Photo: Gil Hanke, top staff executive of UM Men, digs a trench for a new security wall in Mellier, Haiti
United Methodist Men began the year praying, raising funds, and recruiting volunteers to help the people of Haiti recover from a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Gil Hanke, a veteran leader of UM was named top staff executive of the General Commission on UM Men, and he was one of the first volunteers to arrive after the nation was opened to reconstruction work.
The year ended with Larry Malone, a 13-year veteran of men’s ministry, retiring from his post with the commission. Malone was replaced by four volunteer directors who begin work in January. The volunteers include Greg Arnold, Vancleave, Miss.; Neil Brown, Spruce Pine, N.C.; Mark Dehority, Moweaqua, Ill.; and Mark Lubbock, Baton Rouge, La.
Malone will continue as president of the men’s affiliate of the World Council of Churches, an organization putting its energy into Stop Hunger Now, a global effort to package and deliver 13-ounce food packets to hungry families especially following natural disasters.
During the year, GCUMM recruited 20 men’s ministry specialists and 100 scouting ministry specialists to expand their ministries.
The agency also secured funding to send Strength for Service to God and Country books to members of the Armed Forces. The book was originally published in 1942 for troops in World War II; it was updated and republished by a California Boy Scout. A total of 436,000 books have been distributed by the commission over past 10 years.
During the year, LaNisha Sayles was employed as a staff person working with scouting ministry; men’s ministry specialists, and Strength for Service. Bari Watson, who served as the marketing and development officer for 18 months, accepted a new post with Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.
In 2010, The General Commission on UM Men forged a partnership with DISCIPLE Bible Outreach Ministries of North Carolina in order to bring DISCIPLE Bible study to prisons across the U.S.
Meeting, last September, the 21-member commission approved an agreement with the Rev. Mark Hicks, executive director of North Carolina’s DISCIPLE Bible Outreach Ministries.
The mission of the ministry is “Making disciples through Bible study to bring God's grace to a hurting world,” said Hicks.
Hicks has been leading DISCIPLE program in correctional settings since 1999, and he says the studies are transformational for both volunteers and prison participants.
A booklet of questions and activities for men based on DISCIPLE II will be available to those engaged in the prison ministry. That guidebook was written by Bishop Richard Wilke, one of the leading architects of the DISCIPLE series.
A highlight of the year was the National Scouting Jamboree in Fort Hill, N.J. The event celebrated the 100th year of scouting in America. Eighteen UM clergy served as chaplains during the July 26-August 4 event. In addition, 11 UMs, led by Larry Coppock, staffed an exhibit at the jamboree.
Some 5,500 UM Scouts and leaders attended a worship service during the nine-day event. Pittsburgh Area Bishop Thomas Bickerton preached at the service and during the week Scouts contributed a total of $17,500 to Nothing But Nets.
This was the last year the jamboree will be held in New Jersey. In 2013, the event will be held at the Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, a 10,600-acare site near Beckley, W. Va. The UM Foundation of West Virginia established an endowment fund to support scouting ministries at the Summit.
There are some 370,000 Scouts meeting in 6,700 UM churches. In December, the National Scouting Office reported that 100 people have volunteered to serve as scouting ministry specialists. These persons will increase the numbers and quality of scouting programs offered by UM congregations.
Alvin Townley, author of two best-selling books on scouting, was named spokesperson for scouting ministry.
Twenty-three scouters attended the first UM Scouters Workshop at the Boy Scout Florida Sea Base in February, and the first scouting ministry specialist training was held in October in West Virginia. A second training occurred in November in New Jersey. Twenty-five specialists were trained.
During the year, 41 adult mentors were matched with children and youth of incarcerated parents through the Big Brothers-Big Sisters “Amachi” program. Amachi is a Nigerian Ibo word that means “Who knows but what God has brought us through this child.” Amachi was launched in 11 annual conferences through a Human Relations Day grant from the General Board of Church and Society.
