Tennessee Conference Review

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

Thomas Nankervis, Editor

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Tennessee Conference Review May 19, 2006
Index of stories in the May 19, 2006 edition of the Tennessee Annual Conference Review

1. Rev. Willie J. Burchfield Appointed as District Superintendent of the Columbia District
2. Rev. Loyd E. Mabry Appointed Director of Congregational Development for the Tennessee Annual Conference
3. Tennessee Conference Actively Prepares to Respond in Case of Natural or Man-made Disaster
a. Seven Attend Southeastern Jurisdiction Disaster Response Training Academy from the
Tennessee Annual Conference
b. Thirty-three United Methodists Receive Trained Crisis Responder Training
4. Potato Drop at the 2006 Session of Annual Conference
5. Marie King Wins Frist Humanitarian Award Nomination from the Centennial Medical Center
6. Children as Evangelists--five children at Paran UMC commit themselves to share God's love with their neighbors.
7. Stephen Ministry trains angels on earth
8. UMVIM Mission Work in Poland--two members of Westmoreland UMC report on mission work in a formerly "Iron Curtain" nation
9. Legacy of Bishop Walter R. Lambuth Binds Woodbine UMC and Japanese University

Rev. Willie J. Burchfield Appointed as District Superintendent of the Columbia District

Rev. Willie J. Burchfield

Bishop Richard J. Wills, Jr., has announced the appointment of Rev. Willie J. Burchfield, as District Superintendent of the Columbia District which embraces Williamson, Maury, Marshall, Lewis, Hickman and Perry Counties in middle Tennessee.

Burchfield graduated Cum Laude from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi with a B.S. in Mathematics. His senior year was spent as Student Government Association president. He went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and served as president of the Gammon Fellowship. While still in college at Rust he was licensed to preach and in 1975 was ordained Elder in the Iowa Conference. That same year he was listed as one of the Outstanding Young Men in America.

His ministerial experience is marked by variety. For ten years he served Marshalltown Multiple Ministries in Marshalltown, Iowa. This ministry included Morrow Memorial UMC, campus ministry to Marshalltown Community College and assisting urban development with low-income families. He also served as Church Revitalization Specialist for Center for Church Development.

In 1984 he was called to campus ministry within the Tennessee Annual Conference and served for 12 years as Director of the Wesley Foundation, Tennessee State University. For 8 years he served as programmer for Black United Ministries and Related Ministries in Higher Education, a program funded by GBHEM.

From 1996 to 2004 he was pastor of Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church in the Nashville District, and then was appointed senior pastor of Key-Stewart UMC in Gallatin, Tennessee. He also chaired the conference’s Standing Rules Committee from 1996-2004. Burchfield believes that all congregations should S.H.I.N.E.

Share the good news of the Gospel.
Help people become Disciples of Christ.
Involve others in transforming Bible Studies.
Negate the negative blocks of Kingdom Living.
Encourage evangelism through personal growth experiences.

Through the years he has taught numerous workshops within the Tennessee Conference as well as attended many United Methodist Women Regional Schools. His background allowed him to handle yearly mission themes as well as bible studies. Travels nationally and internationally have expanded his insights into the practices and customs of other cultures. In 1986 he was delegate to the World Methodist Council in East Africa, and in 1989 he was delegate to the West African Student Christian Federation. In 2005 he was certified as a Sexual Ethics Trainer.

Within the Tennessee Annual Conference he has been part of the Board of Ordained Ministry Executive Committee, served on the Episcopacy Committee, been vice-president of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, and a member of the Commission on Religion and Race.

He and his wife Sharon have two daughters MaSonya and Aisha, and one granddaughter, SaNiiyah.

If his experiences in ministry within the United Methodist Church have been marked with rich variety, the variety has carried over into his hobbies where he lists his special interests as chess, bowling and snorkeling.

Rev. Loyd E. Mabry Appointed Director of Congregational Development for the Tennessee Annual Conference

Rev. Loyd E. Mabry

Loyd E. Mabry, District Superintendent of the Columbia District for the past five years, has been appointed by Bishop Richard J. Wills, Jr., to the newly created position of Director of Congregational Development for the Tennessee Conference, with immediate supervision by the resident Bishop. In his new position Loyd will work directly with the Conference Congregational Development Team with a goal of revitalizing existing congregations and creating a training program for pastors who could undertake the start of new churches.

Loyd has had special training in both leadership techniques and church revitalization through the General Board of Discipleship, the Beeson Institute, and the School of Congregational Development (Tipp City, Ohio, 2004; Dallas, Texas, 2005). In addition he has completed conflict resolution training sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. He is excited about the possibilities of the new position. In his letter accompanying his resume he wrote, “Effectiveness and revitalization of congregations is a passion of mine. We are currently using Natural Church Development as a vehicle to promote healthy churches in the Columbia District.”

Since his 1977 Ordination as Elder in Full Connection Rev. Mabry has served six different congregations as pastor: Westview, Glencliff, Bellshire, New Providence, Hamilton, and Lebanon First. He also served for two years as Associate Minister at McKendree United Methodist Church in downtown Nashville, and has, on several occasions, written Daily Bible Study Curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Lambuth College in Jackson, Tennessee, and his Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

“This job is not about buildings and property,” Mabry states, “I definitely affirm that we must invest in people not properties. Once a faith community is developed property can be secured. Without passionate spiritual leaders faith communities cannot sustain themselves.”

After the 2006 Session of the Tennessee Annual Conference Rev. Mabry’s office address will be 304 S. Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 1, Nashville, Tennessee 37211. His phone numbers will be 615-329-1177 or 1-800-403-5795.

He and his wife Deborah Pearce Mabry have two children, Matthan and Rachel.

Tennessee Conference Actively Prepares to Respond in Case of Natural or Man-made Disaster

Seven Attend Southeastern Jurisdiction Disaster Response Training Academy from the Tennessee Annual Conference

Seven persons from the Tennessee Annual Conference attended the Disaster Response Training Academy held at the M.E.R.C.I. Center, Goldsboro North Carolina, Monday April 24-26, 2006. Besides intensive workshops the group held plenary sessions on volunteer coordination, communication in the midst of crisis, annual conference training, working with VOAD partners, establishing a long-term recovery organization, damage assessment, case management, and maximizing the United Methodist “connection” during times of disaster. From right to left are Jason Brock, Coordinator of Annual Conference Love and Justice Ministries; Earl Davis, Columbia District Disaster Response Coordinator; David Lay, Pulaski District Disaster Response Coordinator; Bob Cate, Nashville District Disaster Response Coordinator; and Carla Nankervis, who was present studying disaster response with children. Missing when the picture was made were Tennessean Landon Taylor, a staff person with the Southeastern Jurisdiction Volunteers in Mission organization; and Tom Nankervis, Tennessee Conference Coordinator of Communication.

Networking was an important part of the Disaster Response Academy. Here Jason Brock, David Lay, and Earl Davis of the Tennessee Conference , exchange ideas with Joe Moseley, staff person in the Memphis Conference.

