"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. February, 2015

In this issue:

Healing & Redefining Leadership

Editor, The Vision

The stage was set for “It’s A New Day,” as some 175 clergy and spouses braved the snowy Catskills to attend the annual Bishop’s Convocation in mid-January. The three-day annual event gives clergy, spouses and families a bit of time to relax and renew and be in fellowship with one another at the Villa Roma Resort in Callicoon, N.Y.

Rev. Bill Shillady, chair of the conference episcopacy committee, formally welcomed Interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton and her husband, Jack Middleton. The other members of the committee and the six district superintendents all offered an individual blessing for the pair. Gifts were then presented, including a remote-controlled sports car for Jack, who jokingly asked to be called “Mr. Chauffer.”

Bishop Middleton shared her surprise and joy about coming back to the New York Annual Conference as its bishop, but also gave voice to the circumstances.

“I know you are still grieving your bishop,” she said. “But God finds a way for us to move forward. We will do that with God’s grace and power.”

In her sermon Bishop Middleton drew from the words of Revelation 21:1–7 to offer a word of hope of God’s promise of a new heaven and earth.

“The world calls us to our devices and our vices; the world calls us to multiple temptations,” she said. “But the heart’s way is to get right with Jesus and stay right with Jesus.”

Bishop's Convocation - Communion
Rev. Bob Leibold receives the elements from Rev. Sungchan Kim and Lynda Gomi.

She led the gathering into a time of sharing in small groups to explore and pray about three questions:

  • What is your sadness surrounding the death of Bishop Martin McLee?
  • What are the sorrows of your ministry?
  • Where do you see signs of hope in your ministry?

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton
Interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton, above, presides over Holy Communion during the closing worship at the Bishop’s Convocation

The last question brought responses such as young clergy, families with babies, inter-generational ministries, lay servant ministries, people bowing in prayer, and leaning on God.

As worship drew to a close, Rev. Nat Dixon and his GoJA Quartet led the gathering in singing, “Sweet Victory in Jesus” among other hymns.

Following dinner, the bishop introduced Derrick-Lewis Noble, the NYAC’s first director of congregational development and revitalization, as someone who “knows how to grow churches.”

Noble shared many of his experiences in more than 25 years of ministry. “Ministry is hard enough, particularly if you do it as a Lone Ranger . . .” he said. “There’s a reason why God calls it a body—when the body is healthy it all works together.”

He stressed the importance of assembling a winning team. “What good would it have been for Moses if Aaron and Hur were weary?” Using biblical citations, he suggested that the five key people each pastor needs on their team are a mentor, an encourager, a confronter, an intercessor, and a partner.

In closing this session, Noble advised the pastors, “Stop waiting for a better appointment, be a better you.”

During Wednesday’s program, Noble discussed ways to move the local church into a culture where growth is possible. Answering three basic questions are key:

  • Why Jesus? Does knowing Jesus have an impact in someone’s life?
  • Why church? Why is it important or not? What can people get at church that they can’t get anywhere else?
  • Why this church? What’s different about our church? Would I want to join this church if I weren’t already a part of it?

Bishop Middleton continued the discussion with a leadership video based on the book, “The Art of Possibility,” written by Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, and his wife, psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander.

The key concepts of “radiating possibility” include:

  1. Speak in possibility. Rather than talk about what has happened or what has gone wrong, focus on what we want to happen.
  2. Look for shining eyes. Shining eyes show that the spark of possibility has been caught, that new possibility is birthed.
  3. Enroll every voice in the vision.
  4. Lead by making others powerful (the conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound).
  5. Quiet the voice in the head that says, “I can’t do it.”
  6. First rule of leadership. Remember rule #6: ‘Don’t take yourself too seriously.’

The convocation came to a close with the sharing of Holy Communion. Middleton offered some final instructions for church leadership.

“Ministry should be worthy of you and your intention and your dignity,” she said. “Can you say, I love what I do? Can you say it like you mean it? What a blessing you have been given. There must be joy—look for it. You’re called to love it, do it in life-giving way.”

Episcopalians, United Methodists
To Share NYC Communion

In a service marking the common journey of two denominations toward “full communion,” Interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton will preside over Holy Communion as part of the Interim Eucharistic Sharing Agreement between the United Methodist and Episcopal churches. John Street United Methodist Church in New York City will host the service at 5:30 p.m., March 3.

For the past 10 years, the United Methodist and Episcopal Churches have been in talks to move toward “full communion.” Full communion involves two denominations developing a relationship based on a common confessing of the Christian faith—it does not mean that the denominations will merge. This relationship involves the mutual recognition of members, of ordained clergy, and the sacraments; the joint celebration of Holy Communion/Eucharist; and a common commitment to evangelism, mission, and service.

Both denominations share full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but not with each other.

There are similar signs of Anglican-Methodist dialogue and cooperation worldwide. Recently in Ireland, several Methodists joined in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of Ireland. And in what has been described as a “historic” moment for Christian unity, a United Methodist elder presided over Holy Communion for the first time at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, who is on the staff of the cathedral, was permitted to offer the sacrament in January as a direct result of the Interim Eucharistic Sharing Agreement.

A team of clergy and laity from both denominations in the New York area has been attempting to walk along the same paths. The March 3 service is the fruition of this. Interim Bishop Middleton will preside, while Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, the chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, will preach.

All are encouraged to attend the service and enjoy a time of informal fellowship afterward.

Episcopal Bishop SaulsBishop Stacy F. Sauls

The John Street parish started out as a prayer circle of Methodists who would also attend formal services at Trinity (Episcopal) Church nearby. After American independence, and the consequent break between Methodists and Episcopalians, those ties were severed. This service is a small step in reconnecting them.

The service was planned for March 3 because that is the day on which the Episcopal Church celebrates the lives of John and Charles Wesley on their calendar of saints.

The John Street UMC is south of New York City Hall at 44 John Street, near the Fulton Street stations on the A, C, 2,3,4, and 5 subway lines.

2/21&28 NY/CT Basic Lay Servant Course
This foundational course will be offered on both Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. at the Grace UMC, 337 Peekskill Hollow Road, Putnam Valley, N.Y. Cost is $15, plus $11 for the book. Participants should read the first three chapters of Lay Servant Ministries (Jackson & Jackson), before the first class. Snacks, coffee, tea, and water will be provided; please bring your own lunch. Registrations forms are available at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/490636. Contact Steve Allen at sjallen@optonline.net with any questions.

