Obituary – Rev. Wendell Barbaree

Obituary – Rev. Wendell Barbaree

Oliver Wendell Barbaree, 99 of Modesto, CA formerly of Norphlet, AR; died on Friday, September 18, 2020 in Modesto, CA at Stacie’s Chalet Assisted Living.

Born on February 28, 1921 at Bodcaw, AR, Wendell was the son of James Marion Barbaree, Jr., and Fannie May Ward Barbaree. After service with the Civilian Conservation Corps and the US Army, Wendell began a long career as a teacher and in the ministry with The Methodist Church. He was a graduate of Southern Arkansas University and the University of Arkansas. While at Southern State, he served student pastorates near Magnolia, then as a hospital chaplain in Denton, Texas, and full-time pastorates at Winslow, Sulphur Springs, Green Forest in North Arkansas. He and his wife Joy moved to Modesto, California, in 1961 where they both taught school before returning home in 1971. Rev. Barbaree served as supply pastor for Calion, Quinn, Ebeneezer, and Junction City United Methodist Churches. He taught Residential Carpentry at Oil Belt Vo-Tech until retirement. In 1988, along with his wife Joy, Wendell helped organize the Arkansas Habitat for Humanity (https://www.habitat-eldorado.org/history.html). He was preceded in death by his parents, ten brothers and sisters and his wife of 64 years Mary Joy McKinnon Barbaree.

Survivors are his sons Gary Barbaree (Lynn Ishida) of San Francisco and David Barbaree (Darrel Lingenfelter) of Modesto; grandchildren Erin Miranda (Juan), Connor Barbaree (Christy), Caitlin Barbaree and great grandchildren Elisha Barbaree and Leonardo Miranda.

Visitation will be at Young’s Funeral Home on Friday, October 2, from 12 noon until 1:30 pm, followed by a Graveside Service at Woodlawn Cemetery, 2:00 pm, with Rev. Amanda Smith and Rev. Zach Roberts, officiating. Regretfully, Wendell’s sons, Gary and David, and their families will not be able to attend the services.

Memorials may be made to The Norphlet United Methodist Church and El Dorado Habitat for Humanity of El Dorado.

Donating LifeTwo Arkansas Methodists Raise Awareness for Bone Marrow Registry

Donating Life
Two Arkansas Methodists Raise Awareness for Bone Marrow Registry

corey read donation

Rev. Corey Read donates her blood stem cells. The donations that Read made helped to save the life of a 3-year-old girl in New Jersey with acute anemia.

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

When most people think of donating bone marrow, they probably conjure up memories from television or movie hospital dramas where doctors use a large and intimidating needle to draw the marrow out of the bones using an injection technique.

But according to the Rev. Corey Read, a recent donor of bone marrow and campus minister at the Wesley Foundation at Southern Arkansas University, the process is nowhere near as scary and painful as what you think.

“There are two options to donate. One is the straight bone marrow donation, which is where you have to have surgery and they go in and scrape the bone tissue. And the second is what I did, which is through peripheral blood stem cells, which is where they hook you up to a machine. But It’s a lot like giving plasma,” Read said.

According to Cancer Research UK, bone marrow transplants are used to treat certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma. Although bone marrow transplants were used more often in the past, these days stem cell transplants are a much more common procedure because it’s easier to collect cells from the bloodstream than the bone marrow, more cells can be collected, and blood cell counts recover more quickly following a stem cell transplant.

The process for signing up and adding your DNA to the national registry is even easier, according to Read.

In fact, it was so simple that Read forgot she had even registered until she received a call in 2019 about a possible match between her stem cells and a leukemia patient.

“I actually registered when I was still in seminary at Duke Divinity School. They had representatives from an organization called Be the Match there, and I talked to them and signed up for the registry. The donation process was super easy, they just swabbed the inside of my mouth, I gave them my contact information, and that was it.”

That was in 2017, and it wasn’t until a couple of years later that Read received a call from a representative of DKMS, an international non-profit donor registry organization that works with Be The Match.

