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1 Your Connection to the Starkville District of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church THE STARKVILLE DISTRICT NEWSLETTER Friday I October 17, 2014 CONNECTIONS RESIDENT BISHOP: Dr. James E. Swanson, Sr. DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT: Rev. Embra Jackson ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: Pat Lawson COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT: Gwen Sisson DISTRICT HEALTH COORDINATOR: Carolyn Jackson LAY ACADEMY DEAN: Rev. Sarah Windham New parsonage purchased following April tornados Jackson blesses new building for the South Louisville United Methodist Charge The EF4 tornado that ripped through Winston County on April 28 of this year brought with it change, sadness and uncertainty. For the South Louisville United Methodist Church Charge, there was a mixed blessing in this midst of the devastation their pastor, Rev. Larry Haggard and his wife, Eve, were not home when the tornado destroyed their church parsonage. Despite the staggering personal and community losses, the three churches on the South Louisville Charge began making plans to provide housing for the Haggards. One of the church members allowed the PARSONAGE Continued on page 5... Dr. Rev. Embra Jackson with Rev. & Mrs. Larry Haggard before the commissioning service for the new parsonage. (Photo submitted) Gospel Friends evangelist speaks at Eupora FUMC By Gwen Sisson Rev. Ron McDougald said Ghuna Kumar is the most bold and yet caring Christian he has ever met in terms of sharing the gospel and living it out. Several years ago, I watched as he witnessed to a young waitress in an empty restaurant because he observed her nose piercing and used that as a way to open the door to talk about slavery in India and whose slave she might be, McDougald said. He led her to Christ that very night! Since 1994, Eupora s First United Methodist Church has supported the work of Ghuna Kumar and his ministry, Gospel Friends, as part of their church budget and special gifts through Sunday School classes. And on Oct. 9, Kumar visited the See GOSPEL FRIENDS Continued on page 5...

2 2 Mrs. Verlie Clay, Pastor Rickey E. Lawson, Sr. and Mrs. Patricia Lawson of the New Hope and St. Michael United Methodist Churches of Macon. (Photo submitted) Lawsons honored during Pastor Appreciation Month program On Sunday, Oct.12, the New Hope and St. Michael United Methodist Churches in Macon held their Annual Pastor Appreciation Program for Pastor and Mrs. Rickey E. Lawson, Sr. During the celebration Pastor and Mrs. Lawson were presented with an Anniversary Cake by Mrs. Verlie Clay. On Sunday morning, Oct. 5, in the absence, of Maben UMC Pastor Scarlet Shepperd, one of our own members,17 year old Harpole Perkins, brought a very inspiring message, from John 3:16. The theme for the celebration was Honoring God s Choice with the scripture coming from Jeremiah 3:15: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. The message was delivered by Pastor Eddie B. Robinson of Lonely Valley C. M. E. Church in Louisville. The New Hope and St. Michael congregations continually pray for the spiritual and personal growth of Pastor Lawson and his family. We recognize the blessing that has been given to us and are eternally grateful for God s Choice. About 30 members of the Starkville District recently participated in the Safe Sanctuary Training at Aldersgate UMC in Starkville. The event, held Sept. 27, was led by Rev. Kenny McGill of the New Albany District. The training is designed to help our churches become Safe places for children. Churches that completed the training have an opportunity to receive Safe Sanctuary certification that indicates how much they value our most precious resources -- our children. All United Methodist Churches are expected to become Safe Sanctuaries. (Photo by Dr. Embra Jackson) P. O. B o x , S t a r k v i l l e, M i s s i s s i p p i ( ) ( ) ( f a x )

3 3 The King's Kids, Ackerman UMC's Sunday night children's and youth program, met at Eric Chamber's barn and pond this past Sunday evening for a Bible lesson, fishing, and supper. Tom Cooper presented a program on how animals (deer) grow and how we as Christians grow in our faith. Leah Hammons, daughter of J.R. and Nora Hammons, caught the first fish of the day. Bryce Draper, son of Reid and Shannon Draper, caught his first fish ever! Parents, youth, children and others had a great time! Members of Ackerman UMC and South Union UMC participated along with guests they invited. (Photos by Patty Draper) Mississippi Conference Treasurer David Stotts was in the Starkville District on Oct. 7 to hold one of several Listening Sessions held throughout the state regarding changes in direct invoicing for the active medical plan (currently line 7 on the apportioned mission shares list) would be coming up for consideration at the 2015 annual conference session. P. O. B o x , S t a r k v i l l e, M i s s i s s i p p i ( ) ( ) ( f a x )

