Obituary for Rev. Lloyd Smith

Reverend Lloyd F. Smith, 95, of Little Rock, AR passed away September 1st. He was preceded in death by his wife, Hattie Smith; daughter, Mary Grandison. He was a retired United Methodist pastor of the Arkansas Conference. He is survived by three grandchildren: Robert P. Grandison, Robyn Grandison Richmond, Lindsay Harris (Larry, Jr.); 14 great grandchildren, 8 great great grandchildren; two sisters: Mary Shurn, Oshia Washington. Family hour: Friday, September 13th from 6pm-7pm at Wesley Chapel UMC, Little Rock. Funeral services will be Saturday September 14, 2019 at 11:00 am at Geyer Springs United Methodist Church, 5500 Geyer Springs Rd, Little Rock.

UMCOR starts efforts for Bahamas relief

This story originally appeared on UMNews.org. Donations for the Bahamas can be made through UMCOR’s  International Disaster Response Advance #982450. Money from this fund is used to respond to disasters around the world. In the U.S., donate to the U.S. Disaster Response Advance #901670 for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

As Hurricane Dorian continued to threaten the U.S. east coast, United Methodists were connecting with Methodists in the Bahamas to start relief efforts.

The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church already is fielding requests to help those being evacuated from the “unprecedented devastation” to receive basic supplies and find a place to live, says its president, the Rev. L. Carla Culmer.

But the survivors also need someone to hear their stories. “We want to see how we can counsel and listen and be there for them,” she told UM News in a Sept. 5 phone interview.

After striking the island nation on Sept. 1, Hurricane Dorian caused “vast devastation” and left 70,000 people in need of immediate humanitarian relief, says Mark Lowcock, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis called Dorian the most damaging storm ever to hit the island group, Reuters reported. Worst hit was the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas and Grand Bahama Island. As of Sept. 5, the death toll was 20.

Culmer, who also serves as the pastor at Wesley-Grants Town Church in Nassau, agreed.

“People are traumatized because the storm lasted so long,” Culmer said. “We heard about 20 deaths, but we believe there are many more deaths.”

The receding floodwaters “will reveal a lot,” she added. “And maybe some of the things it will reveal we won’t be ready for.”

Her conference’s disaster response ministry, Bahamas Methodist Habitat, is based at Camp Symonette on Eleuthera Island. The Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk, a former Volunteers in Mission coordinator for the United Methodist Western Pennsylvania Conference, has served as the organization’s executive director since January 2018.

About 80 miles south of the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands, Camp Symonette escaped major damage from Dorian. But Gottschalk pointed out that, “Everyone is going to know somebody who was affected or who was injured or died.”

She noted that the population of the Bahamas is similar to Pittsburgh and that the 70,000 or so in the Dorian-affected areas “represents about 18 percent of the population … so this is felt nationwide.”

The Rev. Kelli Jolly, a pastor with the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, brought her dog and two cats to her parents’ home in Nassau and rode out Hurricane Dorian there.

Her area saw relatively brief power outages, spotty phone service and localized flooding, but people were returning to work on Sept. 4. The news was much grimmer from the island of Grand Bahama and parts of the Abaco Islands.

“The videos, the pictures coming out are very horrifying,” Jolly said. “I don’t know if we have ever seen so much devastation all at once.”

Jolly was able to verify the safety of a good friend in the Abaco Islands, and she’s spent time checking on and trying to encourage congregation members of Nassau’s Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd, which she serves.

The neighborly care she’s seeing — the sharing of food and other necessities — has given her a theological point to emphasize.

“All of this is testimony that God is with us,” Jolly said.

New York Area Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who is president of the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s board of directors, sent a letter Sept. 5 to his fellow bishops about the need for church members to respond to the 2019 hurricane season.

“As we go through the peak of hurricane season, we see so much devastation, especially in the Bahamas,” he wrote. “The United Methodist Committee on Relief, our global humanitarian aid and development agency, is actively providing assistance in the midst of these challenges.  However, we are in need of your intentional and faithful support in order to continue this work.

“Hurricanes Dorian, Harvey, Irma, Maria, Michael and Matthew showed us that storms are now more intense and more devastating than ever before,” the letter said, “which means those working in disaster response and recovery must become more innovative and creative. This requires additional resources.”

UMCOR has awarded a solidarity grant to Bahamas Methodist Habitat for immediate, emergency short-term funding to address basic human needs. The relief agency also expects to partner in the Bahamas with the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas.

At this stage, donations to UMCOR are the best way for church members to respond, Bickerton said. Placements for volunteer teams will come later, after conversations with partners and the building of an infrastructure for that work.

Bickerton noted that United Methodists in the U.S. have emotional and familial ties to Methodists in the Caribbean. UMCOR and its parent body, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, hope to use what they learned in working with the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria as a way to respond in the Bahamas.

“We’re trying to find ways that Puerto Rico can help,” Bickerton told UM News. “There’s a deep commitment for us to be there.”

Disasters don’t happen in isolation, Gottschalk pointed out, and the Bahamas Methodist Habitat already has absorbed some lessons from the continuing recovery in Puerto Rico.

Founded after Andrew made landfall on Eleuthera Island as a Category 5 hurricane in 1992, Habitat is involved in disaster relief throughout the Bahamas, including hurricane response, and also has worked in Haiti, as well as Turks and Caicos Islands.

“There’s a trusted relationship with us as an organization with the disaster response community,” Gottschalk explained. “We’ve hosted thousands of volunteers from the U.S. over the years as well.

“One of our goals as Methodist Habitat is to have teams come in to do disaster mitigation work,” she said. That includes making structural repairs before storms arrive, so there is greater resiliency and fewer deaths.

