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United Methodists Living T heir Faith J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y

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STRUGGLING 5TH A LETTER TO RECLAIM ROLE OF FROM WOMAN PROMOTING GOOD AT THE WELL TO MARTIN LUTHER GRADERS THRIVE KING JR. WELL WOMAN HEALTH


This Lent, Look at Your MESS Through the Eyes of CHRIST

Sometimes our lives are in such disarray we can’t envision a way through to redemption. But when we look at the mess through the eyes of Christ, we not only find redemption, we can clearly see spiritual restoration. In Restored, author Tom Berlin encourages us to reflect and meditate through our own brokenness, showing us that it is only when we focus on the cross as a place to surrender control that we can leave our mess and find true redemption.

This 6-week study uses Scripture, devotional tools, and the writings of Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, St. Augustine, John Wesley, Evelyn Underhill, and others, and is a perfect Lenten study for youth or adults.

Study Components: Book, Leader Guide, DVD, Youth Study Book, and Leader Kit

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Contents JANUARY

FEBRUARY

BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT 15 BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT CONNECT TO CREATE ABUNDANT LIFE

25 PATTERNING JESUS: GET AWAY AND REST

17 ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE: CLINIC OFFERS CARE FOR THE WHOLE PERSON

30 PRACTICING WHAT HE PREACHED: WESLEY AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

18 SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: NURTURING THE JOURNEY TOWARD GOD

31 ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE: SWEAT IS EVIDENCE OF BODY STEWARDSHIP

20 ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE: ALZHEIMER’S PROGRAM BOOSTS MORE THAN THE BRAIN

32 ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE: TEEN MOMS GET SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT

21 ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE: ARIZONA CHURCH HELPS FOSTER YOUTH TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD

33 ‘OUR PROMISE TO CHILDREN’ DRIVING ABUNDANT HEALTH FOCUS

28 CAMP: A GIFT FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

22 BREAKING THE TABOO: THE CHURCH AND MENTAL ILLNESS

35 ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE: FOOTBALL PROMOTES HEALTH AMONG KENYAN SLUM YOUTH

24 ABUNDANT HEALTH VIGNETTE: FAITH COMMUNITY NURSES MINISTER AT GRASSROOTS

36 CHURCHES CAN RECLAIM ROLE OF PROMOTING GOOD HEALTH

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Contents

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F E AT U R E S

D E PA RT M E N T S

38 From Woman at the Well to well woman

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After finding herself in the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well, Donna Rhodes experienced healing of her body, mind and spirit.

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Reflections

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It Worked for Us Patients with Parkinson’s dance; kayaking congregation; recycling saves money, trash; Sacred Spaces during Lent Grants for historic churches; new Discipline and Guidelines; ‘Ask the UMC;’ ‘Vital Conversations’ resuming

In his annual letter, Bishop Woodie W. White calls for work toward a beloved community that goes beyond a better America.

Advertising: Contact Fox Associates, Inc., Fox-Chicago, 116 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL 60654; 312-644-3888, 800-4400231, 800-440-0232; (Fax) 312-644-8718

13 ‘We asked ... ;’ ‘You said ... .’ What is your prayer as the New Year begins?

44 Church helps struggling 5th graders thrive

48 I am United Methodist

The Human Relations Day offering on Jan. 15 provides grants, like one helping a church leave a positive, life-saving impression on its community.

45 Three bishops re-elected in Philippines Bishops Pedro M. Torio Jr., Ciriaco J. Francisco and Rodolfo A. Juan will continue to lead the Philippines Central Conference.

Amanda Vogt finds same values in her church and scouting.

49 Technology Use of technology may sometimes contribute to decreased physical fitness – but it can also help boost it.

50 To Be United Methodist Much of Primitive Physick advice still makes sense.

The Upper Room, Abingdon Press and others have a variety of new resources to use during Lent to prepare for Easter. Ash Wednesday is March 1.

United Met hodists

Living Thei r Faith

J A N U A R Y/ F E B R U A R Y

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COVER: © Konstantin Sutyagin STOCK.ADOBE.COM

RECLAIM ROLE PROMOTING OF FROM WOMAN A LETTER TO HEALTH GOOD AT THE WELL TO MARTI STRUGGLING 5TH N LUTHER GRADE WELL WOMAN RS THRIVE KING JR.

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

Postmaster: Send address changes to Interpreter, P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320.

Change of Address: Send the mailing label with your new address and name of your church to Interpreter Subscriptions, P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320; call 888346-3862, or e-mail subscriptions@umcom.org. Allow six weeks for changes. Indicate if you hold any offices.

11 IdeaMart

42 A Letter to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Interpreter (ISSN 0020-9678 Periodical #9154) is published six times a year by United Methodist Communications, 810 12th Ave. S., P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320; 615-742-5107; www.interpretermagazine. org. Periodicals postage paid at Nashville, Tenn., and additional offices.

Subscription Questions: For individual subscriptions, duplicate/ missing issues, enrollment forms and subscription corrections, call 888-346-3862 or e-mail subscriptions@umcom.org.

Readers share thoughts.

Growing collection preserves complicated history and contributions of AfricanAmericans to early and contemporary Methodism in the United States.

46 Preparing for Lent

Publisher’s Page Achieving and experiencing good health underscores expectation of doing and becoming all we can.

40 African-American Methodist Heritage Center celebrates 15th anniversary

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United Methodist Communications, Inc. January/February 2017 Vol. 61, No. 1

United Methodist Interpreter

The publication of advertising in Interpreter does not constitute endorsement by Interpreter, United Methodist Communications or The United Methodist Church. Advertisers and their agencies assume liability for all content of advertisements printed or representations made therein. Reprints: Local churches, districts, annual conferences and other United Methodist-related entities may reprint, photocopy or create Web links to any materials from Interpreter, except items bearing a copyright notice. Please include “Reprinted from Interpreter Magazine, a publication of United Methodist Communications” and add the issue date on your copies. For more information, call 615-742-5107. Publisher | Dan Krause Editor | Kathy Noble Design | GUILDHOUSE Group Editorial Assistant | Polly House Contributing Editor | Julie Dwyer Multimedia Editor | Joey Butler Photographer | Mike DuBose Photo Researcher | Kathleen Barry Advertising Manager | Jane Massey Production Manager | Carlton Loney Subscription Fulfillment | 888-346-3862


The Publisher's Page

Abundant health, abundant living

Dan Krause

MIKE DUBOSE/UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS

Dear Friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you.

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reetings to you in this New Year! The above salutation was inspired by the verse found in the third Epistle of John, first chapter, second verse. These words from John may be of particular interest at this time of the year as we find ourselves surrounded by messages promoting wellness goals. Achieving and experiencing good health is a common theme every January as we look toward another year with expectation for doing and becoming all we can. Jesus himself was a proponent of enjoying a life well lived, and pointed to himself as the giver of this abundance. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came to give us life and that we may have it more abundantly. Another translation says “to live life to the fullest” (CEB). The theme of this issue of Interpreter is “Abundant Health – Body, Mind and Spirit.” Inside these pages, you’ll read how the people of The United Methodist Church are working to ensure that abundant health is available to all of God’s children. We offer articles covering the scope of the overarching abundant health and abundant living theme, including stories about spiritual growth through camps and retreats, exploring

the body, mind and spirit connection, seeking spiritual direction, candor about mental illness and details of the new 2017-2020 Abundant Health initiative as one of the denomination’s Four Areas of Focus. Since 2008, when the Four Areas of Focus were designated, The United Methodist Church has concentrated on developing Christian leaders, creating exciting, vibrant ministry in new and existing congregations, and engaging in ministry with our neighbors, as well as improving health globally. Imagine No Malaria, which has been an extraordinary initiative of the people of The United Methodist Church to eliminate malaria deaths, is one example of the impact the church has made in the area of global health. Our Abundant Health initiative for the next four years builds on what we already have achieved through Imagine No Malaria, with a new goal of reaching 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020. As we grow in our faith together, we recognize through the Abundant Health campaign that we can share God’s grace to transform our communities and improve health for all. We seek wholeness for all persons mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. That’s part of

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

Jesus’ message of abundant life in the kingdom of God. Jesus’ message of abundant life has transformed lives through the generations. In 1747, John Wesley published a book that also espoused living life abundantly. Primitive Physick (www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/ John-Wesley-Sermons/TheWesleys-and-Their-Times/ Primitive-Physick) was written in response to Wesley’s belief that wellness should be available for all people and not just the wealthy, as he witnessed in 18th-century England. In addition to offering practical medical advice to those who could not afford medical care, the founder of Methodism also explored the relationship between physical health and spiritual health. The Rev. Beth Spencer Anderson, pastor at Courthouse Community United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, writes about Wesley’s wellness ideology in her blog post published at BustedHalo.com: “How we live is just as important as what we believe. Holiness is about wholeness and a holistic approach to life. At every moment, Wesley wanted believers to feel the presence of God in every part of their lives. He believed spiritual holiness calls us also to live into physical wholeness.

United Methodist Interpreter

Wesley wrote a well-publicized book entitled Primitive Physick where he gave advice and offered remedies for illnesses. A balanced diet, exercise and proper rest, with all things in their appropriate degree, were important to this holistic way of looking at health. In one letter Wesley shared, ‘Exercise, especially as the spring comes on, will be of greater service to your health than a hundred medicines.’” We are still weeks away from spring, which is when Wesley’s book advised we exercise, but perhaps there is a way to find time now to create spaces for connecting with your creator in search of wholeness. May we hold each other in prayer that, on this journey, we might live life to the fullest. Happy New Year! Dan Krause is general secretary of United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A., and publisher of Interpreter.


A Forum for Readers

Reflections United Methodists Living T heir Faith N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R

Grace removes shame Grace (Nov/Dec 2016), as fabulous as it is, becomes even more powerful when examined alongside its emotional opposite shame. As a psychologist and UMC clergy, I spend my days replacing shame with grace. People who feel painfully unworthy (or who have been told that they are unworthy) remain cutoff from loved ones and from God’s love. At church, we say that we “offer the means of grace,” but we also perpetuate far too much shame. People come to my office seeking healing after years of intolerance and sexual shaming. The moment they throw off shame, they begin to glimpse their beloved standing in the sight of God, and grace seeps into their souls. Let’s continue to tackle shame in our churches and foster these salvific moments. My book Shame-Less Lives; Grace-full Congregations (Alban Press), is a must-read for grace-seeking individuals and congregations. (The Rev.) Karen McClintock, First UMC, Ashland, Oregon

names – he was given both of them at birth. He was born into a family that was of both Jewish and Roman background. In the Bible, when he operated in a Jewish context (Acts 7:58-13:3) he was called by his Jewish name Saul. The first time in scripture his Roman name is revealed (not given as a new name) is when he first speaks while launching his ministry to the Gentiles on Cyprus (Acts 13:9). Therefore, the change in how he is named is not based on his transformation, but on the nature of his ministry. It is a small point in the grand scheme of things, but still accuracy is better than error. (The Rev.) Jim Proctor, Lyndonville (Vermont) UMC

VOTING: A PRAYERFUL ACT FOR ALL

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Name changed? In regards to the Publisher’s Page (Sept/Oct 2016), you state, “Paul’s transformation was so dramatic that, in his conversion, Jesus told him to change his name from Saul to Paul.” This common assertion is often well intended, but there is a much better explanation for why this man has two

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TIME OF SACRED WAITING

THE METHOD OF EARLY METHODISM

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FIVE CLUES FOR SUCCESSFULLY CHANGING WHILE GROWING

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Not called to judge I write you with love and concern for an authentic spirit of holiness in the membership within the body of Christ. Many United Methodist church members worldwide disagree about the question of sexual preferences and relationships (Nov/Dec 2016). Paul writes in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free nor is

there male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) To deny anyone full acceptance into the community of Christ because of sexual orientation is a sin, which exiles The United Methodist Church into a void of separation. Separation leads to sin and death. In contrast, God desires our unity with Christ Jesus through lives of love and considerateness. Christians cannot both judge and feel spiritually justified. Only God can judge. You can no longer continue to discriminate against others based on sexual orientation and preferences either inside or outside of the UMC community. When you deny someone because of sexual preference, you deny Christ Jesus. Our minds are a testimony to God’s ongoing creation infinite in its variability. Within those variations, Christ lives and calls us to care for one another. We are not called to judge but to serve Christ with faith, humility and reason. (The Rev.) James M. Case, Christ UMC, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania United Methodists Living T heir Faith S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R

WESLEY PILGRIMAGE INSPIRES TODAY'S LEADERS

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CAMPUS MINISTERS PROVIDE A CRITICAL LINK

8/23/16 10:14 AM

WE WANT Interpreter welcomes Letters to the Editor related to the content of the magazine or other issues of interest to MAIL United Methodists. Letters should generally be limited to 150 words and include the writer’s name, local church, city and state. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Send letters to interpreter@umcom.org or to Interpreter, P. O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202.

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Success Stories From Local Churches

It Worked for Us ‘Kayaking with Jeff’

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COURTESY JEFF ST. CLAIR

aime Lepp feels God’s presence when she goes kayaking with the pastor and others from her church and community.

St. Clair opens the group with prayer, scripture and a brief message and has conversations on the water with the kayakers. The church partners with a local business that charges it low fees to rent kayaks and paddles. “I knew there was a need to get out on the water,” St. Clair said, “but didn’t realize how popular this was going to become.” He added that some of the kayakers have never been to church and others have left the church. He is thrilled that he can lead church on the water.

for kayaking trips. After praying, he was led to start his own group. It was the same time he heard of the Fresh Expression movement to create new places for people – many of whom may be unchurched – to worship. That first outing saw 15 kayakers begin their adventure in the water. Currently, St. Clair has 35-70 people join him on Saturdays. Adults and children see fish, eagles and dolphins and experience sunsets, fresh air and much more. “Most importantly we have grown in faith and in community with each other,” said St. Clair.

Mandarin United Methodist Church | 11270 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32223 | 904-268-5549 | scurts@mumc.net | www.mumc.net | Rev. Deborah A. McLeod, senior pastor | Average attendance: 1,211 | Florida Conference

Dancing with Parkinson’s

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he Joy of Movement is a dance class for people with Parkinson’s disease. At Desert Spring United Methodist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, men and women who have the disease meet each Thursday at the church to dance. Pamela Lappen, a member of Desert Spring, teaches the group. Lappen began dance training for people with Parkinson’s in 2011 and helped develop and grow two other classes in California and Nevada. With

the encouragement of her pastor, the Rev. David Devereaux, she began the dance ministry at Desert Spring in May 2016. In class, the dancers start in a seated position and then stand to allow more movements. Lappen believes the dancers will improve their thinking as they build stamina, flexibility, postural stability, coordination, confidence and relationships with partners. One student said the class has been very helpful, and she loves the atmosphere where

COURTESY PAMELA LAPPEN

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The Rev. Jeff St. Clair (center) offers a short sermon during the weekly “Kayaking with Jeff” service sponsored by Mandarin United Methodist Church in Jacksonvillle, Florida.

“This is church for me,” said Lepp. She, church members and people from the community enjoy kayaking with the Rev. Jeffrey St. Clair, also known as “Pastor Jeff,” who serves Mandarin United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. “Here at Mandarin UMC, we want to develop a culture of meeting people where they already are because we know that they may never walk into our doors at church,” said St. Clair. “Kayaking with Jeff” began in January 2016 when St. Clair, an avid kayaker, was constantly put on waiting lists

“It Worked for Us” is written by Christine Kumar, a freelance writer and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference. Send story ideas to interpreter@umcom.org. Find more “It Worked for Us” at Interpreter OnLine, www.interpretermagazine.org.

A prayer of thanksgiving ends the Joy of Movement dance class for people with Parkinson’s disease at Desert Spring United Methodist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.

she can connect with others with the same disease, share

stories and encourage one another. She also appreciates Lappen’s dedication to the class. “The class is open to the community,” said Lappen. “Spouses and caregivers are also encouraged to participate.” As class ends, the men and women stand in a circle, hold hands, lift them up and give thanks to God. “Dance is the first and foremost stimulating mental activity that connects mind to body,” Lappen said. “The essence of dance is joy.”

Desert Spring United Methodist Church | 120 N. Pavilion Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV 891449 | 702-256-5933 | DesertSpringUMC@gmail.com | www.DesertSpringChurch.com | The Rev. David K. Devereaux, pastor | Average worship attendance: 753 | Desert Southwest Conference

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

United Methodist Interpreter


it worked for us

Recycle for a Reason

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hen her local Salvation Army store decided to close in 2012, Kay Abrams and her former pastor, the Rev. Carlo Rapanut, decided to make sure the people in Chugiak, Alaska, still had a place to donate items and purchase them for a low price. Abrams, a member of the United Methodist Church of Chugiak, said there was no place within 15 miles of the Eagle River community to donate or buy items. She put her skills to work to develop “Recycle for a Reason” (R4R). The church collects used

clothes, books, household wares, furniture, lawn and garden items, bikes, boats, tents, skis, sleds and much more to sell at its monthly Friday-Saturday R4R sale. Church members and community volunteers put up signs asking for donations and announcing the sale. They tirelessly sort and stack piles of adult and children’s clothes and inspect and organize household and other items. “We never imagined the expansion we have experienced,” said Abrams. “If we had, we would have been terrified and convinced it was beyond what our congregation

of 150-plus members could do.” The church also Sortiing the donations for each monthly Recycle gives away clothes for a Reason sale is a huge job requiring many and items to other volunteers. churches and outThe church uses some of reach ministries, to teachers the proceeds from the sales for and to other organizations. mission and national service Whatever is left goes to Big projects, donations to the Brothers and Big Sisters. United Methodist Committee “It is surprising what on Relief, scholarships and people will donate when they other projects. know it is going to be used by “We are simply the middle someone who needs it,” said men and women that make the Rev. Timothy McConit possible,” said Abrams. “As ville, pastor. “The amount a result, the kingdom of God not taken to the landfill will has taken root in our commuastound you, and the things nity and appreciation for one people re-use or re-purpose is another has grown.” unbelievable.”

