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UMMA Update, June 2014 (pdf version), No. 93

In this issue

  1. About this Issue and UMMA's Publication Efforts
  2. A Season of Spirited Joy
  3. Salary Changes Voted
  4. Reunions - Korea and Chile
  5. Companions Still Needed
  6. Notes from Our Readers and Elsewhere
  7. Passings Noted
  8. The Last Word

2014 Dues Now Payable!

Send a check now for 2014 dues! Just go to membership page to link to our PayPal account to pay your dues, where you will also find our treasuerer Dick Vreeland's address (). Individual dues are currently $30, while couples pay $50. Ask about lifeIme and affiliate memberships.

1. About This Issue and UMMA's Publication Efforts

UpDate is normally sent via MailChimp, where you can read it in a web format. A PDF file is available for download for those who prefer it. Print copies are distributed to those who need them. Just ask!

2. A Season of Spirited Joy

As I seek seasonal reflections for the "Great 50 Days" beginning with the message of the empty tomb and ending with the arrival of the Spirit-filled fellowship of the disciples, I struggle to recover their hope in our contemporary world. Yet it is precisely the seemingly haphazard risk-taking in Jesus' willingness to go to Jerusalem despite his certainty that it would bring his death which gives us courage and hope. Courage, after all is "heartiness" - be of good courage, take heart. The Lord has risen?! Yes, he has risen indeed!!

As we take risks to "get in the way" as Jesus' disciples did (to quote the motto of Christian Peacemaking Teams), to take on fearlessly the threats of failure, the possibilities of humiliation and the certainties of immediate defeat in this world, we recall, as Clarence W. Hall is said to have put it, "If Easter says anything to us today, it says this: You can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there. You can nail it to a cross, wrap it in winding sheets and shut it up in a tomb, but it will rise!"

If we are on the side of God's truth, we can be assured that our cause will not be lost, not nailed to a cross, not hidden in a grave, but born forth to renewed life and buoyed by the Spirit of God herself.

3. International Missionaries' Salary Changes Voted

Global Ministries took first steps toward significant revisions in salary and compensation patterns at its Spring Board Meeting, as reported in UpDate EXTRA. Changes affect the Service Grant, Base Pay and Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA).

For the first time ever the "Service Grant" for missionaries with more than 15 years service at the time they end assignment with the board has been raised from $15 per month of service to $25. A missionary who has served 200 months (16 years 8 months), for example, will now receive a lump sum of $5,000 instead of $3,000 when leaving service as a missionary. This change took effect May 1, 2014.

A long-questioned practice of applying CoLA only for more expensive venues will be changed to allow reduced compensation for places of assignment with especially low costs of living. A positive CoLA will result in added funds on top of salary and a negative CoLA will result in funds taken out of the reference salary.

First, however, Base Salary will be increased by 38%, but those serving in the most inexpensive venues may see only 70% of that portion of salary because up to 30% may be removed for the negative CoLA. Current base is $20,554; the new base effective January 1, 2015, will be $28,395.74. This new base salary was derived by taking the average entry-level salary for U.S. teachers last year minus 20%. The 20% reflects the fact that housing will continue to be provided in addition to salary. There will be no addition to the salary for experience until the 16th year of service credit, including also pre-missionary service.

The CoLA model will also be changed from an "expatriate" calculation (intended for North Americans living abroad) to an "International" model which assumes adaptation to local markets and style of living without suffering hardship. The home city used for the calculation will be Columbus, Ohio, in the future, instead of New York City or Washington, DC, as in the past. By September all missionaries should receive a trial individual calculation of what the new compensation policies will mean concretely in their particular places of assignment, allowing time for responses and possible adjustments before implementation of the changes in January 2015. At that time, it is also intended to begin a process of gradually moving payday from the first of every month to the tenth, which may require careful planning for first-of-the-month payments due.

The complicated CoLA calculation affects only a portion of salary, including adjustments for family size. Even after negative CoLA is applied, a sample calculation run by Global Ministries for 50 of the 160 impacted missionaries indicates that no missionary will receive less than his or her current compensation. Most will receive around 14% more to gross salary and 5% more in benefits, at an average cost to Global Ministries of 20% more per missionary, as this author understands it.

The UMMA Administrative Council and Steering Committee would appreciate hearing your feedback (both positive and negative) now as well as again in September so that we can well represent your experiences with these changes. The new model is considered transitional as further factors are taken into account for possible future patterns of compensation.

The changes in pension funding only just implemented in January are also impacted by the new salary scale for those not grandfathered into the Defined Benefit plan. Defined contributions made by Global Ministries into individual missionaries' PIP retirement fund will also increase by about 5% from current amounts because they will be based on 12% of the new 38%-higher salary without regard for CoLA, as will Global Ministries' matching contributions to Educational Endowment funds for missionary children. In indirectly related matters, (1) provision has been made for funding later annual increases in the Defined Benefit pension rate, although these increases have not yet been fixed; (2) the issue of payment of a benefit equivalent to a social security benefit for those ineligible for U.S. social security was put on the table for future discussion; (3) Treasurer Roland Fernandes has been tasked with a review of salaries paid Global Ministries' international workers to seek a more just and equitable pattern for mission workers of diverse origins and in diverse contexts.