Rev. Brock was named convener of the SEJ VIM Disaster Response Network Steering Committee, a group whose basic purpose is to facilitate closer relationship/cooperation/communication among United Methodist disaster partners in the Southeast and to plan periodic training/networking events. Included on the Committee are Anne Travis, Director of Connectional Ministries for the Holston Conference; Julie Hager Love, Director of Connectional Ministries for the Kentucky Conference; Martha Burke, a lay person from the Florida Conference; Barbara Tripp, Executive Director of the M.E.R.C.I. Center, Goldsboro, North Carolina; Joe Hamilton, staff person with the SEJ United Methodist Volunteers in Mission; and Lee Bines, South Carolina Annual Conference.

Christy Smith, UMCOR Consultant from the Memphis Conference, and Joe Moseley from the Memphis Conference tour the North Carolina Conference’s M.E.R.C.I. Center warehouse where supplies are collected, sorted, and packed for distribution in case of disaster.

Thirty-three United Methodists Receive Trained Crisis Responder Training

In a combined effort between the Air National Guard, St. Thomas Hospital, and clergy/lay persons from the Tennessee Annual Conference, Lt. Col. Charles E. Woods conducted the third Trained Crisis Responder event held in Middle Tennessee since 2001. Facilitators for the class, which attracted 65 registrants, were Dr. Ron Lowery, pastor of Cross Plains United Methodist Church, and Mary Lou O’Gorman, Director of Pastoral Care at St. Thomas Hospital. Of the 65 registrants 33 were United Methodist clergy and laypersons. Two congregations, Hendersonville First UMC (Cumberland District) and Blakemore UMC (Nashville District), brought response teams to the event.

Registrants from First UMC, Hendersonville.

Participants in the training are prepared to assist in crisis intervention situations after natural or made-made disasters. The recent tornadoes in western and central Tennessee provided the current backdrop for the workshop, accenting the need for persons with skills to work directly with individuals who have confronted disaster first hand and been affected emotionally, physically, even spiritually by the experience.

Lt. Col Charles Woods, Commandant of the National Guard Bureau (NGB) Academy for Innovative Ministry, has personally provided healing ministry in dozens of disaster situations in this country and around the world. He is much in demand as a workshop leader in all parts of the United States.

Registrants from Blakemore United Methodist Church, Nashville.

The personal assessment of one United Methodist participant reflected the reviews of the group. Chief William Rogan of the Vol State Campus Police Department wrote, “It gave me insight on how to professionally intervene/respond to individuals in crisis situations and directed me on how to approach individuals and groups during a crisis. I understand that I don’t need to grab my bible and do a bum’s rush toward victims and first responders.” Rogan added, “I need to listen, be a liaison and sometimes do nothing but be there. It is important for everyone to understand the psychological effect these events have on individuals. This type of training needs to be more available.” Rogan speaks from experience. His campus was hit by a tornado early in

Discussion continued even during the break time.

Potato Drop at the 2006 Session of Annual Conference
By Del Ketcham*

There will be a potato drop at the Tennessee Annual Conference from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 12, 2006. Annual Conference is being held at First United Methodist Church, 265 W Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro Tennessee. The Hunger and Cooperative Ministries Committee of the Tennessee Conference UMC, Tennessee Conference United Methodist Men and the Society of St. Andrew sponsor this potato drop.

About 44,000 pounds of sweet potatoes will be delivered and dropped (like a load of sand) onto the parking lot. The sweet potatoes will then need to be bagged into 5-10 pound bags. Many of these bags of potatoes will then be picked up by local hunger relief agencies and distributed to their clients. Others will be taken by conference delegates and delivered back into their own communities and neighborhoods. This is a golden opportunity to walk with the poor and marginalized in your area.

Potatoes that remain will be picked up and delivered by Feed America First. Tom Henry is the Executive Director and is an active United Methodist.

We will also need about 300 delegates (both laity and clergy) to assist in the bagging process. Bagging up 44,000 pounds is only easy when there are lots of participants. We believe that wearing appropriate clothing for that day is in order.

It is hoped that the potatoes will be delivered prior to 6:00 a.m. in the southwest part of the church parking lot. If 350 delegates to Annual Conference each take time to bag 150 pounds (Takes about 1/2 hour) the load will soon disappear and hundred of hungry people will be fed.

We do need an on-site crew who will help load up delegate's cars. Volunteers from Murfreesboro churches and/or men's groups are invited to do so.

Additional info and questions may be directed to 615-620-7268 or hratn@endhunger.org

*Del Ketcham is Hunger Relief Advocate for the Society of St. Andrew.

Marie King Wins Frist Humanitarian Award Nomination from the Centennial Medical Center

Tennessee Conference deacon Marie King won the Frist Humanitarian Award for the Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, and in doing so was nominated for the national Frist Humanitarian Award.

Marie King

The Frist Humanitarian Award was created in 1971 to honor outstanding individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. Named in honor of Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr. (1910 – 1998), a founder of HCA, this award recognizes individuals whose daily dedication and care giving epitomize the highest standards of quality and personal commitment.

Two national awards are given annually. One recognizes an HCA employee who goes beyond day-to-day responsibilities in their overall service to the community. The other recognizes an HCA volunteer who gives unselfishly in their service to patients within our facilities.

“I was not a National recipient,” indicated King, “but it was an honor to be listed among so many well-serving individuals. It definitely was an honor to be the Frist Humanitarian Award recipient for the Centennial Medical Center.”

King, a Clinical Educator at HCA, has been active in the Annual Conference in support of local church Parish Nursing programs, and she is the present chairperson of the Committee on Disability Concerns. She was grateful for friends who supported her nomination with letters, and for the persons that have made an impact on her life. “Dr. Frist was known for saying, ‘Good people begat, good people’”, she says, and I thank God for the good people in my life.”

An important mantra in her life are the words of John Wesley:
"Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as you ever can".

Children as Evangelists
by Rev. David R. Sauer*

A few months ago, a group of people at Paran United Methodist Church intentionally began to gather for prayer before the Sunday School and Worship Service. They boldly and intentionally pray evangelistic prayers, asking God to move in the hearts and lives of all people and to help each of us to be the witnesses God desires for us to be.

In a rural setting, location and proximity to your neighbors may be a hindrance to effective witnessing for some. Five children, Courtney, Brittany, Rachael, Heather and Tasha conspired together not for mischief, but to share God’s love with their neighbors. The children had heard the message that Jesus taught, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” and to share the gospel with all people. On a Friday evening, the five children with ages ranging from 6 to 11, made arrangements with an adult to drive the church van to take them around their surrounding neighborhood.

The children asked the driver to take them to various houses that they knew had children. The children knocked on the doors, introduced themselves and invited the children and parents to join them at church. The children tirelessly knocked on doors, introducing themselves and explaining their mission for two and a-half hours without a single complaint. Not once did they ask the driver for advice or to accompany them to the door, to meet the strangers.

The faithful five had immediate results as parents would come to the van and tell the driver how impressed they were in our children and their dedication and mission. The following day, two of the families joined us in a community event and one family with three girls has been regularly attending our services.

One of the wonderful things about children is their exceptional talent to adapt. “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1Timothy 4:12) In this case, no one told them that they couldn’t be witnesses, as Jesus calls the children to Himself.

Stephen Ministry trains angels on earth
A UMC.org Feature by Marta W. Aldrich*

In the course of two tumultuous years, Kathy Sansom experienced five major stressful life events.

