Deacon’s Call: Brenda Laws

In 2015 I was collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries – ministries of service – expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners.  In this post, you will hear from Brenda Laws who is an ordained deacon currently serving as an ID Case Manager for the Eastern Shore Community Service Board on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Her secondary appointment is at Horntown Charge UMC on the Eastern Shore District. Here are Brenda’s words: 

When I saw her on stage with the bishop I heard a voice within my spirit say, “You will be where she is.” Ha Ha, I thought that was a good joke. “I am a 19-year-old single mom and that will never happen,” I thought. That day was at Annual Conference of June 1980 in Richmond. It changed my vocation in life. It changed who I was and it redefined who God was in my life.

I didn’t even know who that lady was on the conference stage, I just know she had set an example for me when she was consecrated a diaconal minister. My new quest in life was to find out about the diaconal ministry.

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Deacon’s Call: Heesung Hwang

In 2015 I was collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners.  In this post, you will hear from Heesung Hwang who was recently ordained as a deacon. Here are Heesung’s words: 

My journey to ministry and theological study started from the conversation with my father when I was at the age of fourteen. He used to give me a ride to my school every morning and we shared lots of stories and thoughts. It was such enjoyable moments for both of us. One day, he talked about what he wanted to do in his life. He said he had wanted to set up an organization in order to help orphans because he also faced and experienced the misery of the Korean War and wanted to do something to improve the society as well as his own life.

However, it just did not happen in his weary life. In that morning, he said, “But I still want to do something for lonely children. Although I cannot afford to build an organization or an orphanage, I am about to start donating a small amount of money every month whether it is 5 dollars or 10 dollars.” Those statements just struck me. I said to my father as I got out of the car, “Dad, I will do it. If you don’t make it happen in your life, I will do it.”

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Follow Friday: Welsey Bros Concluded

Follow Friday

I have been sharing the story of Wesley Bros over the past two weeks. You may want to start with the first post if you haven’t already.

When he first started Charlie had no direction. He was inventing characters that were based on actual people and forming their personalities based on his own reading of history and what he thought might be funny. As a result, John Wesley is a little bit hipster, “because,” as Charlie says, “those guys are so persnickety and particular.” Charles Wesley, on the other hand, is a little bit more sloppy and fun because he is the creative poet.

"By George Part 4: Let Those Ears Raise Up"

“My first few strips tried to tell major Methodist storylines in one strip,” he recalls. The comic strips covered things that Charlie thought most Methodists would know or needed to know. This included the First, Second, and Third Rise of Methodism, the Aldersgate Experience, and the fire in the Wesley home.

And if you read Wesley Bros you will notice that Charlie runs a few series of extended plotlines. He knew when he started drawing that he wanted to do an extended series on Sophy Hopkey because well, there is all that ridiculousness. “It’s actually a lot easier for me,” Charlie says, “to do a long series like that because one idea flows out of the next.”

That may be why the George Whitefield series lasted for two months. “I thought the Whitefield series was important to tell because it conveys the beginning of field preaching and an evangelical revival, as well as an important split in early Methodism,” says Charlie. He goes on to say:

It’s filled with tons of theology, America’s first celebrity (George), and sermons and hymns were used to tear each other down.  That series really allowed me to go to creative places to visually tell stories in ways I had never thought of doing when I first started out.

Wesley was heavily influenced by so many historical figures, Charlie has made a point of casting some of those characters in the comic, putting them into dialogue and debate with Wesley. He does the same with those whom Wesley has influenced.

"95 Problems (but a wench ain't one)"

 

Charlie, by combining theology and humor, has made something that is commonly viewed as boring, approachable. And in the process, he is teaching and sharing the main tenants of our United Methodist tradition, as well as the theological truths of being a follower of Christ. The Wesley brothers have always served as models of what it looks like to thrive towards perfection. Anyone who has taught confirmation can tell you that it is often difficult to bring these two models of faithfulness, strugglers of faith, and missionaries to life. Charlie has found one of the most creative ways to do that.

So, if you’re still reading, you can stop now. Go check out Wesley Bros and laugh a little, ponder a little, and share with a friend.

Deacon’s Call: Lisa McGehee

In 2015 I was collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries – ministries of service – expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners.  In this post, you will hear from Lisa McGehee who is an ordained deacon currently serving as the Associate Minister at Good Shepherd United Methodist in Richmond, Virginia. Here are Lisa’s words: 

The seed for my call was planted before I was born. My maternal grandmother was passionate about serving and caring for others – humans, animals, and creation. It was through her life and the way that my mother was raised that I became an advocate for those without a voice. Granny left a legacy filled with stories of providing for care for children. She opened the family home to her children’s friends giving them a warm meal, clothes to wear and a place to stay.

She cared equally for animals and there are many stories of my grandfather and my mother and her siblings coming into the kitchen to find “the box” that sat beside the wood burning stove. “The box” provided protection for an animal that was born the littlest or one that was injured. She raised it with care until it was ready to leave. Her love for creation was equal to the love she had for people and animals. She was a farmer and a gardener who never seemed to have a challenge for growing plants. I believe it was the care in which she planted the seed and tended the soil. She gave thanks and praise to God for all that she had and deeply desired to share it with others.

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Follow Friday: More Wesley Bros

Follow Friday

I started sharing about Charlie and his blog/website Wesley Bros last week. You may want to start there first. 

I was curious about Charlie’s process. When you read the comics, you will notice that he is able to include a lot of historical and theological details, while keeping the characters in a modern-day setting. I asked him where he gets his inspiration every week:

I usually jot down ideas when they come to me.  I do a lot more research into church history and John and Charles Wesley now that I do this comic.  I read Wesley’s sermons, I read histories of Methodism, Wesley’s journals, Charles’ hymns and the stories behind them.  If I can find irony or humor in what I read, I scribble out ideas and get started.

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Deacon’s Call: Joanna Dietz

In 2015 I was collecting call stories from my friends who are serving in diaconal ministries expressed in the United Methodist Church through the provisional and ordained deacon, diaconal ministers, deaconesses, and home missioners.  This post you will hear from Joanna Dietz who is an ordained deacon currently serving as  Minister of Mission and Service at Braddock Street United Methodist in Winchester, Virginia. Here are Joanna’s words: 

As a third generation clergy person, I’ve never known life outside the United Methodist Church. But I never thought I’d be called to serve as an ordained minister! I began teaching elementary music right out of college, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. However, it seemed that something was missing.

One Sunday, a new program was announced that was designed to help elementary children grow in both personal and social holiness. Every time it was mentioned, I began to feel deeply emotional.

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