Dec. 18, 2002
African-American pastors convocation set for Jan. 7-10
By United Methodist News Service
"Rooted, Reaching, Transforming" will be the theme for the third Convocation for Pastors of African-American Churches, planned for Jan. 7-10 in Houston.
The event is designed to inform, encourage and inspire clergy who have primary responsibility for the spiritual health of African-American United Methodist congregations.
Leaders for the event include the Rev. Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston; Violet L. Fisher, bishop of the New York West Area; Zan W. Holmes Jr., retired United Methodist pastor from the North Texas Conference; and many others.
Workshops will cover such topics as "Evangelism and Women Pastors for the Evangelical Task," "Raising Up the Next Generation of Pastors" and "Spiritual Authority."
Worship will be offered each day. Saint John's United Methodist Church will host the event.
For more information, contact the Rev. Vance P. Ross at (301) 927-6133 or email@example.com.
Dec. 18, 2002
Bush names Drew University president to lead 9-11 panel
By United Methodist News Service
President George Bush has tapped the president of United Methodist-related Drew University to lead an independent commission probing the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Thomas H. Kean, 67, was named to replace former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who resigned Dec. 13. Kean will remain president of the Madison, N.J., university while serving as chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks. He said he will devote as much time as necessary to the investigation of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
"Tom Kean is a leader respected for integrity, fairness and good judgment," President Bush said. "I am confident he will work to make the commissions investigation thorough. It is important that we uncover every detail and learn every lesson of Sept. 11."
The new chairmans career in public service has included two terms as governor of New Jersey. He became president of Drew in 1990.
"Gov. Kean served on the advisory board to the Presidents Initiative on Race from 1997 to 1998," Bush said. "He served as vice chairman of the U.S. delegation to the 4th U.N. World Conference on Women in 1995, and led the U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Education for All Thailand in 1990."
During a Dec. 16 press conference in Drews Simon Forum Athletic Center, Kean remembered that after the attacks, he had a lot of questions and wanted to understand what had happened to the country. Some of his questions have been answered and some still remain, he said.
"I never had any idea that I would be standing here at this point as an appointee of the president of the United States to help determine both what happened and how it happened and ways that we can, to the best of our ability, make sure that nothing like this ever, ever happens again."
Calling his appointment to lead the Sept. 11 commission an honor, Kean thanked Bush for "having the confidence in me to do this job." He said he looks forward to being in touch with leaders of Congress.
"My hope is that we can move forward, bipartisan and in a clear way, to find out the facts and make recommendations to the American people," he said.
Congress has given the commission 18 months to complete the investigation.
Dec. 12, 2002
Church agency plans legislative briefing for March
WASHINGTON (UMNS) The international advocacy agency of the United Methodist Church will hold a legislative briefing for local church leaders March 2-5.
The event will help church social action leaders respond to moral and political issues as the new Congress tackles its agenda, the Board of Church and Society said.
Several notable United Methodists, including President Bush, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), have been invited to speak.
With a theme of "Gospel Demands, Public Witness," the event will offer advocacy training, issue briefings and opportunities for congressional visits.
Workshops will focus on such topics as the war on terrorism; affordable housing; substance abuse; health care; mental illness; the Middle East crisis; military spending; the environment and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
"Our churches are deeply involved in mercy ministries every day," said Jim Winkler, the boards top staff executive. "But we are to do more than love mercy we are called to do justice. It isnt enough to feed the hungry; we must also work to starve the systems that create hunger. Mercy and justice must work together, and thats what this legislative briefing is all about. We believe every local church should be a center for justice and an engine for social action."
Registration is under way. Students and those registering before years end will receive a discount. For more information, visit http://www.umc-gbcs.org/legislative1_brief.htm online or call the Board of Church and Society, (202) 488-5600.
Dec. 17, 2002
Centennial Sunday will celebrate Korean-American ministries
By United Methodist News Service
The United Methodist Church will observe Jan.12 as Centennial Sunday for Korean American Ministries, honoring the arrival of the first Korean Christians in Hawaii in 1903.
Celebrations will culminate in an April 24-27 event in Hawaii. Bishop Hae-Jong Kim, leader of the churchs Pittsburgh Area and chairman of the planning committee for the celebration, asked the Council of Bishops to support the event in a resolution. The bishops are encouraging local churches to observe the Jan. 12 anniversary.