After her husband died of cancer in 2002, she married a childhood friend. The marriage soured quickly and was annulled. In the midst of it all, her mother died, and Sansom moved to a new city.

"When I moved to the Houston area at the end of 2003, I was totally exhausted - emotionally, physically, every way you could think of," says Sansom, who joined Klein United Methodist Church in Spring, Texas. "I was in a new city and didn't know many people. My pastor suggested I start seeing a Stephen Minister."

Stephen Ministry is a program matching specially trained lay members of a congregation with people going through a tough time. The care receiver meets weekly with the Stephen Minister, who provides one-on-one Christian care under an organized structure of confidentiality, supervision and accountability.

Steve Fouche and Sam Purushotham are Stephen Ministers at Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., one of the 2180 United Methodist churches with a Stephen Ministry program. A UMNS photo by Harry Leake.

"It was great," recalls Sansom of her relationship with Stephen Minister Barbara Purser. "We would meet once a week for coffee or dinner or just to talk. She would call and check on me and pray for me. Basically, I'm a very happy person inside, but having a Stephen Minister helped me over a very rough time."

Such is the mission of Stephen Ministries, a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian educational organization founded in 1975 in St. Louis. Currently, more than 9,000 congregations from more than 100 Christian denominations are enrolled, with the United Methodist Church accounting for approximately one-fifth.

Slipping through cracks

The Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk

Stephen Ministry is the brainchild of the Rev. Kenneth Haugk, a clinical psychologist who was associate pastor of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in St. Louis when he saw people slipping through the cracks within his congregation because of too many needs and too few staff members.

Studying Ephesians 4:12 and God's provisions "to equip the saints for the work of ministry," Haugk (pronounced Howck) concluded that one of his pastoral roles should be to equip lay people to use their spiritual gifts to minister to others. So he developed a training program in Christian care giving, recruited and trained nine "Stephen Ministers" within his church, and matched them with people in crisis.

The impact was immediate. People began receiving the focused Christian care they needed, and Haugk had more time to perform other pastoral duties. Later, two Stephen Ministers raved that "this is good stuff" and insisted Haugk take Stephen Ministry to other churches.

"Thirty years later, we've trained over 50,000 Stephen leaders, and they, in turn, have trained over a half million Stephen Ministers," says Haugk, now 60 and executive director of Stephen Ministries. "We struck a chord because we live in a world where hurts happen and hurting people are in need of care. Parents die, people get divorced, illness strikes, all sorts of stuff."

Stephen Ministry is named for St. Stephen, the first layperson commissioned by the Apostles to provide caring ministry to those in need. Stephen Ministers undergo 50 hours of training and serve for at least two years. Among other things, they develop skills in reflective listening, learn guidelines on confidentiality, and prepare to minister to people in specific situations such as terminal illness, grief and divorce. They are also trained to recognize when to refer someone to a helping professional.

A Stephen Minister prays with her care receiver. A UMNS photo courtesy of Stephen Ministries

Stephen Ministry is based on "incarnational theology," which means that "when you care for another person, Jesus is in that person and you are the incarnation of Jesus Christ," says Haugk.

In other words, what would Jesus do?
"If Jesus had a friend going through a divorce, he'd probably listen to them. If Jesus had a friend die, he'd cry, which is what he did when Lazarus died. This stuff is simple, but profound," says Haugk. "Sometimes in the church and certainly in society, we're not very good listeners. We tend to talk too much, myself included. We have to learn to bite our tongue and listen more. It takes discipline."

With 2,180 churches enrolled, the United Methodist Church has more churches involved in Stephen Ministry than any other denomination - a distinction Haugk attributes to United Methodist-based discipleship experiences such as DISCIPLE Bible study and Walk to Emmaus.

"I think a lot of United Methodists who become Stephen Ministers have participated in these experiences and are asking, 'Now what do I do with all this?' Perhaps Stephen Ministry is a logical step," he says.

Help in adversity
Klein United Methodist Church launched its Stephen Ministry in 1984 at the urging of its pastoral staff. "We're a 3,000-member church, so the ministers can't possibly provide one-on-one care to every single person," says the Rev. Bryan Harkness, associate pastor of congregational care. "But a Stephen Minister can be there for someone who's in the midst of a life challenge … so they don't have to walk through the valley alone."

Sarah Carty, a Stephen Minister at First United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn., says she feels that she is the one blessed in her relationships with care receivers. "It's a huge honor for someone to share confidential things with you knowing that you're not going to judge them," she says. "And it's an honor to know that God is the one helping the care receiver and that I am just the hands and feet, the physical presence, of Christ to them."

For Kathy Sansom, her experience as a care receiver has led her, at age 65, to train to become a Stephen Minister. She will be commissioned this spring.

"The difference between talking to a good friend and talking to a Stephen Minister is that a good friend still can be judgmental and have a tendency to want to fix things. But that's not really what you need during a difficult time," she says. "You don't need someone to tell you what to do because, in your heart, you know. You just need someone to listen. Maybe I can be a good listener now for someone else."

*Aldrich is a freelance journalist based in Franklin, Tenn.

UMVIM Mission Work in Poland
From the April 21, 2006 issue of the Cumberland District Review and reprinted here with permission.

Jo Miller and John Murphree recently went on mission to Poland as part of the UMVIM program. They are members of Westmoreland United Methodist Church. This is their report on our mission work:

In 1795, after almost eight centuries as a country, Poland ceased to exist. It was divided by the leaders of Russia, Austria, and Germany and removed from the map of Europe. In 1918, at the demand of President Woodrow Wilson following World War I, Poland was reborn.

After the rebirth of Poland, the Polish Prime Minister, Ignacy Paderewski, the famous pianist/composer, appealed to the American people for assistance in rebuilding his country. Among the first Americans to respond to Paderewski’s appeal were a group of Methodists from the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Upon arriving in Poland, they established a medical clinic, soup kitchens, a job training center, and, in 1921, the English Language College where we have been working since February 1st of this year. The first director of this school was a Methodist from Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Thomas Williams.

At the beginning of World War II, the American missionaries were interned by the Germans and the school suspended until 1946. In 1949 all Americans were forced to leave the country, and in the difficult years that followed, the school was under constant pressure from the communist intelligence service, but because of the excellence of the program, enrollment in 1956 reached 6000 students. Today there are six branches of the school in Poland. The Warsaw school where we are located has about 1000 students and 100 teachers.

Jo Miller and John Murphree in front of the United Methodist building in Warsaw Poland. This building, which is owned by the church, houses the United Methodist Chapel, the English Language School, and the administrative offices of both, as well as the apartments of Polish Bishop Edward Puslecki and the assistant director of the school, Jolanta Kuczma.

We have been privileged to be part of this school’s work by meeting and talking with individual students and with classes. One question we are frequently asked is why we came to Poland (in the winter—the coldest in a century). We always begin our answer with the words, “We are Methodist and this is a Methodist school.” Then we tell how the school was established and how we are part of the worldwide Methodist volunteer program.

Our lives have been blessed by the people whom we have met and worked with, and we have immensely enjoyed our stay in this country of magnificent castles, palaces, and churches.

