Tennessee Conference Review

Electronic Version of The Tennessee Conference Review a publication of The Tennessee Conference - United Methodist Church

Thomas Nankervis, Editor

Friday, January 04, 2008


In this issue of the Tennessee Annual Conference REVIEW
1. Tennessee Annual Conference Martin Luther King, Jr. worship celebration, January 20, 2008,
2. Warmth in Winter again promises to be the Conferences’ largest and most invigorating event,
3. Fifth Annual Native American Ministry Resource Day, March 9, 2008, Blackman United Methodist Church.
4. Scouting, United Methodist Men and Cedar Crest Camp…a match made in heaven.
5. One hundred Nativity scenes, including 3,000 individual pieces, fill three rooms of Tullahoma First United Methodist Church.
6. Southeastern Jurisdiction tackles diversity issues.
7. Former Conference Lay Leader Frank Lee dead at age 83
8. What One Person Can Do to Promote Food Security.
9. Paulette Dowdy to Retire as Nashville Area Foundation Administrative Assistant.
10. Nashville Korean United Methodist Church awarded Igniting Ministry grant.
11. The Beginning of the Story, article with no graphics or photos.
12. The Rev. Dr. Karen Collier recognized for her leadership of Women of Color Scholars Program.

Tennessee Annual Conference Martin Luther King, Jr. worship celebration, January 20, 2008, Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church

The Martin Luther King, Jr. worship celebration – “Dreams: Challenges for the Faithful” will be on January 20, 2008 beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Gordon Memorial UMC in Nashville.
Through worship we will be remembering ways that Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream” has challenged us in the past, how it challenges us today, and how we can live into the future in ways that move us toward fulfilling the dream. Confirmed speakers include John Corry, Bill Barnes, Rosemary Brown, and Paul Slentz.

Dr. John G. Corry to speak at Martin Luther King, Jr. worship celebration

Music will be provided by Brooks Memorial UMC and Grady Jones, flutist.

Gordon Memorial UMC is located at 2334 Herman Street in Nashville. To reach the church take D.B. Todd Blvd from Charlotte Pike, turn left on Jo Johnston, right on 19th Avenue North, and left on Herman Street.

Warmth in Winter again promises to be the Conferences’ largest and most invigorating event

Local churches and youth groups are looking forward to the Tennessee Annual Conference’s largest annual event, Warmth in Winter. This large and vibrant youth event will be held from Feb 8th to February 10th, 2008 at the Nashville Convention Center. It may be large, but there is always room for more. It is hoped that every church will join us!

This year’s theme is “Eye of The Storm”. With music leadership by 3 Mile Road, each session will be geared to help us look at how God is the peace we need and can be the “eye” of the storm our lives tend to be.

Our speaker this year is well known in youth ministry circles. Bob Stromberg has a very unique way of sharing. His ministry is a perfect blend of standup, story and schtick. He will truly bring our topic to life.

Bob Stromberg

Stromberg is a funny man. For over thirty years he has traveled the world performing. His remarkable gift is his ability to interact with an audience and facilitate surprising laughter with an arsenal of gifts including physical comedy, a non threatening touch of audience participation and yes...even hand shadows, which the London Metro described as "stunning". Add to this hilarious and tender stories from his own experience and audiences leave amazed, refreshed and different than when they came.

He has been a featured and favorite emcee for many large stadium and arena gatherings. He has written the best selling Why Geese Fly Farther than Eagles, Finding the Magnificent in Lower Mundane and the beautifully illustrated book for families, The Miracle at Stinky Bay. Many recognize Bob from his performance on the award winning TV show Bananas.

Perhaps most notably, he coauthored and starred in the megahit theatrical production Triple Espresso ( A Highly Caffeinated Comedy). From it's start in Minneapolis, Triple Espresso, described by the Los Angeles Times as "...a triple jolt of inspired craziness" grew to ten casts, has been seen by over a million people in dozens of cities from Seattle to The West End of London and become the longest running stage production in the history of San Diego, Minneapolis and the entire state of Iowa. In his role, the Chicago Sun Times described Bob as "...a mesmerizing physical comedian."

Beside our worship times, the weekend will also include meals, workshops and mission opportunities, YSF fund raising, district meetings and free time activities. Each youth group will have their own youth group devotional each evening.