COURTESY JAN AND DAVE WACHSMUTH

Success Stories From Local Churches

Chugiak United Methodist Church | 16430 Old Glenn Hwy., Chugiak, AK 99567 | 907-696-2353 | office@umcchugiak.org | www.umcchugiak.org | Rev. Timothy McConville, pastor | Average attendance: 126 | Alaska Conference 9

NORTHWEST LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE 2017 March 9 & 10

boise first united methodist

717 N. 11th St. boise, idaho 83702

With speakers Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, Rev. Duane Anders, Jason Moore, and Rev. Beth Estock

www.cathedraloftherockies.org United Methodist Interpreter

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017


it worked for us

Success Stories From Local Churches

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arrie and Robert (not their real names) wanted to explore more about prayer and God’s love during Holy Week. To make that happen, they entered Sacred Space. The couple and more than 75 other people experienced Sacred Space, hosted by Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church in its Family Life Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, during Holy Week 2016. As worshippers entered the dimly lit facility, they heard soft, meditative music

preparing them to experience God’s presence and peace. Inside were various stations for prayer utilizing labyrinths, icons, mandalas and sacred readings. The Rev. Dianne Lawhorn, pastor of spiritual formation at Mt. Tabor, said the church has hosted Sacred Space for the past 10 years. Over the years, it has expanded to include more stations like lectio divina (sacred reading) where the same scripture in many translations can be read repetitively to seek and understand what God is saying to

those who will listen. A station for centering prayer invites people to rest in God’s presence and move to commune with God. Each station incorporates guidelines for entering into that space. For example, people can learn more about icons, what it means to be centered in prayer and the practice of examen in which they review their day in the presence of God. There is also a table of mandalas where children and adults can color circular drawings for relaxation and spiritual cleansing.

COURTESY DIANNE LAWHORN

Enter Sacred Space during Holy Week

“It’s so important to have a sacred space to enjoy the presence of God and to sink more deeply into that presence during the week we remember the passion of Christ,” said Lawhorn. “I hope that people experience this space as an oasis in the midst of our busy and hectic pace to catch their breath as they enjoy the fruits of silence, solitude and stillness.”

Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church | 3543 Robinhood Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27106 | 336-765-5561 | office@mttaborumc.org | www.mttaborumc.org | The Rev. Mark Key, senior pastor | Average attendance: 675 | Western North Carolina Conference

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Winter 2017 issue

Reimagining Global Ministries In the next issue of New World Outlook… A look at the new location, ministries, and vision from the executive directors of Global Ministries n Grace United Methodist Church in Atlanta

Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

n The Center for Mission Innovation n UMCOR

n Global Health

n Global Mission Connections

n Missionaries

n Global Coaching and Strategic Initiatives

For tablets and smart phones, try accessing New World Outlook articles from www.newworldoutlook.org, optimized for easy reading.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! 4 issues for $16.00, online at http://newworldoutlook.org, or call 1-877-881-2385 • Digital edition for $10 a year

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

United Methodist Interpreter

THE MISSION MAGAZINE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

AN AWARD-WINNING MAGAZINE DEDICATED TO UNITED METHODISTS IN MISSION


Inspiration & Resources

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rinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is among 14 initial recipients of grants from the National Fund for Sacred Places to assist aging churches in need of repair and restoration. The initial group of grantees was announced on Nov. 2, 2016, at Chicago’s historic Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, another recipient. Churches may apply now for the next round of grants to be awarded in the fall of 2017. The Fund will provide up to $250,000 in capital grants for at least 50 individual congregations representing a diversity of faith communities over four years. The awards come from part of a $14 million fund announced by Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to assist aging churches. The Indiana-based Lilly Endowment Inc. launched the Fund with two grants totaling nearly $14 million. Through this initiative, $10 million will be disbursed for capital improvements, with the remainder used for planning, technical assistance, coaching and program oversight. Trinity Church will receive a planning grant to help advance its project, pro bono consulting services from the National Fund for Sacred

Places and participation in training on best practices for leading a capital campaign. The church will also be eligible to receive a capital improvement grant for up to $250,000 this year. There will be a non-competitive application process for the grants. “The needs at the church are large,” says the Rev. Ruth Marsh, Trinity pastor. The historic church hosts school and community events, religious and secular concerts and speaking engagements, in addition to a loyal congregation. “We need to completely replace our roof – not just little patch jobs – and much of the rest of the building is in need of renovation. There’s also stone work that is needed, and our building is one of the few remaining that was built out of rhyolite, a volcanic rock indigenous to this area.” The National Fund for Sacred Places is a collaboration that builds on Partners for Sacred Places’ decades of work helping churches use best stewardship practices with their historic facilities in order to strengthen, serve and celebrate with their communities for the common good. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is the nation’s leading preservation organization with more than 60 years of advocacy and grant making

United Methodist Interpreter

COURTESY TRINITY UMC

Program fund will help save America’s historic churches Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is among the initial recipients of a grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places.

to preserve America’s diverse history. “We are delighted to join in this partnership with Partners and the Lilly Endowment to help more sacred places thrive, now and well into the future,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Churches are often both

the oldest and most beautiful buildings in our communities. They are the rock that continues to sustain us as a people, bringing us together in service and worship.” Details about the application process, eligibility requirements and selection criteria are available at www. fundforsacredplaces.org.

‘Vital Conversations’ study guides available

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ense times call for vital conversations. At a time when society seems divided along lines of ideology, race, culture, and ethnicity, the new Vital Conversations Study Guide from the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) can help small groups in churches face fears, misunderstandings and tensions. The study guide, a companion book to the “Vital Conversations” Video Series 1 and 2, will help participants open up to discussion as they work together to heal and work toward spiritual, community and social transformation. “Vital Conversations 3” will debut in February featuring the voices of young adults.

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GCORR presents several video series. The “Vital Conversations on Realities of Race and Racism” video series features contemporary theologians, sociologists, laity, clergy and others dealing with challenges of race, culture and oppression in the church and world. The series aids “United Methodists and other Christians to have serious, challenging and in-depth conversations about racial and cultural divisions and the role of the church in helping bring about justice, reconciliation and understanding,” says Garlinda Burton, project coordinator. Order copies of the study guide at www.gcorr.org/ vital-conversations-order-form.

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Inspiration & Resources

‘Ask the UMC’ is new answer site

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o you ever have questions about The United Methodist Church? Answers to many church-related questions are on UMC.org, the denomination’s official website, under the “What We Believe” tab on the FAQ page. There you can find answers to questions regarding United Methodist beliefs, structure, service and resources. A new page, “Ask the UMC” (umc.org/what-webelieve/ask-the-umc), is now available on the FAQ page. It answers questions that are more general in nature, or as

Vicki Wallace says, “Topics that may be more interesting than the more commonly asked questions.” Wallace is director of InfoServ, the information service at United Methodist Communications. Wallace and her team personally answer questions that go to the UMC.org’s Resources InfoServ page (umc.org/ resources/infoserv). In 2016, they responded to more than 12,000 queries. The answers to many of the questions they receive are posted in the FAQ section, but some questions go

beyond the typical. “We wanted to post these questions where they would be available to a broader audience,” Wallace said. “’Ask the UMC’ was set up for that. You will find a diverse set of questions and answers.” Tim Tanton, executive director of Global Voices, News and Information for United Methodist Communications, said the roll out of the “Ask the UMC” page is in English only, but eventually the page will be tailored for the church’s other official language channels of Spanish, French and Korean, and possibly more. “We will look at the questions and answers and do some direct translations,” Tanton said. “But we will also be aware of cultural sensitivities to the translations. It’s possible that some of the questions we post may be unique to one of the languages other than English.” Questions currently posted include “Does The United Methodist Church have a position on Halloween?” “Does the church have an official Bible?” and “Do United Methodists believe in saints?” “We expect the ‘Ask the UMC’ site to continue to grow,” Tanton said. Polly House, editorial assistant, Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

Official resources ready to aid church leaders

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he official United Methodist resources for the 2017-2020 quadrennium are becoming available. Ready for pre-order now are The Book of Discipline 2016 and The Book of Resolutions 2016. Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation 2017-2020 can be ordered now. Scheduled for publication in January are The Book of Discipline in English, Korean and Spanish. All language editions are available as print and e-Books. The Book of Resolutions will be available in English in print and digital formats. All 26 Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation 2017-2020, one for each local church ministry area, are now updated and available as a boxed set or individually. Each booklet offers new and seasoned leaders, other volunteers and committee chairs practical advice regarding church organization, finances, outreach and more. All include charts, graphs and other tools for convenient reference. The Guidelines, published by Abingdon Press, are available in print, electronic downloadable files and as e-Books. The booklets cover church leadership areas such as pastor-parish relations and finance committees, as well as areas that focus on the nurture, outreach and witness of church members. The booklets will help new lay leaders

United Methodist Interpreter

make a good start and are a helpful reference for all lay leaders. Each booklet includes the basic “job description” for the leader as well as practical “how-to” information important to implementing ministry effectively. They are brief and to the point making them a helpful resource for the busy, but spirit-led leader. The complete set of 26 print booklets with online access to the full text comes in a slipcase making them easy to display and access. The texts are completely searchable and include links to the websites of the general agencies of The United Methodist Church. The forms are in Microsoft Word for easy adaptation. Purchasers also receive The Guide to the Guidelines and “The Guidelines Orientation Workshop” to train new leaders of your congregation’s committees and teams and help them understand and use the Guidelines for their work in a particular ministry area. Polly House


Readers respond

”We asked … you said …“ Several weeks prior to finishing each issue of Interpreter, we send a question to readers for whom we have email addresses asking them to respond with a short answer of 50-75 words. A select few are included here. Find many more responses at Interpreter Online, www.interpretermagazine.org.

WE ASKED:

“What is your prayer as the New Year begins?”

FOR THIS ISSUE, YOU SAID ...

My prayer for the New Year 2017 is that the loving presence of Jesus Christ will so permeate the entire United Methodist Church that we will see one another with the same eyes that our Lord sees each one of us; that this relationship will spread to the communities and world around us because we are making disciples who transform the world. Amen. The Rev. Frederick Ball, First UMC, Titusville, Florida God, by whatever name we call you, and even when we don’t know your name: Teach us new ways to have calm and rational conversations about the issues that divide us. Help us use the power and strength you have given us to do good and not evil, to choose love over fear, and unity over division. Help each of us make a positive difference in at least one person’s life each day. Amen. Nanci Bockelie, Christ UMC, Salt Lake City, Utah Jesus said, “Do not judge” and “Love one another.” We judge far too much and love far too little. My prayer is for a reversal, that God’s kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven. The Rev. James Bowden, Trinity UMC, Denton, Texas I pray that we might learn to live together in peace, celebrating our diversity while seeking our commonality as children of God, bathed in God’s grace and filled with God’s Spirit. David Bowman, Hamilton UMC, Neptune, New Jersey

I pray for the future of our country. The Lord has blessed us with much; may he continue to bless us with humility, inclusiveness, compassion, unconditional love and peace. Jorge Casablanca, Kennedale (Texas) UMC I pray that in this post-election year that we as a country turn our hearts toward our relationship with Christ and less toward our political affiliations. I pray that instead of letting our cross dangling from our necks proclaim our Christianity that our lives by our actions and responses let people know that Christ is king of our lives and that “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” is more than just a song we sing. Cynthia A. Defibaugh, LewistownTrinity UMC, Lakeview, Ohio I pray for a love of scripture to take hold of our congregation, our conference, and our country. I pray for an ignition of trust in God’s Word, as revealed through the Holy Spirit. I pray we would all pause in our opinions and pray for inspiration from the God we serve, rather than leaning so much on our own opinions and understanding. Give us humility as we dive into scripture together this year. Tommy Fitchett, First UMC, Hanover, Pennsylvania I pray that God manifests himself in using the Trump administration, those who seek to use Trump’s power, AND those who fear Trump’s rhetoric so that all can be turned to see God’s face. Ken Franklin, Vicksburg (Michigan) UMC

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God is faithful. God is still redeeming the world and asking us to participate. Pray for our country, for people of color, for undocumented workers and those dependent on governmental services and assistance. Pray for the losers and the winners. Pray for people of good will to reach out to their neighbors and friends that we may all together find a way forward. Pray that Christ’s character will also be in his people. Jose Griffin-Atil, Imperial Beach (California) UMC That we listen to and respect each other and that we share the love that God has for us ALL! Gary Hebert, Eastern Parkway UMC, Schenectady, New York Oh, Lord, you have taught us to love our enemies, but we haven’t learned. The message you have given us for them, a message that includes that every person is your child, has not been received, most likely because we haven’t learned it ourselves. We pray you will help us make this part of our lives. Amen James Langworthy, First UMC, Hyattsville, Maryland Ever since the election, the song or hymn, “Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin with Me” has been playing in my head. That’s my prayer, for a peaceful, moral, loving nation that inspires the rest of the world. Elaine Nance, Washington Street UMC, Petersburg, Virginia

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"We asked ..."

Readers respond

My prayer is that all actions and decisions may come from a place of love, justice and fairness. May there be welcoming of the Holy Spirit when we are visited and awareness of our neighbors and their needs no matter their ethnicity, economic status and politics. These are the things for which I pray. Janice Olmsted, North Mason UMC, Belfair, Washington My prayers as we begin a new year are for a peaceful transition in the presidency and here in North Dakota. May God be the center of all decisions made and not personal egos. I pray for peace and tolerance here and in the world. May God bless us all. Dennis Rehder, Faith UMC, Minot, North Dakota 14

Like many others I pray for peace, shalom. May nations beat their swords into plowshares; may the love taught and practiced by Jesus be practiced by people everywhere and may families be secure. William Saxman, Summerville (Pennsylvania) UMC I pray daily for patience and tolerance for ideas that are opposite my own. I believe that common sense can eventually counteract fear and the need for power. God has given us the power of compassion. May we use it well. Pat Stewart, St John’s UMC, Austin, Texas O God of new beginnings, you created us and are with us always. Breathe peace into all your people that we be your light in a troubled world. Waken all to your

presence that we be filled with your hope anew. In the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. George Volz, Carson (Iowa) UMC I pray for the ability to stay curious, keep my heart open and for our country to have some unity going forward. Kirsten Williams, Chevy Chase (Maryland) UMC My prayer is for our congregations to lead the unsaved to saving grace by our almighty God. We accomplish this with loving kindness to everyone and being good examples every day. Rick Wilson, Trinity UMC, Columbia, Kentucky


Watch or listen to the “Get Your Spirit in Shape” podcast in which spiritual director Whitney Simpson talks about finding holy places in our everyday lives.

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C O N N E C T T O C R E AT E AB U N DAN T L I F E JESUS SAID, “THE THIEF COMES ONLY TO STEAL AND KILL AND DESTROY. I CAME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT ABUNDANTLY.” JOHN 10:10 (NRSV)

Just as God is three in one – Creator, Christ, Holy Spirit – humans were created as three parts: body, mind and spirit. “May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NRSV). For optimal life — abundant life — the three parts that make humans human will all be in harmony.

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BODY

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“We can’t always just think ourselves back “Tools — the spiritual disciplines — help into happiness and positive thoughts. us to be open to God,” he said. “We’d never Dr. Ted Hill is a physician and a United “We all need to remember that the brain tell someone, ‘You don’t need to pray. You Methodist deacon. He is medical director of is a fragile human organ,” he said. “Somedon’t need to read scripture.’ These are Salvus Center, a faith-based health center serving working insured people and pastor of disciplines that all keep us open to encounter times the best step is to find someone who healing and wholeness at First United Meth- God. We do these to prepare ourselves to can help us when we need guidance to get respond to God.” back to the healthy and positive place. Being odist Church in Gallatin, Tennessee. in community with other people, doing your “We think of our lives as silos,” Hill said. best to live the life God intended for you “But the body, mind and spirit are interMIND and recognizing we are all tied together as connected, not The Rev. David McAllister-Wilson, humans are all part of living abundantly. separate.” president of Wesley Theological Seminary “I think sometimes we think about the Hill said as in Washington, D.C., believes the mind is mind, body and spirit as three things, but a physician, he capable of wondrous things. they are really all one,” he said. “It’s how looks at people “We are wired for curiosity and creativwe live integrated lives. The mind and body holistically. ity,” he said. “I believe God made us this way can’t be separated. And the spiritual aspect “The orthoso we can enjoy the fullness of his creation. brings everything together to make a person I believe he gave us the capacity to enjoy life dox point of view whole.” and have it abundantly, like Jesus said.” looks at the whole For McAllister-Wilson, abundant living McAllister-Wilson’s joy comes from person, the way brings joy to everyday things. many areas, and he sees God’s hand in God intends for “We have all these ‘aha’ moments that decisions that led to them: his wife, children us to be,” he said. make us realize why God gave us a mind and grandchildren who “Unfortunately, Dr. Ted Hill wired for curiosity,” he said, “and with constantly amaze him; that goes against the feeling of awe he gets that, the joy that comes from the ability to how we live. These three parts are not imagine and thus to create. When we use our when he sees the Egypcompartmentalized. God means for us to be whole. In terms of physical wellbeing, for tian pyramids and grasps minds this way, it begins and ends in wonder. We realize ‘the heavens are telling the glory me that means taking care of yourself.” the dramatic sweep of of God.’ That is the foundation of both humilWhen Hill was ordained 11 years ago, history. All these things clergy health was one of his emphases. are possible because ity and hope.” “When you look at the general populaof the mind’s ability to love and appreciate tion, two-thirds are considered overweight SPIRIT those things bigger than or obese,” he said. “But for clergy, the per“There is no doubt that Jesus Christ The Rev. David ourselves. came into the world to bring life — not just centage is even higher – about 80 percent!” McAllister-Wilson “These are good gifts adequate life — abundant life!” according It wasn’t always that way, he said.”It to be sure,” he said, “and all good gifts come to the Rev. Tom Albin, dean of The Upper used to be that clergy were some of the from God. Nevertheless, it is important to Room Chapel and ecumenical relations, a healthiest people because they lived a clean remember that just because God gives such part of Discipleship Ministries. “In fact, we and healthy lifestyle,” he said. “But now, good gifts, not all that is ‘bad’ comes from Christians believe that humankind, from the it’s too much fried chicken and not enough someone else. Some seemingly bad things beginning, was created by God to be a beauexercise.” happen because we’re human, and the bad is He said again, it’s the attitude of silos. tiful and blessed union of body, mind and “When we separate our lives into three sepa- just part of it.” spirit. With a healthy spirit, we enjoy and McAllister-Wilson acknowledged that express the fullness of God and the fullness rate categories, we forget there is a religious sometimes the mind can go to uncomfortable of joy for which we were created.” connection to taking care of our bodies.” places, even if someone is mentally healthy. He added that the opposite is also true. He calls health a spiritual issue. Good health “is about temple cleaning,” he said. “How much housework do we do to ON HEALTH AND WHOLENESS keep ourselves healthy? We are made to be The United Methodist Church’s statement of belief on health and wholeness says in part: “As disciples of active. We need to move! When we aren’t the One who came that we might have life and have it abundantly, our first and highest priority regarding health must be the promotion of the circumstances in which health thrives. A leading health expert moving, we get diseased.” encourages the study of health not from the perspective of what goes wrong, but of what goes right when “Disciplining our bodies is crucial,” he health is present. These ‘leading causes of life’ include coherence, connection, agency (action), blessing, continued. “Paul talks about this. The physand hope. Our lives are healthy when we are linked to a source of meaning, when we live in a web of ical part of who we are requires us to take relationships that sustain and nurture us, when we know we have the capacity to respond to the call God care of the body to be all God needs us to be.” has placed on our lives, when we contribute to the affirmation of another at a deep level, and when we lean into a future that is assured, in this life and forever.” Hill said self-discipline puts him in the position to be more able to receive or be open Excerpted from The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2012 (The United Methodist Publishing House), www.umc.org/what-we-believe/ to God. health-and-wholeness.