We will always have the fondest memories of our little apartment overlooking Plac Zbawiciela. Zbawiciela, we learned after being here several weeks, means “Savior”.

by Jo Miller and John Murphree

Legacy of Bishop Walter R. Lambuth Binds Woodbine UMC and Japanese University

Walter Russell Lambuth is arguably one of the best known names in the history of American Methodism. In November 1854, Lambuth was born in Shanghai, China, to missionary parents James William Lambuth and Mary McClellan Lambuth. His childhood and youth were spent both in the United States and in the Orient but at age 15 he returned to America and lived in Lebanon, Tennessee, and ultimately received his college education from Emory & Henry College in Virginia from which he graduated in 1875. From 1875 until 1877 he studied theology and medicine at Vanderbilt University.

He had been licensed to preach during his first year in Emory & Henry, joined the Tennessee Conference in 1876 and was ordained deacon. The following year he was ordained elder.

Bishop Walter R. Lambuth’s picture is displayed prominently at Woodbine UMC

While a student at Vanderbilt he was under appointment and served first Woodbine Methodist Church and then became an Associate at historic McKendree Methodist Church. Two months after his marriage in August of 1877 Walter Lambuth and his wife Daisy sailed for China. The couple served in China as medical missionaries, and then in Japan. He ultimately returned to America in charge of all missionary work as General Secretary of the Board of Missions. In 1910 he was elected Bishop by the M.E. Church, South, and was assigned to Brazil. He subsequently was responsible for establishing Methodist work in the Belgian Congo as well as in Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Siberia. Until his death in 1921 he supervised missionary work worldwide. He died while on a trip to Japan and his ashes were buried in Shanghai, China, next to his mother.

He was a major force in creating a vital Methodist missionary program and was responsible for starting schools, clinics, and churches around the world. It was fitting that his name would be honored and Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, and Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska were both named after him—as was Lambuth Memorial United Methodist Church in Gallatin.

Woodbine United Methodist Church in the Flat Rock section of Nashville was a country parish when served by Walter Russell Lambuth. In fact, Lambuth was Woodbine’s first appointed pastor after it was officially recognized as a Methodist Church in 1875, and it is at Woodbine that the legacy of Bishop Walter Lambuth emerged anew in the year 2004.

The Woodbine church building was constructed in 1915 and by 1919 the congregation was out of debt. During the early 1920s, in preparation for the congregation’s 50th Anniversary in 1925, the decision was made to add some beautiful stained glass windows. The first window on the sanctuary’s right side would, appropriately, be in memory of Bishop Walter R. Lambuth “First Pastor of This Church.”

That window reminded generations of Woodbine members of their historical connection with Bishop Lambuth, and the story of Lambuth was passed down to the present day. All was well until the window was vandalized by an intruder intent on breaking into and robbing the church. He smashed the Lambuth memorial window and crawled into the church through the opening. Fortunately a sensor noted his presence inside the sanctuary and an alarm sounded which frightened him away before he could do further damage.

Kwansei Gakuin University created a commemorative sticker honoring the 150th anniversary of Bishop Lambuth’s birth

In Japan at about the same time, the students, faculty, and administration of * were beginning to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the University’s founder—Walter Russell Lambuth. The University had a warm spot for the Lambuths and what they had endured to get the university started. To quote W.W. Pinson’s 1924 book on Lambuth: “It was a small beginning. An old and uncomfortable house was secured, and with characteristic self-denial the younger Lambuths moved into it in order to meet the requirements involved in the purchase, slept in the loft while building was in progress, and gladly endured the discomforts and inconveniences” so that the foundations of the school could be laid. With no money, no collateral, and no security available, Lambuth was forced to obtain a personal loan in order to secure the property. “It was pay or lose the property.”

As part of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Walter Lambuth’s birth, the University arranged some tours in the United States of sites associated with Lambuth’s life. So it was that Professor Jun Ayukawa, a professor of law and politics at Kwansei Gakuin University visited Woodbine United Methodist Church, the first congregation Lambuth had served. Don Choate, Woodbine pastor at the time, greeted Professor Ayukawa and showed him around. Though she was not present, church member Nancy Ezell remembered that her sister Lucinda Neff had taken pre-vandalism pictures of the window honoring Lambuth and sent them on to Ayukawa who responded with a thank you note: “I’m going to make copies of them, and to send them to the office of the history of Kwansei Gakuin University . . . I hope the repairing of the window will be successful.”

Then, unexpectedly, in April of 2005 Ezell received another letter—this one from Michiya Hata, Chancellor of Kwansei Gakuin. Chancellor Hata commented on the broken windows: “Last winter, you sent Prof. Jun Ayakawa a picture of the broken windows commemorating Dr. Russell (sic) Lambuth. Our school owes its origins to the educational ideals and vision of Dr. Lambuth, so we were particularly sorry to hear about this accident. We wish to contribute to Woodbine United Methodist Church to help with the restoration of the Lambuth stained glass, so we have sent a check for $1000.” Kwansei Gakuin University was also responsible for additional gifts of over $200. Though the basic breakage was covered by insurance—the Kwansei Gakuin gifts helped with the deductible, and the congregation was extremely grateful. Thanks to painstaking work by Nashville’s Emmanuel Stained Glass Studio the window is now back to its original condition. The Woodbine congregation savors an art work version of the window done by Woodbine children. The art work, mounted on plexiglass, filled the space left by the broken window. “We’re going to frame the art,” notes Nancy Ezell, “and make sure it get’s displayed.”

The restored window at Woodbine UMC carries on Bishop Lambuth’s legacy.

The story of the gift from Japan has special meaning for the membership of Woodbine UMC. “The idea that Bishop Lambuth’s legacy lives on,” states Ezell, “and that years after his death somehow his spirit and legacy transcended time and connected Christians living in different parts of the world—now THAT’S something to remember.”

*The school started with 19 male students and now has two campuses with an enrollment of about 19,000 including approximately 300 foreign students.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Tennessee Conference Review May 5, 2006

In this Issue:

1. Children from all churches asked to participate in crucial Annual Conference offering for the Children of Kamina--A letter of invitation from Bishop Richard Wills, Conference lay leader Joe Williams, and Susan Groseclose, Conference Director of Nurture Ministries.

2. October 15-20-2006. The Academy for Spiritual Formation – Deeping Your Journey

3. Historic $42 million campaign unveiled with 56 percent in hand -- Campaign for Martin 2010 goes public with $23.8 million already raised

4. Crossville First United Methodist Church holds first service in new sanctuary on Easter Sunday—overflow crowd required huge number of folding chairs + some seating in the narthex.

5. What Shall This House Be? Rev. Carleton Thackston raises a crucial question three weeks before Crossville congregation moves into new facility.

6. Nine-Year Old to Preach at Gordon Memorial-- Raegan Iman Bowen shows seriousness of congregation’s commitment to children and youth.

7. A Tale of 2 Cultures. Mike Rayson, is a Christian musician, singer, songwriter, and preacher who comes from the Land Down Under. He reflects humorously on confronting American culture.

