Mission u 2019
July 12-15 2019, Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
All Class Study: United for Change
Co-taught by Glory Dharmaraj and Annette Moseley Funk.
Spiritual Growth Study: Mark and Radical Discipleship
Taught by Rev. K Bramstedt, Katherine Parker, and Evelyn Erbele
Youth Study: Who do you say that I am? Meeting Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark
Taught by Amanda Hutchinson and Abby Niehaus
Repeat study: What about our Money?
Taught by Sara Culp
Class descriptions and teacher biographies:
United for Change, United Methodist Women in Mission: 150 Years and Beyond
United for Change by Ellen Blue is the first in a two-year study commemorating United Methodist Women’s 150th anniversary in 2019. It will provide a historical survey of United Methodist Women and its predecessor organizations and amplify the voices that shaped the work through an overarching story of United Methodist Women changing the face of mission.
This study is about women who established vibrant societies to support mission. First organized in the United States, those societies sent missionaries overseas and later engaged in mission at home. Each was a heroin who was willing to stand over and against what her culture—and sometimes even her church—expected of her. Learning about the early female leaders who created what would become today’s United Methodist Women can help us understand who they truly were beyond who we expected them to have been.
Every woman who “stepped out of her place” to participate in mission societies at the turn of the 20th century was part of a movement that brought women into the forefront of Christian ministry. Ever since the Roman Empire co-opted the faith in the fourth century and woman were pushed out of leadership roles, female leadership had almost always been subtle, behind the scenes, and accomplished through quietly influencing men who had power. Through the new mission societies, large numbers of women learned leadership skills and found the courage to use them. They were empowered in large part by knowing that many of their sisters near and far were also answering God’s call to be in mission.
The women who have chosen to devote themselves to United Methodist Women and its predecessors have contributed mightily to God’s work in the world. They have been responsible for positive change within the church itself, in their own communities, and all around the world. To know a little about the stories of even a few of them is to enrich our lives and our understanding of who we are as an organization. When women dared to change the world for the better, they discovered that they too were changed. Blue is the Mouzon Biggs Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity and United Methodist Studies at Phillips Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is also the coordinator for the D.Min. degree in Transformational Leadership for Women. Blue is also an ordained elder in the Louisiana Annual Conference.
Dr. Glory Dharmaraj is retired director of spiritual formation and mission theology for the United Methodist Women. Prior to that, she served as the Administrator of the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs at the Church Center for the United Nations, New York. She has served as UMW Program Resource Secretary in the former Central Illinois Conference.
She is an author and co-author of several books. A recent book she co-authored with Jacob Dharmaraj is A Theology of Mutuality: A Paradigm for 21st Century (2014) published by the United Methodist Women. She has taught Schools of Christian Mission at the regional and conference levels for the last 28 years. A speaker and a writer, she presented a research paper on the history of the United Methodist Women at the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies in Oxford, England last summer. Glory got her Ph.D. from Loyola University, Chicago. Her favorite hobby is listening to medieval chants and lyrics in her mother tongue, Tamil.
Born in Mississippi and raised in Mississippi & Tennessee, Annette Moseley Funk has had a varied professional career. She received a B.A. in English Education from Evangel University and then relocated to Tacoma, WA in 1962 where she taught in junior & senior high schools for 12 years. After some time off, she completed courses at Peninsula College & the University of Washington to become a registered nurse. She worked in various specialties as she accompanied husband Roland to several WA locations.
Annette became a member of United Methodist Women in 1966 and learned the new organization with dedicated women organized for mission. She served as a district officer, a conference officer, member of the Western Jurisdiction Core Planning Group and dean of the Regional School of Christian Mission.
In 1992 Annette joined the staff of Women’s Division (the national staff of United Methodist Women) in the Section of Finance. She served as Executive Secretary of Financial Interpretation and Executive Secretary of Mission Opportunities until retirement. Among her responsibilities were leading Financial Promotion workshops in conferences and coordinating A Call to Prayer and Self- Denial grant processes. She has led mission studies in various regional and conference schools of Christian mission.
Spiritual Growth Study: Mark and Radical Discipleship
In Mark and Radical Discipleship, author Janet Wolf explores what it means to live a life of radical discipleship today using the Gospel of Mark as the foundation. Wolf explores the timeless issues of poverty, gender, justice, liberation, equality, and others using Mark as a guide. The stories of the women in Mark are a particular focus in this study and how, although often unnamed, they are prominent among Jesus’ followers and in Mark’s recounting of the gospel story.
In Mark’s day and now, Christians are caught in a world of crisis and confusion, a time of uncertainty and fear. There’s a struggle going on and evil appears to be winning: injustice reigns, money and greed measure our living and our dying, divisions deepen and hope is sometimes hard to find. Then and now, part of the crisis is the church’s complicity, complacency, and silence in a world where so much has gone wrong.
