The Vision Magazine - Fall 2021/Winter 2022
This is a season of life when we long for a word of hope.
And yet, if that longing is dependent upon our own human solutions, we will end up disappointed and discouraged.
Hope is found when we place our faith in a God who knows us, forgives us, and loves us despite ourselves. Throughout biblical and human history, there are countless examples of how God has provided light for the darkness and a path for those who have wandered astray. Read Bishop Bickerton's message here>
Can NYAC Cooperative Parishes transform how our local churches do ministry? Survey after survey reveals a truth that we all know intuitively: Churches of all denominations are struggling to recover post Pandemic. The challenges are numerous and often daunting.
How do we resume in the face of the many latent concerns and fears that the Pandemic has exacerbated? More importantly, how do we help our congregations rebound and thrive? One answer may be in the cooperative parish systems.
This past July, Rev. Young Choi—known for injecting energy and fierce commitment into all that he touches—moved from The United Methodist Church of Westville to Fairfield Grace United Methodist Church. And based on the blessings of church revitalization, growth and evangelism that he has accomplished in the past, this congregation is in the very best of hands. Read about revitalization and renewal at Fairfield Grace UMC>
Rev. Dorlimar Lebrón Malavé's vision for First Spanish United Methodist Church is brimming with power, possibility — and it is also a model for highly engaged evangelism.
It is only by serving the needs of the community, and the people in it, that Rev. Lebrón Malavé sees Christ’s mission on earth being fulfilled.
“I want people to see this church on this corner and say, ‘You know what? They loved a lot of people, and they still do. And I don’t go to church, but I would attend that church,” she continues. “Not because of what they have preached about, not because of what they have said, but because of what I’ve seen them do.’” Learn how Rev. Lebrón Malavé and her lay leader, Raymond Perez partner to feed the hungry and minister to the sick at First Spanish UMC. >
In March 2021, Tani Sylvester wanted to have an African vacation with her husband, Rev. Dr. Elon Sylvester, Pastor of Westbury UMC on Long Island.
The vacation was to be a celebration commemorating Rev. Sylvester’s birthday, the couple’s 20th anniversary and a much-needed “we’re-trying-to-come-out-of-COVID” escape. But the couple's trip to the Gambia proved to be so much more than a short break from their ministry.
In a sign that life, in some ways, is going back to a pre-COVID sense of normalcy, the Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church (Jesse Lee Church) pumpkin patch was back in business this fall. In 2020, however, amidst a surging pandemic, the Ridgefield, Connecticut-based church, had to pivot from its 30-plus-year tradition of supporting the Navajo Nation by buying pumpkins from them for their pumpkin patch.
Canceling for the safety of all was the right thing to do, but it felt like a gut punch to be unable to help the Navajo when they needed it the most,” Rev. Dr. William B. Pfohl, Jesse Lee's senior pastor explains. So Rev. Pfohl and his team worked together to craft a creative solution to a COVID-related problem.
In the past year and half, nearly everyone has been pushed into an environment where change is inevitable, uncertainty is the new normal and the ability to pivot and think creatively makes all the difference.
So, how do we adjust and re-arrange our mental and emotional landscapes to care for ourselves, as well as our communities and churches in this new world?
Care teams offer the people of God a readily accessible means of naming and claiming their own gifts and graces of ministry.
As the country is cautiously creeping out from under the pandemic, Rev. David Czeisel (pronounced SIZE-ul) is excited.
Rev. Czeisel is the newly-appointed pastor of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (UMC) in Northport, Long Island, Northport’s longest continuously worshipping congregation. And he is invigorating the congregation to explore with him the possibilities for creative and expanding ministry.
When was the last time that you took a check-up from the neck up or paused long enough to take inventory of how you’re really feeling?
There is no denying that work/life balance and social stressors are increasing. Rev. Dorothea (Thea) Crites, an ordained United Methodist minister and pastoral psychotherapist with more than 30 years of experience explains, “we all need serious self-care, especially being in the helping profession. But helpers tend to not see that they need help.”
Thank you for reading the Fall 2021/Winter 2022 issue of The Vision Magazine. We hope this issue sparks interest and creativity and is as much fun for you to read as it was to put together.