UMCOR Issues Statements Supporting Aid for Multiple Crises Around the World

UMCOR Issues Statements Supporting Aid for Multiple Crises Around the World

umcor

The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries has released statements this week responding to the multiple crises around the world, including the recent earthquake in Haiti and the turmoil playing out in Afghanistan.

UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is working to support Haitians who have lost their homes and family members to the deadly earthquake on Aug. 14. Similarily, funds are also being raised to support Afghans and U.S. citizens who are attempting to escape Afghanistan after the recent takeover of the country by the Taliban.

Additionally, UMCOR;s US Disaster Response and Recovery staff is working to support those affected by the flooding in Tennessee and Western North Carolina, and the rainfall brought by Tropical Storm Henri on the East Coast. Gifts to support these efforts can be sent to UMCOR-US Disaster Response and Recovery, Advance #901670, https://umcmission.org/advance-project/901670/.  Checks can be sent to Global Ministries/UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068, with Advance #901670 on the memo line.

To read UMCOR and Global Ministries statement on Haiti, visit https://umcmission.org/international-disaster-response/earthquake-in-haiti-umcors-response/

The statement on Afghanistan can be found here https://umcmission.org/august-2021/umcor-supports-afghans-in-need/

Individuals who are interested in supporting UMCOR’s response in Afghanistan and Haiti can make gifts online at https://umcmission.org/advance-project/982450/ or by checks sent to Global Ministries/UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068, with Advance #982450 noted on the memo line.

BSA Bankruptcy Affects United Methodist Congregations

The United Methodist Communications Office of Public Relations released the following letter regarding the ongoing Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case. Please refer to the letter for information on next steps for local United Methodist churches.

Nashville, Tenn.: The United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations have a relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which dates back more than 100 years. In February 2020, the BSA announced the national organization would file for bankruptcy to allow it to continue carrying on its mission while also compensating sexual abuse victims who were harmed during their time in scouting. While the bankruptcy is ongoing, the BSA, along with its local councils, recently reached an agreement with representatives of most of the survivors on a proposed $850 million settlement.

 

At this time, negotiations are ongoing for other parties with an interest in the bankruptcy. Questions remain about how that agreement might affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations that have sponsored scouting programs. United Methodist congregations represent the largest active collection of chartered organizations. The interests of those congregations are represented by an ad hoc committee established to represent United Methodist interests, which is actively engaged in the bankruptcy process and related negotiations.

 

The denomination continues to maintain a relationship with the BSA and churches may continue to support scout troops. However, the ad hoc committee is disappointed and very concerned that the BSA did not include its sponsoring organizations, charter groups, in the agreement with the claimants. This leaves as many as 5,000 United Methodist U.S. congregations—or more than 15 percent of U.S. congregations—exposed to potential lawsuits by the survivor claimants. Charter organizations were promised by the BSA to be covered by their insurance, but at this time, it is not clear to what extent United Methodist congregations will be covered.

 

The ad hoc committee has advised that churches that support scouting units should: (1) agree to extend an expiring charter through December 31, rather than renew that charter; (2) replace an expiring charter with a facilities use agreement that expires on December 31; or (3) terminate an existing charter and replace it with a facilities use agreement that expires on December 31. All of those options allow more time to see how the bankruptcy will impact United Methodist congregations.

 

United Methodist leaders across the denomination grieve for those who experienced harm. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey called upon the church to pray for the victims and their families. “This tragedy is a reminder for all of us to be vigilant, update Safe Sanctuary policies and continue to review those policies to ensure congregations are following the policies and keeping all young people safe from harm.”

 

More than 80,000 distinct claims from 1940 through 2018 were filed by the court-established deadline. Some of those claims are potentially connected to scouting units sponsored by United Methodist congregations. The BSA implemented its current program designed to help prevent sexual abuse and ensure the safety of Scouts starting in the 1980s and there have been fewer cases since the development and improvement in the program. The percentage of claims related to United Methodist-sponsored scouting units is proportionately lower than that of other chartered units. United Methodists have and continue to implement Safe Sanctuary policies and practices.

 

A leadership team has also been formed to help develop principles, guidelines and action steps in preparation for leading the church through the unfolding bankruptcy and its impact on United Methodist chartered organizations. The team, chaired by Bishop John Schol, includes representatives of the Council of Bishops, as well as persons with financial, legal and communications expertise.

For questions or concerns, please contact the Rev. Jim Polk, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministry, at jim.polk@arumc.org, (501) 324-8042.

Methodist Le Bonheur Updates Clergy Visitation Policy

methodist le bonheur

Methodist Le Bonheur of Memphis, Tennessee has updated their clergy visitation policy to reflect current covid-19 trends in the area.

