By Fred Koenig
The Roma of Europe and the poverty that exists outside our doors were the two areas of focus at the inaugural Missouri Mission u. This year 240 United Methodists came from around the state to participate in the event at Central Methodist University July 25 – 28.
The mission school is a cooperative effort between the Creative Ministries Team and the United Methodist Women. The theme for this year’s school was “Learning Together For The Transformation Of The World”. All of the adult learners participated in the Spiritual Growth Study; Living Sacramentally, Walking Justly. The study focused on how to discern God’s plan for our lives and how to help our congregations’ discern the purpose of meeting together. The Study Leaders for this study were Mary Ann Cieslak, Gloria Dhamaraj, Minister Tina Harris and Rev. Bruce Jeffries.
Each participant also chose a second study from the Roma Of Europe, which is the geographical study or the study on poverty, the repeat issues study. The Roma Of Europe offered an overview of the culture that shaped the Gypsies past while allowing us take a closer look at how it has affected us as Christians. The Study Leaders for this study were Rev. Kevyn Amos, Rhonda Chalfant, Rev Max Marble and Rev Yolanda Villa.
The Poverty Study invited each participant to show compassion in a suffering world and to invite their congregations to do the same. The Poverty Study Leaders attempted to deepen the understanding for participants of the realities of poverty while encouraging solidarity with the poor thru advocacy. The Study Leaders for Poverty are Edith Triplett and Diane Johnson.
Mission u offered programs for all ages. The children studied migration led by Marti Thomas. The youth studied migration led by Chris Hopkins and Donna Ford. A Young Adult program (ages 18 to 30) was led by Elizabeth Mack. Sara Keith, with accompanist Carol Rotz, provided a volunteer choir with exciting music at each of our Plenary Sessions.
Last year Jordan Emmons was part of the youth group, and he heard Jeff Baker discuss the need for clean water in Haiti. When he got home he told his church; First UMC Poplar Bluff, about the opportunity to provide water filters. He gave families blue cups (to represent the filters) to take home and collect money in. Two men from Gordonville who had been to Haiti and installed water filters came to the church and did a presentation. The church collected more than $6,700 for the filters, and Emmons presented the check at Mission u. Audrey Phelps of the Office of Creative Ministries received the check. “These are the fruits of educating ourselves about mission around the world,” she said.
Roger Drake, president of Central Methodist University, addressed the group. It was only his fourth day on campus since he started his job. On his first day on campus he and his wife met with Rev. Lucas Endicott, campus pastor and pastor of Linn Memorial UMC, at midnight to start his first day there with prayer over them and the campus.
“The next day a student mentioned to one of our faculty that they’d seen a cute little elderly couple getting married under the clock tower the night before,” Drake said.
Next year’s Mission u will be July 24-27, 2014 at CMU. For more information, email Franklin Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.