4. Reunions

Korea Reunion 2014 -- Important information -- Annyeonghaseyo! The 2014 Korea Reunion is fast approaching and we want to be sure you are aware of some important details about the weekend. The Reunion is scheduled for July 25-27 at Lake Junaluska in Western North Carolina. If you have not already made your Reunion reservations, now is the time to do so. To reserve a hotel room call 1.800.222.4930 or email the Conference Center () or you can go directly to the Conference Center website. For complete details on the reunion check out the Korean Reunion website and mail or email your pre-registration form to Korea Reunion 2014, c/o William Underwood, 8204 NW 30th St., Bethany, OK 73008. The email address is .

Early pre-registration for planning the program for children and youth is requested.

Contact persons are Co-Chairs: JP () and Helen Rader (), 859.967.6660 and Edie () and Jack Moon (); Facilities Coordination: Cloyes and Mary Jo Starnes (), 828.456.9017; Registration: Bill and Esther Underwood.

Chile Gathering 2014 Plan to attend our next Chile Gathering at the Mount Hermon Conference Center in Mount Hermon, California (near Santa Cruz), September 5-7, 2014.

Beautiful Mount Hermon is nestled among California's towering redwoods six miles from the Pacific Ocean and Monterrey Bay. Facilities are handicap-accessible and permit young children. Let us know ASAP your intention to participate! And please confirm if you have not already done so (in case we missed it).

Contact Stan and Beryl Moore for up-to-date information: Stan and Beryl Moore (), 794 Plymouth Road, Claremont, CA 91711-4248.

5. "Companions" Still Needed

Rachael Barnett is renewing her appeal on behalf of new missionaries:

Greetings UMMA,
The Companions in Mission program needs you. Global Ministries is STILL seeking volunteers who have mission experience and would be a resource to accompany current missionaries through prayer, listening and support as they begin service or during times of transition. Companions in Mission should be independent of Global Ministries staff and a neutral presence of support.

The newest class of missionaries was trained in April-May 2014 and they will be commissioned at their respective annual conferences. There will also be a group of young adults trained and commissioned in August 2014. We want to offer them the option of connecting with a Companion in Mission who is willing to prayerfully accompany them through their service.

We still need about 5-6 volunteers ASAP.

You can apply to serve as a Companion in Mission here.

Once you complete this application, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to a reference form. Please ask someone who has worked closely with you to complete the reference form.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all. I appreciate you! Many thanks. -- Rachael Barnett (), US-2 Alumni 1999-2001

6. Notes From Our Readers and Elsewhere

Late in May Jerri Savuto's sister, Jeannie Heacock, shared with the Savutos' mailing list that Jerri had been diagnosed with cancer, causing them to cancel travel plans to Kenya. An email followed from Jerri expressing thanks for all signs of concern, a deep gratitude for all God's gifts and a positive spirit. With the help of Valley View UMC in Española, NM, a website is available for all who wish to be in touch or follow Jerri's progress here. We lift our prayers for Jerri.

We are pleased to learned that Cherie White, retired missionary in Mexico and former UMMA officer, received her D.Min. degree on May 24 from San Francisco Theological Seminary with a concentration in International Feminist Theologies -- a program Letty Russell set up for women in the third world and the U.S. Congratulations, Cherie!

Doug Wingeier has shared an appeal for letters to the U.S. State Department. "Friends of Tent of Nations North America" organization has issued a "red alert" calling for your moral support as the Daoud Nasser family's farm, held for over 300 years, and Tent of Nations Peace Project has been totally destroyed by the Israeli Defense Force, even while legal appeals were pending. Check the website above for the full story of efforts to save this farm from incursions for illegal Israeli settlements.

In a related effort, various U.S. Jewish and interfaith groups seeking to alleviate Palestinian suffering are urging signs of support for the efforts in the Presbyterian Church to enact Boycott, Divestment or Sanctions against illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine territories at their upcoming General Assembly. Check out these websites: A petition from Jewish Voice for Peace / Interfaith Partners in Action in support of Presbyterian efforts (see also Jewish Voice for Peace website including review of "Zionism Unsettled"); Churches for Middle East Peace; and General Board of Church and Society.

