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Lighthouse Overlook

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Enhance your ministry | 2A

Building the kingdom | 4A & 5A

Let your light so shine | 6A

Vol. 157 No. 13

057000 July 30, 2010

Bishop’s Column A few scattering thoughts by Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton

Nearly 75 people of all ages showed up for food, fellowship and kickball at the first-ever Urban Methodist Youth Camp Co-Ed Kickball Tournament in Southfield last month.

Kicking urban youth ministries into gear Kickball tournament creates platform for exciting fellowship By RJ Walters Editor Kickball knows no age and kickball knows no gender. Apparently kickball does know how to start a party and create some exciting fellowship though. On July 10 the first-ever Urban

Methodist Youth Camp Co-ed Kickball Tournament drew almost 75 people to Southfield and UMYC leaders have already dubbed it “the annual kickball tournament” and more inviting events are just around the corner. Teams made up of church members, friends, pastors and other clergy from

Detroit churches Conant Avenue UMC, People’s UMC and Second Grace UMC shared lunch together and created wonderful memories geared around the old sandlot game. But it wasn’t just for fun—it was for bragging rights as well. Led by soccer enthusiasts like UMYC See Kickball creates . . . on page 2A

Kudos to everybody involved in the Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conferences. Both of them were full of spiritual vitality, food, fun and fellowship, inspiring testimonies and hard work. New this year, both sessions were live streamed. People in South America, Africa and Europe picked up our proceedings. Friday morning worship, May 21, a number of people in the Detroit Conference celebrated their baptisms with pithy testimonies and symbolic water. One person recalled his baptism by immersion in cold lake water at the top of the morning. Most were baptized in church although another witness noted that she was baptized in the pastor’s office. Tinged with emotion, another person recalled being baptized, the death of his mother six years later and the church supporting the family as a result. Ordination at the West Michigan Annual Conference provided an unexpected joy and blessing also. Severe illness prevented Jennifer Jue’s elderly mother from attending her ordination as an elder on June 6. She would have liked to fly in to Grand Rapids from California, but instead, Jennifer’s mother watched via live feed. She recognized her daughter among others, heard her name called, and witnessed the laying on of hands from thousands of miles away. See A few scattering thougths . . . on page 7A

Task force assembled to lead redistricting efforts By Paul Thomas Detroit Conference Director of Communications A 13-person task force has been commissioned by Michigan Area Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton to assist him in reducing the number of districts in the Detroit Conference from seven to six. The conference is reducing a district to comply with action taken at the 2010 annual conference, which instructed the Bishop to determine the boundaries of the new districts, and for the Conference Leadership Team to name them no later than July 1, 2011. Keaton was not instructed to form a task force as part of the legislation, but brought together a group of 13 people to aide him. Bishop Keaton chose the members of the task force after potential names were submitted to him by district superintendents.

The group consists of seven laypersons and six clergy. Each district in the conference is represented. The members of the task force are as follows: Bill Arendall (member of St. Clair Shores Good Shepherd UMC), Rev. Joanne Bartelt (Port Huron district superintendent), Mike Clark (conference lay leader), Ralph Czerepinski (Saginaw Bay district lay leader), Sandy Eisele (member of North Lake UMC), Rev. Dr. Dale Miller (senior pastor at Farmington: Nardin Park UMC), Rev. Duane Miller (Detroit East district superintendent and dean of the cabinet), Rev. Jeff Nelson (pastor at Redford Aldersgate UMC), Rev. Peggy Paige (pastor at Iron Mountain First and Quinnesec UMCs), Rev. Sherry Parker (senior pastor at Brighton First UMC), Bonnie Potter (member of Thetford Center UMC), Linda A. Schramm (member of Sandusky: First UMC and presi-

dent of the conference’s United Methodist Women) and Paul Thomas (conference director of communications). Eisele, Paige and Thomas were members of the Michigan Area Transition Team that explored creating new district boundaries and structure for the proposed Great Lakes Conference, as part of its efforts to unite the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences. Thomas, who co-chaired the Transition Team, was elected to serve as the chairperson of the task force, while Parker was named vice-chairperson. Nelson will serve as the group's secretary. Bishop Keaton and the Rev. Dr. William Dobbs, clergy assistant to the bishop, will attend each task force meeting and work with the group’s leadership team. The task force will work with the appointive cabinet and present its final report and recommendations to the cabinet by Jan. 1, 2011. See Task force assembled … on page 2A

The United Methodist Reporter (USPS 954-500) is published weekly by UMR Communications, 1221 Profit Drive, Dallas, TX 75247-3919. Periodicals Postage Paid at Dallas, Texas and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to The United Methodist Reporter, PO Box 660275, Dallas, TX 75266-0275.


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Kickball creates exciting fellowship Continued from front page counselor Tito Kromoh and United Methodist Youth Foundation President Charles Boaye, Second Grace took home the title, downing Conant after Conant beat People’s UMC 10-2. Leon Hayes of People’s UMC, the event’s de facto director, said it was required that each team had at least four males and four females. Second Grace showed up with a roster loaded with physically fit males, so Hayes let the people take judicial action on the matter. “They could either represent their church and a church could take the trophy home or we could go boy, girl, boy, girl and the winners get the trophy and it could be held at the Urban Council,” Hayes said. “People voted unanimously, ladies and all, that they wanted to represent their church. They wanted to have a trophy that churches play for every year and it really turned out great.” People’s UMC pastor Rev. Carter Grimmett said the event set out to prove the UMYC is not simply about two weeks of urban camping at Judson Collins campground in the summer, it is about trying to unite people from all over the Detroit East and West Districts. “We wanted a sport that would allow people who were non-athletes, that would allow everyone a fair opportunity to participate. It doesn’t take any specific skill, you can just play and enjoy it and have a good time,” he said. “One of the most important things about getting people

together is developing that comfort and familiarity that will allow them to do other things. Once they get familiar with each other it allows them to take that next step as the body of Christ, being in ministry with others for others.” He said people ages 2-92 were on hand and it was a hodge-podge of many of the great effects of ministry. Grimmett ventured onto the diamond, stating “he made an appearance” but would rather not talk about his skills. Instead he said track and field is his much-preferred type of athletics. Hayes said there was so much energy buzzing around the tournament that he hopes to field enough teams to fill up all four diamonds at Inglenook Park next year. He said it is important to remember the real reason for the gathering though. “There were men there who do not go to a church, but are interested in going to a church to see the different things that are available,” he said. “We started off with a prayer—and really, it was just a great event.” Grimmett said the next UMYC sporting event will likely be a basketball-shooting contest, held sometime in November. The leadership team is still looking for a church to host the event, but the premise is a shooting contest of two-person teams who take turns trying to sink as many baskets as possible. There will be an entry fee and half of the proceeds will go to UMYC and the other half will go to a mission of the UMYC youth’s picking.

Task force to lead redistricting efforts Continued from front page The resident bishop, according to paragraph 415.4 of the 2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, is empowered to "form the districts after consultation with the district superintendents and after the number of the same as been determined by vote of the annual conference." Bishop Keaton offered his thoughts to the task force at a June 29 meeting, referencing Psalm 27 to call the task force to "wait for the Lord." “Can we have a song of confidence in this time of downsizing, that God is leading us, going before us, guiding us?" Keaton asked. "We need to find ways to put our hands in God's hands so that whatever comes out of this process has God's stamp on it, because we pray that this process is of God." He said some people may see the demise of a district or the conference as a “Good Friday moment” but everyone should be reminded “there is an Easter coming the we will claim together as men and women and follow-

ers and disciples of Jesus Christ.” He said the ultimate goal is to empower the work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The task force spent some if its time together brainstorming about new ideas and fresh opportunities, which it will explore further in the coming months. "The resolution passed by the annual conference has called us to downsize, but in this process, a fresh opportunity exists to organize ourselves for more effective mission and ministry," Thomas said. "As the task force spent time dreaming about this process, new ideas emerged, such as thinking of redistricting in terms of population centers rather than geographical boundaries, potentially combining district offices for greater collaboration, examining the role of the district superintendent, and an opportunity to be more focused on our urban centers, just to name a few.” The task force’s next meeting is Sept. 14.

INSIDE THE PAGES Michigan Area book reviews to enhance leadership and ministry Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church, by Lovett H. Weems, Jr. (Abingdon Press, 2003) Review by: Jerry Devine, Detroit Conference Director of Connectional Ministries After five years as a ministry consultant followed by five as district superintendent, I have heard many clergy say, “If only I were appointed to a church that was ready to change, I could _____!” (You can fill in the blank, but it usually has something to do with vitality, growth and fulfillment.) Having served in several local church appointments as a pastor, I would agree that some parishes are more ready to embrace change than others. However, I have almost never found a setting where no change is possible.With God all things are possible. How we identify and bring about needful change may be the issue. In Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church, Dr. Lovett Weems, Jr. takes on the dynamics of change in a manner that makes it accessible for any size church. He helps to demythologize the dynamics of change that can so often lead to polarization and demonization among church leaders. By looking at congregations as cultural communities and family systems he identifies the factors that will influence how positive change can be approached. While radical change is sometimes called for, in most local churches the methodology that will work best will be more “evolutionary than revolutionary,” Weems suggests. Hit the Bullseye: How Denominations Can Aim the Congregation at the Mission Field, by Paul Borden (Abingdon Press, 2003) Review by: Benton Heisler, West Michigan Director of Connectional Ministries Paul Borden, the executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of the West denomination, has written an insightful book that challenges other denominations to assess their current direction and intentionally make changes. He emphasizes the importance of a clear alignment between tactics, strategies and foundational principles. He would challenge us to have our efforts match our mission of “making disciples to transform the world” as we identify that “the local congregation is the most significant arena for making disciples.” He emphasizes healthy congregations are growing and they grow by making new disciples and creating new congregations. The reader is reminded in multiple ways that, “We measure what matters!”We must take seriously the concept of success as a result to be measured. Congregations are expected to measure up and be evaluated. A primary ingredient is leadership. He asserts that two metaphors that hinder are the “pastor as shepherd” and the “church as family.” The leader should equip others to provide the care for sheep. The proper term would be “congregational care,” not “pastoral care.” The church’s primary purpose is not to be family. It is to be on a constant mission/purpose of seeking souls for Christ. True community comes together to

Because we are an itinerant, appointive, and connectional system, addressing issues of change requires the building of trust. That is not the same as building consensus. Caring for the basics of relationship provides a foundation for naming, defining and reframing reality. Weems lays this out as the precursor of beginning a visioning process. Learning the essential art of asking questions to invite insight is vital as one infuses accurate information into faulty assumptions. New insight becomes a base for considering vision and direction. It moves into an accurate picture of the present without losing aspects of the past. Weems writes very clearly for clergy and lay leadership whose responsibility it is to guide their congregations into considering where God is moving them. His approach is non-threatening yet clearly aware that we cannot assume that our present reality is where God intends us to remain. He reminds the reader that in order to seek vision and the subsequent change required for fulfilling that vision, one must also understand the “phases of thriving and declining organizations”. He also helps make visioning a more practical “looking for clues” rather than the abstract approaches that have often been used. This allows a more natural discernment, and builds a bridge between past and future. It is an easy read with pithy quotes. Even if not used as a guide for your visioning process, it can be an instrument of study and holy conferencing among your leaders as you seek regeneration. care for one another as the community accomplishes a purpose. Accountability is a basic requirement for change and must be based upon objective measurements. Changed expectations demand resources to reach expectations. Training and resources are essential along with mentoring programs. Small and large is not the defining criteria— healthy is!! We must take the Great Commission seriously enough to enforce mutual accountability for our behaviors. Key for the judicatory is, “What is best to accomplish the mission, not preserve the institution. It must be willing to address those who are unable or unwilling to make the changes or worked against them.” Healthy congregational thinking means that one leads by attraction, not compulsion. You attract people to your significant mission and compelling vision. Borden would encourage us to discard the shepherd role, stop conflict mediation, stop honoring unfruitful behavior; and honor those open to change, who take leadership seriously, are willing to be held accountable and are committed to helping other congregations. Borden goes into great detail explaining the importance of the alignment of: Responsibility, Authority, Accountability, Results and Resources of Support. He reviews the extensive process that yields the five key components of: Learning, Coaching, Consulting, Laity training and Follow-up—all working in accordance. This is an excellent 140-page book that will help leaders chart new directions.


