come onboard. The purpose of these email addresses is for each pastor to have a “business” address that they could keep for the rest of their lives in the NYAC.

    Important points about these addresses:

    •  These addresses are in the email contact list used by all conference staff including Bishop Middleton.

    •  When logged in to your nyac-umc.com email, you have access to the email addresses of all of the other active clergy serving churches in the conference.

    •  The “find a church” and “find a clergy” functionality on www.nyac.com uses these addresses for folks to find and reach out to you.

    •  The conference no longer needs to spend time trying to keep up with all of the new gmail, yahoo, aol, comcast, etc. email accounts used by clergy, allowing us to spend time on more important things to support you! Just another way of us being good stewards of the church’s resources.

    If you are a pastor serving a church, and have yet to log in to your nyac-umc.com address, now is the time to do it! If you are a church member, please ask your pastor about their email status. If you are a retiree or a pastor serving in an extension ministry and would like to use an nyac-umc.com email address, we can set you up in the system, too.

    Don’t miss a personal email from the bishop or any other conference staff because you haven’t logged in yet!

    Please contact Barbara Eastman at website@nyac.com to get your credentials.


    A paragraph “In the Presence of the ‘Coolest Pope Ever’ ” in the October Vision contained several errors. It should have read: On this day Pope Francis’ presence brought a wide spectrum of Christians together with Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, and Zoroastrians.

    The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

    Resident Interim Bishop: Jane Allen Middleton

    Editor: Joanne Utley

    Vision e-mail: vision@nyac.com

    Web site: www.nyac.com/vision

    New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    20 Soundview Avenue
    White Plains, NY 10606

    Phone (888) 696-6922

    Fax (914) 615-2244