Bishop's Connectional UMVIM Trip to Fiji
It is Monday, Oct. 17. Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. and 25 others are on a connectional United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) trip to Fiji. Christopher Klein writes:
The sweet sound of soft song enfolds us from behind – honored, as we always are, with the first row. We await the start of morning service back at Centenary. This "Lotu" is for the office staff and nearby ministers. The men and women now sing in call and response. It will be another full day ….
The trip had begun four days earlier, on Oct. 13. For the 12 members of the delegation who were born in Fiji, it meant reunion with loved ones and an opportunity to serve as ambassadors of Cal-Nevada congregations to the families and churches "back home." For the delegation as a whole, there were other objectives: to strengthen the alliance between the California-Nevada Annual Conference and the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma, and to deliver gifts to churches, schools, families, and friends suffering in the current economy.
"Three of us who visited Fiji in 2010 carried 15 pieces of luggage between us," Klein wrote. "Air Pacific has now increased its excess baggage fee (to $7 per kilo!), but we have still checked in with many fat bags and excess boxes."
As it turned out, they were fortunate to be able to check in at all. As the delegation waited in Los Angeles to board its plane to Fiji, Klein blogged, "Bishop Brown has already earned his keep and then some: two hours at the airline counter and on the phone straightening out a snafu in our ticketing; half of us could not be found in the airline's computer system – and this 747 is going to be full!"
On arrival in Fiji, the group was taken to the home of the Nadi Fijian Circuit, presided over by Rev. Laisiasa Ratabacaca, for a period of rest, followed by a briefing and schedule overview. There followed a "sevu sevu" welcoming ceremony, "complete with kava, presentation of the whale's tooth (tabua) and other gifts, and prayer;" breakfast; and then a bus trip to Suva – about three hours away along the south coast – where they would stay.
On Sunday, Oct. 16, Bishop Brown and each of the pastors on the trip preached at a different church's 10 a.m. worship service, then at 3 p.m. a joint service and official welcome took place at Centenary UMC, the "cathedral" of Suva.
On Oct. 17, 16 members of the delegation were received in the prime minister's office. The prime minister was traveling to Geneva, so the group was met by Permanent Secretary Pio Tikoduadua. "His words of welcome are gracious and detailed. Suva Suva is performed by Lekima, Bishop Brown converses formally with the PS, and more casual conversation follows," Klein writes. "The PS is curious about who we are. At his request, each pastor introduces him/herself – and he notes that in 2004 he studied in Monterey for six months, getting his Master's Degree, and he attended services at San Rafael and elsewhere, plus the Fiji Day celebrations."
The delegation was able to meet with Fiji's President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and First Lady Ade Koila Nailatikau (the titles are chiefly honorary, Klein explains), in the President's office; and Bishop Brown and the clergy were allowed to visit the American Embassy.
The days were filled with worship services; ceremonial events; visits to schools, churches, a Methodist Lay Training Center, an orphanage, a farm, various communities, and the islands Bau and Naviti; discussions with church leaders and public officials; and interfaith connections.
On Oct. 25, a change in weather, from cool and dry to hot and humid, signaled an end to the trip.
Bishop Brown leads a meeting to describe our schedule for the day, get impressions, and discuss especially the future. We learn that high-level sources he has met with on the side have all been very positive about our visit, saying that it has been well timed to help catalyze movement forward for the Church and Government. We now can work through a mutual cooperation agreement with the Church. We now can start to evaluate in detail how we might participate in and hold up some of the major projects and initiatives that the Church has been defining for its future.
Chris Klein has written about the trip in glorious, poetic detail, punctuating his evocative prose with a travelogue of photos, at www.calnevumcfiji2011.wordpress.com. Please read it (drink it in!) in its entirety.
Eventually, Klein says, he will post a complete set of higher-resolution photos at www.calnevumcfiji2011.shutterfly.com, though the task of cataloguing and uploading them is likely to take 2-3 weeks.
The Rev. Michael Love sent back photos of the trip, also, which were posted to the First UMC of Palo Alto website at www.firstpaloalto.com.
