The United Methodist Missionary Association

Linking mission workers worldwide since 1996

“The Purpose of the United Methodist Missionary Association (UMMA) is to develop and nurture a vital connectional network among active, alumni and retired missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the purpose of promoting Christian mission.” (UMMA Constitution)

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When: Nov 14, 2020 08:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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UMMA UpDate -Newsletter Issue 114

Roland Fernandes Elected Next General Secretary at Spring Board Meeting

The Board of Directors of Global Ministries held their Spring 2020 meeting online March 20 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.  Undoubtedly the most significant outcome of the virtual gathering was the election of current Chief Financial Officer Roland Fernandes as the next General Secretary to succeed Thomas Kemper who chose to not be reelected.

According to United Methodist News Service, Fernandes is an active United Methodist originally from India who has served Global Ministries since 1995 in various capacities including leading UMCOR, serving as interim general secretary, and a former missionary.  Fernandes is a certified accountant. 

UMMA Chairperson Katherine Parker sent a congratulatory message to Fernandes and members of the Steering Committee noted that he has a long history of concern for missionaries.

In this Issue

  • Board Meeting Report
  • Missionary in Residence Newsletter
  • #StillInMission Virtual Itineration
  • Welcome to 21 new mission colleagues
  • GMF International 2020 class skipped
  • Reunions and Event notices
  • From your Officers

Board Meeting Report

In the abbreviated meeting the Board of Directors took several other actions which have consequences for the missionary community.  The Mission Program Committee voted unanimously to change the status of three mission initiatives.  Cambodia will no longer be an initiative to become an autonomous provisional annual conference.  Cameroon also will cease to become an initiative to become affiliated with the Cote de Ivoire church.  The Thailand Initiative will be closed within three to six months. 

Missionary Support executive Judy Chung reported that Global Ministries currently supports 307 missionaries with 114 of them being young adults and 155 in international placements.  Twenty-two candidates for missionary service are being trained through internet at this time with the expectation of being commissioned at the next General Conference.

Board Meeting: Finance Committee

The Finance Committee reported that the Collins Forest Missionary Benefits Fund which supports pensions and health care for missionaries has been transferred to WestPath for administration.  The committee also decided to place all program grants except those for coronavirus relief and immediate disasters on hold as a result of financial uncertainty. Global Ministries has since resumed disbursal of all grants.

Board Meeting: Committee Reports

Bishop Tom Bickerton who chairs the UMCOR Committee noted that this will be his last board meeting as he has been selected to become the next president of the Council of Bishops.  He stated that the coronavirus is our opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to global health.

UMMA representative Hillary Taylor reported that the Policy, Bylaws, and Legislation Committee approved a petition that would restructure the Alaska Annual Conference from a Missional Conference to a district of another annual conference in the Western Jurisdiction. The committee also shared legislation directly affecting Global Ministries, including UMW recommendations. However, this was not a completely extensive list, and Mary Ellen Kris encouraged members to be on the lookout for other important petitions in the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate. In terms of Global Ministries sponsored legislation, they are the following:

1. #20651 and #20645 address the deletion of the phrase “Autonomous Methodist Churches” and replacing it with the phrase “Affiliated Methodist Churches,” in order to provide clarity and seek worldwide connection with other branches of the Wesleyan family.

2. #20633 “Religious Freedom: Grounded in Love” addresses the UMC’s scriptural mandate to love and protect our neighbors with different faith traditions from violence and persecution.

3. Global Ministries also wishes to readopt the following resolutions: “The Church and Deaf Ministries Steering Committee,” “A Covenant of Care: Recognizing and Responding to the Man Faces of HIV/AIDS in the USA,” “The Church and the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic,” “United States-China Political Relations,” and “Seeking Peace in Afghanistan.”

The Committee concluded by saying they wanted to defer action on these petitions (approving, disapproving, etc.) until the next meeting, as GC20 has been postponed and the committee members now had time to look over them.

Missionary in Residence Newsletter

Our Missionaries in Residence Grace and Jay Choi produce an informative newsletter every month about happenings at Global Ministries’ office in Atlanta and issues and stories about active and retired missionaries.  If you are not already receiving this newsletter, please ask to be included by writing them at  You will be glad you did!

#StillInMission Virtual Itineration

Show your support for our mission colleagues by registering to attend one of the upcoming Virtual Itineration Events being held over Zoom. Times are listed for Atlanta, GA (Eastern Daylight Time).