4 4 MISSION FAIR SHARES 2014 We are so excited to announce that the following churches have made significant contributions to the work of the Mississippi Conference and the United Methodist Church around the world through their Mission Fair Shares offerings for Guest speaker Rev. Ron McDougald of Eupora FUMC with Pat Harpole enjoying the potluck supper following revival this week at Maben UMC. (Photo by Terry Harpole) 100 % PAID South Union St. Peter Pleasant Hill (Louisville) Longview Bethel Vernon Shuqualak Military Rockport McAdams Salem (Weir-Salem) Wright s Chapel Ethel Tabernacle Rocky Hill Macedonia St. Stephen (Webster Circuit) Cooksville 90%+ PAID Bevil Hill Louisville:Hopewell Middleton 80%+ PAID Lindsey Chapel Mathiston Plair Mt. Vernon Flint Hill Caledonia 70%+ PAID Noxapater Columbus: St. Stephens Mt. Lebanon Palestine Columbus: St. James Columbus: Shaeffer;s Chapel Shuqualak: Asbury Eupora: Liberty 60%+ PAID New Hope (Macon) Ackerman: Mt. Hermon Mount Pisgah New Zion Piney Grove (Columbus) Siloam Flower Ridge Pierce Chapel West Point: St. Paul Drake Hill Eupora: First West Point: First Big Creek Artesia Whitehall (Louisville) Sturgis Lebanon (Eupora) Jones Chapel Salem (Sallis) Maben Rock Hill Aldersgate UMC Soup & Salad sale set Oct. 18 Starkville Aldersgate UMC Fall Soup-Salad Lunch and Bake Sale is scheduled for Saturday, October 18 from 10 a.m. - p.m. Proceeds benefit The Church's Seminarian Support Fund. Three local United Methodist Seminarians from the Starkville area are scheduled to receive financial assistance from the funds raised at this year's event. Rev. Rochelle Minor attends Asbury while continuing to serve the Eupora Liberty UMC in Webster County. Eric Davis and his wife, Christine, attend Asbury; Eric is in his senior year. Michael Lindsay is starting his seminary experience this Fall at Asbury in Wilmore, Ky. as well. Advance orders can be made by calling the Church office at (662)