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Holding hands, building playgrounds Hands Across the City to take over Grand Rapids By RJ Walters Editor The Hands Across the City initiative of United Methodist Metropolitan Ministry in Grand Rapids could already be considered a major success—even though it doesn’t take place until Aug. 7. Through major advertising and promotional help from United Methodist Communications and some crucial networking with the city of Grand Rapids, Hands Across the City is expected to draw up to 1,000 volunteers to work at 15 city parks and public spaces. What started off as a project to beautify and re-purpose over a dozen areas, now has the major centerpiece of building a KaBOOM! playground in Garfield Park estimated at roughly $70,000. In a city that has seen the number of employees in its parks and recreation department go from 71 to 16 over the course of several years, this is a much-needed undertaking. While Metro Ministry raised approximately $10,000 for the service project, Hands Across the City co-chair Kurt Kimball—formerly the Grand Rapids city manager for 23 years and a devout United Methodist—said his relationship with the city and their willingness to help was a Godsend. KaBOOM! is “a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America's children,” utilizing community leadership and corporate sponsors that are willing to provide $50,000-$70,000 to fund playground projects. Kimball said the prospect of finding a corporate sponsor or raising that kind of money seemed out of the question, but the city provided them with a different avenue to explore. “Perhaps because of my association with the city we got the managing director who was in charge of community development block grants to amend a plan that they had for using block grants, so really the corporate sponsor in this case, the one providing the $69,300 is in fact the federal government’s community development block grants,” he said. “That’s atypical. There are four or five other kaBOOM! playgrounds in Grand Rapids and they have sponsors like Steelcase or whatnot.” Kimball said while the partnership was surprising, it was really just the latest reminder that faith is much bigger than people often realize. “I’ve been dabbling in various fundraising things, but this is

something that I felt, or rather my wife felt, a little bit of a calling on my behalf,” he joked. “But the more I started thinking about it the more I comprehended it might just be the perfect fit for me and in fact God wanted me to do so. There was no turning back.” Now the event has become more of an all-encompassing experience for Metro Ministry, and potential participants from all over the city. More than 250 people will help build a fully functional kaBOOM! playground in six hours or less, and 14 other projects will utilize smaller groups. There will be lunch provided for all of the participants and the day will conclude with a “celebration under the big tent” which includes a worship service, recap of the day’s events and a Christian rock concert. Kimball said the project is connected with Rethink Church, and is a chance to expand Methodists faith beyond the brick and mortar of their church buildings. “The idea is yes, to invite members of our churches to do service projects in the neighborhoods, but it wasn’t to do them by ourselves. It was to invite the entire metropolitan community to work side-by-side, hand-in-hand with we Methodists on these projects,” Kimball said. “So not only are you getting a project done, but you are getting acquainted with people we wouldn’t otherwise been engaged with; so if you will, the un-churched or persons from other denominations—and it’s an opportunity to show Methodists care about the community and be involved.” Kimball estimated UMCom poured in more than $50,000 for the project by providing prominent billboards, radio remotes, print and online materials, and T-shirts for every volunteer. Kimball noted the project has required countless hours of work from people such as co-chair Chuck VanLente and outgoing Metro

Ministry executive director Susan Hansen. He envisions that everyone’s effort could jumpstart ongoing mission projects within the city. “Our plan isn’t for this to be a one-time thing where we swoop in and swoop out and then never engage again. I’m going to be kind of tuckered out, so maybe we’ll need a new co-chair for next year’s project,” he said half-jokingly. Find out more about Hands Across the City in Grand Rapids or register to volunteer at www.handsgr.org. Also, check out what KaBOOM playgrounds look like at www.kaboom.org.

Change, with familiarity—not just change We have quickly moved beyond the sessions of the Detroit Annual Conference, held back in May at Adrian College. Memories of stirring moments in worship, time with colleagues, insightful and challenging teachings, and uplifting mission moments have likely been shelved as summer rhythms take over. Vacations, camp experiences, family gatherings, and yes, the inevitable class reunions, fill the time quickly. If we gained anything from our time together as an annual conference, then we become the ones that will work to see it bear fruit or watch it wither on the vine? JERRY DEVINE Change requires intentional involvement. DETROIT CONFRENCE But what kind of change? DIRECTOR OF You may recall that Dr. Lovett Weems, Jr. foCONNECTIONAL cused one of his annual conference teaching MINISTRIES sessions on change, entitling it Only Babies Like to be Changed. He offered four steps on leading when the world changes: Help define reality; Reframe specific interests in light of the whole; Seek continuity and change; Advance the plot of your congregation’s story Weems suggested, “Change in the church is more evolutionary than revolutionary,” therefore, our work as leaders is to “take hold of the DNA and selectively draw that which is most important for

the future.” That is “change—with familiarity”.Whether we are lay or clergy, it is vital to know our congregation’s story if we are to help bring vitality in the future. Weems suggests that writing a new chapter is not the same as writing an entirely new book. However, there is a clear need to move beyond the current chapter! For the first time in 22 years I decided to attend an all-school reunion for my alma mater, Hazel High School, in South Dakota. I attended only once before when the small town was holding its centennial celebration. My graduating class had only 17 people in it, so we were all quite familiar with one another at the time of our graduation. The majority of those persons ended up living within 20 miles of where they graduated. In such proximity they had been able to observe the usual “familiar changes” of ages and stages in each other’s lives.At the urging of my brother and my wife, I consented to put myself in that most awkward place, trying to allow for change while still seeking some familiarity. I had no interest in re-entering high school relationships as if nothing had changed over the years. So with trepidation, but a also with a bit of deliberateness, I arrived early at the Hazel Community Fire Hall to watch the crowd arrive. Nearly 40 years of graduates were represented in

the 190 people present. I recognized a sizable number of people covering a fairly broad age span.When my own former classmates began arriving they were genuinely interested in catching up. Could old categories and patterns be expanded or disbanded for the new possibilities of the future? Each looked familiar enough for us to engage in conversation. I was determined to write a new chapter and to become the change I sought in others. There were the small handful that just wanted to do the humorous story-telling of the past (mostly a couple of former teachers), but there were also the key few that were ready to talk about the reality of the now, brought about by the many sweeping changes that had taken place over the past 38 years. We discovered that five of the 17 are cancer survivors, two of them still in intensive treatment. By allowing for change within familiarity depth could be discovered.We shared struggles and joys, and a hunger to claim a future of hope. What part of your local church DNA is God calling you to claim and to move into the future? What struggles have to be named and what hopes need to be lifted? Are you ready to allow for expanding or disbanding the practices and/or patterns of the past to allow for God’s new day with you to emerge? May it be so.


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JULY 30, 2010

THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER

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Big things come in small packages Building the kingdom $100 at a time

How the Holy spirit can use silver coins and open hearts

By RJ Walters Editor Just as the parable of the mustard seed is about the potential of a towering tree, it was the discreet slip of an envelope that opened people’s eyes to the marvels of God’s work at Ypsilanti First United Methodist Church. Through several projects dubbed the Kingdom Assignments and with the help of numerous partnerships, the congregation has raised more than $375,000 for local people and programs since 2006. And now Ypsilanti FUMC Rev. Melanie Carey and her colleagues are spreading the wealth through knowledge and grants, hoping other churches will jump on board with an initiative that has transformed the way some Methodists view outreach.

By RJ Walters Editor If a teenager is handed $5 without any directives, it’s a pretty good bet it’s going toward a double cheeseburger or enough gas to get them to a friend’s house. But as Betsy Marvin of Cornerstone UMC in Caledonia will affirm, if a teen is handed five bucks and told to ask God for directions, the possibilities are incalculable. On the heels of a church-wide campaign, Marvin created a “Pay It Forward” mission for the Cornerstone youth groups—and the power of the Holy Spirit was visible in major ways. Based around the parable of the master giving his servants “talents” to invest, Marvin gave each high school student five silver dollars, with the stipulation that they spend 20 minutes in listening prayer. Marvin said there is a lot of power in simply asking God questions and clearing your mind and heart to seek answers. “I read a book called God’s Guide, written by Mary Geegh who was a missionary to India in like the (1940s) and she practiced listening prayer,” she said. “So when I read hear book I thought, we just have to try this and figure out how to do this and listen to God for answers instead of just shooting in the dark.” It took some students several weeks to discern a call, while others received answers more quickly.

Humble beginnings The first domino to fall was a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, to everyone except Carey. Four years ago she came through the greeting line after a service and told the pastor to expect a visit from her the next morning, after having some time to digest the information in an envelope she gave her. “And then she came in the next morning to see me and she came with a check for $5,000 and said she would like our church to do the Kingdom Assignment and she was willing to give the money to do it, but didn’t want anyone to know who she was,” Carey said. The donor was inspired by an ABC News piece on an Iowa pastor who got his church involved with the project and she thought it would be appropriate for Ypsilanti FUMC to be the next in line. “I was like wow, okay, without a clue to what it was,” Carey said. “It was my first encounter with it and I wasn’t really sure about it to be honest. I was sort of like hmmm, I don’t know.” Little did she know it would be the mission that helped her realize that far too often Christians underestimate God’s power. Following the call The purpose of the Kingdom Assignment, which originated at a California church eight years ago, is to provide $100 to Christians, with a focus on growing that money for whatever type of ministry is near and dear to their heart. In Ypsilanti those ministries have included everything from providing health insurance to cancer patients to donations to the Boys and Girls Club to funds for organizations like Meals on Wheels.

Members of the FUMC of Ypsilanti celebrate the purpose of $100 used for ministry, given to them by the church.

It has been an unequivocal eye-opener for people involved, but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Viviana Urrutia shared how difficult it was to give her $100 to others because she could have used it to pay for a class she really wanted to take at Washtenaw Community College. Nonetheless she was a faithful steward of the money and made good use of it. Little did she know that the morning she was to present her Kingdom Assignment testimony to the church would be the day another church member followed their own heart. That Sunday Carey had a lady approach her before the service, saying she felt the Lord calling her to give $100 to the church—adding she felt it should be used to help someone who needed an education. At the end of the service Carey shared what had transpired and she said there was not a dry eye in attendance. Urrutia was able to take the class. Keeping on The first Kingdom Assignment was so successful the church decided to start a second project in 2008. The goal was to get people to look at all the “stuff ” they had that might be standing between them and a deeper relationship with Jesus—and sell it. One hundred people came forward and made over $10,000 which they put to good use at some of their favorite agencies and organizations. By project’s end over $20,500 was do-

nated (thanks to matching grants) to 21 organizations and two individuals. One beneficiary was Camille UrodaZiegler, a 49-year old woman who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in January 2007. Her husband Bob lost his job—and the family’s insurance—in the summer of 2008, and paying for Cobra insurance has caused financial duress ever since. Ypsilanti FUMC was alerted to Ziegler’s story by staff members at St. Joseph Mercy Cancer Center, and the church donated $2,000 to help pay her insurance premiums that pay foe her chemotherapy treatment and regular testing. Less than four years ago Ziegler lost all her hair, as well as her finger nails and toe nails, but now she is on the road to recovery, thankful for people like the members of Carey’s congregation. “Thank you very much for thinking of me and helping out with the insurance,” Ziegler wrote in a letter to the St. Joseph’s staff and Ypsilanti FUMC. “(I) feel good for the first time in a long time, what my family and I have prayed for so long. Something was working. And, here I am. Curly hair and all (I used to have to get perms but not anymore!)”

Spreading the Good News With stories like that to share, Carey and her congregation aren’t willing to just to be heard and go on with their lives as usual. A group of Ypsilanti FUMC lay members pooled together $15,000 last September to provide matching grants for other United Methodist churches interested in doing their own Kingdom Assignments. So far 12 matching grants have been given out to other ministries, including several youth groups who have done the project. Ypsilanti FUMC still has $8,000 to give out and Carey said all churches need to do is fill out a grant application by contacting the church via e-mail at fumcypsi@fumcypsi.org or giving them a call at 734-482-8374. Carey said the project is extremely selfsufficient and anyone can implement it quickly and painlessly. “It wasn’t all the difficult, the biggest part was just getting out of the way. Speaking as a pastor, this is a very de-centralized model of ministry,” she said. As pastors we’re kind of used to being in the center and controlling things, but with this model you just let it go and let your lay members take charge. It’s a neat thing to watch.”

Start your own Kingdom Assignment Ypsilanti FUMC still has nearly $8,000 in matching grants to hand out to churches who want to do the Kingdom Assignment. E-mail the church office at fumcypsi@fumcypsi.org or call them at 734-482-8374. Also, check out the official nationwide Kingdom Assignment website at

Briana Hutchinson thought she knew what to do with the money right away, but it took a little while for it to come into complete focus. “(She) really wondered if what she heard from God was right, because she was told to go buy a Bible—and she thought Bibles cost more than five dollars, so this can’t be,” Marvin said. “When she was at school it really bugged her. Should I have bought a Bible, should I not? God just show me the person who needs a Bible and I’ll go buy it.” Then one day she was in the library and had a conversation with a boy who was going through a tough breakup—and that’s when she realized he was the person she needed to help. She went to the local Family Christian Store, and saw a lot of Bibles for $30-40, before some smaller New Testament Bibles by the register caught her eye. “The lady (at the register told her) ‘If you’re a member the Bibles are five bucks’. So she looks up on the computer and (Hutchinson) is thinking she never remembered signing up to be a member, but somehow she was in the computer,” Marvin said. “So she was able to get the Bible for five dollars.” Hutchinson highlighted certain verses and wrote a personal note in the Bible before she gave it to the boy the next day. “(A few days later the boy) said he stayed up all night reading every-

thing she highlighted in the Bible and he couldn’t remember the last time he had a moment with God,” Marvin said. “He went back to church and he totally just felt like he reached back for God because of what she did.” Hutchinson was not the only person to experience a breakthrough. Riane McConnell said she had a scattered vision of what she was supposed to do with the money. She saw images of a green house, a spade on a playing card and an Asian person among other things. “I know, (pause) trust me, to hear her tell it it’s very funny,” Marvin said. “Finally her friend (Leah Buck), who happens to be Asian, asked her if she was ever going to act on it, and she didn’t know.” So the two of them set off on a local road-trip one day, not knowing where it might take them. Sure enough, down one street was the green house, with a spade carved into the roof. And across the street was an assisted living center. “They walked up to the door and basically said, ‘We are here to pray.’ Through a series of different people they got on the phone with the supervisor who was in desperate need of prayer, ” Marvin said. “So the girls just prayed with her and the woman was just in tears that these girls had come to pray when she so desperately needed it. The girls left the talents there as a reminder to the

Riane McConnell (right) of Cornerstone UMC in Caledonia, shown here at workcamp, was one of many youth to experience the power of listening to God during a “Pay It Forward” project at her church.

woman that they were praying for her and they plan on volunteering down there this summer.” Marvin said the lesson that seemed to resonate with the youth is

that God rewards joyful obedience in powerful ways. “Just random, cool, freaky things because they gave it up to God in prayer,” she said.c

Think Cornerstone UMC has powerful lessons to teach your church? Consider registering for Cornerstone’s conference on Oct. 22-23 titled “CPR for the Local Church: Check your vital signs.” Learn practical steps to assess your health and leave revitalized for only $19 per person. Register until Sept. 30 online at www.cornerchurch.org.