2/28 “Legacies of Slavery” Program
Professor Sarah Azaransky will lead a workshop entitled, “Legacies of Slavery for All Americans,” from 1:30–4:30 p.m., at the Community UMC in Massapequa, N.Y. The event, will be interactive and offer time for conversations. Azaransky is assistant professor of social ethics at Union Theo­logi­cal Seminary, where she teaches courses on race, sexual ethics, and immigra­tion. On Sunday, March 1, Azaransky will also preach at the 10 a.m. worship at CUMC. A special brunch will follow. The events are co-sponsored by the NYAC’s Conference Board of Church and Society. The Massapequa church is at 100 Park Boulevard. Please call 516-541-7008 with any questions.

FEB/MAR Lenten School of Discipleship
The New York-Connecticut District has planned a five-week school from February 22 to March 22 Sunday at Grace United Methodist Church in Newburgh, N.Y. The Basic Lay Servant class will be offered in addition to four advanced ones:

  • From Your Heart to Theirs: Delivering an Effective Sermon
  • Leading in Prayer
  • Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition
  • Leading Worship

The cost for the sessions that will run from 4–7 p.m. is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. A light supper will be served. Contact Steve Allen at sjallen@optonline.net with any questions. Registrations forms are available at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/664428.

2/28 Volunteers in Mission Training
Workshop for mission volunteers at the Conference Center, 20 Soundview Ave, White Plains, N.Y. Please bring $10 payment for your background check. To register, go to Urge https://ny-reg.brtapp.com/2015VIMTraining

3/3 Shared Eucharist Service
Interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton will preside over Holy Communion as part of the Interim Eucharistic Sharing Agreement between the United Methodist and Episcopal churches at John Street UMC in New York City at 5:30 p.m. Bishop Stacy F. Sauls, the chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, will preach. All are encouraged to attend the service and enjoy a time of informal fellowship afterward. The John Street UMC is at 44 John Street. See related story on Page 1.

3/7 Sandy Recovery Work
Though the winter may slow down the recovery work, two
“Done In A Day” dates have been scheduled and await your team or individual volunteers. The DIAD concept remains a simple one: start early and end late—done in a day! Simple projects will be completed in one day; more complicated projects can be done in one-day segments. To volunteer, contact Peggy Racine at 516-795-1322, or

3/19 Pre-retirement Seminar
This session for clergy who are retiring or considering it will
be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Sally Truglia at 914-615-2220, or struglia@nyac.com.

3/21 United Methodist Women’s Retreat
This conference retreat is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
at the Church Center for United Nations, 777 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan. Contact Susan S. Kim, UMW conference president at nycumwpresident@gmail.com, or 914-997-1081.

4/13–17 Clergy and Spouse Clinic
Twice a year, New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn opens
its doors to 12 clergy and/or spouses for a four-day clinic in which major diagnostic tests and consultations are made available. To apply for the next clinic, download a brochure and registration form at www.nyac.com/eventdetail/198565, or contact Rev. Elizabeth Braddon at elizabeth.braddon@gmail.com, indicating your interest. Registration is very limited, so do not delay.

4/11&18 Metropolitan Lay Servant School
Christ Church UMC will host the annual lay servant school on two Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The basic course will be offered in English; advanced courses in English, Korean and Spanish. The $40 fee includes the required text, and breakfast and lunch both days. Christ Church is at 524 Park Avenue in Manhattan. Registration deadline is February 28; details can be found at: www.nyac.com/eventdetail/561619.

4/29 Boundaries & Sexual Ethics Training
Long Island East District Superintendent Adrienne Brewington will lead this training, which is mandatory for all clergy, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the NYAC Learning Center, 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, N.Y. Contact Brewington at RevvyBrew@aol.com for additional details.

5/16 Mozambique Luncheon
The Mozambique-NYAC sister connection will be celebrated
with a lunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the NYAC Learning Center, 20 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, N.Y. Contact Annettee Griffith, at annette griffith@ earthlink.net, for additional details.


More events available on the NYAC calendar>>

Bishop Urges $10 Donations for Malaria

Dear Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

As we enter this holy season of Lent, I am writing to you about a life or death issue. Malaria kills over 500,000 of God’s children every year, mostly in Africa. The good news is that since 2000 malaria deaths in Africa have been cut in half from 1,000,000/year. How is this possible?

The reason for this amazing reduction of malaria deaths has been a worldwide campaign to eradicate this deadly disease. Several organizations have joined together to reduce malaria deaths to zero, much as polio was eradicated in the 1960’s. These organizations include, among others: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund and The United Methodist Church.

The United Methodist Church calls its campaign, Imagine No Malaria, and set a goal of raising $75 million by the end of 2016. The New York Annual Conference pledged $1.2 million and

we are a little less than halfway there—we’ve raised $550,000. I believe we can reach our goal!

It is time for a “final push” for us to reach our goal. I am asking that each congregation contribute $10 per member by April 25: World Malaria Day. This would allow us not only to reach our goal, but also to possibly exceed it! Here is a link for donating: www.nyac.com/inm. We will celebrate our victory to help eradicate malaria at our Annual Conference Session in June!

There are several ways to meet this $10/member goal:

1. Take a special offering for World Malaria Day during Lent

2. Make a gift from church mission funds

3. Use Easter, this great celebration of Christ’s resurrection to make a

sacrificial offering to eradicate malaria and bring new life and hope

4. Hold a fundraiser. Please take a look at the ideas and resources available to you at the link above. Also, INM coordinator Lynda Gomi (lgomi@nyac.com) is ready to assist you with fundraising and to answer questions.

I know we can do this and that we must do it. Lives of precious women, men and children are at stake. Seldom has there been a greater opportunity to save a life and make a difference.

I believe that God’s yearning for the people of the New York Annual Conference is to help defeat this deadly disease. Will you join with me in making this final push to reach our goal?

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton

District Days With Bishop

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton will be making the rounds to meet with clergy and laity in each of the six districts this month and next. The schedule is as follows:

Long Island East/Adrienne Brewington
Saturday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Bible UMC, 1201 Carll’s Straight Path, Dix Hills, N.Y.
Clergy 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; laity 1:30–3 p.m.

New York/Connecticut/Betsy Ott
Thursday, Feb. 19
Yorktown UMC, 2300 Crompond Road, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Clergy, 2–5 p.m.; laity, 6–8 p.m.

Metropolitan/Denise Smartt Sears
Sunday, Feb. 22
Metropolitan Koryo, 150 East 62nd St., N.Y., N.Y.
Clergy 3–5 p.m.; laity and clergy 5–6:30 p.m.

