"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, 2014

In this issue:

Teamwork Brings Family Home

Assistant Coordinator, NYAC Sandy Recovery Ministries

Two years ago, Superstorm Sandy barreled into the east coast on October 29.

Two years ago, the Camuso family’s life changed forever. Christopher Camuso, a single parent, watched as his home was ravaged by the storm. Although he lost all his belongings to the floodwaters, the house remained standing, and most importantly, his children were kept safe. Unsure about his own situation and being a selfless person, he focused his efforts on neighbors who needed help, mucking and gutting out the homes of others.

When the time came for him to make decisions about his own home, Camuso chose to stay and rebuild. On Wednesday, October 29—exactly two years after Sandy struck—the Camuso family returned home thanks to the efforts of Yellow Boots USA, Guyon Rescue, and the New York Annual Conference.

As Christians, we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. We are called to love one another and treat others as we would want to be treated. As United Methodists, we have been called to action to help our churches and communities in times of need. As members of the NYAC, we have a duty and responsibility to help our brothers and sisters through struggle, crisis and disaster.

NYAC Hurricane Sandy Disaster Recovery Ministries

There are many stories similar to that of the Camuso family, but there are still families who remain displaced. Families whose homes are need of repair; families who want to return home.

The initial relief stage after the storm brought out teams from all over the region to help muck out homes. Massive clean-up efforts took place in the five boroughs, Long Island and Connecticut. Gutting and debris removal were constants and kept volunteer teams busy. The physical damage was obvious and disturbing. People had fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs, often returning to nothing but devastation and loss.

While there are thousands of families still in need of assistance, the New York Annual Conference has been at the forefront of the recovery effort. Led by Tom Vencuss, coordinator of Disaster

Camuso team
Christopher Camuso, front and center above, moved back home with his two children on October 29, the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Teams from Yellow Boots USA, Guyon Rescue, and the New York Annual Conference (in green shirts in the rear) helped rebuild the home. Photos courtesy of the Staten Island Advance

Camuso houseRecovery Ministries, the NYAC is working with more than 20 other faith-based and non-profit organizations. Since November 2012, the NYAC has coordinated nearly 40,000 volunteer hours. Through generous grants from UMCOR and the American Red Cross, as well as donations from United Methodist congregations, the conference has assisted nearly 800 families in their recovery (319 through the Red Cross and 450 through UMCOR). With this support, our Sandy Recovery ministry has funded projects and direct aid to clients in excess of $2.235 million.

Many homeowners in the Long Island area are very grateful for our help. One survivor showed that gratitude with a touching letter, stating “Dear New York Annual Conference and the hardworking volunteers: Your kindness and hard work are much appreciated. Rebuilding, after Sandy, has been a difficult, overwhelming process. You miraculously showed up, when we felt we were getting nowhere. Your painting and patching put us weeks ahead. Your work was superb! I didn’t get to meet many of you, but my husband did, and he said you were terrific. You gave us back our kitchen and bedroom. You gave us hope, and smiles. Thank you so much, with deepest gratitude, and appreciation….”

In Connecticut, the NYAC coordinated the House in the Box program which helped assist survivors with furniture needs, including beds and sofas. This program also helped to furnish households items such as cookware and basic dinnerware.

Work continues to move forward in the five boroughs, helping families repair their broken homes and renewing their broken spirits.

Two years have passed quickly, but the effects of Superstorm Sandy are long lasting. There are still families that have not returned to their homes. There are families awaiting grants who continue to live in unhealthy circumstances for fear of losing assistance. There are families who have picked up what was left and moved away, leaving years of memories and traditions behind.

There is much more work to be done and we are not done yet. In NYC alone, there are approximately 26,000 homes registered with government-backed programs. These are homes that need repair in order for families to recover. It is said that each conference is responsible for its own disasters. As United Methodists, we are a connectional denomination that crosses city, county, state and country borders. When one conference is in need, the United Methodists are there to help in any way they can.

As Tom Vencuss has said, “We often say that while Methodists may not always be the first in, we are among the last to leave. We are in this for the long haul.”

Be the blessing: We need skilled and unskilled volunteers for projects that are coming up and continuing throughout the affected areas. Please go to the recovery page on the NYAC web site—www.nyac.com/recovery—for details on volunteering and making donations. You can also follow me on Twitter @gina_nyac or email, gina.grubbs@nyac-umc.com>, for information about how you can help!

Laity Urged to Develop "Heart for God's People"

Laity on the Move - Renata Smith

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

—Mark 1:16–18 NIV

You gotta have heart, a heart for evangelism, that is, was the theme for the third Laity Convocation held on October 11 at the Edith Macy Conference Center at Briarcliff Manor.

The opening worship led by Raymond Trapp and his ensemble, Image, prepared lay persons gathered from across the New York Annual Conference for a day that was Spirit led, inspiring, challenging and hope filled.

Rev. Dr. Derrick-Lewis Noble, director of Congregational Development and Revitalization, led us in looking at evangelism in convincingly practical and workable ways. He shared examples from his own life and ministry, and gave us simple, sound steps that we can take if we want our churches to grow.

Some of the questions he posed were:

• If I really believe that God can change people’s lives, why am I satisfied with empty pews in my church?

• Do I actually believe that my relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. would be better off if they had a relationship with Jesus Christ? How would they be better off?

• What does my particular church have to offer a hurting world? If the answer is “nothing” or “not much,” what can I/we begin to do to change it?

• Congregations grow when they reach out to others and they die when they simply take care of themselves. Which best describes your church?

Noble also reminded us that if we want our churches to grow, we must be ready and willing to change. We must be willing to welcome the unloved people that will walk through our doors. They might not look like us, dress like us, or act like us. We must be willing to see every person as being of sacred worth, and to realize that everyone, ourselves included, has issues.

