North Alabama Woman Among Newly Commissioned Deaconesses and Home Missioners

April 07, 2006

Stamford, CT, April 5, 2006—The United Methodist Church commissioned 13 new deaconesses and two home missioners on April 4 at the semi-annual meeting of the General Board of Global Ministries. These are categories of lifetime lay mission service.

“I commission you to take the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world,” Bishop Joel N. Martinez of San Antonio, president of the mission agency, said as he and other clergy and laity laid their hands upon the heads of the women and men.

Home missioner is a new lay office for men, comparable to that of deaconess for women, approved by the 2004 United Methodist General Conference. Timothy Bodenstein of Oklahoma and Kevin Nelson, originally from Texas, are the first two home missioners.

Deaconesses and home missioners are lay members of the annual (regional) conferences in which they serve; their ministries are recognized by the Church, but they find their own places of service.  There are currently 136 persons in the deaconess/home missioner community.

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster of Alabama-West Florida, the preacher at the service of commissioning, used “servant ministry” to describe the deaconess/home missioner role.

The 15 persons commissioned come from nine different annual conferences, including five from the New York Conference and two from the Oklahoma Conference. Other conferences represented were California-Pacific, Desert Southwest, Holston, Mississippi, New England, North Alabama, Tennessee, and West Ohio.

Those commissioned, their annual conferences, and places are service are, in alphabetical order:

  • Timothy P. Bodenstein, Oklahoma, administrative assistant, Stillwater District, Stillwater, OK
  • Linda Frank, West Ohio, Protestant chaplain, Wexner Heritage Village, Columbus, OH
  • Patricia Goss, Desert Southwest, administrative assistant, Central United Methodist Church and conference refugee coordinator, Phoenix, AZ
  • Rose Linda Guadarrama, California-Pacific, community engagement manager, San Bernadino, CA
  • Mary Hill, New England, case manager, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Portland, ME
  • Sung Ok Lee, New York, executive secretary for community action, General Board of Global Ministries, New York, NY
  • Evana Lewis, New York, case manager, Human Resources Administration, Bronx, NY
  • Gladis Lobato, New York, habilitation assistant, United Cerebral Palsy, New York, NY
  • Minnie Murrell, North Alabama, sexual assault response advocate, Safehouse of Shelby County, Pelham, AL
  • Kevin M. Nelson, New York, administrative assistant, General Board of Global Ministries, New York, NY
  • Rachel Patman, Holston, abuse prevention education specialist, Family Resource Center, Wytheville, VA
  • Claris R. Skerritt, parish nurse, Butler Memorial United Methodist Church, Bronx, NY
  • Nancy Van Antwerp, Oklahoma, clinic administrator, Reaching Our City, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Earnestine Andrews Varnado, Mississippi, parish nurse and Church & Community Worker, St. Andrew’s Mission, McComb, MS
  • Mary Winslow, Tennessee, patient services manger, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Nashville, TN.

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