Obituary – Annie Beatrice “Bea” Martin

annie beatrice martinAnnie Beatrice Martin, 87, passed away peacefully in Waverly, Ohio on October 11, 2020. She was born September 18, 1933, in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the daughter of the late Andrew Williamson and Addie Lee (Banks) Williamson. She grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. On January 3, 1958, she was united in marriage for 61 years to Albert William (Bill) Martin, Jr. who preceded her in death on January 9, 2019. Surviving are three children, Sara Lee (Sally) Delgado (husband, José Delgado) of Athens, Ohio; Andrew William Martin (wife Christina Ashby-Martin) of Lubbock, Texas; and Anthony Lloyd Martin of Ashland, Oregon; two grandchildren, Alejandro Delgado (wife Lauren Delgado) of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Alma Ann (Annie) Martin, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cremation arrangements are under the care of Boyer Funeral Home (Waverly).

Bea was a retired school teacher and administrator of Skyline Urban Ministry, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. During her long career in education, she taught multiple grade levels and subjects at several different institutions and worked for the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church, which later became the Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. She and Bill met when they were both teaching at Robinson School in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After they were married, Bea completed a Master’s degree in teaching at Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee while Bill attended Vanderbilt University. During this time, Bea and Bill were active in the Civil Rights movement. They participated in the Nashville sit-ins, helped to organize student protests, and started a family. While raising three children during the next 30 years and living in various parts of the United States, Mexico City, and Puerto Rico, Bea continued to teach and was active in several Methodist churches. She served as a librarian for the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, during the early 1970s, and resumed teaching at Robinson School. She later taught at the Navajo Methodist Mission School in Farmington, New Mexico, and McCurdy School in Española, New Mexico. In the 1980s and 90s, while Bill taught at Oklahoma City University (OCU), Bea served as an administrator at Skyline Urban Ministry, a mission outreach of the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church, from which she retired in 1996. Bea was active in Chapter 238 of Amnesty International in Oklahoma City and in the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Bea and Bill were arrested numerous times following demonstrations against the death penalty in Oklahoma and received a lifetime service award from the Coalition.

Bea actively supported the Reconciling Ministries Network and the Methodist Federation for Social Action, both unofficial United Methodist organizations. This support included participation in committees at Epworth United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City and St. John’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock, Texas that petitioned the General Conference of the denomination to become more fully open in its acceptance of LGBTQ persons. As a citizen, she supported Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and numerous other organizations.

For those who wish to make memorial gifts, the family suggests donations to Amnesty International, the Alzheimer’s Association, Reconciling Ministries Network (UMC), the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Pike County Outreach Council in Waverly, or a local food bank. Bea’s remains will be buried with Bill’s in the cemetery of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, where Bill’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and many other relatives are buried. A burial service will be officiated by Rev. Kathy Brown from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Faithful Frontline

The Faithful Frontline

mental health signs

By Rev. Dawn Spragg

Deacon, Central Rogers and The Teen Action and Support Center

I cannot tell you how many clients have come into my office and begun their session with the words, “When COVID hit!”

COVID-19 has created an overwhelming need for physical, emotional and spiritual care.

There is no doubt that people in the church are struggling right now. The pandemic has made it difficult to worship together. Pastors may not be able to visit people in the hospital, have memorial services or weddings. Music, youth and children’s ministries have all changed. And if the pandemic isn’t creating enough hurt for our communities and churches, people are encountering the pain of racism, social injustice, and political division.

As pastors and ministry leaders, you are aware that God’s flock is hurting. You are the spiritual frontline and I am sure you are faithfully caring for as many people as you can.

You have thought outside the box.
You have, or still are, adjusting to new technology.
You are following guidelines and explaining safety needs.
You are preparing for a “new normal.”
You have adopted a “no rest for the weary” motto.

It isn’t working. You’re tired. Your exhaustion doesn’t mean your faith is not strong enough. Being weary doesn’t mean you don’t trust God enough. It means you are a faithful frontline worker. What you are experiencing is normal for what is happening around you and in your ministry setting.

The phases people experience in times of collective trauma are well documented.

First, we respond. This is the Active Crisis phase. We wholeheartedly engage when things first erupt. We jump in with energy and conviction. We encourage one another. We find a way to get things done.

Next, we work together for a period of time, feeling good about the decisions we are making. We collaborate and collectively we feel good about the work we are doing. This is the Honeymoon phase.

After some time passes, weariness creeps in. The energy and conviction we had at first has faded. The work is overwhelming and decisions are difficult. This is the Disillusionment phase or it is also referred to as the “6-month wall.” After six months of ministering amid many challenges and much pain we find ourselves here. We are weary. You are weary.

And Jesus is calling.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NLT)

Rest- it’s what you need right now. Rest from the heavy burdens and rest for your soul. Yes, God has called you to serve others but today you need to find rest. This is not another thing to add to your self-care list. It is an invitation to be still and know God is with you in these moments. The Lord your God is wanting you to find a quiet place, perhaps beside still water, and lay down for a nap. You need some rest.

After your nap, you could think about what your soul needs right now. If you are carrying burdens and frustrations, it is a good time to release some of those.

Are there disappointments you have been holding on to?
Are there harsh words or criticisms stuck on repeat?
Do you feel the weight of dissatisfaction pulling you down?

Jesus has offered to take these from you if you would like to hand them over. Whatever burdens you feel you have, you do not have to carry them alone.

