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UMMA Update, September 2014 (pdf version), No. 94

In this issue

  1. About this Issue and UMMA's Publication Efforts
  2. 2014 UMMA Gathering in Planning
  3. A Season for Sun, Sea, and Fresh Air
  4. New Missionaries Commissioned at Conference
  5. Sending out Global Mission Fellows
  6. Reunions - Chile
  7. Issues of Urgent Concern
  8. Notes from Our Readers and Elsewhere
  9. Passings Noted
  10. 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. 2014 UMMA Gathering in Planning - Input Welcome!

I am still awaiting suggestions in response to the following questions! Please share insights or opinions soon!

The planning for the next UMMA Gathering has begun. Among other things, we will test these ideas:

3. A Season for Sun, Sea and Fresh Air

As summer gives its last blasts in the northern hemisphere, the realities of climate change and global warming impinge upon us in ever more obvious ways. Places like California (or Australia in the South) experience heightened drought and extended wildfire and forest fire seasons; India and Pakistan and Phoenix, Arizona, among other areas find flash flooding to be more frequent and more devastating to infrastructure -- road and rail systems, waterways and building substance. Ease of transportation, shopping and work conditions normally taken for granted in the "Global North" are called into question on a regular basis. And the poor? Whether in the "first world" or the "two-thirds" and developing worlds of the "Global South" they are experiencing that lives already marginalized are endangered by coastal erosion, crop failures, increased or unexpected disease caused by more favorable conditions for pests, and political unrest based on increased scarcity of resources and their governments' unwillingness or inability to take measures to ameliorate the new challenges of everyday living.

While "Western man" (and woman) has assumed that stewardship of all creation was put in their hands by God, we recall the celebrative words of Psalm 24 which call such claims into question: "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." While contemporaneous calls for dramatic ecological steps to halt pollution by limiting use of all carbon fuels and converting to energy won from sun and wind are rarely theological (as opposed to some of the counter arguments), we would do well to articulate this theological and faith-based notion that we can survive only in harmony with nature.

Many other world cultures have had this insight and would have gladly shared it with those who moved in lands which they conquered as colonialists and mercantilists to harvest earth's riches for the benefit of the few at initial great human cost and a final human cost which will be greater yet. Our "last word" suggests we were robbing from our grandchildren -- and so it seems today if our oil-based civilization does not quickly move to return assets to the accounts of our living and not-yet-born descendants.

May the fullness of God's earth be passed forward in a usable form -- and not in the form of carbon ash and greenhouse gas!

4. New Missionaries Commissioned at Conferences

This year's commissioning of missionaries returns to a tradition encountered from time to time in past decades. Fifteen new missionaries have being ordained at Annual Conference sessions across the U.S. this year. The list below presents the Annual Conference doing the commissioning, the name of the missionary and his or her assignment. A live link brings you to the respective bio on Global Ministries website.

Western NC: Samuel Om, Resource Development, Cambodia
Virginia: James Pat Watkins, Ministry with God's Renewed Creation, USA
Baltimore--Washington: Richmond Williams, Professor of Leadership Development, Zimbabwe
West Ohio: Heather Bishop, HEAL Initiative Project Coordinator, USA; Tara Vinson, VIM Coordinator and Christian Education Trainer, Zambia; Brian Vinson, Church Planting Coordinator, Zambia
New Mexico: George Miller, International and Migrant Ministries, Germany
Indiana: Sara Cook, Compass, a Family and Community Initiative, Ireland
Detroit: Mary Gladstone-Highland, Community Outreach Director, USA
California-Pacific: Quynh-Hoa Nguyen, Leadership Development, Vietnam; Wesley Neal, Lecturer in Missiology and Practical Ministry, Fiji ; Jerusha Neal, Professor of Theology, Fiji
New York: Young Chuel Cho, Church Development and Spiritual Life, Russia; Susanna Cho, Pastor of Moscow UMC Korean Ministry, Russia
Alabama-West Florida: Dan Godwin, Pastor of  Development, Mission in the South of Ecuador, Ecuador

An email of greeting and an invitation to be a part of UMMA has been sent to each of these persons. The class has elected George Miller and Wesley and Jerusha Neal (jointly) to fill the two positions reserved for their class on the UMMA Steering Committee!