8. Mt Zion United Methodist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, and Austin Peay State University’s Wesley Foundation recreated the Crucifixion of Jesus on Mt. Zion’s front lawn directly beside heavily traveled Highway 48—the results are amazing

9. The Academy of Parish Clergy honors Cumberland District minister Mike Potts—2006 Parish Pastor of the Year

10. Rev. Bill Reding, pastor of Dodson Chapel-Ruth Ensor United Methodist Churches, comments favorably on a local United Methodist Church that paid all its apportionments for 2006 in the first three months of the year.


Children from all churches asked to participate in crucial Annual Conference offering for the Children of Kamina

A letter of invitation from Bishop Richard Wills, Conference lay leader Joe Williams, and Susan Groseclose, Conference Director of Nurture Ministries.

April, 2006
Dear Clergy and Lay Members of Annual Conference:

For almost a decade this annual conference has been in ministry with the Children of Kamina through our partner relationship with the North Katanga Conference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bishop Ntambo has spoken to the annual conference about the needs of the children who are orphaned because of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Together with the Memphis Conference, the Carder Bantu Home-School and the Mary Morris Orphanage have been built as part of this “Hope for the Children of Africa” initiative. Bishop and Mary Morris visited the children of Kamina, and Mary shared upon her return about the lack of food and medical care for the children. In fact, it was common for the children only to receive a few meals a week. Now, because of you, they are receiving better food and health care, but the numbers who are orphaned by HIV/AIDS and the war are increasing!

This year at annual conference we have a faith goal of $100,000 as we continue "Caring for the Children of Kamina". Enclosed are some ideas to involve the children of your congregation in collecting this offering. Enlist the help of everyone!

Elementary age children (5K-6th grade) are invited to a “Caring for the Children of Kamina" experience Sunday afternoon of annual conference – June 11, 2006-- from 3:00-4:00 PM at Murfreesboro First UMC during the clergy and laity sessions. The children will learn more about the children of Kamina and prepare to lead in a brief 30 minute worship celebration at the 4:15 PM opening session. This is when you will bring your faith offering for the children of Kamina. Please make checks out to Tennessee Annual Conference and mark it “Kamina”.

To ensure the safety of the children, we ask that one adult per 5 children attend this preparation time at 3:00. We also ask that you register your children a week prior to this experience so that we can provide adequate leadership and materials. You may do so by emailing Susan Groseclose at sgroseclose@tnumc.org or by calling 615-329-1177 by June 3.

Please work with your children and youth! Invite your congregation and community to help “Care for the Children of Kamina”! Bring your children Sunday afternoon, June 11th from 3:00-4:00 PM to the youth wing at Murfreesboro First, and during the 30 minute opening session of annual conference at 4:15! Help us reach our goal of $100,000 and care for the children of Kamina on behalf of Jesus Christ!

The children are counting on us!

Love to you and to all God’s Children!

Bishop Richard Wills
Susan Groseclose
Joe Williams

October 15-20-2006
The Academy for Spiritual Formation – Deeping Your Journey

“The Academy is my spiritual shot-in-the-arm,” says Carol Craig, a United Methodist layperson and veteran of several 5-day Academies. In fact, the experience has been so valuable to her that she has agreed to join the leadership team this year as Worship Coordinator for the upcoming Tennessee Five-Day Academy.

Clergy and laity alike are marking their calendars for October 15-20, 2006, for the ecumenical event, co-sponsored by the Memphis and Tennessee conferences of the United Methodist Church and slated for the scenic Garner Creek Retreat Center near Dickson, Tennessee. Retreat Leader Rev. Dennis Meaker reported that the group will gather for five days of study, silence, worship and fellowship around the theme “Celebrating the Body of Christ.” The daily schedule is anchored by morning and night prayers and an afternoon Eucharist.

Morning sessions will be led by Dr. Thomas Hawkins, author of several books, including Cultivating Christian Community, and Loving God With All Your Mind. Dr. Hawkins will speak on “Scriptural Foundations – Exploring the Mystery of the Body of Christ.”

The afternoon presenter will be Dr. Kirk Jones, author of The Jazz of Preaching, Addicted to Hurry: Spiritual Strategies for Slowing Down, and Rest in the Storm: Self-Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers. His topic will be “Jazzing Up the Journey.”

Other leadership team members are Velma Bradley, Alee Clark, John Glaze, and Linda Douty.

The registration fee includes a private room and bath, all instruction and meals. Continuing education units and recertification of Lay Speakers are also available. Registration is only $315 for laity and clergy in the Memphis and TN Conferences if you register by August 1, $340 after that date. Registration for persons outside the conferences is $450.

For scholarship information, contact: John Meeks (901-877-6295) or Susan Groseclose (615-329-1177 or 800-403-5795). Registration forms and additional information are available from Bobbie Rouse, Memphis Conference Council Office, 24 Corporate Dr., Jackson TN 38305 (731-664-8480).

Historic $42 million campaign unveiled with 56 percent in hand
Campaign for Martin 2010 goes public with $23.8 million already raised

PULASKI, Tenn. — Far and away the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Martin Methodist College history, with a $42 million goal, went public Thursday evening with 56 percent of the total already in hand.

The Campaign for Martin 2010, which seeks to support the college’s long-range plan, was unveiled in the Curry Christian Life Center during a 90-minute gala involving students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, members of the Giles County community, and other patrons and friends. Amid food, music, visual and dramatic arts, and a 15-minute video about the comprehensive campaign for the private, four-year, liberal arts college, President Ted Brown announced that $23.8 million of the $42.8 million goal had already been raised since the silent phase of the campaign began.

“Today we announce a very important watershed in the life of the college,” said Brown, who became president of Martin Methodist in 1998. “For more than five years, we have been operating under the long-range plan known as Martin 2010. That plan was developed beginning in late 1999 and was approved by the Board of Trustees in April of 2001.”

He cited several significant advances made by the college in the five years since the plan was approved:
· The enrollment has doubled; over the past two years alone, it has increased by 32 percent, making it the fastest-growing college or university in middle Tennessee;
· The academic program has grown from five majors to 17 and from seven areas of study to more than 30, including the just-approved Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree which will begin this fall;
· The number of full-time teaching faculty has more than doubled;
· The area of the campus has increased by nearly 50 acres, three new buildings have been constructed, and numerous building improvements and equipment acquisitions have occurred; and
· The Center for Church Leadership, in partnership with the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, has been established.

“Now we take the next step with Martin 2010 by publicly announcing today a major fundraising campaign that will enable the implementation of the next phase of the plan,” Brown said.

Among the most significant building projects on the horizon are: the renovation of the college’s natatorium, the renovation of the 70-year-old gymnasium into a fine arts center, the renovation of Martin Hall into a humanities center, and the renovation and expansion of Andrews Science Hall, which will house the new nursing program; and the construction of a baseball-softball stadium on the college’s 44-acre East Campus – the next step in creating an athletic complex on the tract.

Student athletes at Martin Methodist College talk with assistant baseball coach Kelly Bratton (second from right) about plans for the athletic complex to be constructed on the college’s 44-acre East Campus.

A special kickoff event entitled “Diamonds are Forever” was held two days later, also in the Curry Christian Life Center, for the baseball-softball project.

For the alumni in the audience, it was especially thrilling to see where the college has come and what the future holds.