"It is our wish that it should not be just a Korean celebration but a churchwide one, for it is the Mission Board of the Methodist Church that began the mission first, before any other denomination was involved," Kim said.
The National Association of Korean American United Methodist Churches and the denominations Board of Global Ministries are working together with other boards and agencies of the church to plan the celebration.
The theme of the celebration is "To Remember the Past, Celebrate the Present and Envision the Future," said the Rev. Jong Sung Kim, executive director of the Centennial Planning Council.
"This celebration will be the most significant event in the life of Korean-American ministries through which the contribution and partnership of Korean American United Methodist churches can be recognized in the U.S.," he said.
In commemoration of the centennial, the Korean United Methodist community has committed to raising $60,000 for a mission center in Mongolia in partnership with the Board of Global Ministries.
Last April, 21 Korean-American United Methodist clergy and lay leaders went to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, where they visited mission sites, participated in programs and discussed ways to help the church in that part of Asia.
Regional celebrations were held in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco between May and October. The celebrations enabled local Korean-American communities as well as annual conference leaders to join together to celebrate the centennial.
The first group of Korean Christians in Hawaii came from Inchon Naeri Methodist Church. They arrived in Honolulu on Jan. 12, 1903, after a 17-day journey from the port city of Inchon. A celebration commemorating that event was held at Inchon Naeri Methodist Church Nov. 16-17, and a special sculpture was commissioned for the church in appreciation of its contribution.
The Korean Christians became laborers in sugar cane fields. After hearing that the immigrants were meeting in small-group gatherings, Inchon Naeri Methodist Church sent Soon Hwa Hong, a missionary pastor, to minister among them. With his leadership, the small groups became a church.
The Hawaii mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church took the opportunity to serve the immigrant population, and it established the first Korean-speaking church in Honolulu in November 1903. The church became the center for the Korean community, providing a place for spiritual development as well as education. It also was a focal point of support for Koreas independence from Japan, a cause that church members funded from their own wages. In so doing, they helped lift their native country out of the ashes of colonization. That first congregation is known today as Christ United Methodist Church, one of the largest in the denominations California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference.
Since 1965, when the United States lifted its prohibition of Korean immigration, many Koreans have moved to the mainland and settled around major cities. New congregations have been born, and most of them are Methodist churches because of the influence of the Korean church in Hawaii.
Since its beginning in 1903, the Korean-American United Methodist church community has grown to more than 420 congregations with 100,000 members. More than 540 Korean-American clergy including more than 100 women serve in Korean-speaking and cross-racial appointments, as well as the churchs boards and agencies.
Dec. 18, 2002
Childrens book highlights lives of Delany sisters
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) This January, United Methodist Abingdon Press will publish The Delany Sisters Reach High, a childrens book based on two African-American sisters who lived to be more than 100 years old.
Amy Hill Hearth, a former New York Times reporter, first told the story of Sarah Louise (Sadie) and Annie Elizabeth (Bessie) Delany in the bestseller Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters First 100 Years.
Hearth introduces children to these unforgettable women in her new book based on the Delanys childhood in the early days of the Jim Crow South.
Fred A. Allen, an executive with the United Methodist Publishing House, said the book provides a sound theological resource for children and those who work with children. Abingdon Press is a Publishing House imprint.
"The Delany Sisters Reach High supports our strategic initiative to develop and provide an ever-stronger set of products and services for the African-American community," he said.
Sadie, born in 1889, and Bessie, born in 1891, grew up with their eight siblings on the campus of St. Augustines College in Raleigh, N.C. Their father, a former slave, was a minister and vice president of the college. He was the first elected African- American bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Hearth recounts stories of the children lining up for "Papas" inspection every morning after breakfast; sharing their desks and textbooks with former slaves who had not learned to read and write; playing with Bessies pet pig, Retta; and spending evenings with the whole family playing music together on violins, clarinets, trombones and an organ.
The sisters also encountered the ugly realities of racism, segregation and Jim Crowhaving to sit at the back of the trolley on their way to a picnic, and finding newly designated "white" and "colored" water dippers at the park. Bessie, indignant at the injustice, drank from the white side.
The Rev. and Mrs. Delany were both college graduates who encouraged their children to "reach high." Bessie became the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York state. Sadie was the first black person to teach domestic science on the high school level in New York City public schools.
Hearth discovered the sisters living quietly in retirement in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., and went on to write their oral history, Having Our Say. She conceived the idea of a childrens book several years before they died, and was spurred on by countless requests from grade school teachers and parents of young children.