5. Generation Transformation Sends Out Global Mission Fellows International and Domestic,
Succeeding Mission Interns and US2s

The Philippines was a site filled with much excitement this summer as a typhoon caused relocating of Global Young People's Convocation events and training and orientation for new Global Mission Fellows. Thirty International Global Mission Fellows were commissioned on July 19, 2014, and sent to their assignments around the world and twelve "Domestic" Global Mission Fellows were dispatched to their assignments within the U.S. The following list indicates country or conference of origin. The live links (if you are reading this on your computer) link to each individual's bio and will show their place of assignment and email address. Please greet them!

Global Mission Fellows - International
Hollace Chai - Christian and Missionary Alliance of China; Gerald Chandakabata - East Zimbabwe Annual Conference; Edward Alexander White — Florida Annual Conference; Gloria Paola Ferro - Florida Annual Conference; Maria Niechwiadowicz - Great Plains Annual Conference; Lucas Lago - Igreja Metodista do Brasil; Gloria A. Kalokhe - India Anglican Church; Hye-In Lee - Korean Methodist Church; Sang-Ah Gu - Korean Methodist Church; Alyson McCoy - Louisiana Annual Conference; Arnold Brown Jr. - Louisiana Annual Conference; Bethel Mhone - Malawi Provisional Annual Conference; Kendra Twenter - Missouri Annual Conference; Nora Cunningham - New York Annual Conference; Erin Hancock - North Carolina Annual Conference; Elfie Grace Tangunan - Northwest Mindanao Philippines Annual Conference; Bong Dalisay - Philippines Annual Conference; John K. Yambasu - Sierra Leone Annual Conference; Glory Ilunga Kapya Mulimba - South Congo Annual Conference; Olga Kangaj - South Congo Annual Conference; Otshi Ombaku Rose - South Congo Annual Conference; Kenneth Thomas Yerima - Southern Nigeria Annual Conference; Griffine M. Soba - Tanganyika/Tanzania Annual Conference; Krystal Norman- Texas Annual Conference; Ezeckiel Masudi - West Congo Annual Conference; Heureuse Kaj - West Congo Annual Conference; Omba Okito Naz - West Congo Annual Conference; Pauline Shongo - West Congo Annual Conference; Caroline Mutsago - West Zimbabwe Annual Conference; Celeste Caton - Western North Carolina Annual Conference

Global Mission Fellows - US-2
Sarah Roemer - Great Plains Annual Conference; Sarah Wilcox Smoot - North Alabama Annual Conference; Ceewin Louder - North Carolina Annual Conference; Marcharkelti F. McKenzie - North Carolina Annual Conference; Chelsea Spyres - Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference; Tyler Smoot - Texas Annual Conference; JR Wuo - West Ohio Annual Conference; Connor S. Kenaston - West Virginia Annual Conference; Alan Allis - Western North Carolina Annual Conference; Gretchen Brown - Western North Carolina Annual Conference; Annabeth Tucker - Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference; Katherine Wrona - Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference.

Nominations and elections are currently in process for representation from these two classes to the UMMA Steering Committee. More information available here.

6. Reunions

Chile Gathering 2014 A group of around 45 persons, including the recently elected Bishop Pedro Correa of the Methodist Church of Chile, attended this year's Chile Gathering in September at the Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center with its towering redwoods near Santa Cruz, CA. Stan and Beryl Moore made the arrangements.

7. Issues of Urgent Concern

On a broad front, the world is faced with a number of urgent issues which must be addressed sooner, rather than later. Your input to the UMMA UpDate on any of these issues and their effect on your work as missionaries is welcome, whether it be included here in the UpDate or published on our UMMA blog.