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Polly House is a freelance writer and editor, who is also serving as editorial assistant for Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

SPOTLIGHT•

Clinic offers care for whole person •

FOUNDED IN JUNE 1986, the E.C. Tyree Health & Dental Clinic first provided access to medical care for the working poor in the Wichita, Kansas area. Thirty years and thousands of patients later, this full-time community-based health and wellness ministry of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita serves 6,000 patients annually from its facilities on the lower level of the church. “The clinic uses an integrated model of care,” says CEO Schaunta James-Boyd. “Medical, dental, mental (health) and social services teams work collaboratively to address the whole person. Much of what we have built has been through word of mouth as well as establishing a good reputation for caring about our patients.” For many in the community — oftentimes entire families — the clinic serves as their medical and dental care provider. “Medical staff address acute and chronic health management.” JamesBoyd said. “Dental provides full-scale services including cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, dentures, crowns and mini-dental implants.” In addition, the clinic houses a behaviorist who works with the medical and dental staff to assist patients with depression or other mental health issues. A health insurance navigator helps patients enroll in insurance plans. “Our main focus is on prevention and providing hands-on skills and education

so patients can be more in charge of their health,” James-Boyd said. The clinic hosts many preventive education classes and health screenings for those in the community. The screenings can be lifesaving. James-Boyd noted several patients were diagnosed in the early stages of breast or prostate cancer. By focusing on prevention and encouraging wholeness, the clinic’s staff empowers people to care for themselves, families and others. Looking to the future, James-Boyd hopes to add partnerships offering optometry and alcohol and drug treatment services. “I want the clinic to offer a model of care where we teach upcoming clinical professionals best practices and how to work as an integrated team for our patients’ overall wellbeing.” The clinic appears to be well on its way to achieving those goals. A 15-yearold patient summed up her recent experience, “I have been to the dentist and seen the doctor here. I have never met people that genuinely care so much to help you financially, mentally and physically! They think with their minds and process through their hearts. The most important thing about this clinic is they will remember you!” Learn more about the work and ministries of the E. C. Tyree Health Clinic at www.tyreeclinic.com.

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Cindy Solomon is a marketing consultant and content writer living in Franklin, Tennessee.

The staff gathers outside the E. C. Tyree Health and Dental Clinic at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas. The 30-year-old ministry serves 6,000 patients annually.

COURTESY TYREE HEALTH AND DENTAL CLINIC

Without a healthy spirit, there is no fullness of joy, no abundance of life, no ability to fulfill our divine purpose in creation. “We were created in the image and likeness of God,” Albin said. “We know this through scripture, tradition, reason and experience. We know our beginning and our end is in God — it is good — and it is eternal. How do we know this? Because we know Jesus Christ.” Because God is love, and Jesus is the fullest The Rev. Tom Albin expression of love, finite human beings are capable of understanding love. “We know we are created to love,” he said. “In a real sense, love is both a fruit from the Spirit and a fruit of the Spirit. Everyone who is born of the Spirit loves, and without the Holy Spirit our ability to love is constricted and distorted.” According to scripture, God created every woman and man good with the desire and ability to love. “So, God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ... God saw everything that he had made and indeed, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:26-31, NRSV) God is spirit and so we human beings are spiritual beings. That is where modernism and pseudo-science fall short, Albin said. “We tend to deny the things we cannot measure, taste, touch, feel, smell or identify though our five senses,” he continued. “And as good as our five senses are, they are not enough to explain or sustain abundant life. That is why history is filled with accounts of people who had healthy bodies and good minds but could not be satisfied by money, sex and power. On the other hand, history is also full of stories of people who had infirm bodies and mental impairments who still enjoyed abundant, joyful, creative, fulfilling lives. How can this be? “God is love. God is spirit. God is joy. God is creative. God is giving. God is eternal.”


BY POLLY HOUSE

N U R T U R I N G T H E J O U R N E Y T OWAR D G O D The focus of spiritual direction is intimacy with God, not solving of clinically identified psychological problems. A spiritual director is not a therapist or counselor, but a mature Christian who helps The Rev. Cynthia Good the directee both to discern what the Holy Spirit is doing and saying and to act on that discernment, drawing nearer to God in Christ. Spiritual direction falls under the umbrella of spiritual formation, said the Rev. Cynthia Good, chair of the board of directors of Hearts on Fire, the Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders. An elder in the New England Conference, she serves in an extension ministry of spiritual direction and retreat leadership. The goal of Hearts on Fire is to provide formational leaders with opportunities for connection, networking, resourcing and support. They advocate and educate about the ministries of spiritual direction and retreat leadership at every level of The United Methodist Church.

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DEEP LISTENING

COURTESY PHOTO

The term “spiritual direction,” according to the Rev. Dwight Judy, draws from the rich legacy of ecumenical Christian tradition. It particularly focuses on the men and women of the 1st through 5th centuries who left their homes for monastic life in the desert. Other The Rev. Dwight Judy Christians saw them as individuals with particular wisdom and some informally sought out these abbas and ammas for advice. “One can readily see the 18th-century Methodist movement as a form of what we might today call small group spiritual direction or, in the language of their day, small group Christian conferencing,” Judy, professor emeritus of spiritual formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, added. COURTESY GARRETT-EVANGELICAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

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THE QUEST FOR SPIRITUAL DIRECTION IS AS OLD AS THE NEED OF SOJOURNERS STRUGGLING TO FIND SOMEONE TO WALK ALONGSIDE THEM.

United Methodist Interpreter

Good defines spiritual direction as deep listening to stories of the heart. “The core of the direction is listening,” she said. “The director’s role is to hear the directee’s story. One of my directees said, ‘You hold my story.’ I think part of what we do is we listen over time. We see the threads. Sometimes the directees don’t remember they have said the same things over and over. But we (directors) do.” Directors see their role as, metaphorically, occupying one of three chairs in the direction relationship: one each for the director, directee and God. Each speaks and each listens. Good pointed to the Hearts on Fire (www.fumsdrl.org) website as a place for those seeking a spiritual director. “There is a list of members and their particular specialties,” she said. “First, you can look and see if there is someone nearby. You can call someone and see if you feel a connection and if you might be a fit. We will all give you a sample of what we do and how we do it. You can discern when a director feels right and the director can discern if the directee is a good match. Try it for three months and then both of you reevaluate if the relationship is working. Does this person get you? If you realize it isn’t working, it probably isn’t that


Guiding the students helped her recognize her desire to go alongside others on a journey, to travel with them as they sought answers to questions about where they were in relationship to God and God’s path for them. “I have been a spiritual director for 14 years now,” she said, “and have worked with people from Millennials to their 80s. But regardless of the age, it’s more about listening than talking. It’s not a leading, but more of a walking beside. Paul writes in Galatians in The Message, ‘Thank you for coming alongside of me during this time.’ That’s what we do. We (spiritual directors) are privileged to come alongside someone who wants to see more deeply.” For the Rev. Im Jung, her own life-changing time of being with a spiritual

COURTESY THE UPPER ROOM

director also forged her path to becoming a spiritual director. Jung, regional coordinator for Program/International Ministries/Asia-Pacific with Upper Room Ministries and faculty member of The Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation, said, “Spiritual direction, to me, is a non-judgmental, yet comfortable place to be vulnerable. “During the 1980s and ‘90s and even the 2000s, spiritual direction wasn’t popular in United Methodist settings,” she said. “During that time I was searching for where I could go to share what was in my heart with someone who would listen. I was not seeking advice and counseling, but I needed to share with someone that something in me was not satisfied.” Jung wanted the kind of relationship she knew she would find with a spiritual director. “I wanted that type of companThe Rev. Im Jung ionship and relationship,” she said. “I went to the Center for Spirituality in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I was looking for a spiritual friend. I was a pastor; my husband was a pastor. My kids were in school and doing well, but there was a dryness in me. Even though I worked in church and ministered, I felt this desert.”

BEING AN ELIZABETH Part of Jung’s direction led her to look at Bible passages, specifically at those about Mary, the mother of Jesus. “She had a fear when the angel appeared and told her she would be pregnant,” Jung said. “She had to have been questioning ‘What can this mean?’ This was something in her that she could not share with anyone else. She went to Elizabeth. Elizabeth doesn’t say a lot in the Bible, but she hugged Mary and gave a listening ear and support. My spiritual director was just like Elizabeth to me. I read Mary’s story in a different way, and I

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© KRISTINENOEL – STOCK.ADOBE.COM

WALKING WITH OTHERS

COURTESY PHOTO

either of you is doing something wrong. You just need to find a better fit.” Dr. Christine McHenry, now a retired physician, began to sense God’s call to a different kind of ministry. She stepped out in faith, sought out a spiritual director and spent several years with her director discerning what God was calling her to do. “That process led me to the point of deciding to retire from medicine and go to seminary,” she said. She enrolled at United Theological Seminary and pursued a master of theology. After that, she became an ethics professor. One class Dr. Christine McHenry she taught to young seminarians was on medical ethics. “I grew up in a Christian home so I was a woman of faith,” she said. “I always had a sense that spirituality couldn’t be ignored in the medical field. I knew that to ignore that was to the detriment of the patient.” Given that, she knew many of the students had no background in medicine, but most of them would face ethical issues regarding health – their own or someone else’s.

just fell in love with Elizabeth. Because of my relationship with my spiritual director, I began to read the Bible with fresh eyes. I thought ‘What if God called me to be an Elizabeth?’” She said, “My spiritual director didn’t give me a prescription (‘Take two Tylenol and call me in the morning.’). He asked me questions. I thought about them. He said to call him when I had thought through them, maybe in one or two weeks, and then come back when I was ready. After this time with my spiritual director, I read the Bible differently. I went through the gospels and marked how Jesus related to us. More questions than answers. I read the New Testament over again. “Jesus always challenged people with questions. These questions helped me process who I am, where I am going and why I’m going there. My spiritual director was my provider – a place, a presence and a listening ear. Open-ended questions. We talked about what was in my life and God’s place in it. It changed my life.” 19


VIGNETTE•

Alzheimer’s program boosts more than the brain

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BY JULIE DWYER

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And that’s just one benefit of the Brain Fitness Club. Members also are building confidence and camaraderie during their four-hour classes twice a week. “The reason why our program exists is because people with dementia didn’t feel like they had any place to go” beyond adult daycare and support groups, said Peggy Bargmann, a registered nurse and director of the program. Seeing the need for services for individuals in the early stages of the disease, Bargmann, in collaboration with local aging professionals and First Church of Winter Park, launched a 10-week pilot program in 2007. The church provided startup funding and a space to hold classes. The idea was to offer a place where those with mild cognitive impairment and early dementia could gather for support and brain-healthy activities, such as games, puzzles, exercise and art. The strengths-based model was a success, and the church adopted the program as a full ministry in 2008. “This has been a wonderful match for our church, a wonderful blessing,” said the Rev. Gary Rideout, minister of congregational care. “We have a very organized health and wellness ministry here at this church ... part of our whole message is that we don’t just care for your spiritual needs, we care for your body, mind, soul and

COURTESY THE BRAIN FITNESS CLUB

FOR NEARLY 10 YEARS, PEOPLE WITH EARLY MEMORY LOSS FROM ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE OR OTHER FORMS OF DEMENTIA HAVE BEEN GATHERING AT FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IN WINTER PARK, FLORIDA, TO GIVE THEIR BRAINS A WORKOUT.

Brain Fitness Club members participate in activities such as pool, foosball and Wii games at First United Methodist Church in Winter Park, Florida.

strength, as the scripture says. We care for the whole person.” Bargmann said members tell her the best part of the club is being with other people who understand what they are going through. “People with Alzheimer’s disease live with Alzheimer’s disease — they live very active lives. And when they have an opportunity to be with other people that are experiencing what they’re experiencing and have a safe place where they can say, ‘Oops, I just forgot,’ and everybody else says, ‘Gosh, that happens to me, too,’ — that’s what they tell me is a value.” The Brain Fitness Club operates three 14-week semesters per year, led by staff, volunteers and students from the University of Central Florida and other area colleges. Two groups of 16 attend classes at Winter Park, and one group is at First

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United Methodist Church of Orlando, which began hosting the program in 2015. Plans are in progress to expand Brain Fitness Club in Florida, Bargmann said, and to form a nonprofit so that the program can be replicated in other states. Over the past decade, the curriculum has evolved based on feedback from members and their families and to keep up with new science and literature, she said. “We are really trying to balance our program in really looking at how do we stimulate the mind, how do we destress — so the meditation, the prayer, whatever we can add — and then the physical aspect.” She said it’s important that activities challenge members but not frustrate them. The goal is to boost self-esteem. Bargmann recalled one man showing up to class feeling dejected. His facial expressions and body language told her that he was having a bad day. He had been struggling with recognition and not being able to accomplish things he had done in the past. By the end of the day, she said, he was a different person. “He had a smile on his face, he high-fived with one of the staff members and said, ‘I’ve still got it.’ “It’s a pretty uplifting program to work for, because all of us who do it work hard, but we go home at the end of the day really feeling good that we’ve made a difference in the lives of these individuals.” Julie Dwyer is general church content editor with United Methodist Communications.


VIGNETTE•

Arizona church helps foster youth transition to adulthood

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BY CINDY SOLOMAN

COURTESY JANICE GRANDY

In 2014, members of North Scottsdale United Methodist Church in Arizona decided to address their challenges and created Trinity Opportunity Alliance (TOA). Grounded in social justice, economic opportunity and service, TOA provides business connections that create employment opportunities for foster youth in the area “TOA’s mission is to recruit, train and support businesses that offer young adults opportunities to transition from

Amber checks out her car donated by friends at North Scottsdale United Methodist Church. Reliable transportation is key to helping the young adults keep jobs that will support them.

COURTESY KIM SIMMONS

TRANSITIONING FOSTER YOUTH — THOSE WHO ARE AGING OUT OF FOSTER CARE PROGRAMS — FACE CHALLENGES WHEN IT COMES TO FINDING AND KEEPING MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT. WITH A LIMITED SUPPORT SYSTEM, LITTLE WORK EXPERIENCE AND POSSIBLE EDUCATIONAL DELAYS, THESE YOUNG PEOPLE OFTEN FACE UNEMPLOYMENT AND HOMELESSNESS.

foster care to meaningful employment,” said the Rev. Nancy Cushman, senior pastor at North Scottsdale UMC and TOA co-founder and board chair. “By providing these young adults with a pathway for sustainable income, they can move to a thriving adulthood.” A unique component of the program is the Employer Coach Curriculum. “Increasing employers’ knowledge of adolescent development and youth who have been in the foster care system improves their ability to work with young people,” said Janice Grandy, TOA co-founder and program director. “This results in a positive work experience for the young person and a productive employee for the employer.” Two offshoot ministries of TOA are car donations and launch packages. North Scottsdale Church members donate used cars to young adults to assure they Nathaniel reports for work obtained with the assistance have reliable of the Trinity Opportunity transportation. Alliance. The congregation’s Christmas Eve offerings fund launch packages – money is given to the young people to purchase clothes and shoes needed for job interviews. To date, TOA, business partners and agencies that serve transitioning foster youth have worked with about 100 young people. Their impact is changing lives. “I just started going to Glendale Community College this semester,” said one young participant. “I want to be a veterinarian and plan on attending the

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University of Arizona in Tucson. I just turned 18 and needed to get a job as soon as possible. I interviewed at Fry’s and got hired as a cashier at the store close to GCC. My job coach took me shopping to get the clothes I needed to start working. I got three white shirts, three slacks and a pair of shoes for work. I really appreciate the clothes.” Says another, “My career goal is to become an attorney and I am completing my GED. I will be 18 years old next spring. I was able to purchase interview clothing and work clothes with the grants received from AFFCF [a TOA partner agency]. First, my employment coach and I went shopping for interview clothing. I selected a dress and a skirt, top, matching blazer and two pairs of shoes. The next week, I wore the new dress and pumps for my informational interview with a prosecutor at the attorney general’s office. I went to her office in downtown Phoenix, met with other attorneys and then went with her to court to watch the cases she was covering that day. The attorney said I seemed so mature for my age. I still keep in touch with the attorney.” While TOA’s roots are with North Scottsdale UMC, program members are taking steps to become an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. “Thanks in part to generous grants including $355,000 from Los Arcos United Methodist Building Corporation,” Cushman said, “TOA hopes to expand its outreach by engaging additional employers, faith congregations and youth-serving agencies.” To learn more about Trinity Opportunity Alliance, visit www.toaaz.org. Cindy Solomon is a marketing consultant and content writer living in Franklin, Tennessee.