"Theres a great need for historically significant, non-fiction books for children. Teachers and parents are clamoring for them," Hearth says.
"I dont envision this as a book only for African-American children," she says, "but for all children. As the sisters were fond of saying, their story is not black history or womens history. Its part of American history."
The Delany Sisters Reach High is for children ages 6-12. The illustrations are by award-winning artist Tim Ladwig. Cost is $17. For more information, go to www.abingdonpress.com online.
Dec. 18, 2002
United Methodist women begin prayer campaign for peace
By Kelly Martini*
NEW YORK (UMNS) As violence continues across the Middle East and the United States considers pre-emptive strikes against Iraq, the million-member United Methodist Womens organization is taking up arms in prayer.
The groups new prayer campaign, "Christian Women Pray for Peace from Advent to Easter," grew from a suggestion by a Washington state member who wrote to the Womens Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in November. The division has administrative responsibility for United Methodist Women.
"Imagine if the world heard that the churches in the United States cared enough to pray that there will be no war," she wrote. "We could revolutionize the way some other countries look at America."
Plans for the prayer campaign emerged after a brainstorming session of United Methodist Women conference leaders and staff at a training event in St. Louis.
Across the United States, women are being asked to:
lWrite a prayer for peace on a postcard some time between Advent and Easter and mail it to the Service Center, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 7820 Reading Road, Caller No. 1800, Cincinnati, OH 45222-1800.
l_Designate a day for prayer or form a 24-hour prayer chain in each church, asking members to sign up for one hour when they will pray for peace.
l_Hold prayer meetings for peace in local, district and conference United Methodist Women groups and encourage women of other denominations to do the same.
l Collect prayer postcards in "prayer boxes" stationed in public gathering places, such as stores, restaurants and churches, and send all postcards to the Service Center.
On Easter weekend, the Womens Division plans a demonstration for peace in Washington. Church executives expect to deliver thousands of prayers for peace on postcards to the White House.
A Web site, http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/prayers4peace.html, is being developed for the campaign. Ongoing news, advocacy efforts and prayers for peace will be posted there.
Lois Dauway, a Womens Division executive, reminded church members of the urgency for prayer and the fact that no prayer is too small.
"God hears our prayers," she said. "If each of us takes the time to pray for the leaders and decision makers of the United States and countries suffering from instability ... and if we take time to pray for the people in these countries who are neglected, ignored and forgotten ... then our prayers will not be ignored. Our small prayers become large prayers and voices that are heard around the world. We must pray without ceasing."
The campaign is part of an ongoing effort by United Methodist Women to work for peace in the world. In October, Womens Division directors adopted a statement opposing a U.S. unilateral strike against Iraq.
"The Womens Division reaffirms its opposition to war as the instrument for resolving the continuing conflict with Iraq; presses for lifting the sanctions against Iraq; and urges all governments, most particularly the United States and the Security Council of the United Nations, to pursue peaceful means in resolving conflicts with Iraq," the statement said.
United Methodist Women also has been working closely with Churches for Middle East Peace, circulating a petition titled, "A Christian Call for Peace." Last July, Womens Division directors joined the organization in calling on Congress and the Senate to increase U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is primarily responsible for providing schools, health care and essential humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza.
*Martini is executive secretary for communications with the Womens Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
Dec. 12, 2002
Groups launch Win Without War campaign
WASHINGTON (UMNS) A new group of organizations is expressing dismay with the Bush administrations talk of possible war with Iraq.
Win Without War is a movement of people who oppose a pre-emptive war against Iraq, explained Jim Wallis, at a press conference Dec. 11 to introduce the coalition. Wallis is executive director and editor of Sojourners, a magazine and a national faith-based organization.
"The current presidential administration seems close to committing our nation to a course of military action that many, many, many Americans believe would be very dangerous, enormously costly in human lives and precious resources, potentially disastrous in our effort to defeat terrorism, morally and
theologically unjustifiable, and frankly as someone said to me yesterday more than a little crazy," Wallis declared.
United Methodists on hand included Jim Winkler, top staff executive of the denominations Board of Church and Society, and the Rev. Robert Edgar, staff head of the National Council of Churches.
Edgar urged the United States to use its might as a superpower responsibly. Religious leaders have clearly expressed opposition to this war, he said, and now the rank-and-file members in the pews are beginning to ask, "Why this war at this time?"
