TENNESSEE CONFERENCE REVIEW August 6, 2010
1. Bishop’s Flood Relief Appeal flyer
2. VIM Mission trip to Liberia
3. Tennessee Pastor Launches “Getting Ready for Sunday” Column and Web Site
4. Revival at Hartsville United Methodist Church
5. Introducing the Rev. Dr. Ed Trimmer, Executive Director of the Cal Turner Center for Church Leadership
6. Eagle project far from the ordinary.
7. Mississippi Choctaw Youth become part of mission team in Tennessee
8. Stephen E. Handy, Sr., honored with G. Ross Freeman Leadership Award
9. Dr. Gloria Johnson presented Frances Asbury Award
10. A Second Chance Shared
Bishop’s Flood Relief Appeal
VIM Mission Trip to Liberia
By Peggi Billman
Tennessee team members on the mission trip to Liberia: l to r, Frank Billman, Peggi Billman, and Jonathan Dow.
Bishop John Innis invited Aldersgate Renewal Ministries [ARM] to send a team to Liberia to lead the Life in the Spirit Seminar, Worship in Spirit and Truth seminar and Lord Teach Us to Pray seminar at the Gbarnga School of Theology. After much planning and preparation work, on May 16th a team of 13 boarded a plane in Chicago for a UM Volunteers in Mission trip to Liberia. Members of the team were Frank & Peggi Billman (Joelton, TN), Jonathan Dow (Hendersonville, TN), Rich & Sue Fetzer (Woxall, PA), Rev. Maryanne & George Ditter (Woxall, PA), Rev. Doug Miller (Franklinville, NC), Gary & Deb Todd (Twinsburg, OH), Bob & Lynn Denges (Hudson, OH), and Lynn Norman (Silver Spring, MD).
Peggi Billman coordinated the Lord Teach Us to Pray seminar, Jonathan Dow, Executive Director of ARM, coordinated the Worship in Spirit and Truth seminar, and Dr. Frank Billman, Director of Church Relations for ARM and pastor of Forest Grove UMC in Joelton, coordinated the Life in the Spirit Seminar.
There were about 160 participants made up of pastors, church leaders and students from the school. Some of the pastors walked 15 hours in high heat and humidity to get to the seminars. Many people responded to opportunities for healing prayer. A number of people then testified to being healed. Others testified to receiving dreams and visions. One Life in the Spirit experience involved those who had no father or never knew their father receiving words of affirmation and love from fathers in the group. One female pastor in particular was visibly touched by this experience and wept.
The 14 year long civil war ended in Liberia in 2003 but signs of the war were evident. The school property had been occupied by two rebel groups and the agriculture school, fish ponds and rice paddies were destroyed. Bullet holes could be seen in some buildings. Road damage caused by the war made travel take much longer. There was no running water and electricity by generator only. The school had returned to the site from Monrovia just a little over a year ago. One meaningful experience during the Life in the Spirit Seminar was when a team member offered the opportunity for them to forgive those who destroyed, harmed or even killed family members during the war. The team member stood in for whoever their enemy might have been and then asked the participants to speak out words of forgiveness towards those who sought to destroy them, even naming them if they could. Men at the front pointed and said (loudly) “I forgive you Charles Taylor”, who was the oppressive President of the country during the war.
Worship celebration in Liberia
The team had shipped extra manuals for each of the seminars to be used after the team left. They also brought 4 donated laptop computers (none of the faculty members had computers), clothing and shoes for children and adults, choir robes and Bibles. There is a need for Bibles, choir robes and Methodist hymnals (any edition) in the United Methodist churches there. These items can be shipped there economically through Operation Classroom, a General Board of Global Ministries Advance Special project.
The team also toured other United Methodist works in Ganta and Monrovia. They returned home safely on May 27th.
Yatta Roslyn Young, Dean of the School and 3 District Superintendents present at the seminars were very pleased with the results. They will be a topic of discussion at upcoming charge conferences and the cabinet meeting.
Aldersgate Renewal Ministries has conducted these same seminars in churches across the United States. Another team is taking the Life in the Spirit Seminar to India in September.
Tennessee Pastor Launches “Getting Ready for Sunday” Column and Web Site
The Rev. Martin Thielen
Years ago at a denominational meeting, two old seminary friends ran into each other. It had been twenty years since they last met. One served as a pastor, the other as a minister of music. The pastor asked the music minister, “What have you been doing these past twenty years?” He answered, “The same as you, getting ready for Sunday!”