Kids, baked goods and lemonade stand make a difference By Patty Glass Kids love setting up and hosting lemonade stands and the children of Birmingham: First United Methodist Church took it a step farther to start the Lemonade Stand Revolution. In 2009, during Vacation Bible School, the children of Birmingham: First raised over $800 hosting neighborhood lemonade stands and they repeated the results this year. Ten-year old Tyler and seven-year old Mallory Bouque have been hosting lemonade stands for the last four years. Earlier this month, along with their friends, they raised over $400 for Cass Community Social Services (CCSS) in Detroit. CCSS is dedicated to making a

profound difference in the diverse populations it serves by providing for basic needs, including affordable housing, promoting self reliance and encouraging community inclusion and improvement. By selling lemonade and baked goods on a street corner in their neighborhood, the Bouque children were able to raise awareness of Cass, gather donations and build a sense of community and giving among other children in the area. One of the boys told their mom afterward, “This was the best party I have ever gone to”. Kids appreciate the opportunity to support Cass and hosting a lemonade stand is something any young person can do. Cass Community Social Services provides emergency, transitional, and per-

manent supportive housing for homeless individuals and families, vocational training and employment, food services, medical and mental health services as well as programming for at-risk children, youth, and seniors. CCSS is also a Detroit Conference Ministry Jubilee Project (#1151) sponsored by the conference Alliance for Urban Ministry. Please visit casscommunity.org for more information on its ministries. Churches and individuals can donate to the ministry of CCSS by sending a check to the conference treasurer and indicating “Ministry Jubilee #1151” on the memo line. Through Ministry Jubilee, 100 percent of the amount donated goes to the designated project.

Mallory Bouque & Katie Tenniswood are two of the Birmingham FUMC youth who have made a major impact by raising money for CCSS.


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JULY 30, 2010

THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER

JULY 30, 2010

THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER

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Big things come in small packages Building the kingdom $100 at a time

How the Holy spirit can use silver coins and open hearts

By RJ Walters Editor Just as the parable of the mustard seed is about the potential of a towering tree, it was the discreet slip of an envelope that opened people’s eyes to the marvels of God’s work at Ypsilanti First United Methodist Church. Through several projects dubbed the Kingdom Assignments and with the help of numerous partnerships, the congregation has raised more than $375,000 for local people and programs since 2006. And now Ypsilanti FUMC Rev. Melanie Carey and her colleagues are spreading the wealth through knowledge and grants, hoping other churches will jump on board with an initiative that has transformed the way some Methodists view outreach.

By RJ Walters Editor If a teenager is handed $5 without any directives, it’s a pretty good bet it’s going toward a double cheeseburger or enough gas to get them to a friend’s house. But as Betsy Marvin of Cornerstone UMC in Caledonia will affirm, if a teen is handed five bucks and told to ask God for directions, the possibilities are incalculable. On the heels of a church-wide campaign, Marvin created a “Pay It Forward” mission for the Cornerstone youth groups—and the power of the Holy Spirit was visible in major ways. Based around the parable of the master giving his servants “talents” to invest, Marvin gave each high school student five silver dollars, with the stipulation that they spend 20 minutes in listening prayer. Marvin said there is a lot of power in simply asking God questions and clearing your mind and heart to seek answers. “I read a book called God’s Guide, written by Mary Geegh who was a missionary to India in like the (1940s) and she practiced listening prayer,” she said. “So when I read hear book I thought, we just have to try this and figure out how to do this and listen to God for answers instead of just shooting in the dark.” It took some students several weeks to discern a call, while others received answers more quickly.

Humble beginnings The first domino to fall was a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, to everyone except Carey. Four years ago she came through the greeting line after a service and told the pastor to expect a visit from her the next morning, after having some time to digest the information in an envelope she gave her. “And then she came in the next morning to see me and she came with a check for $5,000 and said she would like our church to do the Kingdom Assignment and she was willing to give the money to do it, but didn’t want anyone to know who she was,” Carey said. The donor was inspired by an ABC News piece on an Iowa pastor who got his church involved with the project and she thought it would be appropriate for Ypsilanti FUMC to be the next in line. “I was like wow, okay, without a clue to what it was,” Carey said. “It was my first encounter with it and I wasn’t really sure about it to be honest. I was sort of like hmmm, I don’t know.” Little did she know it would be the mission that helped her realize that far too often Christians underestimate God’s power. Following the call The purpose of the Kingdom Assignment, which originated at a California church eight years ago, is to provide $100 to Christians, with a focus on growing that money for whatever type of ministry is near and dear to their heart. In Ypsilanti those ministries have included everything from providing health insurance to cancer patients to donations to the Boys and Girls Club to funds for organizations like Meals on Wheels.

Members of the FUMC of Ypsilanti celebrate the purpose of $100 used for ministry, given to them by the church.

It has been an unequivocal eye-opener for people involved, but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Viviana Urrutia shared how difficult it was to give her $100 to others because she could have used it to pay for a class she really wanted to take at Washtenaw Community College. Nonetheless she was a faithful steward of the money and made good use of it. Little did she know that the morning she was to present her Kingdom Assignment testimony to the church would be the day another church member followed their own heart. That Sunday Carey had a lady approach her before the service, saying she felt the Lord calling her to give $100 to the church—adding she felt it should be used to help someone who needed an education. At the end of the service Carey shared what had transpired and she said there was not a dry eye in attendance. Urrutia was able to take the class. Keeping on The first Kingdom Assignment was so successful the church decided to start a second project in 2008. The goal was to get people to look at all the “stuff ” they had that might be standing between them and a deeper relationship with Jesus—and sell it. One hundred people came forward and made over $10,000 which they put to good use at some of their favorite agencies and organizations. By project’s end over $20,500 was do-

nated (thanks to matching grants) to 21 organizations and two individuals. One beneficiary was Camille UrodaZiegler, a 49-year old woman who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in January 2007. Her husband Bob lost his job—and the family’s insurance—in the summer of 2008, and paying for Cobra insurance has caused financial duress ever since. Ypsilanti FUMC was alerted to Ziegler’s story by staff members at St. Joseph Mercy Cancer Center, and the church donated $2,000 to help pay her insurance premiums that pay foe her chemotherapy treatment and regular testing. Less than four years ago Ziegler lost all her hair, as well as her finger nails and toe nails, but now she is on the road to recovery, thankful for people like the members of Carey’s congregation. “Thank you very much for thinking of me and helping out with the insurance,” Ziegler wrote in a letter to the St. Joseph’s staff and Ypsilanti FUMC. “(I) feel good for the first time in a long time, what my family and I have prayed for so long. Something was working. And, here I am. Curly hair and all (I used to have to get perms but not anymore!)”

Spreading the Good News With stories like that to share, Carey and her congregation aren’t willing to just to be heard and go on with their lives as usual. A group of Ypsilanti FUMC lay members pooled together $15,000 last September to provide matching grants for other United Methodist churches interested in doing their own Kingdom Assignments. So far 12 matching grants have been given out to other ministries, including several youth groups who have done the project. Ypsilanti FUMC still has $8,000 to give out and Carey said all churches need to do is fill out a grant application by contacting the church via e-mail at fumcypsi@fumcypsi.org or giving them a call at 734-482-8374. Carey said the project is extremely selfsufficient and anyone can implement it quickly and painlessly. “It wasn’t all the difficult, the biggest part was just getting out of the way. Speaking as a pastor, this is a very de-centralized model of ministry,” she said. As pastors we’re kind of used to being in the center and controlling things, but with this model you just let it go and let your lay members take charge. It’s a neat thing to watch.”

Start your own Kingdom Assignment Ypsilanti FUMC still has nearly $8,000 in matching grants to hand out to churches who want to do the Kingdom Assignment. E-mail the church office at fumcypsi@fumcypsi.org or call them at 734-482-8374. Also, check out the official nationwide Kingdom Assignment website at

Briana Hutchinson thought she knew what to do with the money right away, but it took a little while for it to come into complete focus. “(She) really wondered if what she heard from God was right, because she was told to go buy a Bible—and she thought Bibles cost more than five dollars, so this can’t be,” Marvin said. “When she was at school it really bugged her. Should I have bought a Bible, should I not? God just show me the person who needs a Bible and I’ll go buy it.” Then one day she was in the library and had a conversation with a boy who was going through a tough breakup—and that’s when she realized he was the person she needed to help. She went to the local Family Christian Store, and saw a lot of Bibles for $30-40, before some smaller New Testament Bibles by the register caught her eye. “The lady (at the register told her) ‘If you’re a member the Bibles are five bucks’. So she looks up on the computer and (Hutchinson) is thinking she never remembered signing up to be a member, but somehow she was in the computer,” Marvin said. “So she was able to get the Bible for five dollars.” Hutchinson highlighted certain verses and wrote a personal note in the Bible before she gave it to the boy the next day. “(A few days later the boy) said he stayed up all night reading every-

thing she highlighted in the Bible and he couldn’t remember the last time he had a moment with God,” Marvin said. “He went back to church and he totally just felt like he reached back for God because of what she did.” Hutchinson was not the only person to experience a breakthrough. Riane McConnell said she had a scattered vision of what she was supposed to do with the money. She saw images of a green house, a spade on a playing card and an Asian person among other things. “I know, (pause) trust me, to hear her tell it it’s very funny,” Marvin said. “Finally her friend (Leah Buck), who happens to be Asian, asked her if she was ever going to act on it, and she didn’t know.” So the two of them set off on a local road-trip one day, not knowing where it might take them. Sure enough, down one street was the green house, with a spade carved into the roof. And across the street was an assisted living center. “They walked up to the door and basically said, ‘We are here to pray.’ Through a series of different people they got on the phone with the supervisor who was in desperate need of prayer, ” Marvin said. “So the girls just prayed with her and the woman was just in tears that these girls had come to pray when she so desperately needed it. The girls left the talents there as a reminder to the

Riane McConnell (right) of Cornerstone UMC in Caledonia, shown here at workcamp, was one of many youth to experience the power of listening to God during a “Pay It Forward” project at her church.

woman that they were praying for her and they plan on volunteering down there this summer.” Marvin said the lesson that seemed to resonate with the youth is

that God rewards joyful obedience in powerful ways. “Just random, cool, freaky things because they gave it up to God in prayer,” she said.c

Think Cornerstone UMC has powerful lessons to teach your church? Consider registering for Cornerstone’s conference on Oct. 22-23 titled “CPR for the Local Church: Check your vital signs.” Learn practical steps to assess your health and leave revitalized for only $19 per person. Register until Sept. 30 online at www.cornerchurch.org.

Kids, baked goods and lemonade stand make a difference By Patty Glass Kids love setting up and hosting lemonade stands and the children of Birmingham: First United Methodist Church took it a step farther to start the Lemonade Stand Revolution. In 2009, during Vacation Bible School, the children of Birmingham: First raised over $800 hosting neighborhood lemonade stands and they repeated the results this year. Ten-year old Tyler and seven-year old Mallory Bouque have been hosting lemonade stands for the last four years. Earlier this month, along with their friends, they raised over $400 for Cass Community Social Services (CCSS) in Detroit. CCSS is dedicated to making a

profound difference in the diverse populations it serves by providing for basic needs, including affordable housing, promoting self reliance and encouraging community inclusion and improvement. By selling lemonade and baked goods on a street corner in their neighborhood, the Bouque children were able to raise awareness of Cass, gather donations and build a sense of community and giving among other children in the area. One of the boys told their mom afterward, “This was the best party I have ever gone to”. Kids appreciate the opportunity to support Cass and hosting a lemonade stand is something any young person can do. Cass Community Social Services provides emergency, transitional, and per-

manent supportive housing for homeless individuals and families, vocational training and employment, food services, medical and mental health services as well as programming for at-risk children, youth, and seniors. CCSS is also a Detroit Conference Ministry Jubilee Project (#1151) sponsored by the conference Alliance for Urban Ministry. Please visit casscommunity.org for more information on its ministries. Churches and individuals can donate to the ministry of CCSS by sending a check to the conference treasurer and indicating “Ministry Jubilee #1151” on the memo line. Through Ministry Jubilee, 100 percent of the amount donated goes to the designated project.

Mallory Bouque & Katie Tenniswood are two of the Birmingham FUMC youth who have made a major impact by raising money for CCSS.


