Rev. Dr. Candace Barron named new Annual Conference secretary

Earlier this week, Bishop Gary Mueller shared, “I am happy to announce that Reverend Dr. Candace Barron, Senior Pastor of Beebe First United Methodist, has accepted the role of the Annual Conference Secretary Designate. We are delighted to have her working alongside the current Annual Conference Secretary, Reverend Clark Atkins, until his term ends.”

Rev. Dr. Barron has served as the Associate Pastor of Trinity UMC, Geyer Springs UMC, and St. Luke UMC, all in Little Rock.  She also served as the Assistant Director of the Arkansas Conference Center for Clergy Excellence.  After serving as Senior Pastor at Gardner Memorial UMC and Amboy UMC of North Little Rock, she is currently serving as senior Pastor of Beebe First United Methodist Church.

“I am honored to be asked to serve in this capacity in the Annual Conference. I am excited to work with the conference staff again and I look forward to learning more about the responsibilities of this position from Rev. Clark Atkins,” shared Barron.

Please join us in welcoming her to this exciting opportunity!

Friends of Korea Day Planned

Rev. Dr. Naomi Rogers (center) taught Pastor Troy Conrad and his wife Shelli how to make Korean style egg rolls during their planning session for Arkansas Korean Day. The event will be held Saturday, August 13 at MacArthur Park in Little Rock. The eggroll recipe has been passed down through Naomi’s family for generations.

There will be a Celebration of Arkansas Korean Day with Friends of Korea on Saturday, August 13, 2022, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at MacArthur Park in Little Rock. This special event will include a ceremony in honor of Arkansas Korean Day, followed by opportunities to experience Korean culture through food, music, dance, fashion, and taekwondo.

August 15th marks the newly established Arkansas Korean Day, which coincides with the Korean National Independence Day. The Korean National Independence Day is a significant day in the country’s history, marking its liberation from Japanese colonization and the start of the building of a successful nation with some of the world’s leading industrial corporations. It is recognized that this aspect of the celebration is thanks in part to the bravery and sacrifice of the Korean War Veterans, some of whom were from Arkansas. Therefore, it is through this event that we would like to honor Arkansas Korean War Veterans for their contributions.

With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been increasing amounts of racial discrimination against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. In the greater Little Rock area, Asians are a part of the community and play active roles in business, medicine, education, and so much more.

This event is an opportunity not only to remind people of the historical significance of Arkansas’ relationship with Korea but to reveal the shared values that both groups embody and break down any barriers of prejudices.

The Rev. Dr. Naomi Rogers is the chairperson of the event. Dr. Rogers is an Arkansas United Methodist Clergy person.  For more information, please contact her at naomi.rogers@arumc.org.

Let’s Talk About ARORA’s Registration Kiosks!

We’re entering the dog days of summer! The stifling heat, humidity, and long days are enough to demand most of us stay indoors or find some breezy shade. Luckily, our ARORA registration kiosks are all located on the INSIDE of buildings across Arkansas, keeping you cool while you register to save lives.

Chances are, there’s an ARORA kiosk near you. Here’s how you can register as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. First, find a registration kiosk in your area at https://www.arora.org/kiosks/. 
  2. Next, follow the instructions on the kiosk tablet including scanning the barcode on the back of your driver’s license.
  3. Finally, either confirm your previous registration as a donor or fill out the form to register as an organ and tissue donor.

ARORA has registration kiosks from Pine Bluff to Springdale! As a Workplace Partner, you have a unique opportunity to educate and inform your community and staff about the importance of organ donation. If there’s not a kiosk in your area yet, check back later, as we will continue to add more locations statewide. If you’re interested in having a registration kiosk installed at your business or public building, please contact kiosk@arora.org.

Obituary – Jeffrey Blassingame

Jeffery Lynn Blassingame
July 10, 1952 – July 22, 2022

Jeffery Lynn Blassingame was born on July 10, 1952, in Washington D.C to Ida Frances Toms and Mack Blassingame.

Jeff had an illustrious career in the United States Army, where he earned the rank of Master Sargent, before retiring after 22 years of dedicated service. Jeff settled in Fort Smith Arkansas, after retiring from the Army, where he continued is education. It was then that Jeffery found his true calling in ministry and education.  He served in the United Methodist Conference of Arkansas for 21 years and the Fort Smith Public School System for 14 years.

