One family in mission around the world
Global Ministries commissions eight for mission service
By Christie R. House*
During the final worship service of the fall 2018 board meeting, Global Ministries’ directors, staff and guests gave thanks to God, rededicated mission energy to service and solidarity with Native Americans and commissioned an international group of missionaries for service around the world.
Commissioning of missionary Renee E. Shaw, Oct. 13, 2018. Officiating: Rev. Judy Chung; Thomas Kemper; Bishop John Yambasu; Bishop Pedro Torio Jr. Renee Shaw is flanked by her two older sons, Harrison and Porter Shaw. PHOTO: HECTOR AMADOR
Thomas Kemper, Global Ministries’ general secretary, extended words of welcome to the congregation and noted that throughout the three days of the directors’ meeting, the proceedings were “dedicated to justice and solidarity with Native American brothers and sisters.”
Referring to liturgy introduced at the meeting’s beginning, Oct. 11, Kemper reminded those gathered, “We said we did not know, we did not understand our shared history with Native American communities; but now, with guidance from the Native American leaders among us, we will walk in the spirit and take action in justice and love. As we remember our 200 years of mission ministry, we rejoice and celebrate, but we also come confessing and lamenting the harm and injustice caused by the church.” The grounds of the Global Ministries and Grace United Methodist Church campus sit on what was once the traditional homelands of the Maskoke people.
Love and sacrifice in mission
Bishop Pedro M. Torio Jr. of the Philippines Baguio Episcopal Area, a member of the board of directors, centered his sermon, “The Stewardship of Self-sacrificing Love,” on passages from Deuteronomy 14 and Acts 2. He considered the concepts of first fruits, tithing, generosity and early Christian community in ways that related both to the realities of Native American communities and the missionaries being sent out to serve around the world.
“Enjoy the tithe and be blessed by it,” Torio suggested. “The tither learns to honor God, always, with all gifts and all life.” Deuteronomy 14:28-29 describes tithing as a bounty and feast enjoyed by all in the community at least once every three years, when those with good harvests and bounty shared with those who did not. The Scripture directed the Israelites to set aside a portion of their income for “the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows” as well as for the Levites, who owned no property and did not till the land because they cared for the temple and spiritual needs of the community.
Bishop Pedro M. Torio Jr., from the Baguio Episcopal Area in the Philippines, preaches the sermon during the closing worship and commissioning service, Oct. 13, at Grace UMC in Atlanta. PHOTO: HECTOR AMADOR
Torio drew a parallel between the Levites of ancient Israel and pastors who serve within their Native American communities, some of which are the poorest communities in the United States. He directed attention to the Advance project that provides salary support for Native pastors. He said this kind of asking had ancient roots that demonstrate how God provides for those called to mission and service.
Likewise, missionaries receive support through World Service and Advance offerings – ways in which church members across the globe today set aside a portion of their income to provide for the important, sacrificial work of those God calls to mission ministry.
Torio assured the missionaries, “I will not worry about you. Don’t be afraid. You will be part of the miracles and wonders of the Holy Spirit. You will become a blessing in the name of God.”
Marcus Briggs-Cloud led music and liturgy for the service, weaving together lyrics and
music from several traditions, including Muscogee, Shona, Surinamese and Jamaican.
Briggs-Cloud is a Maskoke person and member of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary
Conference of The United Methodist Church. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, he is currently a doctoral candidate studying ecology at the University of Florida. He is a
lecturer, environmental and language preservationist, scholar and musician. Three
generations of his family traveled to Atlanta to assist with singing and liturgy in the
Maskoke language. The communion elements, made by Tawna Little, were
grape dumplings, a traditional recipe for a number of Native peoples, including the
Muscogee, who cook down wild possum grapes with the flour dumplings.
Commissioned for mission service
The service was livestreamed so that families and friends in the United States, Honduras, Colombia, the Philippines and other countries could watch and celebrate the new faith journeys unfolding. Global Ministries commissioned the following missionaries during the worship service.
Church and Community Worker missionaries serving in the United States:
• The Rev. Rosemary Grattan will serve as the mentoring program coordinator at the House of the Carpenter in Wheeling, West Virginia. Grattan is an elder in the Rio Texas Annual Conference.
• Natalie Marionneaux will work with Hope-Filled Relationship through Grove Avenue United Methodist Church in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She is a lay member of the Louisiana Annual Conference from Baton Rouge.
Missionaries serving a joint mission district of the Argentinian Evangelical Methodist Church and the Methodist Church in Uruguay to equip lay pastoral teams responding to the ministry needs of communities that have few ordained clergy:
• Oscar Quevedo, from Bogota, Colombia, serves as pastor of the Prince of Peace Church of the Colombian Methodist Church.
• The Rev. Sergio Felipe Tristán, originally from Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Mexico, is an elder of the Great Plains Annual Conference. Previously, he served as a National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry missionary in the Great Plains Conference.
• The Rev. Daniel Trujillo, from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, affiliated with the Honduras Mission Initiative as pastor of the Cristo Resucitado congregation. He served a prior missionary appointment as dean of the John Wesley Education Center in Cuidad Esapaña, Honduras.
Missionaries commissioned for international service in other parts of the world:
• The Rev. Israel Maestrado Painit, from Tagum City in the Philippines, will serve as a missionary in Southeast Asia. He is an elder in the East Mindanao Philippines Annual Conference.
• Renee Shaw, a lay member of the West Ohio Annual Conference, will serve as a teacher and administrator for the English-Speaking School of Lubumbashi in the Southern Congo Episcopal Area, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
• Nicholas Shaw, a lay member of the West Ohio Conference, will serve as a teacher and technical coordinator for the English-Speaking School of Lubumbashi, Southern Congo Episcopal Area, DRC.
*Christie R. House is the senior writer/editor for Global Ministries.