“This is very exciting for me,” said Neil Jobe, a 1958 graduate who is a member of the Board of Trustees and a member of Mt. Pleasant UMC in Hickman County. “The time that my wife and I were here as students, we couldn’t foresee what is happening today, but things have worked toward this moment, and it’s important that the trustees support it, that the United Methodist churches (in the Tennessee Annual Conference) support it, that the alumni support it.”

Nedra Trebing of Pulaski, a member of Choates Creek UMC who spent more than 40 years at Martin Methodist, first as a student and then as a member of the administrative staff, just shook her head in amazement as she took it all in.

“When Dr. Brown first got here and shared his vision for the college, a lot of us were skeptical,” said Trebing, who served as secretary to the president. “Then as we watched him and listened to him and got to understand his vision, many of us became convinced that he would do it. Now, to see it come to fruition is just hard to put into words, and when they revealed the amount that has already been raised, I was just flabbergasted, totally shocked … and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store for Martin Methodist College.”

Crossville First United Methodist Church holds first service in new sanctuary on Easter Sunday
by Jim Bridges, Review Contributor

Late Note: Reports from Crossville First UMC indicate that over 1094 persons showed up for the initial worship service in the new sanctuary. The crowd was so big that many had to sit on folding chairs and some worshippers had to sit in the narthex.

Members of the congregation of Crossville First United Methodist Church rejoiced as they celebrated not only Easter Sunday but also the first service to be held in the new sanctuary. One combined service brought together members who normally attend either traditional or the “Good News” contemporary service. Music in the service featured the children’s choir, youth choir, hand bell choir and sanctuary choir.

The new sanctuary is the fulfillment of the dreams and answer to prayers of members who foresaw the need for more space several years ago. Crossville is located in Cumberland County, one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. Demographic studies indicated continued growth so a committee was formed to look into the effect it would have on the membership of the church. J&S Construction in Cookeville was named general contractor in 2004. A groundbreaking ceremony was held and site preparation began in January 2005. We were blessed with good weather and construction proceeded very close to schedule. A most memorable day was October 26 when the beautiful white cross was put in place. The next memorable day was when the lovely stained glass window was installed high up on the front wall.

Retired minister Ron Pulley created the furnishings for the sanctuary—communion table, pulpit, lectern. The pulpit is made of Peruvian walnut and has a handcrafted scroll on each side. Pulley’s inspiration came from the fact that in Biblical times the law was written on scrolls.

Especially meaningful to the congregation are the communion table and pulpit, handcrafted by Rev. Ron Pulley, retired UMC minister and member of Crossville FUMC. He is presently working on the lectern. They are made of Peruvian walnut, the same as was used for the floor of the chancel area.

The 5,922 square-foot sanctuary is positioned parallel to Braun Street and is set back 255 feet from Main Street. There is a 35 foot-wide landscaped area between the rear of the new sanctuary and the west wall of the existing sanctuary. A corridor connects the new sanctuary with the existing building complex and creates a direct route to the Family Life Center. The church office remained in its present location but offices for staff members were relocated to the new building. The pipe organ was disassembled and volunteers carried the hundreds of pipes and wood pieces to the new sanctuary where it was reassembled. Vocal and bell choirs have rehearsal rooms in the new building as well as robe, music and equipment storage. Another feature is the addition of a commons area for meeting and greeting as well as receptions. The new sanctuary seats 436 on the main floor and 180 in the balcony. There is a covered driveway entrance on the Braun Street side.

Front view of the new Crossville First UMC

The Crossville First United Methodist staff includes Rev. Carleton Thackston, senior minister; Rev. Sandra Parrish Shawhan, associate minister; Rev. Jerry Mayo, inviting ministries; Kimberly White, director of Christian education; Bob Brown, director of music ministries; Chris Cummings, director of youth ministries; and Dianne Speicher, business manager. Pete Graham was chairman of the building committee.

See also the article “What Shall This House Be?”, Pastor Carleton Thackston’s challenge to the Crossville First UMC congregation three weeks before the opening of the new building.

What Shall This House Be?
By Rev. Carleton Thackston

On Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006, the congregation of First United Methodist Church, Crossville, worshipped for the first time in their new sanctuary. Senior pastor Carleton Thackston prepared the way for the move into the new building with a sermon on March 19, 2006 which raised the question, “What Shall This House Be?”

“For at least ten years this congregation has been debating and planning a new building. What was needed most? Classrooms, sanctuary, accessibility? All of the above! In what proportion?

Now we are within weeks of entering the long-awaited new building. It is time to ask ourselves again the question: “What will this house be?”

I don’t mean number of seats or how big the classrooms; and certainly not the color of the carpets, or the place of projection screens. Those questions are both insignificant and already answered.

“What will this house be?” Will it be a house of prayer, praise, and worship?

Will it be a place where marriages are blessed, children, youth, and adults are baptized; funerals held where, despite grief , blessings are found?

Will it be a house of worship where pipe organ, grand piano, keyboard, guitar and drums are all anointed instruments of praise?

Will suit and tie and jeans and t-shirt sit on the same pew and nobody know the difference?

Will challenge and comfort both be hearable and heard? Will questions and affirmations both be acceptable? Will it be a place where thinking and feeling are both honored and both protected? Will it be a “safe sanctuary” in the positive sense and NOT be a safe sanctuary if that means hiding from the world or from God?

Will this be a place where we come to meet God?

The building has been designed to be inviting. Will the people here be inviting to others?

As we approach this last month of waiting to enter our new house of worship we need to enter into a time of cleansing. Before entering a Muslim mosque hands must be washed and shoes left outside. Whatever dirt we have touched, whatever “stuff” we have walked through must be left outside.

Building Campaigns and construction inevitably create tensions and anxieties. Committees and members debate and disagree on major concepts and minor colors.

It’s a time to leave all that at the door! Leave behind your doubts! Leave behind all “win-lose” attitudes.

We have built a house of worship, a place of prayer, a space for study of God’s Word. In four weeks we will process into the new sanctuary. The paint will be fresh, the carpets will be new, the pews unsquirmed in, the Communion Table awaiting the first Sacrament, the pulpit anticipating the first sermon, the air waiting to vibrate with the first songs of praise.

The “Building” will be new and fresh, clean and bright. The “Building” will proclaim the Glory of God. But the “Building” cannot worship for us nor take the place of our witness!

The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation.” Moving into a new building is an opportunity, an invitation to participate in the newness of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we do so, the “Building”, however beautiful and inspiring it is, will be only a building.

We have come through too much, we have come too far for that to be the end of it. It is not the end; it is only the beginning.

It is fitting that Easter morning shall witness our move into the new sanctuary. Our first service of worship there shall celebrate the Resurrection. The “Building” is a witness, an invitation. We have one month to prepare ourselves to walk through the doors, not of a “building,” but into a new start, a new life—individually and especially, together.

I will close with these verses from Psalm 122: I was glad when they said to me ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD!’ . . . Pray for the peace of Jerusalem . . . Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers . . . For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.