He shared some practical small steps that we can all take. Noble invited us to start praying now to develop a heart for people, because to love God is to love those whom God loves.

Laity gathered in small groups, above, to brainstorm about the evangelism ideas offered by speaker,
Rev. Dr. Derrick-Lewis Noble, below. Photos by Lynda Gomi

Derrick-Lewis Noble

Some of these are:

• Pray that churches will become more evangelistic, and for opportunities to share the gospel.

• Preach the gospel. Some presentation of the gospel should be in every sermon, even though every sermon will not be an “evangelistic” one. This does not take laity off the hook. Every day we have a chance to live out the gospel and to share the difference Christ is making in our lives.

• Welcome and accept those that God will send your way, just as they are. It is our job to invite them; it is God’s job to
fix them.

• Celebrate new believers. Share evangelistic stories.

• Involve young people in every aspect of the church.

• Include nonbelievers and the unchurched in your circle of friends.

• ;Include a community outreach event on your church’s calendar at least every quarter.

• Start new small groups. It has been proven that churches with a variety of small groups are growing churches.

We left feeling that our own lives, our churches and the New York Conference can become more effective vehicles for sharing Jesus Christ’s message. Many of those who attended are already putting into practice some of the suggestions we received. How about you?


11/20 Protest Child Detention
The NYAC Task Force on Immigration is encouraging participation in the “Children First and Foremost: Ending Family and Child Detention” protest on November 20 at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York City. The United Nations will be meeting that day to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Join the United Methodist Women for a candlelight vigil from 5–6 p.m., followed by a panel discussion and reception from 6–8 p.m. at the Church Center for the United Nations.

11/22 Safe Sanctuaries Workshop
Bethel UMC on Staten Island will host this workshop designed for congregations who don’t have a written safe sanctuaries policy. The workshop, led by Elizabeth Christie, will prepare a core team of four or five to work with their congregation to write a policy, as well as provide information on how to train trustees, teachers, parents and pastors
on the implementation of that policy. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.; the workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more info and to register, go to: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/466462.

11/22–23 Anti-Racism Training
“Effective Christian Leadership in a Multicultural World” is being offered at a special weekend session at Olmsted Center, 114 Bay View Avenue, Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. This training is mandatory for all clergy, lay pastors, and members of district committees on ordained ministry and the conference Board of Ordained Ministry. There is no cost for participants for the training that runs from 8:30 a.m. Saturday through 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information and to register, go to: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/420292. Contact Roena Littlejohn with any questions at bobsroe@optimum.net, or 203-331-9653.

1/13–15 2015 Bishop’s Convocation
“It’s A New Day” with interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton and featuring the NYAC’s Director of Congregational Development and Revitalization, Rev. Dr. Derrick-Lewis Noble, at the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center, Callicoon, N.Y. Event begins with check-in at 2 p.m. Tuesday and concludes with lunch on Thursday. Free childcare is available. Register before January 6 for $575 double/$355 single occupancy. For more information and to register, go to:

Jan–March 2015 LIW Lay Servant Classes
The Long Island West District is offering youth, beginner, and advanced courses at multiple locations in early 2015. Classes will meet from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 24 and 31, February 7 and 28, and March 14. A mandatory orientation session will be held January 10. Locations include the UMC of Floral Park, St. Mark’s UMC in Brooklyn, and Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Corona (Spanish language). A beginner’s class in Akan will be offered at St. Mark’s. A closing worship celebration and fellowship is planned for March 28. Registration fees, which include all texts and printed materials, are $15 for youth, and $25 for beginners, certified and advanced courses. Register by December 19 at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/480606.

Giving Tuesday

More events available on the NYAC calendar>>

Bishops Call for Prayer in Human Sexuality Statement

Bishops Wenner and BrownBishop Warner H. Brown Jr., the new president of the Council of Bishops, accepts the gavel from Bishop Rosemarie Wenner.

The Council of Bishops issued a statement concerning human sexuality, addressing their diverse perspectives and calling the people of The United Methodist Church to be in prayer, both for their leaders and for one another.

The statement reads:

“As bishops of The United Methodist Church, our hearts break because of the divisions that exist within the church. We have been in constant prayer and conversation and affirm our consecration vow “to guard the faith, to seek the unity and to exercise the discipline of the whole church.” We recognize that we are one church in a variety of contexts around the world and that bishops and the church are not of one mind about human sexuality. Despite our differences, we are united in our commitment to be in ministry for and with all people. We are also united in our resolve to lead the church together to fulfill its mandate—to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As we do so, we call on all United Methodists to pray for us and for one another.”

The bishops worked together on the statement in several executive sessions during their weeklong meeting November 2–7 in Oklahoma City.

The statement came near the close of the council’s meeting, which opened on November 3 with the bishops reaffirming the commitments they made when they were consecrated. During the president’s address, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the San Francisco Episcopal Area asked the bishops if they would stand with him to reaffirm their vows as he prayed.

Bishop Brown called for unity within the church and encouraged finding “places where we can agree to work together and find common ground.”

In November 2013, the Council voted to form a task force that would lead conversations about human sexuality, race and gender with the goal of coming to a shared theological understanding amid differing perspectives and cultures. The task force will continue its work.

Clergy Status Upheld for Schaefer

Rev. Frank Schaefer will remain a clergyman in The United Methodist Church.

In a ruling made public Oct. 27, the denomination’s top court upheld a June decision by a regional appeals committee to reinstate Schaefer’s ministerial credentials, modifying the penalty imposed upon the Pennsylvania pastor after he was found guilty last November of violating church law by performing a same-sex wedding for his son in 2007.

