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United Methodists enlist community workers, others



Members of the 2007 class of missionaries respond during their commissioning service by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries April 24 in Stamford, Conn. UMNS photos by Cassandra Heller.  











April 30, 2007 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)

Nine new missionaries have been commissioned by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

All nine are church and community workers, a mission category devoted to uplifting the poor and disenfranchised in rural and urban areas of the United States. The April 24 service also included the commissioning of 10 deaconesses and a home missioner.

Three of the new missionaries are assigned to Justice for Our Neighbors, church-based legal clinics for immigrants related to the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The others will serve ministries with women and children, housing and economic development, community services and Native Americans.



Mary Ward, assigned as a community worker in Virginia, receives the anchor cross at
her commissioning.

Commissioned as church and community workers were Andrew Booth, assigned to the Justice for Our Neighbors offices in Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; the Rev. Stephen Copley, who will serve as an immigration attorney for Justice for Our Neighbors in Monticello and Little Rock, Ark.; and Debbie Keeney, outreach coordinator of the Justice for Our Neighbors office in Omaha, Neb.

Others missionaries commissioned were the Rev. Kathleen Masters, assigned to Mary's Cradle, a center for mothers and children in Bluefield, W.Va.; the Rev. Linda and Mark Stransky, Project Crossroads in Marion, Va.; Gail Strickler and Mary Ward, both assigned to the Community Outreach Program within the Virginia Annual Conference; and Diane Wood, a deaconess assigned to the Choctaw Mission, Philadelphia, Miss.

Deaconesses are women and home missioners are men who engage in ministries of justice and service across the United States, often in underserved communities.

Commissioned as deaconesses were Darlene DiDomineck, assigned to the board's headquarters in New York; Doris Frazer, missions outreach coordinator at First United Methodist Church in Murray, Ky.; Olma Garibay, a teacher and multi-ministry director of Resurrection United Methodist Church in Chesapeake, Va.; and Leslie Hobson, a youth and family ministries director at Park United Methodist Church in Brainerd, Minn., and integration specialist coordinator with the Minnesota Annual Conference.

Other deaconesses commissioned were Sandra Hortman, director of resource development, Open Door Community House, Columbus, Ga.; Sherlette Lee, literacy specialist, New York Public Library, Bronx, N.Y.; Maria Maine, psychiatric social worker, Bronx Lebanon Hospital, New York; Melba McCallum, director of the Rockingham (N.C.) District Cooperative Ministry; Carol Clay Mann, a teacher and crisis intervention worker in Missouri and Illinois; and Angel Ray, a food service director and director of volunteer ministries at Centralia (Wash.) United Methodist Church.

Gary Locklear of Pembroke, N.C., who already serves as a church and community worker at the Native American Cooperative Ministry, was commissioned as a home missioner.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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