September 2020 * Volume 21, Issue 7

President’s Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

Starting to Dismantle Racism

Good Morning,
As we disciple ourselves and others, whether as UMM leaders at our local church or at the national level, our church desperately needs strong lay leaders. Men need teams and individuals to help them grow in Christ. As servant leaders, we need to provide structure, tools, and rich environments that foster growth as men of Christ. Leadership is a learned skill. I believe our primary ministry is to connect with the men God is raising up, equip them for this ministry, and send them out to build the Kingdom of God. There are many important vital ministries and missions that must be addressed. But I believe our primary mission is to create servant leaders. As we connect men to God, may God send them out to work with other ministries according to God’s plan.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (KJV)

Many United Methodist men throughout the nation have already begun the process of dismantling racism through learning, dialog, protesting, planning and other actions. Our National Association of Conference Presidents (NACP) president has already initiated the process of reshaping the format and content of our March 2021 NACP annual meeting based on input from participants and analysis by both our jurisdictional presidents and a select group of five experienced leaders. I believe that our March 2021 NACP annual meeting, whether virtual or face to face, must include meaningful workshops, planning, and discussions surrounding this issue.

We’ve heard this theme resonated by our bishops, experienced leaders at town halls on dismantling racism, and the General Commission on Religion & Race’s vital conversation Being an Ally with People of Color. Our GCUMM general secretary has already committed us, along with the other boards and agencies of the United Methodist Church, to "urgent action to dismantle racism." We cannot permit either Black noise or white fragility to further delay the dismantling of structural racism. If not now, when will we proceed? Only when we do can we say that we have true discipleship and unity among the UMM.

We are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ within our body and the larger community, and this call is for inclusiveness and not exclusiveness. For several months now, GCUMM and UMM jurisdictions have held National Days of Prayer. I hope you were able to join the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) UMM for the National Day of Prayer last July. The common thread in our prayer time has been racism and white privilege. However, discipling ourselves and others is blocked because of hate and division. Getting our hearts right is a prerequisite to growth as men of Christ. Racism must be addressed. Until Christ returns, we will minister to and in a broken sinful world. We need to understand our role in this broken world and how to live out our ministry. I strongly support diversity and anti-racism training. I will recommend a social justice initiative to the NACP and will personally participate in its creation. We cannot grow this ministry if we continue to be part of this problem.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

Hank Dozier, former president of the SEJ UMM, said some people have a “gross misunderstanding” of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Hank indicated some people think the passage calls for us to act as if we should be colorblind, but racism is the original sin, and we need to condemn attitudes of white supremacy. This effort must be led and accompanied by prayer and concrete action.

Let’s work together for good,

Albert Weal, Jr., President
[email protected]

Perseverance | Bridging the Racial Divide

Sharing Stories about Racism

By Andrew Kissell

For the first 16 years of my life, I was raised in the predominantly white city of Lincoln, Nebraska. Near the end of my sophomore year, our family moved to Virginia where my main focus, as a 6’5” “string bean,” was to earn a spot on the basketball team at Maury High in Norfolk. Little did I know that my experiences there would shape my character and my views about race for the rest of my life.

I was one of two white guys that made the basketball team the next year. I knew that athletics was about merit — not skin color or diversity. For the first time and place in my life, I was in the minority. Our coaches, Ted Bacalis and Jack Baker, were fair, but tough. They made sure we functioned as a team. I did not feel any racial bias from my teammates on the squad. As part of a successful team, I learned about earning trust and growing relationships, about team building and teamwork, about commitment and perseverance — all good lessons with a biblical basis put into practice on the basketball court.

This experience continues to shape my faith and actions today.

Things were different, though, in the high school classrooms and clubs. Many of my white classmates were clearly both privileged and racist, occasionally using the “n” word and acting as though they were superior. Other than sporting events, whites and blacks largely kept to themselves during and after school. Even though my parents had taught me it was wrong to be prejudiced, it was mainly up to me to choose my friends. I know you have to be a friend to make a friend, and I am not proud admitting I didn’t have any black friends until late in life.