“The Judicial Council upon careful review of the decision of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals in the matter of the Rev. Frank Schaefer and the questions of law presented by the counsel for the church finds there are no errors in the application of the church law and judicial decisions,” said Decision 1270. “The penalty as modified by the Committee on Appeals stands.”

In its decision, Judicial Council also recognized the fact that “some within the church do not support this outcome today.”

The ruling came during the Judicial Council’s Oct. 22–25 fall meeting in Memphis, and followed an oral hearing on the case. Rev. Christopher Fisher, who served as counsel for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference during Schaefer’s trial, appealed the decision of the committee on appeals to Judicial Council.

The decision acknowledges the tensions within The United Methodist Church on issues related to homosexuality.

The ruling notes that some may see the appellate committee’s decision as “a flagrant disregard for parts of the Discipline” and some “may have wished the trial court’s penalty had been differently constructed so as to meet the requirements of the Discipline and impose a harsher penalty.”

However, the Judicial Council pointed out, its task is to “review the process and decisions of the trial court and the appellate process in order to determine if any parts of the Book of Discipline were violated or were interpreted in error.”

‘Just Resolutions’ for 2 Michigan Pastors

UMNS—Two United Methodist pastors in Michigan will not go to trial for officiating at same-sex unions, Bishop Deborah Kiesey announced.

Kiesey would not comment on terms of the just resolution, citing the denomination’s lawbook that complaint procedures are private and confidential. The complainants have not made their identities public and have not issued statements about the decision.

Kiesey, leader of the Michigan Area which includes the Detroit and West Michigan conferences, said the conferences are exploring the possibility of holding discussions based on the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” model used in South Africa following the end of apartheid.

Rev. Mike Tupper, who officiated at his daughter’s same-sex wedding, and Rev. Ed Rowe, who officiated at the wedding of two of his church members, said they were thankful for Kiesey’s decision.

Charges for Not Performing Wedding

UMNS—A United Methodist pastor is facing a complaint under church law because he declined to officiate at a same-sex wedding.

A gay couple at Green Street Church, a United Methodist congregation in Winston-Salem, N.C., has filed the formal complaint against their pastor, Rev. Kelly P. Carpenter.

The couple, Kenneth Barner and Scott Chappell, charge Carpenter under the Book of Discipline with “failure to perform the work of ministry.” Their complaint also accuses Carpenter of “gender discrimination” in not officiating at their ceremony. Gender discrimination is also a chargeable offense under church law.

Carpenter said he has followed the church’s prohibition against same-gender weddings because he does not want to jeopardize his work for the church or harm the other ministries of Green Street Church. 

However, he is sympathetic to Barner and Chappell.

“If there was a way for me to be a cosigner with the complaint, I think it’s right on the money,” he said.

Green Street UMC made national headlines in March 2013 when the church’s leadership council decided not to hold any weddings in the church sanctuary until the denomination lifts its ban on samesex marriage.

Malaria Takes No Holiday

Take advantage of these opportunities to make your giving go much further in the fight to eradicate malaria in Africa.

#1: With your purchase of an alternative-giving card you can honor family and friends by making a donation to the Imagine No Malaria Initiative. Send them across the country or tuck them under the Christmas tree. All of your donation will go to the INM campaign as part of the NYAC’s $1.2 million pledge. Cards you can purchase is pictured below.

Cards are available for purchase in bulk or individually at many levels of giving. Purchase cards in bulk to send to family and friends with your own personal message. Or, we will mail individual cards for you. You provide the recipient’s mailing address, level of giving, and your special message, and we’ll send the cards for you. Buy cards at www.nyac.com/inm.

#2: Linden Hill Cemetery in Ridgewood, N.Y., is ready to match your donation dollar for dollar up to $50,000. The thermometer above shows how close we are to hitting the mark. So make your gift to Imagine No Malaria go twice as far, and write “INM matching grant” on the memo field. Make checks payable to NYAC, and send to Lynda Gomi, 20 Soundview Ave., White Plains, NY 10606.

Free Advent Resources Help
Tell the Story

The Imagine No Malaria Initiative has prepared Advent materials that are available to download for free at www.nyac.com/inm.

The five weeks of Advent will be themed: imagine hope, imagine love, imagine joy, imagine peace, and imagine. These are all emotions that we want to be mindful of in this final leg of the Imagine No Malaria campaign: the hope that our brothers and sisters in Africa have that their children will grow up, the love that we feel for our UMC family around the world, the joy of giving to others, the peace a parent feels going to bed at night knowing her child is protected from disease, and then imagine—imagine what these amazing children will do with their lives!

Downloadable resources include videos, PowerPoint graphics, bulletin inserts, prayers, liturgy and music resources, altar designs, children’s sermons and crafts.

JFON Expands To L.I.

The New York Justice for Our Neighbors program has recently added a fourth clinic, its first on Long Island, at the Hicksville United Methodist Church.

In noting the addition, Steven Lee, executive director of NYAC-JFON, wrote in a newsletter, “The leadership of that church, especially Rev. [Marjorie] Nunes and the entire church council, as well as Zamzam Quraishy, who currently serves on our board, and Ellen Giuffrida, the new clinic coordinator there, has been remarkable.”

Justice for Our Neighbors is a national network of church-based, volunteer-supported immigration law clinics that provide free legal advice and representation to vulnerable, low-income immigrants. This fall, 15 clients had already been helped in a pair of clinics in Hicksville.

Since 1999, the NYAC-JFON has served clients at three New York City clinics: Chinese UMC in Chinatown, John Wesley UMC in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, and in Flushing, Queens.

