United Methodist phone cards going to soldiers in Iraq
United Methodist phone cards going to soldiers in Iraq
Aug. 19, 2004
A UMNS photo courtesy of Chaplain Frank A. Yerkes
Troops in Baghdad show their appreciation for phone cards sent to them from the United Methodist Church.
Methodist Chaplain Frank A. Yerkes (far right) with members of the
447th Air Expeditionary Group stationed in Baghdad, show their
appreciation for the phone cards sent to them from the United Methodist
Church. "It makes such a difference when they can call home and talk to
their loved ones," he said. A UMNS photo courtesy of Chaplain Frank A.
Yerkes. Photo number 04-344, 8/19/04
Tenn. (UMNS) –– United Methodist Chaplain Frank A. Yerkes and a few of
his friends have a message for the people of the United Methodist Church
who have been sending phone cards: Thanks.
cards have been an awesome blessing,” he said in an e-mail to the
United Methodist Endorsing Agency, a component of the United Methodist
Board of Higher Education and Ministry. “It makes such a difference when
soldiers can call home and talk to their loved ones. What a wonderful
gift! It makes me proud to represent our United Methodist family here on
the frontlines in Baghdad.”
like that come in almost daily, said Laura Flippen, communications
coordinator for the agency that oversees chaplains and pastoral
of phone cards going out by mail today will include a new card designed
to let soldiers know where the cards are coming from.
Methodist Communications teamed with the Endorsing Agency and the
Illinois Great Rivers Annual (regional) Conference to print cards
featuring the United Methodist Cross and Flame and the message “Open
hearts. Open minds. Open doors. The people of the United Methodist
people of the United Methodist Church are praying for your safety and
sense of peace. Our hearts, our minds and our doors are always open to
is important that the troops know that there are people who care about
them, even people who they may not know personally but who care about
the human side of being away from home, of being under stressful
conditions,” said Chaplain Bob Phillips, a Navy chaplain on active duty
in Norfolk, Va., and a member of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
think having the cards with the United Methodist brand on them is
totally appropriate, it is not proselytizing, there is nothing at all
negative about it,” he said.
Chaplain Howard S. Bell
Chaplain (Capt.) Howard S. Bell, Air Force reserve chaplain with the 375th Air Wing at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.
(Capt.) Howard S. Bell, Air Force reserve chaplain with the 375th Air
Wing at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois agrees. “It is a recognizable
trademark (the Cross and Flame) and when they (soldiers) come back home
they can say ‘That is the church that thought of us and cared.’”
Rev. Patricia Barrett, an executive with the Board of Higher Education
and Ministry, hopes the United Methodist phone cards will be seen as an
invitation to visit a United Methodist church.
hope there are lots of young men and women who come back and may have
not had a church home before but will remember there is such a thing as
the United Methodist Church and maybe finding themselves going into one
of the churches and becoming part of the community,” she said.
endorsing agency has been sponsoring a campaign to send phone cards to
the military since Veterans Day 2003. To date, more than 1 million
minutes have gone out from the Nashville, Tenn., office. A major push by
the Illinois Great Rivers Conference this summer will swell that number
to 2 million minutes.
A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
United Methodists prepare phone cards for distribution to U.S. troops deployed away from home.
Methodists prepare phone cards for distribution to U.S. troops who are
deployed away from home during a meeting of the denomination's Endorsing
Agency for chaplains in Nashville, Tenn. The agency, a component of the
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, has been
sponsoring a campaign to send phone cards to the military since Veterans
Day 2003. To date, more than 1 million minutes have gone out from the
Nashville, Tenn., office. A major push by the Illinois Great Rivers
Conference this summer will swell that number to 2 million minutes. From
left are: Judy Carter, Chaplain Howard Bell, Chaplain Bob Phillips and
the Rev. Bob Morwell. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose. Photo number 04-346,
of the Illinois conference came to Nashville Aug. 18 to present their
collection of cards and money representing more than 800,000 minutes to
the endorsing agency and to help stuff the envelopes that will be sent
to chaplains in overseas locations.
figure at this point we have contributed enough (phone card minutes) to
provide an hour-long phone call home to every member of an entire light
infantry division (about 14,000 people),” said the Rev. Bob Morwell,
pastor of Union United Methodist Church, Quincy, Ill. The conference is
still working toward their goal of raising 1 million minutes.”
added that in a time when there are so many nondenominational churches
it is good to know the connectional system of the United Methodist
Church makes projects like this possible.
is something a connectional church could do with tremendous speed and
power,” he said. “The cards arrived today, they will be in the hands of
chaplains in 10 days or less and they will be distributing these cards
throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
certainly hope other conferences will join in the effort and that our
troops and their families will know that the United Methodist Church has
great concern and compassion and respect for them and if they have
other pastoral needs, maybe they will think of us.”
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.