Russellville First UMC’s Manna House Dedication and Open House

Russellville First UMC’s Manna House Dedication and Open House

Chris Becnel

Director of Communications, Russellville FUMC

On Sunday, September 19, Russellville First United Methodist Church Manna held its Manna House Food Pantry ribbon-cutting ceremony along with a dedication and open house. Members of the community were invited to attend the event and were given tours of the new building. Manna House volunteers showed off the new facility and explained how the different areas were designed to support the specific needs of the organization. Bishop Gary E. Mueller was present to offer a prayer of dedication on this special day that makes a significant contribution toward the Arkansas Conference initiative “200,000 More Reasons” to eliminate childhood hunger in Arkansas. There will also be an area dedicated to “Giving Books for Love” for collecting books to build the personal library of children who come to Manna House for assistance.

Inside the building’s main doors, visitors are greeted with a bright, airy entryway that leads to the offices and the storage/set up areas. To the right, two service windows invite patrons to the services of Manna House and the Help Network. Between the two windows is a hallway lined with offices and meeting spaces for the Manna House volunteer staff. Across the room from the service window hangs an original painting of the holly tree that stood outside the original Manna House Building. Local artist Boyd Osborne donated the artwork after realizing how meaningful the tree was Manna House and its patrons, as it served as shade for many waiting in line. The tree was removed to make room for the new building. Smaller holly bushes have been planted as a reminder of the original tree that provided the classic look of the space.

The storage and organizing areas of the facility feature large rows of shelving, walk-in refrigeration and freezing units, stainless steel worktables, and plenty of space for the volunteers to work sorting the variety of donated food items.

Since breaking ground on January 20, 2021, members of the community watched as the old building was taken down and the land leveled before the new construction began. With approximately 7,000 square feet, this building is designed to serve the almost 84,000 residents of Pope and Yell Counties. Manna House Food Pantry is the largest food pantry in the Arkansas River Valley serving approximately 22,000 persons per year. Not only is Manna House one of the largest food pantries in the area, but it is the only one open five days a week.

The anticipation has been building throughout the year, particularly after the exterior sign was installed on the façade on July 27. The local citizens have been eager for Manna House to open its new doors on Tuesday, September 7, and a record number of patrons have been served daily in the new location.

UM Global Ministries Launches New Effort to Raise Funds for Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine Around the World
‘Love Beyond Borders: The Interfaith Movement to End the Pandemic’ Spearheaded by First United Methodist Church of Boise, Idaho

ATLANTA (October 18, 2021) – United Methodist Global Ministries is launching a new initiative and joining interfaith partners in an effort to increase the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world. Funds donated to a new Advance giving project will support “Love Beyond Borders: The Interfaith Movement to End the Pandemic” campaign supporting UNICEF’s global vaccine distribution efforts.

Proposed to Global Ministries by First United Methodist Church of Boise, Idaho’s, missions team, “Love Beyond Borders: The Interfaith Movement to End the Pandemic” seeks to engage The United Methodist Church in supporting UNICEF’s global COVID-19 response, including distributing safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility, diagnostics and treatments.

Through this initiative, members of The United Methodist Church will contribute to UNICEF’s historic efforts in leading the procurement and supply of 1.4 billion COVID-19 vaccines to approximately 196 participating COVAX countries and economies by the end of 2021. For just $37 dollars, members can help provide 10 people with two doses of the vaccine. Global Ministries has created Advance #3022671 for this effort to ensure that 100% of donations go directly to UNICEF USA for this project.

“Since the start of the humanitarian crisis, Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) have responded with health boards, medical professionals, disaster management coordinators and faith leaders to help, as comprehensively as possible, manage the crisis and strengthen existing work,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of United Methodist Global Ministries and UMCOR. “It has been said that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Helping to fund the equitable distribution of vaccines through this Advance will help United Methodists play a key role in efforts to make that a global reality.”

“United Methodists in the Northwest have been saving lives by fighting COVID-19 for more than a year. Our people and churches have made this a priority by masking, keeping distance, meeting immediate needs for food, shelter and community, suspending in-person worship, singing and communion, welcoming and encouraging vaccination,” said Bishop Elaine J. W. Stanovsky, episcopal leader serving the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church. “But it was hard to know how to extend our love of Christ and one another beyond local communities to neighbors around the world. ‘Love Beyond Borders’ is a grassroots campaign, envisioned by one member of one church in the Oregon-Idaho Conference. Now, as an Advance project within The United Methodist Church, working with interfaith partners and UNICEF USA, it offers a beautiful way to protect and save lives around the world.”

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have severe consequences, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Accelerating the rate at which all people are vaccinated is the key to ending the pandemic, alleviating suffering and stopping deaths.

Global Ministries and UMCOR have supported partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North America as they work to respond to the pandemic and its impacts. Grants have been awarded for personal protective and essential medical equipment; cleaning solution, soap and handwashing stations; assistance with salaries, livelihoods, food, rent and utilities; awareness and training in COVID-19 prevention; and vaccine promotion.

Activities with partners and communities have included training and grants, directed and administered through Global Ministries’ Global Health program.