Worship Team Needs Your Creative Self

The Annual Conference Worship Team has begun their work for 2015. Any and all members of the NYAC with creative gifts for worship planning, dance, music, acting, prayer, directing, set/altar design, audio/visual production—any gift with which you have been blessed for worshipping God—are encouraged to contact Heather Sinclair at heather.sinclair@nyac-umc.org or (203) 629-9584 if you’d like to get involved.

Youth Sought for Forum to UN

Once again this year, the New York State Council of Churches is sponsoring a trip for senior high youth to the United Nations from February 16 to 18, 2015.

This year’s focus will be “Jesus Goes to Ferguson: Christianity and Race in 21st Century America,” and will include sessions at the United Methodist Seminar Office and a tour of the United Nations. The seminar is designed to equip youth to be advocates for change from home.

The cost of $350 covers two nights lodging, travel by chartered bus, lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday, and breakfast on Tuesday. Students will need to bring money for dinner Monday and Tuesday, and for breakfast on Wednesday. Each applicant will submit a statement of 400 to 500 words explaining what they hope to learn about the forum’s topic from their own Christian perspective. Deadline is December 29. For an application or questions, please contact,

Brooke Newell, director of Social Witness for NYS Council of Churches, at 518-946-2573, or brooke@cjgreen.net.

For most of us, the holiday season—from the warmth of Thanksgiving to the excitement of Christmas—is a joyous time of warm, loving memories, giving and receiving, and spending time with friends and family.

For some of our neighbors, this is not the case. Some are struggling with putting food on the table every day, never mind a holiday. Some are struggling putting clean clothes on their children, never mind buying a gift. Some are struggling with mental health issues, never mind joy and excitement.

This is a wonderful time of year to reach out to those in need in your neighborhood, your community, and in our world.

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 home serves children in a variety of programs from live-in residential situations to afterschool programs. The children range from newborn to 21 years of age, with the majority being teenage boys. Like all children, they have visions of special wishes and dreams being fulfilled. Our goal is for each child to receive something new that will help make this a special time in its 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 for a specific list at 607-772-6904, ext. 122, or by email at holidays@chowc.org.

•Choose a gift from the ‘most requested gifts’ list below if you prefer to shop more generically.

•Make a charitable donation to the home with the word ‘gifts’ on the memo line which gives the home more purchase power via quantity discounts and tax-exempt status.

•Or consider getting a group together to “Adopt a Stocking” or two for a boy or girl from the list below.

All gifts should be unwrapped and received by Friday, December 5, giving the staff the needed time to get things ready.

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.


Robert K. Houser

“Most Requested Gifts”

  • Clock Radio/CD Players MP3 Players (without voice recording feature)
  • Handheld games gift cards ($10 Increments)
  • Movie gift certificates
  • Certificates for online music downloads
  • Batteries
  • Food/coffee gift certificates
  • New release & Disney DVD movies

“Most Requested Gifts” (cont)

  • Xbox 360 games
  • Pokemon cards
  • Drawing supplies, arts and craft supplies
  • Diaries, journals, stationery
  • Scrapbooking supplies
  • Snap-together models (no glue)
  • Watches
  • Makeup kits
  • Hair/nail gift cards
  • Fishing poles
  • Action toys
  • Matchbox car sets
  • Star Wars items/light sabers
  • Transformers
  • Bionicles / Legos
  • Dolls / Barbies
  • Stress balls
  • Remote control cars
  • Fuzzy coloring posters
  • Axe cologne for men
  • Chapstick
  • Computer games
  • Winter hats & waterproof gloves
  • Slipper socks
  • Diapers / wipes
  • Coloring Books
  • Comforters, blankets, fleece throw blankets, sheets, pillows, character pillows
  • 2014 popular music CD’s: Ariana Grande, NOW, Sam Smith, 5 Seconds Of Summer
  • Board Games: Connect Four, Memory, Clue, Monopoly, Skip-Bo, Apples to Apples Jr., Cranium Jr., Chutes & Ladders, Scrabble Jr., Candy Land, Ants In The Pants
  • Books: Glee, sports, Goosebumps, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Hunger Games, young teen vampire
  • Sports equipment: Nike Youth Vapor Threat footballs, Nike basketballs, baseball batting gloves, football gloves, baseball gloves, lacrosse sticks
  • Clothing: team & brand name sports apparel like Giants, Jets, Yankees, Knicks, Heat, Lakers, Syracuse, North Carolina, Duke)
  • Hooded sweatshirts (mostly adult large, extra large & 2 extra large)
  • Team and brand name hats/caps
  • Nike and Under Armour apparel
  • Exercise shorts

“Adopt a Stocking”

Girls/Boys Ages 5–10

Both: Tube socks, ski cap, mittens, toothpaste/brush, brush/comb, tube shampoo, crayons, books, slipper socks
Girls: Hair ribbons/barrettes, jewelry
Boys: Small puzzles, games, small toy

Girls/Boys Ages 11–14

Both: Tube socks, cap, 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/Boys Ages 15–18

Both: Tube socks, cap, waterproof gloves, toothbrush/paste, brush/comb, tube shampoo, pencils/pens, body wash, slipper socks
Girls: Makeup, nail polish, Chapstick, journals
Boys: Wallets, Chapstick, batteries (AA’s/AAA’s)

Please note: No used items or food products. For health reasons, stuffed animals are discouraged. The Children’s Home requests that all gifts in the stockings be left unwrapped and received by December 5. Please label each stocking for a girl or boy and the age range. The staff would be glad to fill a stocking for you, if you want to just send a monetary donation. Thank you for your generosity.

For more information on the Children’s Home, call 607-772-6904 (or toll free 800-772-6904) ext. 131, or go to the web site at www.chowc.org. Please feel free to send donations directly, or use the New York Conference Advance #60-0588.