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BY TRICIA BROWN

THE CHURCH AND MENTAL ILLNESS It shouldn’t be hard. After all, churches are places of refuge. Church members are spiritual families. Still, it is more difficult than it seems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about a quarter of all American adults have a mental disorder, and almost half will develop at least one during their lifetime. Although some churches have managed to bring the needs of people living with mental illness to light, a great deal of stigma continues to be associated with mental health issues, especially among the religious community. Since about one in four people in the United States will suffer some sort of mental illness this year, at least one person sitting in your pew this week is probably among them. A statement regarding mental health ministries in The Book of Resolutions 2012 encourages churches to love, welcome and pray for all individuals, especially those who are suffering.

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HOW DO YOU TELL YOUR PASTOR NOT TO RUSH TO THE ER AGAIN, THAT YOUR MOTHER’S “LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESSES” ARE JUST AILMENTS SHE HAS IMAGINED? HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN TO THE YOUTH LEADER THAT YOUR DAUGHTER COMES HOME EVERY DAY AND MAKES HERSELF VOMIT BECAUSE SHE THINKS SHE IS FAT? HOW DO YOU SHARE WITH YOUR SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS THAT YOU DON’T HAVE MONEY FOR GROCERIES BECAUSE YOUR HUSBAND IS TOO DEPRESSED TO GET OUT OF BED? HOW DO YOU TELL YOUR PRAYER GROUP THAT YOUR TEENAGE SON TALKS TO HIMSELF OR THAT YOU STRUGGLE WITH THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE?

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Get the facts. Much of the misconception regarding mental illness begins with ignorance. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior.” While many people experience mental health issues, mental illness occurs when the symptoms cause frequent stress or begin interfering with the normal functions of everyday life. While the most common mental disorders are anxiety or depression-related, the spectrum is very wide and includes addictive personalities, eating disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder as well as many others. »» Ask a mental health professional to attend a leaders’ meeting and discuss how to understand mental illness and how to know when intervention is needed.

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»» Use the “Congregational Resource Guide” and “Creating Caring Congregations,” two of the resources produced by Mental Health Ministries, to educate church leaders on the importance of helping people with mental illness. »» Download and print infographics and fact sheets from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Post them in offices and in Sunday school classrooms throughout your church. »» Make sure that everyone knows when, where and how to get help. Post numbers for suicide helplines, support groups and local mental health organizations. See if mental health professionals in your church will take referrals. Recognize the symptoms. The consequences of untreated mental illness are devastating. However, the initial symptoms can be relatively unnoticeable to the average person. Although each mental disorder will have different characteristics, here are some general symptoms that can indicate a person needs help: »» Excessive emotional responses (extreme worry, sadness, anger) or extreme mood swings »» Confused thinking or an inability to concentrate »» Social withdrawal or the inability to relate to other people »» Changes or difficulties in sleeping or eating »» Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions, hallucinations, paranoia) »» Multiple physical ailments without a physical cause »» Inability to do daily tasks Obviously, the better you know someone, the more likely you are to recognize symptoms. However, it helps to know what you are looking for. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that “one in five children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness,” and approximately 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. This makes it very important for youth leaders and teachers to know and recognize these signs in children. Intervene when necessary. People with mental illness often do not

understand that they need help. Sometimes they do not want help, even when they recognize that a problem exists. Not everyone who has a mental illness needs your intervention, but some will. If you believe intervention is necessary, you may want to begin with the following steps: 1. Address your concerns with the individual in a private, loving, nonjudgmental way. 2. Provide practical information on where and how the person might obtain help. Offer to go with him or her to an appointment with a health-care professional. 3. If the person does not seem open to your intervention, cautiously consider talking with a family member, close friend or loved one about the situation. 4. Always remember that if you believe an individual is a danger to himself or herself or anyone else, you must call 9-1-1. Maintain confidentiality and compassion. Never share anything that has been told to you in confidence. Be discreet in how details are discussed in public situations, even among families and friends.

OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT Create an open dialogue. Don’t be afraid to use the term “mentally ill.” Talk openly about mental illness in classes and services. As you request prayer concerns, specifically ask, “Are there any mental illness issues that we need to pray about?” Make sure your congregation is not afraid to talk about mental illness. Support families and friends. Mental illness brings about a profound sense of loneliness, not just for the one who is ill, but also for family and friends. Children do not understand why their “eccentric” father picks them up from school in his bathrobe. Teenagers often get angry at their mother who lies on the couch for days. Friends are embarrassed by the one person in the group who says the most inappropriate things in the loudest possible voice at the most inopportune times. Parents struggle to deal with the child who is always acting out. Sometimes it is very hard for families to get help for those they

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love. These families and friends need the church’s love, help and support. Just as do families with physically ill members, they have many needs. »» They may benefit from having a meal or a food basket brought to them. »» They may need financial assistance when a breadwinner is out of work or when dealing with additional medical bills. »» They may need help with household tasks, transportation issues or childcare. »» They definitely need people to understand, to be their friends, to listen and to pray. Remember even caregivers need caring. Be especially sensitive to the needs of children. Find ways to support the siblings of those with special needs. In years past, people with mental illness were ostracized, alienated and even abused. Today, most people agree that mental illness is better understood and better treated. However, some of the contempt and cruelty of the past has been replaced with silence and indifference. The church can step up and make a difference, moving beyond the taboo and reaching out to people who suffer from mental illness. Tricia Brown is a freelance writer, editor and ghostwriter. This article originally appeared in MyCom, a monthly e-newsletter for church leaders from United Methodist Communications. Read more and subscribe at www. umcom.org/news/mycom-tips-newsletter.

TO LEARN MORE »» “Mental Health,” Social Principles, The Book of Discipline 2012, Para. 162X. »» Ministries in Mental Illness (adopted by General Conference 2012), The Book of Resolutions 2012, p. 408, (www.umc.org/what-we-believe/ ministries-in-mental-illness) »» Mental Health Ministries, http://www.mentalhealthministries.net »» National Alliance on Mental Illness, http://www.nami.org »» Support for caregivers, www.umcom.org/learn/ caring-for-the-caregiver-offer-relief-and-alternatives

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Faith community nurses minister at grassroots BY CINDY SOLOMON

These nurses focus on holistic care of the spirit and body, with an emphasis on health promotion and illness prevention within the context of a congregation. While many of these nurses are members of a church staff — some paid and some volunteer, some part time and others full time — all must be registered nurses licensed in their state of residence and follow the American Nurses Association and the Health Ministry Association’s “Scope and Standards of Faith Community Nursing Practice.” While they do not provide direct patient care, faith community nurses regularly coordinate and participate in health and wellness outreach programs, health screenings and community health fairs. They may also serve as health advisors to faith communities, visit church members at home or in the hospital, provide referrals to community resources and health

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Faith community nurse Carol Capra checks a guest’s blood pressure during the annual health fair at First United Methodist Church in Gilford, New Hampshire.

services, and manage church support groups. “The greatest benefit of [faith community] nursing is the ability of the nurse to provide spiritual care and nurturing during times of need,” said Dr. Olusimbo Ige, executive director of the Global Health Unit for the General Board of Kathy Smith Global Ministries. “Not every community has a hospital or medical facility, but every community has a church that can positively influence and educate congregations and communities regarding holistic health practices.” United Methodist faith community nurses now have the opportunity to earn certification in this specialized ministry. Certification is available to both clergy and laity with faith community nursing backgrounds. Kathy Smith, R.N., is the parish nurse for First United Methodist Church in Gilford, New Hampshire. In 2014 the church began a health ministry chaired by Smith. “The mission of our team is to serve humanity and spread God’s love by improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of those in our church and the community at large,” said Smith. “2014 was a year of planning and getting the health ministry program up and running.” And run it has. Blood pressure clinics are held on the last Sunday of each month. In addition to monitoring people’s blood pressure, Smith is able to ask other health or life questions. A visitation program for shut-ins and people in nursing homes and hospitals includes serving Communion. A member-to-member service program allows people to request and fulfill service-related needs. Church members may COURTESY KATHERINE SMITH

ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, MORE THAN 1,500 UNITED METHODIST FAITH COMMUNITY NURSES (ALSO KNOWN AS PARISH NURSES) ADDRESS HEALTHCARE ISSUES AT THE GRASSROOTS.

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also participate in a volunteer driver program, giving rides to congregants and community members needing transportation to doctor’s appointments. In Spring 2016, Smith coordinated a community health and wellness fair, which allowed church members to reach out to the community. A walking program, weekly prayer hour and health counseling are also part of First Church’s health ministry. “For the first time in my life I know this is where God wants me to be,” Smith said. “I know this deep down in my heart and soul. I feel at peace with my place in God’s kingdom here on earth.”

CERTIFICATION IN PARISH NURSING

United Methodist parish nurses can now earn certification in their specialized ministry. Deacons or elders who are also parish nurses can earn a certification developed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Discipleship Ministries and the General Board of Global Ministries. Nurses who are laity and who expect to remain lay people can pursue the Certified Lay Ministry parish nurse specialization through Discipleship Ministries. Other organizations offer certification in faith community or parish nursing. This certification is unique in that in entails education in United Methodist history, doctrine, polity, resources and mission. To learn more about certification in United Methodist parish nurse ministry for clergy, send an email to certification@gbhem.org. To learn more about certified lay ministry certification, send a message to laity@umcdiscipleship.org.


BY ERIK ALSGAARD

G E T AWAY AN D R E S T THE GOSPELS TELL IN SEVERAL PLACES OF JESUS GOING OFF BY HIMSELF TO PRAY. LUKE 5:16 TELLS THAT JESUS “WOULD WITHDRAW TO DESERTED PLACES FOR PRAYER.” THE FOOTNOTE TO THIS VERSE IN THE COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE STATES, “THIS IS HIS STANDARD PRACTICE.”

COURTESY MANIDOKAN

If Jesus, who is not only Lord and savior but also our model for ministry, could find time for rest, prayer, reflection and time apart, shouldn’t his followers do the same? That is why United Methodists are avid supporters of camping and retreat ministry. While the former may be more familiar to most – sending children and Jen Burch teens to church camp, the long-standing tradition of the camp meeting, so forth – retreat ministry may be something less familiar. In The United Methodist Church, however, hundreds of thousands of people of all ages attend a retreat center every year, according to Jen Burch, administrator for the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministry Association (UMCRM). Burch said there is no typical person or group that goes on a retreat, since every retreat setting is different.

GOING APART TO SACRED PLACES “Generally, our retreatants spend time in Bible study, topical studies, shared meals, nature trails and outdoor meditation,” she said. It is also common for people to spend time in corporate and individual prayer and singing, and conversations with others. UMCRM sites host retreats in which the focus ranges from environmental programs and outdoor education to confirmation retreats and Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis weekends. The centers work with churches of every size. They provide space to help groups organize mission trips, host religious study or choir retreats and serve hundreds of other purposes. One of the “7 Foundations” of United Methodist camp/retreat ministry, Burch said, is to provide sacred places apart. “We partner with health and respite organizations on events for people with disabilities and health challenges, including cardiac diseases, asthma, cancer and HIV/AIDS,” Burch said. “We partner with community organizations that serve urban youth, people living in poverty, and children in foster care or with an incarcerated parent.” The goal of any retreat is to remove or “unplug” the person from the usual

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routine to allow time to focus on God, themselves, others and the relationships between the three. “Biblically, the idea of going out in the desert to pray is certainly there,” said Melinda Trotti, interim director at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover, Massachusetts. “Part of the theology of retreat is that it’s going out in the ‘desert,’ disconnecting from technology, having times of silence, taking time to focus on one’s own spiritual journey.”

GROW IN MIND, SPIRIT Burch agrees, noting that retreatants grow in mind and spirit by creating and experiencing emotional safety, intentional community and trust with their groups, staff and fellow participants. “They share three meals a day, including the experience of table grace and breaking bread together in a family/community setting,” she said. Clergy come to retreat centers for times of personal reflection and growth, Trotti said. Often over-worked and burned out from giving themselves to others, it’s important for clergy to take care of themselves. Retreats help. “A retreat center like Rolling Ridge offers them an opportunity to be silent, to eat good healthy food prepared by someone else, to walk the labyrinth, go for a kayak on the lake, read, write or take a nap,” she said. The Rev. Kevin Witt, director of Camping and Retreat Ministries for Discipleship Ministries for the last 20 years, said

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retreat ministry is growing and has been growing for some time throughout the denomination. “We’re serving a lot more adults,” he said. “Many of our facilities have worked to upgrade to better serve retreat groups, including lodging that allows for privacy.” United Methodist camping and retreat ministries in the United States serve more than 1 million people a year, Witt said, but it can be hard to parse the numbers because not every camp is a retreat center and vice versa. Witt said United Methodist retreat centers are a good option because “we understand the spiritual formation aspect of a retreat. Having persons who are trained and called to lead and provide retreat services, you’ll get a setting that’s developed in spiritual formation.” Retreat ministry not only serves existing church members, but it’s also evangelistic, providing an open door for others who might not ever come to a church building, Witt added. “These are places that draw people in for congregational life,” he said.

BENEFIT TO PASTOR, CHURCH The Rev. Tim Woycik, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Chesaning, Michigan, has gone on an annual prayer retreat every year since 1984. He asks his congregation and others to submit written prayer requests for him to pray over. He then sends a note afterward saying he prayed for their concerns. “I have to make time for this,” he said, “because I get out of it that sense of peace and quiet that I need to do what I do here.” Woycik says his prayer retreats help both him and his congregation. “It helps me become a little more intimately aware of the needs of some of the people,” he said. “I tell them it’s confidential. The only person who is going to see the request is me. I send people their prayer request form back, so they have the original. I do keep track of the requests, though.” The benefit for the church is that it helps everyone realize the significance of prayer, Woycik said. “I’ll have people come to me later, saying, ‘Remember that

Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center Gracious Christian hospitality, lovely meeting spaces, homemade healthy meals, and spiritual formation programs for adults await you. Enjoy the historic estate, newly renovated Carriage House, wellness offerings, labyrinths, outdoor worship area, and walking trails. Rolling Ridge is a tranquil oasis open year round to host your day and overnight retreats and programs from 10 to 70 people. Nestled on the shores of Lake Cochichewick and only 25 miles from Boston, it is the ideal location for renewal of Body, Mind and Spirit. 660 Great Pond Road North Andover, MA 01845 www.rollingridge.org 978-682-8815

Beaver Creek Youth & Christian Retreat How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of a messenger who proclaims peace, who brings good news, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God rules!” ISAIAH 52:7 (CEB)

Situated at elevation 8500 feet in southern Colorado’s Rio Grande National Forest, Beaver Creek has been equipping messengers to proclaim God’s Word since the late 1940’s. Beginning as a youth camp, Beaver Creek still operates Christian camps and now welcomes guests for reunions, weddings, hobby and professional workshops, and more. The campus has an intriguing blend of primitive, rustic, and luxurious modern facilities. www.beavercreekcamp.org Phone (719) 873-5311 Cell (719) 588-7627 manager@wbeavercreekcamp.org

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DEEPENING CONNECTIONS Church groups also go on retreat, something the women at Arden United Methodist Church in Martinsburg, West Virginia, are going to do for the first time this January. “There is something incredibly powerful about having time away,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Sarah Schlieckert. “You can form and grow deeper connections between people on a weekend retreat than you can in months, maybe years of other church events.” This will be the first time the Arden women have gone on a retreat, but after having started the practice at a previous appointment, Schlieckert knew how effective this time could be. She will lead this first retreat, but hopes to establish a

committee to take over the planning and leading in the future. “Sharing your stories and hearing the stories of others are such important practices for disciples, but are especially important in a growing congregation like ours,” she said. “If we grow wide without also growing deep, we will lose who we Chris Schlieckert, director, meditates at one of the are.” Stations of the Cross at Manidokan Camp and Retreat At Arden, Schlieckert said, they have Center in Knoxville, Maryland. many young families with parents who are often do, involve a particular activity, feeling hurried and overwhelmed, but at such as a work project or having time for the same time are looking for opportuniattending or watching a sports event.” ties to connect for fellowship and support. So why go on a retreat? “We are blessed with a growing “For people to come away for a brief multi-generational congregation,” she added, “so even though we recently started time,” Trotti said, “with the intention of physical rest and spiritual renewal allows a moms’ group, we wanted to have an them to go back to their homes, churches opportunity to pull women of all ages and families with renewed energy and together.” purpose.” Trotti’s experience is that women are more likely to go on retreat than men are. The Rev. Erik Alsgaard is an elder and “Women tend to be more comfortable editor of Connection, the newspaper of the in a setting with personal sharing,” she Baltimore-Washington Conference. said. “Men often connect around a project or activity. Retreats for men could, and UMCRM

prayer request I sent you? Here’s what’s happened now.’ I get to see what God has been doing in their lives. I’ve always found that it makes a significant difference for the church and for me.”

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N A M IS S IO

SION A MIS

JO U R N EY

JOURNEY

BO A HAND VO L U N T OK FOR EERS

y/Missions

A

B O O K H A N D

VOLUNTEERS

A MISSION JOURNEY The official guide for YOUR mission journey

F O R

This UMVIM handbook is for team leaders, team members, and others who will get involved in short-term mission volunteer journeys. It encourages short-term mission volunteers to reflect on the reasons why they engage in mission and how they prepare to be more intentional about relationships with those they encounter on their journeys.