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JULY 30, 2010

THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER

The Lighthouse

Overlook

Let your light so shine…

SPLASH Ministry Jubilee What is it? The SPLASH Ministry Jubilee Project is an initiative of the Conference Council on Youth Ministries, which helps involve youth in building and showcasing their relationship with Christ. SPLASH stands for Saving People’s Lives and Spreading Hope. Ang Hart, the Conference Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, heads the project and it has a goal of raising $500,000 for fresh water and new well and purification kits around the world. Hart said the group decided on the target dollar amount because it equates to roughly $1,000 per Detroit Conference church.

sold SPLASH buttons at the Detroit Annual Conference in May and has been in contact with all of the district offices about the project. Hart said SPLASH doesn’t have specific countries it is focused on, but the project has already started pitching in globally. “We started with a well in Liberia for their youth center. We already sent them that money,” she said. “We tried to get it to them before the rainy season, but that just didn’t quite happen so they’ll have to build it next year.” Hart also said the group wants to find ways to get money to the most disparaged parts of Haiti.

How did it start? 16-year-old Rebecca Speiran of Saline FUMC is the president of the project, and she said the idea for it started at a 2009 summer leadership camp, when Speiran and colleagues heard speaker Jeff Nelson. “He challenged us to dream a God-sized dream, and we discussed many of the different problems in the world,” she said. “We decided as a group to focus on raising money for clean water around the world. We set a God-sized goal of $500,000.” She said the group felt led by the Holy Spirit to make clean water its cause, with “the hope that the sharing and making available physical water might lead people to the living water of God.”

What churches/people can do to help? Speiran said the biggest challenge has been getting the word out to people, but once people hear about it they are overwhelmingly generous. She said she would be focusing a lot on brainstorming new SPLASH initiatives at the council’s Conference Youth Assembly at Adrian College July 28-Aug. 1. She hopes a website will be up soon, and there is currently a Facebook group called “Detroit Annual Conference Council on Youth Ministries.” “I am so glad to see people getting excited about this project,” she said. “I think one of the best parts for me it to see the youth get passionate about this project and take it home to their local churches and start to do something about it.” The SPLASH Ministry Jubilee number is MJ 1244 (check out www.detroit conference.org) and Hart can be contacted at trahgna@yahoo.com.

What type of progress has been made? As of June SPLASH has raised around $12,000 so far according to Hart. The group

The Conference Council on Youth Ministries kicked off their SPLASH campaign with a presentation at the Fally Rally last year.

Let the Reporter shine the light: Each month the Reporter wants to highlight ministries that are working hard to live out the mission of the United Methodist Church. The publication would like to focus dedicated space to the missions and missionaries of The Advance and Ministry Jubilee projects. If you are part of or know of a specific ministry that is making a difference and fits the bill, please contact the Reporter via e-mail at editor@miareaumc.org.

The Kalamazoo Farming Project pairs “city churches” with local farmers to help fight hunger.

Kalamazoo Farming Project What is it? The Kalamazoo Farming Project is a mission that teams local farmers up with resourceful UMCs to raise money for the UMCOR Foods Resources Bank. Several Kalamazoo district churches work together to educate its members on farming and farmers agree to grow certain crops to sell to help raise money for UMCOR. The Foods Resource Bank is a mission of The Advance and the brainchild of two United Methodist farmers who wanted to find a way to use their crops to feed the hungry in distant places. The Foods Resource Bank turns crops into cash that supports sustainable food security programs overseas and provides hungry people the dignity of feeding themselves. How did it start? Rev. Joe Shaler of Ostego UMC got the idea from an annual conference, when a presentation by the Board of Global Ministries referenced the Farming Project. “Since I was near Kalamazoo and had a farmer in my church, I contacted the director of the program…and (he) came out an met with my farmer and explained the program,” Shaler said. “And basically it’s goal is to partner quote “city churches” with ones that are rural or at least have a farmer in them, for the purpose of working together to learn how crops grow and then the crop is sold and the money is donated for the project.” Ostego UMC, Kalamazoo First UMC, and First UMC Plainwell teamed up to officially start the project in 2005. What type of progress has been made? Shaler said there were questions about the viability of continuing the project at some discussion sessions earlier this year, but when project coordinator Fay Woolridge

of Kalamazoo FUMC ran the numbers the impact was undeniable. In six years the project has raise $55,364 and has impacted 54 communities, 3,695 household and over 20,000 people altogether. “I could tell our director was just a little down on stuff from last year, although it ended up being a good year. So we said, is it worth it?” Shaler said. “And when she got those figures we were all astounded.” Shaler said other benefits of the project include the spiritual fulfillment farmers reap from helping the church, and the education farmers are willing to provide to church members interested in agriculture. “A lot of the kids in particular think the food comes from McDonald’s, but no, the food comes from the ground. It’s been a very educational piece for our children,” Shaler said. What churches/people can do to help? Armed with the realization the Farming Project can be very fruitful, Shaler is encouraging other churches to get on board. He said Kalamazoo District churches looking to join the project he is a part of, or anyone from the state looking for advice on how to start their own project can contact him or Woolridge. Shaler can be contacted at UMCOtsego@aol.com or 269-694-2939 and Woolridge can be contacted by calling Kalamazoo FUMC at 269-381-6340. “After your initial year everything is pretty much in place,” Shaler said. “You usually have an early spring meeting to talk with the farmer about what crop he’s going to grow and then you plan a farm celebration service, where you’re all going to meet out at the farm and bring the kids and kind of introduce people to farming life.”


JULY 30, 2010

THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER

Can these dry bones live?

Estate Planning: A key to faithful stewardship

A friend asked, “Do you think you could make anything out of all this old barn lumber?” You know, kind of like God asking Ezekiel in chapter 37, “Can these dry bones live?” As a hobby, a few days of labor each year the past four years has yielded: two chairs, a hutch, a book case, six benches, three storage BENTON HEISLER WEST MICHIGAN boxes, a table, and some projects that are still CONFRENCE DIRECTOR OF in the design stage. CONNECTIONAL And the woodpile is only partially used MINISTRIES up. The steps include sorting boards like puzzle pieces, scrubbing off years of accumulated dust (or other animal debris, enough said), cutting to length and width as well as thickness and sanding to a splinter less finish. (Especially important for the chairs and benches, no further instructions required!) I have some of the necessary tools and knowledge but the best part of these projects has been sharing time and tools with others. Ideas, solutions, techniques and mistakes to avoid or correct have been just a few of the gifts, not to mention the new function of timber that might have otherwise decomposed or simply become heat in a wood stove. Most of the lumber I am reusing is over 100 years old. The barn and granary were disassembled to make way for more contemporary functions in their space. Thankfully someone saw the potential in much of the lumber and saved it, even though they didn’t know the exact form it would take. Others and I have been blessed by the release of this stored resource. My point? I see a parallel to many of our congregations. They are not like they were 100 years ago. God may be asking of us, ”Can these dry bones live?” They can if we allow connecting muscles and sinew, the covering flesh and the breath of God to come upon us (Ezekiel 37:6). We will need to allow God to shape us into new forms, relocate us to new destinations and remove and discard the accumulated, unattractive, unnecessary debris. We will need to share ideas, tools, mistakes made and knowledge acquired as we work together. Many people were inspired by leaders from “The Church 4 All People” of Columbus, Ohio who presented their story at the West Michigan Annual Conference. Many of you said, “We can do that!” I am asking you to let me know of your stories of progress toward that goal. Electronic communication is a new tool we have at our disposal to use in our service for the sake of Christ. This fall I will invite you to share your email address with me at the Conference Center. It won’t be sold. It won’t be provided to special caucus groups. You won’t receive daily advertising and updates. You will occasionally be informed of significant conference training events and invited to participate in them. It will allow us to communicate with a wider audience than simply clergy and those laypersons who are in leadership positions. I hope to finish the table this week. The legs and frame will be painted, but the top boards will only be covered in varnish. The nail holes, dents and markings will be a constant reminder of the first life of this lumber. What may have been a stable wall, a barn floor or a roof board will now be a centerpiece of laughter shared, nourishing food, and relationships nurtured as stories are shared, memories are formed and life is given meaning. I picture persons seated at this table studying the Bible in early morning, planning their day of service, later that night sharing their witness of where God had been at work and giving thanks for such blessings. How are you helping to build the Church? I look forward to hearing your stories.

An estate plan is a significant resource for a faithful Christian steward. An estate plan is for everyone—young parents, retirees, singles, middle-aged people, and adults living with parents. It enables individuals to be assured that their personal desires will be followed.An estate plan provides a tool to distribute people’s assets according to their faithful intent. It may solve some personal financial situations, augment retirement income and certainly offer peace of mind throughout one’s life. The launch of estate planning education should be grounded in the desire to equip DAVID S. BELL VICE PRESIDENT OF Christians to be even better stewards of God’s gifts in life. The church has a tremendous op- STEWARDSHIP OF THE UNITED METHODIST portunity to help educate parishioners about FOUNDATION the key components of a Christian estate plan. OF MICHIGAN In addition, the church may receive some benefit from providing such a service. Namely, the church may be named as a beneficiary of people’s assets. As church leaders find it more and more difficult to fund the daily church operations and ministry with offering plate contributions, income diversification is essential. The life gifts through planned giving may serve as an integral revenue source to fund mission and ministry. Recognizing that all possessions are gifts from God, Christian stewards often are defined, in part, as ones who manage these gifts according to God’s desire. However, Christian stewardship includes more than money, homes, cars, investments, and possessions. It is about all of life—everything! It is linked intrinsically to discipleship. Christian stewards offer their

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prayers, presence, financial assets, witness, and service for the sake of the Gospel. People spend their lives acquiring things. The Church teaches that the faithful stewardship of one’s possessions is important. Christians are called to be good stewards of God’s gifts. Many believers manage these possessions well throughout their lives. Yet, they often are not sure of the best methods for overseeing the care of these possessions beyond their own need. They are reluctant to establish any estate plan, notwithstanding one that will serve as a testimony to their faith. They even avoid initiating plans that will make caring for one another easier during times of uncertainty or diminished health. In fact, over 50% of Americans have not established an estate plan. Thus, they are relying by default on the probate court system to implement a plan. Estate planning is a key component of a steward’s financial discipleship. It provides for the purposeful distribution of our social capital. It helps us recognize that none of our possessions belong ultimately to us. (Read I Corinthians 4:7). It reminds us that we are in God’s care.We are God’s children.We are part of something far greater than ourselves. Generations have gone before us, and generations are yet to come. Estate planning helps to bear witness to God’s provision and to build legacies in God’s name for those future generations.

A few scattering thoughts Continued from front page The live streaming blessed and thrilled the mother, the daughter and countless others. Both conferences did an excellent job of “equipping…local churches for ministry…by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church.” (Paragraph 601, 2008 United Methodist Book of Discipline)) “Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” remains our visionary challenge for the whole church. (Para. 120, UMBOD) Both conferences heard about those challenges in sobering statistics. Membership, worship and church school attendance are still going down.At the same time, our giving to mission is near the top in particular channels of giving. Your heart for mission, struggles to make disciples, keep the doors open and bills paid has not daunted your zeal for helping the “least of these.” Thanks be to God. The West Michigan Annual Conference brought in $36,239 for various causes. Plus, $613,787 had come in for Haiti Emergency Relief by the end of May. Detroit Annual Conference collected $80,272 for numerous mission causes and through May, churches had submitted $540,869 for Haiti. With plenty of hard work behind all of us, I will be taking some of my required Renewal Leave this summer.“Every bishop in the active relationship shall take up to three months’ leave from his/her normal Episcopal responsibilities for the purpose of reflection, study and self-renewal during each quadrennium.” (Para. 410.2, UMBOD) By the time you read this missive, some of it will be gone. Nevertheless, here are the initial dates: June 718, 21-28 and August 5-26, 2010. My office and clergy assistant, each cabinet and its dean plus the directors of connectional ministries will be available to respond to your daily ministry needs. As I put these few scattering thoughts to rest, know that I am grateful and blessed with the privilege and responsibility of serving the Michigan Area of the United Methodist Church.

Subscribe to The Michigan Area Reporter Get connected. . . to a larger community of faith The Detroit and West Michigan Conferences are pleased to offer individual subscriptions to our new newspaper. Option #1—Individuals can subscribe to receive the monthly Michigan Area Reporter Edition delivered to their homes. This connectional publication features our area's news and features as Section 1. Section B and additional supplements will provide news about our denomination and the faith community around the world. Option #2—Bring weekly news to your home. In addition to our 12 monthly Michigan Area issues each year, you can receive the national edition of The United Methodist Reporter on the other 40 weeks. To begin your individual subscription immediately, fill in your information below:

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JULY 30, 2010

THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER

A faithful finish line

Clergy assistant to Bishop retires after 42 years in ministry By RJ Walters Editor Terry Euper isn’t a man who hungers for accolades or notoriety, but he is exactly the kind of United Methodist leader the church draws its strength from. June 30 was the Reverend’s final day of seven years of service as the clergy assistant to the Bishop, the final stop on a 42-year ministry expedition that included pastoring at multiple local church stops and a 5-year stint as a district superintendent. The Detroit Annual Conference in May was a sort of reflective celebration for Euper and his wife Jackie—also newly retired, from her position of project director for the Flint District—and it gave confidants young and old a chance to appreciate the wit and wisdom of a family who has helped define the path of the conference for years and generations. Annual conference as a stepping stone As a high school junior in 1963 Terry was still getting familiar with the church. He was active in his congregation in Whitmore Lake and had his sights set on college—which in his mind meant preparing for an education at the University of Michigan. That is until his pastor Rev. William Johnson asked him to join him as a church delegate for annual conference at Adrian College. His parents were already going as adult delegates, so he figured ‘why not?’ “I believe in the call of ministry, that people are called to be in the ministry, but I also believe that my pastor, Rev. William Johnson, somehow saw something and he helped to shape and focus that cause,” Terry said. “He was finding ways to use gifts and talents I didn’t even know I had.” He said he was riveted by the fact the United Methodist Church was much bigger than the small congregation he came from, and he also became “fascinated by (the idea of) being part of a community on that small a campus.” So four years after first meeting Jackie at middle school youth group, and after his first major church conference, Eueper’s path started pointing toward Adrian College, where he developed many of the skills needed for a career in ministry.

