The Rev. Helen Byholt Lovelace is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church assigned as director of diaconal ministry in the Lithuania United Methodist Church. She also mentors and assists church-related children's and family centers in Lithuania.
Lithuania (along with neighboring Latvia) is one of the recent mission initiatives of Global Ministries. Methodism was reestablished in both countries following the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Lithuania, part of the Northern European Central Conference, currently has 11 United Methodist congregations and an increasing number of preaching points. Diaconal (justice and service) ministries and outreach to children are integral parts of the work.
A native of Norway, and an ordained deacon of the Norway United Methodist Church, Rev. Lovelace previously served with her husband, the Rev. William (Bill) Lovelace, also a missionary, in Ukraine, first in the city of Kerch, and then in Kiev. In the latter she developed ministries related to women's issues, social outreach, and programs with families affected by drug and alcohol abuse.
Rev. Lovelace believes the call to ministry and mission must be holistic. "I think the mission task of the United Methodist Church is to take the whole person seriously: not just their spiritual concerns, but also their entire life situation," she says. "The mission of the church is not only to preach the gospel, but to practice the gospel as it brings the outcry of the people back to the altar of the church, to Christ."
She continues, "The United Methodist Church is a church which has concern for people inside and outside the congregation. It is a church which is ready to stand at the barricades to protect the human rights of individuals and groups, politically and spiritually for the sake of the world."
Born in Kragero, Norway, Rev. Lovelace has a lifelong relationship with the Kragero Metodistkirke. She was consecrated as a diaconal minister in June 1995, and ordained as a deacon in 1999. She is the former general secretary of the Norwegian United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and her work experience also includes serving as recreation program director for the Norwegian State School for deaf children.
Their work is featured on the website of the Norway United Methodist Church (Norwegian). The United Methodist Church in Lithuania has an English-language webpage at lithuaniaumc.org.
: Central Texas Annual Conference
, Holston Annual Conference
, North Georgia Annual Conference
, Rio Texas Annual Conference
, South Georgia Annual Conference
, Susquehanna Annual Conference
Beware of internet property rental scams and other similar scams using missionary names.