Church leaders spend enormous amounts of time and energy getting ready for Sunday. Therefore, they constantly need fresh worship and preaching ideas. That need prompted Martin Thielen, senior pastor at Lebanon First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, to launch a new “Getting Ready for Sunday” column and Web site.
Beginning with the Sept/Oct 2011 issue, Martin will write a “Getting Ready for Sunday” worship and preaching column for the international digital clergy magazine, Net Results. The column will be attached to Martin’s recently launched preaching and worship Web site: http://www.gettingreadyforsunday.com/.
GettingReadyForSunday.com includes worship, preaching, and pastoral leadership articles, the Net Results columns, and a selection of storytelling style sermons and sermon series. Martin will add new articles, sermons, and sermon series to the site on a regular basis. In the future he plans on adding drama and lectionary preaching resources.
Before transferring to the United Methodist Church, Martin served as a national worship and preaching consultant, editor, author, and adjunct seminary professor for the Southern Baptist Convention. Martin is the author of five books and over one hundred articles, most on the subject of preaching and worship. His latest book, What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? A Guide to What Matters Most (Westminster John Knox) will be released in February, 2011. Martin’s next book, If Money, Success, and Beauty Don’t Make People Happy, What Does? will be released by WJK in 2012.
During Martin’s tenure, Lebanon First United Methodist Church has doubled in size, primarily by prioritizing worship. Articles about Lebanon’s revitalization and growth, including “How Worship Brought Our Church Back from the Dead,” can be found at http://www.gettingreadyforsunday.com/
One Bread, One Body, One Lord of All!
Revival at Hartsville United Methodist Church
Preachers for the Hartsville Revival: Tito Hernandez, Willie Jackson, and Tom Gibson.
A multi-cultural revival brought together three cultures and five congregations at Hartsville UMC on July 1, 2 and 3! The Chapel Hill UMC (Anglo and Hispanic congregations), Lafayette UMC (Anglo and Hispanic congregations), and Williams Chapel Church (African American) came together to celebrate God’s abiding presence, love and grace through Jesus Christ—together!
Uziel Hernandez and Pastor Tito Hernandez organized this celebration, with Pastors Willie Jackson, Tito Hernandez, and Tom Gibson preaching on each of the three nights following a fellowship meal together each evening! Uziel Hernandez interpreted for the services in both English and Spanish for the 100+ persons present, all of whom were thrilled to be sharing in such a momentous time of coming together as One Body, sharing One Bread, and giving testimony to the One Lord of All!
Special thanks to Uziel and Pastor Tito, for your vision and for helping this great event to happen!
Introducing the Rev. Dr. Ed Trimmer
Executive Director of the Cal Turner Center for Church Leadership
Dr. Ed Trimmer
Greetings from Martin Methodist College and the Cal Turner Jr. Center for Church Leadership. My name is Rev. Dr. Ed Trimmer and I am the new Executive Director of the Center. I love Jesus Christ and God's Church, thus I am very excited to be able to be a part of the Center for Church Leadership thanks to the generosity of Cal Turner Jr.
I have been a lifelong Methodist (before we were United Methodist). In fact, I remember thinking the UMW (sorry ladies) stood for the United Mine Workers, since my dad was a union organizer when I was a “wee lad.” As a lifelong United Methodist I hope to help a conversation continue or begin with those of us who love the United Methodist Church and who are struggling with how to help our church adapt to a new time of change in this country.
Since I am new to this conference I need to study the context for our ministry together for Jesus Christ and building God's Kingdom. I may bring up things that you may have intuitively known about yourselves OR simply things you don't believe about yourselves. But always my task in this column is to help the conversation continue around the work and ministry of God and the United Methodist Church.
For example, did you know that a quarter of all the United Methodist's in this annual conference who are in church on a given Sunday attend just 16 of our roughly 611 churches. Do you know which sixteen? Or that approx. 57% of our churches (or 351) have an average worship attendance on Sunday less than 50 people. How do these numbers compare with other conferences in the UM Church?
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Seminary (Lovett Weems) suggests that 125 is roughly the number of average worship attendance needed to support a full-time seminary educated elder. My own research, esp. in the Southeast Jurisdiction where giving per household unit has historically been slightly higher than the rest of the country, suggests the number of average worship attendees needed to support a seminary educated elder is somewhere around 100. None the less that means the majority of our churches have no realistic expectation in the near future of being able to support a full-time seminary educated elder dedicated to “their” church. Is that good or bad?
I believe we have as many elders in our church now as we did when we had 4 million more members and 6,000 more churches. Is this a good or bad thing? Is it time, not for guaranteed appointments to go, but for minimum salary to disappear; especially 12% pension, which is incredibly generous given that business standards have fallen to about 5% contribution to pension by employers with employees matching?
