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Board commissions missionaries, deaconesses

Twenty-two new missionaries, 12 deaconesses and two home missioners are commissioned by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
UMNS photos by Cassandra Heller.

By Mary Beth Coudal*
March 14, 2008 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)

Twenty-two new United Methodist missionaries were commissioned March 11 to serve in churches, hospitals and community centers.

During its spring meeting, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries also commissioned 12 deaconesses and two home missioners.

Jeremias França (from left), Eduardo Reis Maia, Victor Taryor, Cláudia Peres Costa Maia and Tendai Paul Manyeza are new global health missionaries and will
serve in Africa.

The new missionaries are lawyers, doctors, pastors and agriculturalists. They come from places as diverse as Brazil, the Philippines, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Missouri and Michigan. They fall into several categories of mission service and form the largest group of United Methodist missionaries commissioned at the same time in the last four years.

Five of those commissioned are global health missionaries assigned to sub-Saharan Africa. The number of global health missionaries now stands at 11, all assigned within the last two years.

The global health missionaries are:

  • Jeremias Alfiado França from Inhambane, Mozambique, the director of health ministries at Chicuque Rural Hospital, a United Methodist health facility.
  • Cláudia Peres Costa Maia from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, a community health worker at the Center of Hope Malaria & Community Health Project in Mozambique, and her husband, Dr. Eduardo Reis Maia, a surgeon and physician assigned to medical care at Chicuque Rural Hospital.
  • Dr. Tendai Paul Manyeza of Zimbabwe, the medical superintendent and physician at Old Mutare Hospital, Zimbabwe.
  • Victor D. Taryor of Liberia, hospital administrator for Ganta (Liberia) United Methodist Hospital.

Other missionaries commissioned for international service are:

  • Kennedy Cruz, from the Evangelical Baptist Church in Laguna, Philippines, development and agriculture specialist in Phsa Deum Thikav, Cambodia.
  • Dieudonné Karihano, a native of Burundi, agricultural coordinator for the United Methodist Cambine Mission Center in Mozambique.
  • The Rev. Arthur Keith, a clergyman from Wells, Minn., pastor at the International Church of Lund, Sweden.
  • Michael Keyse of Berea, Ohio, Volunteers in Mission coordinator in La Paz, Bolivia.
  • Finda Quiwa of Sierra Leone, based there as a regional missionary working with youth and young adults in a large area of Africa.
  • Guillermo Berman Ramirez, a native of Mexico, continuing as volunteer coordinator for the Mexican Methodist Border Mission.
  • The Rev. Dong Min Seo of South Korea, working alongside his wife, Hyeyun Seo, in the Tsaiz United Methodist Church, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The National Plan for Hispanic and Latino Ministries missionaries are:

  • Sonya Marie Luna of Ypsilanti, Mich., coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministries for the Detroit Annual (regional) Conference.
  • The Rev. Lourdes Teixeira Magalhães, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, pastor in the Greater New Jersey Conference.

Church and Community Workers are:

  • The Rev. Donald Edwards, serving as an immigration attorney for Justice for Our Neighbors in New York.
  • Joanne Finley, executive director of the North Rampart Community Center in New Orleans, also commissioned to the office of deaconess.
  • Mary Gladstone, development director for the Deaf Shalom Zone Inc., in Baltimore.
  • Andrew Highland, executive director of Looking Glass Community Services, Laingsburg, Mich.
  • Alexander Oatley, director of community development for the Joy-Southfield Community Development Corp. in Detroit.
  • Susan Reed, an attorney with Justice for Our Neighbors in Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Janet Allyne Solomon, serving with the Lower Delta Paris Community Outreach Ministry in the Arkansas Annual Conference.

Becky Louter, with the Board of Global Ministries, shares highlights of 120 years of deaconess service in The United Methodist Church.


The office of deaconess in Methodism goes back to the late 19th century. The home missioner position, created by the 2004 General Conference, provides an opportunity for men to take part in the diaconal movement. Deaconesses and home missioners create a community of service and mutual support.

The new deaconesses are:

  • Karen A. Caldwell, director of adult ministries of the United Methodist Church of Berea, Ohio.
  • Sarah Barnes Capers, executive director of the Ruby S. Couche Big Sister Educational Action and Service Center, Jamaica, N.Y.
  • Judy Davis, community outreach coordinator at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church in San Antonio.
  • Joanne Finley, also commissioned as a church and community worker, executive director of the North Rampart Community Center, New Orleans.
  • Nancy Garrison, executive director of the Brooks-Howell Home in Asheville, N.C.
  • Doreen Grayless, director of student scholarships at Indiana University of South Bend.
  • Patricia Hoerth, spiritual director and retreat leader at Turtle Rock Farm: A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality and Healing in Red Rock, Okla.
  • Deborah Humphrey, program coordinator for Cookson Hills (Okla.) Center United Methodist Mission.
  • Kathlyne D. Kraiza, executive director of the Sager Brown Depot, a facility of the United Methodist Committee on Relief in Baldwin, La.
  • Gayle McCreery, minister of congregational care and development of the Christ United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Ohio.
  • Kandi Mount, hospital chaplain at the Mercy Health Systems, Rogers, Ark.
  • Jo Sheetz, education coordinator of Community Action Center in Sandy Springs, Ga.

Home missioners are:

  • Haniel R. Garibay, projects coordinator for the National Association of Filipino-American United Methodists, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Matthew Morgan, project manager at The Advance for Christ and His Church at the Board of Global Ministries in New York.

A celebration of 120 years of the deaconess movement was held during the board meeting. To read an account of that event, click here.

*Coudal is a staff writer for the Board of Global Ministries.

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

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