The main changes to the policy include the following:

  • To ensure safety for all, we are placing a pause on volunteers and visiting clergy in our facilities, effective today.
  • As a faith-based organization, we value the role of spiritual care for our patients, so we encourage clergy support through phone and platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime.
  • In addition, we offer 24/7 spiritual care support through our spiritual care helplines for pediatric patients at 901.297.2388 and for adult patients at 901.573.5631.
  • We will make exceptions for clergy visitation for end-of-life care.
  • We will reevaluate this policy weekly, and will welcome volunteers and clergy back to our facilities as soon as we determine it is safe to do so.

To read the full document of policies and procedures, visit the link below.

MLH Visitation Policy Aug 2021

North Little Rock FUMC Hosts Summer Social Justice Lunch and Learn Series

nlrfumc

The United Methodist Church has a long and rich history of concern for social justice, and North Little Rock First United Methodist Church is no different.  This summer, NLRFUMC is proud to offer its First Annual Social Justice Summer Lunch and Learn Series.  This series will begin on June 15 and will conclude on July 27.  Each Tuesday will offer a different speaker and a different topic relating to social justice.

“I am so pleased to be able to offer this social justice series at NLRFUMC.” says Rev. Lynn Kilbourne, Senior Pastor of North Little Rock First United Methodist Church.  “The topics are timely and important for all of us, regardless of our individual beliefs, in order to continue to live in loving community with one another.”

Each Lunch and Learn will begin at noon and conclude by 12:45, in order to accommodate lunch breaks.  The schedule is as follows:

June 15: Racial Reconciliation with Rev. Betsy Singleton Snyder

June 22: The School to Prison Pipeline with Former Senator Brenda Gullett

June 29: Climate Change with Dr. Steven Strode

July 6: Asian American Pacific Islander Issues in Arkansas with Joshua Ang Price, Founder of Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus of Arkansas.

July 13: Social Justice During the Time of Modern Immigration with Vince Insalaco

July 20: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church with Rev. Lynn Kilbourne

July 27: Pay Inequality with Sen. Joyce Elliott

“The range of topics and the expert speakers represent the best of the best to facilitate the discussion of these important subjects in today’s world.” Says Rev. Annie Lankford, Associate Pastor and facilitator of the series.  “Our hope is to attract individuals from around the community to be able to continue discussions on hard and sensitive topics, speaking truth in love.”

Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch.  Bottled water will be provided.  Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling the church office at (501) 835-2201 or by emailing pastorannie@nlrfumc.org.

First United Methodist Church had its origin in a brush arbor on the North Little Rock banks of the Arkansas River in 1877. In 1886, with fewer than a hundred members, the first building was constructed for that Methodist congregation at Third and Main Streets and was named the Argenta Mission, later the Dye Memorial Chapel, in memory of the first pastor, Reverend John H. Dye.

In 1913, the growing membership built a much larger church just a block away on the corner of Third and Maple Streets. By the late 1940’s, the building had become inadequate for the growing Sunday School and insufficient parking space was presenting a problem.  In 1951, under the leadership of Rev. James Workman, the congregation completed the construction of a new church at 22nd and Poplar Streets. But the quiet hill upon which the Poplar Street church had been built became very noisy and busy when the freeway intersection of I-40 and I-30 was built nearby, and the congregation began to look again for another location.

As the Indian Hills community of North Little Rock developed, a new Methodist congregation was established in 1964, meeting first in the homes of church members, and later in a building on John F. Kennedy Blvd. In October 1977, in an effort to strengthen both church families, Indian Hills United Methodist and First United Methodist merged to form the “new” First United Methodist Church. To accommodate growth a new sanctuary, office wing, and fellowship hall were added in 1980. A two-story classroom/daycare building was constructed in 1994. Our church family now totals about 1,500 members.

For more information about North Little Rock United Methodist Church or the Social Justice Summer Lunch and Learn Series, please call Rev. Annie Lankford at 501-920-2778. You can also email her at pastorannie@nlrfumc.org.

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Southwest District Hires New District Administrator

jodie meyers

The Southwest District of the Arkansas Conference announced today that Jodie Meyers has been hired as the new District Administrator, starting at the end of June.

Meyers will take over the position from Cindy Parker, who has served as the Southwest District Administrator since 2012. Parker plans to retire as District Administrator at the end of June.

Meyers is a graduate of Henderson State University and has worked as an office manager at Arkadelphia Physical Therapy Center since 2012. She and her husband, Brandon, have been married for 20 years, and have a 10-year-old son named Blake.

In her free time, Meyers enjoys watching Blake play baseball, working in her yard, and going fishing with her family.

She will begin working in the District Office with Cindy on June 21.