Connecticut/Ken Kieffer
Monday, March 2
First UMC, 188 Rocky Rest Road, Shelton, Conn.
9 a.m.–Noon

Long Island West/Sungchan Kim
Tuesday, March 3
Grace UMC of St. Albans, 200-08 Murdock Ave., St. Albans, N.Y.
10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Catskill Hudson/Jim Moore
Wednesday, March 4
Reservoir UMC, 3056 State Route 28, Shokan, N.Y.
Clergy 2–5 p.m.; laity and clergy 6–8:30 p.m.

Cemetery Gives $100,000 to Fight Malaria

Rev. Bob Walker plays the mosquito as Interim Bishop Ernest Lyght, left, receives the $100,000 check from Rev. Bill Shillady during the conference holiday party in December.

The Linden Hill UM Cemetery in Ridgewood, Queens, has given a $100,000 grant toward the conference’s Imagine No Malaria pledge of $1.2 million. On his first visit to the cemetery, former Bishop Martin D. McLee noticed signs that read: “No standing water allowed in flower vases because of mosquitos and the West Nile Virus.” Those words inspired McLee to ask for the grant. The cemetery board approved $50,000 outright and offered the additional $50,000 as a matching grant. The challenge went out to the conference and the $50,000 was more than matched with some $38,000 from churches and about $20,000 donated by individuals. The Linden Hill cemetery was founded by Methodists in 1842, and in 1975 became the property of the NYAC bishop and the district superintendents with churches in New York City.

NYAC Honored for Sandy Recovery Work

The New York Annual Conference was selected by New York Interfaith Disaster Services (NYDIS) as its 2014 “Member of the Year” for its work and commitment to the Sandy recovery effort. The award was presented at the group’s annual meeting on January 15. The NYAC was recognized for its presence and support at the New York City Unmet Needs Roundtable, and for its volunteer rebuild and housing efforts.

In 2014, through its support from UMCOR, Volunteers in Mission, and local churches, the NYAC Sandy Recovery ministry provided more than 22,000 volunteer hours and more than $1.3 million in total goods and services to affected families, mostly in rebuilding efforts. In addition, through a grant from the American Red Cross, the NYAC provided more than $1.1 million to 426 families through the unmet needs roundtables in New York, Long Island, and Connecticut.  

At the NYDIS event, Rev. Chick Straut, retired NYAC pastor, was recognized as a founding Board member, and Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie for 10 years of service on the NYDIS Board. In a lighter moment, Gillian Prince, Brooklyn site coordinator, was among those recognized for a “tenacity” award. Rev. Peter Gudaitis, NYDIS president, commented, “If you want something done, these are the people who you should contact.” 

Members of the NYAC Sandy Recovery team stand with New York Interfaith Disaster Services officials, from left, Richard Vernon; Ron Drews, NYDIS board president; Gillian Prince; Hannah Arnett; Gina Grubbs; Rev. Denise Honeycutt, deputy general secretary for UMCOR; Sam Rosenfeld; Dana Fortunato; Ruth Wenger, NYDIS executive vice president; Rev. Wesley Daniel, Rev. Wendy Vencuss, and Rev. Tom Vencuss.

Rev. Denise Honeycutt, deputy general secretary for UMCOR, was present and received the award on behalf of the NYAC/UMCOR. Summarizing her remarks, Rev. Honeycutt acknowledged and stressed the importance of collaboration in a recovery such as this, and pledged UMCOR’s continued commitment to the effort. She remarked that while UMCOR might not always be the first in to a recovery effort, it is their goal to remain as long as possible. In conclusion, Rev. Honeycutt affirmed that God is very much in this recovery.

The United Methodist Church calls its campaign, Imagine No Malaria, and set a goal of raising $75 million by the end of 2016. The New York Annual Conference pledged $1.2 million and we are a little less than halfway there—we’ve raised $550,000. I believe we can reach our goal!

Celebrating 75 Years of UMCOR Caring

This year the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is celebrating 75 years of being with those in crisis around the world. The day of celebration will take place on One Great Hour of Sharing Special Sunday, March 15. Giving to One Great Hour of Sharing directly funds UMCOR’s administrative costs making it possible for UMCOR to use 100% of all other contributions on the projects donors specify.

UMCOR has created a series of resources to mark the anniversary including a list of 75 ways to celebrate. The list includes the following suggestions:

1. Plan a contest at your church for photos, slide shows or display boards that show how you are UMCOR.

3. Help UMCOR reach 75,000 Facebook likes and “like” UMCOR’s Facebook page.

6. Create a community garden at your church to promote food sustainability.

7. Use UMCOR’s children’s sermons to engage children in mission.

10. Share the UMCOR YouTube channel with friends and family.

12. Ask friends and family to give to UMCOR in lieu of a birthday gift.

13. Use the alternative-giving catalog for UMCOR partner, SERRV when shopping for loved ones.

14. Help by donating 75 for 75! Make a donation of $0.75 or $75. Any donation with a 7 and a 5 will make a difference.

20. Sponsor a 7.5-mile relay with proceeds going to UMCOR.

21. Encourage children to submit drawings to umcor@umcor.org for a chance to be featured on the 2015 UMCOR Christmas card.

27. Order fair-trade palms in time for Palm Sunday from Eco-Palms.

UMCOR - 75 years

29. Buy fair-trade chocolate this Easter from Equal Exchange.

31. Exchange your current coffee brand for Equal Exchange fair-trade coffees.

40. Create a birthday registry and ask friends to create relief kits as “gifts.”

45. Download the One Great Hour of Sharing Lenten devotional e-book from Amazon.

54. Sponsor a missionary who is working to alleviate human suffering today.

58. Take a photo with someone born in 1940, share it on social media with the hashtag #twinsiesumcor.

61. Organize a “Pray for UMCOR Day” at your church.

69. Have a church yard sale and donate the proceeds to UMCOR.

70. Host a lemonade stand with lemons and sugar but no water to raise awareness for those without access to clean water.

71. Visit a project near you to learn or volunteer if possible.

73. Donate part of your tax refund to UMCOR.

For more information, go to: www.umcor.org/UMCOR/umcor75.

We are Worthy, No Matter the Age

By Rev. Jim Stinson
Consultant for Older Adult Ministries

Jim Stinson

“I got out of the shower, dried myself off, looked in the mirror, decided I looked good for someone over 90 years old, smiled, got dressed, and started my day.”

How often I am reminded why I love working with older people.

That reminder came again this morning when the above was the answer to, “Good morning, how are you?” There is the embracing of life that so many older adults exhibit. It is so contagious. It made me smile. In fact, it made me think of so many older adults, riddled with so many effects of a long life, so many deficits, so many reasons to think of themselves in self-deprecating terms,

who, even so, look in the mirror every day, and like what they see. It also made me think of the many older adults who respond so differently, seeing themselves negatively, and therefore have difficulty embracing life as it is, always longing for life as it was.