I don’t want you to get the impression I am casually saying “You can do it!” You can, but you cannot do it alone. And the good news is, you don’t have to! You are yoked to Jesus.

The collective trauma and weariness you are experiencing will soon lead to a Reconstruction phase. Sometime after the “6-month wall” we breakthrough and begin anew. I want to encourage you to refill your spirit with words of God’s promises. Read (or listen) to an inspiring book. Create a new playlist filled with your favorite songs of hope or hymns of praise.

We are all navigating our way through some challenging times. So rest, let Jesus lift the burdens from you, and receive the joy that comes with whatever is next.

Making it Local

Making it Local

make it local

By Rev. Sam Meadors

Community Coordinator, The Delta Project - 200K More Reasons

Our picture of what hunger looks like is shaped early in our lives. I was speaking to a pastor recently who told me, “I always knew that there were Africans who were going hungry. That point was always driven home because if I left any food on my plate, I’d be reminded of the starving children in Africa. But now, I look back and realize that my family had food to put on my plate, but often just enough. It’s taken me most of my life to realize that there are hungry people here in Arkansas, too.”

Whether we picture hunger as those in line at a soup kitchen, students receiving free lunches at a school, or even children experiencing poverty abroad, we need to remember that our picture is not the full picture. Whatever our vision of hunger, it is often hidden in plain sight.

Hunger is present everywhere, but we often don’t see it as such. As a campus minister, I was shocked to learn that nearly one in three college students is food insecure even when over 40% of those students have a meal plan. I knew students who asked for leftovers from our fellowship meals to take home, but surely they weren’t hungry. My mental image of hunger did not include college students…it does now. So, how do we change our view and see a bigger picture of hunger?

We start locally. Think about your community. Where are the grocery stores? Are there areas of town where access to fresh, healthy foods would be limited? Think about your schools. What percentage of students receive free and reduced lunches? How many backpacks are sent home each week to provide weekend food? Think about your neighbors. Do your elderly neighbors receive meal deliveries?

Hunger is not what we often think. It is our neighbors. The classmates of our children. Single parents working hourly jobs. Retired church members on limited income. We do not have to look far to find someone we know, someone we go to school or church or work alongside, who struggles to make ends meet and to put food on the table for their family.

This season, churches across our state are participating in Ingathering. This is a time where we thank God for the abundance in our lives by sharing that abundance with others. Things have changed this year due to COVID-19. Districts are thinking locally about the influence they can make on people experiencing food insecurity.

Many districts are encouraging individuals to give where they live by finding a feeding ministry, food pantry, blessing box, or backpack program close by that you can support with your dollars or with your food donation. With donations remaining local, the impact we have on our community can be greater than ever before.

Find a way to give to Ingathering this year. Visit arumc.org/ingathering to learn about what’s happening in your area. Remember that just because we struggle to see hunger in our community doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. We can all do something to make a difference for our neighbors.

Bishop Warner Brown Assigned as Interim Bishop of Sierra Leone

WASHINGTON, D. C. – The Council of Bishops (COB) has assigned former president of the Council retired Bishop Warner Brown as the interim bishop for the Sierra Leone Area of The United Methodist Church following the death of Bishop John Yambasu who died on August 16.

Current COB President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey made the announcement today after the full Council voted to approve the recommendation from the West Africa College of Bishops as per Paragraph 407 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. The West Africa Central Conference Committee on Episcopacy and the Sierra Leone Annual Conference Committee on Episcopacy were also consulted.

Bishop Brown will assume the interim responsibility of episcopal oversight for Sierra Leone Annual Conference until the election of a new bishop following the 2020 General Conference that is expected to take place in the fall of 2021.

“We continue to grieve the unexpected and tragic death of Bishop John K. Yambasu and continue to pray for the people of Sierra Leone and most especially for the Yambasu family,” Bishop Harvey said.

Bishop Harvey noted that she has been in close communication with Bishop Benjamin Boni, the president of the West Africa College, as they balance the sense of urgency to recommend an interim and at the same time provide needed space for grief for the Conference and for the family.

“During this time, we have consulted with leaders of the Sierra Leone Cabinet, Committee on Episcopacy and the West Africa Committee on Episcopacy. In addition, we have sought the wisdom of many who have knowledge of the current setting who have provided great wisdom that will be helpful during this in between time,” Bishop Harvey said.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges to the assignment namely the difficulty and impossibility of safe travel to Sierra Leone in addition to the many restrictions that are in place across the United Methodist connection.

Most of the oversight by Bishop Brown will be virtual until it is safe to travel to Sierra Leone. COB Communications Office will assist in providing connectivity by utilizing the best virtual platforms available. Several UMC boards and agencies, including United Methodist Communications, GCFA, and Global Ministries, have agreed to step in and assist.

Bishop Harvey described Bishop Brown’s collegial style and his bridge-building gift as essential for this role. “He is a coach, teacher and mentor at the core, which will make his work with the Cabinet and local leaders extremely important,” she said.

Bishop Brown served as president of the Council of Bishops from 2014 to 2016, just before he retired. Click here to read his bio.

Rev. Anthony G. Dioh, chair of the West Africa Central Conference Committee on Episcopacy, Mrs. Anne Koroma, chair of the Sierra Leone Committee on Episcopacy, and Rev. Francis Charley, dean of the Sierra Leone Conference Cabinet welcomed the assignment of Bishop Brown and offered to provide whatever support is needed during this time.

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
mmulenga@umc-cob.org
202-748-5172
www.unitedmethodistbishops.org