And both then and now the gospel proclaims it is right here and now when the struggle is fierce and the clamor is loud; when our hearts are heavy, and our bodies weary; when we’re tempted to give up, to give in to the cynicism of our age. Here and now proclaims the gospel, in the fear and the uncertainty and the anxiety of living in our age, God comes singing to our souls, inviting us to be partners in the new creation, in God’s kingdom, kin-dom, realm, and rule. Caesar’s kingdom is already coming undone, the powers cannot stand, God’s kin-dom, realm, rule, breaks in to here, to now. “The kingdom of God has come near” (Mark 1:15).
Wolf is director of Children’s Defense Fund Alex Haley Farm and Nonviolent Organizing, in Clinton, TN; national organization working toward justice for children and the poor, led by Marian Wright Edelman who worked as a young lawyer with Dr. King in MS and on the Poor People’s Campaign. She is also an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference.
Katherine, Rev. K Bramstedt, and Evelyn Erbele will each be teaching one of the 3 classes on the Study of Mark for our 2019 Mission u.K
Katherine Parker is a missionary with Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church serving as a Health and Community Transformation Advisor with the United Mission to Nepal. She has also served with the Community Health and Agricultural Development Program of the Methodist Church of Cambodia, the Asian Rural Institute in Japan and Practical Farmers of Iowa. Her Masters of Science in Conservation Biology included research using a participatory method to test drinking water for bacterial (fecal) contamination in rural Ghana. She grew up in California with deep roots in Methodism in the Pacific Northwest, a community that continues to sustain her today through the many covenant churches that partner with her.
Katherine is passionate about engaging community groups in participatory research about their environment and in a process of identifying and linking values to action. She believes that through telling the stories of our lives, and exploring the stories of our faith, we are better able to articulate our shared values that form a foundation for us to engage in collective action across cultural and other divisive barriers. She is currently engaged in a project with school- and church-based youth and mother’s groups in three remote villages in western Nepal.
K Bramstedt was born in Aberdeen, WA and raised in Grays Harbor County, WA, K has had a diverse professional career. She received a B.A. in Speech Pathology from Western Washington College and was hired in Cosmopolis, WA as an elementary teacher and within three years was a vice principal. After 10 years she received a M.A. in Educational Administration and remained at Cosmopolis School for a total of 39 years as everything from a preschool teacher to adult education in computer technology, as well as an administrator. K became a member of United Methodist Women right out of college and served as secretary, treasurer and vice president throughout the years.
Immediately after retiring, K went on to Claremont School of Theology for Licensing School and Course of Study and was appointed to Elma UMC in 2007 and was yoked with Satsop UMC, as well, in 2009. She has been very involved with Bible Studies, Mission Outreach, and Vacation Bible School in the last eleven years. Highlights have been a successful summer lunch program with the help of the Satsop UMC congregation and community. This has included back-to-school backpacks with school supplies for Satsop and three neighboring communities. Also, coordinated summer Vacation Bible School in cooperation with Elma Church of God and Elma UMC for East Grays Harbor communities which included a simple breakfast and lunch for all involved.
She has just recently retired from both Elma and Satsop UMC. But still is involved with Aberdeen Food Bank operations, Elma Community dinners and outreach, and McCleary Beehive Center worship.
Rev. Dr. Eveyln Erbele is a missionary with the Global Ministries of the United Methodist church and is currently assigned as Mission Advocate for the Western Jurisdiction. Mission advocates are missionaries assigned to assist annual conferences, districts, and local churches in the United States to understand and participate in global mission. Their work has a particular focus on mission personnel, including support of missionaries through the Advance for Christ and His Church.
Her most recent previous assignment (2008 – 2018) was as co-pastor and community developer for First United Methodist Church in Ketchikan, Alaska. She had oversight of the church’s Day Shelter and Overnight Warming Center through the congregation’s Downtown Ministries, which is a denominational mission Advance.
The Erbeles began their missionary careers in Jos, Nigeria where they lived with their two children from 1989 – 1995. Evelyn managed a health and dental clinic for students and staff of the Hillcrest School community in Jos, Nigeria. Their next assignment was from 1996 to 2006 in Moscow, Russia, where she helped to develop programs to introduce and educate post-soviet adults to the Christian faith and the United Methodist Church. From 1999 until June 2007 Evelyn traveled in Lithuania and Latvia to foster adult educational courses. She was pastor of the Eiguliai United Methodist Church in Kaunas, Lithuania from 2005 to 2007. Organized in 1999, this congregation had a particular focus on at-risk children. It started an after-school program, and later initiated a food sharing ministry for shut-ins and older persons.
Rev. W. Terence (Teri) Erbele is a missionary with the Global Ministries. During the previous 29 years, Teri, accepted a variety of assignments of three continents. From 2008 to 2018 he was sent to be a pastor of First United Methodist in Ketchikan, Alaska. Along with assuming several positions within the Alaska conference he was sent by Global Ministries twice to Haiti to help with the financial management during earthquake relief efforts.