“They told me I had matched with a 3-year-old little girl with acute anemia. They’ll ask you if you want to move forward with the next steps in the process, and you have a choice whether you want to or not. And I think in that moment I was just like, ‘Of course I’m going to do this. Of course I’ll go forward with this,’” Read said.

Be The Match is a non-profit organization operated by the National Marrow Donor Program and, according to its website, “manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.”

The organization works to connect donors with patients in need of a transplant and has been working toward that goal for more than 30 years.

After agreeing to move forward with the process, Read traveled to Houston where she could undergo further testing to make sure that her bone marrow was the best match for the patient.

After some initial testing in the early summer of 2019, they found she was a near-perfect match for the little girl.

Read was able to then continue with the process, and donated her blood stem cells shortly after.

“I’m really fortunate that I work in a career in which my schedule was fairly flexible, especially being in campus ministry in the summer. And so I was able to travel back and forth to Houston a couple of times,” Read said. “And Be The Match covers all of the expenses for travel and hospital expenses. They cover both for you and a friend or a partner to go with you because you can’t drive after the procedure.”

But before Rev. Read connected with the volunteers at Be The Match, another Arkansan had worked with them in the past to organize one of the largest bone marrow drives in the U.S.

Bailey Faulkner, director of the Ozark Mission Project, was good friends with Hardin Bale III of the longstanding Little Rock auto dealership family of Bale Chevrolet.

“Our families were very close, and Hardin was like a brother to me,” Faulkner said.

Bale was unfortunately diagnosed with leukemia and lost his battle with cancer in 2019, but Faulkner said because of the Be The Match donor drive that was organized almost a decade earlier at Bale Chevrolet to help Bale and others, countless families were given a second chance with their own cancer battles.

“I learned so much about Be The Match and how easy it was to join the registry from that experience,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner said she has helped with various bone marrow drives over the years, like at Pulaski Heights UMC in Little Rock, so when she heard about Rev. Read’s experiences registering with Be The Match, she knew that this would be a perfect opportunity to get even more people involved.

Every January, OMP partners with the Wesley College Ministry groups around the state for a service project mission trip. But because of COVID-19, this year’s plans will not be able to happen like normal.

That hasn’t stopped OMP from fulfilling their calling of transforming lives through hands-on mission, however, and this year’s college mission trip will instead be a virtual event with a big focus on registering for the Be The Match registry.

“When Corey and I were talking about it, we asked ‘what are we going to do?’ We can’t safely have 80 plus college students together right now. And something like this is so obvious. Like, we’re still able to be the hands and feet of Christ and we’re still able to love our neighbors and make an impact and transform lives.

“And we’re able to recreate that and do it in a whole new way for our college mission trip. And I don’t think we’re ever going to realize how big this is right now until 10 years from now, like that drive that we did for Hardin 10 years ago,” Faulkner continued.

Because COVID-19 makes it difficult to host in-person drives, Be The Match offers an at-home registration kit that is similar to many of the DNA or ancestry kits that are popular right now.

Register online at https://join.bethematch.org/homeRedirect and the organization will mail you an at-home kit where you can swab your own mouth, fill out contact information, and mail back your sample.

For Read, the experience of donating has made a life-changing impact on her.

Recently, she was given the incredible opportunity to meet the little girl and her family who received the life-saving donation.

“I donated on Aug. 15, 2019, and I didn’t know anything about the little girl until this past August when I got an email with a request to release my information so the patient, or their family, and the donors can make contact with one another. She lives in New Jersey and I connected with them via Facebook. And we actually had our first call last week. And yeah, it’s pretty cool.”

Read said one thing that she wants people to know about being a donor is that it’s not as scary as you think. The process was as easy as donating plasma, and by donating, you have the potential to completely change the trajectory of someone’s life.

“It’s not just an individual’s life, like this was a daughter’s life, it was a sister’s life, and it was a 3-year-old little girl. When you think about it in a theological way, it’s about loving your neighbor. Jesus redefines who our neighbor is and tells us that our neighbor is everyone and that we don’t get to create the barriers as to who our neighbor is,” Read said.

Faulkner sees it as a way to live out the idea of Methodist connectionalism that people who are in the church know so well.