Do we need a different style of church leadership and education for “mustard seed” churches (small membership), as the Bishop refers to them, beyond or besides local pastor schools dominated by “UM seminaries”?
How does your church respond when it realizes that the largest Protestant Churches in the country have made drums and guitars the musical instruments of choice over the keyboards? While organs are not going to disappear any time soon, their 400-500 year reign as the musical instrument of choice in Protestant worship is rapidly declining?
These issues and others are what I hope to discuss in subsequent columns with the hope of keeping a dialogue alive among those of us who love God and God's Church. Blessings from Martin Methodist and the Cal Turner Jr. Center for Church Leadership.
140 seniors dine and dance courtesy of scout
Eagle project far from the ordinary
This article originally appeared in the online newspaper The Brentwood Home Page, Posted July 7, and was very slightly modified for this issue of THE REVIEW. It is used here by permission. Further information about the Brentwood Home Page is carried at the end of this article.
Event host Rob Graham dances with 93-year-old Naomi Jones who is visiting from Colorado. Mrs. Jones is the mother of Brentwood member Jackie Shields.
More than 100 Brentwood seniors danced the night away Friday, July 9th, all courtesy of another senior and a few of his friends and supporters.
Troop 1 Life Scout Rob Graham—a Brentwood High School senior—hosted Candlelight Memories, a free seated dinner and dance, as his Eagle Scout project.
The fun evening blossomed out of a sad series of events, however, Graham explain on Tuesday before the dance as he measured Haney Hall at Brentwood United Methodist Church where the event was to be held.
Good food and great dance music. Things don’t get better than this. Ruth and Al Regen reside at the Heritage Senior Living Community. They are 60 year members of Belmont UMC
“I was ushering at Billy Jim Vaughn’s funeral, and I overheard a member of the Robert I. Moore Sunday School class ask, ‘Are we in the same spot?’” he recalled. The class, one of the church’s oldest and largest, had lost several members in the past year. Among them was Vaughn, who died in December at age 97. Vaughn served as Troop 1 scoutmaster for almost 75 years. Another was Bob Battle, well-known as an editor of the Nashville Banner and more recently, as Country Living columnist for The Tennessean.
“I felt that was really sad, to know they had had so much loss they had ‘a spot’ to sit at funerals,” Rob said.
Because Vaughn had made such an impact on his life, Rob said, “I wanted to give back to his group, to this group.”
The Moonlighters brought back fond memories of the big band sound from the 1930s and 40s.
His Eagle project plan was approved by the Mid-Tennessee Boy Scout Council in March and he got to work immediately afterward. He solicited donations and discounts, secured a caterer and booked a band. He admitted that as a 17-year-old, he had a lot to learn about party planning. For instance, you need salt and pepper shakers if you’re having a dinner party. He’s also learned about coffee creamers, sugar caddies and water pitchers.
Elizabeth and Chester Hill were fabulous dancers. The tango and many other dances – they were comfortable with them all.
One detail he was dealing with on Tuesday before the dance was a dance floor. He hadn’t budgeted for one and learned late in the afternoon that the cheapest one he could get would be almost $500. If all else fails, he said dancing on carpet wouldn’t be a disaster. Graham DID secure a dance floor and only had to pay installation costs so everything was go for the dinner dance.
Graham sent personal invitations to all members of the Robert I. Moore and Wesley Forum Sunday School classes at Brentwood UMC. He put up flyers at The Heritage senior living community and The FiftyForward Martin Center to spread the word. All seniors were welcome, space permitting.
Three days before the dance 130 persons has signed up for the event. He originally hoped about 75 to 100 guests would attend.
Suzanne McKnight and scout Xavier – the scouts danced with the ladies all evening long
Fellow scouts, friends and family played a huge role in making the dinner-dance a success, he said. Recent Brentwood High School grad Patrick Walsh helped his friend measure Haney Hall before the dance.
“I think it’s great that he’s doing something really good,” Walsh said, and he was back on Friday afternoon to help set up. He wasn’t alone. Over 40 people helped set up, serve, bus tables and wash dishes. A few even served as dance partners.
There was plenty of dancing with The Moonlighters performing music from the 1930s to the 1950s.
The Parents of host Rob Graham, Bob and Susan Graham.