Groups can register by mailing in their registration or by going on-line to http://www.tnumcyouth.org/. Event registration and housing options are available on the same site. The registration rate is $6 5.00 per person after January 10, 2008.

Fifth Annual Native American Ministry Resource Day, March 9, 2008, Blackman United Methodist Church

The date for the 5th Annual Native American Ministry Resource Day has been set for March 9th, 2008. This year, Blackman UMC in Murfreesboro District is our host. We will gather from 1:30 to 2:00 pm for “registration and visiting”. Sessions begin at 2:00 pm.

Native flutist Grady Jones will be one of the major resource persons at the 5th Annual Native American Ministry Resource Day

Most folks have watched the “cowboy and Indian” movies of the 50’s and 60’s. If your knowledge of Native American cultures and traditions stem from these early movies or the later movies such as Dances with Wolves, then this event is a great way to hear from Native Americans who were Indian B.C.-before casinos and Kevin Costner!

The Tennessee Conference Committee on Native American Ministry (CCONAM) will be bringing up to date materials to the local church which will aid you in the planning of celebrating and recognizing Native American Ministry Sunday-one of the special offering Sundays. If your church does not have a representative for Native American Ministries, we also extend the invitation to your lay leader, worship chair and pastor.

Come join us for a time of learning thru fellowship and worship. CCONAM is dedicated to dispelling myths, creating understanding thru education and sharing our love and respect for Creator God within the native community and the local church.

Debbie Fitzhugh who comes from the Shuswap Salish tribe (Britiish Columbia) will be a resource person at Native American Ministry Resource Day. She is seen here with Cumberland District Native American Ministries representative Hugh Lowe.

Native American Ministry Resource Day will have cultural displays, book sales, printed and audio/visual resources, native foods, and short information sessions. There is no registration fee or charge for materials, but a love offering will be taken. The Resource Day will conclude with communion and the burning of prayer bundles , a Native American tradition.

Native American Ministry Sunday is celebrated after Easter on April 6th, 2008. CCONAM strongly encourages looking at the church calendar throughout the year to celebrate this special Sunday if April doesn’t work out. Several committee members are available if you need a speaker or someone to work with your representative and local churches can arrange to obtain special display material.

For further information contact Resource Day chairperson Margie Hesson at 615-746-8726, haskellh@aol.com or vice chair Mary T Newman, 615-3 29-1177, iamclay@bellsouth.net

A match made in heaven
Scouting, United Methodist Men and Cedar Crest Camp

Tents Abound as Cedar Crest Camp plays host to over 1500 Cub Scouts and their families

On a wonderful October weekend the peace and quiet of Cedar Crest camp was invaded by more than 1500 Cub Scouts and their families as Cedar Crest and Spiritual Retreat Center hosted the Area 2 “Cub and Family Weekend” for the Boy Scouts.

This is an annual event that the Boy Scout council sponsors to provide a scouting experience for the area cub packs. The Cub Scout program, which a number of our churches charter, is for children starting with Tiger Cubs in the first grade. For many of the boys this is their first scouting experience. The weekend involves not just time in the woods, but also a chance for the boys and their parents to try out many different activities, work on their rank advancement and make new friends. The activities are put on by the older Boy Scouts and allows them the opportunity to take leadership and teach the younger scouts some of their scouting skills. Some of the activities included learning about the American flag and how to properly display it, “bottle” rockets, cardboard box cooking, making rope, and “Jamboree around the world” in which they had the chance to talk with other scouts around the world through a H.A.M. radio that was set up.

Ron Turpin is one of the Scout Executives who works to insure the scouting program is of the highest quality was very excited about how the event came off: “This is just a perfect spot for us to hold these events…there is plenty of space and we don’t have to worry about what else is going on. We hope to have many more events here in the future.”

This was one of the largest single events that Cedar Crest has ever hosted, but the staff was able to bring it together with no problems, other than the line of traffic that stretched all the way back to Hwy 7 at one point. “This was just awesome” said Linda Ortega, Maintenance Director for Cedar Crest Camp, “In all my years here (which is more than 10) I have never seen anything like this!”

As Cedar Crest moves into the future we hope to continue building the relationship with scouts through out our area. “Currently we have only a handful of scout units that really utilize our property on a regular basis, but we hope to increase that number over the next several years,” said James Ralston Executive Director for Cedar Crest.