A challenge of ministry with and to older adults is being able to see the realities, the deficits, and the ailments that often accompany us as we age, and at the same time witness to our faith inspired call to new life. How to do so is not an easy task. It is often filled with pitfalls. If we are not careful with our words, they may sound like platitudes that ignore the struggles of aging. If we hear and see the struggles more than the possibilities, we may give the impression that there is no possible positive outcome to the situation. So how might such pitfalls be avoided or, at least, minimized? How do we help older adults look in the mirror and smile?

A clue is found in the observation, “I looked good for someone over 90 years old.” My friend qualified his remarks with the words, for someone over age 90. He knew his age made a difference, but did not let that stop him from seeing someone worthy of another day.

There is something freeing about the truth. We cannot expect to look as good as we might once have looked. Aging

Jim Stinson

does bring wrinkles, change our physical contours, and change our abilities. Ministry to and with anyone of any age is most effective when it acknowledges the realities at hand, when it affirms what is visibly true, but witnesses to the reality that is not visible. Ministry is effective when it empathizes (gets what the person is saying and feeling) rather than sympathizes—feeling sorry for the person reinforces the sense that something is wrong and needs correcting. Because only then is it possible to say, even so! Even so there is something beautiful. Even so there are possibilities. Even so my life has meaning.

In short, remember to empathize, to understand the realities, and even so, to witness to our faith that every day, every age, is a gift to be opened and embraced. Say with actions and words. With my friend say, “I like what I see. I’m not bad for my age. In fact I look pretty good.”

Clergy Surveyed For Health Research

The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ Center for Health is conducting its biennial online clergy health survey this month. The survey provides comparative data for the Center for Health’s clergy health research.

A sample of 4,000 clergy (representing a cross-section of active U.S. United Methodist clergy by jurisdiction, age, gender, race/ethnicity and clergy type) will receive a brief online survey. The survey is designed to help identify clergy health needs, including the effects of vocational situations within the church environment, and to monitor changes in clergy health over time.

The resulting data will help the denomination learn more about its clergy health and wellbeing. Information will also be used to monitor trends and needs, as well as to develop programs and services to assist United Methodist clergy in leading healthier lives—for themselves, their families, their congregations and communities. The Center for Health will publish survey findings upon completion and use them to provide services to better address clergy health needs.

The 20-minute survey consists of 100 questions covering multiple dimensions of health (physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial) and the vocational setting.

For more information, visit www.gbophb.org/center-for-health. Clergy health studies, articles and other resources are available at this Center for Health website, with new and updated health and wellness content.

1st Appointments Announced

Interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton intends to make the following appointments, effective July 1:

Tisha Jermin to Golden Hill; Jermin currently serves Mount Calvary and St. Mark’s (Manhattan).

Stephen Volpe to Plainville; Volpe currently serves Cheshire.

Simeon Law to Stratford; Law currently serves Bayport.

Michael Barry to Stevens Memorial; Barry currently serves Stevens (LFT) and as an associate at Jesse Lee Memorial, Ridgefield (LFT).

Scharlise Dorsey to Wappingers Falls (LFT); Dorsey currently serves Wappingers Falls (LFT) and Pleasant Valley (LFT).

Faith Leads the Way in Recovery Program

If you ask Executive Director Alison King to describe Anchor House in a couple of sentences, she’d give you just two words: “soul sabbatical.”

While the main goal of the program for men and women addicts is to become substance free, King sees that as only part of the journey.

“We want them to find hope, so that their souls can be anchored in that hope,” she said. “When we holistically treat someone we can help them find the reality of who God is—and they can see that God is real in their lives.”

King, who says the program never shies away from saying, “We love Christ,” has been serving as executive director of the residential treatment program since July 1, 2014. She began work there in 1998 as a counselor and was serving as the women’s program director prior to moving to the top post.

Anchor House, one of the ministries of the United Methodist City Society, is the only Christ-centered treatment program licensed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. And King wants people to know right up front that faith is the foundation of the success of those who complete the Anchor House program.

“The God factor has a place in the transformation of these lives,” she said.

Sheltered in two separate spaces in Brooklyn, the men’s program can handle a maximum of 50, and the women’s capacity is 28. Both programs run consistently at about 90 percent capacity. Stays in this intensive residential program are between 12 and 18 months. Referrals come from churches, judicial agencies, drug courts, foster care, 24-hour hotlines, and word-of-mouth. And because of their connection to the denomination, they are able to make special accommodations for those who are members or affiliated with local UM churches, King said.

An individualized schedule is developed for each participant with a mix of clinical, spiritual and recreational activities that encompasses 40 hours a week. That schedule may include 12-step programs, relapse prevention, Bible study, and daily devotions. The men and women must attend church on a weekly basis.

Before participants can graduate at Anchor House they must have a job, a bank account, a place to live, a home church, and some kind of support system in place. That support may come at the church home they have chosen for themselves. Many become involved in the community outreach projects of the churches.

As program director for the women’s house, King planned events like a Mother’s Day tea or a “Love Day” to celebrate the clients. For some to be treated in such a loving way was a “totally new experience,” King said.

“No one wakes up and says, ‘I’ll be addicted to crack today’,” she noted. “The path of addiction is chosen to deal with the realities of life.” But King reminded the women to hold onto the love and hope they felt at the event and “never live lower than this.”

Alison King
Anchor Executive Director Alison King, second from right, celebrates with three members of the women’s program.

King says that her biggest challenge since becoming director has been to adjust the culture of the agency to best respond to the changes occurring in the recovery field.

“We needed a paradigm shift . . . from a mom-and-pop mentality” to one where the program can more effectively partner and collaborate with other agencies and businesses, King said. “We’re looking to rebrand and relaunch ourselves . . . as we find ourselves competing with agencies double our size.” As part of that plan, a new web site is under construction, and social media will be used to promote the program’s Christian core.

“Our faith is not compromised by fiscal accountability,” King said. “We can glorify God even in the way we do our fiscal reporting.”

Most of the funding for Anchor House comes from local, state and federal sources, although churches and individuals in the New York Annual Conference have also been generous in their financial support.

King suggested that churches in the conference could designate an Anchor House Sunday and choose from any number of ways to assist the program:

  • Volunteer to mentor a participant or to be a prayer partner
  • Spread the word about this available resource for those in crisis
  • Offer funding for special projects
  • Collect work appropriate clothing for men and women
  • Offer haircuts and hairstyling services
  • Help to expand the educational curriculum by teaching remedial courses, reading, or GED classes
  • Donate fiction and non-fiction books or Bible study materials
  • Volunteer to lead a Bible study, healing service, or mini-retreat
  • Provide expert advice on legal issues, budgeting and banking
  • Create a support group of families of the participants
  • Invite participants to speak or the Anchor House choir to sing at your church

To contact Anchor House, call 718-771-0760.