A final Summary Note from Rob Graham
My original goal with this dinner dance was to affirm the value of our senior members of the church and our community in a way that was fun and included them in a very personal way. I wanted to honor them with an event that would combine several generations and affirm the importance of sharing our lives. Scouts dancing with dressed up ladies provided that very experience in a way that brought smiles and laughter! I have been blessed to have the support of my family, my church, my youth group and scouts who have all helped make my vision a reality that far exceeded my original goals. One of the attendees, Chad Drumright, announced to his Sunday School class, “When I came to the dinner, I was 80, but when I left I was 16 again!” That says it all!
More information about the Brentwood Home Page
Brentwood Home Page (www.brentwoodhomepage.com) launched in September 2009. The online "newspaper without the pulp" bills itself as "the go to place for everything Brentwood" and quickly established itself to be just that. It is the brainchild of owners Susan Leathers, a seasoned newspaper editor, and Kelly Gilfillan, a sales and marketing professional. Both are members of Brentwood United Methodist Church.
Readers are invited to sign up as BHP members by clicking the Sign Up button in the navigation bar. It's free and allows the ability to post to the site's free classifieds, community calendar, photo galleries and more. Members also receive daily emails listing the top stories of the day.
Mississippi Choctaw Youth become part of mission team in Tennessee
The youth from Philadelphia, Mississippi, proudly pose wearing back packs provided by the Columbia District United Methodist Women.
One of the mission studies of the UMW for 2009-2010 was Native American Survival. One of the teachers, Mary T Newman, spoke to the Columbia District UMW annual meeting. Their “love offering” was backpacks for Native American children. The backpacks would be dispensed at the discretion of the Committee on Native American Ministries. CONAM partners with the ministry of Great Spirit UMC in Philadelphia, MS of the Choctaw Nation.
Several of the Great Spirit UMC children and youth came to Tennessee to become part of a mission team with Spring Hill UMC in Clarksville District. Pastor Willie Lyle organized community mission work and social activities for the visiting youth who are led by dedicated leaders. Rev. Daniel Tubby and his wife Sybil.
Whether working on a wheelchair ramp or visiting the shut ins, the group had an impact, but also became missioners. Native Americans are systematically “missionized”. This partnership began to change the perspective and taught the visiting Choctaw youth how to minister.
The blessing of backpacks filled with school supplies, provide by the Columbia District United Methodist Women, brought many smiles and laughs as the youth chose their backpacks. Several backpacks were also sent with the group back to Mississippi. The backpacks have also found their way to South Dakota to the Rosebud Reservation to be given out through Tree of Life Ministries, a full time ministry to that area. More backpacks are going to the Four Corners area. Backpacks are also being given out at Native Moccasins Rock in August. This annual event brings together folks from about 10 tribes.
Stephen E. Handy, Sr., honored with G. Ross Freeman Leadership Award
The United Methodist Men of the Tennessee Conference and Southeast Jurisdiction have recognized a Nashville District pastor with an award for his outstanding contributions to ministry to men. The Rev. Stephen E. Handy, Sr. was presented the G. Ross Freeman Leadership Award at the Tennessee Annual Conference on June 15, 2010 at Brentwood UMC. “Brother Steve has been instrumental in promoting and supporting men’s ministry in all of the churches he has served and is most deserving of this honor”, said Ingram Howard, Conference President, who made the presentation. Rev. Handy is the sixth pastor from the Tennessee Conference to receive this award. For his outstanding work and leadership, Rev. Handy was also given a Life Membership in United Methodist Men and a $200 donation was made to the UMM Foundation in his honor.
United Methodist Men president Ingram Howard presents the G. Ross Freeman Leadership award to Stephen E. Handy, Sr.
Rev. Handy has been instrumental in rebuilding and reorganizing the men's ministry at McKendree United Methodist Church of Nashville. Under his leadership the men are participating in a weekly noon-day lunch for the homeless in downtown Nashville. They recently participated in a project to build personal energy transports for the disabled in Africa, and he leads his men in a weekly Bible study in a local barbershop. They have also launched a wellness center, a charter school, and groups which gather after the Sunday services to discuss the sermon message. Prior to his appointment at McKendree UMC last year, he had served as Senior Pastor at Pickett-Rucker UMC in Lebanon for eight years where he had an outstanding ministry. He also worked at the United Methodist Publishing House during those years.
Dr. Gloria Johnson presented Frances Asbury Award
By Michele Morton, Director of the Wesley Foundation, Tennessee State University
The Tennessee Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry honored Dr Gloria Johnson by presenting her with the Francis Asbury Award at the 2010 session of the Tennessee Annual Conference. The award offers recognition to individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the church’s ministries in higher education.
Dr. Gloria Johnson receives the Francis Asbury Award from Tom Gildemeister, Bishop Dick Wills, and Matt Charlton.