Gilbert C. Hanke, 59, the first layman to serve as president of the General Commission on UM Men (2005-2008), assumed the tap staff position of the Nashville-based agency in February. He formerly served as president of UM Men in his local church, president of his district and president of UM Men in his annual conference. He was also elected president of the National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men.
During 2010, 17 persons signed up as members of the Circuit Rider Society. Each of the members made an annual pledge to give $1,500 to men’s ministry. Current members of the society include: John Dowell, Tampa, Fla.; Dan Henry, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Larry Coppock, Joelton, Tenn.; Larry Malone, Nashville, Tenn.; Robert T. Cate, Nashville, Tenn.; Curtis P. Brisbon, Washington, D.C.; Gilbert C. Hanke, Antioch, Tenn.; Paul Diehl, Austin, Texas; Harold W. Green, Cary, N.C.; Greg Papajohn, Gulf Breeze, Fla.; Joseph Boatman, Mansfield, Texas; Neil Brown, Spruce Pine, N.C.; Mark Hatcher, Tuscumbia, Ala.; Sonny Evans, Natchitoches, La.; Marcus Wren, Minden, La.; Allen Evans, Natchitoches, La.; and Joe Lancaster, Columbia, Tenn.
Twenty persons have completed an extensive training program, and they are now certified as men’s ministry specialists. During 2010, the Nashville-based Turner Center agreed to help certify future specialists.
UM Men took the first step toward launching an on-line learning center. They are now trying to find funding for the web-based Leader Learning and Development where participants can receive advanced training in men’s ministry, scouting ministry, prayer advocacy, and hunger-relief ministries.
Six United Methodist officials were meeting in a Port-au-Prince hotel on Jan. 12 when the quake trapped them under the rubble.
Clint Rabb and Sam Dixon, officials with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, were pinned under the concrete structure for over 50 hours.
Dixon died of cardiac arrest before the firemen could free him, and Rabb, who had his legs amputated on the spot, died a day later in a Florida hospital. The summer issue of UM Men magazine was dedicated in their honor.
Jean Arnwine, a United Methodist working in an eye clinic in Petit-Goâve, also died as a result of injuries from the quake.
Those three United Methodist leaders help put faces on the estimated 230,000 people who died during the quake; 300,000 were injured and 1 million were made homeless.
Ten men from Pilgrim UMC in Clinton County, Mich., were also in Haiti when the earthquake occurred. They all survived and returned home on Jan. 17.
Soldiers of the 597th Transportation Terminal Group were immediately deployed to Haiti. Each member of that group carried a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country presented by the commission through Chaplain John Jacobs.
Gil Hanke had made 20 mission trips to Haiti to conduct hearing tests prior to the earthquake. He returned to Haiti in June as part of a 10-person construction team, and he plans to lead another team to the island in 2011.
In the months since the disaster, UM Committee on Relief provided assistance to survivors and built a foundation for a large-scale, long-term recovery effort. United Methodists have donated more than $40 million to the relief agency, and 3,000 persons volunteered to help the injured and homeless.
A thousand-year flood swamped middle Tennessee on May 1 and the roof on the Nashville office of the General Commission on UM Men was further damaged and had to be replaced. That seemed to be very minor in light of thousands of people who lost their homes. UM Men quickly volunteered to help people clear out their homes and begin the rebuilding process.
Five years after Hurricane Katrina and a 2010 oil spill on the Gulf Coast, volunteers are still helping communities rebuild. Hundreds of groups of UM Men traveled to the area to rebuild homes, churches and retreat centers.
Mississippi Bishop Hope Morgan Ward thanked more than 160,000 volunteers who visited the state to aid rebuilding efforts. Louisiana Bishop William W. Hutchinson, said, “We lost church buildings and congregations, but we gained the church.”