  • June 11 at 11:00 AM with Andrew Lee, Helen Camarce, Kyeong-ah Woo & Jin Kim, and David Guinkpa. Register
  • June 18 at 9:00 AM with Christina Young Kim, Larry & Jane Kies, Connie Wieck, and Jonathan & Satomi McCurley. Register
  • June 25 at 9:00 PM with Richard & Alma Navarro, Adam Shaw, and Didier Monga. Register
  • July 2 at 3:00 PM with Joy Eva Bohol, Sandra Raasch, Innocent Afful, and Ellyn Dubberly. Register
  • July 9 at 6:00 PM with Terah & Jonathan Park, Joy Prim, Sung Il Lee, & Min Kyu Lee
  • July 16 at 1:00 PM with Julie Wilson, Yorleni Rojas, Blair Kamanga, Carolyn Schneider, and Colleen Miller-Donor
  • July 23 at 1:00 PM with Bruna Farat, Ann Hidalgo, Dan & Courtney Randall, Patrick Mwinkeu, and Trisha Manns
  • July 30 at 1:00 PM with Hannah Reasoner, Edwin Ramirez, Patrick Booth, Leah Magruder, and Natalia Manyeza

Welcome to 21 new mission colleagues

Those welcomed and blessed on April 29 included:

  • Edwin Campomanes Ramirez from Calvary La Esperanza (Calvary of Hope) in Mexico to National Evangelical Primitive Methodist Church of Guatemala
  • Bruna Farat da Silva Mahamane Kakale from Methodist Church of Brazil to French Guiana Methodist Partnership
  • Yorleni Rebeca Jimenez Rojas from Comunidad PAS in Costa Rica to United Methodist Mission in Honduras
  • Blair Moses Kamanga from Assemblies of God in Malawi to Mozambique United Methodist Conference Agriculture Ministry
  • Rev. Min Kyu Lee from Northwest Philippines Conference (originally from South Korea) to Wesley Divinity School, Philippines
  • Rev. Natallia Manyeza from Zimbabwe East to United Methodist University in Sierra Leone
  • Patrick Nawej Mwinkeu from United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Africa Conference Agriculture Ministry
  • Patrick Booth from North Texas to Methodist Mission in Cambodia
  • Ann Margaret Hidalgo from United Church of Christ to Latin American Biblical University, Costa Rica
  • Rev. Sung Il Lee from Greater New Jersey to Methodist Training Center, Fiji
  • Leah Magruder from North Texas to Seth Mokitimi Seminary, South Africa
  • Trisha Renae Manns from North Georgia to Global Ministries Young Adult Mission Service, U.S.
  • Colleen Miller-Donor from Western Pennsylvania to All God’s Children Ministries, U.S.
  • Terah Park from California-Pacific to United Methodist Mission in Southeast Asia
  • Rev. Jonathan Park from California-Pacific to United Methodist Mission in Southeast Asia
  • Joy Nicole Prim from California-Pacific to Mission for Migrant Workers, Hong Kong
  • Rev. Courtney Randall from New England to Methodist Liaison Office, Middle East region
  • Rev. Daniel Randall from New England to Methodist Liaison Office, Middle East region
  • Hannah Reasoner from Greater New Jersey to Center for Popular Communications, Colombia
  • Rev. Dr. Carolyn Schneider from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to Union Theological Seminary, Philippines
  • Julie Wilson from Baltimore Washington to Open Arms Community Center, U.S.

Check out this news article on the Global Ministries website with a video clip introduction of our new colleagues during the virtual blessing.

GMF International 2020 class skipped

Global Ministries announced that the Global Mission Fellows – International class due to be trained this summer will be skipped due to the coronavirus. The GMF-US2 class will continue.

Reunions and Event notices

UMMA has canceled our in-person Annual Gathering (business meeting) this year due to uncertainty around the coronavirus.

As the global community adopts more internet-based meetings, is your reunion class meeting in one of these new ways? Let us know if you would like to include an announcement in the next UMMA UpDate.

From Your Officers

On March 11, I left Nepal intending to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday, attend the GBGM Board Meeting and return 10 days later. No luck! When I landed in the USA 38 hours later I learned that GBGM had switched to an online meeting and Nepal had started requiring a COVID PCR test to re-enter. Then just 5 days later (before I could get tested), Nepal closed its airport and I was stranded in California.

These days I eat dinner with my parents and then get on Skype at 8:15pm to join 9am meetings in Nepal. I continue to be amazed and gratified that I can have calls with colleagues not just in Kathmandu but also in remote parts of Nepal as we coordinate to keep projects moving forward with special concern for the poor and marginalized in this difficult time. As people here in the USA take to the streets to push for a more just society, I continue to reflect on how we can work for inclusion in this time when so many around the world are being shut out as others are shut in.

In my work with the Monitoring and Evaluation Team of the United Mission to Nepal, we continue to adapt and use whatever technology enables the least-connected among us to be part of the conversation. Last week I joined a Facebook messenger call that included two of our partner staff in Rukum, a hilly district that is a 3 day (24 hour) drive away from Kathmandu, who are working with a village that only got cell phone reception last year. We are preparing new radio programs, encouraging neighborhood leaders to check in on family dialogues taking place after the programs and organizing phone trees to keep networks in nearby villages connected.

I hope that you also are finding encouragement in the opportunities  to be creative about inclusion. What new approaches are you adapting?

—Katherine Parker
UMMA Chairperson
Missionary to Nepal

The UpDate is a quarterly newsletter of the United Methodist Missionary Association
Ron Whitlatch, Editor

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