January 2012, Issue 14
Letter from Thomas Kemper
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Many of us reflected on the ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this week. As we consider his nonviolent approach to reconciliation, I ask that we would especially be in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. In recent weeks, hundreds of Christians have been killed and hundreds more are fleeing their homes in northern Nigeria.
As we think about the injustice that is happening in Nigeria and around the world, consider how you can be an agent of peace. Dr. King said, "Everybody can be great because anybody can serve." What is your vision for bringing God’s kingdom here on earth? How can your skills, age, and passions contribute to creating a more just world? Global Ministries has a number of upcoming opportunities to engage in mission. The young adult missionary programs now have available applications that are due on February 5. Retirees have a number of options through the Primetimers program.
I am encouraged by long-time friends of Global Ministries like A. J. Adams, who is our Advocate of the Month. Her trusting partnership is a wonderful example of how we can all make a significant difference in our world. I hope that you will be inspired by her faithfulness and pray about how God is calling you to serve in our connection in 2012.
In mission and ministry together,
Thomas G. Kemper
General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church
Click here For the full text of Thomas Kemper's Christmas message
Photo: Hope for a nation
Photo Credit: Ken Thompson
Open Doors: Keeping the Commitment to Racial and Ethnic Groups
As The United Methodist Church celebrates increasing diversity, local churches adapt and thrive by celebrating new community through five United Methodist ethnic/language ministry plans. Four of these US-based plans are housed at the General Board of Global Ministries and serve people of Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Korean American, and Native American descent.
These racial and ethnic plans for the church open the front doors to neighbors new to the neighborhood or new to The United Methodist Church. The office of Congregational Development and Racial Ethnic Ministries provides grants and support to church and community programs, such as after-school classes, computer labs for youth, and teen programs.
When teens and children begin to feel at home in church, they invite their friends and family, and the church family grows.
Through the winds of the Pentecost, ethnic clergy and lay leaders have opened doors for those who historically have been excluded. Global Ministries provides resources and training programs for annual conferences, resourcing, and developing multicultural churches.
Global Ministries’ consultants and missionaries assist in developing strategic plans to effectively start Latino congregations.
Along with Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, Global Ministries has provided coaches for African American churches and their pastors. Global Ministries also funds an executive secretary for Native American Ministries to resource Native American churches.
Asian American Language Ministry (AALM) is a national plan for the ten Asian American constituents--Chinese, Formosan, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong, Cambodian, South Asian, and Filipino. For the past decades, the Asian American churches have grown from nominal numbers to several hundred. Indeed, the Pacific Islander churches have submitted a petition to the 2012 General Conference for approval of their own national plan.
Throughout all these plans, there is a faith that all people will experience new and abundant life as they experience God through Jesus Christ. The United Methodist Church, by the very sharing of this message through word and deed, will be energized in new and exciting ways as the winds of Pentecost blow open the church doors for all to enter.
Photos: Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois, is the main worship and educational center for a vital multi-ethnic, multi-lingual church comprised primarily of people of South Asian, notably Indian, heritages.
Photo Credit: Cassandra M. Zampini
An Ecumenical Library at Your Fingertips
The new GlobeTheoLib (Global Theological Library) offers scholars around the world access to research on ethical issues through a free online ecumenical library of nearly 400,000 documents.
In this virtual library, 6,000 participants from China to Zimbabwe are searching for and dialoguing about matters of world Christianity, ecumenism, gender, ethics, and mission theology. "This (online library) increases opportunities for people in the global South to upload good material being produced…. For inter-religious dialogue and collaboration, this virtual library could be very helpful," said Dr. Stephen Brown, program executive at GlobeTheoLib.
The Global Ministries' mission theology office at Global Ministries has contributed $10,000 to this vast and empowering resource, enabling the just distribution of knowledge and theology across the world.
The library was founded, in part, by the World Council of Churches. Visit the online portal and embark on your theological research or share your scholarly documents at globalethics.net/gtl.
Photo: Dr. Stephen Brown, program executive, GlobeTheoLib, explains the free multilingual online library of articles and books on theology and ecumenism.
Photo Credit: courtesy of GlobeTheoLib
Get Connected: Six Journeys for Primetimers
Now that Advent is over, what are you doing for Lent? Join fellow Primetimers in the 65+ crowd as they take a quest for spiritual growth and justice, walking the way of the cross during an unforgettable immersion mission experience March 18-25, 2012, in McAllen, Texas. Meet and work with the people, culture, Methodist Church of Mexico, the missions, and justice issues on the border region.
Learn more at Primetimers – 2012 The Way of the Cross "Walking the Stations and Remembering."
Or consider joining other Primetimers on their mission excursions in the United States to:
- Primetimers – 2012 Methodists, Mormons, and UMCOR "Being Methodist in a Mormon Place" September 8-15, 2012, Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Primetimers – 2012 Come to the Waters from October 12-20, 2012, Paducah, Kentucky.
- Primetimers – 2012 Remembering, Honoring, and Understanding the Gullah Geechee Culture November 11-16, 2012, St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Outside of the US, Primetimers can:
- Discover Primetimers – 2012 World Beat Connection – Jamaica February 11-18, 2012, Browns Town, Jamaica.
- Study the lives of John Wesley and William Shakespeare, 2012 London, Stratford-Upon Avon and Oxford, England "John and William – An Unlikely Pair" May 5-13, 2012, London, England.
There is still room for you to join all six of these mission excursions. Have the time of your life experiencing these spirit-filled places.
Check out the downloadable Primetimers' booklet (PDF, 11 pp.) to learn more about each of the trips--the dates, costs, and itineraries.
Photo: Primetimers in Macedonia
Photo Credit: courtesy of Carol Partridge
Featured Resource: Haiti Progress Report: Two Years Later
Two years after the tragic earthquake that set Haiti reeling, UMCOR projects continue to provide shelters, rebuild schools, increase access to community-based healthcare, improve household income, and rebuild small businesses.
Learn about the myriad ways UMCOR is partnering with and making progress on immediate and long-term relief and recovery two years later.
Access the informative and detailed Haiti Progress Report: Two Years Later (PDF, 16 pp.).
Photo: Haiti Progress Report: Two Years Later
Photo Credit: Jay Rollins
Advocate of the Month – “A.J.” Adams
In the 1940s, as a boarding student in Esther Hall, a Methodist home for girls, Ms. Alice Jane "A. J." Adams learned from a deaconess about the needs of immigrant children at the nearby Neighborhood House in Calexico, a Methodist community center on the Mexico-California border. Confined to her bed for months, A. J. made stuffed animals and then gave them to the children at Calexico.
Thus began her lifetime of giving to Methodist missions. Seventy years later, A .J. continues to give.
"I would do anything for love, but very little without it," said A. J., who has spent her days encouraging people, volunteering her time, and sharing her savings from her life's work as a social worker with the missionaries and deaconesses at Methodist mission centers.
"If we all do just a little bit more, we would progress more rapidly," she said.
At 87, A. J. divides her giving three ways -- between the Women's Division, UMCOR, and local Global Ministries' missionaries and projects.
Simply, "The General Board of Global Ministries has been there since I was a child. I trust it," A. J. said.
Give to Global Ministries where there is the greatest need.
Photo: Ms. Alice Jane "A. J." Adams
Photo Credit: courtesy of Foothills UMC