In July, as part of the Interfaith Vigil for Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access, Global Ministries urged President Biden to share COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles and advocated for equitable global distribution of vaccines. He has pledged 500 million vaccine doses to the world’s lowest income nations, but far more will be needed to stop the spread of this deadly illness.

At its August meeting, the Connectional Table, a United Methodist leadership body, took an action affirming the importance of equitable COVID-19 vaccine distributions.

According to research from Northeastern University, 61% of deaths globally could be averted if an effective vaccine were distributed to all countries proportional to their populations. While many wealthy countries have made significant inroads into vaccinating their citizens, this is not the case in less-developed countries. The Love Beyond Borders campaign will support COVAX’s initiative to equitably distribute vaccines around the world.


About the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church
Global Ministries is the worldwide mission and development agency of The United Methodist Church. Founded in 1819, Global Ministries today supports more than 200 missionaries in over 60 countries, including the United States. It has personnel, projects and partners in 115 countries. Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian relief agency of The United Methodist Church and is a part of Global Ministries. Learn more about Global Ministries by visiting or by following and

Through Loss and Grief, OMP Partnership Provides Mental Health Support

We are all aware of how difficult it has been for anyone in ministry since March 2020, when COVID-19 arrived in Arkansas. In late 2019, the sadness and grief preceded the pandemic for friends and supporters of Ozark Mission Project. This tragedy arrived unexpectedly through the death of OMP volunteer, Alexis Faupal, from ovarian cancer at the tender age of 21.

“Our whole community was grieving and personally I wished I could have done more to help. I didn’t have the words and felt like I didn’t have the tools to offer. The summer of 2020 led to more loss and I kept hearing of volunteers saying things like, ‘I feel like everything I love is being taken away,’” shared Bailey Faulkner, Executive Director of OMP.

Through all of the trauma caused by quarantine and loss, it became quite evident that many people could benefit from mental health counseling and support.

Faulkner stated, “Today each one of us is experiencing grief in some way, and I believe healing happens when we are able to talk through it. Now, through this partnership with Chenal Family Therapy, anyone who wants a place for free mental health support can have that.”

Ozark Mission Project recently announced its partnership with Chenal Family Therapy and that they are offering free counseling to their non-profit partners (local churches) and to ALL of those that they serve. Chenal Family Therapy has over 20+ graduate interns available in-person and by Zoom for individual, couples, and family counseling.

“We are so thankful for this partnership and hope that local churches, youth groups, and Wesley Foundations will all take advantage of these free services. And we would love for all churches to share this information on social media and in newsletters,” said Faulker.

To get confidential help today, please email

For over 35 years OMP has transformed lives and communities. To learn more about how your church can become involved with OMP, please visit or call 501-664-3232.

Leading Through Sabotage and Resistance with Tod Bolsinger

Most leaders assume that navigating the challenges of a changing world, while trying to lead wisely and well, will be the most difficult thing they face. Yet, oftentimes the most important obstacle isn’t the one faced outside the church: It’s the resistance –including sabotage -encountered inside and among a body of believers. In this two-part workshop, Tod Bolsinger will help shape you into the kind of wise, resilient leader who can lead through the external challenges and internal resistance at the same time.

Join us from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 28 and 29 for this two-part, virtual experience. Register by clicking here.

Cost: $25 for supporting conference members (Missouri, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas), $40 for other conferences

October 28, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central Time
Session 1: The Leadership Challenge of a Rapidly Changing World
Session 2: Learning to Lead All Over Again

October 29, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central Time
Session 3: Surviving the Sabotage
Session 4: Resistance and Resilience

About Tod
Tod Bolsinger, MDiv, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the De Pree Center Church Leadership Initiative, a Senior Fellow of the De Pree Center for Leadership and Associate Professor of Leadership Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary. Tod was the founder of the Fuller Leadership Platform, an innovative approach to online formation and leadership development, and served as a Vice President of Fuller Seminary for six years.

He is the author of five books, including the Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year in pastoral leadership, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, Leadership for a Time of Pandemic: Practicing Resilience and Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change. He served as a pastor for 27 years. Bolsinger speaks, consults and is an executive coach for corporate, non-profit, educational and church organizations in transformational leadership. His blogs and other resources can be found at

Tod is married to Beth, an executive coach, consultant, and professional artist. They have two adult children, Brooks and Ali, and a son-in-law, Ben. An avid outdoor lover, if he hadn’t taken biology after lunch in high school, Tod would have been a National Park Ranger. When he retires, he is going to do hiking trail maintenance, trout rescue and be a ski host who makes sure there are four people on every quad chair lift.

Incorporating Mission Moments

What if you could build a team of people who could share how grateful they are to be a part of your church? And in return create a stronger sense of discipleship and service?

“Mission Moments” are small examples of how your church is doing ministry and the only rule about these mighty tools, is that they have to be connected to groups, individuals, or locations that are near and dear to the hearts of your church family.

Where should you begin?