By 1972 he was an official conference clergyman and as he puts it, “God has surprised me every step of the way,” ever since. A legacy that spans the family name It’s hard to wipe a smile from Euper’s face when he’s talking about what God has done in his life. He’s been a part of work teams in Haiti and Liberia, he’s travelled to Korea for the World Methodist Conference and his family lived in England one summer through a summer-pulpit exchange. “Our experience with the Detroit Annual Conference just goes way out. We get weekly phone calls from people in Liberia, Africa,” he said. “It’s an amazing thing— we’re sponsoring a young person there who is going to college. We also have pastor friends there and seldom a week goes by where we don’t get a call from someone internationally.” Those phone calls are a far cry from anything he could have imagined as a youngster. Euper wasn’t really introduced to the church until middle school, when his parents joined and helped start a youth group in Whitmore Lake. He said that example was the perfect model of “involvement in the life of a church” and his family has followed. Son Steve will continue the family legacy of ministry in the Detroit Conference, serving at his latest appointment, New Hope UMC. Of the highest regard Without looking too hard it’s easy to find Euper joyfully hugging comrades and engaging in smile-filled exchanges at any church related event. But it is the affirmations of his closest colleagues that bring the significance of his work and dedication full circle. “He’s been an advocate for the things I’ve needed to get done. He is a person I believe is called, so that has made a difference. Somebody took a picture of us my first year when we

were sitting in worship and I don’t know who took it and brought it to us—but it is on the top of one of my cabinets where I sit,” Bishop Keaton said. “I have also felt like if I had to go into a war, one of the persons I would really want on my side is Terry.” Keaton said Euper had the knack for being a catalyst of positive change as the clergy assistant, a trait that demonstrates the kind of respect people give him when he speaks. “One of the things about my role as the assistant to the Bishop, is I felt it was my job to be a calm presence when people came to us,” Euper said. “Quite often when people call our office they’re not calm and they’re worked up about something, so I tried to be a voice of reason, somebody they could talk to and who would respond them.” Bill Dobbs, previously the Heartland district superintendent, officially stepped into Euper’s old office on July 1, and he has nothing but adulation for his predecessor. “It’s hard to follow someone like Terry. He did a great job in this position in the years he was here and on the one hand it’s hard to live up to that kind of person,” Dobbs said. “The other sense however is that he made it easy because he set such a good path that it’s easy to follow in his footsteps.”

Getting to know the new clergy assistant to the Bishop Former Heartland District Superintendent Bill Dobbs officially took office as the clergy assistant to the Bishop on July 1. Reporter Editor RJ Walters recently caught up with him to see how he was adjusting, what he prides himself on, and what vision he has for the Michigan Area conferences. Q: Did you ever aspire to be the clergy assistant to the Bishop or was it something that just kind of came out of left field? A: “The short answer to that is no, I never envisioned myself in this place and in this position. My whole vision for myself was focused on service to the local church and I was surprised when Bishop Keaton asked me to serve as a district superintendent in the Heartland District. I was planning on retiring from that position and looking forward to it—until the day in his office when he asked if I would be willing to stay on for a few more years to do this position. After prayer, we agreed.” Q: Having had a few weeks to look around, what does the Michigan Area look like from the top of the mountain compared to being a DS, which you could say is halfway up the mountain? Are there any major surprises early on for you?

A: “The biggest difference is how much bigger the mountain is. The Heartland District was a fair-sized district geographically, but it was still only one part of the mountain, so I have a lot of new names and places to learn. I have an advantage in that I grew up in the Detroit Conference; my home church is Cass City and I served in as an ofBILL DOBBS ficer in the youth fellowship in the Port CLERGY ASSISTANT Huron District back in the MYF days. I know TO THE BISHOP some pastors and some places because of great memories, but I’m having to learn all new faces and new people—and that’s the steepest (part) of the learning curve as it’s attached to this job.” Q: Just an individual, what are a few things you would like people to know about you that you feel helps define who you are? A: “The first thing that some people who know me know and I would like others to know, is I am committed to family. I have four children and six grandchildren, I love spending time with them. I love music—I was a high school band director in a former career. And I love to be part of making music, interestingly enough not as a soloist, but as part of an ensemble—

either a quartet or larger group where we can make music in harmony. And I love the church because it gives me the opportunity not only to make music, but to see so much of what we do in harmony. Q: So when can we expect you and the Bishop to start musically collaborating together? A: “We love to make music together. As part of both cabinets I look forward to being able to sing harmony to the Bishop.” Q: In your Dean’s Report at the West Michigan Annual Conference you talked about stepping out in faith during a time when many people in the state simply want to go back to old times, when things were “better.” What leadership tools will you use to inspire positive forward thinking in your position? A: “I think that the way to lead is first to spend a lot of time in prayer and secondly, to step out in faith and to invite others to go with you on the journey. The reference I made at annual conference in the Dean’s Report, stepping into the water or sea of change is equally true for both sides of the state. We are at a point where we’re facing great challenges, but the way to the future is forward.”


umportal org Freedom behind bars

Rising from the rubble

Institutional inertia

Helping inmates find new life | 3B

Volunteer teams help with rebuilding in Haiti | 4B

Debunking the sanctity of UMC’s order | 7B

WESLEYAN INFLUENCE

Section B

August 6, 2010

Q&A: Anti-alcohol movement’s rise and fall By all accounts, Prohibition was a colossal mistake, creating more organized crime than it did sobriety between 1920 and 1933. Behind the Constitutional amendment that enacted Prohibition was a diverse group of Americans, including the Ku Klux Klan, women’s sufDaniel fragists, the leftOkrent wing Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”) and leaders of the Methodist church. Daniel Okrent has created a definitive history in Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (Scribner), and Methodists figure prominently in the tale. Mr. Okrent recently spoke with staff writer Mary Jacobs.

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The United Methodist-Protestant Community at American University is an ecumenical fellowship seeking to create a place where students can grow in their faith, serve those in need, work for justice and share the gospel.

No matter what they’re called, campus ministries nurture students B Y M A L L O RY M C C A L L Staff Writer

During the school year, United Methodist ecumenical worship services are held every Sunday at American University.

Katie Newsome was on her way to the student center at Southern Methodist University when she came across a display table for the Wesley Foundation. She stopped to visit and was invited to a back-to-school cookout later that week. Now a junior, she is the president of SMU’s Wesley Foundation, sings in the worship band, serves on the discipleship division of the leadership team and leads a women’s small group. “I was open to being a part of any

Christian campus ministry, but I was especially drawn to the Wesley Foundation because it had the same affiliation as my home church,” she said. But for Ms. Newsome to stumble across a group of students wearing Wesley Foundation shirts at a United Methodist-affiliated school like SMU is a bit of an anomaly. The idea behind the Wesley Foundation ministry was to offer the church’s presence on a secular college or university campus. While most United Methodist-affiliated institutions offer a Wesleyan influence through chapel programs and classes, some United Methodist might think that in an increasingly

secular age, even denominationally owned schools should have a Wesley Foundation of their own. And some grassroots efforts, while they may not be official Wesley Foundations, have indeed helped provide a stronger spiritual support for college students at United Methodist colleges and universities.

Wesleyan ministries Technically, the Wesley Foundation at SMU is called “United Methodist Campus Ministry at SMU,” said the Rev. Andy Roberts, the director of SMU Wesley. “Several years ago, they ! See ‘Students’ page 8B

How important were Methodists in the temperance movement? The organization that made Prohibition happen was the Anti-Saloon League, and the people who dominated the Anti-Saloon League from the beginning were Methodists. Its entire board of directors was made of Methodist and Baptist ministers, and they used their network of churches to raise money, to organize people and bring them into the political arena. Many were sincere; they felt the world was going to change for the better because of Prohibition. But there were other reasons why people in the churches supported Prohibition, like anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant feelings. Protestants that did not support Prohibition were the Lutherans— many were German, so beer was part of their culture—and the Episcopalians, who are closer to Catholics. What about Methodists and Baptists would make them care more? I don’t know the answer to that. ! See ‘Alcohol’ page 2B


2B FAITH focus FAITH WATCH Pastor says city leader was ‘deeply troubled’ Jayne Peters, the Coppell, Texas, mayor who evidently committed suicide after shooting her 19-year-old daughter to death on July 13, had been in financial trouble since her husband died from cancer two years ago, according her pastor. “Jayne was a deeply troubled and, finally, desperate soul,” the Rev. Dennis Wilkinson, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in the Dallas suburb, said during a funeral service for the two.

Ground zero mosque sparks political debate Rep. Peter King, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said on July 12 he favors an investigation into the funding of a proposed New York mosque near the site of the 2001 Islamic terrorist attacks. “I think the 9/11 families have a right to know where the funding comes from,” Mr. King told the Associated Press. Mr. King and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin differed from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said it would be unAmerican to investigate the funding.

Lutheran bishop steps down over abuse case Maria Jepsen, the world’s first woman to be elected a Lutheran bishop, resigned her post in Hamburg, Germany on July 16 after allegations she failed to properly investigate cases of child sexual abuse. Dr. Jepsen had said she only became aware in March that a priest in the town of Ahrensburg abused as many as 20 children in the 1980s; media reports, however, said she knew of the cases as early as 1999.

FCC indecency rule overturned by court The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13 overturned a 2004 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy intended to crack down on unscripted cursing and indecency on television. The court said the policy did not specify what comprised offensive material, ruling that it was “unconstitutionally vague” and a violation of the First Amendment.

Conference aims to spark revival of church heritage BY TIM GHIANNI Special Contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—United Methodists can experience revival if they rediscover their heritage, say denominational leaders organizing a Wesleyan Leadership Conference here, Oct. 14-16 at West End United Methodist Church. The denomination became Methodist in name only by the 19th century, when it sought to become ‘respectable,’ says Steve Manskar, director of Wesleyan leadership for the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). “Congregations began to jettison some of the characteristics that set them apart as Methodists,” he said. In an effort to attract more people to the church, the Methodist movement’s earlier focuses on lay pastoral leadership and class meetings were de-emphasized. “It worked,” he said, “because from the middle of the 19th century into the early 20th century, the Methodist Church was the largest, most influential Protestant denomination in the United States.” But the result is that the denomination transformed itself “from a missional movement to an attractional church,” Dr. Manskar said. The Wesleyan Leadership Conference, he said, seeks to help the church reclaim some of the Wesleyan missional distinctives it needs, especially to reach a post-Christian, postmodern world. Scott Kisker, whose book Mainline or Methodist?: Rediscovering Our Evangelistic Mission (Discipleship Resources) is the foundation for the conference, will help lead the discussion. Dr. Kisker, professor of church history at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., says he

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hopes the conference will be a step in “rediscovering the identity . . . what it means to be a Methodist in a way that can reinvigorate our ministry in ways that are biblically more faithful and evangelistically more fruitful and that we would know Jesus better.” Dr. Kisker advocates a return to the “spiritual vitality” sparked by class meetings, field preaching and band meetings. Class meetings brought lay people together once a week “to inquire after one another’s souls . . . with the expectation of helping each other to grow spiritually,” he said. Field preaching was a way to engage nonchurchgoers with the gospel. And band meetings, he added, were groups that met “to confess their sins to each other so that they might be healed of whatever brokenness was in them and become more holy, not through polishing the image on the outside but becoming more deeply aware of the grace of God working on the inside and our own need for grace, quite frankly.” The conference is aimed at lay leaders as well as clergy. Keynote speakers will include Dr. Kisker and Taylor Burton-Edwards, GBOD’s director of worship resources, with group discussions and workshops by GBOD staffers: the Rev. Vance Ross, deputy general secretary, and Sandy Jackson, director of connectional laity development. “It’s the laity from which this is going to happen and emerge,” Dr. Manskar said. That’s the way it happened in early Methodism. They were the ones who were responsible for forming people as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.” For information, visit www.gbod.org. Mr. Ghianni is a Nashville-based freelance writer. THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER (USPS954-500) is published weekly by UMR Communications Inc., 1221 Profit Drive, Dallas, Texas 75247-3919. Periodicals postage paid at Dallas, Texas and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER. PO Box 660275, Dallas Texas 75266-0275. THE UNITED METHODIST REPORTER has provided denominational news coverage since its beginning as the Texas Methodist newspaper in 1847. The Reporter has no official ties to the United Methodist General Conference or to any of the denomination’s general boards or agencies. This newspaper aims to provide readers with a broad spectrum of information and viewpoints consistent with the diversity of Christians. All material published in this newspaper is copyrighted by UMR Communications Inc. unless otherwise noted. Reprint of material from this newspaper must be authorized in advance by the Editor, and fees are assessed in some cases. To request reprints, e-mail news@umr.org, or fax a request to (214) 630-0079. Telephone requests are not accepted. Send Correspondence and Address Changes (include mailing label) To: P.O. Box 660275, Dallas, TX 75266-0275 Telephone: (214) 630-6495. Subscriptions are $26 for 52 issues per year. Click on “subscriptions” at www.umportal.org, e-mail circulation@umr.org or send a check to UMR Communications, Attn: Circulation, 1221 Profit Dr., Dallas, TX 75247.