Members of the California-Nevada Delegation to Fiji: From the Conference – Bishop Warner Brown, Minnie Brown, and the Rev. Linda Caldwell; from Centennial UMC in Sacramento – the Rev. Linda Loessberg-Zahl, Laitia Kurucake, and Virisila Batiratu; from Florin UMC in Sacramento – the Rev. Wilson DeOcera and Semisi Toganara; from First UMC of Palo Alto – the Rev. Michael Love and Lepani Verebasaga; from First UMC of San Rafael – the Rev. Liza Klein, Christopher Klein, Alena Vunakace, and Julie Hutchison; from First UMC of Santa Rosa – the Rev. Greg Bergquist, Lekima Banuve , Sekope Tauyavu, and Isimeli Radrodro; from Hayward UMC – the Rev. Elmar DeOcera; from First UMC of Petaluma – the Rev. Amy Beth Durward; from Temple UMC in San Francisco – the Rev. Schuyler Rhodes, Tikiko Lesuma, and Emma Rhodes; and from Trinity UMC in Mountain View – the Rev. Anne Schlesinger, Luke Vakaliwaliwa, and Ruci Vakaliwaliwa.
10-Fold Generates More Than $3k for Cal-Nev-Sponsored Philippines Project
The California-Nevada Annual Conference-sponsored 10-Fold Day 9, in support of Advance # 3021302, Comprehensive Community Development Project for Dumagat Communities in the Philippines, has generated 3,109 clicks of support so far – for which the Conference will donate an equal number of dollars.
10-Fold is a joint project of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) and United Methodist Communications, now in its second year. It aims to multiply ministry by mobilizing passionate people to stand up and be counted for causes in which they believe – and when they're counted, it triggers a $1 donation from the day's sponsor. (Each day focuses on a different project supported through the Advance – the giving arm of The United Methodist Church.)
"What started a year ago is continuing to grow. Because of your support and participation, God's work is being multiplied in ways unimaginable," says Larry Hygh, Jr., GBGM's Director of Communications.
He reports, "Thanks to [the now 33,623] advocates, malaria deaths in Africa may be eradicated by 2015, people who have faced disaster are receiving vital support on their path to recovery, entire communities are benefiting from better healthcare, and so much more."
Hygh notes there still is time to be counted. If you haven't registered your support for a project or projects in which you're interested, you still may go to www.10-fold.org and do so. Just click on the "Projects" tab, then on the project you wish to support, and then look for the Be Counted button to the right of the video screen, click on it, and give your email address. (You will receive a confirmation email to which you must respond in order to have your support register.) And don't forget to pass the word to family and friends who would be interested in helping out. As Hygh puts it, "The 10 days were just a beginning; the good works continue"!
10-Fold Features Video with Cal-Nev Pastors
Recordings of all the 10-Fold webcasts, videos, and resource materials have been saved on 10-Fold.org, to continue to serve as resources.
Included on the Day 9 With* the Philippines site: a video featuring the co-chairs of the Cal-Nevada Philippines Solidarity Task Force, the Revs. Felicisimo (Fel) Cao and Michael Yoshii.
In this 2 min. 59 sec. video interview excerpt (provided to GBGM by the CA-NV Conference Communications Office), the Revs. Cao and Yoshii talk about the reasons for, and importance of, the task force's work.
(To find the Cal-Nev video, scroll through the video thumbnails by clicking on the arrow pointing to the right.)
UMCom General Secretary Is UMAC Communicator of the Year
The Rev. Larry Hollon, General Secretary of United Methodist Communications, was named Communicator of the Year at the 2011 annual meeting of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC), Oct. 18-21 in Albuquerque.
In one of his nominations, Hollon was cited for being "the leading voice – often, a voice in the wilderness – for helping The United Methodist Church understand communications as a ministry that has the power to effect change and impact people's lives for Jesus Christ."
The identity of the recipient is kept secret until the award is presented at the annual awards gala – this year by Greg Nelson, communications director for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and a member of the UM Commission on Communications.
Hollon said he was "humbled" by the honor, and singled out the work of Annual Conference communicators.
"In this day of multimedia, in which communication technologies are literally changing our lives and shaping our culture, they are skilled not only at the latest tools but in thinking theologically and strategically how to communicate faith," he said.
Hall of Fame
Also at the Thursday, Oct. 20 gala, Wally Athey and the late Ann Greene Whiting were inducted into the UMAC Hall of Fame.