“The Bishop always talks about what makes Methodists so amazing is our connection to each other. I mean, it is all about this connection and how you’re a part of this bone marrow registry. You might never be called, but you also are connected to something so much larger than yourself.”

To find out more about Be The Match and to register online to be a bone marrow donor, visit bethematch.org. You can order an at-home swab kit by visiting https://join.bethematch.org/homeRedirect.

Not An Easy Path – But the Right One

Not An Easy Path – But the Right One

path

By Gary E. Mueller

Bishop of the Arkansas Annual Conference

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who is a bishop in the United Methodist Church. I am also an American citizen who loves my country. Both of these are realities in my life. How do I appropriately embrace both in a time of deep polarization and division in our nation, especially during a contentious election season?

This is a haunting question. It’s also a challenging one. Yet as I have prayed and reflected at length about this, I have come to the realization there are things I am compelled to do that simply are non-negotiable.

I will put everything in the larger perspective of my faith, and so will continue to proclaim that regardless of what happens God is still God, Jesus is still Lord and the Holy Spirit is still at work.

I will talk about how the Kingdom of God – which will fully come and yet is also here right now – is my ultimate home.

I will live in the reality of our world as it is, and not the way I would like it to be; and therefore speak out against the sin of racism, in support of our precious gift of democracy by voting and call all of us to love our neighbors in all we do, especially those who are most vulnerable.

I will demonstrate through my own attitude and behavior a basic respect for every human being as someone who is created in the image of God – even if my initial impulse is to rail against them because of the way they are behaving.

And most importantly, I will pray seeking to understand God’s will and where the Holy Spirit wants to lead me.

I’ll be honest, this is not an easy path to walk because it would be so much simpler to just retreat from the nastiness of the political process into my faith or jump into the political process as if it were the answer to all of our problems. But I cannot do that. Indeed, God will not allow me to do that. So I will do the only thing I can do – continue to walk this path as Jesus’ disciple with as much humility, discernment, trust in the Lord and integrity as I can.

Of course, I will stumble more than I would like, make too many mistakes and wish I had some do-overs – but it’s still the right path. And as I keep walking, I will do so with the confidence that comes from knowing nothing that will ever happen can possibly separate me from God’s love in Jesus Christ.

Not An Easy Path

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who is a bishop in the United Methodist Church. I am also an American citizen who loves my country. Today I am seeking to embrace both parts of this reality in the midst of deep polarization in our nation and in light of what occurred in last evening’s presidential debate. 

Of course, this is a challenge for me, as I know it is a challenge for you. But I also know there are things I am compelled to do that are non-negotiable. I will put everything in the larger perspective of my faith, and so will continue to proclaim that regardless of what happens God is still God, Jesus still is Lord and the Holy Spirit is still at work. I will talk about how the Kingdom of God – yet to fully come and yet also here right now – is my ultimate home. I will live in the reality of our world as it is, and not the way I would like it to be, and therefore speak out against the sin of racism, in support of our precious gift of democracy by voting and call all of us to love our neighbors in all we do, especially those who are most vulnerable. I will demonstrate through my own attitude and behavior a basic respect for every human being as someone who is created in the image of God – even if my initial impulse is to rail against them. 

I’ll be honest, this is not an easy path to walk because it would be so much simpler to just  retreat from the nastiness of the political process into my faith or jump into the political process as if it were the answer to all of our problems. But I cannot do that. Indeed, God will not allow me to do that. And so I will do the only thing I can do – continue to walk a path as Jesus’ disciple with as much humility, discernment, trust in the Lord and integrity as I can. And my prayer is that you will be able to do so as well.

Perfect in Love

“The Message” version of Galatians 2:19-21 states, My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. It’s important to live out the fullness of your faith so that what is in your heart and what you say is seen in what you do. However, it’s important to get the order right. First, you trust that God’s love in Christ is enough to bring you into the right relationship with God. Next, you seek to welcome Christ to live in you so you become a new person. And then, the harvest of the ripened fruit in your life becomes more bountiful than you could ever begin to imagine. The life of faith not about being perfect – it’s about Jesus making you perfect in love.