Tuesday, February 24, 2009

End Hunger … Change the World!!!!

Stop Hunger Now seeks to open warehouse in Mississippi.

Stop Hunger Now is an organization that provides direct food relief in crisis areas and in areas where chronic hunger and malnutrition exists. Its innovative model of developing international partnerships, as well as working with indigenous organizations, has created a responsive, timely method of distributing life-saving aid and services by the most economical means possible.

In ongoing efforts to end world hunger, Stop Hunger Now's goal is to build at least one warehouse on each of the major continents, keeping a minimum of five to 10 million servings of food at each location. Stop Hunger Now wants to duplicate its successful warehouse operation not just overseas, but also in several regions of the country. For this reason, the Mississippi Conference is in the process of enlisting donors, supporters and volunteers to help establish a warehouse right here in our state.

Ending hunger is possible within the lifetime of our children. The way it is (25,000 dying of hunger everyday) is not the way it needs to be. The United Nations estimates that through school lunch feeding programs similar to one’s used by Stop Hunger Now (SHN) hunger can be cut in half in the next 25 years.

SHN works to end hunger through:
Emergency Relief: Providing food and aid immediately following a crisis situation
School Feeding Programs: Supplying schools in crisis areas with high protein, vitamin enriched, dehydrated rice-soy meals
Capacity Building: Supporting partnership organizations with capacity building grants designed to improve local program infrastructure and support programs

By using minimal organizational staff, SHN is able to maximize the amount of aid delivered to people in need. SHN has provided over $44 million dollars worth of aid to more than 65 countries worldwide.

This volunteer driven and supported ministry has become a very popular missions event and last year. At Annual Conference, there were over 100,000 meals packaged by 400 volunteers in only 2 days, way ahead of the estimated completion time. The food packaged consists of dehydrated, fortified rice-soy meals containing over 20 vitamins and minerals especially formulated for the undernourished. The meals are vacuum-sealed in bags three millimeters thick. This popular and successful mission activity has also been staged at Galloway in Jackson, Meridian First and Shaeffers Chapel, Columbus and at the University of Southern Mississippi in years past.

If you, your church, mission group, civic group or social club is interested in helping get a Stop Hunger Now warehouse started here in Mississippi, please contact Mike Ward at MHJBWARD@aol.com or Jorge Navarrete at Jorge@mississippi-umc.org.


Child Abuse Prevention Month

4 children die every day because of it.
Every 10 seconds another child experiences it.
At least one person in your congregation is/ has been the victim of it.

What is it? Child Abuse. It occurs at every socio-economic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. The effects of it are life-long and invade every aspect of a victim’s life. What is the good news in all of this? We can and are doing something to address the problem.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is an excellent time to focus on child abuse education. Children need to be taught to know the difference between good and bad touches. Parents need to learn the scope of child abuse and what to look for in their own children. Teachers, pastors, grandparents, and/or anyone who cares for and loves children needs to understand the problem, their role in addressing it and what we can do as a community of faith to minimize the possibilities of children being abused.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than to sit with a child and their parent(s) after abuse has occurred. The pain and the wounds are truly too deep for words and the ripple effect of that pain in the family and community is intense. Here is an opportunity for you to be pro-active…to involve yourself now before a situation arises and causes such grief, mistrust, and woundedness in your community. Be a part of a solution!

· Host a child abuse education program (I along with any number of pediatricians, social workers, etc. would happily lead this event)
· Celebrate and make known to the congregation what your local church is doing to protect children from abuse while in the care of the church
· Offer a Safe Sanctuaries workshop to motivate people toward action
· Proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and build teaching opportunities around that theme
· Become educated about the work of Wesley Community House in Meridian. It is one of our United Methodist Community Centers that specializes in ministry with victims of child abuse.
· There are several different child-oriented coloring books and teaching tools specifically for children on this subject. Offer them as a gift to children in your community.
· Promote better parenting by offering a seminar just for them focusing on discipline, anger management, and child abuse.
· Consider a preaching series focused on Christ’s teachings regarding children and the faith community.

We cannot eradicate child abuse in a one month effort. We may not be able to effect statewide education and change. However, we CAN make a difference. We CAN save at least one child from the horror and pain abuse inflicts. We CAN and we must! I hope you will join with me in welcoming and honoring Christ as we truly welcome and honor the children that God has entrusted to us.