Advancing UMC Work, Just a Click Away

On December 2, United Methodists once again are invited to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the Advent season by participating in UMC #GivingTuesday. And every gift made online through The Advance at www.umcmission.org/give on December 2 will be matched up to $1 million.

As you may remember, in 2013 on UMC #GivingTuesday, United Methodists collectively raised a record $6.5 million online. Through The Advance, 11,000 individuals and churches in 34 countries gave more than 16,300 gifts to mission and ministries they believe in. It was a wonderful sign of commitment and extravagant generosity, maximizing the impact of thousands of United Methodists coming together on one day to transform the world.

On December 2, United Methodists once again are invited to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the Advent season by participating in UMC #GivingTuesday, which offers an opportunity to begin the holiday season by giving instead of getting, by supporting organizations and missionaries who have been researched and approved by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. And 100 percent of all gifts made through The Advance are given directly to the designated project—so you can donate money directly to an NYAC missionary or a missionary in covenant relationship with the conference. In the spirit of healthy competition, we are preparing a special Advance award to be given to the annual conference that raises the most funds online on December 2.

Global Ministries will allocate matching funds dollar for dollar up to the first $1 million in gifts to Advance projects received online on December 2, by 11:59 p.m. EST. 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.

As we look for ways to break out of the consumer driven shopping traditions of Black Friday, Local Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday and start of the holiday season by giving instead of getting, consider these alternatives:

• Ask that Christmas gifts be made as a donation in your name to your favorite Advance project and encourage that friends and family make a gift on December 2 to maximize the impact.

• Identify projects and missionaries that have special meaning to the people on your Christmas list and make a Christmas gift in their honor on December 2. Want to present a wrapped gift?

• Accompany the notification with a token representation of the project (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 project theme or include a photo of the missionary.

See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/giving-tuesday.

GBCS Offers Advent Study on HIV/AIDS

The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has a new four-week Advent Bible study that addresses the HIV pandemic and its relationship to other social concerns. The study, “The Season for Change— An Advent Study on HIV/AIDS & Social Justice Advocacy,” is free and downloadable from the GBCS web site.

The four sessions present simple ways to participate in both hands-on service and social-justice advocacy. The study is designed to enable participants to engage in discussion, action and reflection throughout the four week course and beyond by building on Advent’s message of hope, healing and expectation.

The first session of “The Season for Change” coincides with The United Methodist Church’s observance of World AIDS Day on December 1. The denomination’s Book of Resolutions encourages congregations to commemorate World AIDS Day with “special programs on HIV/ AIDS education and religious worship services that focus on intercessory and healing prayer, hope in God and love and compassion.” Resources can be found at: http://umc-gbcs.org/resources-websites/the-season-for-change.

Celebrating Nativity Artistry

Nichols United Methodist Church will be hosting a three-day
Nativity Art and Music Festival, featuring more than 80 examples
of the birth of Christ in a variety of media. The December 5–7
event will also showcase nativity sets from a number of different countries that are on loan from church members. “The Star Of Bethlehem” is the theme of this year’s display which is open from 6–9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Saturday, and 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday, at the church at 35 Shelton Rd, Trumbull, Conn. Visitors
may also participate in a special Advent service at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The church phone number is 203-375-5817.

Loss of Routines Can Disrupt Sense of Belonging

By Rev. Jim Stinson
Consultant for Older Adult Ministries

Jim Stinson

“What do you miss the most about being in your home of so many years?”

That’s a question I often ask our newer residents when checking in on their adjustment to living in one of our communities at United Methodist Homes. Invariably the answer goes something like this, “I miss getting up, going downstairs, fixing a cup of coffee, enjoying it for awhile, having breakfast, and then going upstairs to wash and dress for the day.” Or, “I miss the daily routines, walking downtown, seeing neighbors, chatting, walking home with some little thing I might want or need during the remaining day.”

All of these responses speak to the human comfort found in the routine rituals of life. Doing certain things, in certain ways, provides a sense of belonging, which is a basic human need. No one is really comfortable feeling out of place. We all intuitively know this, yet sometimes seem to forget how much the aging process seems to upset the apple cart, disrupting life’s routines of older adults.

Whether the circumstances warrant physically moving to a new location or remaining in place, aging often forces unwanted changes. It is no wonder that older people often lose patience. They are asked to accept a lot of interruptions in their lives.

Adult children, clergy, visitors, and such, often follow suit in losing patience. Caring for older loved ones also involves change in routine for caregivers. And so I hear, “Why can’t Mom see what she has, rather than what she has lost?” “Why do I feel it’s my fault that dad cannot go out as much as he used to? There are only so many hours in a day to do all the things I’m supposed to do, without adding entertaining dad to the list.” Being an aging person and caring for and about an older adult brings these stresses. It is often difficult not to lose patience.

Jim Stinson

So, as one who has been there, I dare to offer a few suggestions:

• The guilt is natural, but serves no useful purpose. Only do what you feel comfortable doing. If at all possible, seek help for the rest, if it really needs to be done.

• Do not be afraid to say, “This is what I can do, let’s talk about another way of meeting your other needs.”

• If impatience seems to be setting in, step back, take stock, don’t beat yourself up. It is not your fault or the older person’s fault that the needs exist.

• Be honest with the one for whom you care, help her/him to see that the situation, while it is about them, also affects you. Show your willingness to help, even while setting boundaries.

• Keep a sense of humor, laugh with the one you love, lightening the mood, including your own.