Athey, a 30-year veteran of television news, was the first director of communications for the Desert Southwest Annual Conference; Rev. Whiting served as editor of the Southern New England edition of the United Methodist Reporter and Zion's Herald, and editor and publisher of the Michigan Christian Advocate.
Communicators Assemble in Albuquerque; Cal-Nev Communications Takes Home Two Awards
Under the theme "Rising to New Heights: Communicating in a Diverse World," local church, Conference, and general agency communicators from around the country and beyond gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico Oct. 18-21, for the annual meeting of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC). The organization welcomed more than 30 first-time attendees – including two African communicators, whose expenses were paid by United Methodist Communications and the UMAC Helping Hands Scholarship fund.
The Rev. Lorenza Andrade-Smith, a United Methodist pastor who spent time in jail in support of the DREAM Act, and who has taken a vow of poverty to live among the homeless for three years, gave an inspiring keynote address.
There were two panel discussions – one on General Conference 2012, and another on Conference-general agency relations – along with three sessions of stimulating workshops.
Bishop Max Whitfield, episcopal leader of the New Mexico/Northwest Texas Area of The United Methodist Church, led opening worship on Tuesday. A mission experience followed, with one group serving at The Storehouse, the city's largest emergency food distribution center, and a second group working on the grounds of Casa Esperanza, which provides housing and support for patients and families temporarily relocated to Albuquerque because of illness. The following day communicators learned about the synthesis of Native American and Christian religion and culture, in a tour of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
The California-Nevada Annual Conference Communications Office received two awards of merit at the UMAC awards gala on Thursday evening (Oct. 20).
The Conference website (www.cnumc.org) was cited by the Indiana judges for its "professional design, solid content," and being "easy to navigate."
The Catch Fire in 50 Days blog (http://catchfirein50days.net), administered by the Communications Office, was recognized for its concept and graphic appeal.
Communications director Cate Monaghan serves the professional organization as vice-president and technologies specialist Jane Horstman is a member of a UMAC committee.
UM Communications Launches Free Mobile App
Mobile device users can easily access information about The United Methodist Church on the go – with a new free United Methodist application. Developed by United Methodist Communications and Music City Networks, the app is now available for free download for iPad and iPhone, and should be available for Android smartphone users by the end of next week.
To download, go to the App Store and search for "United Methodist Church." The app is called "The Official Mobile App of The United Methodist Church."
The application enables mobile access to daily devotions, news, videos, photos, social media sites, and a searchable index of United Methodist churches by geographic area. The "Ask InfoServ" feature connects users who have questions about the Church, or who have requests for resources, with staff who can help.
"We created the app so that we could deliver information about the denomination to people in a way that's fast, simple, and easy to use," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church. "The features available now are just a start. Our goal is to roll out new offerings over the coming months."
Hollon said that in early 2012, another new mobile application will be launched that will make it easier for users to connect with the United Methodist General Conference, the meeting of the denomination's top policy-making body which occurs once every four years. The 2012 meeting will take place April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Florida. The application will allow delegates and other interested parties to track proposed legislation, as well as to keep up with scheduled events and to access information about the meeting locale.
Register Now for Social Media for Ministry Bootcamp on Saturday
Gear up and register now for "Social Media for Ministry Bootcamp" at Pacific School of Religion – this Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The full day workshop is presented by The Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR). CPR's Social Media Intensives help equip faith leaders with the tools they need for 21st Century ministry, through exploration of the "why on earth should I" and "how on earth do I" of social networking technology.
Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and YouTube are changing the way we create community and think about ministry. Social networking is more than just using the latest new technology – it's about a commitment to extend God's hospitality. Today's technology makes it easy to speak up, reach out, and connect. And it's here to stay!
Workshop participants will explore how to engage, enrich, and expand community, as they:
- Receive hands-on tutorials with Facebook, Twitter, blogging and YouTube
- Learn to identify and hone the purposes for engaging with social media
- Begin to develop a social media strategy that fits individual contexts
- Explore how to use technology more effectively in worship, education, and spiritual formation
- Discuss the theological and ecclesiological implications of this age of social networking
Registration is $125 per person, or $99 for alumni and $60 for students.
Apportionment Calculator Now Available – See How Your Dollars Work!
Do you ever wonder where your apportionment dollars go or what's the amount of your local church's contribution?
Contributions are used within our Conference, the Western Jurisdiction, and the General Conference – in support of worthy causes such as the World Service Fund, Africa University Fund, the Jurisdictional Conference Administration Fund, and more. But how much goes to what?