Korean Caucus Meets With Bishop

Korean Caucus
Members of the Korean Caucus and some conference staff surround Bishop Jane Allen Middleton.

About 30 Korean clergypersons from the NYAC visited with Bishop Jane Allen Middleton at the conference center on February 3 in what has become an annual celebration at the time of the Chinese New Year for the caucus.

During their time of worship together, the bishop retrieved the word “immediately” from the reading of Mark 1:16-20. In her message, Middleton spoke of her special calling to serve as bishop again after she had retired from active service.

Bishop Middleton encouraged the participants to go anywhere that God would send them, and go “immediately” like the first disciples of Jesus Christ. “Friends, Do not expect tomorrow. It might be too late!”

The group shared a Korean-style luncheon that was arranged by Rev.YoungSuk Han-Kim, the Korean Caucus president.

More Open Stance on Homosexuality Proposed

UMNS—The United Methodist Church could have openly gay clergy and clergy could officiate at same-sex marriages if a proposal affirmed by a denomination-wide leadership body prevails.

The Connectional Table plans to draft legislation that members hope can be “a third way” in church’s long debate over homosexuality.

The body, meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, on Feb. 10 overwhelmingly affirmed a proposal to remove prohibitive language that makes it a chargeable offense under church law for clergy to be “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” or to officiate at same-sex weddings. 

The action was not a formal vote, but the reported results of two hours of small-group discussions. The Connectional Table will take up proposed legislative language for an actual vote when it meets in May in Nashville, Tennessee.

The approach would leave the question of whether to perform a same-sex marriage up to individual clergy, just as the Book of Discipline—the denomination’s law book—now allows clergy to decide which couples to wed. Clergy would not be required to bless same-sex unions.

Conferences also would continue to determine whom to ordain as authorized by the denomination’s constitution, but would have the option of ordaining openly gay individuals.

At the same time, the proposal notes that the denomination “historically has not condoned the practice of homosexuality and has considered the practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” It also retains the denomination’s ban on using church funds “to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.”

Bottom line: If this proposal prevails, clergy would not risk church trials or the loss of their credentials for officiating at same-gender weddings or coming out as being gay.

A ‘third way’

The Rev. Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai, who serves on the Connectional Table’s legislative writing team, described the approach as a possible “third way” that can help the church end its impasse on human sexuality and focus more on mission. She is a district superintendent in the West Michigan Conference.

“We’ve tried to allow some exercise of conscience, to allow for varying beliefs, to allow for varying practices within different contexts,” she said, “and to open a space for grace where people can live together in unity with their different beliefs.”

Any legislation adopted by the Connectional Table would go to the 2016 General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly. Ultimately, General Conference would decide.

The Connectional Table’s process

The Connectional Table is a United Methodist body of clergy and lay people from around the world that acts as a sort of church council for the denomination, coordinating its mission, ministry and resources.

The body’s discussion followed a motion it affirmed in April 2014 after the first of three public panels on human sexuality. After hours of discussion, the body approved “parallel paths” of dialogue and work toward changing the Discipline “to fully include LGBTQ persons in the life of the church.” The initials stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.

At this month’s meeting, the legislative team presented three directions for the full body to consider in response to that motion.

The first was to bring no changes to General Conference on this matter.

The second option was what the legislative team called “full inclusion,” removing all references in the Book of Discipline that cast homosexuality in a negative light.

The third approach was what the legislative team recommended and was ultimately accepted.

Bigham-Tsai invited Connectional Table members to discuss each possibility in small “table conversations” and then report back on each option. Many of the tables had people of differing views regarding what Scripture says and what the church should say about homosexuality.

Before introducing discussion of each approach, the body prayed for God’s guidance and the church’s unity.

Thirty-six of the body’s 59 members attended the meeting in this southeastern African country.

Affirmations, objections and possibility

The Rev. Fred Day, the top executive of the denomination’s Commission on Archives and History, reported that the consensus at his table was in support of the third option.

But that view was not unanimous.

The Rev. Harald Rückert of the South Germany Conference said six people at his table supported the approach and one said “maybe, but with concerns.”

“It’s the only model we can see right now that allows us to stay in our covenant as The United Methodist Church even though we are of different minds on homosexuality,” he said.

However, Matthew “Theo” Williams of the Liberia Conference, said it would be best if the Connectional Table made no move to change how the denomination treats homosexuality.

“In Africa, to even discuss the issue of gays or lesbians is taboo,” he told the body.

He later pointed out to United Methodist News Service that because of church teachings, elders and deacons in Africa are not allowed to have more than one wife. “It is the same thing (about homosexuality), the missionaries told us the Bible says, ‘One man, one wife.’”

Many African United Methodists share Williams’ belief in the denomination’s current stance.

Still, Benedita Penicela Nhambiu of the Mozambique South Conference observed to UMNS that Africans are not monolithic in how they regard same-sex relationships.

H. E. Joaquim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique, wrote an open letter to African leaders last year calling for an end to discrimination “against people on the basis of age, sex, ethnicity, migrant status, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Just Resolution in Iowa Case

A retired United Methodist pastor in Iowa will not face a penalty for officiating at a same-sex wedding in violation of church law. Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble announced in late January pastoral letter that the Iowa Conference cabinet has reached “a just resolution” with the Rev. Larry Sonner, 78, on the complaint filed in November.

In his letter, Bishop Trimble wrote: “When I was consecrated Bishop, I promised to work to uphold the unity of the Church. I believe that unity has, as its foundation, our love of God and neighbor. I also believe we can have unity of heart and not necessarily all be of one mind. While this Just Resolution is a response to a specific complaint, it recognizes the division of our church on the issue of human sexuality. This Just Resolution is an attempt to honor our disciplinary process, maintain accountability, and seek a deeper, more prayerful, listening to each other and, most of all, to God.”

Food Chain: “We Are Comfortably Unaware”

North Shore UMC

The blizzard of 2015 brought up to 34.5 inches of snow to Worcester, Mass., marking the city’s largest storm total accumulation on record.

The year 2014 was the hottest on record. Almost every year, we hear of record-breaking droughts, floods, wild fires, tornados and hurricanes.