The mission of Cedar Crest matches very well with the mission of Scouting… It’s just a natural fit. As our churches look to attract more young people there are several good reasons to look to the scouting and the camping ministries programs. The scouting program is all about building character and responsibility in young people. The camping ministries are all about providing an environment and experiences that affirm and develop spiritual leaders. What better place to look for our future leaders than those deliberately developing their character. “As the camping ministries of the conference move into the future we are looking to partner with our churches in any way we can, including Scouting, to help them achieve their goals,” James said.

The United Methodist Men are the largest chartering organization for Scouting Units including Cubs Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Venture Crews chartering 7598 units and involving nearly 3 million young people nationwide.

One hundred Nativity scenes, including 3,000 individual pieces, fill three rooms of Tullahoma First United Methodist Church
By Terry Bulger*Dec. 14, 2007 TULLAHOMA, Tenn. (UMNS)

The three wise men come bearing gifts in this finally crafted Nativity scene . Photo by Garland Honeycutt

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, along with three gift-carrying wise men, camels, cows and shepherds, are displayed in a variety of ways. Replicas of the participants in the first Christmas range from classic porcelain figurines to paper cut-outs. Most of them once graced the living rooms of church members.

As beautiful as the displays are, the real reward for visitors comes in hearing the personal stories accompanying them.

Hard times
Jack and Christie Cullpepper are 85 years old. They talk softly about the history of their manger scene. It’s a prized possession and has been part of their life since shortly after getting married in 1944. Jack remembers those were hard times.

"That first year, we had baloney sandwiches for our Christmas dinner, that’s all we had," Jack says. Buying a Nativity scene was out of the question; if they wanted one, Jack would have to make it himself. "I found an empty lettuce crate behind a grocery store and figured I could probably do something with this," he says. "It’s not worth a nickel, but it means everything to us."

"I think it’s a work of art," Christie adds with pride while standing next to her husband. "He knew how much I wanted one, and we didn’t even own tools then, but he went to the neighbor, borrowed some and went to work."

His creation has been their Christmas centerpiece for more than 60 years.

"In a way, we’re amazed it has lasted that long. I’ve had to re-glue it a few times. Once in a while one of the grandkids will kick the rails," Jack says.

"(It) brings back memories of the pleasant times we’ve had at Christmas," Christie adds.

To Iraq and back
A six-inch shed with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus wouldn’t be worth much at a garage sale, but the story accompanying the simple scene would make it a centerpiece in any collection.

Army Capt. Robbie Sipes displayed this nativity in his barracks during his deployment to Iraq last year.

Army Capt. Robbie Sipes spent last Christmas in Iraq. "I remember driving around thinking, ‘I’m thousands of miles from family but really close to where Jesus was born.’"

Sipes grew up attending Sunday school classes at First Church. He had great memories of Christmas as a child and had a special fondness for the child-friendly Nativity scene that was part of his family’s holiday decorations.

During one mail call, thanks to his parents, that same Nativity set arrived at his Iraq barracks. He set the crèche on a footlocker next to his bunk bed, and suddenly December in the desert felt a little like home.

"Everyday’s the same there; it doesn’t feel like the holidays," Sipes says, "but having something to remind you that it’s Christmas was so helpful. It lifted my spirits every day just knowing that it was there."

Church member Emily Thomas shows off one of the more than 100 Nativities displayed during December at First United Methodist Church in Tullahoma, Tenn. UMNS photos by Terry Bulger.

Tullahoma church organizers never expected the display to bring with it such personal stories. Oral histories are now part of the tradition they started in 2003.

"That’s the beauty of this display," says longtime church member Emily Thomas, "it’s a little bit of everything – people sharing their priceless items and others showing off their ones made out of paper."

*Bulger is a television correspondent for WSMV-TV, an NBC affiliate in Nashville, Tenn.

In assessing the 2007 exhibit Tullahoma First UMC church member Jeanne Honeycut notes: “We had participation from several other churches in Tullahoma,” notes church member Jeanne Honeycutt, “and great attendance from neighboring communities. All in all we feel that it was our most successful year ever—although we expect next year to be even better.”

Southeastern Jurisdiction tackles diversity issues
By Neill Caldwell*

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) -- Leaders of the United Methodist Southeastern Jurisdiction addressed the challenge of churches that struggle with inclusiveness during a conference aimed at bringing varied ethnic groups from diversity into community.

