Don't forget about us, either!
Your recent article on the wonderful work being done by UMCOR in response to Midwest floods and hurricanes Gustav and Ike ["Don't Forget About Us Here" (March-April)] was truly a celebration of the ministry we are able to do together as the Body of Christ! So was the celebration of the Sager Brown Depot and the announcement of the new depot in Salt Lake City, Utah. I only wish you had at least mentioned the Midwest Mission Distribution Center here in the heart of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. While not directly a UMCOR agency, it is recognized by UMCOR and has an invaluable supportive relationship with it. We receive and send truckloads of supplies down to Sager Brown on a regular basis, as well as providing volunteers from surrounding states who send those supplies here a much-needed place to come and work, assembling cleaning buckets, health kits, school bags and layette kits. Indeed, many of those cleaning buckets (we call them "flood buckets" here) you showed in the article may have come from us!
--The Rev. Glen W. Bocox, senior pastor, Mahomet (Ill.) United Methodist Church
Column omits local pastors
In an article asking the question "who are clergy" (March-April), there was only one reference to licensed clergy and local pastors were not mentioned at all. They do a lot of great work in our denomination.
--The Rev. Johnny E. Craig, pastor, Lee's Chapel United Methodist Church, Albany, Ky.
Wesley was no economist
I disagree with the Rev. J. Richard Peck's essay "John Wesley's advice on the economy" (Jan.-Feb.). Extrapolating Wesley's economic views on our current recession seems a little dishonest. We hear the same arguments today that the rich are the problem, and if we could only tax them and transfer their assets to the less fortunate our economic problems would be solved. The capitalistic model of free markets is actually the most flexible in terms of offering reward to honest effort regardless of current economic status. Professor Wesley was a great philosopher and religious thinker and doer. Let's not take those strengths and project them on an area in which he had no particular expertise. This kind of political agenda does not do him credit for what he did contribute to our daily life and relationship with Jesus Christ.
--Fred Wallin, First Broad Street United Methodist Church, Kingsport, Tenn.
Work on existing churches first
In reference to the Rev. Wayne Upton's letter in the May-June issue:
During my ministry at First United Methodist Church, Jeannette, Pa., we developed a program called RECLAIM, designed to identify non-participants (and) learn why they chose not to participate. (We) then developed programs to overcome those reasons with the goal of restoring them to full or partial participation in the life of the church.
We were surprised to learn that many, because of age, health, or lack of caring family or friends, had been "forgotten" by the church. In the first six months, we restored more than 25 to some level of participation in the life of the church. We also restored to full membership eight others who had previously been removed from membership.
One totally unexpected result was that an elderly widow of this group a few years later bequeathed a gift of more than $240,000 to the church.
--Dale W. Roddy, retired full-time local pastor, Western Pennsylvania Conference