I recall Coach Baker telling me that if it weren’t for athletics, many blacks would not have the opportunity to go to college. That message resonates today as we see the disproportionate number of whites attending college and attending sporting events in stadiums and arenas. How many sports franchises are owned, coached or operated by the minorities in America that make up such a large portion of the players?

How do we dismantle racism? Grow our relationship with God through prayer, join a team, work hard, build trust, be a friend, and persevere!, “…because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

Andrew Kissell, member of Community United Methodist Church, Virginia Beach, is president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction UMM and past-president of the Virginia Conference UMM. He may be contacted by phone at 757-839-0790 or by email at [email protected].

Let’s Leave a Trace

Scouting Recognition Presentation

In recognition of Scouting Ministry, please find below Bill Chaffin's remarks to the 2020 Virginia Annual Conference.

Hello, this is an honor! Let me start with a disclaimer. Bet that got your attention. We are known in the Virginia Conference and around the nation as Scouting Ministry. We have been having conversations about that title. We are a youth serving arm of the UMC supporting the BSA, Girl Scouts, Big Brother Big Sister, and Camp Fire. Many know us only as Boy Scouts. Not true! However, this year we are celebrating the 100th year of the partnership between the Boy Scouts of America and the United Methodist Church. That agreement formalized what our church and the BSA intended: to work together for the betterment of our youth. The work continues today!

I want to leave something special with you today. The Outdoor Code is “Leave No Trace”. Leave God’s beautiful creation and home for us the same way we found it, or better, when we have finished a hike or a camping trip. For several years I have been saying, “Let’s leave a trace.” Let’s leave a trace or more of who we are as children of God and disciples of Christ. Wasn’t this His commandment to us in the Great Commission?

I would like to suggest that each of our congregations, no matter the size or nearness to youth, can and should support this ministry. Seriously, look at the youth in your area. Look at the youth in your church. There are opportunities to carry out Christ’s commandment. If no opportunities appear; make one. Vital Congregations doesn’t have to be yours in this sense. You can create a budget line item to support this ministry at your district level or at the conference level. All congregations will be equipped to support youth serving ministry, known now as Scouting Ministry. This is a vital program for our future, and each congregation will be strengthened if we partner together for our youth supporting the Boy and Girl Scout programs, or individually stepping up as a Big Brother or Big Sister one on one. Even if you do not see where you can support a scout unit, then you can bring PRAY, Programs of Religious Activity for Youth, to your Sunday School or youth small group. Contact me and I will share more about any of these programs.

I want to close with an opportunity for each of you. We have developed an online course for the local church scouting coordinator. It explains the history of Scouting Ministry in the church and how it all came about. Reach out to me and I will make sure you have access to this program. Even if you do not have youth, this is something all of our churches should know. As an old friend of mine said, “knowledge for knowledge sake!”

God bless each of you!

Bill Chaffin
Virginia Conference Ministry of Scouting Coordinator
[email protected]
Virginia Conference Ministry of Scouting
A mission of the General Commission on United Methodist Men

Be Part of Our Expansion Team

Give Day 2020 is October 19, 2020

The General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM) wants you to be a part of its expansion team and change lives. GCUMM is unique in that it receives only 25% of its funding from the general church. That is why Monday, October 19, 2020 is Give Day 2020.

If you would like to make a donation before Give Day or have questions, please call 866-297-4312.

More details about Give Day 2020 will be announced in October.

Words to Live By …


What is Truth?

“For in the Christian tradition, truth is ultimately a person, the one who is ‘the way and the truth and the life.’ Truth, therefore, is someone encountered in love…”

“A First Step Toward Loving Our Enemies”
John C. Danforth and Matt Malone

Recommended Reading: John 18: 33-38 (NRSV)