A sense of urgency marked the "Embracing God's Diversity" convocation Dec. 13-15 at the United Methodist retreat center in Lake Junaluska. Organizers hoped to turn years of talk into action, and for the Southeast to take on a leadership role throughout the denomination.

"Across the SEJ, we're tired of talking about a more diverse and inclusive church," said the Rev. Carl Arrington, the region's director of African-American Ministries and a conference organizer.

"We want people of all backgrounds to know they are welcome in The United Methodist Church as equal children of God."

Strong showing
About 350 people participated, including almost every bishop in the region and cabinet members from each conference. Some attributed the high attendance to the bishops' strong support.

19 Persons attended the event from the Tennessee Annual Conference: Raul Alegria, Wesley Bryan, Willie Burchfield, Lynn Hill, Roger Hopson, John Purdue, Eddie Smotherman, Vincent Walkup, Jason Brock, Debbie Fitzhugh, Joaquin Garcia, Susan Groseclose, Bettye Lewis, Ronald Lowery, Loyd Mabry, Elijah McGee, Mary T Newman, Jerry Turner, and Bishop Richard Wills, Jr.

"SEJ bishops want to lead this struggle to become a community, and some of us have done some arm-twisting to get many people here who would not normally come to this kind of event," said Bishop James Swanson of the Holston Annual (regional) Conference. "We're concerned that diversity hasn't come, and where it has come, community hasn't come."

Suanne Ware-Diaz, an associate executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, spoke directly to whites in attendance. "We know that we're 92 percent white in The United Methodist Church, so we can't go forward in a ministry of reconciliation without your support," she said.

Woodie White, bishop in residence at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta and former bishop of the Indianapolis Area, said he believed there had "never been a gathering as racially or ethnically inclusive" at Lake Junaluska. The retreat center was for whites only into the 1960s. "I remember what it was so I can give thanks for what it's become," White said.

Cherokee Bo Taylor leads participants in a dance line during the the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s multicultural celebration at Lake Junaluaka, N.C., Dec. 13-15, 2007. UMNS photo by Neill Caldwell.

Attendees broke into small groups that were racially and geographically diverse. Listening skills were strongly emphasized as the groups grappled with questions related to inclusiveness and welcoming.

"People will change when we get to a place when we open ourselves up to understanding who (our neighbors) are," said Herb Walters of Rural Southern Voice for Peace, a Burnsville, N.C.-based conflict resolution organization. As an example, Walters said his group has connected with conservative evangelical church members in the area who share a "love for these mountains and want to take better care of God's creation."

Walters encouraged participants to conduct similar listening sessions in their local churches and communities. "We need some rednecks in these groups," Walters joked. "We want them all. But the people we need to reach don't come. Words like 'multiculturalism' and 'diversity' scare those people away."

Breaking down barriers
In a sermon, White reminded participants that the church came into being in diversity. "How did we miss it (in Acts 2)?," White asked. "The context is utterly diverse, multilingual, multicultural, multiethnic. … God said 'this is the setting. … This is how I want it to be.' In the midst of that diversity something happened. The Holy Spirit came among them and broke down the barriers.

"Heaven will be integrated," White continued. "I know hell will be integrated. This (earthly life) is a trial run. … If you can't get it together here, you'll be miserable in eternity--whichever way you go."

Representatives of several ministries spoke of their experiences. The Rev. Sylvia Collins, a Native American pastor in the Rockingham district of the North Carolina Conference, said she realized early she could answer a call to ministry in The United Methodist Church. "The Lord brought me out of the tobacco fields and planted me in a place that is rich with love," she said.

"At Sunday morning worship I see every pew filled and every pew diverse because of what we believe," said the Rev. Laura Early in celebrating her congregation. All God's Children United Methodist Church, a new start near Ahoskie, N.C., has an equal black and white membership.

Silvia Peterson, director of Centre Latino in Mitchell County in western North Carolina, said Hispanics will continue to come to the United States despite immigration crackdowns because "we all have a dream when we come to this country that this is a land of endless possibilities." She added that she wishes "we will all listen to the words we say in church and try harder to live out what they mean."

Swanson said he probably won't see racial equality achieved in his lifetime. "But because I'm a person of hope, even if I won't get there, it's no excuse (not) to try and make it happen. We are a people who believe in transformation. … When people say that we're fighting a losing battle, tell them they have no choice because we are children of Christ."