Janes UMC Retires Its Mortgage

Janes United Methodist Church in Brooklyn burned its primary mortgage in a November 8 service as part of a month-long celebration of its 155th anniversary. A group of clergy with ties to the church joined Janes’ pastor, Rev. Robert O. Simpson, center above, in leading the celebration. From left are Revs. Thomas P. Grissom, Ian Straker, Edith Critchlow, Robert O. Simpson, John Carrington, Leo Curry, and Hermon Darden. The church, which was incorporated on October 15, 1859, has been tenacious in keeping its doors open to serve the Bedford-Stuyvesant community. In 1984, a six-alarm fire destroyed the church, but within six years a new church rose from the ashes. The weekend celebration concluded with a concert on November 9 to honor the memory of those who witnessed the fire and shared in the struggle, but finished their course in faith before the church was rebuilt.

GBGM Commissions 7 New Missionaries

On Sunday, Nov. 16, the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries commissioned seven new missionaries for service around the world. The new missionaries come from South Korea, the United States, Paraguay and the Philippines and will be serving in Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, the United States and Taiwan.

Please keep them in prayer as they complete three weeks of training in Quito, Ecuador, and are commissioned.

Young Seon Kim, Advance #3021957
Home Conference: South Korea (Northern Illinois Annual Conference)
Placement: Director of Next Generation Ministry, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Tyrone LaValley, Advance #3022028
Home Conference: Georgia, U.S. (North Georgia Annual Conference)
Placement: Scout Ministry Coordinator, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Claudete Mora, Advance #3022033
Home Conference: Paraguay Evangelical Methodist Church
Placement: Mission Administrator and Program Director, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Pablo Mora, Advance #3022032
Home Conference: Paraguay Evangelical Methodist Church
Placement: Mission Superintendent, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Alma Jumuad-Navarro, Advance #3022029
Home Conference: Philippines (East Mindanao Annual Conference)
Placement: Minister for Administration and Christian Education, Taipei, Taiwan

Richard B. Navarro, Advance #3022030
Home Conference: Philippines (East Mindanao Annual Conference)
Placement: Minister for Congregational Development and Pastoral Care, Taipei, Taiwan

Adam T. Shaw, Advance #3021347
Home Conference: Ohio, U.S. (East Ohio Annual Conference)
Placement: Mission Advocate for Young Adult Mission Service, New York City, U.S. (Global Ministries)

UMs Offering Care as Ebola Cases Rise

UMNS—Ebola cases are rising sharply in Sierra Leone with 111 new cases reported November 9. Kissy United Methodist Hospital was closed Nov. 11 after their chief medical officer and surgeon tested positive for Ebola. Dr. Martin Salia, the sixth doctor in Sierra Leone to be infected with the deadly virus, was flown to the United States for treatment, but was too ill to survive. He died at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha early November 17.

Salia, who was born in Sierra Leone and received his training there, has only practiced medicine in his home country. Istau Salia, the doctor’s wife, is a U.S. citizen who lives in Maryland; she requested the evacuation. Her husband, 44, is a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

It is not clear how Salia contracted the virus, but health ministry sources say the doctor worked at least three other medical facilities in addition to Kissy Hospital.

Salia’s infection comes several weeks after the 21-day quarantine imposed on all staff in direct contact with the patient who died. Hospital staff will be quarantined for the next 21 days. The Sierra Leone Conference Ebola response team will provide a 50-kilogram (110-pound) bag of rice, sugar, milk, soap, water and other food to the quarantined staff. The staffers also will receive minutes for their cell phones so they can report on their health condition in case of any emergency or deteriorating health.

Meanwhile, the United Methodist Ebola Response Team based in Freetown is responding with spiritual and physical nourishment in the north and west areas of the country where the disease is spreading rapidly.

Mohamed Dumbuya was overcome with emotion when the team from the Sierra Leone Conference arrived with gifts of food and words of consolation for the passing of his wife, Mariatu Kamara, who recently died from Ebola. Kamara, 38, was a teacher at the United Methodist primary school in Makeni.

Dumbuya, also a teacher at the Saint Francis Secondary School in Makeni, said his family had not received support from any agency since he and his two children were quarantined following Kamara’s death about two weeks ago.

A recent presidential declaration isolated the Bombali District, which includes Makeni, as well as two other areas because of the rapid increase of Ebola in the districts.

Makeni is the provincial headquarters of the north and home of President Ernest Bai Koroma. Before the Ebola quarantines, it was a business hub known for its busy streets. The streets, hotels and entertainment centers are now empty.

Mohamed Dumbuya is overcome with emotion when the team from The United Methodist Sierra Leone Conference arrives with gifts of food and words of consolation for the passing of his wife, Mariatu Kamara, who recently died from Ebola.
UMNS photo

Teams of United Methodists have been taking the life-saving messages of how to avoid Ebola, when to seek medical attention, and ways to prevent the disease from spreading since the outbreak in West Africa started in May.

Confirmed cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone from the National Ebola Response Center are 4,435 with 1,133 deaths.

Letter Urges Compassion, Not Ebola Stigmatization

Representatives of the Council of Bishops and the General Board of Global Ministries issued a letter to the people of The United Methodist Church on behalf of the Council of Bishops in response to the Ebola crisis affecting West Africa. The epidemic has been responsible for nearly 5,000 deaths with more than 13,000 cases of disease reported.

“Our hearts go out to families, communities and all those suffering as a result of the epidemic. We assure them of our prayers for divine assistance as they go through this period of pain, trauma and grief,” states the letter.

United Methodists are urged to “offer compassion to our sisters and brothers who are suffering, and support to those who walk with them.”

The letter acknowledges that fear is understandable in the face of Ebola, yet sometimes “leads to unnecessary stigmatization of any persons from or believed to be from those countries or even coming from other parts of Africa.” The leaders urge United Methodists to “be realistic and diligent in confronting fear and stigma as our brothers and sisters in West Africa are in a front-line encounter with Ebola,” noting that accurate information that “increases understanding and decreases stigma is a matter of urgency, justice, and fairness for all members of our human family.”