Michelle Foster

African-Americans in the News: Timothy E. Crisler

Timothy E. Crisler
Lay Leader for
Mississippi Annual Conference

Timothy Crisler is the Senior Corporate Communications Specialist and lead spokesman for Entergy Nuclear fleet, Entergy Corporation, the fourth largest electricity producer in the United States. At Entergy Nuclear, Crisler is a member of the Generation Communications staff. As Senior Corporate Communications Specialist, he oversees strategic planning and communications to internal and external audiences. Other responsibilities with the company include media relations, public relations, community relations, internet communications, crisis planning and response, meeting planning and local government relations. Crisler joined Entergy in 2005.

He has served in many capacities throughout his professional career. Prior to joining Entergy, for over a decade, Crisler was employed with Mississippi’s largest television station, NBC affiliate WLBT TV 3 as Senior News Producer. During his tenure there he served as an associate producer for the weekend Newscast, associate producer for sports journal, Producer of Frank Melton’s Bottom Line, Producer of the Early Morning show, Producer of the Noon Newscast, Field Producer, Creator and Producer of the Mid-Day Mississippi Show, Public Affairs Assistant and Marketing Assistant. As Senior News Producer, he was involved in many other aspects of local programming and public relations for the station.

Crisler has also held the top communications position at Mississippi’s largest African American Funeral Home, Peoples Funeral Home, Inc. in Jackson. He also served for a couple of years as an adjunct professor at Belhaven College, teaching various communications courses to young and upcoming journalist.

His educational background includes a bachelor of arts degree (cum laude) in broadcast communications from Alcorn State University and a master of science degree in mass communications with emphasizes in public relations and marketing from Mississippi College.

In addition to his career, Crisler has been active in many professional, civic, and charitable causes. Currently he serves as Conference Lay Leader for the Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Crisler was elected as conference lay leader in June, 2008. He is the youngest person ever to serve in this position and only the second Africa-America elected to serve as conference lay leader for Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. As conference lay leader, he is the head layman of 190,000 United Methodists in 1,147 congregations in 11 districts across the state of Mississippi.

He is a member of the White Oak United Methodist Church in Crystal Springs. In his church he serves as Lay Leader, Certified Lay Speaker, member of the Steward Board, Chairman of the Educational Committee, Sunday School Teacher, Bible School Teacher, Choir member, Prayer Coordinator, Trustee Chairman, Finance Chairperson, Couples Ministry Chairperson, Worship Chairperson and member of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee and was the former president of United Methodist Men in his church.

In the community, he serves on the Board of Directors for Alcorn State University Wesley Foundation, were he is an honorary life member. He is a Prince Hall Mason and member of Sanderson Lodge Number 22 of the Most Worshipful Stringer Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons, Holy Royal Arch Masons, United Supreme Council Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Free masonry Southern Jurisdiction, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, member of the Mississippi Grand Council Royal & Select Masters, member of Rissah Temple No. 130 Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of North and South America and its Jurisdictions, where he currently serves as The Illustrious Chief Rabban, member of T.C. Almore Grand Commandery of Mississippi - Knights Templar, Joseph B. Henderson Commanders of the Rite Jurisdiction of Mississippi and he is also a member of Jackson’s local chapter of Association of Black Journalist, Public Relations Association of Mississippi Central Chapter, Southern Public Relations Federation Member, American Association of blacks in Energy, NAACP and a Member of Alpha Kappa MU National Honor Society.

Crisler is married to the former Katrina Golliday and they reside in Raymond Mississippi.

Redesign of the Parish and Community Development Committee/Health and Wellness Website

The Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Parish and Community Development Committee and Health and Wellness is pleased to announce the launching of our redesigned website. Our new site has been redesigned with a fresh new look and has been updated with current information to better meet the needs of members and others in the Internet community. We sought to make the site well-organized, visually helpful, and uncluttered, so that access to our content would be quick, easy, intuitive and enjoyable. The improved organization of the site is supported by navigation that stays with you throughout the site. The top navigation bar shows you the main sections of our site and will always be there. The side navigation shows you the contents of the particular section that you are in, and stays with you throughout that section. As a result, you will always know where you are in relation to the whole site. If you want to see what resources we have, just click on the Links button. You can find numerous resources there. It is now easier to see what events, meetings or conferences we have coming up by clicking on the Calendar button. Brochures for upcoming events are beneath the calendar and may be downloaded with the click of a mouse.

Obviously, any redesign involves an improved graphic look for the site, and ours is no different. We hope that you will find the look cleaner, more consistent, and more integrated. Our redesign project was not solely about updating the look of the site. We hope that all of the features, together with the improved look, combine to provide you an enjoyable and edifying experience on our site. Your comments and suggestions for strengthening our communications through this website are encouraged and welcome! If you experience any problems using the new website or if you have any suggestions, please contact Angela at angela@mississippi-umc.org. With your help, we can all benefit.