A Mission Journey is available from the Upper Room Bookstore in paperback for $17 or in e-book format for $9.99. http://bookstore.upperroom.org • 800-972-0433 Upper Room provides discounts for bulk orders. Call for more details.


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BY TIFFANY HOLLUMS

A GIFT FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

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It’s that amazing time when a child is away from home, sometimes for the first time, for a whole week and unplugged from our hyper society. Ask any adult who went to camp as a child or teenager and you will likely hear stories and memories of how at camp they experienced their faith in ways they never imagined possible. There is something about being “away from it all” that seems to open hearts and lives to the movement of the Spirit in ways that are difficult to describe, yet impossible to forget. Children and youth with special needs also benefit from these amazing and life-changing camp opportunities. Camp can be daunting and scary for children and youth with special needs and their parents, but there are people throughout The United Methodist Church who have a special calling to make sure all children and youth are able to experience camp. Camps serving children and youth from specific populations offer a meaningful and safe experience for those with special needs, whether it be autism, a physical need or poverty. These camps not only bless the campers, but those who serve at them. The thought of sending a child with

COURTESY MICHELLE HIATT

DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU WENT TO SUMMER CAMP? YEARS LATER, YOU HEAR A SONG, AND IT BRINGS BACK MEMORIES OF CAMPFIRES, MARSHMALLOWS AND SHARING THE LOVE OF JESUS.

Mix campers and water and fun is the result. That’s no exception for the campers with special needs and their friends at the Sacramento Camp and Conference Center (Sacramento Methodist Assembly) in the New Mexico Conference.

special needs to a summer camp can be frightening for parents. Yet, as children and their parents who have experienced a special needs camp will attest, these experiences can be watershed moments in the life of the child.

‘WILL YOU LOVE ME?’ Michelle Hiatt has a son with special needs. She praised Sacramento Methodist Assembly in New Mexico for being a place where her son felt safe. “He trusts that the adults involved are looking after his physical and emotional well-being,” Hiatt said. “Safety and trust are key needs for children with special needs. He was able to go to camp and be himself.”

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For some children, accommodating their needs means they can share songs in sign language or traverse a ropes courses with a wheelchair. For others, it might mean their small group counselors love to talk about Minecraft. Or possibly, they find friends they feel safe talking with while hiking a trail. Those with special needs might look or act differently, but at heart, simply want to know, “Will you love me?” Hiatt stressed the importance of parents of children or youth with special needs being upfront with the camp about their child’s issues, abilities and limitations. For some children, this can be as simple as locating a “safe place” they can go in the camp or designating a “safe person” they can see if they


Who’s teaching who to hula hoop? Roles sometimes reverse in fun ways at New Day Camp.

OFFERING A NEW DAY Among the camps serving children whose special needs may be hidden in most settings is the New Day Camp in the Oklahoma Conference. A ministry of the conference’s Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries, New Day Camp began in 1995 and for the last 21 years has ministered to children and youth with one or both of their parents incarcerated. The Rev. Steve Byrd, a recently retired elder in Oklahoma, directed the camp for 20 years. He said most New Day campers “come from financially and socially high risk environments. Many of them are being raised either by grandparents or family members” other than parents. While New Day began as a ministry to children from Angel Tree families, it now serves 100-125 campers each summer. New Day receives referrals from local

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churches, schoolteachers and counselors, the Department of Human Services and Angel Tree ministry. Byrd said New Day Camp “works because all campers are scholarshipped, and we furnish everything for them at

and from camp. Amazingly, for 25 years, no apportionment dollars have been used to fund the camp.” Volunteers and licensed counselors staff New Day. They come to help minister to children and youth who often times come heavily medicated and struggling with the difficulties of having an incarcerated parent. Many of the campers begin in the elementary age camp and continue to come year after year, receiving stability and spiritual nourishing during this pivotal time in their lives. Eight years ago, camp leadership began to wonder how they could keep the campers who “age out” involved. They began the Leadership-in-Training

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COURTESY OKLAHOMA CONFERENCE

The Rev. Tiffany Hollums is student minister at Bee Creek United Methodist Church in Spicewood, Texas. She is a deacon and a member of the New Mexico Conference. Smiles abound when campers who share the circumstance of having one or both parents incarcerated come to New Day Camp in Oklahoma.

A small group of campers joins in prayer during New Day Camp in Oklahoma.

program, which enables campers who have aged out to come back the next summer as leaders in training to work with campers in the younger camp. Eight adults who now volunteer at New Day camp began as campers. The New Day website (www. okumcministries.org/cjamm/new_day_ camp.htm) says, “These children are the forgotten victims of crime, and we help them experience a New Day.” Other camps throughout The United Methodist Church bring new days to children and youth with special needs from many different backgrounds. These camps and volunteers realize children and youth with special needs offer something special – the truth that feeling loved and included is a gift to be shared and treasured.

camp. When they arrive, beds are made, and everything they need for the week is furnished. We offer a clothing store where campers who come without much of anything are able to get the whole week’s worth of camp clothing. Local churches donate supplies to the camp. It is set up like a small department store. Local church volunteers transport campers to

become apprehensive. Accessibility for those with physical needs is also key.

Team work is the key to navigating the ropes course at New Day Camp.

The United Methodist Church offers many camps for children and teenagers with special needs. The United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries website (http://umcrm.camp) has a list of camps offered in various annual conferences.

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BY JOE IOVINO

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The curators display Wesley’s house as it may have looked when he lived there. Furniture owned and used by John Wesley is there. Other pieces belonged to Charles Wesley, John’s hymn-writing brother. Still others are careful reproductions. In the dining room is an odd-looking chair. It is quite tall, looking as if the manufacturer stacked several cushions on top of one another. One of the docents, dressed in period costume, noticed me looking at this piece of furniture and told me it was an exercise chair. She pressed down on the top cushion several times to show me the spring action. I later learned that this “chair” was actually a reproduction of a chamber hourse, a piece of exercise equipment from the 1700s. Sitting in the chair, one would bounce up and down, mimicking the activity of riding a horse — similar to the way we use stationary bicycles and treadmills today. During his winters in London, Wesley used the chamber hourse to help him stay in shape for his grueling riding schedule the rest of the year. He traveled long distances on horseback well into his 80s, overseeing the Methodist movement. The dining room may seem like an odd place for a piece of exercise equipment,

USED WITH PERMISSION OF THE TRUSTEES OF WESLEY’S CHAPEL, CITY ROAD

DURING THE FINAL DAYS OF THE WESLEY PILGRIMAGE IN ENGLAND IN JULY, PILGRIMS TRAVELED TO LONDON TO VISIT WESLEY’S CHAPEL. THE CHAPEL CAMPUS INCLUDES A MUSEUM OF METHODISM, JOHN WESLEY’S TOMB AND JOHN WESLEY’S WINTER HOME FOR THE FINAL 12 YEARS OF HIS LIFE.

USED WITH PERMISSION OF THE TRUSTEES OF WESLEY’S CHAPEL, CITY ROAD

WESLEY AND PHYSICAL HEALTH but historians are certain that this is where Wesley kept the chair. He said so in a letter to his niece, Sarah Wesley, dated Aug. 18, 1790, when Wesley was 87: [Y]ou should be sure to take as much exercise every day as you can bear. I wish you would John Wesley offered 40 ailments This a reproduction of the chamber hourse desire George Whitfor which electrical current could that John Wesley used in the winter. It was field [a Methodist provide some relief. an 18th-century version of today’s treadmill preacher] to send or stationary bicycle. you the champreachers and meetinghouses were known ber-hourse out of my dining-room, which as dispensers of remedies for illnesses, you should use half an hour at least daily. especially for those who could not afford Wesley often advised friends to exerto see a doctor. Primitive Physick was their cise to keep them well. primary reference. In the study is another object I could Wesley understood that physical and not identify. The mechanical looking device made of wood, glass and metal is an spiritual health were intimately con18th-century electrical machine. Cranking nected. In a letter dated Oct. 26, 1778, Wesley offers this telling advice to his the handle creates low-level electric current many believed had healing properties. friend, Alexander Knox. “Alleck ... it will be a double blessing if you give yourself up to In his book, Primitive Physick, or the Great Physician, that he may heal soul an Easy and Natural Method of Curing and body together. And unquestionably Most Diseases, Wesley lists more than this is his design. He wants to give you ... 40 ailments for which he prescribes both inward and outward health.” electrifying. At worst, it couldn’t hurt, Wesley taught that God cares for the Wesley writes, “unless the shock were health of our minds and bodies as well as immoderately strong.” our souls. The United Methodist Church Primitive Physick, Wesley’s bestselling continues in that tradition today. book during his lifetime, also included natural remedies for asthma, baldness (onions and honey), earaches, bee stings, UMC.org writer Joe Iovino and photographer kidney stones, vertigo and much more. He Kathleen Barry were part of a July 2016 Wesley also includes tips on maintaining wellness pilgrimage in England. The 2017 tour will be July through exercise, a healthy diet and 10-20. Deadline to apply for scholarships is Jan. adequate sleep. 15. Learn more at http://umcdiscipleship.org/ Under Wesley’s leadership, Methodist wesleypilgrimage.

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Sweat is evidence of body stewardship BY CINDY SOLOMON

SHOW UP AT CARSON (IOWA) UNITED METHODIST CHURCH AND YOU MIGHT JUST LEAVE A LITTLE SWEATIER THAN WHEN YOU ARRIVED. THAT’S BECAUSE OF THE PASSION AND ENERGY THAT THE REV. BRODY TUBAUGH AND HIS WIFE, MADDIE, BRING TO CARSON’S PHYSICAL FITNESS MINISTRY.

COURTESY BRODY TUBAUGH

of this allows us to better care for others and share the love of Christ in new places.” The Tubaughs keep fit together. “We use it as a time to build our relationship,” he said. When they begin ministry at the Carson church, he said, “People were always asking us for tips so we told them to show up and we would exercise together. The group workouts are fun, but the best part is the short Bible study at the end. “It’s a great feeling to finish a workout; to follow that with the good news of Jesus Christ is perfect. Jesus’ sacrifice – pouring out of himself – for us hits the heart in an amazing way when the sweat is rolling and your legs are shaky. It is easier to allow God to calm your heart and take control when we realize our bodies have limits.” The relationships built are also important. Members share a love for God, family and the quest to care for their bodies. “We’ve learned to accept each other as we are,” Tubaugh said. “That is how we do ministry; the best we can with the power of the Holy Spirit we have been Members go through their workout at Carson United Methodist given.” Church in Iowa. The emphasis on physical fitness has drawn A small but growing church new members to the congregation. that received a One Matters Award from Discipleship Ministries in “Physical fitness means much more June 2016, Carson’s members care more to us than what we see or don’t see in the about people than their carpet getting mirror,” Tubaugh said. “Being physically active is our way of being stewards of what dotted with sweat drops. The attention to fitness has helped cue church members God has given us so that we can better into the pain in the community. Tubaugh serve God in the world. Workouts leave us noted, “It is much easier to show compaswith more energy, healthier bodies, better sion to someone who is in physical pain sleep and less time spent at the doctor. All

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when you are thankful for the movement you can do. When we pay attention to our physical health, it seems easier to keep our spiritual disciplines in practice.” Church member Frank Olmstead knows firsthand the transforming effect of Carson’s exercise ministry. “I decided I needed a life change, both physically and spiritually. Pastor Brody announced that we were starting a Fit for Lent small group consisting of a daily scripture, 30 minutes of exercise and a daily devotional lesson. I wasn’t the most active Christian, and I didn’t own a Bible, but I took it seriously. I Googled the scripture on my phone and then fumbled around the gym for 30 minutes. It was amazing how much the scripture jumped out at me as I sat there in the gym; the words stuck in my mind more.” During that 40-day journey, Olmstead lost weight while becoming stronger in faith. “I felt closer to my Lord. I imagined him being as exhausted as I was at times. I realized his path wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I then realized that my path to physical and spiritual change wasn’t going to be easy, but it was also worth it.” Since the Lent experience, Olmstead has lost 65 pounds and went from 28 percent body fat to 12 percent. Tubaugh believes Carson’s fitnessrelated programs are replicable in many churches and encourages others to start fitness small groups. To learn more, contact him at brody.tubaugh@iaumc.net.

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Teen moms get support, encouragement BY POLLY HOUSE

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First United Methodist Church in Lafayette, Indiana, is reaching out to these teen moms through a ministry called Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). Neil McTavish coordinates the group, which has been meeting and giving support to young mothers for 11 years. They have about 15 teens and 25 children involved in the program, along with 15 volunteers. “One of the most important things we offer these girls is hope,” McTavish said. “Many of them come from homes with little or no support, and we offer love and friendship in a positive, supportive family of faith environment.” The teen moms’ lives are filled with a lot of negatives, he said. “One of the biggest is bad influences around them. Another big one is addiction, not so much the girls as the people surrounding them. Most don’t have a high school education. Some don’t have a driver’s license. They feel trapped.” Besides hope, love and support, the Teen MOPS program teaches the mothers life skills such as career planning, parenting and money management and offers spiritual messages on love and commitment. “We offer aptitude tests to help them see what their interests and gifts are,” McTavish said. “We want them to understand there are options available to them besides minimum wage jobs. We want them to know they can get training and education that will lead to jobs where

COURTESY NEIL MCTAVISH

BEING A MOM TO A PRESCHOOLER IS HARD. IT IS ESPECIALLY HARD FOR A TEENAGER WHO IS STILL TRYING TO GROW UP HERSELF.

The Teen MOPS enjoyed a day at the zoo last summer. First United Methodist Church in Lafayette, Indiana, hosts the weekly gathering of teen moms, their children and church volunteer mentors.

they can support themselves and their children.” Teen MOPS isn’t all about meeting inside First UMC’s building. “We do some fun field trips with the girls and their kids, too,” McTavish said. “We do a field trip to the zoo in the summer, and another time we take them all to the Children’s Museum. They are fun outings for all of us.” The church’s involvement with Teen MOPS goes beyond just hosting the program. “The church offers scholarships for the girls to finance job training,” McTavish said. “Our church members have been very generous. At Christmas, we do a ‘Christmas is Not Your Birthday’ fundraiser. It’s based on the book by (the Rev.) Mike Slaughter (pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio). Two years ago, the church chose Teen MOPS as the recipient of the funds. They gave $12,000 to our scholarship fund. We will be the recipients again this year. The scholarships make school possible for our girls.

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Some of our girls have enrolled in CNA (certified nursing assistant) training and have gone to work.” The mothers and the volunteers invest significant time in the program. The group meets each Wednesday evening, with one week a month off during the summer and two weeks off during the Christmas holidays. Involvement in the program positively affects the volunteers as well as the moms. “We have mentors assigned to the girls,” McTavish said. “The mentors work very closely with the girls and become friends. They all learn from each other. It’s extremely rewarding.” About 100 Teen MOPS groups meet in the United States and Canada, providing a faith-based, supportive, non-judgmental environment where teen mothers can come together for support and encouragement. Teen MOPS teaching, activities and friendships all focus on the very distinct needs of teenagers. Teen MOPS helps participants become more self-sufficient, confident, mature, giving and self-aware young women.


BY EMILY SNELL

DRIVING ABUNDANT HEALTH FOCUS FOLLOWING THE SUCCESS OF IMAGINE NO MALARIA, GLOBAL MINISTRIES IS INVITING UNITED METHODISTS AND THEIR CONGREGATIONS TO UNITE ONCE AGAIN AROUND A NEW HEALTH FOCUS, ABUNDANT HEALTH: OUR PROMISE TO CHILDREN.

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REACH 1 MILLION CHILDREN That central focus came in the form of emphasizing children, specifically to reach 1 million children with lifesaving and health-promoting measures by 2020. “Health and children’s wellbeing is a priority in every culture, every place, everywhere. There is no culture where children are not important,” Ige said. “In the world of public health, we also know that children are the most vulnerable. They are not in a position to negotiate for their rights or defend themselves.” Based on research of what most affects child health, Global Ministries developed areas of emphasis for its efforts toward health and wellbeing around the world. Priorities in the developing world

Dr. Olusimbo Ige

In 2014, as the Imagine No Malaria campaign was entering its final years, Global Ministries conducted a survey to ask what the priority should be for the Global Health Unit in the future. The survey received more than 5,000 responses to the question “What are the health challenges and health problems The United Methodist Church should tackle next?” The responses indicated a need for a common theme that could encompass the whole church, Kemper said. “We were really trying to find a campaign that would be relevant not just This mother and child are among those served in for one part of our church,” he said. “We a pilot maternal-child health project at the Mutum wanted something that affects us all.” Biyu Clinic operated by the United Methodist Church GBGM/KATHY GRIFFITH

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“We want to see children survive and thrive and communities transformed because of this work,” Dr. Olusimbo Ige said. “We also want to see the church come together around this the same way the church came together around Imagine No Malaria. We hope Abundant Health will be a rallying point for the church, something we can all agree on.” Ige is executive director of the Global Health Unit for the General Board of Global Ministries. General Conference 2016 adopted “Abundant Health” as one the denomination’s Four Areas of Focus for the 2017Thomas Kemper 2020 quadrennium. John 10:10, “Jesus’ promise of abundant life to all,” is the basis of the emphasis, Ige said. In addition, the initiative reflects “our Wesleyan heritage (making) health a very integral part of our mission.” Thomas Kemper, top executive for Global Ministries, said health ministry was visible early in the Methodist

movement when preachers carried two books in their saddlebags: a Bible for addressing spiritual health, and John Wesley’s Primitive Physick, which guided them in addressing physical health. Just as Wesley emphasized “body and spirit and mind, that’s the kind of wholeness we want to reach with this campaign,” Kemper said.

Health Board in Nigeria.