Jeffery Lynn Blassingame made his transition surrounded by loved ones on July 22, 2022, in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the age of 70.

Jeff is survived by his wife, Angela Blassingame. Children; Ashley Welch, Kymberly Perteete, Delondo Nugent, Jarell Jackson, Kelli Blassingame, Cynthia Blassingame, and Kelly Gibson. Siblings; James Blassingame, Norman Blassingame, Betsy Gerst, and Vera Mae Nettles. Additionally, a host of grandchildren, Godchildren, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Ida Frances Toms and Mack Blassingame, and one sister, Patricia Keels.

Jeffery leaves, to honor his life and cherish his memory, two very special granddaughters; Averi Perteete and Danasia Jackson.

Obituary – Rev. Dr. Kurt Boggan

Obituary – Rev. Dr. Kurt Boggan

Rev. Dr. William “Kurt” Boggan
November 27, 1954 – July 20, 2022

Fellow United Methodists remember the Rev. Dr. William Kurt Boggan as a gifted church leader who was committed to serving God and God’s people. Even in retirement, he continued in pastoral work with some of the most vulnerable communities in Arkansas.

Boggan, who went by Kurt, passed away from COVID-19 on July 20, 2022 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Rebecca, a United Methodist deacon. He was 67.

An Arkansas native, Boggan was born on November 27, 1954. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a B.A. in psychology. He went on to earn both Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.

He was licensed as a pastor in 1976, commissioned as a probationary member in 1978, and ordained a full United Methodist elder in 1983. In what is now the Arkansas Conference, he was appointed pastor to United Methodist churches in Holly Springs, Magnolia, and Mount Ida. He was pastor of Highland Valley United Methodist Church in Little Rock from 1988 to 2007, where he served in co-ministry alongside his loving wife, Rebecca.

Bishop Charles Crutchfield, now retired, appointed Boggan as district superintendent of the Arkansas Conference’s Northeast District, where he oversaw pastors and congregations in the northeastern part of the state and served on the bishop’s cabinet.

“As a cabinet member he was always focused on how we could better serve the entire conference and the Kingdom of God,” Crutchfield remembered. “He had a pastoral heart, the size of which was enlarged by his excellent capability in administrative skill.”

The Rev. Rodney Steele, who served as a district superintendent alongside Boggan, said his colleague brought honesty and humor to the task of making Christian disciples. “He had a great sense of humor that never demeaned or belittled anyone else and was willing to tell stories of his own humorous mistakes,” Steele recalled. “I was always glad to see him and spend time with him.”

In 2012, Boggan took on the challenge of helping United Methodist congregations across the state as the director and lead equipper for the Arkansas Conference’s newly created Center for Vitality. In that role, he worked to train clergy and laity to create vital congregations that make more disciples of Jesus Christ. He then brought those skills to First United Methodist Church in Bentonville.

Even after he officially retired in 2020 after 42 years of service, he still stepped up when needed. Since 2020, he had served as pastor of Quapaw Quarter and Canvas Community United Methodist churches — two Little Rock congregations dedicated to ministry with the homeless and the marginalized.

Current Arkansas Conference Bishop Gary Mueller had known Boggan since their seminary days. “He was an outstanding pastor, creative in reaching new people for Christ and growing churches and deeply committed to those living on the edges —all the while making it about the mission and not himself,” Mueller declared. “His footprint is huge.”

A formal service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 29 at Highland Valley United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Due to the nature of Boggan’s untimely passing, masks are strongly encouraged. For those unable to attend in person, the service will be streamed online and available on Highland Valley’s Facebook page. An informal reception will follow and will provide an opportunity for those whose lives were changed by Kurt’s ministry to celebrate his life by sharing stories. In “Kurt fashion,” light-hearted and humorous anecdotes are encouraged and welcomed.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Rev. Dr. Kurt and Rev. Rebecca Boggan Endowment fund at the General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church. These funds will go to support future research into the history of United Methodism and programming for the local church

In addition to his wife, Boggan is survived by his daughters Emily and her husband, Dr. André Wineland of Little Rock, and Dr. Ashley Boggan D. of Madison, New Jersey, where she serves as general secretary of The United Methodist Church’s General Commission on Archives and History. He is also survived by his mother, Nedgie Lee Boggan, his brother, Scott Boggan, and his sister, Melaine Apel. Kurt’s beloved grandchildren are West, Graham, Harvey, and Hannah.