The sea level in the ocean has increased because of the melting of ice and glaciers. Many farmers in Asia and Africa have lost their farmlands and homes to the sea. We cannot escape these disasters aboard an ark like Noah’s because the earth itself has been sinking slowly and steadily into this irreversible catastrophe for more than four decades. I believe global warming is real and human-caused as 97 percent of the world’s scientists and organizations like the United Nations and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warn us. I am very concerned about the future of our children, grandchildren, and new generations because of global warming.

What can we do? We recycle paper, plastics, metals, and glass. We donate clothes, toys, and small house items to thrift shops. Some of us compost kitchen debris and fall leaves, plant home vegetable gardens or drive fuel-efficient cars. These are good and wonderful actions, but they are not major ways to dramatically decrease carbon dioxide emissions.

Last summer I had a chance to watch the documentary “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.” This movie opened my eyes to the fact that 51 percent or more of global greenhouse gases are caused by animal agriculture, according to the World Watch Institute, which is one of the movie’s resources. Animal agriculture is the practice of breeding animals for the production of animal products and for recreational purposes. Even the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the livestock sector generates more

greenhouse-gas emissions (18 percent) than the transportation of cars, buses, trucks, ships and airplanes combined (13 percent).

Animal agriculture is a major polluter in global warming, which means that we are responsible because of what we eat. The best way that we can help is to change our lifestyle, and switch from a standard American diet (Yes, it is SAD.) to a whole food, plant-based diet (WFPBD). I know it can be difficult for us to make such a change because the former diet comforts us, and also connects deeply to our culture and tradition. I grew up with sushi and sashimi in Japan, but I liked to eat pizza and eggs. But the more I grow spiritually, the more I realize spiritual and physical health, our environment and animal welfare are all closely intertwined.

Six years ago, the United Methodist Church launched the Virgin Health Miles program and has encouraged UM ministers to carry a pedometer to track exercise. Until that time, I was unaware of how exercise affects our spirituality and wellbeing. This program encouraged me to be healthier with exercise. And as an added incentive, my wife and I have earned about $3,800 since we joined that program six years ago.

The documentary, “Forks Over Knives,” which I saw three years ago also helped open my eyes. I studied nutrition through the lectures, books, and web

sites of these medical doctors: John McDougall, Neal Barnard, Michael Greger, Caldwell Esselstyn and Dean Ornish. They all practice WFPBD to help heal their patients. The book “China Study,” written by T. Collins Campell, PhD., was very helpful in explaining nutrition and biochemistry. We would not need to suffer at all from such lifestyle diseases as heart attacks, strokes, type-2 diabetes, certain cancers, and the symptoms relating to those diseases—high blood pressure and high cholesterol—if we switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, according to these doctors.

John Wesley was a vegetarian for most of his life, although for a certain period he ate meat because the bishop of London criticized his dietary choices and Wesley did not want to offend his brothers and sisters. But Wesley’s health faltered, and he soon resumed being a strict vegetarian. He’s quoted in a letter to the bishop saying, “Since I have taken his [Dr. Cheyne’s] advice, I have been free (blessed be God) from all bodily disorders.” (www.all-creatures.org)

Two years ago, I was delivered from the myths that I had believed for a long time: meats for protein and calcium for milk. I completely switched to a whole food plant-base diet with whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes, and squashes. The level of my energy and cognitive sense is much better than two years ago. My cholesterol came down from 200 in 2008 to 134 in 2014.

Are you environmentalists? Do you care about your children, grandchildren and the next generations, your physical and spiritual health, and animal welfare? I ask you to watch “Cowspiracy” (www.cowspiracy.com) before you disregard this article. I hope it may open your eyes as well.

Albert Einstein said, “Nothing will benefit health or increase chances of survival on earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Thank you for your consideration!

Ghana VIM Team: Building Bonds of Love

Jill Wilson, a member of Prospect UMC, Bristol, Conn., was in Ghana from October 1–15 as part of Volunteers in Mission team led by Rev. Woody Eddins, pastor of Simsbury UMC. The team included five congregants from Simsbury, two from Asbury UMC in Forestville, Conn., an engineer from St Louis, and two Jewish members. Below is an excerpt of her story posted at www.nyac.com/blogdetail/591946.

When we listen, we hear God. Sometimes it is through people, sometimes through situations, sometimes through prayer. Our spiritual journey is formed by listening, and following Him. Being a mission volunteer is one step in that faith journey.

I told people I was a volunteer, but I think I should change that to more accurately say that God volunteered me for the journey to Ghana. I believe He did that to all of the team . . .

Rev. Woody Eddins draws a crowd of children around him.

I believe God put us together in Ghana for a reason I do not fully understand. But just like we listened to “people” in order to hear our call, I think the people of Ghana “listened” to us as we served them. They have seen God’s love because of our actions. They know we came to them, sharing ourselves with them, as God has asked, through people! I trust God that they have felt his love through us; and just maybe that is why our team was put in Ghana together!

Volunteer Jill Wilson cares for an 85-year-old man.

Our team was somewhat task oriented . . . Some of us labored in concrete and paint. We repaired and completed concrete walkways at a school. The complete school was repainted. Some of us provided health care . . . One on our team, an engineer, performed assessments for sanitation needs in five different villages.

The hard-working team enjoys a moment of fellowship and laughter.

Bishop John Kweku Buabeng-Odoom of the Methodist Church of Ghana . . . had prepared for our visit and was actively involved in our week of service.

The poverty we witnessed is extraordinary . . . Clean water, sanitation, food and clothing top the list, followed closely by health care, education and a job.

Weeks after our return flight touched down in JFK, we are still processing what the experience meant to us and to those we served. A mission journey is just that . . . a journey. It begins with the formation of a team and the relationships therein; continues with the formation of relationships with the local leaders and people; and certainly continues the journey of faith we are all on.

* * * * *

Deb Clifford is a member of the Simsbury UMC. Below is an excerpt of her story posted at www.nyac.com/blogdetail/592127.

The partnership between the NYAC and the Methodist church in Ghana is longstanding and strong. The village school where we performed much of our work is a Methodist school in the village of Awombrew, outside the city of Accra in Ghana. It was built from nothing. It was created with vision, hope, faith and love. It now serves hundreds of children grades kindergarten through high school. 

We also expanded our service to a nearby medical clinic where we treated over 700 patients, from infants to a 100-year old man, for ailments ranging from aches and pains to diabetes, high blood pressure, malaria, colds, allergies and infections unique to the lifestyle and environment of the area.

We also spent a day with the Global Ghana Youth Network School building tables and benches, painting and making general repairs to an open-air school that serves children in the city of Accra.

Hundreds await attention outside the clinic.