! ALCOHOL Continued from page 1B But I think the xenophobic aspect was very strong. This was the final thing that enabled the ratification of the Prohibition amendment. You needed 36 states to approve it, and this was happening just as the U.S. was entering World War I. The great enemy was Germany—and the brewers were seen by the Prohibitionists as tools of the Kaiser.

accomplish by prohibiting alcohol consumption? Billy Sunday preached that with Prohibition, “We will turn our jails into corncribs, prisons won’t have to exist any more, people are going to be clean and proud and live upright lives.” If we take his words at face value, and I think we can, he sincerely believed it would make the world better.

Given that Jesus turns water into wine in the Bible, how did Methodists become so vehemently anti-alcohol? Interestingly, there was a new translation of the Bible in 1924 that changed the wedding at Cana and various other passages, so that references to wine were deleted. This was by a professor of theology at Yale who denied it was due to Prohibition sentiment. As to why the theology of Prohibition became central, I don’t know. What I do know is the reaction against the saloon in the middle of the 19th century, particularly among women, was so intense that it combined with this notion of proper moral behavior. And the drunkenness that women were subjected to. . . .So maybe the church leaders are saying, “We have a real social problem here, so how do we tie this into our theology?”

So what were some of the unintended consequences of Prohibition? Prohibition denied the government revenue and enriched bootleggers. It fostered a lack of faith in the rule of law because Prohibition laws were so openly defied. So people thought, how seriously do we have to take any law? It also helped foster the creation of the national crime syndicate.

There were very powerful forces against Prohibition. If you follow the money, it doesn’t seem like anybody stood to profit financially. How did a grassroots group manage to defeat those? There’s a phrase that historians use to define who supported Prohibition— Baptists and bootleggers. Methodists were only left out because it isn’t alliterative. They were the ones who had the most to gain. Baptists, to impose a moral standard; bootleggers, because it gave them this huge business. What did Methodists and Protestants in general think they’d

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Given that Methodists still aim to positively influence morality in society today, are there any lessons learned from Prohibition? Prohibitionists discredited the anti-alcohol case by exaggerating it or misrepresenting it. So one lesson is: Don’t exaggerate; have your facts right. So much of the Prohibitionists’ efforts of persuasion against alcohol was alarmist and exaggerated. They promoted so-called “scientific” warnings, such as, “You’ll scar your esophagus forever with one glass of alcohol.” In the Prohibition movement, there were two factions. One group felt you could enforce this simply by law. Others thought you needed to have education, to persuade. Unfortunately, the first party won. But, as we’ve seen so many times, you cannot legislate against human appetites. It doesn’t work. It never has. Were there any positives that came out of Prohibition? Yes. Americans were hard drinkers. In 1830, the year when Americans drank the most, it was 7.5 gallons of pure alcohol a year. That’s the equivalent of 90 fifths of 80 proof liquor for every man, woman and child over the age of 15. That was the average consumption. So Prohibition created an open and public issue about the dangers and consequences of drink. And after Prohibition, Americans were actually drinking less than they did before Prohibition. And we still do.

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FAITH focus 3B UM CONNECTIONS Claremont seminary appoints Wogaman The Rev. J. Philip Wogaman, professor emeritus of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary, will be interim vice president for academic affairs and dean at Claremont School of Theology starting Sept. 1. He succeeds the Rev. Susan Nelson, who has stepped down for health reasons. Dr. Wogaman Philip was senior pastor of the Wogaman historic Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., from 1992 to 2002, where he also served as spiritual counselor to President Bill Clinton. He has also been interim president of Iliff School of Theology in Denver and interim pastor of St. Luke UMC in Omaha, Neb. Claremont, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, recently launched the University Project to help educate Muslim, Jewish and Christian clerics.

UMC raises $2 million for anti-malaria drive Through Imagine No Malaria, the United Methodist Church has committed $2 million to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Sierra Leone, where malaria is a leading cause of death. The November 2010 distribution of 2.5 to 3 million nets will provide almost every household with three nets per family. The goal is to eliminate deaths from malaria by 2015.

UM Native Americans honored at conference Jessie Mitchell, a Lumbee of Robeson County, N.C., and Anne Marshall, a full-blood Muscogee Creek from Holdenville, Okla., were honored at the 22nd Annual Southeastern Jurisdictional Native American Summer Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The women were recognized for their leadership in the United Methodist Church and the Southeastern Jurisdictional Agency for Native American Ministries (SEJANAM), the advocate for 23 Native American congregations and four ministries on reservations.

Kairos brings hope to prison inmates B Y N E I L B R OW N Special Contributor

MARION, N.C.—“I intended to kill him but he just wouldn’t die,” was the matter-of-fact answer I got from “Allen,” the inmate to my immediate right, when I asked him about why he shot a cop at age 12. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the guilty. That eye-opening answer and others like it were common as maximumsecurity inmates revealed their past lives during a Kairos prison ministry event May 20-23 at the Marion (N.C.) Correctional Institution. Based on the Walk to Emmaus model—a Thursday evening followed by 13-hour sessions on Friday and Saturday—the Kairos event ends with an eight-hour day on Sunday. Like Emmaus, there are a series of talks, chapel visits and opportunities for forgiveness and reconciliation. Unlike Emmaus, where the participants are called pilgrims and are usually Christians who desire a closer walk with Christ, the prison version accommodates 42 inmates who are called participants and are generally unbelievers—with some Muslims, Wiccans, atheists and agnostics. Many also carry a burden of guilt and unforgiveness toward witnesses and prosecutors who put them behind bars. I became involved after attending an Emmaus event where a leader asked for volunteers for an upcoming Kairos event. It takes one volunteer team member for each inmate participant. Team members receive 36 hours of training to understand the dynamics of prison life and to learn the rules of the state prison system. We would be entering a maximum-security facility housing the worst-of-the-worst—including those convicted of murder, rape and child molesting.

Inside team training Inmates who live with other serious criminals face a prison culture of illicit drugs, alcohol, homosexual acts and violence. Inmates trust no one; many haven’t had a visitor in decades. They feel like Neil Brown caged animals. Eight hundred and six inmates are locked away in 5-by-8-foot steel and concrete cells, with 36 cells to a cellblock. Each cell contains two bunks, a toilet, sink and small writing table— all stainless steel. Many inmates have jobs in the kitchen, as janitors or working on

grounds maintenance, paying 40 cents to a dollar a day. Others are enrolled in GED or community college classes. Those with violent tendencies or who are unwilling to follow the rules are locked up 23 hours a day. Volunteers pray over the 4,000 dozen cookies they bake for inmates. A bag of a dozen cookies is handed out to every inmate and employee every day of the three-day event. Participating churches raise funds and provide other expressions of God’s unconditional love—placemats decorated by Sunday school children, posters signed by members of a congregation and a handwritten letter to each participant. They make sure nothing going into the prison could be remade into a “shank” (a cutting or stabbing device) or contraband. An all-male team of volunteers is assembled to go into the prison. Teams include a leader, assistant leader and clergy for each table of six inmates. Tables are named after male Bible characters and are called “families” to encourage the bonding of team members with inmates. Team members come from Baptist, United Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian and non-denominational churches. An outside team of men and women is also assembled. At a local Baptist church, home-cooked meals are prepared and cookies are processed for delivery to the prison. Runners deliver the meals and supplies periodically to the prison. Many inmates haven’t had a homecooked meal in years and appreciate the hot food, cookies and abundant snacks. “Table servants” serve meals and attend to the needs of inmates and team members—living proof of God’s unconditional love.

Getting acquainted On Thursday evening, participants are teamed up with a “sponsor.” They sit together munching cookies and answering questions about their hometown and leisure interests. Inmates are often nervous and wary, not knowing what to expect. At 7:45 a.m. Friday, table assignments are made. I am the table/family leader of the “Family of Luke” with Duane, a Presbyterian as assistant, and Anthony, a non-denominational pastor as our clergy. Between talks, we banter back and forth, getting to know one another. Some inmates matter-offactly reveal their sordid past. Others—who we’re told later may be sexual offenders—smile, but reveal little. To my right is “Allen,” who joined a gang on the streets of Chicago at the age of 4, shot a cop at 12 and is serving time for murder of a rival gang

member. He hints he was involved in other killings but was never implicated. He confesses that he has only one childhood friend left alive; he and the friend survived because they have been incarcerated. Next to Allen sits “Charles,” a short white guy with a beard and shaved head. Charles grew up in a normal family, went to church every Sunday but got into the wrong crowd, dealing and using drugs. Charles is the intellectual at this table, friendly and talkative. To my left is “Kenneth,” a white man in his 40s from a broken home, whose alcoholic father was violent and whose mother often disappeared. After running away from home at age 9, Kenneth became a drug dealer. By age 12, his pockets bulging with cash, he started trying the drugs he’d been selling. At age 13, while under the influence of drugs, he stuck a gun in someone’s face and robbed him. Kenneth is on his third prison term.

volunteered, we listen. Transformation by the Holy Spirit is evident: Though we began by shaking hands with strangers, by the end of the second day participants embrace us as they start to “get it.” By Saturday evening, many participants weep with joy and proclaim Christ as Lord.

Holy Spirit at work Even veteran team members are speechless as the Holy Spirit works in overdrive. We are overcome with emotion as hugs, tears and “high fives” become commonplace. The participants have “the glow,” an inmate term that describes a Kairos participant’s unexplainable demeanor. Yet there is a spiritual battle going on as well. Every day we are in the prison, there is a “Code Four” (an act of violence)—more Code Fours in three days than in all of this year. Six inmates were taken to the hospital on Thursday alone.

‘Though we began by shaking hands with strangers; by the end, participants embrace us as they start to “get it.”‘ Next to Kenneth sits “Raul,” a native of Haiti, brought up in extreme poverty yet smart enough to be granted a full scholarship to the University of Miami. He became envious of a fellow student who seemed to have everything; Raul didn’t know it was all purchased with drug-dealing cash. Raul decided to also become a drug dealer, and was nabbed on a drug run to North Carolina. He was worried about his family in Haiti following the earthquake. He’d not heard from them and hadn’t had a visitor in his 10-year stay behind bars. He wept uncontrollably at the table, knowing that we love and care enough to obey Matthew 25:36: “I was in prison and you visited me.” Across the table is “Mark,” a handsome young man who shot and killed his unfaithful wife and then attempted suicide. A month ago, his stomach had healed enough that he could go off a colostomy bag. Mark later decided to give Jesus a try, since his Wiccan tradition has done nothing for him. Next to Mark is “Stanley,” a young black man whom we suspect is a sexual offender. Stanley says little about his history and we don’t ask. The motto of Kairos is “Listen, listen, love, love.” We never inquire about an inmate’s criminal history or sentence, but if information is

Sunday morning begins with one of our inmate helpers having his throat slit with a box cutter wielded by a jealous inmate while making his way from the cellblock to the gym for our sessions. He is airlifted to a trauma center where he is stitched up. “Terry” survives, but the entire prison goes on lock-down. The chaplain is sure our event will be cancelled. We form a prayer circle, begging God for a miracle. Two minutes later the administration allows our event to continue, a testimony to the value placed on Kairos. Our event ends Sunday afternoon with the closing ceremony attended by our outside team and Kairos community friends. Participants are encouraged to step to the microphone and tell of their experience. Tears flow as Jesus is praised and lives are transformed before our very eyes. There’s not a dry eye in the place. We serve an awesome God who forgives even the most heinous of acts and restores dignity and peace to the most hardened of criminals. We look forward to seeing our new brothers at an upcoming reunion visit, confident that God’s mercy reigns. Mr. Brown is a men’s ministry specialist and president of the Marion District United Methodist Men. He lives in Spruce Pine, N.C.

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UNITED METHODIST NEWS SERVICE FILE PHOTOS BY MIKE DUBOSE

ABOVE: Curious children watch a demonstration of water purification treatments by UMCOR and partner agencies in Gressier, Haiti. LEFT: Displaced families make temporary homes at the College Methodiste de Freres compound, weeks after the Jan. 12 quake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

COMMITMENT TO HAITI

Volunteer teams aid in quake recovery B Y L I N DA B L O O M United Methodist News Service

The Rev. Tom Vencuss was in a good mood as he stood on the porch of the Methodist Guest House in Port-au-Prince the afternoon of Jan. 12. He and his wife, the Rev. Wendy Vencuss, had just returned from a meeting of United Methodist mission partners and representatives of the Methodist Church of Haiti. “The general feeling was just so upbeat at four o’clock on that Tuesday,” he recalled. “We were to sign a covenant agreement the next day . . . to pledge ourselves to work together.” Shortly afterward, a massive earthquake struck Haiti. Mr. Vencuss, who is also a medic, spent the rest of the day attending to the wounded and rounding up people to take shelter at the guesthouse. Now, nearly six months later, Mr. Vencuss is fulfilling the earlier pledge. He has taken a leave of absence from his duties at Wethersfield (Conn.) United Methodist Church—where he and his wife are co-pastors—and is leading teams to work cooperatively with Haitians on earthquake recovery. The guesthouse is still sheltering those afraid to return to their homes—the large outdoor basketball court is filled with tents. But it also has become a staging ground for teams being dispersed to different parts of Haiti. Volunteer-In-Mission teams are part of the United Methodist Church’s multi-faceted approach to assist Haitians in earthquake recovery. A three-person volunteer staff—the Rev. Mike Willis of Vestal, N.Y., and Doug Nagel of Baton Rouge, La., in Haiti, and Susan J. Meister of

Galesburg, Ill.—is coordinating their involvement.

