North Alabama man among mission personnel to be commissioned in historic service broadcast live on the internet


The United Methodist Church will commission 31 missionaries and nine deaconesses and home missioners in an October 13 celebration including North Alabama's own Jeff Murrell.

For the first time, a service of commissioning of United Methodist missionaries, deaconesses, and home missioners will be broadcast live on the internet. The webcast provides an opportunity for United Methodists to take part virtually in the sacred experience of blessing and commitment inherent in Christian commissioning.

The service will take place on Tuesday, October 13, during the annual meeting of directors of the General Board of Global Ministries, in Stamford, Connecticut. The time is 7:00 p.m. EDT. The live webcast of the commissioning will be available on the website of the General Board of Global Ministries, beginning at 6 p.m CDT on Tuesday, October 13, 2009. The web address is , and a large icon will be the linked to the broadcast.

"The commissioning of missionaries and deaconesses is a sacred moment, and this year we are inviting the whole of the church to be present electronically," said Bishop Joel N. Martinez, interim general secretary of the mission board. "We invite every bishop, every Sunday school teacher, and every church member to extend their hands in blessing as new groups of mission workers are commissioned in the name of Jesus Christ."

The new missionaries are called to various types of service in several categories, including:

  • Global Ministries' missionaries in international service (eight persons), most of whom have been at work for several months in Japan, Liberia, Malaysia, Thailand, Ukraine, and the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
  • Church and Community Workers (ten persons), who are working among the poor and marginalized in rural and urban settings in the United States.
  • Mission Interns (six young adults), who serve three-year terms: half in an international and half in a US mission setting.
  • US-2s (five young adults), who work in justice ministries in the US.
  • National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries missionaries (two persons), assigned to work in the Rocky Mountain and North Carolina Annual Conferences.

A class of seven deaconesses (women) and two home missioners (men) will be commissioned. Jeff Murrell will be commissioned as a home missioner. These persons make life-long commitments to mission service and have special relations with annual conferences and the General Board of Global Ministries. In most cases, they find their own ministries and are not compensated or supervised by the mission agency unless they enter one of the missionary categories.

"This historic webcast will be welcomed by family members, friends, and other persons in the home churches and conferences of those being commissioned," Bishop Martinez said. "We hope that congregations and extended families will gather around large screens, join in the worship, take part in the 'sending,' and assume responsibilities as partners in mission with the missionaries, deaconesses, and home missioners."


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