Gottschalk expects Dorian will require at least a two-year recovery period. “There will be significant portions of both islands that will need to be totally rebuilt,” she said.

Among the questions for the future is how Dorian could change building codes in the Bahamas and other hurricane-belt areas. “There will have to be conversations about what is sustainable, what is safe and how can that be affordable,” she said.

Bloom is the assistant news editor for United Methodist News Service and is based in New York. Sam Hodges contributed to this story.

Oct. 7 ArkLaTex Lectures to Feature Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson, Premier Teacher of Preachers

Dallas (SMU) – One of this generation’s leading scholars in homiletics will be the featured speaker at the third annual ArkLaTex (Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas) Lectures in Preaching on Monday, Oct. 7 at Williams Memorial United Methodist Church in Texarkana, Texas.

Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson, noted author, preacher and professor will present “Finding God in Divided Times: Renewing our Common Faith Amid an Uncivil Culture.”  The lecture is co-sponsored by Williams Memorial UMC and Perkins School of Theology’s Center for Preaching Excellence.

“Every generation has one or two truly influential scholars in the field of preaching,” said Rev. Dr. Alyce M. McKenzie, Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology and Director of The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence. “Dr. Wilson is one of the most recognized in North America. His book, The Four Pages of the Sermon, is a go-to text in preaching classes at many theological schools. This is an outstanding opportunity for clergy and laypersons to hear him speak, and his theme is a crucial one in our current context.”

Wilson will offer the keynote and workshop, “The God Centered Sermon, An Antidote to Divided Times,” from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Monday, October 7. From 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., participants may choose among several workshops related to Wilson’s topic, presented by Dr. McKenzie; Dr. O. Wesley Allen, Lois Craddock Professor of Homiletics at Perkins; and Rev. Edlen A. Cowley, Senior Pastor of Fellowship United Methodist Church in Trophy Club, Texas. Cost to attend Monday’s event is $75, with a discounted price of $25 for college and seminary students and Residents in Ministry. (Use code TEXARKANA at checkout.)

The evening before the ArkLaTex event, Dr. Wilson will offer a free public lecture at 6 p.m. Sunday, October 6, at Williams Memorial on the topic, “A God that Unites a Culture that Divides: Renewing our Common Faith.” The event includes dinner. There is no cost, but an RSVP is required.

To register go to https://pcpe.smu.edu/event?id=4.

For more information, email preaching@smu.edu or call 214-768-2124.

About the Speaker

Rev. Dr. Paul Scott Wilson is Professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College of the University of Toronto.  He lectures and preaches widely in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. He is a past recipient of the United Church of Canada’s Davidson Trust Award for excellence in teaching and scholarship and a past president of the Academy of Homiletics. Dr. Wilson is a prolific author of bestselling books for preachers. His book, The Four Pages of the Sermon: A Guide to Biblical Preaching, is a bestseller and a homiletical classic. Recently updated and re-released, the book offers a weekly method of organizing the preparation and content of the sermon.

Other books include The Practice of Preaching; Broken Words: Reflections on the Craft of Preaching; God Sense: Reading the Bible for Preaching; The Imagination of the Heart: New Understandings in Preaching; Setting Words on Fire: Putting God at the Center of the Sermon; and A Concise History of Preaching. 

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Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

BOM Seminary Loan for Fall 2019 now available

The Board of Ordained Ministry Seminary Loan Application deadline for 2019 Fall semester is September 15, 2019.

Please remember, to qualify you must –

  • Be a certified candidate
  • Fill out the form completely, verifying your tuition.
  • Have your District Registrar verify, and sign it.
  • Have your DS verify and sign it.
  • Provide your latest officialtranscript including the courses you are taking in the Fall term.

Phillips and Asbury students: These schools only show completed courses on their transcripts, so you must provide a letter from the college registrar or schedule print off stating what current classes you are enrolled in.

Applications, transcripts, and letters verifying your classes (if applicable) must be in at the office of Nancy Meredith by Feb. 15 to qualify for this loan. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST DAY TO DO THIS!!

Those on full UMFA scholarship do not qualify for this loan.

For the application, please click here, and for more information please contact Nancy Meredith.

United Methodist churches invited to Unwrap Christmas in communities around the globe

Nashville, Tennessee – When it comes to what matters most at Christmas, people say that it’s spending time with family and friends. United Methodist Communications’ 2019 Unwrap Christmas event campaign is designed to help local churches offer meaningful places for people to connect with one another throughout the Advent season. United Methodist Communications is supporting these outreach efforts by offering event grants and other resources to local United Methodist churches.

Congregations are encouraged to plan events, such as free cocoa stands in busy shopping areas, toy giveaway or food packaging experiences, holiday music concerts in parks or live Nativity scenes, as a way to connect people with faith communities. Grant recipients will receive promotional items and resources for the events.

“There are many people throughout the world who seek hope and a sense of belonging and the Christmas season heightens those feelings,” said Dan Krause, United Methodist Communications’ chief executive. “Through the Unwrap Christmas initiative, our desire is that local United Methodist churches will reach out into their communities to offer an invitation for fellowship.”

Congregations that are interested in hosting an Unwrap Christmas event may apply for a limited number of event grants while they are still available. Even without an event grant, churches can host an Unwrap Christmas event using a planning guide developed by United Methodist Communications to make organizing for Advent outreach simple.

In addition to the Unwrap Christmas events, United Methodist Communications is offering customizable Advent resources to all churches. A limited number of $300 grants to offset the costs of the invitational items are available. Learn more at Outreach.com/UMC.

A complementary national ad campaign created to offer a message of hope during the Christmas season will be running throughout Advent.

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About United Methodist Communications
As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Communications seeks to increase awareness and visibility of the denomination in communities and nations around the globe. United Methodist Communications also offers services, tools, products and resources for communications ministry.