The letter cautions against travel bans, which “have been judged by airlines to be unenforceable and by health authorities as likely to severely restrict the movement of overseas health workers in and out of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” noting that as many as 5,000 workers are needed to bring Ebola under control. It also notes that quarantines should be “required on a case by case basis when medically required and then implemented with a great sense of respect.”

None of the missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries have been infected with Ebola, and several have volunteered to return to Liberia from the U.S.

The letter was signed by Bishop Warner Brown, president of the Council, Bishop John K. Yambasu of the Sierra Leone Episcopal Area, Bishop John Innis of the Liberia Episcopal Area, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, president of the General Board of Global Ministries and Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries.

Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three countries most affected, are within the church’s connectional system with a district in Guinea being part of the Liberia Annual Conference. United Methodists in these countries are “strongly committed to efforts with their neighbors of all faiths to safely confront and control Ebola.”



Rev. Richard R. Guice

Rev. Richard R. GuiceRev. Richard Robert Guice, died October 17, at age 82. The son of the late Rev. Robert B. and Dorotha Guice, Guice was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Rev. Guice’s journey to ordained ministry through the New York Conference began with a license to preach and then deacon’s orders. He was ordained as elder in 1957.

Rev. Guice was committed to an itinerant ministry as evidenced by the following episcopal appointments: Ashokan, Glenford and West Hurley; Roxbury and Halcottville; Trinity in Kingston and South Roundout; associate at Floral Park; Carmel; Peekskill; Pawling and Poughquag; Valhalla; and Westbury.

Retirement in 1996, offered Guice several opportunities to continue his service. He served in interim capacities at Liberty, Branford, and Overlook in Woodstock; as chaplain at the Bethel Homes for five years, and as pastor at Roscoe from 2007–2009. He also was a faculty member in the Rising Hope prison ministry at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility.

Guice was committed to the conference camping ministries—including all three sites in New York: Quinipet on Shelter Island, Epworth in High Falls, and Kingswood in Hancock. Memorial gifts in his name may be given to the New York Conference Camping Fund, 20 Soundview Ave., White Plains, NY 10606.

In additional to his wife Jean, he is survived by sons, Bryan T. Guice of Denver, and Jon R. (Karen) Guice of San Diego; a daughter, Joy M. Guice of Boston; two grandchildren, Erik and Alexander Hagstrom; his twin sister, Ruth Guice of Florida; and a niece and nephew.

A celebration of life was held October 25 at St. Paul’s UMC, Middletown, N.Y. Rev. Charles Ryu, pastor, and Superintendent Jim Moore of the Catskill Hudson District officiated. A meal in the fellowship hall followed the service.

Expressions of sympathy and support may be sent to: Jean Guice, P.O. Box 136, Kiamesha Lake, NY 12750.

Irene Morris Ranton

Irene O. Morris Ranton, the mother of Evelyn Brunson, died October 16, at age 91.

Brunson served 15 years with New York Conference as the administrative assistant for bishops Ernest S. Lyght, Jeremiah J. Park, and for the initial period of Martin D. McLee’s episcopacy. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to her at: 120-5 Aldrich Street #5F, Bronx, NY 10475.

Rev. Thomas Frank Beveridge

Reverend Thomas Frank Beveridge, age 75, passed away unexpectedly at Hartford Hospital on October 12.

The son of the late Clayton and Margaret (Auten) Beveridge, he was born and raised in Middletown, Conn. He was a graduate of Grinnell College, held a master’s of divinity degree from Drew University Theological School, a master of arts in counseling from the University of St. Joseph, and a doctor of ministry in psychology and clinical studies from Andover Newton Theological School.

He was married to Amy (Anderson) Beveridge for 49 years. In addition to his wife, he is survived by their son, Thomas Andrew Beveridge of Wilmington, N.C.; a sister Lois (Phillip) Czachorowski of Walpole, MA and their children Adam, Paul and Margaret.

His first step in the journey to ordained ministry began with a local preacher’s license in 1958. In June 2014, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a deacon in the New York Conference. He was ordained an elder and became a full member of the conference in 1966. Retirement officially began in 2002.

Beveridge’s appointment history includes: Sharon and Cornwall Bridge, Conn., Bedford Hills; St. Paul’s on Staten Island; Bloomfield, Conn.; Pastoral Counseling Center of West Hartford; Shalom Ministries Pastoral Counseling Center, Windsor, Conn.; First UMC of Wallingford; and Rocky Hill. He was also a resident chaplain at Hartford Hospital and spent many years in pastoral counseling.

Since 2006, Rev. Beveridge served as an ecumenical associate at Christ Church Cathedral of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut. At Christ Church Cathedral, he was active in “Church Street Eats” ministry that serves the homeless and others in need. He was a leader in the cathedral’s healing ministry and adult Christian formation. He was a member of the Order of Saint Luke, a religious order whose calling is to liturgical/sacramental scholarship, teaching and practice. For several years, he served the order as its first pastoral care officer.

Beveridge used his gifts in helping others on their spiritual journeys, and was able to reach out to many in personal ways, and especially to those who asked for healing. He had a passion for ecumenical and interfaith ministries.

A celebration of his life and ministry was held October 18 at Christ Church Cathedral. A reception followed in the Cathedral House auditorium.

Memorial donations may be made to the Christ Church Cathedral feeding program Church Street Eats, 45 Church St., Hartford, CT 06103.


Rev. Juanita Valyou Middlebrook

Rev. Juanita V. MiddlebrookReverend Juanita Valyou Middlebrook, died at age 81 at home on October 11.

Before pursuing a call to ministry, Middlebrook worked for many years in the pediatric department of Sharon Clinic, and then opened her own retail business.

