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United Methodists to recruit new missionaries

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A UMNS file photo by Mel Wright

Debra Price and Nancy Longstreth are commissioned as Church and Community Workers May 17, 2005.
April 7, 2006

By Elliott Wright*

STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church needs at least 20 new international missionaries over two years.

A recruitment effort—“The Next Missionary May be YOU”—was launched during the April 3-6 spring meeting of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

“ We are extremely pleased to be able to again actively recruit missionaries for international service,” said the Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the international mission agency.

Dramatic revenue shortfalls, primarily from a sharp drop in investment income, resulted in a moratorium on new missionary recruitment and assignment in 2002. International missionaries placed over the last three years have filled emergency needs, Day noted.

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Photo courtesy of Mozart Adevu, GBGM

Mozart Adevu is a missionary with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church serving in Accra, Ghana.

“ We are looking for missionaries in 2006 and 2007 for service in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Israel/Palestine,” said the Rev. Edith Gleaves, who heads the board’s mission personnel unit. “We need missionary pastors, educators, health and social workers, children and youth workers, administrators, and specialists in rural and construction ministries.”

A typical missionary term is three years in length and the board provides health benefits and educational provisions for dependent children.

The board currently provides full support for 229 missionaries; 179 in international services and 50 in the United States. Partial support is provided to another 120 people, mostly in the United States. These include church and community workers, Hispanic/Latino Plan missionaries, Alaska missionaries, and short-term young adult missionaries.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Mary Beth Coudal

Kevin M. Nelson (left) and Timothy P. Bodenstein are newly commissioned home missioners, a new lay office for men.

Another 100 people are non-commissioned mission personnel, and the agency helps to support 293 people in mission selected by partner churches around the world. There are 136 deaconesses and home missioners who are commissioned by the board but find their own places of service.

Thirteen new deaconesses and two home missioners – a new lay office for men – were commissioned April 4 during the board meeting. They are Timothy P. Bodenstein of Stillwater, Okla.; Linda Frank, Columbus, Ohio; Patricia Goss, Phoenix; Rosa Linda Guadarrama, San Bernadino, Calif.; Mary Hill, Portland, Maine; Sung Ok Lee, New York City; Evana Lewis, New York City; Gladis Lobato, New York City; and Minnie Murrell, Pelham, Ala.

Also, Kevin M. Nelson, New York City; Rachel Patman, Wytheville, Va.; Claris R. Skerritt, New York City; Nancy Van Antwerp, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Earnestine Andrews Varnado, McComb, Miss.; and Mary Winslow, Nashville, Tenn.

The requirements for missionary service in the United Methodist Church can be found online at

Interested people should contact the mission personnel unit of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries by calling (212)870-3660, or emailing

A recruitment flyer for posting in church bulletin boards is available for downloading at

*Wright is the information officer of the Board of Global Ministries.

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