For over twenty years Dr. Johnson has worked tirelessly with campus ministry as an active board member. She served on the Board of Directors for what was then the Nashville Wesley which gave oversight to the Wesley campus ministries at Vanderbilt, TSU and Fisk. She then served actively on the TSU Wesley Foundation Board of Directors for many years while at the same time working on campus, leading, teaching and guiding students as a professor, mentor and advisor of many other student organizations on campus, including being the supervising advisor of Alpha Chi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Presently, Dr. Gloria Johnson is the Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, at Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee. Previously, she has served as the Department Head of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy, and Professor of English, at Tennessee State . She is known on campus as an extraordinary leader who puts the students well being first and foremost.
Dr. Johnson was recently honored by a young adult women’s Christian organization on campus for her gifts in leading young adults, especially college students. These students felt that she was rare on campus among the administrators because she listened to them, helped them with crucial decisions and guided them through many difficult problem solving situations. This is Dr. Johnson’s life everyday on campus as well as excelling in her university duties.
Dr. Johnson presently serves on the Tennessee Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry. She is a lifelong member of John Wesley United Methodist Church where she has served in many leadership capacities.
Wedding Shower provided a great way to celebrate and to make a difference
A Second Chance Shared
*By Julie Lewis
Editor’s Note: Nancy Neelley Hicks is a Deacon and Member of the Tennessee Conference. Her wedding shower might help other couples want to make a difference in the way they plan and celebrate an upcoming marriage.
Nancy Neelley Hicks loads her car. Shower gifts were supplies for Nashville’s homeless.
A wedding shower has paper bells and balloons, women laughing, wrapping paper and bows. On a recent evening in Nashville, a wedding shower included tents, toilet paper and tears.
In early May, historical floods changed the landscape of Nashville and surrounding counties. The residents of Tent City, a homeless community in Nashville, lost what little they had. However, during a wedding shower for the future Mrs. Neelley Hicks, her second chance at love became a second chance for others to rebuild their lives.
“I feel so blessed,” Neelley said, “and this shower was the perfect way to help others know that no matter what you’ve gone through, God’s love can help you start anew.”
Neelley’s friends purchased supplies for the homeless of Nashville to restart their lives. Several friends pooled their money to purchase 13 tents. Others donated giant packs of bathroom tissue, a necessity most people take for granted. Two partygoers created “bags of grace” for Neelley’s car. These backpacks held toiletries, socks, underwear and shoes. When she sees someone in need, Neelley will be ready to give a prepared bag. She also received feminine products, shampoos, soaps, lotions, a container for clean water, bleach, an air mattress and a cooler. A stack of gift cards, now a wedding shower staple, will go to those who need to buy what they need to live instead of wedding china and honeymoon souvenirs.
Decorating the tables were party mix served in tin cans and flashlights as candles atop shimmering pink tablecloths. Guests found their way to the shower by following a series of signs seen often on street corners. “Will work for food.” “Can you spare a dollar?” The signs of promise offered back – “Food Line” and “Free Food.”
After a traditional game of “How well do you know the bride?” the shower took a more meaningful turn. In Nashville, the homeless community writes and produces a newspaper, The Contributor. The homeless sell this paper as a source of income. Many women in the room regularly purchase copies from the street vendors. On each table, rolled up in lavender scrolls, were copies of stories from The Contributor. Several women rose to read the stories. It was a moment to hear about the lives of the people we see on the streets and often avoid.
Neelley’s heart is for the homeless of Nashville. Her secondary appointment as a deacon is to a congregation in west Nashville that includes a large homeless population. When the floods washed away Tent City, her friends lost everything. Within days, she was at Tent City helping one of the church members find the last picture of a deceased mother. Neelley’s kind, loving spirit multiplied through the gifts given during the shower.
“This shower was not only a chance to honor a bride,” said event planner Jackie Vaughan, but also “a chance to honor those who do what they can to survive on the streets. We were reminded that all persons are of sacred worth.”
“This bridal shower was one of the most meaningful and fun showers I’ve attended, added guest Amanda Bachus. “It was simple, and down to earth. It wasn’t boring because it had a real purpose.”
If you are ready to “rethink” a wedding shower, here are some things to consider:
1. Choose a cause that is important to the bride.
2. Offer the guests a specific list of items to purchase.
3. For larger items, encourage guests to pool funds.
4. Blend the traditional with the unconventional in decorating, food choices and activities.
5. When possible, include insightful stories and testimonies about the cause.
*Lewis is a member of the Web Ministry Team of United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.