In Nigeria (1989-1995) Teri was the Area Financial Executive serving as the treasurer for Advance Special projects and consultant to the bishop. Their next missionary assignment was to Moscow, Russia (1996-2007) where he again served as the Area Financial Executive. He had the job of watching the number of United Methodists Churches in post-communist Eurasia grow until there were 4 annual conferences.
While still working in Russia, Teri was asked to add Lithuania and Latvia (1999-2007) to his portfolio, again managing the finances. His last two years in Europe he served a District Superintend of the Lithuania United Methodist Church (2005-2007).
Youth Study: Who do you say that I am?
Meeting Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark
In Who do you say that I am? Meeting Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark Carolyn Poling guides youth through the Gospel of Mark, helping them to define who Jesus is to them, who he says he is in scripture, and how this impacts how we live our lives. The goal of this study is to help youth explore scripture in new ways so they can develop their own faith and put it into action. This is the mark of a true disciple.
In Mark, Jesus models for us how to live our lives as Christians, reaching out to those who are left out, offering compassion and healing. The author of Mark not only describes God’s kin-dom through Jesus’ teachings, but also models it for us. Through his actions, Jesus shows us that he has come for everyone. Therefore, God’s kin-dom is for everyone. The author’s message offers a chance to those who feel left out, cast aside, and forgotten. It offers belief to those who need physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.
As youth unpack the Gospel of Mark through the four sessions, they’ll encounter the following guiding principles: Jesus stands firm in his teaching and ministry, even in the face of opposition; Jesus heals others physically and spiritually; Jesus continues to love and teach his disciples, even as they repeatedly misunderstand and misinterpret him; and Jesus’s ministry, death, and resurrection offers hope for us today—particularly those who are suffering, marginalized and forgotten. In each session, youth will take what they’ve learned and explore how this applies in their own lives and how they live out their faith.
Poling is currently serving at Monroe First United Methodist Church in Monroe, Georgia, as the Minister of Christian Programs and Activities. She is a deacon in the North Georgia Conference and serves on the Conference Committee on Religion and Race. She has served in many churches of various sizes in children’s and youth ministry in Georgia, Texas and Virginia throughout her career since going into ministry in 1996.
This study will be taught by Amanda Hutchinson and Abby Niehaus.
Wyoming native, Amanda Hutchinson, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wyoming in 2008. She moved to Portland, OR and briefly attended culinary school, where she discovered that she was perfectly happy being a passionate home cook and baking for her family and friends. After a few years in retail, Amanda began working at Skamania Lodge in the Columbia River Gorge in 2012. Shortly after moving to Carson, WA to be closer to the lodge, she began attending the Stevenson UMC and began participating in UMW events that summer, beginning with Limitless.
This was just the beginning of her UMW journey, which continued with her first Mission u that same summer and has expanded to her District and beyond. Amanda is currently in the middle of her second term as Communications Coordinator for the Vancouver District (soon to be Crest to Coast Missional District) and has recently been appointed to the position of Western Jurisdiction Secretary for the remainder of the 2016-2020 term. She led or co-led the Mission u youth class for the last three years and is looking forward to returning this summer.
Hi my name is Abby Niehaus and I am 21 years old. I am an advanced home care aide specialist and work with young adults who have physical and/or intellectual disabilities. I have been attending Vancouver Heights UMC since I was a baby and have become more and more involved. When I was in high school I was on the Vancouver district youth team and now I help with the youth group. I really enjoy working with people of all ages and sharing our experiences and knowledge of Christ. When I’m not at work or church I’m out hiking through God’s creation with my dog, Seamus.
What about our Money? A Faith Response
Issue Mission Study from 2018
What About Our Money? A Faith Response explores how we relate to money within the context of our faith. Through this connection between our faith and our money, readers discover how to live closer to God and God’s people, even in our North American culture that is so deeply defined by money. She explores the biblical foundation of abundance (sufficiency), which stands in opposition to the scarcity narrative our culture tells us from the time we are very young.
This study will be taught by Sara Culp.
Sara Culp grew up in Central Washington and has a passion for hiking and camping as a way to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She completed her degree in 2009 with a BA in Intercultural Studies and a Minor in Business from Trinity Lutheran College. Sara moved back home to Wenatchee after college to be close to family and after trying several churches she found her home at Wenatchee FUMC. She is currently serving on her church council, choir, and praise team.
Attending Annual Conference as her districts youth delegate in was the first time she heard about Mission u and United Methodist Women. She co-led the youth class at last year’s Mission u. She has been appointed to serve as the Pacific Northwest United Methodist Women Social Media officer and is working to create an online chapter of United Methodist Women in the Greater Northwest Area. Sara is currently working in Cashmere with the Northwest United Methodist Foundation as their Executive Assistant.