Leading the way The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), in partnership with Haitian Methodists, has been leading the denomination’s efforts. By June 30, United Methodists had raised more than $40 million for Haiti. Priorities for the Haiti Response Plan were refined during a three-day June workshop involving more than 25 leaders of the Methodist Church of Haiti and representatives from UMCOR, the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, United Church of Canada and Methodist Church of Great Britain. United Methodist congregations have been sending work teams to Haiti for more than two decades. What makes the earthquake recovery project unusual, said Gregory Forrester, mission coordinator for the denomination’s Northeastern Jurisdiction, is that teams will be rotated through project sites designated by the Methodist Church of Haiti and many Haitians are being hired to support the work teams. When Mr. Forrester, who has visited Haiti annually over the past 15 years, returned in February with two other jurisdictional coordinators, they found that supplies were available, “but no one could buy them.” To address the lack of a functioning economy in Haiti, the proposal for volunteer teams— adopted by UMCOR directors in April—recommended, at minimum, a two-to-one ratio of hired Haitians to team members for a work site. When Mr. Forrester brought a team for a May 10-17 work experience, he said, 40 people were

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on the payroll. “We bought all our food local,” he said. “We hired for laundry. We had people providing security for us. We actually fed all the laborers who were on the job site with us and hired cooks as well.”

Near the epicenter His team went to Mellier, a village three miles from the earthquake’s epicenter, where the rebuilding effort will include a school, church and homes. Haitian church members had distributed food rations from UMCOR in the village a couple of weeks after the earthquake. “Everybody in that community was affected,” Mr. Forrester said. “Every single house damaged. There were no jobs; there was no infrastructure left.” Sandy Binotto, a member of First Romney (W.Va.) United Methodist Church, was a member of Mr. Forrester’s team. “You stop and wonder if you are really making a difference when the task is so large,” she wrote afterward. “In your heart you say, ‘Yes’ because one kind smile, handshake or song makes it all worthwhile. “If we all join together to lift one block of fallen concrete or cut one piece of twisted rebar, then yes, in time, it will get done. We must not give up. New structures will rise from rubble.” Clearing rubble is one of the current tasks for volunteer teams, said Melissa Crutchfield, the UMCOR executive in charge of international disasters. Temporary structures are being built for churches and schools. “Right now, the only thing you can use is a tent or temporary structure,

which should last a couple of years. They are pretty solid structures,” she said. “But the government is trying to be very deliberate about building codes moving forward. They don’t want permanent structures built until they can develop earthquake proof, hurricane proof, top-ofline engineering feats.”

Commitment to Haiti Tom and Wendy Vencuss began working in Haiti eight years ago and helped re-establish the New York Conference task force on Haiti, now called Mountains of Hope for Haiti. The program’s focus is in Furcy, where a medical clinic was built and partnerships established with the local church and school. When Mr. Vencuss returned there in March, he found minor earthquake damage, except for one building, but learned that many survivors had come to the clinic for medical attention. He and a team left July 1 for a nine-day mission to make repairs in Furcy and hold two clinic days with doctors organized by the Methodist Church of Haiti. New York area teams also will work in other parts of Haiti, based on where the need is, over the coming months. “The New York Conference has committed to one team a month,” he said. “The middle of July, we’ve got another group going down. I’ll be going down with teams in August and September.” And despite the underlying sadness and pain that has followed the earthquake, Mr. Vencuss is upbeat once again. “The Haitian people are just incredibly resilient and resourceful,” he said. Volunteers interested in scheduling a trip to Haiti can contact Susan Meister by e-mail at haitivolunteers@yahoo.com.


Volunteers booking for 2012 teams

ABOVE: Children attend school under a tarp at the Carrefour Methodist church in Haiti. LEFT: A volunteer team of United Methodists, led by Greg Forrester (top left), and a Haitian interpreter worked May 10-17 in Mellier, Haiti. UNITED METHODIST NEWS SERVICE PHOTOS BY JIM JONES

How to help: Donations to support the work in Haiti can be made online at www.umcorhaiti.org or by checks payable to UMCOR and mailed to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Please indicate Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325, on the memo line.

UNITED METHODIST NEWS SERVICE FILE PHOTOS BY MIKE DUBOSE

LEFT: A girl plays between rows of makeshift homes at a temporary camp in the soccer stadium at Leogane, Haiti. RIGHT: Dr. Troy Silvernale, a United Methodist from Grand Rapids, Mich., moves through a makeshift camp earlier this year at the Collège Méthodiste de Frères compound in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

So many United Methodist Volunteer In Mission teams are signing up for work in Haiti that a request already has been made for 2012. Through its Haiti Response Plan, the church is now rotating teams into the country to assist with earthquake recovery. “I’ve got weeks that are too full,” said Susan Meister, the U.S.based coordinator. “The response has just been tremendous.” Space remains for additional teams this year. So far, 107 teams, including ecumenical teams, have been scheduled for 2010. In April, directors of the United Methodist Committee on Relief approved a $565,000 grant to support the pilot phase of a volunteer team project sponsored with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. The next month, jurisdictional coordinators for United Methodist Volunteers In Mission led three work teams to Haiti composed of people who would eventually lead their own teams. Ms. Meister is coordinating with the Rev. Mike Willis, the volunteer management coordinator based at the Methodist Guest House in Port-auPrince. Leaders of the teams have Volunteers In Mission training, along with previous experience in Haiti, Ms. Meister said. No children under the age of 16 are allowed on the teams and youth ages 16 or 17 must be accompanied by a parent. “The teams that have come back say it’s physically exhausting and emotionally grueling,” she said. Most teams will spend seven to nine days in Haiti. The size of each team is limited to 10 people, who must all arrive and depart at the same time. Teams typically arrive in Haiti on a Monday, stay at the guesthouse overnight, are driven to a remote work location for a few days, return for an overnight at the guesthouse and fly home the next day. Besides paying their own expenses, teams contribute $3,500 each, to which matching funds are added and sent to Haiti to pay for workers and supplies. “One of the major goals of this grant was to employ Haitians at a ratio of 2 to 1,” she said. “We take that very seriously.” Ms. Meister said it’s not easy: Volunteers will witness a high level of hunger and poverty, face language and transportation issues, endure oppressive heat and manage with a lack of infrastructure. Some team placements are available for the rest of 2010. January and February of 2011 are closed; 31 teams are scheduled with several more pending. Twenty-five teams await confirmation through July 2011. For information, visit www.umvimhaiti.org. —Linda Bloom, United Methodist News Service

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6B FAITH forum

Praying for and with our college campuses BY ASHLEE ALLEY AND CREIGHTON ALEX ANDER Special Contributors

More than 17 million American students head to college and university campuses each fall. Millions more around the world will join them. These students are being shaped into the next generation of teachers, accountants, parents, doctors, CEOs, journalists and ministers, among others. Shouldn’t it be our prayer that as they become these people, they are being shaped by Christ? We invite you to join us this fall as we pray for the next generation of Christian leaders heading off to college and university campuses. Starting Aug. 23, we are calling the Church to prayer for our college campuses for 40 days. We have a twofold purpose: to call the Church to pray for college students and to help college students learn to pray. The “40” comes Ashlee Alley from Isaiah 40 to “prepare the way of the Lord.” This chapter of Scripture is one where we see God calling his people to hope from despair, to understanding from futility and to strength from weariness. This is our prayer for the generation of college students who populate campuses around the world—that they would come to trust in the one true God and be strengthened to run the race before them. The prayers have been written by campus ministers, college students, bishops, authors, pastors and other leaders. Collectively, they express a heart for God to Creighton inspire, challenge Alexander and transform the lives of college campuses and individual students. As you pray the prayers offered by these fellow Christians, may you see how God is calling you to minister to those future Christian leaders who may not yet profess the name of Christ. As we seek to call forth prayer from the Church, we’re following the words of Psalm 71:24, proclaiming God’s righteousness all day long and offering three opportunities for prayer: morning, noon and evening prayers.

The morning prayers are written by pastors and leaders who support the work of campus ministry; the noon prayers come from campus ministers who have often prayed these prayers on their own; the evening prayers come from college students themselves, revealing the passion they have for ministering to others in their generation. People can participate in several ways: • Daily e-mails provide the prayer for the day in the morning, at noon and in the evening; • A downloadable prayer guide to pray by yourself or to share with your family, church or prayer group; • Twitter reminders (follow us @CollegeUnion) that give a link to the prayers online; • Text messages that give you a link to the prayers online. Sign up by texting “pray40” to 41411; standard textmessaging rates apply. • Check in regularly at www.Pray 40.com and help spread the word.

‘Shouldn’t it be our prayer that they are being shaped by Christ?’ Those who minister to college students, including campus ministers and Wesley Foundation directors, will be encouraged to connect by: • Joining the prayer effort themselves and inviting their students, board members and partnering churches to do the same; • Signing up for a 24-hour period of continuous prayer within their ministry; • Teaching about prayer in their ministries this fall or using recorded teachings on prayer that we are providing free; • Considering signing up to have students pray as a part of the Living Prayer Center, a ministry of The Upper Room. The prayer effort is a partnership between College Union, The Upper Room, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Foundation for Evangelism and United Methodist Communications. Ms. Alley, campus minister at Southwestern College, and Mr. Alexander, director of campus ministry for the Missouri Conference, are Pray 40 coordinators.

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GEN-X RISING

Sheep and shepherds in ministry B Y A N D R E W C. T H O M P S O N UMR Columnist

One warm autumn evening a few years ago, my phone rang. I had been lying on the couch, half-dozing while a Red Sox game played on the television. I looked at the display of the incoming call. It was my district superintendent—in early September. Now I was serving my first pastoral appointment, but I knew enough to realize that a D.S. calling in September probably meant trouble. The conversation that followed confirmed the worst of what flashed through my mind: An associate pastor’s position had opened up unexpectedly, and the bishop had tapped me to fill it. He had considered letting the position lie vacant until annual conference the following year, but it was a large church and the senior pastor was already overloaded. As a campus minister, I could be moved without creating the “domino effect” so familiar to Methodist clergy who get caught up in mid-year moves. All of a sudden, the itineracy became very real for me. I left a campus ministry appointment where I was finally building Andrew momentum after Thompson three years and where I had many friends, and moved to a town and a church where I knew practically no one. I gotta be honest. It was tough at first. But it was also what I accepted when I entered a Methodist ministry. That experience helped me begin to think about what it really means for those of us called to be Christ’s shepherds to give the whole of our lives to ministry in the church. It helped me think about what it means to live a life that is not my own.

Contentious system As I see it, the itinerant system is seen as contentious for two reasons: one practical and one cultural. The practical bone of contention has to do with fear and mistrust on the part of pastors; namely that they and their families will get caught up in the gears of a bureaucratic machine, and be sent to a ministry setting not because it fits their gifts and graces but because an episcopal cabinet is trying to fill slots.

I see that as a real challenge, for bishops and their superintendents as well as for elders under appointment. And I also don’t see any magic pill we can swallow to make it disappear. Clergy need to continually remind themselves that they are yokefellows in the gospel with every other member of their annual conference as well as with their bishop. Bishops and cabinets should look upon the fear of their pastors with understanding, realizing that an ecclesiastical polity led by human beings (even ones guided by the Holy Spirit) is liable to error, and some preachers have been on the receiving end of those errors. We all need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, recognizing that we have been fitted together as stones in the same spiritual house that Christ is building. A recent reading of the 1588 speech given by Queen Elizabeth I before the struggle against the Spanish Armada reminded me that strong leadership depends on those being led having the sense that their leaders stand with them rather than simply over them. Bishops and superintendents have the opportunity to address and model the connectional nature of our covenant together. The connection in Wesley’s day was, after all, rooted in the common fellowship of the preachers. The second contentious aspect of itineracy is cultural. Our culture teaches that we should be self-made, constructing our lives according to our own felt desires. We live in a world that tells us to “Have It Your Way,” which is modernity’s motto—as well as Burger King’s! It’s wrong, of course. Those of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death (Romans 6). The lives we live now are possible only in his resurrected life. And the stories we inhabit are, finally, his story. But modernity’s false promises haunt us. And the reason many of us fear being sent as Jesus sends his disciples is that we’ve bought into the myth that the life we live should be of our own choosing. For those who follow Jesus, I simply don’t think that can ever be the case.