In 1978, she returned to school earning a bachelor’s degree at the College of New Rochelle and a master’s of divinity from the Drew University Theological School. In 1982, Middlebrook was ordained a deacon and received as a probationary member of the New York Conference; elder’s orders and full membership followed in 1985.

The history of her episcopal appointments include: Federated Church of Kerhonkson, Goshen, New Beginnings Ministries, Bay Shore interim, and Pine Plains before retiring in 2004. She then served an appointment to First and North Hillside in Hillside until 2011. Following her “second retirement,” she continued working as a spiritual director and counselor.

Middlebrook had an adventurous spirit and loved to travel; her final trip abroad was to Tuscany in June.

She is survived by three children, Lance, Kim and Todd; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by son, Keith.

A service of death and resurrection was held October 18 at the Sharon UMC, 112 Upper Main Street, Sharon, Conn. Memorial contributions can be made to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness, P.O. Box 650309, Dallas, TX, 75265-0309.

Rev. Jack W. H. Mattair

Rev. Jack MattairRev. Jack William Henry Mattair, died October 10 at his home in East Hampton, N.Y. He was 81.

Mattair was born in 1933 in Charleston, S.C. He grew up in Port Washington, N.Y., with his adoptive parents Mabel and Royal Burlison.

A graduate of the University of Florida, he earned a master’s of divinity degree from Emory University. Jack’s clergy record began in the Florida Conference with a license to preach in 1951; seven years later he received deacon’s orders. The New York East Conference granted him elder’s orders and full membership in that conference in 1962. Rev. Mattair entered the retired relationship with the New York Conference in 2004 following 45 years of service as an ordained minister.

He served churches in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Sea Cliff, N.Y. By 1975, Rev. Mattair had earned a master of divinity degree from Emory University and a master’s degree in psychoanalysis from the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies in Manhattan. He later became a faculty member at the center. In1967, Mattair was appointed to serve as a pastoral counselor with the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry; three years later he was promoted to director of pastoral care.

“A lover of the arts, in particular the ballet and the symphony, he will be remembered by his friends for his kindness, generosity, and big heart,” his family said.

Rev. Mattair is survived by two nephews, Bryan Brett of Beavercreek, Ohio, and Gary Brett of Perry, Fla. Kerry Balchun, his partner of 40 years, died before him.

Information regarding funeral arrangements was not available.

Ismay A. Hoyte-Isaac

Ismay A. Hoyte-IsaacIsmay A. Hoyte-Isaac, a native of Guyana, died October 7. She was married to Rev. Dr. Acelius Isaac, who predeceased her in early 1999.

Hoyte-Isaac was first married to Oswald Hoyte; the couple celebrated a union of 44 years and had seven children together. She later immigrated to the United States, where she worked at the Oxford Nursing home for 20 years as a nurses’ aide, until her retirement.

She was known as fashion enthusiast and enjoyed sewing, cooking, and spending time with her children and pets. Most of all, she loved her New York Yankees.

In 1988, she joined Long Island City People’s United Methodist Church, where among other activities she served as president of United Methodist Women. While attending People’s, she met Rev. Isaac, and they were married in December 1996. Hoyte-Isaac especially enjoyed the church’s annual retreat to Massachusetts.

Hoyte-Isaac is survived by her seven children: Yvonne, Godfrey, Kenrick, Keith, Rawle, Gillian, and Brynmoore; 24 grandchildren; 28 great grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren; sister, Ethel; brothers, Sonny and Stafford; and a whole host of nieces and nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her seven siblings, and her mother.

A service of death and resurrection was held October 10 at the Fenimore Street UMC in Brooklyn, N.Y. Burial was at St. John’s UMC of Elmont cemetery in Valley Stream, N.Y.

Bethel HomeJean Templeton, left, from Volunteer New York
organization, works with Laura Shapiro to create
a paper puppet. Shapiro is a former administrator
with the NYC school system and grant writer.

Bethel Seniors Assist Head Start Program

Bethel Homes and Services partnered with Volunteer New York to support local Head Start programs yesterday as 30 senior residents created paper puppets that will help pre-K children learn to read.

These seniors came from The Pines, Bethel’s Independent Senior Living apartments in Ossining, The Springvale Inn, Bethel’s Assisted Senior Living Residence and Bethel’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, both also in Croton. There was standing room only when the volunteers converged.

Jean Templeton, a manager with Volunteer New York, said, “We are thrilled with this wonderful response to help our pre-K children learn how to read. It’s a perfect partnership. The seniors are delighted to help and the children will benefit greatly from the puppets.”

Bethel’s seniors enjoyed the event so much that plans are underway to partner again with Volunteer New York for another intergenerational project.

Fordham Celebrates Anniversary

Fordham UMC celebrated its 162nd anniversary with a luncheon at the Eastwood Manor in the Bronx on October 18. This annual celebration gave members the opportunity to model a range of gorgeous hats, and dance and enjoy a time of fellowship.

Rev. Leo Curry, pastor, served as the master of ceremonies for the event. Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Gennifer Brooks, director of the Styberg Preaching Institute at Garrett

Theological Seminary and chair of the conference rules committee, asked those gathered to lift their voices on the issues of great importance not just to the church and community, but also to the world.

Brooks called on the congregation to be a beacon of light in the community and beyond. She challenged the packed room to lift their voice in praise for God’s goodness, and encouraged them to live into their identity as God’s people.

The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Bishop: Ernest S. Lyght

Director of Connectional Ministries: Claude I. Gooding

Editor: Joanne Utley

Vision e-mail: thevision@nyac.com

Web site: www.nyac.com

New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

20 Soundview Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

Phone (888) 696-6922

Fax (914) 615-2244