In the very beginning of our trip, both Pastor Woody and the Reverend Joseph Ewoodzie offered the following guidance:

Remember you are here for more than accomplishments. You are here, as God’s light and love, to form relationships. You are here not just to “do for” but also to “be with” the people you meet. Therefore, if it takes a little longer to get the job done and you’ve made a friend and formed a bond …you’ve done what you’ve come here for. 

We took this advice to heart and, as a result, played with children, had conversations with those we worked alongside and treated, and even spent time in front of the classroom. George taught a mini lesson in aeronautics using paper airplanes and I taught a small biology lesson with the song “heads, shoulders, knees and toes.”

What stood out prominently to us was that, these children with so little—so little toys, food, school supplies and other amenities—were so full of joy and so willing to give God’s love. We experienced in them the face of God—pure, uninhibited, and open sharing of love. It warms my heart immediately once again as I visit them in my memories. And, it leaves me wanting …for more. We came to bring the love of God, and we found it was already there to greet us.

Central Committee Seeks More Bishops, Global BOD

Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique in early February, the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters approved a plan to present a proposed draft of portions of a Global (General) Book of Discipline at the 2016 General Conference, as well as a proposed mandate outlining a process for how to proceed in its consideration leading up to the 2020 General Conference.

The draft would contain provisions of church law that apply to the entire global church and that only the General Conference could revise or modify.

The draft will not become disciplinary legislation at the 2016 General Conference, but if approved in its general character and outline, the committee would then request

feedbackon chapters 1–4 and 6 from annual conferences, while finalizing work on chapters 5 and 7. The Standing Committee will propose that the General Conference set aside adequate time during the first three days of the 2020 session for plenary consideration and disciplinary action. If delegates approve, a new Global (General) Book of Discipline could potentially be implemented by the 2020 General Conference.

The committee also voted to recommend the addition of five new bishops in Africa, beginning during the 2021–2024 quadrennium.

The recommendation came after an assessment team evaluated the need

and potential in three episcopal areas—in North Katanga, South Congo and Zimbabwe—and reported that the overall need in Africa reaches far beyond the areas evaluated.

The 2012 General Conference established a set of criteria for episcopal areas in central conferences and asked that assessments into the mission potential be made. These criteria help evaluate the workload given to a bishop, foremost related to the number of active clergy and charge conferences. Other factors in the set of criteria include the size and diversity of the geographic area, the difficulty of transportation, the number of languages spoken, the bishops’ role in the area, and the potential for missional outreach.


Elizabeth Keeney Hill

Elizabeth Keeney Hill

Elizabeth Keeney Hill, a longtime peace activist, died on Martin Luther King Day, January 19, at age 94.

One of six children born to coal miner William Keeney and Kathryn Echard Keeney, Hill was believed to be one of the first girls from her area in western Pennsylvania to go to college. She attended Bluffton University in Ohio.

Her family received assistance from Quaker and Mennonite missionaries, and Hill herself served as a Mennonite missionary in Paraguay from 1945 to 1947.

On her return, an ice cream advertising man, George G. Hill, spotted her photo in the local paper, and said to the waitress serving him lunch at a café in Uniontown, Penn., “I’m going to marry that girl.”

Indeed, he wooed her and they married three months later on June 21, 1947. Hill’s faith and drive soon inspired her husband to become a Methodist pastor. The couple campaigned together for civil rights, peace and social justice until his death in 1988. Hill continued her work, traveling to Nicaragua, Cuba, Israel and Vietnam, among other places, in her passionate, faith-based advocacy of peace, fairness and friendship.

Hill taught at several public schools, including in Hartford and Norwalk, Conn. She and George—and then she alone—treasured summers at their “little red cottage” in Alstead, N.H., finding fellowship and good contra dancing in the community there. Even in her last years, when she lived with Alzheimer’s disease, her goodness, wit, and love of dance sparkled through.

She is survived by three children—Gary (Kathy Tiddens) Hill of New York City; Kay Hill Morse, of Hamden; and Steve (Elizabeth) Hill of Avon, plus four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A private burial service was held in the Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, on January 25. Donations in honor of Hill can be made to the annual Keeney Peace Lecture at www.bluffton.edu/giving, or to the New Haven Leon Sister City Project at www.newhavenleon.org.

Rev. Rachel Ye Kim

Rev. Rachel Ye Kim

The Reverend Rachel C. Ye Kim, died on January 14, at the age of 50. She had last served St. Andrew’s UMC in New Haven, Conn., before taking medical leave in 2014.

Kim was born in South Korea in 1964 to Dong Sup Ye and Hae Soon Ye. 

“As part of an immigrant family, her two younger siblings witnessed that she was very much a ‘second parent’ while their parents forged a family and livelihood in this new land, America,” a colleague, Rev. Brian Bodt, said. According to Rev. Charlie Yun, the family originally attended the Korean UMC in Elmhurst, Queens, and later made the move to Hempstead when the church moved there. Kim attended Hofstra University and Drew University School of Theology.

In 1998, she married Rev. Gye (Tom) Ho Kim and the couple had two children, Jonathan, 14, and Elizabeth,12. Pastor Tom Kim currently serves First & Summerfield UMC in New Haven.

Rev. Rachel’s ministry began and ended in the New York Annual Conference. She received deacon’s orders and became a probationary member in 1989, followed by elder’s orders and full membership in 1991. Her appointment history included Mid-Hudson Korean in Poughkeepsie as associate pastor from 1989 to1991; associate pastor at Port Washington from 1991 to 1993; the Korean Church of Greater Washington, Virginia Conference, from 1993 to 1997; St Paul’s in Hartsdale, N.Y from 1997 to 2005; Shady from 2006 to 2012; and St. Andrew’s from 2012 to 2014.

A service of death and resurrection was held January 17 at the Mary Taylor Memorial UMC in Milford, Conn. NYAC Interim Bishop Jane Allen Middleton, Connecticut District Superintendent Kenneth Kieffer, and Rev. Kun Sam Cho officiated at the service. The committal followed at King’s Highway Cemetery in Milford. A time of fellowship and refreshments followed the service.

The quality of Rev. Rachel Kim’s life is not measured in years, but in roles she played with faithfulness as daughter, sibling, wife, mother, pastor, and friend. With confidence, it may be said that John Wesley’s dying words echoed on the occasion of Rachel’s death, “The best of all is, God is with us!”

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at: 47 Commodore Place, Milford, CT 06460.

Rev. Dr. Keith A. Muhleman

Rev. Dr. Keith A. Muhleman

The Reverend. Dr. Keith A. Muhleman, 67, died in Newburgh, N.Y., on January 8. He was the executive director of the United Methodist Frontier Foundation from 2008 through last year.