Nine-Year Old to Preach at Gordon Memorial

Nine-year old Raegan Iman Bowen will preach the message for the 10:45 a.m. worship service at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, Sunday, April 30, 2006. Under the leadership of Rev. Daniel M. Hayes, Sr., senior pastor, Raegan will be joined by other children and youth in a special worship service designed to continue the emphasis the church has on reclaiming children and youth from the negativity they face on a daily basis. Vice Mayor Howard Gentry, Councilwoman Brenda Gilmore and Chief of Police Ronal W. Serpas will join the young leadership with messages of inspiration and encouragement. Raegan is the daughter of Dr. William C. Bowen, Sr., and Mrs. DeNeen Lawson Bowen.

Raegan Iman Bowen is ready to preach

Rev. Daniel M. Hayes, Sr., began emphasizing the need for stronger children and ministries from the beginning of his leadership at Gordon Memorial. He returned to his home church in 1999, and immediately began evaluating the strength of the ministries for young people, and stressed the need for partnerships across age-level ministry. “We have to start talking to one another and come together to build the strongest resource base possible,” said Hayes. “We are working with a different kind of young people than we did ten years ago, or even five years ago. We cannot minister to them the same way.” He continued, “We have to jump out of the box and do more than just talk about radical ministry. We have to do some things differently.”

Rev. Hayes moved boldly forward and invited Raegan, fourth grader at Bellshire Design Center, to bring a message from her own faith journey. He turned to long-time mentor and supporter Mrs. Zelma Waller for assistance. “I actually started preaching when I was just eight years old myself,” said Hayes. “I would get the children, the dogs and the cats in my neighborhood together, sit them outside under the trees and preach to them. I was always intrigued by the powerful messages I heard at Gordon Memorial Church under Rev. Dogan W. Williams (1967 – 1981), and from preachers I heard at churches where Rev. Williams and I traveled.” Hayes continued, “My desire to preach was so strong. When I was about 13 years old, I asked Rev. Williams for a chance.”

Rev. Daniel M. Hayes, Sr. preaching, “Get out of the Boat”, January 6, 2006.

During a presentation on church history, Lay Leader Opal Ransom recently told the 2006 confirmation class that Rev. Williams took that request of young Hayes to the church leadership, they agreed, and he preached to a gathering of the membership in the lower level V. H. Dixon fellowship Hall. Mrs. Waller began working several hours a week to prepare. “He was really dedicated,” said Mrs. Waller. “I would find him in the neighborhood playing ball and take him to my house to work. He wanted to do a good job. I knew his level of commitment was an indication that God had his hand on him.”

Mrs. Waller continued, “We had a basketball goal outside and he would ask two to three times if he could go out and play with the other children. I told him he could have a break after we got to a certain point. After his break, he would come back and get right into his preparation as if we had never stopped working.” She said, “When the time came for him to preach his first sermon, I was nervous. But, he was good, and when he was through, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I think he was as surprised as I was.” Waller said, “I have always said that God never graded on the curve, and that day Dan Hayes received an A++. He is a true preacher of the word who loves to preach. I’m so proud of him, but I’m not taking any credit. I was just doing what I was asked to do. He did all the rest.”

Raegan Iman Bowen with mentor Mrs. Zelma Waller

“When Rev. Hayes asked me to work with Raegan, I was excited because I knew what that experience with him had meant to me.” He said, “I know what you did for me and I don’t want anyone else to work with her but you.” Waller said, “A little time passed and I was somewhat apprehensive about whether I would get to work with her after all. But, I received a call from her mother to set a date to see Raegan and I was excited all over again. I sent some notes to her and also asked what Raegan might want to speak about. Raegan said she wanted her topic to be on the Resurrection. I suggested we look at what happened after the crucifixion and after the cross.” Mrs. Wall said, “Raegan is very smart and sticks to what she is doing. During the time we worked together, she never complained about being tired. Her determination reminded me of Dan’s energy and commitment. She has a sweet spirit and desire to do a good job just like he did as a boy.”

Since the event has been promoted across the congregation, there have been members who say they are looking forward to hearing Raegan preach. “When they talk about her preaching she responds, “I’m going to give a message,” said Waller. “One day you might be a preacher and reflect on this day as your beginning.” Waller said, “Raegan is an emerging swan. It has really been good for me. I have always studied the Bible, but now I find myself spending three to four hours a day. I want to make sure what I tell Raegan is right. If Rev. Hayes had not asked me to work with Raegan, I would never have gotten to know her, and I would not have had this chance to grow myself. It has been a blessing, and I know the Lord is working with me too. Since this experience,” said Waller, “I think we ought to start a program that will put one child with one adult, so we can really get to know one another. I am grateful to have had this time with Raegan. We need to be there for our young people. I think it can make the difference we need to make in the lives of our children.”

Gordon Memorial is located at 2334 Herman Street, in the historic education area of North Nashville, near Tennessee State and Fisk Universities, and Meharry Medical College. Contact the church office at (615) 329-2779, or gordonumc@bellsouth.net for more information and directions. Visit the church’s Web site at http://www.gordonmemorialumc.com

A Tale of 2 cultures… Mike Rayson

(From time to time musician/preacher Rayson and his wife Amy will share reflections on two born and bred Australians trying to make their way through American culture)

Who would have thought that Australia and the USA would be 2 cultures separated by a common language.

After a few months living on the other side of the world (you can’t get here by bus!), we are still living in the twilight zone. I mean, a mile is, well, 1.6 kilometers, a pound is not something you do to a nail with a hammer, and what passes for football here is – well, perhaps it is not good to go there!

Recently, I toured throughout England, and spoke at Central Methodist Meeting Hall in London. With Big Ben chiming in the background, and the London Tube rumbling underneath, I remembered the words of the Great Commission in Matthew 28… ‘Go into all the world…’

So often we sit inside the four walls of our churches believing that Jesus actually said, ‘come all into the church’. We think our flashy programs and inspired preaching and our beautiful sanctuaries will attract people to the church, where they will hear about Jesus. The reality is though, we are called to ‘go’ and take the message of Christ into our communities.

You might not be called to ‘go’ to Australia, or England, or Africa, or even to the South Pole – but you are called to get off your pew and ‘go’ into your world, God’s world, and share the good news of grace for all cultures, all communities, and all peoples - Christ is risen; he is risen indeed.

Mike and Amy Rayson and their children left Australia for Tennessee in August 2005, where they quickly discovered Walmart and Chucky Cheese! They are missionaries to the local church in the United States of America. To book Mike to speak or sing in your church, please call 931 362 1190, or email mike@mikerayson.net

Highway 48 Travelers View Good Friday Recreation of the Crucifixion

On Good Friday, April 14, from 12 Noon until 7 P.M., Mt. Zion United Methodist Church’s sign on Highway 48 in Montgomery County read, “He did this for You …Stop and Pray …Everyone Welcome”. And come they did.

Members of Mt Zion United Methodist Church, Bethel Baptist Church, and Austin Peay State University’s Wesley Foundation recreated the Crucifixion of Jesus on Mt. Zion’s front lawn directly beside heavily traveled Highway 48. Members portrayed Jesus, the two thieves, Roman soldiers, and weeping women. Men from the three groups took 30-minute stints on the cross. After descending from the cross, one man was heard to say that now he knew just a little of what Jesus went through for him.

