Center for Missional Outreach News
The United Methodist church continues to be in prayer with the people in Nepal and all who are affected by the earthquake. Nepal is a predominantly Hindu country in the Himalayan region of Asia.
The United Methodist mission sending agency, Global Ministries, has been in touch with all of the UMC missionaries in the area (currently there are five) and confirmed they are safe.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), our humanitarian aid agency, is preparing a response, working through local and international partners. Donations to support the response to the earthquake in Nepal and other international disasters can be made through UMCOR Advance #982450. Checks can be made out to your local church. Simply write UMCOR Advance #982450 in the memo and put in the offering plate.
As additional ways to help become known, the North Texas Conference will communicate this, and we will do what we can to equip our local churches to assist in ways that are constructive and connectional.
Two of the five missionaries assigned to Nepal are a husband and wife team who work in Kathmandu.
Dr. Mark Zimmerman and Deidre Zimmerman Update
26 April 2015
This is a quick note to keep you informed in the aftermath of yesterday’s Nepal earthquake. We and my family are well and thankful for your thoughts and prayers.
We were in church when the earthquake hit on Saturday at 12 noon, Nepal time. Its length and force was far beyond anything anyone of us had experienced before and we fully expected buildings to come down.
Thankfully, this did not happen, and in fact on the street, the main overt damage was to flimsy compound walls and old temples. Our first impression was of minimal damage. Our apartment only experienced some things falling from shelves, 95% left standing and intact.
However, as news filtered in from all sources, it became apparent that many were not so fortunate. The iconic Bhimsen Tower (Dharahara) was leveled to a single one story shard, with 80 lives lost in that incident alone. Reports continued to put the numbers into the hundreds, and now have crossed 2,000 dead. Patan Hospital remained standing (as did most modern structures) and saw 30 dead, most of the rest ‘walking wounded.’
The more serious worry is in the rural areas, where communication and relief support are sparse. No one knows the extent of the loss of life and the hardship out there. We in the Nick Simmons Institute (NSI) are in touch with the government about some response that we could make; I think this will be in Sindhupalchowk District, which we’ll visit tomorrow. The other badly hit area is Gorkha, where the epicenter was.
In the 32 hours since the quake, we have experienced aftershocks significant enough to shake us up. I’d guess that 80% of folks in the valley continue to camp out on their front lawns, rather than go inside their houses. The power has been completely cut, which has begun to affect water supply, because most here have to pump that. Only 10% of shops are open. With roads all intact, there is every reason to hope that food will not become short.
To reiterate, my family and the folks in NSI are well. We thank God. All of us in Nepal thank you for your thoughts and prayers over the coming days and weeks.
Nick Simons Institute
Katherine Parker Update
Yesterday in Nepal, we experienced a 45+-second 7.8-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter halfway between Pokhara and Kathmandu. I am safe and well in Pokhara at a gathering with other UMN missionaries. There has been minimal damage here, but we continue to feel the aftershocks. All UMN staff have been accounted for and are well. UMN core response team is attempting to return to Kathmandu, but I will stay here until at least Monday and maybe longer. Road conditions are not good.
I've been in touch with some friends in Kathmandu. Most slept outside last night. Some have experienced injury (a grandmother with a broken leg) and destruction of their homes. Panic and anxiety are being experienced by many in the city. There are older, taller and denser buildings there, and thus more destruction. But I'm not sure of the full extent of situation. We are also concerned for our friends in rural regions outside of the Kathmandu valley where there are more un-mortared stone and brick building. Reports of damage and loss of life are coming in from our partners in Dhading, but poor roads are hampering initial connection.
Thank you for the outpouring of concern for the people of Nepal and your prayers in this unfolding situation.
Your sister in service for Christ,
• There is still anxiety that this earthquake will trigger another quake on one of Nepal's other 2 fault lines and more than 5 aftershocks that will further destabilize buildings. Please pray Psalm 46 for the assurance of God's continued presence and protection.
• Please pray for those who have lost loved ones and those who have lost their shelter either temporarily or permanently. Please pray for those sleeping outside that the weather will hold stable and it won't rain.
• Water shortages are always a problem in Kathmandu. Please pray that the water supply will be sufficient and uncontaminated (I've heard reports of "rust-colored" water). Please pray that the temporary outdoor living will not lead to a cholera outbreak.
• Please pray for our response team traveling to Kathmandu and for UMN staff as we implement our emergency response plan that we will be able to help.
• Please pray for the teenage children of several missionary colleagues who are in Kathmandu and separated from the rest of their family here in Pokhara, and for other families who are separated from loved ones.
• Please pray for calm and release from fear as the aftershocks continue.
North Texas Conference
Faith Hope Love in Action
Mission u: 2015
Learning Together for the Transformation of the World
Spiritual Growth Study
Created for Happiness: Understanding Your Life in God
General Issue Study
The Church and People with Disabilities
Children and Youth Studies
Session I: July 16-17, 2015 morning and afternoon classes
Session II: July 18, 2015 all day
Registration opens the beginning of June. Online registration and more forms & info at umwnorthtexas.org. CEUs available!