Our NEW Apportionment calculator offers an easy answer. The calculator lets you see your church's apportionment dollars at work – in one easy click! To use the calculator: Select your local church from the pull-down menu (found on the blue bar) to display your church's share. See how your church's contribution compares with the Conference's, or with other churches within the Conference. Run your cursor over the pie chart to display your share. And for more information about the funds, click on the fund's name in the table.
'Ordinary to Extraordinary: A Day for the Laity'
By Burt Yin
Co-Lay Leader, CA-NV Annual Conference
Register Now for Nov. 5 Day for the Laity
Don't forget to register for "Ordinary to Extraordinary: A Day for the Laity" of the California-Nevada Annual Conference – Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the United Methodist Center in West Sacramento.
If you think your ministry is ordinary, think again – for God works through ordinary people to do extraordinary things! Come and learn about the ordinary people in the Bible who give us great examples of the extraordinary things all of us can do in sharing Jesus, our Church, and our Wesleyan ways in our congregations and beyond into our communities.
We are very excited to have two keynote presenters:
- The Rev. Renae Extrum-Fernandez, Bridges District Superintendent, will share ways of developing leadership and service among the laity that lead to doing the things that matter to God and making a difference in our congregations and communities as we make disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world.
- The Rev. Linda Holbrook, an Elder in the Central Texas Conference and a spiritual director who brings prior business experience, will explore with us the spiritual gifts of leadership that God shares, helping us identify the gifts each of us have and providing insights into encouraging others in our congregations to share their gifts.
Come explore in other workshops as well:
- Creating an Extraordinary Movement of Methodism: Following in our Wesleyan Ways, with the Rev. Tom Kimball
- Building Extraordinary Congregations that effectively reach their diverse communities while strengthening their unity within the Body of Christ, with the Revs. Dale Weatherspoon and Sun Hee Kim
- Moving Beyond Our doors in Extraordinary Outreach with our neighbors near and far, with Phil Bandy and Burt Yin
- Developing New Understandings of Generosity – sharing back with God what has so richly been given to us, with the Rev. Betsy Schwarzentraub
Gain exciting insights on partnering with our pastors and being who we are called to be – not only at church, but at home, work, school, and in all those places where our lives touch the lives of others. Talk with laity from other churches and find out what they are doing in their congregations.
A special note for those who are current local church and certified lay speakers: This day will satisfy the requirement for the refresher course a local lay speaker must complete every three years, and also can be included as an advanced course for certified lay speakers.
Lunch is included in your registration.
The United Methodist Center is located at 1276 Halyard Drive, West Sacramento, CA 95691.
Church Administrative Leaders' Basic Training
Diane Knudsen, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administration, has scheduled two "Basic Trainings with Q & A" for church administrative leaders.
- Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at El Sobrante UMC, 670 Appian Way, El Sobrante, CA 94803.
- Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at First UMC of Modesto, 850 Sixteenth Street, Modesto, CA 95354.
Cost of $10 includes lunch and materials.
UMCOR Relief Supply Kits Are Needed Now
By Phil Bandy
Interim Director, CA-NV UMVIM Office
The distribution of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Relief Supply Kits has been successful this year. The sad news is that many were in great demand because they were shipped to assist people in crisis from the many disasters this year, and now supplies are running out. Brian Diggs, Director at the UMCOR West Depot, says, "We need kits and supplies of almost every type." He will be restocking the warehouse this winter as volunteers arrive at the Salt Lake City facility to process relief kits, but he stresses the depot needs kits and materials now.
One church, Pinole UMC, is stepping out to help get these much-needed relief kits to Brian at UMCOR West. They have kits assembled already, and plan to take them to the depot themselves, picking up kits from other churches as they go. Team leader Linda Stone has put together a route and schedule for November 4th and 5th. She points out, "ask for bulk supplies instead of kits, because of the short time available to gather all the things for this trip. [However,] if you have enough volunteers to put the kits together, this may generate more for this trip.
In this plan, there are a series of eight (8) churches that have been designated as "Drop Stations" on Linda's route. She also points out, "If churches that have kits or supplies to take to the drop-off location would call other churches between them and the drop-off location, perhaps they could do another pony express to get them to the drop-off location, rather than each driving the whole way. Here they could take them to the next church and then someone from that church would take them to the next, just like [with] the original pony express."