The White House has threatened military action as a possible response to Iraq allegedly developing weapons of mass destruction. A United Nations team is inspecting sites around Iraq for signs of such weapons.
No stranger to hate mail when the NCC has taken controversial stands in the past, Edgar said his e-mail now is generally in agreement with the organizations stand on Iraq.
He contrasted the current anti-war activities, including 130 demonstrations held the previous day around the country, with opposition to the Vietnam War. "Were starting earlier, faster and with more support than then."
To keep America safe, he advised, "fully fund education," hold to the principles in the Constitution and win without war "without casualties" and without unintended consequences.
"The political situation has been tainted," said Edgar, who served 12 years in the House of Representatives. He expressed disappointment with the leaders of both parties in the House and the Senate.
"Leadership doesnt come from the top down but from the bottom or middle," Edgar said. The country needs more people who are prophetic and leaders, he remarked, adding that he thought such individuals would emerge.
"The prophets of the Old Testament never took a vote to see what was right," he noted. "We can destroy the planet by popular opinion." Instead, he insisted, people need "to stand up and ask what is right."
Winkler said that United Methodists pray for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and are proud that both belong to the denomination. At the same time, the churchs leadership has spoken clearly in opposition to such a war, Winkler said, citing the denominations Council of Bishops and several agencies of the denomination.
"The United Methodist Church would never presume to tell the president and vice president how to carry out their duties," he observed. However, he expressed hope that the two leaders will bring the churchs Social Principles to bear on their policies.
MoveOn.org, an online organization working to involve people in grass-roots politics, posted a letter to President Bush counseling against a war in Iraq, and the letter drew 178,000 signers in about a week 87,000 in just one day, said Eli Pariser, the groups international campaigns director. More than 70,000 the signers were new to the organization, a 12 percent gain in membership, he noted. He attributed the increase to the importance of the issue.
"Instead of rushing to war, Bush should keep his promise to find (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden and let U.N. inspectors do their job," asserted Melissa Daar of Working Assets, a telecom and credit company that financially supports human rights and the environment.
"Women will be disproportionately affected" by the administration shifting financial resources from education and other social programs to the military, warned Terry ONeill, a vice president of the National Organization for Women. She also noted that such a course will not make the country more secure.
Win Without War also includes the NAACP, Sierra Club, True Majority, Center for International Policy, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Dec. 16, 2002
United Methodists to lead Pastoral Summit workshops
Three United Methodist pastors will lead workshops for the 2003 "Pastoral Summit" conferences on local church excellence.
The conferences will be April 28-30 in San Antonio; June 17-19 in Indianapolis; and Oct. 6-8 in Boston. Part of a "lay-inspired national movement" founded by Paul Wilkes, a writer and Catholic layman, the summit grew out of a project funded by the Lilly Endowment. The purpose is to allow Protestant and Catholic clergy, laity and staff to share information, or what Wilkes calls "one-stop shopping" for ideas on church excellence.
In San Antonio, the Rev. Terry Van Hook, pastor of Culver-Palms United Methodist Church in Culver City, Calif., which offers Taize and meditative prayer services, will co-lead a workshop on "The Power and Use of Ritual Actions."
He also is co-leader of a workshop at that event on "Ministry to a Multicultural Church." The Culver-Palms church has integrated members of more than 35 ethnic groups into its congregation.
The Rev. Patricia Farris, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Santa Monica, Calif., will co-lead workshops on "Leaders and Resistance to Growth/Depth" and "Enflaming New Members" at the San Antonio event. Farris will share her experiences in reviving lay involvement in a congregation.
In Indianapolis, the Rev. Bob Long, pastor of St. Lukes United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, will serve as co-leader in workshops on "Churches Respond" and "Creating a Renaissance Church."
Longs downtown congregation was involved in responding to the tragic bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. But he also will demonstrate how a renewed interest in the arts has helped transform his congregation.
Van Hook will co-lead the workshop on ritual actions twice during the Boston gathering.
Other summit workshop leaders include a Trappist monk, the chairman of the theology department at the University of Notre Dame, an Assemblies of God pastor, a vice president of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and a man who is both an ordained Baptist pastor and recorded Friends minister.
Registration information for the 2003 Pastoral Summit is available at www.pastoralsummit.org or by calling Wilkes at (910) 815-0694.
Back to the Top