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Mission service offers live viewing, chat options

The Rev. R. Randy Day (left) and Bishop Joel N. Martínez (right) lay hands on Irene Mparusta as she is commissioned for missionary service in Cambodia in
this 2006 file photograph. UMNS photos by Cassandra M. Zampini.

By Linda Bloom*
Oct. 1, 2009 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

United Methodists around the connection will be able to participate in a virtual laying on of hands when 40 mission personnel are commissioned and the service is streamed on the Internet.

The service will take place at 7 p.m. EST, Oct. 13, during the annual meeting of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in Stamford, Conn., and can be followed at www.ummissionaries.org.

Newly commissioned missionary
Farayi Tiriwepi and Bishop Violet Fisher embrace as Bishop Joel N. Martínez looks on in this October 2006 file photo.

"We invite every bishop, every Sunday school teacher and every church member to extend their hands in blessing as new groups of mission workers are commissioned in the name of Jesus Christ," said Bishop Joel N. Martínez, the mission agency’s interim top executive.

Those blessings and prayers, along with words of encouragement and other comments, can be posted via Twitter (#hope10_13) and Facebook.

Those being commissioned will include two missionaries for the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, five young adult US-2s, six young adult mission interns, eight international missionaries, nine deaconesses and home missioners, and 10 U.S. church and community workers.

The diverse group will serve in a variety of settings, including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and rural and urban America, said the Rev. Chris Heckert, the board executive in charge of mission communications and marketing.

The service itself will “reflect the global nature of our missionaries,” he added, and it will mark the launch of a new missionary campaign for the agency.

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As of last spring, the church had 509 commissioned personnel serving in various mission categories, 92 non-commissioned mission workers and 316 mission personal from partner churches, working in 59 different nations.

Viewers of the commissioning will have a live chat option as the service is streamed on the Internet, and biographical information on each mission worker will appear on screen.

Online chatter about the commissioning has begun. Gina Head Barrow of Greenville, N.C., wrote on Facebook that she was excited about the event. “I'll be there on the 13th to see my husband's commissioning. Then we'll celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in NYC!”

Cindy Johnson of Rio Grande Valley, Texas, also was getting ready for the trip to New York.

And davidmartinezz tweeted that he was looking forward to the commissioning “of my greatest friend Luis and his wife Caroline.”

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

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


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