Call to Action
A “Call to Action” team of the Connectional Table and the Council of Bishops conducted two extensive studies and made five recommendations to increase the number of members and the vitality of churches:
1. Beginning in January 2011 and continuing for at least ten years, concentrate on using the drivers of congregational vitality to build effective practices in local churches.
2. Dramatically reform the clergy leadership development, deployment, evaluation, and accountability systems.
3. Measure progress in key performance areas using statistical information to learn and adjust approaches to leadership, policies, and use of human and financial resources.
4. Reform the Council of Bishops, with active bishops assuming responsibility/accountability for improving results in attendance, professions of faith, baptisms, participation in servant/mission ministries, benevolent giving, and lowering the average age of church participants.
5. Consolidate program and administrative agencies, and align their work and resources with church priorities and the commitment to build vital congregations, and reconstitute them with much smaller competency-based boards of directors.
Beginning in January, 2011, a seven-member Interim Operation Team, along with a staff executive, will guide the church in a two-year effort to implement the recommendations.
Imagine No Malaria
An “Imagine No Malaria” campaign to raise $75 million to eradicate malaria by 2015 was kicked off April 15 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. United Methodist leaders visited the village of Bongonga where they hung 30,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets in 8,000 homes.
Part of the United Methodist Global Health Initiative, the anti-malaria campaign serves as an entry point to larger health and poverty issues using the church’s 250 clinics, hospitals, and health-care stations located in 14 nations of sub-Saharan Africa.
In November, the church announced that it will release $28 million to the Geneva-based Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Churches have sponsored a variety of fund-raising activities for Imagine No Malaria. During an August 1 United Methodist worship service at the National Boy Scout Jamboree, Scouts gave $12,500 to the Nothing But Nets program. Over the nine-day meeting, Scouts contributed a total of $17,500 to the anti-malaria effort.
In November, the church trained 3,700 community health workers to deliver more than 2.5 million mosquito nets to Sierra Leone homes. The $2 million effort resulted in each household receiving three nets.
Forty-three Filipino health workers were participating in a week-long training seminar to build first-responders capacity to address natural disasters. But the Armed Forces of the Philippines, viewed the seminar as a gathering of terrorists learning how to make explosives. On the morning of Feb. 6, they swooped on the farm in what they described as their biggest-ever mass arrest of insurgents.
When the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table met last April in Manila, both groups condemned “past, recent and ongoing extrajudicial killings” and implications of abuses by the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army. Gil Hanke was part of that gathering.
Bishops John Schol, Daniel Arichea, and Rodolfo Juan traveled to Washington to ask the U.S. government to pressure the Philippines government to release the 43 health workers.
On Dec. 1, a Filipino government official told representatives of the World Council of Churches the charges against the workers would be withdrawn by Christmas.
Church rejects move toward regional bodies
The 135 annual conferences around the world rejected constitutional amendments that would have paved the way to make the church in the United States one of several regional bodies throughout the world.
A Study Committee on the Worldwide Nature of Church will continue to explore ways that lead to greater equality between U.S. conferences and churches outside this nation. The 32-member group will also draft legislation for the 2012 General Conference that will provide greater sharing of power, and the freedom to adapt the Book of Discipline to local contexts.
Five retired United Methodist bishops died in 2010:
• Abel T. Muzorewa, 84, former bishop of Zimbabwe and first black prime minister of Zimbabwe
• Raymond H. Owen, 78, former bishop of the San Antonio Area (1992-2000), and former president of the General Commission on UM Men (1997-2000)
• William Dew, 74, former bishop of the Portland Area (1988-1996) and the Phoenix Area (1996-2000)
• Bishop James K. Mathews, 97, former bishop of New England Area (1996-1972) and the Washington, D.C. Area (1972-1980)
• James Thomas, 91, former bishop of the Iowa Area (1964-1976) and the Ohio East Area (1976-1988)
Other leaders of UM Men who entered the church triumphant:
Orville Mueth, Robert Godfrey Williams, Bill Titus, Phillip R. Ferguson, and Jerry Joel Bernardy