Extremely realistic, the scene caused intense reactions for those in the recreation and those passing by on the road. As word of the reenactment spread, traffic became very heavy, with many stopping to look, question, feel, touch and pray. People came from far and near to view and take part. One young Catholic Iraqi woman traveling with her husband decided to stay and take part in the portrayal while he returned to Ft. Campbell for his daily duty. She donned a costume and sat on the lawn for the entire 7 hrs. She said she “had to be with her Jesus during his suffering.” Her husband returned at 6:30 P.M and they then stayed for the church’s Tenebrae service.

Mt. Zion’s pastor, the Reverend Lee Stevenson, said he got the idea for the Three Crosses reenactment from a friend in West Virginia. It was agreed by the congregation that the reenactment had become a ‘must see’ event and must be recreated each year.

Academy of Parish Clergy Honors Mike Potts
by Angie Davenport*

On Sunday, January 8, 2006, the worship service of Bethpage United Methodist Church was concluded with an announcement by Bill Johnson that Pastor Mike Potts had been selected by the Academy of Parish Clergy as the 2006 Parish Pastor of the Year. Pastor Mike was surprised by the announcement, and the congregation erupted with joyful celebration. The Academy of Parish Clergy is an interfaith, voluntary, and self-governing association of ordained persons occupying clerical roles, ordinarily in a congregational, judicatory or chaplaincy setting, who seek growth toward excellence in ministry through sharing the practice.

LtoR Nate Gauerke; Mike Potts, 2006 Parish Pastor of the Year; Fred Harper

Rev. Potts was nominated for this award by Rev. Fred Harper, a long-time member of the Academy. Information leading to Mike’s selection was provided by Rev. Harper; Bethpage UMC’s Lay Leader, Mark Beeler; and District Superintendent, Rev. Larry Layne.

Mike traveled along with Rev. Harper to Oviedo, Florida, in early February to attend the APC’s annual conference. Each year the APC honors a Pastor of the Year whose ministry demonstrates excellence as attested by colleagues and members of the parish served. As the recipient of the award, Rev. Mike Potts was honored as Pastor of the Year on the evening of February 7th. A letter from Rev. Larry Layne was read at the ceremony. During the conference, Mike attended workshops and worship services. The conference concluded with a worship service in which Mike preached.

Mike says he is “humbled by the award and thankful for his shared ministry with the people of Bethpage UMC.” The people of Bethpage Church are honored to have the Parish Pastor of the Year as their pastor and are thankful for Mike’s ministry.

*Angie Davenport is Director of Discipleship, Bethpage UMC. This article is reprinted from The Cumberland District Review, March 24, 2006.

Our commitment to give ourselves to something and someOne greater than ourselves

By Rev. Bill Reding. Reding is pastor of Dodson Chapel-Ruth Ensor United Methodist Churches. Reding reflects with his membership on an article that Pastor Adam Hamilton had written dealing with the payment of apportionments by the Church of the Resurrection in suburban Kansas City. An excerpt of Pastor Hamilton’s article is included BELOW.

Dear Parishioners,

Those of you who were involved in the Bible study group in the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005 may remember the name "The Church of the Resurrection." It was from this United Methodist Church, in Kansas, that gave us the resource, "Leadership from the Heart," that helped us to make a deeper study of what it is to which Jesus really is calling each and every one of us.

As you read the article copied below, you will discover that The Church of the Resurrection is very different from our own congregation. One of the things that has made it so is that this church takes very seriously each member's need to perform as well as to receive ministry. Another of the things that make such a difference between us and them is that, even as huge as this church has grown in only a very few years, it also takes very seriously God's call that they be involved in something much larger than are they themselves.

It hasn't been many years since our nation operated with the understanding that "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." We were committed to the goal of strengthening the weaker links to make our nation as strong as it could be, not just militarily or financially, but socially and artistically, as well. We truly believed that it was possible to deliver adequate nutrition, housing, clothing, education, and health care to every person who dwelt within our borders. Somehow, we seem to have lost that. We put our children in private schools, so that their educations won't be hampered by slower learners or cruder individuals. We say to the world that we cannot afford for everyone to have adequate health care by dismantling TennCare and limiting Medicare. We use such phrases as, "Selfishness is good," and "He who dies with the most toys wins." Worst of all, our lifestyle betrays the fact that we really believe these words. The size and price of the average American home continues to increase, just as does the number of people who wander homeless within our cities. We can't wait to buy the newest, most advanced electronic gizmo while others die from want of basic needs like medications that we say we cannot afford to provide for them. Then, we seek to console ourselves with the words, "God understands."

Yes!! God does understand, but I am not so sure that we do. The lifestyle of Jesus, as recorded in the four gospels, has not changed. He still calls us to live as He lived. He still calls us to give our lives to something much greater than we are.

Some have told me that they don't believe in apportionments. Well, I do. I believe in apportionments as a means through which we can express, in a real and concrete way, our commitment to give ourselves to something and someOne greater than ourselves. The Church of the Resurrection is a congregation that has made that commitment and honored it. Take a look at Adam Hamilton's description of what has been happening in that congregation since January 1, 2006, and see if maybe, just maybe, a fresh commitment to paying 100% of our own apportionments might be one way in which to revitalize our church. Some will say we cannot afford to make such a commitment. I wonder if we can afford not to make such a commitment.

Your co-worker in Christ,

Bro. Bill

An excerpt from Adam Hamilton's 3/24/2006 e-notes Newsletter

Adam Hamilton is pastor of Church of the Resurrection which is located in suburban Kansas City, Kansas. This excerpt from his e-letter is shared with us by James Finger, treasurer of the Memphis Annual Conference. Finger says: “I thought you might find the attached apportionment philosophy a refreshing change from what we hear . . . so often.”

We've had a terrific start to the year here at Church of the Resurrection. I want to thank you for your faithfulness in worship attendance - we've had weekends in the last six weeks where worship attendance has been up as much as 20% over the same time last year. We had one of the largest joining groups ever in January. Offerings are running above projections so far. We've had a lot of new visitors. Our Children's Ministries and Student Ministries continue to soar. I am told we now have 130 youth who have signed up to serve on one of seven leadership teams in Student Ministries, and that is exciting! On this past Wednesday night alone the building was filled with more than 2,000 people who were coming for Bible studies, Lenten Academy, choir, support groups, and youth group. It is amazing just to walk the halls and peer into the various rooms to see what God is doing in our church.

On another note, we paid half of our annual denominational apportionments (funds each church is asked to contribute by the denomination as our fair share of the mission and outreach work of the entire denomination) for the coming year in February, and we will finish paying them in full for the year next week. Most churches pay these funds monthly throughout the year. Since we began Church of the Resurrection we've aimed to pay our apportionments in full in the first quarter as a way of helping and supporting the ministries dependent upon our gifts. Our apportionments totaled $950,000 this year. With these monies you help fund missionaries around the world, schools and universities, inner city mission agencies, new church development and so much more. It was money others had given in their apportionments that funded the start-up of Church of the Resurrection in the early 1990's and purchased our first 20 acres of land.

All of which is a way of saying, "Thank you!" Your commitment to Christ, the giving of your time in ministry, your faithfulness in worship attendance, and your faithful financial support of Christ's work in this place are making a difference in the lives of people near and far.
In Christ's Love! Adam Hamilton