  1. Utilize this Engagement Template for the month of October to organize your Mission Moments both in-person and online. There are also ideas for social media too.
  2. Dive deeper into incorporating Mission Moments into a worship service with ResourceUMC.
  3. Use only ONE Mission Moment at worship each week.
  4. Utilize a layperson each week, who is already involved with this mission or who can share how it has directly affected them. Remind them more than three times, that this should be less than 2 minutes. Leave people wanting MORE, not exhausted from an overshare. Possibly consider having your Discipleship Team plan these in the future.
  5. Most importantly, make sure that the Mission Moment reflects someone, something, or somewhere that is well known to your church family. Examples include local feeding ministry, youth ministry, UMM, UMW, local schools, after-school ministries, upcoming events, and volunteers in ministries with the community.

Each Mission Moment doesn’t have to have a happy ending. It just needs to instill a sense of loyalty, passion (through giving and serving), and joy in knowing that your church family is serving way beyond the walls of the building.

WMC Names Bishop Yambasu as Recipient of 2020 World Methodist Peace Award

The World Methodist Council (WMC) has named the late Bishop John K. Yambasu as the recipient of the World Methodist Peace Award for 2020. Bishop Yambasu served as The United Methodist Church (UMC) resident bishop of Sierra Leone until his untimely death in August of 2020.

“This Award is given annually by the World Methodist Council to individuals or organizations who have contributed significantly to peace, justice and reconciliation,” WMC General Secretary Ivan Bishop Abrahams said when he made the announcement today.

“The Peace Award is the highest honor of the World Methodist Council,” Bishop Abrahams explains. The criteria for the Peace Award are courage, creativity and consistency in one’s witness to peace, justice and reconciliation. Previous recipients of the award include, among others, Presidents Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, Nelson Mandela, Boris Trajkovsky (Macedonia), Father Elias Chacour, The Community of St. Egidio (Rome) and the Grandmothers of the Plaza De Mayo (Argentina).

WMC also announced that the 2021 Award recipient was The Rev. Olav Pärnamets, a Methodist clergy of Estonia. The recipients were chosen at the Council’s Steering Committee meeting held in August. The Committee did not choose a recipient last year, so both the 2020 and 2021 recipients were named this year as the Committee met virtually.

“In the last year or so, many United Methodists, especially in the US, think of Bishop Yambasu’s work as related to the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace through Separation, but this award highlights a lifetime of active peace work for the most vulnerable in his country.  Bishop Yambasu demonstrates how peace-making is discipleship at its best,” Bishop Sally Dyck, the Council of Bishops Ecumenical Officer.

Bishop John K. Yambasu, who died August 16, 2020, in a road accident, was chosen for being a courageous peacemaker in his home country of Sierra Leone and across the United Methodist connection for many years. He provided critical leadership during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak and the 2017 mud landslide, both of which killed thousands of his fellow citizens. He was known for choosing to speak truth, even in difficult situations, while at the same time living peaceably with all people and was a role model to the United Methodists in Africa and across the connection, his nomination stated.

Bishop Yambasu grew up in poverty and is quoted as having said, “I know through and through what poverty is. I have slept with it and I have woken to it. Countless times, I went to bed without food. I have not only experienced poverty, but for almost ten years I had to wrestle with it. Today in Sierra Leone, I live side by side with poverty and misery.” He then said, “I am totally fed up!…We need to embrace each other” Red and yellow, black and white, poor and rich, have and have-nots, gay or straight, bisexual or homosexual, polygamists, we all need to engage each other… We need to torment God with our prayers and give us sleepless nights until we can look at each other in the face and say, ‘We are brothers and we are sisters’.”

Bishop Yambasu was creative in thought and action and was consistent throughout his life. He served the people around him as the focus of his call to ministry. He was a leader in the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign, the Ebola crisis, and COVID-19 pandemic. He was a teacher to young people, founder of the Child Rescue Center, and shortly before his death in an automobile accident, was elected Chancellor of Africa University.

His nominees said that Bishop Yambasu was a man of peace: peace for those living with illness, peace for children struggling in poverty, peace across nations and continents. He exemplified the best in Christian peacemaking.

Rev. Pärnamets of Estonia who will receive the 2021 Peace Award has been saluted for his work on world peace, beginning with Europe in the second half of the 20th century. The tiny Baltic country of Estonia enjoyed less than a quarter of a century as a free republic during the first half of the 20th century. Still, during that time, the Methodist Church planted roots and grew.

Born in 1937, Rev. Pärnamets spent most of his childhood and adult ministry under the strict and oppressive control of the Soviet Union, his nominees explain. Yet, this man served as a pastor and district superintendent, displaying great courage when the government of Estonia oppressed those who even participated in religious activity. Worship, theological study and evangelical activities were suppressed with the threat of punishment. But he traveled the world to share about the faithfulness of the people called Methodists in this Baltic country.

One of Rev. Pärnamets greatest strengths is creativity. With little to no money and Big Brother watching, he led by faith, and his unique ability to bring together people from different cultures, nations and backgrounds is evident in the vital Estonian church.

The dates for the presentation of the 2020 and 2021 Peace Award recipients will be announced later.

Media Contact:

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications
Council of Bishops – The United Methodist Church
110 Maryland Ave. NE  # 301
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 748-5172