In order to get to the site, go to www.mississippi-umc.org and click on the “Ministries” dropdown menu, click on “Congregational Development.”

The Mississippi Conference Requests Nominations for the Tobias Gibson and Francis Asbury Awards

The Tobias Gibson Award is given to individuals who have made major contribution preservation, collecting and promoting Methodist history.

The Francis Asbury Award is for Fostering Ministries in Higher Education. Bishop Francis Asbury encouraged United Methodists to build schools in locations central to our churches so that young adults and youth would have more opportunities to broaden their minds. The Francis Asbury Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to higher education and campus ministry at the local, district or annual conference level of the church. The award recipient will be recognized during the 2009 Annual Conference proceedings.

The Francis Asbury Award is a non-monetary award that recognizes either clergy or lay people, employed or volunteer, who are members of The United Methodist Church and meet the following criteria:

- A United Methodist, lay or clergy
- Active in strengthening and promoting the church’s work in higher education and campus ministries (schools, colleges, campus ministries, scholarships) at the annual conference, district or local church level
- Offer outstanding leadership beyond the basic responsibilities, to help bring more awareness to the importance of the church’s ministries in higher education
- Involved in efforts that agree with the direction and goals of Mississippi Conference’s board of higher education and campus ministries as well as those of the Division of the General Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry

All Awards will be presented during Annual Conference at the Award Banquet, Thursday, June 11, 2009.

To nominate an individual contact Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett at P. O. Box 1147, Jackson, MS 39215 or http://us.mc392.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=fitzgerald@mississippi-umc.org.

Deadline for the Tobias Gibson and Francis Asbury Award nominations is April 13, 2009.

Climate Changes: Planetary, Religious, and Theological

Dr. Michael S. Hogue

Thursday, March 5, 11:30-12:45, Leggett Center of Millsaps College
Lunch provided – Reserve your spot now: mailto:raydk@millsaps.edu or 601.974.1337
Sponsored by the Religious Studies Dept. and the John Templeton Foundation

In a context of religious pluralism, how might religious leaders and public theologians most creatively engage globally scaled moral challenges such as climate change? In response to this question, this talk begins with an analysis of the moral structure of planetary climate change, interpreted as an illustration of the need to move beyond environmental thinking. Following this, the question is raised of whether the globalizing present might be described as not merely a time after the secular, but also, paradoxically, after religion. Might this post-religious ethos, against common sense, actually present new openings for public theological engagement of global challenges like climate change? The talk closes with reflections on this possibility by outlining the emphases of a pragmatic public theology.

Dr. Michael Hogue is Assistant Professor of Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, Illinois. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2005. He was awarded a Templeton Prize for Theological Promise in 2008, based on his first book, The Tangled Bank: Towards an Ecotheological Ethics of Responsible Participation. He has published articles and reviews in various academic journals and currently serves as review editor of The American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, as secretary of the Highlands Institute of Theology and Philosophy, and on the planning committee of the AAR's Empiricism and Pragmatism in Religious Thought group. At the moment, his research and teaching focus especially on questions of public theology and theological pragmatism. Dr. Hogue is currently completing a second book on religious ethical responses to climate change and pluralism.

2009 Footsteps in Hope AIDS Walk/Run

Hello Walkers!

The 2009 Footsteps In Hope AIDS Walk/Run is 40 short days away! That's 960 hours/57600 minutes/3456000 seconds left to:

- gather your friends, family, etc together to form a team
- collect donations in support of our wonderful 2009 beneficiaries
- start training to walk or run the 8K distance

Below is a quick review of the what, where, when, how, and why.

Footsteps In Hope
8K AIDS Walk/Run

Old Trace Park
Ridgeland, MS

March 29, 2009
2pm - 6pm

Register at http://www.footstepsinhope.org/

To support the Local and Global fight for improved healthcare. This year's benefiting organizations include: Building Bridges, Grace House, Hope Project, Mississippi Episcopal AIDS Committee, UMC Adult Special Care, UMC Pediatric AIDS Care.

If you have any other questions at all, feel free to email footstepsinhope@gmail.com.

We are also looking for additional volunteers to help us cover day-of registration and our water stop. If you are interested, please let us know.

Thank you so much!

I look forward to Walking with you,

~Liz Coleclough
Footsteps In Hope Coordinator