I am sure my list of issues will not be complete. Please point out the deficiencies. If interest warrants, we can provide a webpage where references to articles or groups addressing these issues can be assembled for your reference and to refer to others who need the information.

Global issues include at least the following:

Please share your experience with these issues. Thank you.

8. Notes From Our Readers and Elsewhere

The Rev. Pat Watkins, newly appointed GBGM Missionary for the Care of God's Creation, is putting together a Global Creation Care Ministry Team to participate in UN Climate Change Conferences coming up this year and next. The application for participation includes these details:

The General Board of Global Ministries is seeking 6 persons to form a Creation Care Ministry Team to represent the United Methodist Church at two United Nations Climate Change Conferences, one in [Lima] Peru in December 2014 and one in [Paris] France in December 2015. The team will:

Global Ministries will select one person from each of six regions of the world, Africa, Asia, Australia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.

If you are interested in applying, please ask Pat for the application. He can be reached at . (Tell him UMMA sent you!)

9. Passings Noted

Charles Germany, 91, died July 13, 2014, after a brief illness (see earlier UpDate In Memoriam). The previously scheduled memorial service has been delayed indefinitely, due to the illness of Julia Germany.

Dr. George E. Somers, 83, died July 4, 2014,at his home in Adrian, Michigan. He was born February 9, 1931, in Chapin, Michigan. George completed his undergraduate work at Taylor University, earning a Master's and PhD in Anthropology from Michigan State University. He is survived by Joyce (Criner), his wife of almost 65 years, four children and extended families, a sister and two cousins. George and Joyce served for more than 12 years as Methodist missionaries in India. George was ordained while serving there. He retired from Adrian College where he was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Sociology. George was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Adrian. See his obituary here.

Bob and Mary Beth Smyres, former missionaries to India, died May 14 and August 9, 2014, respectively. They had lived at Penney Farms since 1995. Both were 91 years old. Mary Elizabeth Stevenson Smyres was born in Gainesville, NY, Robert William Smyres in Ithaca. They met in Evanston, IL, where both were studying. In 1949, with their one-year-old daughter, they left for India to serve as missionaries.

As a child Bob had previously moved with his parents to Elizabethville, Belgian Congo, where they were missionaries from 1924-1929. In India he served in various administrative assignments in Mathura, Bombay, and Lucknow. Upon returning to the U.S. he served as pastor and superintendent in the New York Annual Conference.

While in India Mary Beth involved herself in women's work as well as volunteering at Woodstock School which the Smyres children attended. She often had to plan for room and board for the many visitors to the mission posts, a job she handled with much grace. When they returned to the U.S. in 1966 she took up public school teaching until retirement in 1982. Bob retired in 1991. (See obituaries from New York Annual Conference: Bob's obituary and Mary Beth's obituary.

Rev. Gerhard Schreck, 89, died in Pirmasens, Germany, the city of his birth, on August 7, 2014. Gerhard and spouse Herta (✝ 2006) were GBGM missionaries in Tunisia and Algeria. Gerhard's fascination with North Africa began when as a prisoner of war he was allowed to become involved in the local Methodist mission in Tunisia. After training for the ministry and studying French, classical and North African Arabic and Islam he and Herta returned first to Tunis and then to Constantine, Algeria, where they served a total of 25 years in that congregation before retiring. Frank Aichele, head of the German UMC's Weltmission remembers their service in the current EmK-Weltmission newsletter and a French-language memorial has been published online by El Watan, the Algerian "Daily Independent" in Algiers. The French text remembers how Gerhard and Herta overcame cultural and religious differences to be available to their neighbors in Constantine, frequently attending wedding parties and offering the Methodist church as a community center for practicing piano, playing ball and other social activities unrelated to the church program. One neighbor recalls, "He was a grandfather to us all."

10. The Last Word (Sojourners Voice of the Day, 4/28/2014)

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." -- Native American Proverb

"Linking mission workers worldwide and moving forward"

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