7. Passings Noted

Delbert Arthur Rice, 96 years, died May 8, 2014, in Brgy. Imugan, Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, where he was buried.. A clergy member of the Oregon-Idaho Conference, officially retired since 1996, he is celebrated by GMA News Network and Agroforestry World for his pioneering work in the Philippines as a champion of the indigenous Ikalahan tribe in the mountainous north. An anthropologist and electrical engineer, well-known educator and environmentalist, Rice was a very active partner in the Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services (RUPES) project that started in Asia a decade ago. Rice helped establish the Kalahan Educational Foundation (KEF), which "successfully negotiated for the recognition of the [Ikalahan people's] traditional resource management rights over their communal forests," according the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID). He wrote three books: Basic Upland Ecology, Life in the Forest: Ikalahan Folk Stories, and Ecology: Ti Urnos Ti Lubong, the last two detailing the traditional knowledge of the Ikalahan on ecology. Agroforestry World notes also that an earthworm was named for him! See Environmentalist Pastor Delbert Rice Passes Away, In Memmoriam: Rev. Delbert Arthur Rice and Obituary.

Roberta Geraldine Rice, M.D., F.A.C.S., 96 years old, died April 1, 2014, in Kansas City, MO, where she lived out her last months.

Born in the Methodist parsonage in LeSueur Center, MN, she was a graduate of Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, and the University of Minnesota medical school. As a United Methodist missionary she served 1956 - 1975 as Professor of Surgery at Yonsei University and Ewha University Colleges of Medicine. Dr. Rice was awarded the Grand Order of Mungunghwa, the highest decoration awarded by the government of the Republic of Korea. In 1986 she retired from surgical practice in posts at the medical college at Marshall University and the VA in Huntington, WV. She served in various professional, church and civic roles, including as church organist, both while in West Virginia and after retiring to Brooks-Howell Home in 1992. See her obituary here.

David C. White, 92 years, died April 1, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee with family at his side. He went to Chile as a Methodist missionary in 1946 and also served in Cuba at the Seminario Evangelico de Teologia, leaving in 1960. He also served with GBGM in the Fiji Islands and Mexico. He taught at Scarritt College for many years in the area of Christian Life and Thought and on sabbaticals taught in Bolivia and Australia. His last area of service was as a pastor in the New Mexico Annual Conference. He was a competition level tennis player and table tennis. He is survived by his 4 children: Cherie (Mexico, retired GBGM mission personnel), Byron (Nashville, TN), Timothy (Washington, DC), Patricia (Australia); and 13 grandchildren.

H. T. Maclin, 88 years, died April 14, 2014. Harry Tracy Maclin, Junior, was a Methodist missionary in Congo and Kenya for roughly 20 years, served on Global Ministries staff for nine years ending in 1984, when he became founding president of The Mission Society for United Methodists [now simply "The Mission Society"] until his retirement in 1991. He is survived by his wife, Alice. For more information see Good News Magazine.

Mary Sue Robinson, 84 years old, died April 11, 2014, in Tupelo. MS. Born in a Methodist parsonage in Coffeeville, she was a member of Oxford-University United Methodist Church. She held a BS Millsaps College, and MA degrees in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard and in English from the University of Mississippi. 1951-1982 she served as a GBGM missionary in Algeria among the Tuareg people. From 1982 she taught at the University of Mississippi. In 1986, she returned to Global Ministires first as interim staff then as Area Executive Secretary in the Africa/Europe/Middle East Office until her retirement. Her ministry to Muslims continued as she remained active in Christian-Muslim relations and Middle East issues in North America. She is survived by a sister; two brothers, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. See her obituary here.

Margery Jane Miller, 83 years, died May 18, 2014. Having earned degrees from Grinnell College and the University of Illinois, Jane was a missionary with the Women's Division and served in Argentina and in Chile at the time of the Pinochet putsch. Several have described her as a "United Methodist saint"! Church Women United bestowed their "Valiant Woman Award" on her. Former Methodist Bishop of Chile, Rev. Mario Martinez, has written, "Our dear sister Jane Miller ... was truly a servant of God with a powerful testimony of faith and readiness for service of the highest character. The Methodist Church of Chile cherishes profound gratitude for imperishable memories of her." She was a lifelong member of Union UMC in Quincy, IL. See her obituary here.

Tshala Mwengo, 42, active Global Ministries missionary and native of D.R. Congo, died April 9, 2014, from injuries sustained in a bus accident. A graduate of Africa University, Tshala was co-director of the Mujila Falls Agricultural Project in Mwinilunga, Zambia, where he worked closely with U.S. missionary Paul Webster. His wife Betty, also a missionary, and two children survive him. Memorial gifts may be made to Betty's missionary Advance #15167Z, to the project with which she works (Tudikwashi Rural Healthcare, Advance #3020777) or the Mujila Falls Project (Advance #15016A). See also United Methodists Remember Missionary's Legacy as well as Missionary Tshala Mwengo Dies After Bus Accident and Missionary Tshala Mwengo Died in Bus Accident.

8. The Last Word (Sojourners Voice of the Day, 3/17/2014)

"The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice."  -- Henry Knox Sherrill

"Linking mission workers worldwide and moving forward"

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