5 5 One of the many crosses that survived the tornado. PARSONAGE Continued from page 1... Haggards to stay in a home his family owned that was unoccupied until a new residence could be found. About one week after the conference insurance company settled the claim on the destroyed parsonage, a church member found a home for sale that was in great shape and ideally situated near each of the three churches. On Tuesday Oct. 14, District Superintendent Dr. Embra Jackson was invited to participate in a blessing of the new parsonage, along with Rev. Haggard, his wife, Eve, community and church members. It was indeed a glorious moment to gather with these persons as we praised and thank God for the blessing of this home for pastors who will serve this community and these churches, Jackson said. church to share his continued mission and vision for the ministry. Dan Burchfield, Eupora FUMC member attending the meeting, said Kumar is a wonderful example of world missions. India is such fertile ground for the gospel of Christ, Burchfield said. We should all be concentrating on growing the church there! During his visit at Eupora FUMC, Kumar said there was a tremendous need for the gospel at all levels of society in India. Kumar said the mission of Gospel Friends is threefold preach the gospel to the poor; heal the broken hearted; and set free those who are downtrodden. (Luke 4:18). When Kumar had a vision to begin this ministry in 1992, he didn t know all of the exciting paths God would take him and the Gospel Friends. Today, Two hundred orphan children are involved in schools and housing sponsored by the Gospel Friends. Most of them were saved from being killed or rescued from flea markets. For a boy or girl in our care, it cost $35 a month. We have a sewing project. We teach a group of 26 ladies for six months and give them a certificate and free sewing machines for them to make their livelihood. This project has increased their status and gave them a new life. So far, Kumar said they have given away over 3,000 sewing machines each costing $100. The ministry has 360 native missionaries working with the Gospel Friends all over India. The ministry has established 1,200 new congregations of people from other faiths. We baptized over 70,000 people. More than 120,000 people got saved through this ministry. They have built 215 church buildings and each cost about $10,000. The ministry felt the need to start the Bible College to get young people inspired and challenged to reach GOSPEL FRIENDS Continued from page 1... the people in India. They give B.Th. and M.Div courses which are accredited by Asia Theological Association. Ninety students have22 mentors involved in the program. It costs $50 for each student monthly. The ministry has seen several young girls committing suicide after their schooling due to their inability to continue their studies or due to being compelled to marry by their parents. Gospel Friends brings in these girls and allows them to complete a two-year diploma nursing course with government certificates. They have 90 students in the first year and 60 in the second year. It takes $1,000 for one young girl to finish two years of study. When they complete their training to be nurses, they work in local villages to help people. Gospel Friends also has a medical ministry with two clinics and several mobile camps in local villages. Many of the trained nurses work in the mobile camps. Kumar can also be seen on television every Sunday to preach about family living. He gets phone calls for prayers and counseling. Hundreds of families are being helped. This ministry costs $500 a month. The ministry educates 256 boys and girls in The Living Hope School. Student are from rural areas and otherwise they would not go to school because of neglect and exploitation. It costs $20 a month to education these children. Kumar said in 10 years, Gospel Friends hopes to establish 2,000 new congregations throughout India; they hope to baptize 200,000 people to embrace Christ and His salvation they are well on their way having baptized the 70,000th person. Kumar said Gospel Friends want to fill unreached India with 1,000 native missionaries who will serve as pastors and evangelists, while enhancing the standard of liv- Ghuna Kumar sharing an update on India s Gospel Friends Ministry at Eupora FUMC. (Photos by Gwen Sisson) ing and hygiene in the rural populations with trained nurses who they call necessary angels. Gospel Friends would also like to provide educational opportunities for children and teens up to the 10th grade, while sharing the light of the gospel to the children of villages who otherwise might be recruited to be terrorists, prostitutes or involved in sex trafficking. Funding has been limited in recent months and Gospel Friends needs 300 people who will be called the PARTNERS OF THE POOREST IN INDIA who will pray and send $30, $50 or $100 each month to help continue the work of the ministry. Gospel Friends works in conjunction with Cecil Williamson s ministry, Christian World Mission. Donations to Gospel Friends can sent to Christian World Mission, 1437 Fire Station Road, Starkville, MS and please make a notation that it is to go to Gospel Friends India. For more information about Gospel Friends, contact Kumar at or call the church at (662) WOMEN S DAY EVENT SET OCT. ROCK HILL UMC Rock Hill UMC will have their Woman's Day program Sunday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m. The speaker will be Minister Angela Bluitt of New Beginning Full Gospel Church. Theme: "The Power of We as Women." We need photos from your church s events... The Starkville District would like to feature events from every church in each newsletter. Please send us your events and announcements to or to your photos as.jpeg attachments (or whatever format your camera or phone typically uses -- if given the choice,.jpeg formats better). Thanks so much! DEADLINE FOR THE NEXT NEWSLETTER will be OCTOBER 28!

6 MISSISSIPPI CONFERENCE NEWS 6 CALENDAR OCT. 18 United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) meets every October giving fellow United Methodists an opportunity to network, hear from ongoing projects and work together in encouraging one another. Register NOW for the 2014 Convocation on the Black Church set for Oct. 25 Register today for the 2014 Convocation on the Black Church set for Saturday, Oct. 25, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing to 2 p.m. Clergy attending the entire Saturday will be granted ½ CEU. This event is specifically designed to meet challenges of African American churches -- but beneficial to all churches -- ALL churches are welcome! This year's theme is "Living Out The POWER of We Through Vital Worship." The convocation will take place at the Brandon Conference Center in Brandon, Miss. Facilitators for this event are: Rev. Dr. Michael T. McQueen, senior pastor of St. James UMC in Alpharetta, Ga.; Pastor John Paul McGee of Worship and Arts at St. James UMC in Alpharetta, Ga. and Sondra Bell, minister of music at Anderson UMC in Jackson, Miss. A special offering will be lifted in support of Rust College. Through giving, Rust College is able to continue developing students who will impact the world God loves. Rust College is a related institution of The United Methodist Church. For additional information, call Angela Griffin at or To register, visit click here. The "UNASHAMED: Youth Living Boldly for Christ" youth conference that will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Convocation on the Black Church. Go to the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church website to sign up TODAY! OCT The Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church presents the 2014 Convocation on the Black Church, October This event is specifically designed to meet challenges of African American churches -- but beneficial to all churches - - ALL churches are welcome! The convocation will take place at the Brandon Conference Center in Brandon, MS. Mississippi. OCT. 25 The Mississippi Annual Conference cordially invites all young people (6th grade through 12th grade) to its youth conference held in conjunction with the 2014 Convocation on the Black Church. This year's event promises the same, while encouraging youth to live UNASHAMED as disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. Nov. 1 United Methodist Women District Officer's Leadership Training