Running 4 Clean Water
5K Run/1 Mile Fun Run 2015
Saturday, May 9, 2015
7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (Rain or Shine)
First UMC Garland invites you to run, walk, volunteer, or become a sponsor at the fifth annual Running 4 Clean Water 5K & 1 Mile Fun Walk. The event will be Saturday, May 9, 2015, rain or shine.
This will be a whole-family time of enjoyment and service. A pancake breakfast will be held after the events and there will be children's activities.
The Goal of Running 4 Clean Water is to provide children, youth, and adults with clean and safe drinking water for the rural regions of Sierra Leone, Africa. Dirty water threatens lives and destroys livelihoods on a devastating scale. Proceeds from this 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run will go toward building wells.
Run, walk, volunteer, or become a sponsor. We welcome you to join us!
Looking for a mission site for your group? Then try Connect 2 The Kingdom (C2K)!
C2K is a United Methodist program of customizable mission trips that can include room and board, meals, service projects and a fun day based on your interests. We are an approved site with United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM).
Trips generally run $225 per person, and include: project supplies, meals, snacks, project planning, building accommodations and so on. Participants will stay in the C2K building located at 927 West 10th Street, Dallas, TX, 75208.
C2K can accommodate for youth groups, college ministries, adult groups, etc., and are more than willing to build a trip that fits your group perfectly. We have forty‐eight bunk beds (bring your own linens), but can accommodate larger groups if some are willing to bring air mattress/sleeping bags for floor space.
Also available are showers for men and women, a full kitchen and a large meeting room. We do like to book to capacity when we can, so we’ll let you know if another group is interested in the same time slot.
Types of Events
We are equipped to serve trips and retreats of different types including summer mission trips, alternative spring breaks, confirmation trips, midwinter and family trips, half day trips, and family reunions and vacation rentals.
Places of Service
We partner with local religious and secular non‐profits that represent a broad range of services:
- Legacy Founders Cottage
- Project Transformation
- Wesley-Rankin Community Center
- Hillcrest House
- 2000 Roses Foundation
- Brother Bill's Helping Hand
- Buckner International
- Austin Street Center
- Girls Inc.
- United Methodist Church of North Texas
- Dallas Bethlehem Center
- People Helping People
- City Square
- Body Oak Cliff
- Mosaic Family Services
- Dallas Life
- Stewpot Dallas
For more information, email Director Jamie Nelson or call (214) 946‐8106, ext. 301.
April 28 & 30, 2015
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
500 Maplelawn Drive
Plano, TX 75075
This is an important course that will expand your awareness of the full breadth of radical welcome to persons who may be on the margins of society.
This is a two-session class. The sessions on Awareness and Accessibility will be taught on Tuesday afternoon, April 28, 2015, and the sessions on Integration and Advocacy will be taught on Thursday afternoon, April 30, 2015. Both sessions will be held at North Texas Conference Ministry Center in Plano, Texas.
To verbalize comfort with disability etiquette and people-first language
To understand the biblical and historical background for negative perceptions of persons with disabilities
To differentiate between healing and curing
To identify collective and individual attitudes about disability that divide the body of Christ and to consider attitudes that bind us together
To recognize the role that environmental modifications, technology, and task adaptations play in enabling many persons with disabilities to live full, satisfying lives.
To carry out a functional accessibility audit with a focus on safety and access for persons with mobility and vision losses.
To describe the difference between communication needs and identity of persons who are part of the deaf culture, persons who are heard of hearing, and persons who are late-deafened.
Participants will grow in their understanding that disability ministry means an attitude of integration in which there is no place for us and "them", and all persons are welcomed and assimilated as members of the body of Christ
Congregations will learn to identify, nurture, and use the gifts of persons with all kinds of disabilities in the service of God
Leaders strengthen worship and education through employing all the senses and engaging heart and body as well as mind and soul
To verbalize awareness of discrimination and disadvantage that people with disabilities, including veterans, experience and how faith communities can make a difference
To be prepared to advocate in one's local church and community to improve accessibility and integration
To envision the gifts that a pastor living with or affected by a disability would bring to one's congregation
About Rev. Dr. Tom Hudspeth
Rev. Hudspeth represents the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries. He is the executive pastor and pastor of the Deaf at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Born in Dallas, Tom is a fifth generation Texan, but being a child of a United Methodist pastor and pastoral counselor, he has lived in various places.
Tom was born hard of hearing and grew up oral deaf. He responded to God's call to Deaf ministry while attending a rally for the Deaf at St. John's UMC in Oklahoma City in 1989. From his internship at Perkins School of Theology, Tom began to learn sign language through the Oklahoma Conference Ministry with the Deaf. Tom's Doctor of Ministry project, "ASL as a Means of Grace," was through Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He has served churches in Henderson, Texas; Lower Hutt, New Zealand and Marshall, Texas.