UMCOR Relief Kits for cleaning and personal health are sent to flooded homes and churches, burned communities, tornado-ravaged homes, and quake disasters such as Haiti. These include Cleaning Bucket Kits. Last year, 23,000 Health Kits were shipped out of the UMCOR West facility to Haiti. All those kits were replaced, but now have been shipped out again to other places of need. The rest of the kits are sent to support the work of UMCOR to provide basic necessities for people who lack ready access to essential supplies.
Hundreds of local volunteers in Salt Lake City assist as needed at the UMCOR West Depot, but teams from all over go there to volunteer. Read here about the recent team from Susanville UMC and the great time this group had there. This destination is perfect for teams of all ages, families, youth, large groups, and small groups.
During the months of August and September, the UMCOR Relief-Supply Network shipped out nearly 238,000 relief kits to people in need across the United States and the world. (UMCOR-hotline, Oct. 25, 2001.)
Western Jurisdiction UMVIM Mission Strategy
By Phil Bandy
Interim Director, CA-NV UMVIM Office
The Western Jurisdiction has developed a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) strategy. It includes:
- offering more local projects;
- urban ministry projects; and
- projects specifically for youth.
In recognition of the power that risk-taking mission brings to congregations, UMVIM is creating a series of projects that offer to double the impact. Focusing the UMVIM experience on our own congregations offers the chance to rekindle hope and interest and inspiration for our own. This is not just for the church that sends a team to visit somewhere: The church that hosts the team can be revived, too.
The project includes publishing opportunities that exist already within the Western Jurisdiction, creating new projects, and adding a mix of experienced team leaders to coach churches as they explore how to work together. Bringing these projects closer to home makes them more affordable and opens opportunities for projects that are less than a week in duration. They also can develop into church partnership relationships that are ongoing.
Watch the website for new projects in nearby Conferences, and for opportunities for guests from nearby Conferences to come visiting.
The second part of the WJ UMVIM Strategy is to focus on urban ministry. Recently we coordinators compared notes and saw a disturbing increase in numbers of homeless people served in many of our urban areas. A number of great ministries are operating within our jurisdiction; most of them are suitable destinations for teams, and they offer great places to learn about new ways to serve locally or to improve existing projects after teams return home.
Youth UMVIM opportunities are being identified from the projects we know of, and being listed specifically to make them easier to find and to make connection with them easier. In addition, new opportunities are being developed and promoted. The list is located on the WJ UMVIM website.
Retreat to Lake Tahoe This Winter!
Kings Beach United Methodist Church is blessed to have facilities available at beautiful Lake Tahoe for groups to use on retreats. Groups who use the "Wee Kirk o' the Pines Retreat Center" include youth groups for snow or summer play, confirmation classes, scout and other youth organizations, church family retreats, church planning retreats, and church spiritual retreats. The church/retreat center is located at walking distance from the Kings Beach State Beach and minutes from ski resorts and hiking trails. Facilities will accommodate youth, adult, or family retreat groups of up to 35 persons. Groups are invited to take advantage of this ideal location and low-cost accommodations.
- Dormitory-style sleeping (take along your own bedding, towels, and personal gear)
- Full kitchen and dining area
- Worship Area
Cost for 2011/2012:
- $15 per person per night
- Minimum charge per night: $150 (pays for the first 10 persons)
- Reservation Deposit: $50 (due within 30 days of making reservation)
The reservation deposit also will serve as a cleaning and breakage deposit, and is refundable upon inspection at the end of your stay.
For reservations and available dates, contact the Rev. Kathryn Dunning at 530.546.2290 (church), 530.277.7582 (cell), or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Workers: Sign up for FREE Subscription
Young People's Ministries of the General Board of Discipleship has an exciting offer for you! Young People's Ministries recently developed a relationship with Immerse: A Journal of Faith, Life and Youth Ministry. Because of this, you're entitled to one free year of the Immerse Journal, simply for being United Methodist. Pretty cool!
Simply click the link below and fill out the form in order to receive your free one-year subscription, which will run from January to December in 2012. Don't miss out on the chance to receive this great resource for free!
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CA-NV Annual Conference
1276 Halyard Drive
West Sacramento, CA 95691
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