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COURTESY PHOTO

hospital, find a way you can contribute. “To the best of my knowledge, we include maternal-child health, specifically Everyone can do something about improvhaven’t lost any babies in either of these reducing complications around birth and ing health.” countries,” Ige said of the new locations. infectious diseases such as malaria, pneu“Being able to provide these services to monia, diarrhea and HIV. For the United States, the emphasis is on nutrition, physi- women and seeing these children has been P R O M O T E H E A L T H , so exciting. We are energized.” cal activity and disease prevention. IMPLEMENT As the initiative expands, Ige said the “We don’t want it to be separated U.S. S T R AT E G I E S ministry is continuing and international, but with some of the In addition to engaging churches in to identify vulnerable health needs, it automatically shakes out promoting health, Global Ministries’ staff communities in counlike that,” said Kathy Griffith, program offers technical support to partners as tries such as Nepal, officer for child and maternal health at they implement health strategies in their Nicaragua, Haiti, Global Ministries. communities around the world. Guatemala, Nigeria Regardless of those regional differ“A lot of times we feel passionate and others. ences, Global Ministries’ staff said the and called to do something, but because “We are very overall goal is the same. health is a technical field, there is a right excited about the “Our core message is that children’s and wrong way to do it,” Ige said. “It’s not health should be a priority,” Ige said. “It enough to want to do good. We want Kathy Griffith needs to be contextualized and specific to do good in a way that is ethical, to each location. We want people to have in a way that falls within approved response we’ve the option to choose what’s relevant to standards of healthcare and health them and what the priority is for their own seen so far,” she ministry, ensuring that whatever work said. community.” we do adheres to standard practices.” The possibiliAs organizers move forward, they are As congregations begin to particinot just focused on survival but on helping ties found in this pate in Abundant Health, Kemper said initiative also children thrive. he hopes it reshapes people’s view of excite Griffith. church. “I’ve had an “I hope that we really see the I N VO LV E 1 0 , 0 0 0 exciting life, but church as something that is not there CHURCHES this is one of the only on a Sunday, but as something In order to reach 1 million children most wonderful that encompasses every aspect of our with lifesaving and health-promoting programs to be a This mother and child are served lives, including being a community interventions, Global Ministries is leading part of,” she said. by the Comprehensive Rural Health of people striving for health in their a 10,000-Church Challenge to get conProject in Jamkhed, Maharashtra, own lives and also in the communities “I call it being gregations involved in making health a India. part of changing around them,” Kemper said. priority. the world.” “This is important because people look Griffith said she hopes churches will Regardless of where they live, Ige said for the churches to really transform their join the initiative both “to reach children she wants to encourage people to make a whole life,” he said. “It’s what we call sancin their own back yard and (to) be a part commitment to health. tification, where you grow in your faith. of praying or doing something else for “We’re shifting the message that health Health is really part of it.” children in another back yard.” problems are only in developing countries As a global denomination, Griffith said Specifically, these efforts will include or that we don’t have a health problem she sees The United Methodist Church promoting children’s health and wellness, here [in the U.S.],” she said. “In your own as having a unique opportunity to address ensuring safe births, promoting breasthealth needs. “We can go to the end of the feeding and good nutrition, and preventing family even, there is always room for prioritizing children’s health. We want road where other services don’t.” and treating childhood illnesses. everyone to see themselves reflected in For Griffith, reaching people with As a precursor to wider efforts around this focus.” Abundant Health is all about relationships. the world, Global Ministries has been At www.umcabundanthealth.org, operating pilot programs in Mozambique “Life, and particularly our lives in congregations can find ideas for how to get Christ, are built on healthy relationships,” and Liberia. These countries, selected involved. Ige hopes those suggestions will because of their strong United Methodist Griffith said. “We can all make a difference be a springboard to encourage churches to presence and their low ranking for child in other people’s health through relationbe creative. and maternal health, have experienced ships, through passing on what we know, “We’re hoping this initiative will give lifesaving change already through this through learning together, through increaseveryone an opportunity to participate work. ing others' opportunities to be healthy.” with whatever means they can,” Ige said. Ige said there are now two functional “We want to move away from thinking clinics in Liberia and in Mozambique Emily Snell is a freelance writer living in the only thing you can do is give money. that have served more than 1,000 children Nashville, Tennessee. She writes frequently Give prayers, accompany someone to the so far. for Interpreter and other publications.

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SPOTLIGHT•

Football promotes health among Kenyan slum youth

Football is the one activity uniting people of different ages, genders, social and cultural backgrounds in Kenya. It is uniquely effective and affordable for promoting good health, while fighting hunger and poverty especially among the youth. Trinity United Methodist Church in the Central/Narok District in Kenya oversees this project, which links sports with environmental clean-ups, AIDS prevention, leadership training and other community service activities. The church donates balls, uniforms and other soccer equipment to the teams. The project also involves 2,000 young people from the slums of the Gilgil, Naivasha and Narok and Nakuru areas. Trinity’s outreach team has been working with football teams in the slum where participating youth learn how they can use their environment to improve their nutrition and food security. The young people share it with their families and peers. Trophies bring smiles, regardless of where they are awarded.

SKILLS, PREVENTION LINKED

many youth have stopped taking drugs and the rate of crimes has reduced. Some of my friends were engaged in gangs, but now they have joined the soccer teams.” They also attend church services, said Njuguna.

“Football for Health” is an “11-Health” program. Eleven simple messages on prevention – each linked to practicing a specific football action – are presented in 11 90-minute sessions. The first half is “Play Football” and teaches a specific football skill. The second half is “Play Fair.” It presents specific health issues and teaches children healthy behaviors to protect themselves. A session in which the youth played football for 45 minutes would precede time emphasizing the value of exercise in reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index. Unsafe sex and respect for girls and women would be the topic after the youth practiced passing. A discussion of avoiding drugs and alcohol would follow practice dribbling, while a session on defensive skills would lead to a presentation on poor sanitation and hygiene and the importance of washing one’s hands. Other risk factors addressed include malaria, contaminated water, nutrition, inadequate health protection and family and social support. Daniel Njuguna, a 15-year-old from Kikopey slum, said, “Since the Trinity United Methodist Church started this program,

MODEL KITCHEN GARDEN

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A PILOT PROJECT WORKING WITH 500 YOUTH IN KIKOPEY SLUM AREA IN NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA, LINKS LEARNING VARIOUS FOOTBALL (SOCCER) SKILLS WITH REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH RISK FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE YOUTH AND THEIR FAMILIES. THE YOUTH ALSO LEARN ORGANIC FARMING METHODS TO INCREASE FOOD SECURITY AND IMPROVE NUTRITION.

Faith Wanjiru, the church’s district outreach officer, taught one of the teams how to set up kitchen gardens. Wanjiru first discussed with the team the different urban farm activities that can be implemented in the slum areas – poultry and rabbit keeping and kitchen gardening. The group chose to start with kitchen gardens and used a training video to learn how to build them. “Trinity donated kitchen garden sacks, farm manure, soil and kale and spinach seedlings to the team. With the help of the outreach officer, the team planted their first kitchen garden within the grounds of Trinity Mission School as a demonstration plot,” said the Rev. Josam Kariuki, Central/Narok district superintendent. The church hopes different slums throughout the country will replicate the kitchen garden. It is not costly and does not need a lot of space, yet the yields can be enough to feed a family, enhancing food security in the slum areas. The program also is used to evangelize the children and youths in the slums. The number of the youth joining the church is increasing tremendously said Kariuki, and the retention of children and youths in church has improved. Peter Openda is the communication officer for the Central/Narok District of the East Africa Conference. The district is in Kenya. This article originally appeared in the district newsletter.

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BY EMILY SNELL

AS THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH BEGINS A FOCUS ON ABUNDANT HEALTH, CONGREGATIONS AROUND THE WORLD ARE CREATING NEW WAYS TO MAKE HEALTH A PRIORITY.

Clara Bradley was once a shopper at the CD4AP fresh market and now volunteers 15 hours a week to help others receive.

“healthier communities and a healthier America.” “I truly believe the church, through this initiative, could change children and their families across the world,” she said. “Even next year, perhaps 6 million children don’t have to die of preventable illness. That number will constantly decrease each year; that’s my goal. I hope to see that number down to zero.”

COURTESY GREG HENNEMAN

CHANGING TRADITIONS, ADDING MINISTRIES

Parents and children gather to celebrate the first birthdays of South Side children in Columbus, Ohio, served by CD4AP,

COURTESY GREG HENNEMAN

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Sabrina Rodgers, U.S. health program manager for the Global Health Unit at Global Ministries, is encouraging churches to do “small things that can make a big impact” on the health of their communities – and their congregants. “We know that the church is in a unique position. They’re in touch with members of the community on a number of levels,” she said. “They are in a position to be a change agent.” Abundant Health: Our Promise to

Children will engage people in promoting health in their church and community. To that end, Global Ministries aims to unite 10,000 churches in committing to healthy living. These efforts will include implementing health programs locally and supporting others across the globe to promote children’s health and wellness, ensure safe births, promote breastfeeding

and good nutrition, and prevent childhood illnesses. Six million children die each year of preventable diseases. Rodgers said the Global Ministries staff hopes this initiative will reduce those “needless deaths” and promote lifestyles that help children thrive. “In the U.S., this is the first generation of children that has a projected lifespan that’s shorter than that of their parents. A third of our children are obese or overweight,” Rodgers said. She hopes the Abundant Health emphasis will lead to

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As it seeks congregations to join the effort, Global Ministries is encouraging creative ideas like changing how churches do potlucks, adding a fitness component to vacation Bible school or offering nutrition education. Fairview United Methodist Church in Danville, Virginia, is among the first congregations to accept the 10,000-Church Challenge. Kristen Aron directs the church’s Caring and Health Ministry. As a nurse, Aron’s career motivates her to encourage others toward healthy living. “Being in the healthcare field, I see sick patients every day,” she said. “Some disease processes they have could simply be taken care of by healthy eating, exercise, getting regular checkups.” Fairview Church offers monthly blood pressure screenings, hosts an annual health fair and emphasizes physical activity during vacation Bible school.


C R E AT I N G A H E A LT H I E R COMMUNITY Greg Henneman is director of Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) at Church and Community Development for All People (CD4AP) in Columbus, Ohio. He said the United Methodist Church for All People developed the organization when it started emphasizing health in specific ways about three years ago after “listening to the hopes and dreams and aspirations of the community.” “People raised issues of wanting a healthier community, wanting more opportunities for health for their children and themselves,” he said. To meet this need, CD4AP offers one-on-one health coaching, supplies a fresh market for families to buy produce, hosts exercise programs and teaches cooking classes. The church is located in a low-income

urban area. Henneman believes these opportunities are a way to make abundant health accessible to more people. “I believe that people who live in this community have as much right to have a full and abundant life as someone who has more means,” he said. “I believe that’s God’s will for them.” At CD4AP’s fresh market, families sign up for 30-minute time slots to shop for fruits and vegetables. “Before they shop, we offer health and wellness classes to help empower people,” he said. “We also talk about health as a whole – emotional health, healthy relationships, spiritual health. We’re not only interested in whether you’re eating kale, but whether you’re a whole healthy person.” Henneman said Abundant Health is not only about community engagement but also about the church and its members living out their mission. “Last year during Lent, we did a sixweek Bible study that was focused on how we live into our abundant health,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to continue working on all the time. Even our mission and vision statement talk about us, as a whole organization, what we aspire to do is have a healthy, vibrant community. It’s not a side project. It’s who we are.”

ACCEPT CHALLENGE, START SMALL Henneman encouraged churches to join the Abundant Health initiative by starting small. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a yoga class or a once-a-month food program or hosting an AA group in your building,” he said. “To be a part of the Abundant Health program, you don’t have to do a bunch of things. What’s one thing you can do to connect to the hopes and dreams and aspirations of your community?” As Fairview continues to understand the Abundant Health focus, Aron said the Caring and Health Ministry is striving to expand its reach. “It’s definitely making us sit down and think about ways we can encourage church members to be healthier,” she said. “I know mental health is a concern.

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Smoking cessation, that’s a good one. Encouraging patients to get their normal immunizations, that’s something we can encourage as well.” Aron challenged churches not to be intimidated if they don’t have a healthcare professional in their congregation leading the way. “Everybody should be concerned about their own health, as well as their family or their children,” she said. “You just have to have that drive to say, ‘I want to do what’s right.’ It can start with something simple. Have a doctor come speak at your church. Bring in people from the community to speak or set up a health fair. Take that leap of faith.” Henneman said he views Abundant Health as an opportunity for the church to “reconnect with our neighbors” and return to its identity of meeting needs in all areas of life. “The history of health and wellness comes from the church,” he said. “Not only did Jesus speak about it, but the church was the place hospitals came from. The church was once seen as the social service agency of the community. “What if the church reclaimed its role? What if each church did just one thing? Then, when people saw the cross and flame, they’d say, ‘That’s the place that’s bringing wholeness. That’s the place that has the recovery group. That’s the place that has the yoga class.’ I think the Abundant Health program is a golden opportunity to do that.”

COURTESY GREG HENNEMAN

On the third Sunday morning of each month, Aron and other medical personnel check blood pressures. The monthly event mainly serves congregants, but it is advertised on the church’s outdoor sign to encourage others from the community to participate. The fall health fair lets health organizations from the community offer information. “It’s community outreach in conjunction with the fall festival,” Aron said. “We get lots of families and children. It’s a way for them to get health information.” At the event, dentists, physicians, physical therapists and other health professionals offer giveaways and free consultations or hand out flyers and answer questions. The church provides a kids’ zone to promote activity while adults gather information. During the vacation Bible school, Aron said volunteers serve healthy snacks and lead physical activity for the kids. Aron also works to educate church members about health by including articles in the church newsletter addressing topics like cardiovascular health and flu shots. She also published an article mentioning the 10,000-Church Challenge. “We’re trying to get as many people involved as we can,” she said.

Karen Dawson leads a yoga class at the United Methodist Church for All People’s Reeb Avenue Center in Columbus, Ohio. Participants learn and practice stress reduction techniques.

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BY JESSICA BRODIE

FROM WOMAN AT THE WELL TO

well woman 38

Today, Rhodes is a woman embracing wellness, from healthy cancer-free living to a thriving marriage and a deep, connected relationship with Jesus. An author, Christian speaker and Bible study teacher at United Methodist and other churches in South Carolina, Rhodes lives her life to help others see the light and hope of Christ. But it was not so long ago that Rhodes was not well at all. When she first read the biblical account of the woman at the well (John 4:14-26) — a woman floundering in a life of sin and pain, who had been married five times and was living with a man not her husband — Rhodes recognized herself. “I’d had a child out of wedlock, four kids from three different fathers, and was in poverty. I’d walked the streets; I was alone,” Rhodes said, ticking off the stings of her past. As Rhodes read that passage, tears rolled down her face, igniting a spark. Jesus knew everything the woman had done, yet he was ready to offer her grace and new life in him. If Jesus would do that for the woman at the well, maybe he would also do it for Rhodes.

He did. And today, Rhodes’ testimony, How the Woman at the Well Became the Well Woman: A Memoir of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life, is a book. “It’s just been a journey,” Rhodes said. “God has placed people in my life, encouragement, health, finances, all of it, to get out the message of hope. “That’s my ministry.”

A LONG ROAD

But the journey has been long. For many years, Rhodes didn’t think she’d make it out whole, healed and happy, let alone become the kind of person who could offer others Christ. The daughter of an alcoholic, Rhodes spent years in a difficult foster home beginning at age 7, desperately craving a return to the mother she idolized. When she finally returned home at 16, her dream turned out to be a nightmare. Her mother was so consumed with alcohol that she couldn’t give Rhodes the love she needed. In an off-kilter home complicated by an abusive stepfather, Rhodes got out as quickly as she could. She catapulted headfirst

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s i s i h t e v e i " I bel s a h d o G t wha , u o y r o f d planne d n a e m o h so go " . k o o b r u o y write

into marriage with a broken man. While her daughter was an infant, they split and she fell into her next relationship — and the birth of her son. When that relationship also failed, she was swept up in a third relationship. Poverty was a constant thread, forcing Rhodes to make choices out of hunger. Hard times and brokenness, plus the birth of another daughter and son, left Rhodes alone, penniless and susceptible to the next nightmare, which came in the form of a wolf in sheep’s clothing — a twisted, manipulative, abusive man who almost took her life even as he provided financial support and a seemingly stable home. “It was really, really hard to survive,” Rhodes said. Her way out — religion — proved to be another challenge. She turned her life around and focused heart, mind and soul on the Lord, but it turned out her new church was actually a cult. Still, the cult was family and far better than the poverty and horrors she’d experienced. She spent the next 17 years

United Methodist Interpreter

SOUTH CAROLINA UNITED METHODIST ADVOCATE/JESSICA BRODIE

TO SPEND TIME WITH HER NOW, NO ONE WOULD EVER IMAGINE THE KIND OF HORRORS DONNA RHODES ONCE LIVED EVERY DAY.

in the cult remaking her life, eventually marrying the man who has been her husband for 30 years. When the cult dissolved, Rhodes and her husband slowly began their journey toward spiritual freedom, finding biblical truth for the first time. Their hunger for Jesus and Rhodes’ desire to leave a legacy of hope for her grandchildren led to her next quest: writing her life story. ENCOURAGEMENT AND HARD WORK

Rhodes’ book was a 15-year process spurred on by plenty of encouragement from the right


s i s i h t e v e i l e b "I s a h d o G t wha o y r o f d e n n a l p a e m o h o g so k o o b r u o y write

How the Woman at the Well Became the Well Woman is Donna Rhodes’ testimony of poverty, abuse and survival thanks to the grace of God.

to Toastmasters, which led to a writers group, which led to a writing class, which led to more conferences. Over time, her work was accepted for publication, and she started to freelance. She did an intensive mentorship with CLASSeminars founder Florence Littauer, whose words gave her the final boost she needed: “‘I believe this is what God has planned for you, so go home and write your book,” Rhodes said. She got started. FROM DREAM TO REALITY

people at the right time, she said. In the early 2000s, her daughter organized a women’s event featuring Debbie Stack as speaker. Rhodes spent time with Stack and shared her story, and Stack urged her to write it. But Rhodes wasn’t ready. “I told her, ‘I dropped out of high school. How can someone like me write?’” Nevertheless, God nudged her, and she attended a CLASSeminars event to help her take next steps as a Christian author and speaker. She felt like an amateur, but she kept at it and took all the advice she got. CLASSeminars led

However, Rhodes had another milestone to achieve first: earning her high school diploma. At age 64, she went back to school — and graduated at the top of her class. She took a break from writing when she was hit with a cancer diagnosis. But with the return of her health came the return of her drive to write. The encouragement of others continued to motivate her. The encouragement included an invitation from speaker-writer La-Tan Murphy that would change her life: giving her testimony at a Christian women’s conference in Virginia. There Rhodes met two other women who would also change her life: Cynthia Fralin and Fralin’s mother, Joan Bowers. They were so inspired by Rhodes that they offered to host her in their home for three weeks so she could finish her book. Rhodes launched her book at Fralin’s Hope Floats 2016

conference, and her dream became reality.

GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE

Today, Rhodes is in a good place, and she thanks God daily for always loving her. “There are lots of reasons to keep me on my knees and so much hope. Always hope. I pray every single day. We don’t do this by ourselves.” She pointed to a Bible she received as a girl in foster care, when she went through confirmation at Trinity United Methodist Church in Windsor, Connecticut. She opened it to Psalm 23, a passage she’d been required to memorize. Somehow, that Bible had remained with her through foster care and when she returned to her mother’s home, but had been left behind in the shuffle of life. A few years ago, when she reconciled with her sober mother, her mother went to her closet, pulled the Bible out and presented it to Rhodes. The pages were marred, decayed with age, and in places, she could tell rats had nibbled upon the edges. But the marker still held the place at Psalm

Reading those words again years later hit her hard. “It was an affirmation — God has always been there. The Lord is my shepherd, and you go through the valley. You go through it. It floored me! I could hear God say, ‘I have been with you through it all.’” Rhodes finally believes those words and God’s promise — and his invitation — for her and all people. We are loved because Christ loved us. It’s not about us. It’s all about him. And she’s going to do everything she can to tell that story. Jessica Brodie is editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, a publication of the South Carolina Conference. This story first appeared in the November 2016 edition.

Donna Rhodes’ book is available on Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and www.onewellwoman.com.

23 and the words she’d recited long ago: “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

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BY JOEY BUTLER AND LILLA MARIGZA

AFRICAN-AMERICAN METHODIST HERITAGE CENTER CELEBRATES 15TH ANNIVERSARY

2016 40

2016 MARKED THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEGINNING OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN METHODIST HERITAGE CENTER IN MADISON, NEW JERSEY. FOR MANY YEARS, THERE WAS A CONCERN THAT THE LEGACY OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN METHODISM WAS BEING LOST BECAUSE HEIRS WERE NOT ALWAYS AWARE THAT ITEMS LIKE PAPERS, JOURNALS OR PHOTOGRAPHS WERE OF VALUE TO THE CHURCH. THE CENTER WAS CREATED TO “PRESERVE, PROTECT AND PROMOTE” THAT HISTORY. Delegates to the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh officially approved the creation of the center, but the work began several years earlier. In 2001, members of Black Methodists for Church Renewal proposed the creation of an institution to celebrate and maintain the story of black Methodism. Bishop Forrest C. Stith was asked to take the leadership, assembling a task force to develop a plan of action. The original location for the center was at Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where Carol Travis, the center’s executive assistant, is a member. She was responsible for sorting and cataloguing the artifacts that were donated. “We found that after the church merged in 1968, many

IGURE OUT, GAMMON, ISK?’ FOLKS COME TO AVE IT, WE N THE RIGHT

of our foremothers and forefathers were afraid that the history of African-Americans would be lost in The United Methodist Church,” Travis said. In 2007 the center entered into a partnership with the General Commission on Archives and History, giving it a permanent home at Drew University, where the denomination’s archives are housed. A PLACE FOR HISTORY

“The African-American Methodist Heritage Center is one of the General Commission on Archives and History’s most treasured partners,” said the Rev. Fred Day, general secretary. It is “setting aside a spot for people and parts of Methodism that have been with us since the beginning, but who haven’t always been

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treated with the dignity and equality and enthusiasm and importance that they should have been given.” Travis said, “I get two or three calls a week from people who are going through their father’s, their grandfather’s papers and they know about us. Or they say, ‘I’ve just found 10 years’ worth of minutes from the Central Jurisdiction. Do you have a place for them?’ Of course I do! Those are the kinds of things that we really hope people will send to us so that long after all of us are gone, that material will continue to be there.” The center currently houses around 32 cubic feet of artifacts, papers and other memorabilia. Numerous collections have been acquired over the years. Among the acquisitions of note are pictures of historic black colleges and those of Bishop W. T. Handy Jr. Augmenting the center’s collections are many other Archives and History collections, including Central Jurisdiction newsletters. During a

United Methodist Interpreter

‘DO DO KNO US CAN DIR


O I NEED TO GO TO GAMMON, I NEED TO GO TO FISK?’ FOLKS OW THAT THEY CAN COME TO AND IF WE DON’T HAVE IT, WE N SEND THEM OFF IN THE RIGHT RECTION.”

Watch and learn more about how the “Center honors black Methodists’ history.”

painful period of segregation in The Methodist Church, all Methodist African-American conferences and local churches in the United States were placed in the Central Jurisdiction. The jurisdiction lasted from 1939 to 1968 and was eliminated by the merger that created The United Methodist Church. Having such a massive archive in one place aids researchers and those simply interested in the history, as they don’t have to seek these documents from numerous locations. “It’s a place where anyone can go and get the material,” Travis said. “You don’t have to figure out, ‘Do I need to go to Gammon, do I need to go to Fisk?’ Folks know that they can come to us and if we don’t have it, we can send them off in the right direction.” BE A PART OF PRESERVATION

Travis said one of her main roles is to visit churches all around the United States to talk about the center and urge members to take part in preserving their history. “I think we all need to care more about each other’s stories. That’s all we have, our stories of how we made it from point A to point B.

To support the AfricanAmerican Methodist Heritage Center Those interested in visiting

“I remember listening to President Obama doing the funeral for Rev. Pinckney [The Rev. Clementa Pinckney was shot and killed in 2015 during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina]. And he made a statement that really resonated with me. He said, ‘We have a value for history, but not each other’s history.’ I think if folks understood more about each other’s history we’d have a lot more harmonious relationship.” Dale Patterson, archivist-records administrator at Archives and History, said, “Our lives — whether as individuals, as a church, a community — are actually large and complicated. It’s really exciting to see communities asking the question, ‘How can we become involved in telling that complicated story?’ That’s going to enrich our history and really help us understand, even more, all the things that we’ve done, what type of church, what type of denomination we are.” Travis said one of the center’s current projects is compiling an oral history through interviews with the wives of bishops.

or donating items to the African-American Methodist Heritage Center may call 973-408-3862 or visit the website, aamhc-umc.org. The center has also been designated as an Advance Special program (Advance #3020514). Donations can be made at www.umcmission.org/ Give-to-Mission.

ANTICIPATING AWARDING GRANTS

She also mentioned plans for establishing the Bishop Forrest C. Stith Grant to honor Stith’s leadership in helping found the center. Grants would be made available for African-American congregations doing or planning innovative ways to recover, preserve and present their histories, and for individuals conducting historical research or projects on African-Americans in Methodism. While details are still being finalized, Travis said she hoped that May, the month of Heritage Sunday, could be the time to either open the application process or close it and award the grant. Joey Butler is a multimedia producer/editor at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee. Lilla Marigza is a producer for UMTV.

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO FIGURE OUT, ‘DO I NEED TO GO TO GAMMON, PHOTOS: USED BY PERMISSION. GENERAL COMMISSION ON ARCHIVES AND HISTORY

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A Letter to

Martin Luther King Jr.

Bishop Woodie W. White (center) crosses the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, during the 50th anniversary observance in 2015 of the “Bloody Sunday” protest march seeking voting rights for African-Americans. He is joined by his wife, Kim (right), Ruby Shinhoster of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now (left) and Candler School of Theology student Beth Clark.

sister. It is a person who is hated, abused, marginalized. Sadly, the election season and presidential campaigning were filled with ugly rhetoric of a racial and ethnic character. The emergence, at least in the news, of neo-Nazi and white nationalists groups has been more prevalent. Our racial conversation has been polluted by prejudice and racist words and behavior. Increasing acts characterized as hate crimes are reported across the nation. The late poet Maya Angelou wrote in her award-winning I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” It appears more Americans embrace such sentiments than we realized, or wanted to acknowledge. So there are many, thousands upon thousands, the objects of such racial scorn, who are left with no other choice, but to believe what they UMCOM/MIKE DUBOSE

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his letter almost did not get written this year. I needed more time to sort out the meaning of events during this election season and the election itself. My wife, Kim, however, gave me a rather stern lecture, and insisted that I share my reflections. So, here goes! A few weeks before the election, I was having a casual conversation with a young adult African-American male, and out of the blue he said, “Bishop, I hate white people!” Astonished by this revelation, from one typically soft spoken, low key and not otherwise given to anger or hyperbole, I asked, simply, “Why?” He replied with little emotion, “Because they hate me!” That is often the way of hate, especially group hate or prejudice. It finally settles on an individual, a single person; someone’s mother or father, son or daughter, brother or

BY BISHOP WOODIE W. WHITE

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United Methodist Interpreter

UMNS/KATHLEEN BARRY

T Dear Martin:

hear and see! Martin, the power of racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia, in the minds and hands of politicians and the shapers of institutions, is proof such animosity can be institutionalized. Ideas can become policy, policy can become law and law regularized behavior. It is what, at least regarding race, is called institutionalized racism. Individuals don’t have to act on their racism; institutions do it for them! And perpetuate it at the same time. That’s why democracy is important. That’s why elections are essential. That’s why who is elected makes a difference at every level of governing – local, county, state and national! Sadly, there are those who would undo progress, who prefer exclusiveness and division to inclusiveness and unity, who prefer to erode the principles and ideals of American democracy itself.


The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington

Thanks to you, Martin, and countless others, we moved from a less than great America to a greater one, to one more true to its ideal: “One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” However, it is increasingly clear; there is still much work to do — more protesting, marching, organizing, registering people to vote and to be more politically engaged. We must bring people of good will, from all races and backgrounds, to find common ground. But Martin, our goal, of course, is not merely a better, more just America. We Christians strive for a more beloved community, for what we sometimes call the reign of God. It is where love and justice prevail and where we embrace a common humanity, not just as citizens, but also as brothers and sisters. We strive for a beloved community that fulfills the will of God, a place where brothers

Each year, retired United Methodist Bishop Woodie W. White writes a “birthday letter” to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in which he offers his perspective on the state of race relations, particularly in the United States. The first general secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church, he held that post until his election to the episcopacy in 1984. Retiring in 2004 after serving the Indiana Area and Northern Illinois Conference, he was bishop-inresidence at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta until May 2016. Find more of his letters to King at www.interpretermagazine.org.

and sisters not only hold common citizenry, but all claim a common creator. It is a place where we seek to make God’s will real in all we say and do, and how we live together in the place God has provided — the world. While I was trying to navigate an array of emotions, Martin, I came upon a little book by John Lewis, now a congressional representative, who caused so much anxiety during the March on Washington on that hot day in August in 1963. His words in Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change (Hachette Books) are both enlightening and inspiring:

The most important lesson I have learned in the 50 years I have spent working toward the building of a better world is that the true work of social transformation starts within. It begins inside your own heart and mind, because the battleground of human transformation is really, more than any other thing, the struggle within the human consciousness to believe and accept what is true. Thus to truly revolutionize our society, we must first revolutionize ourselves. We must be the change we seek if we are to effectively demand transformation from others. Oh, how I needed to hear that, Martin!

Martin, the morning following the election of the new president of the United States, I arose very early, having had little sleep, and offered a prayer to God, emptying myself in unedited emotions. I concluded that prayer with these words: Forgive me, dear God, if I, even for a moment, placed more trust in nation, party, candidate, than in you. For YOU are my rock, my strength, my hope. Amen. Committed to continue the struggle and the journey with the assurance, We shall overcome, Woodie

DISCUSSION GUIDES — GENERAL COMMISSION ON RELIGION AND RACE »» “Identity Politics and Social Location,” www.gcorr.org/identity-politics-and-social-location »» “RACE: The Power of an Illusion” (use to discuss the video linked to in the article), www.gcorr.org/ race-the-power-of-an-illusion »» The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Orbis Books) by James Cone (Use to discuss the six-chapter book considering theological issues of atonement, suffering and theodicy and connecting the cross to America’s history in terms of civil rights, lynching, and the current criminal justice system, www.gcorr.org/studyguide-for-dr-james-cones-thecross-and-the-lynching-tree.) »» Find more at www.gcorr. org/category/resource-types/ discussion-guide.

FROM THE GENERAL BOARD OF GLOBAL MINISTRIES »» “Reflections of a seminary activist,” http://www.umcmission.org/Learn-About-Us/ News-and-Stories/2015/ February/0205racerelations

Helpful Resources NEW BOOKS »» Holding Up Your Corner (Abingdon Press) by the Rev. F. Willis Johnson, pastor, Wellspring United Methodist Church, Ferguson, Missouri: How do you talk about racial prejudice, entrenched poverty and exploitation, segregation, the loss of local education and employment, the ravages of addiction, and more? Holding up Your Corner includes a self-directed process of determining what role your church can play in your specific community. The examples come from a wide variety of churches and leaders. »» Dream with Me: Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win (Baker Book House), John M. Perkins

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CHURCH HELPS STRUGGLING 5TH GRADERS THRIVE H u m a n Re la t io ns Day is Jan. 1 5

COURTESY JOURNEY OF FAITH UMC

BY JULIE DWYER

Volunteers from Journey of Faith United Methodist Church make life richer for students at North Belt Elementary School in Humble,Texas.

Thanks to a Human Relations Day Sunday grant, Journey of Faith United Methodist Church is leaving a lasting impression on its struggling community.

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At North Belt Elementary School in Humble, Texas, nearly 90 percent of the students live at or below the poverty line, says Principal Macaire McDonough-Davies. “Our pre-K through fifthgrade students face daily struggles at home and many live in chronic stress. Many of our students help to raise their younger siblings. Our parents often work several jobs to make ends meet and are unable to help with homework or provide school supplies and other essentials that lead to school success,” she adds. That’s why the school’s partnership with Journey of Faith Church, also in Humble, is blessing students and staff. The church’s Redeeming Our Community project, the actual grant recipient, pairs students with adult mentors who “help with school assignments, homework or just play a board game and talk,” McDonough-Davies says. “Our students cherish the time with their mentors. For them, it’s a time to just be a kid and let an adult care for them.”

makes this project ideal.” The work that Journey of Faith church members are doing is leaving a lasting impression on the community Redeeming Our Commuthey serve. nity also collaborates with Each year North Belt local assistance ministries, a fifth graders join community family shelter and the area’s leaders for a formal Manners’ Head Start program. Banquet. Students can show “The project addresses off the etiquette lessons they the needs of poor students have learned and polish their and families. (It) is multiconversational skills. faceted and contributes to To assist students who the development of the total don’t own formal clothing for family and community,” says the special occasion, church Stevelyn Levigne, a commumembers collect CELEBRATE HUMAN RELATIONS DAY suits, dresses, One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings shoes and of The United Methodist Church, Human Relations accessories to Day (Jan. 15 in 2017) calls United Methodists to create a Manners recognize the right of all God’s children to realize Banquet Boutheir potential as human beings in relationship with one another. The special offering benefits neightique. “The men borhood ministries through Community Developers, and women at community advocacy through United Methodist VolJourney of Faith untary Services and work with at-risk teens through act as personal the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program. Find promotional information at http://www.umcgiving.org/ shoppers to our ministry-articles/human-relations-day. students,” says McDonough-Davies. Church volunteers also nity developer. “The Human decorate the school cafeteria Relations Day (grant) allows our ministry to thrive in places for the event. “All 750 of our students that we would not otherwise be are in awe by the transformaavailable to impact.” tion, and our fifth graders feel Situated north of Houston, extra special because it has Humble has a “high level of been done for them. Journey poverty and a low level of eduof Faith volunteers serve our cation,” Levigne says, “which

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United Methodist Interpreter

students and take pride in watching our students blossom due to their efforts.” Contributions to the Human Relations Day Special Sunday offering help churches like Journey of Faith “provide educational, spiritual and physical support to children, youth and families in our community,” Levigne says. And that support translates into long-term improvements. “Research suggests that adverse childhood experiences can lead to poor mental and physical health, less success at school and lower socioeconomic status in adulthood. Fortunately, safe, nurturing relationships and communities can help break the cycle and produce long-term improvements in children’s outcomes,” says McDonough-Davies. “We are thrilled that Journey of Faith has committed to make a difference in the lives of our students.” Julie Dwyer is general church content editor at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee. This article was originally published at www.umcgiving.org.