*Caldwell is editor of The Virginia United Methodist Advocate.

Former Conference Lay Leader Frank Lee dead at age 83

Funeral services for Frank Turner Lee, Sr., age 83, a resident of Manchester, Tennessee, were conducted Friday, December 28, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. at Forest Mill Cemetery with Brother Bob Case officiating.

Mr. Lee died Monday, December 24, 2007, at Harton Regional Medical Center after an extended illness. He was born December 25, 1923 in Lenoir City, Tennessee, the son of the late Gid Augusta Lee and Tennie Lucille Rudder Lee. Mr. Lee was a retired engineer and was a Mason, having been a longtime member of the Highland Lodge #213. He was also a member of the Forest Mill Methodist Church and a United States Navy veteran, having served during World War II. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his loving wife of 61 years, Anna Belle Craig Lee, who passed away earlier this year, Saturday, July 7, 2007, and also a grandson, Jonathan Lee Hoole.

Survivors include four children: Frank Turner Lee, Jr., and wife, Donna Svenheim Lee of Manchester, TN; son, Tollie Craig Lee of Manchester, TN; daughter, Elizabeth Anne Hooie and husband, Joe Paule Hooie, Sr.; and son Stephen Michael Lee and wife Deborah Lynn Kail Lee of Norfolk, VA; grandchildren, Samantha Joe Ellen Hooie of Manchester; grandson, Joe Paul Hooie, Jr., and wife, Jennifer Lynette Reavis Hooie of Dallas, TX; grandsons, Nick Turner Lee, Ben Austin Lee, Stephen Patrick Josiah Lee and Chris Alexander Shadrach Lee all of Norfolk, VA; great grandson, Phillip Colby Hooie of Murfreesboro, TN; and great-grand-daughter, Kelci Lee Hooie of Michigan.

The family requests memorial contributions be made to the Manchester Public Library, 1005 Hillsboro Blvd., Manchester, TN 37355; Forest Mill United Methodist Church, 3804 McMinnville Hwy, Manchester, TN 37355; or to the Forest Mill Cemetery Fund in care of Mr. Gene West, 112 Keele Road, Manchester, TN 37355. Coffee County Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements. http://www.coffeecountyfuneralchapel.com/

On the eighteenth of May, 1997, in a meeting of the Murfreesboro District Conference held at the First United Methodist Church in Manchester, Tennessee, the following resolution was passed in honor of Frank Lee’s leadership and ministry:

WHEREAS, the records of the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church indicate that FRANK LEE, of the Forest Mill congregation in the Murfreesboro District, has served his local church as lay leader continuously since 1960: that he served his district as district lay leader during the period 1972 - 1996; and that he served his conference as conference lay leader during the period 1988 - 1996; and

WHEREAS, the clergy with whom FRANK LEE served as laity’s highest representative, from bishops in the Tennessee Conference to local pastors at Forest Mill United Methodist Church in Coffee County, Tennessee, and lay persons of all ages, races, and sexes, that FRANK LEE served as their representative and servant, agree unanimously that FRANK LEE served his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, as a lay leader with great distinction.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the District Conference of the Murfreesboro District in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church go on record thanking FRANK LEE for his faithful service to his church as a lay leader at local, district, and conference levels, carrying a load that resulted in many sacrifices on his part during his many years of services, and setting an example that challenges the rest of us to seek to be more the type of disciple and witness that FRANK LEE has epitomized in service to his Lord, to his church, and to people.

What One Person Can Do to Promote Food Security . . .

The Tennessee Annual Conference is in partnership with The Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee. The Food Security Partners work to bring people together to create and sustain a secure and healthy food system for Middle Tennessee, from production to consumption. Call 615-322-5638 or email cassi.a.johnson@vanderbilt.edu for more information or to become a member or partner. The following suggestions were adapted from a document prepared by the Community Food Security Coalition, http://www.foodsecurity.org/

We Are What We Eat
+Eat locally produced foods
+Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program
+Shop at farmers’ markets and get to know Middle Tennessee farmers
+Encourage local stores and restaurants to buy from local growers

Grow Your Own
+Start or support a community garden
+Garden at home
+Volunteer at a local farm, CSA, or garden project