He was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, in 1947, and spent most of his childhood in Wheeling, W.Va. He met his future wife, Judy, while attending West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1965. They married in August of 1969. Muhleman graduated with a doctorate of ministry from Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif., in 1980.

After moving back to West Virginia, Muhleman began working for The United Methodist Church as a local pastor.

Muhleman developed his passion for fundraising while serving as the associate general secretary for mission education and cultivation at the General Board of Global Ministries in New York City. He continued on as a certified fundraiser and a member of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. Muhleman honed his skills at the Diocese of the Armenian Church, the Peale Center for Christian Living, and the Cancer Research and Treatment Fund in New York City. He most recently held the position of president and executive director of the United Methodist Frontier Foundation from 2008 to 2014. With the foundation, Keith raised millions for the continuation of the church through stewardship.

A celebration of life service is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Poughkeepsie UMC, 2381 New Hackensack Road, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 12603. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the United Methodist Frontier Foundation, or Memorial Fund at Vail’s Gate UMC in New Windsor, N.Y.

Ross Williams, New York Conference director of administrative services, said, “Keith has served the conference and our churches faithfully for many, many years through the mission and ministry of the Frontier Foundation. His friendly nature, dedication and enthusiasm will be sorely missed by all.”

Read the full Let Us Rember notice here

Silver Bay Provides Clergy, Family Respites

Silver Bay YMCA conference and family retreat center on Lake George is a terrific destination for staff and board retreats, vacations, weddings, and meetings of all kinds. One of the programs in the wide array of Silver Bay’s offerings is the year-round spiritual life program.

As part of this program, Silver Bay offers rest and renewal to clergy each year from September to June through the Brookside/Trinity Ministry. The central purpose of the Trinity/Brookside ministry is to provide rest and renewal for those who minister to others. There is no fee for their use, but contributions to this outreach ministry are encouraged. Meals are provided and are served at Brookside Cozy social room, or in Silver Bay’s Dining Hall. These beautiful facilities also serve those in need of short-term emergency housing and are used during the summer months to accommodate conference participants.

The spiritual life program is committed to helping people grow spiritually and encouraging them to develop a deeper relationship with God and themselves. Those who are interested in pastoral support or spiritual direction may inquire prior to or upon arrival at the Spiritual Life Center. Trinity House offers guest accommodations with private bath and Brookside Community House offers rooms with semi-private bath. Both are dedicated to the spiritual growth of all who come to stay. The program is primarily available to pastors and their families, but is also offered to lay persons involved in ministry.

Silver Bay YMCA was recently highlighted in Better Homes and Gardens as well as the New York Times travel section. Additionally, Silver Bay is the 2014 winner of best place for a family reunion or gathering in Unique Venues magazine. Have you been thinking about taking a few days, to get away, to rest, rebalance, and soak in some Adirondack beauty?

Silver Bay YMCA

Please consider Silver Bay YMCA! Silver Bay’s mission is to offer all people the opportunity to renew, refresh and nurture their spirit, mind and body.

For more information, or to book a reservation, contact Chip Devenger or Susan Woodworth at 518-543-8833, ext. 215. You can learn more about Silver Bay YMCA’s and their mission at www.silverbay.org.

In November 2014, Susan Woodworth, former licensed local pastor in the Catskill Hudson District of the NYAC began serving this pastoral respite ministry as host and cook. In June 2015, Sue’s husband, Bob Kersten, an elder in NYAC who is currently appointed in UNYAC, will also join the Silver Bay staff as a chaplain, serving alongside Rev. Bruce Tamlyn.

We invite NYAC and UNYAC clergy to come and see what Brookside/Trinity and Silver Bay have to offer.

We hope to see you!

Susan Woodworth and Bob Kersten

$5,000 Grant For Creative Ministries

The United Methodist Frontier Foundation has announced the establishment of The United Methodist Frontier Foundation 2015 Local Church Ministry Grant. The program will award one or more grants totaling $5,000 to churches in the NYAC whose initiative, creativity and commitment to the Gospel is evident in a ministry or program designed to meet an existing or emerging need within the congregation or greater community. The grant may be used to establish a new ministry or to support an existing one, and may not be used as a revenue source for the church’s operating budget.

The grant application is available at www.umff.org, and must be completed by March 26. The grants will be presented at the 2015 session of the New York Annual Conference.

The United Methodist Frontier Foundation exists to support the mission and ministry of the NYAC and local United Methodist churches through sound stewardship and investment management of financial resources entrusted to our care by local churches and the annual conferences. The Frontier office in the conference center can be reached by phone at, 914-615-2239.

Festival For Young Preachers

The inaugural National Young Preachers Festival and Conference is being planned for July 16–17 by the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

The festival and conference is part of a movement to raise up the next generation of young preachers for the United Methodist Church. This event is designed specifically to help young adults discern their calling, learn from and network with preaching leaders from across our denomination, and develop more fully as a preacher. Anyone from high school juniors and seniors to seminary students, and ministry candidates to young clergy are encouraged to attend.

Each participant will experience:

  • Keynote preaching sessions led by Revs. Jasmine Smothers, Adam Weber, Junius Dotson, and Adam Hamilton
  • Inspiring and practical workshops led by seminary faculty and denominational leaders
  • A powerful evening concert featuring Glory Revival
  • Intentional time of networking and connection
  • Optional opportunity to preach their own sermon and receive instant feedback
  • Time in a small group with Pastor Adam Hamilton to debrief his Saturday sermon

The cost of the event is $79 (not including accommodations) and is offered in partnership with the Global Board of Higher Education Ministry. Registration is limited; go to www.youngpreachersfestival.org for full details.

Customized Lenten Retreats Offered

Christian educator Sheila Peiffer is offering conference churches a customized Lenten retreat entitled, “Dark Nights, Bright Dawns: Getting to Easter.” The program can be framed for an afternoon, evening or daylong spiritual event.

The workshop will explore a compressed process of reflection that mirrors the Lenten journey of self-discernment, repentance, meditation and spiritual renewal. Participants will learn some simple tools for daily use throughout Lent and into “ordinary time,” which will enable them to savor the joy of Easter all year long.

Peiffer is a lifelong Catholic, married to a United Methodist minister. She has a master’s degree in theology and more than 20 years of experience in religious education, and coordinating retreats and spiritual workshops of all sorts. Please contact Peiffer at 203-269-5317, or sheila.peiffer@yahoo.com, to make arrangements.

The Vision, Newspaper of the NYAC, of the UMC

Resident Interim Bishop: Jane Allen Middleton

Editor: Joanne Utley

Vision e-mail: thevision@nyac.com

Web site: www.nyac.com

New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

20 Soundview Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

Phone (888) 696-6922

Fax (914) 615-2244