UMNS/GLADYS MANGIDUYOS

THREE BISHOPS RE-ELECTED IN THE PHILIPPINES Bishops Pedro M. Torio Jr., Ciriaco Q. Francisco and Rodolfo A. Juan will continue as episcopal leaders of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines. All were re-elected when delegates to the Philippines Central Conference convened Nov. 30-Dec. 4 in Angeles City.

worthy gift to the church.” Torio’s passion for evangelism and church planting led to the creating of 28 new local churches in the Baguio Area UMNS/GLADYS MANGIDUYOS

Torio was re-elected Dec. 1 on the sixth ballot, while Francisco was re-elected Dec. 2 on the 12th ballot. Both were first elected in 2012. Juan was re-elected on Dec. 3 on the 16th ballot. He was first elected in 2008. Unlike in the United States where United Methodist bishops are elected for life, bishops in the Philippines must be re-elected every four years to continue in the episcopacy. “It is an extremely humbling experience for me to have been elected,” said Torio who will continue as bishop of the Baguio Area. “I can never really thank God and praise God enough for this gift, but at the same time the episcopacy is not only a gift to me, but makes me a gift to the church. That’s a tall order, and I want to be a

Bishop Ciriaco Q. Francisco, accompanied by his wife, Restetita Victoria, addresses the Philippines Central Conference after his re-election on Dec. 2.

over the past four years. He currently leads the University Senate in developing the first accreditation standards for United Methodist theological education institutions and is a director of the General Board

United Methodist Interpreter

Bishop Pedro M. Torio Jr. speaks to delegates to the Philppines Central Conference following his re-election on Dec. 1. With him are his wife, Joyce, and their baby.

of Global Ministries. Francisco, who has been in the ministry for 40 years, expressed gratitude to the delegates for putting trust in his leadership for a second time. He will serve the Manilla Area. “I promise to do my best as your bishop, to guard the faith, to keep the doctrine of our church, to try my best by the grace of God to be your servant leader,” he told the conference. “I cannot do it alone. It is you who put me into this office. I expect you to join me in my journey. My success is your success; my failure is your failure.” Challenges in the Davao Area, which he has led during the 2013-16 quadrennium, included responding to two major typhoons, including Typhoon Haiyan; a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol; a bombing in the night market in Davao City and other acts of political violence, including the Kidapawan massacre in front of Spotswood Methodist Mission Center. Francisco is a member of the Council of Bishops executive committee; vice chairperson of the Connectional Table; chairperson of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and a member of the Commission on a Way Forward. Juan will lead the Davao

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Area. He said the election had been a humbling experience for him. “God is faithful. He indeed has a wonderful plan. I know God taught me a lot that he is a God of right timing. The Lord has spoken to me. I learned patience from this election.” Juan is president of the College of Bishops of the denomination’s central conferences, made up of 19 episcopal areas in seven central conferences in Africa, Europe and the Philippines and vice chair of the clergy of the National UMNS/GLADYS MANGIDUYOS

BY GLADYS MANGIDUYOS

Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan and his wife, Dr. Lurleen Lapuz Juan, greet the delegates at the Philippines Central Conference after he was re-elected on Dec. 3.

Council of Churches in the Philippines. Earlier in his ministry, he served for 10 years as chaplain (with a rank of major) in the Philippines Armed Forces. He also organized the Philippine Emmaus Walk. Gladys Mangiduyos is a correspondent from the Philippines for United Methodist News Service. This story was adapted from articles first published at umns.umc.org.

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Preparing for Lent LENT 2017 BEGINS ON ASH WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, AND LASTS UNTIL SUNSET ON HOLY SATURDAY, APRIL 15. THE UPPER ROOM, ABINGDON PRESS AND OTHERS HAVE A VARIETY OF NEW RESOURCES TO USE DURING THIS SEASON OF PREPARATION FOR EASTER.

CHRIST IS FOR US 46

Christ Is for Us: A Lenten Study Based on the Revised Common Lectionary (Abingdon Press) invites readers to explore God’s saving and redeeming love through a seven-week study of the Scripture readings for Lent and Easter. This study by the Rev. April Yamaski is based on the Revised Common Lectionary scriptures. Each chapter includes commentary and reflection on the Old Testament, Epistle, and the Gospel readings for that day. The book – available in print, eBook and large print formats – includes questions for personal reflection and questions and suggested activities for group study. CREED

Sometimes the search is easy: Simply type a question and the answer pops up. But, how do we discover answers to complicated questions and

examine the truths that give meaning and purpose to life? In Creed: What Christians Believe and Why (Abingdon Press), the Rev. Adam Hamilton offers some powerful answers contained in the Apostles’ Creed, an early statement of foundational Christian beliefs. In this sixweek study for Lent, Easter and beyond, Hamilton explores not only what Christians believe, but why they believe it and why it matters. Creed is a complete churchwide program with print and e-versions of the study books and leader’s guide, components for youth and children and DVDs for in-church use and streaming ON THE ROAD TO THE CROSS

Some of the most important lessons of the Easter drama come from those whose names you may not recognize. In On the Road to the Cross: Experience Easter with Those Who Were There (Abingdon Press), the Rev. Rob Burkhart offers the perspectives of these ordinary people, opening the door to a fresh consideration of Easter and its impact on their

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lives and ours. Both the book and the leader’s guide for use with Bible study and other small groups are available in print and as eBooks. The leader’s guide includes session outlines, discussion points, questions and prayers. PLENTY GOOD ROOM

This unique six-session Bible study combines an in-depth look at scripture, American history and the music and lyrics of African-American spirituals. Plenty Good Room: A Lent Bible Study Based on African-American Spirituals (Abingdon Press) provides biblical, social, and historical analyses of the spirituals “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit,” “This Lonesome Valley,” “Bow Down on Your Knees,” “Plenty Good Room,” “Ain’t Dat Good News” and “Were You There?” This study, by Marilyn E. Thornton and Lewis C. Baldwin, is a powerful resource for small groups, Sunday school classes, choirs and other groups seeking to enrich their devotional and spiritual experience through God’s word and music.

United Methodist Interpreter

RESTORED

Often we make a mess of our lives and wonder if there is any redemption. In Restored: Finding Redemption in Our Mess (Abingdon Press), the Rev. Tom Berlin helps us see the mess through the eyes of Christ to find redemption and restoration. Incorporating scripture and the writings of Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, St. Augustine, John Wesley, Evelyn Underhill, and others, Berlin encourages reflection and meditation. DVD and streaming video components supplement the e-pub and print study book and leader’s guide. A youth study book is also available in both formats. TAKE THE FLAG

The spiritual life is often compared to a race. In Take the Flag: Following God’s Signals in the Race of Your Life (The Upper Room), the Rev. Rob Fuquay offers a parallel between the flags used in auto racing and the signals God sends into our fast-paced lives. In this Bible-based, seven-week study for small groups or congregations, Fuquay uses the parallel to help readers become stronger disciples of Jesus Christ. The book and its companion DVD can be the basis for churchwide study. The book is available in regular


And for more ideas ... Discipleship Ministries: A wide variety of

and enlarged print as well as digital formats. Visit RobFuquay.com/ TaketheFlag for details and samples on the series THE SANCTUARY FOR LENT 2017

The Sanctuary for Lent 2017 (Abingdon Press) by Donald McKim contains brief readings for each day in Lent, including a suggested scripture, a short devotion and a closing prayer. In keeping with the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, each day’s devotion includes a quote from one of the church reformers. Sold in packs of 10, the booklet fits in a #10 envelope, enabling churches to include the booklets in their Lent mailings. The Sanctuary for Lent is also available as an eBook. WIND IN THE WILDERNESS

Wind in the Wilderness: A Lenten Study from the Prophets (Abingdon Press) by the Rev. DJ del Rosario focuses on the Hebrew prophets and their message of justice, calling readers to turn their attention to issues of justice in today’s world. Each chapter explores a different prophet or prophets.

These prophetic messages find their fulfillment in the life and ministry of Jesus, preparing the way for his teaching, healing, death and Resurrection. Readers of the print, ePub and large print books will explore the continuity between the prophetic emphasis on justice and Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God. WORSHIP IN LIGHT OF THE CROSS

seasonal resources is available at www. umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/ lent-and-easter-resources. Included are video resources, ideas for all age groups, lectionary planning helps, music and worship planning aids and devotions/reflections. United Methodist Men: In Plain View of the Cross – A Lenten Study for Adults (Abingdon Press), a seven-session study by former General Commission on United Methodist Men staff member the Rev. Kwasi Kena, is still

How can the cross shed light on what we do in worship and why? In Worship in Light of the Cross: Meditations for Lent (The Upper Room), the Rev. John Indermark urges focusing on the cross, its imprint on how we worship as a community and how it transforms our discipleship. This six-week study, available in print and as an eBook, connects corporate worship with daily living. Indemark organizes the daily readings according to the components of corporate worship: gathering, invocation, confession, proclamation, creed, response and sacrament.

available. The cost is $5. Order by sending

Compiled by Polly House, a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee, and editorial assistant for Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine.

The Upper Room: Go to www.upperroom.

an email to JStrausbaugh@gcumm.org. UMM also recommends the annual Lenten study from The Society of St. Andrew, an affiliate partner of the commission. It is available at www.endhunger.org/lent. UMC.ORG: In “Beyond Fasting: 10 Tips for a More Meaningful Lent,” the Rev. Joe Iovino offers ways of observing Lent that go beyond simply fasting or giving up something you enjoy – serving someone in need, apologizing to someone or visiting those in prison or shut-in due to illness. Go to www.umc. org/what-we-believe/what-is-lent-and-whydoes-it-last-forty-days and find a number of resources to help churches and individuals observe the season. Go to http://www.umc. org/search/gcse?q=lent%202017 for dozens of ideas and resources for Lent. United Methodist Women: UMW features weekly reflections for Lent written by members/mission partners on its website, www. unitedmethodistwomen.org/lent.

org/en/lent101 for a Top 10 list of things you can try for Lent. Need a Lent 101? A variety of questions is answered on the site, including “Why DO Lent?”

United Methodist Interpreter

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People, personalities, passions

I Am United Methodist

E 48

nthusiasm springs from Amanda Vogt’s mouth whenever she speaks. That is especially true when she talks about her church or scouting. “I’ve gone to Salem in Ballwin United Methodist Church in Ballwin, Missouri, since I was born,” she said. “It’s a St. Louis joke, but my Salem is not to be confused with Salem United Methodist in Ladue, which is down the road from us.” “I really love my church,” Vogt said. “I love that we are so open to helping anyone. Our church has about 80 members, small compared to some of the others around us, but we do big things. Every Sunday we talk about ministry opportunities. We open our doors to the Rotary Club, AARP, visiting church groups who need a place to stay, scouts, of course, and any other group that needs space. We are open to everyone.” Vogt doesn’t separate her church and scouting because of how fundamental duty to God and being of service to others is, both at Salem and in scouting. “Our church is small in membership, but big in heart,” she said. “We have fewer than five high schoolers attending our church right now, but we have more than 200 scouts

that come through our doors for the scouting program. My passion is building the next generation of believers and leaders, and scouting helps me do that.” A long-time mentor “loves having Salem in the community because we open our doors to any scout group in need – even the Catholic groups that don’t have a space to meet in their own church,” she said with a laugh. “That’s the power to change lives that The United Methodist Church has. We just need to take the opportunity and open our doors and our hearts to those youth and adults in need in our local communities.” Vogt continued, “With more than 50 percent of scout families not claiming any home church, scouting serves as a way to open our church doors to multiple generations — from grandparents down to kindergarten students — who haven’t found a church home yet.” Now the scouting coordinator for the Missouri Annual Conference, Vogt also serves on the Boy Scout National Religious Relations Committee. That connection also places her on the General Commission on United Methodist Men. She said with a laugh, “Not a lot of women have their picture on

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

SALEM UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, BALLWIN, MISSOURI

COURTESY PHOTO

Amanda Vogt

“I am United Methodist” is a regular department of Interpreter featuring stories of individual laity and clergy eager to claim their United Methodist identity. To suggest a person to feature, send an email to interpreter@umcom.org.

the United Methodist Men’s website!” She called the Religious Relations Committee “probably the most ecumenical group you will ever find.” Meeting three times a year, its primary duty is to make sure duty to God stays in the forefront of all events and publications. “At one of our scouting events, we had a conference room with display tables set up for a number of (faith

groups) to display their contributions to scouting,” she said. “Unfortunately, we were a few tables short. A Muslim Scout leader asked if anyone would be willing to share a table with him, and the first person to volunteer to share was a Jewish leader. Scouting brought them together.” Polly House, editorial assistant, Interpreter

SCOUT SUNDAY – FEB. 12 Many United Methodist churches that host units will honor the scouts and their leaders on Scout Sunday, Feb. 12. Larry W. Coppock, national director of scouting ministries for United Methodist Men, said 7,000 United Methodist churches in the United States now host 320,000 Scouts (Cub, Boy Scouts and Venturers) in 10,000 units (packs and troops). Scouting ministries supported by United Methodist Men include Girl Scouts, Big Brothers/Big Sisters (Amachi program) and Campfire, as well as Boy Scouts.

United Methodist Interpreter


Getting wired for God

Technology Get fit – technology can help

COURTESY CHAPELWOOD UMC

United Methodist Interpreter

COURTESY CHAPELWOOD UMC

A

My Fitness Pal, the leading concern for health app in the health and fitness and wellness runs category. “From the moment deep in United I downloaded it, I said, ‘This Methodist DNA. In is unbelievable.’ It makes Organic Wesley: A Christian everything so incredibly Perspective on Food, Farming, simple.” Apps in this category and Faith (Seedbed), William help you count the calories in Guerrant explains that John Wesley believed that a healthy the food you eat by scanning barcodes on packaging and body was part of God’s design track the calories you burn for humanity. He points out during exercise by that Wesley devotsimply logging your ed considerable activities. effort to bringing Launch My health and wellFitness Pal, and it ness to those who takes your basic couldn’t afford stats (age, height medical care by and weight) and using the most then sets a calorie powerful techcount based on nology of his day, whether you are the printing press, needing to gain, to offer medical lose or maintain resources to those Cason Sicking your weight. who couldn’t pay for However, what My Fitness Pal the services of a physician. does best is ease the process of Cason Sicking continues tracking the calories you take that tradition as the director in through food and the ones of recreation ministries at you spend through exercise. Chapelwood United MethIf you get a carmel macchiodist Church in Houston. He ato at Starbucks, you simply says, “It’s about awareness.” type in Starbucks macchiato. Armed with the right inforThe calorie count comes up mation, people can make immediately and is added into simple changes to increase the list. While My Fitness their health and wellness and Pal automatically tracks your achieve goals.” steps, it will go even further How is that accomplished? and automatically track your While it would be nice to be exercise if you have a fitness able to hire a personal trainer and dietician, that is out of the watch or band paired with your phone that measures reach for most. Technology your heart rate. puts the information within One of the easiest ways to reach. make progress with exercise Sicking recommends

Fielding this team of sixth-grade soccer players is part of the recreation ministry of Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston.

is to increase your overall number of steps in a day. Sicking says that many people don’t realize that they likely already own a pedometer – their smartphone. Simply by launching the health app on an iPhone or downloading one of the many pedometer apps for Android, users can track their steps without having to buy anything else. Armed with that data, it is much easier to make strides towards a healthier lifestyle. Crossing into the diet realm, Sicking notes, “We consume so much stuff that our bodies were never meant to consume.” He encourages people to make healthier food choices overall because choosing quality food can have dramatic effects on both weight and overall health. Again, smart phones can enable people to make good food choices. Apps like Good Guide help customers make food choices by providing simple ratings on health, environmental and social benefits. Getting even more practical, Farmstand helps users find

JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

the more than 9,000 farmer’s markets around the United States. Whether you download an app or start counting your steps, Sicking says, “It all comes back to engaging and being mindful of what you’re doing. Once you engage that information and take ownership, it’s easy to begin taking steps to increased health and wellness.” United Methodist theology does not separate the physical and the spiritual but leans into a deep connection between the two. That means that physical health and wellness are a spiritual issue as well. Caring for one’s body is an important endeavor of faith, an endeavor made easier by some incredible technology. The Rev. Jeremy Steele is Next Generation minister at Christ United Methodist Church, Mobile, Alabama. He is also an author, blogger at jeremywords. com and a frequent contributor to MyCom, an e-newsletter published by United Methodist Communications.

49


People, personalities, passions

To Be United Methodist Is any of the advice that John Wesley included in Primitive Physick still applicable today?

W

hile the specific remedies John Wesley proposed may raise eyebrows today, his general advice on diet and exercise bears similarity to what modern United Methodists may hear from their health care providers. “Nothing conduces more to health than abstinence and food with due labor,” Wesley wrote in his 1747 book Primitive Physick or An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Disease. The book was a best-seller in Wesley’s day. He first published it anonymously.

ON DIET

“The great rule of eating and drinking is, to suit the quality and quantity of the food to the strength of our digestion; to take always such a sort and such a measure of food as sits light and easy to the stomach. “All pickled, or smoked, or salted food, and all high-seasoned, is unwholesome. “For studious persons, about eight ounces of animal food, and 12 of vegetable, in 24 hours, is sufficient. “Water is the wholesomest of all drinks. “Strong, and more especially spirituous, liquors are a certain, though slow, poison. A columbarium in the life of the church delivers a message comfort in the knowledge that those that have touched our lives “Malt liquors (except clear small beer, or will always remain in the company of family and friends. small ale of due age) are exceeding hurtful to tender persons. “Coffee and tea are extremely hurtful to persons who have weak nerves. “Tender persons should eat very light suppers, and that two or three hours before going to bed.”

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JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2017

“A due degree of exercise is indispensably necessary to health and long life. “Walking is the best exercise for those who are able to bear it; riding for those who are not. The open air, when the weather is fair, contributes much to the benefit of exercise. “We may strengthen any weak part of the body by constant exercise. Thus, the lungs may be strengthened by loud speaking, or walking up an easy ascent; the digestion and the nerves, by riding; the arms and hams, by strongly rubbing them daily. “Those who read or write much should learn to do it standing; otherwise it will impair their health. “The fewer clothes any one uses, by day or night, the hardier he will be.” Adapted from www.faithandleadership.com/ primitive-physick-john-wesley-diet-andexcercise, first published July 30, 2012.

United Methodist Interpreter


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Interpreter | 2017 Jan/Feb  

The magazine for United Methodists living their faith. As a new year begins, we focus on abundant health, abundant living through body, min...

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