Guaranteed appointment There’s a lot of anxiety among Methodist clergy over possible changes to the so-called “guaranteed appointment.” For the record, I think the guaran-

teed appointment is a bad idea with no biblical or Wesleyan basis. I know why it was instituted, and the good intentions with which that happened. But like so many lamentable parts of our Book of Discipline, it attempts to make a rule out of something that depends on character and virtue. That “something” is our covenant relationships in the annual conference. And while character-building takes longer than rule-making, it is by far the more worthwhile activity. Trees that produce no fruit are useless. And shepherds who cannot do the work of shepherding should not be entrusted with sheep. These convictions seem as necessary to the vitality of the church as anything I know related to leadership. But fruits can and must be judged in different ways, depending on the setting in ministry. A church in the inner city, a church in a small rural town, and a church in a thriving suburb all call for different approaches – both in ministry and in the evaluation of it. Were bishops to reassure us of that, it might allay some of the anxiety we see. Even so, those who continually say they “don’t trust the system” might ask themselves why on earth they’d want to be a part of a system they fundamentally distrust in the first place. In the end, the debate over the guaranteed appointment is symptomatic of our wider struggle with itineracy. That makes me hesitant to consider it apart from core Christian virtues of patience, trust, repentance and love. We have several layers of shepherds and sheep in the UMC, and we need to realize that at every level, flocks maintain health and grow only when they realize that they’re all in it together. And yes, it is a quality of such flocks that the shepherds are competent for the tasks they’ve been given. By the way, that mid-year appointment turned out very well. The appointment was made with a serious consideration of the church’s needs and my gifts for ministry. And I experienced the Holy Spirit at the very center of the whole process. I took that as a sign of providence. And I continue to think that God has got work for the People called Methodists to do. The Rev. Thompson is an elder in the Arkansas Conference. He maintains a blog at www.genxrising.com.


FAITH forum 7B WESLEYAN WISDOM

Methodism’s ‘order’ exists to serve the church B Y D O NA L D W. H AY N E S UMR Columnist

To paraphrase an insightful turn of phrase from Russell Richey, professor of church history at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in his book Methodist Connectionalism: Historical Perspectives (United Methodist General Board of Higher Education, 2009), “Over its machinery, Methodism has both gloried and agonized.” Tom Frank, professor of religious leadership and administration at Candler, in his book Polity, Practice, and the Mission of The United Methodist Church (Abingdon, 2006), writes: “Wesley argued that no specific church order was prescribed in the New Testament and that Anglican order was only for the well-being (beneesse) of the church, not of its essence (esse). For Wesley, Donald polity grew out of mission and the Haynes focus was to remain on the reformed and holy life, not on ecclesiastical quibbles.” Sadly, from its earliest days, Methodism has allowed ecclesiastical quibbles to become the priority at every level, from the local charge to the General Conference. In a recent column, I called for a new paradigm of polity, which I think is in keeping with Wesley’s letter to John Smith in 1746. “What is the end of ecclesiastical order?” he wrote. “Is it not to bring souls from the power of Satan to God and to build them up in his fear and love? Order, then is so far valuable as it answers these ends; and if it answers them not, it is nothing worth.” Scholars note that Francis Asbury had more to do with instructing American Methodism’s polity than did John Wesley. We owe much of who we are to Asbury’s organizational genius, yet certain aspects of his authoritarian, almost despotic style of leadership either allowed or failed to prevent some sad schisms. It was Asbury who defied Wesley in allowing the term “bishop” to be used rather than Wesley’s preferred “general superintendent.” It was Asbury who insisted on English in Methodist worship, forcing his dear friend Philip Otterbein to go a separate way to minister to Germanspeaking Methodists. It was Asbury who, on the one hand, ordained Richard Allen, but in

so doing systematized racism. He also felt that for the sake of evangelism in the South, slavery had to be tolerated for the time being. It was Asbury who refused to allow an appeal of one’s appointment, prompting James O’Kelly to walk out of the 1792 General Conference and take one-seventh of Methodist membership with him. It was Asbury who refused to allow the election of presiding elders by their peers. And it was Asbury whose style of episcopal authority was emulated by Bishop Joshua Soule and Bishop William McKendree when they suppressed all efforts at reform in the General Conferences of 1820 and 1824, causing the formation of the Methodist Protestant Church. The “reformers” had asked for lay representation at all conferences and election of presiding elders. The model of Bishop Asbury has survived all the seismic shifts of polity. Since 1939, the Methodist and United Methodist bishops have not had the power of the antecedent Methodist Episcopal churches, but the power of appointment, per se, lives on. The Episcopal and Lutheran Churches have bishops, but only the Methodist churches invest their bishops with the authority to appoint pastors. Has not the time come for us to retain the stature and respect for our episcopal leaders but move to a negotiated appointive process?

Looking forward Dr. Richey has an incisive statement at the end of his chapter on itinerancy: “Reformers often wish to turn back the clock and recover the vitalities of an earlier day. . . . More needful than hindsight is a compelling vision for the future. . . .History can inform, but cannot provide the vision.” From 1774-1794, the Minutes of the Methodist Conferences required that traveling preachers move every six months. Bishop Asbury was convinced he must “keep everything in motion.” The quarterly term evolved into annual terms, and by 1866, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South was the first to recommend a fouryear norm for pastoral tenure. But the fact remained, “Methodist preachers moved a lot.” The bottom line is that pastors are still sent and churches still have to accept whomever the bishop appoints. Today, the Book of Discipline is clear as to the limitation of the local Staff-Parish Relations Committee: “Consultation is not committee selec-

tion or call of a pastor. The role of the committee on pastor-parish relations is advisory.” The authority of the bishop is equally clear: “Clergy shall be appointed by the bishop who is empowered to make and fix all appointments in the episcopal area of which the annual conference is a part.” Our system hinders a sense of ownership on the part of both the “sent” pastor and the “receiving” charge. The eviscerated role of the local committee in moving an ineffective pastor leads to deep frustration and may be a significant factor in some of our losses to other denominations. Local church laity need a “place at the table.” Have we overstated the sanctity of our system? The late Bishop Nolan B. Harmon wrote, “It was the preaching of countless circuit riders, the testimony and work of innumerable class leaders, the evangelistic fervor of a growing church and the irresistible witness of men and women that they had been redeemed from sin and found life sweet and purposeful that made Methodism great. “It was in church on Sunday, in class meeting by candlelight, in the fervor of a camp meeting, in the work of exultant people singing—sometimes shouting—that Methodism found its best expression. Its organization has played indeed a great part in its success, but perhaps not as much as the constitutional historian sometimes thinks.”

Dr. Richey has unearthed the 1884 address of M.D.C. Crawford to the “Conference of Presiding Elders in New York City.” By then, Dr. Richey says, “Methodist was mainstreeted, managed, and mission minded.” It was big business, and its operational flow chart looked like it!

Spirit walled in Crawford concluded with this: “We have received from our fathers . . . a sacred trust which we are to study and guard and administer with intelligence and zeal. It will not answer to attempt to do over again the things they have done. We cannot bring back or repeat the past. The Church life of today must be distinctive of today. We must meet and grapple with the living problems of the present. But we shall triumph. God has not forsaken us. To him be all the glory.” Dr. Richey sadly notes that it is to 1884, the centennial year of Methodism in America, and not to 1968 that we should look for explanations for the inertia that led to failures in evangelism and mission, to leadership bent toward institutional management. As a result, he says, “there are 7 or 8 million United Methodists cooped up in these (institutional, corporately structured) walls who need and want out. In our congregations can be found effective, loyal, and committed leaders. Energy, vision, and dynamism abound. We have tired out our people with too much structure,

too much business, too much regulation. The Wesleyan spirit is walled in, but is very much alive.” As a beginning, let us be brave enough to trust a new paradigm: • More bishops so they can be less bureaucratic, more pastoral and have more ongoing dialogue with their parish lay leadership and their clergy; • Appointments following a negotiated, consultative process in which local church laity have a voice; • A “cabinet” of selected clergy and laity whom the bishop uses for advice in appointment-making (eliminating the expensive position of District Superintendent); • Local church contractual relationships with persons who have skills and training as needed for conflict management, church growth, etc.; • Appointments made at any time during the calendar year, and made for four years, not one; • Use of more local pastors, parttime and full-time; • The tearful, economically driven demise of the Equitable Salary Fund and guaranteed appointment. You may have heard the last seven words of the church as this: “We’ve never done it that way before.” I prefer the old proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Dr. Haynes is a retired member of the Western North Carolina Conference and current interim pastor of Kallam Grove Christian Church. E-mail: dhaynes11@triad.rr.com.

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8B FAITH focus ! STUDENTS Continued from page 1B

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esus. -

started calling it the Wesley Foundation because they thought the name might be more recognizable to other students,” he added. The same is true at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., another United Methodist-affiliated school that has a Wesley Foundation. Eight years ago, the Rev. Michael McCord, now director of campus ministry resources and training for the denomination’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, started the Wesley Foundation of Macon to serve three schools: Wesleyan College (an all-women’s college), Mercer College (a Baptist-affiliated school) and Macon State College (a predominantly commuter college). Wesleyan College already had a Wesleyan Christian Fellowship, and United Methodist students didn’t want to confuse anyone by naming their ministry Wesley Fellowship. To distinguish between the two ministries they created a Wesley Foundation. Bishop James C. Baker founded the first Wesley Foundation at the University of Illinois in 1913 as a place for worship, a school for religious education, a home away from home, a laboratory for training lay leaders in church activities, and a recruiting station for the ministry, including missionary work at home and abroad. The name Wesley Foundation honors John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and the first campus minister at Oxford University, and represents an open movement—an ecumenical movement available to all students. “The heart of campus ministry is to raise up leaders and to provide an opportunity for students to encounter Christ’s transformational power,” says Mr. McCord. “But how that looks and feels on a campus is very different from campus to campus.”

Similar ministries At Hendrix College, a United Methodist-affiliated school in Conway, Ark., students won’t find a Wesley

Foundation or any specific United Methodist campus ministry. While a Wesley Foundation represents the voice of United Methodist students on a secular campus, at a United Methodist institution, the school itself is the voice of the church, said the Rev. Wayne Clark, chaplain at Hendrix College. The programs that the chaplain’s office offers to nurture religious life on campus are similar to—if not more than—the things a Wesley Foundation does, he added. “Wesley Foundation is such a brand name,” said Mr. Clark. “We may not have the name, but we certainly have all the components that make up a Wesley Foundation.” Hendrix’s Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics and Calling and the chaplain’s office organize, fund and oversee retreats, worship services, mission trips, service projects and discussion groups that help shape students theologically. And while there is no specific United Methodist campus ministry at Hendrix, there is an active group of United Methodist students. The United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF) Leadership Scholars is a select group of about 50 students who provide significant leadership in local church, district and conference youth ministries of the United Methodist Church, and who demonstrate Christian leadership on the Hendrix campus. UMYF student teams visit United Methodist churches in Arkansas to lead Sunday worship, perform dramatic presentations, share Christian music and host special programs for children and youth.

Where’d they go? “There is a trend, I think, of many conferences realizing the need to be present on campuses, but that’s matched with the struggle of funding,” says Mr. McCord. “How do you birth those things in the budget crisis we have?” American University, another

COURTESY PHOTOS

Students gather for fellowship and fun at an ’80s skate party at Emory University’s Wesley Fellowship.

United Methodist-affiliated school in Washington, D.C., used to have both a university chaplain and a United Methodist chaplain on its payroll. The Rev. Mark Schaefer, campus minister, said there was no need for a Wesley Foundation because a United Methodist chaplain offered students a Wesleyan perspective. But in the late 1970s to early ’80s, budget cuts eliminated the United Methodist chaplain’s position at AU, leaving the campus ministry in the hands of the university chaplain and a pastoral intern from the neighboring Wesley Seminary. With the chaplain busy managing the university’s overall religious life and the intern only working parttime, the United Methodist ministry fell through the cracks. Dr. Schaefer speculates this trend was happening at other institutions as well. Some even began to question if denominational ministries on campus were necessary, since church-affiliated institutions had active university chaplains and neighboring churches, he said.

Ecumenical partnerships

Through the Wesley Foundation at Southern Methodist University, students learn to love God, love people and follow Jesus. AU G U S T 6 , 2 0 1 0 | U N I T E D M E T H O D I S T R E P O RT E R

At AU, however, Dr. Schaefer took matters into his own hands. As the pastoral intern in the chaplain’s office, he was concerned that there had not been a full-time United Methodist presence at AU for over 30 years. With the help and support of the university chaplain, he lobbied the BaltimoreWashington Conference. In 2002, the conference created a campus ministry at AU and appointed Dr. Schaefer to it. “We were basically able to shame the church into putting one [a UM ministry] here,” he said. “We argued that if we [the United Methodist Church] are paying for one in Mary-

land at a state school, why shouldn’t we have one at AU?” The Protestant campus ministry, headed by rotating part-time pastors, was renamed the United Methodist Protestant Community. Attendance at the full-time campus ministry has now doubled, and the leadership team has tripled in size. “I think we’ve also helped reassert the affiliation of the school,” Dr. Schaefer said. “I think far more students know AU is United Methodist, largely because of our presence and us reminding them every opportunity we could.” At Syracuse University in New York, the United Methodist campus ministry is wrapped into the Protestant Campus Ministry—an ecumenical organization that includes United Methodist, American Baptist, United

Church of Christ and Presbyterian affiliates. But most of its funding comes from the United Methodist Church, says the Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, the dean of Hendricks Chapel at the university. The Protestant Campus Ministry is the only United Methodist campus ministry in the state, she says. “A lot of times folks just think we are MYF [United Methodist Youth Fellowship] for college kids, and we are so very much more than that,” said Dr. Schaefer. “We are creating real, intentional community with these students and then handing them out to the broader church. Then it becomes the church’s responsibility to actually allow them to lead and serve.” mmccall@umr.org


August 2010 Edition of the Michigan Area Reporter  

This issue has it all. Kickball, lemonade stands, silver dollars and plenty of seeds that have sprouted in large and meaningful ways. Check...

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