Wednesday, September 30, 2009

“The heart of Christian mission,” says World Communion Scholar Akiko Miyake-Stoner,” is to show God’s love to the world.”

The Master of Divinity student at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Calif., believes strongly in empowering “people to actualize and realize their gifts. Because The United Methodist Church’s mission is ‘to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,’ it is important to cultivate and use our gifts to change systems of oppression while addressing direct needs.

“Christian mission,” she contends, “is tied definitely, inextricably with the world. The church should not be a cloistered institution. It should be engaged with the issues that affect God’s creation and advocate for justice and mercy in the world. When I share my faith and the challenges I face, I hope to empower others to pursue lives that strive for justice through educational programs and compassionate pastoral care.”

The future “pastor of a Japanese-American church or an elders’ chaplain” says seminary has provided “opportunities to think deeply about systems of oppression and how we, as future faith leaders, can address these within our congregations. I have learned about the history of Christian worship and how to make worship applicable to people today. I am doing my field education at a historically, predominately Japanese-American church, which is teaching me to apply what I learn in class.”

Because of generous sharing on World Communion Sunday, committed Christians like Akiko Miyake-Stoner grow spiritually and educationally. “I want people of different cultures to see the beauty and resources within their own worldviews and to find pride and confidence in them,” she says. “I want people to feel comfortable in their own social locations. This enables more authentic dialogue between people of various cultures. Each culture can use its strengths for the betterment of the world.”

Your World Communion Sunday gifts are essential to the academic and spiritual growth of scholars like Akiko Miyake-Stoner.

Please give to World Communion Sunday and all the Special Sundays with offerings. Don't forget World Communion Sunday is October 4, 2009 but you can collect the offering anytime during the year.
--Barbara Dunlap-Berg

Lladale Carey
Web Coordinator
United Methodsit Communications

Friday, September 25, 2009

In many Indonesian churches, World Communion Scholar Rahel Daulay said, “Worship is not accompanied by any instrument or sound system.” She likes it that way. “I strongly believe John and Charles Wesley did not focus their hymns on the musical instrument, [but rather] on the power of the words that came from their spirituality,” she added.

During her years at Jakarta Theological Seminary, Daulay concentrated on liturgy and church music. Today she is an assistant pastor at Wesley Methodist Church, Jakarta, Indonesia, ready to embark on further study at Trinity Theological College in Singapore.

A World Communion Scholarship, made possible by the World Communion Sunday offering, is making her new venture possible.

By studying congregational development and leadership, Daulay hopes to enrich her ability “to conduct Bible study and teach subjects related to liturgy and church music. Upon graduation from my master’s program, I intend to go back to Indonesia to continue my ministries.”

She continued, “We learned from the history of the expansion of Methodist mission in America. Hymns, particularly those composed by Charles and John Wesley, [were] very powerful to attract people to Jesus Christ. Christian worship that consists of hymns, music and the word of God becomes the instrument of mission.”

Daulay wants “the Methodist church in Indonesia to enable people to renew their lives and revive their faith.” Broadening her vision is the key.

“Even though I am going to leave my full-time job to continue my education,” she noted, “I will not stop serving God. I hope to expand my horizon of ministries in music and evangelism during my graduate study. My goal is to create worship and liturgy that combine Methodist traditions in today’s context.”

Your World Communion Sunday gifts are essential to the academic and spiritual growth of scholars like Rahel Daulay.

Donate Now!

--Barbara Dunlap-Berg
Lladale Carey
Web Coordinator
United Methodsit Communications

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zimbabweans step up to help students

By Kathy L. Gilbert

James Salley introduces Grace Muradzikwa
as an “outstanding fundraiser” during
Africa University recognition dinner.
A UMNS photo by Vicki Brown.

Africa University was established by The United Methodist Church in 1993.A UMNS file photo byMike DuBose.Grace Muradzikwa is a successful executive in Zimbabwe.

But it was her mother’s heart that responded when she heard more than 300 Africa University students didn’t have the money to go back to school.

Muradzikwa turned to the business community of Zimbabwe and raised $100,000 for scholarships in a country where the economy has collapsed and many companies are only operating at 25 percent of capacity.

The effort gave some 60 students the opportunity to continue their education, and showed how a nation could come together to provide a better future for the next generation, Muradzikwa said.

“I have three children who are currently attending university,” she said at a recent Africa University advisory development committee meeting. “And I couldn’t imagine what any mother or parent must be facing if they had a child in the middle of their studies but did not have the money to let them complete their education.”

Please encourage your congregation to give 100% to the Africa University Apportion Fund to help students continue their education. Visit our website at

God is still in control!

Lladale Carey
Web Coordinator
United Methodsit Communications

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jonathan’s* heart sank when the college admissions clerk told him he needed a parent’s signature for his financial aid paperwork. He flashed back to the police hauling his mother to jail.

“She’s in jail,” he said quietly.

“What about your father?” the clerk asked.

After hesitating, Jonathan answered, “He’s in prison.”
This is one young man’s story, among many at Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Fla., where some students face several threats to their future. The good news is that there is hope, thanks to the generous gifts to United Methodism’s Black College Fund. Recognizing the importance of historically Black colleges and universities, 20 annual conferences remitted at 100 percent to the fund in 2008.

“The Black College Fund is very important to our institution because it provides scholarship funds for many first-generation students who come from very troubled backgrounds,” said Bethune-Cookman University President Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed.

Troubled backgrounds need not translate into troubled futures. Intervention makes all the difference in the world.

“Some of these kids are homeless. That’s how important [intervention] is. It’s the difference between them having opportunity or not, and without that money we couldn’t possibly make ends meet,” Reed added.

The university’s mission is to serve, in the Christian tradition, the diverse educational, social and cultural needs of its students and to develop in them the desire and capacity for continuous intellectual and professional growth, leadership and service to others.

When United Methodists give to the Black College Fund apportionment, they ensure that Bethune-Cookman University and other historically Black colleges and universities can live up to their mission. Thank you!

Please encourge your congregation to give 100% to the Black College Fund apportionment. You can help other youth like Jonathan find hope out of a troubled childhood.

*A pseudonym

--Dawn Gibson
Lladale Carey
Web Coordinator
United Methodsit Communications