Feed The Hungry
+Donate your time or money to programs that feed the hungry and/or help them become more self-reliant
Grow produce and donate it to a soup kitchen or food pantry
+Work with local schools to improve meal programs to offer fresh and nutritious foods for all children

Advocate and Educate
+Talk to friends and family about food choices
+Get involved with the Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee
+Work with others to start a farm-to-school or farm-to-college program
+Advocate for continuing and improving food assistance and other safety net programs, and for community economic development and living wage jobs
+Advocate for policies that advance food security

Paulette Dowdy to Retire as Nashville Area Foundation Administrative Assistant

Paulette Dowdy

Ivie Burns, Chair of the Nashville Area United Methodist Foundation Board of Directors, and Vin Walkup, President of the Foundation, have announced the retirement of Paulette Dowdy as Administrative Assistant. Paulette has been with the Foundation for nine years and will be retiring from her position at the end of March.

She has worked with many individuals, and with our churches and organizations in these past nine years to help establish endowments, scholarship funds, and charitable trusts. In doing so, lives have been enriched and the love of God has been humbly shared.

A reception honoring Paulette will be held prior to her retirement. Date, time and place will be announced in February. Notes and cards may be sent to her at the Foundation office (Nashville Area United Methodist Foundation, 304 S. Perimeter Park Dr., Suite 3, Nashville, TN 37211).

Nashville Korean United Methodist Church awarded Igniting Ministry grant

The Rev. Hee Jun Kang

The Rev. Hee Jun “Paul” Kang has been notified by United Methodist Communications that his congregation, The Nashville Korean United Methodist Church, has been awarded a matching funds “Igniting Ministry” grant for Lent 2008. The grant will be used for newspaper advertising.

Jackie Vaughan, Director of Media Grants and Services for Igniting Ministry, notes that “we are delighted to partner with Nashville Korean UMC in reaching approximately 30 million unchurched persons throughout the country with the messages of “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.”

The Beginning of the Story
by Rev. Carole Modlin, Summertown UMC

Allene Tandy

This article could have been titled “The End of The Story.” But it is not. It is the beginning---a new beginning, because of our Savior’s promise of eternal life for those who believe on him.

In the December 28, 2007 issue of the Review, I shared a nutshell story of the life of Allene Perry Tandy; of how, when she was a toddler, she and her parents moved in a wagon from Alabama to Tennessee; and of how she came to receive one of the UMW prayer shawls. If you will recall, she was born on Christmas Day. That article was to have been a tribute to Allene in honor of her 92nd birthday. She never saw the article in the Review, but at her bedside, her family read it to her from my original copy. As the article was being published, we learned Allene had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, and was given a very short time to live. We did not know just how brief her time left on earth would be.

We hear the term “untimely death,” and I have often wondered, what would be a timely death? Now I know. Sadly, I must report that on Christmas Day, Allene slipped quietly from this world into the waiting arms of her Heavenly Father. Allene was a “lady extraordinaire”, and her birth on Christmas Day, 1915, as well as her death on Christmas Day, 2007, could not have been more appropriate, nor more timely.

And so she begins her new life, her body now relieved of the illnesses and pain that ninety-two years of living can bring. Now the story of her life really begins.

The Rev. Dr. Karen Collier recognized for her leadership of Women of Color Scholars Program
From the Loans and Scholarships E-Newsletter December 2007

The Rev. Dr. Karen Collier

The Rev. Dr. Karen Collier was recognized for her 19 years of leadership as the founding convener for General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Women of Color Scholars Program which met in conjunction with the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego, California November 15-17. Collier, an ordained elder and chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Fisk University, was presented a collage of the Women of Color Graduate Scholars painted by Roseanne Giles, research assistant for the Africa University Development Office.

In January 2008, the Rev. Dr. Rosetta Ross, an ordained elder, a 1995 WOC graduate scholar and chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, will become the first graduate to serve as convener for the Women of Color Scholars Program.

At a reception for the deans and presidents of UM-related seminaries and theological schools, 18 WOC scholars shared their academic progress. The scholars are pursuing their Ph. D’s in such fields as: biblical studies, church history, Christian ethics, practical or systematic theology, religion and culture, and more.

The WOC program is jointly sponsored by the Division of Ordained Ministry Office of Continuing Education, The Rev. HiRho Park, director; and the Office of Loans and Scholarships, Angella Current-Felder, executive director.