Tom has been a member of the United Methodist Congress of the Deaf since 1989. In 2009, he was elected General Secretary of the World Federation of Deaf Methodists, and in 2011, became a consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries. Tom and his wife, Mary Kay (Deaf), have two children, Lossibeth (hearing) and Christian (Deaf).
Promoting Human Rights is an Important Mission Responsibility
By Rev. Marji Bishir Hill
Over a week has passed since nearly 150 people were killed at Garissa University in Kenya, in a carefully planned attack by the Islamist group Al-Shabaab. Since then, several NTC clergy have asked if the United Methodist Council of Bishops or other leading agencies in the denomination have issued a statement or are planning additional responses.
In fact, Thomas Kemper, the General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, did issue a formal call for prayer in a statement about the attack on April 2, 2015. He is often asked to issue statements on human rights violations. These requests are so frequent, it illustrates that promoting human rights is an important mission responsibility. The question is, how does the church respond in a way that is different from a secular message based only on the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights? We have a unique opportunity to speak about human rights from our theological perspective.
Below is an excerpt of a meaningful report that Kemper gave last year. It may help clergy and group leaders who are preparing to lift up the topic of human rights, either in a sermon, prayer or other group exercise.
General Secretary’s Report: God’s Mission and Human Rights
Report to the Board of Directors. New York, NY, April 10, 2014
With a focus on human rights in mission, Thomas Kemper’s semiannual report to the Global Ministries’ directors highlighted one of the mission goals of the agency, to “seek justice, freedom and peace.”
While the United Methodist Social Principles and General Conference resolutions offer basic guidance, he explained that complexities “take us into a maze of often competing historical interpretation, theological perspectives and practical implications involving Christian promotion of full and equal rights among all people.”
Kemper shared three lessons he has learned from exploring the philosophy and application of the assertion that “every human being has the right to justice, freedom and peace.”
- While the importance of human rights has a Biblical basis, the concept and consciousness have evolved over time. For John Wesley, Kemper said, “rights were not based solely in theological perspective on the image of God in the human creature; he went another step: dignity and rights are inherent because of the creative and creating love of God.”
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not entirely secular but was written in large part by theologians and lay statesmen with strong ecumenical connections. Observing how the declaration connects human rights with religious conviction, Kemper challenged directors to question, “just how do we treat one another when we believe that we all belong together through divine creation and God’s affection?”
- The global church strives to be faithful in God’s mission, however human rights are not universally observed. Kemper said that “culture often dictates what is considered a ‘right’ and what is considered unacceptable behavior.” Emphasizing concern for religious liberty for people of all faiths, he indicated a special solidarity with Christians who face barriers and persecution in many parts of the world. Noting the situation in Pakistan, including its blasphemy laws, Kemper said, “I have learned that the denial of rights, the failure to realize that we belong together, kills people, ends the dreams of children, and disrupts families.”
At the heart of his third point was the story of a couple who lost their two children and the wife's mother when a suicide bomber killed 80 people at All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, this past September. Global Ministries is sponsoring the couple for a time of spiritual refreshment in the United States. Introducing them to directors, Kemper said, “We are honored to have them with us today to stand as witnesses to agony and to reliance on God when human rights are violated.”
“The global church is speaking out and condemning these horrifying attacks. We as the church continue to work for peace and justice and pray for all who are impacted by terrorism,” says Melissa Hinnen, Global Ministries Director of Content and Public Information.
Have you considered becoming a Faith Community Nurse/Congregational Nurse/Parish Nurse?
Are you already serving in that capacity in your congregation?
Then this course is for you!
If you practice in this specialty, The Scope and Standards of Practice for Faith Community Nursing requires that you attend a foundational course specific to the specialty. Methodist Health System Golden Cross Congregational Health Ministry will be hosting the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course with Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing. The course will be held at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
The cost of the course is $300 and will provide 36 CNE contact hours. UMC nurses may qualify for scholarships. Course materials, continental breakfasts and lunches are included.
Watch for more information in fall 2015.
The Zip Code Connection is involved in some amazing work this year. We were able to employ two Connections Directors – George Battle and Melinda Watters – who are each living and working in the two communities we are serving: South Dallas/Fair Park and Red River County.
In South Dallas, George is working simultaneously on the political and economic issues that are key for long-term community transformation and on neighbor-driven projects like a collaborative of urban and community gardeners and a work group on crime and safety issues. We also have launched a faith coalition of the 138 churches located in this community, candidate forums and voter registration drives for the upcoming city council elections, and a collaborative extended Vacation Bible School that will also feed hungry children.
In Red River County, Melinda is working with the city of Clarksville to open a community center that was prompted by our community alliance of churches and community leaders who wanted to start a senior center. She is also serving on a community task force seeking ways to replace the health services lost when the county’s only hospital closed and is working with the school district to create its first-ever volunteer coordination system.