UMAMD Committee Leaders
Conference Call
December 14, 2015

Attending: Greg Edwards, Lynn Swedberg, Janine DeLaunay, Brian Burch, Sharon McCart and Russell Ewell.
Not present: Eric Pridmore

Janine called our meeting together. Brian opened us in prayer

  • Contacting UMC Pastors on Medical Leave and inviting them to join the UMAMD: Janine wrote a letter to send to those on medical leave. Brian has a contact list of Holston Conference clergy on medical leave. The primary issue at this point is, "Do we have energy to do all of this nation-wide?" One suggestion is to incorporate Dodie Rissie who is the chair of the Committee on Promotion and Publicity to see if she would like to assist with the project. Could we also use conference leadership through Joint Committees on Medical Leave, or someone in the Conference Board of Pensions?
  • Continuation of discussion of GC activities. Sharon is planning on writing GC delegates in January. Sharon did acquire the list for the Western Jurisdiction Delegates. Janine will ask Love Your Neighbor for a list of the remaining delegates (received). Sharon's letter would come from UMAMD; that would include support for petitions from DMC and the General Board of Ministries. Could we target the persons in each jurisdiction that deal with the relevant petitions? Sharon and Lynn will both be at General Conference. Janine will be present for a portion of the meeting.
  • Articles for Love Your Neighbor Newsletters. Can we identify UMAMD members who are supportive of Love Your Neighbor and might be willing to submit articles supporting disability issues? Brian will submit a list of names to Lynn of folks who might be willing to write such an article.
  • Working with Boards of Ordained Ministries. How do we educate and advocate for those go through the process? In terms of education Sharon suggested two resources. She, with the DMC, is writing a Lay Speaking Ministries course that might be helpful. Expected completion date is in late 2016. UM Communications in their material, "How to be a Welcoming Church" is incorporating material on welcoming those with disabilities. This should be ready before GC. In the midst of our conversations we discovered that the Conference Registrar functions differently in each conference. For those conferences with full-time staff persons who fill that position, could we find ways to educate them on how to support persons with disabilities?
  • UMW Mission U: Russell shared that he and Mary Chang, who is the head of the National UMW Mission U program, had a cordial exchange. No new updates at this time.
  • Future Calls. January 11, 2016 will be our next call. Janine expressed a desire to include chairs of our various committees. Russell asked if our past co-chairs could also be included.

Janine closed us in prayer.

Respectfully submitted,
Brian Burch

UMAMD & Disability Committee Leaders
Conference Call
November 9, 2015

Present: Janine Delaunay, Sharon McCart, Tim Vermande, Eric Pridmore, Lynn Swedberg, Russell Ewell and Brian Burch
Not present: Greg Edwards & Patricia Magyar

Janine welcomed us. She reminded us that the goal of today''s call was to help organize our group and keep the momentum from this summer alive. She then opened us in prayer.

Agenda Items:

  • #1: Developing Annual Conference Disability Concerns Committees (or similar structures)
    Lynn shared while the Discipline requires every Annual Conference to have this Committee, only about 30-40% of the US Conferences do. The Northeastern, North Central and Western Jurisdictions are well represented; but we lack contacts and committees from the Southeastern and South Central Jurisdictions.
    Both Sharon and Eric shared their experiences of starting Disability Committees in their conferences; it starts with one person gathering others with a passion for this ministry.
    What is the role of the UMAMD in this? Brian proposed that we contact ministers on Medical Leave and inviting them to be a part of the UMAMD and the Disability Network. Lynn will develop a list of conferences we should target. Brian will create a list of ministers on medical leave in these conferences. Janine will develop an information piece focusing on who we are and how we can help ministers with disabilities. Eric, Lynn and Russell will review it. First draft should be ready in 2 weeks.
  • A short discussion on dues took place. Is the issue that our members are unable to pay, we are embarrassed to ask, or that folks simply forget? Could we set up a system so members could pay online? Janine recommended we discuss this again at a later meeting.
  • #2: How do we get support for the petitions at General Conference 2016?
    The UMAMD submitted 3 legislative pieces and one resolution to General Conference. Sharon, on behalf of the Disability Committee submitted 8 pieces of legislation. Three of them are focused on significant change and the other 5 are requests for changing language such as "handicap" to "disability" in various places in the Discipline.
    The next step in our advocacy would be to gather a list of delegates based on which committee they are assigned. Four years ago, by Dec. 1 the first round of letters had been sent. Using a sample letter from Lynn, Sharon has agreed to write up a version for the Disability Concerns committee in January. A similar set of letters needs to be written by the UMAMD for their petitions.
  • #3: Love Your Neighbor Coalition Participation
    Janine has agreed to replace Evy as our representative to Love Your Neighbor. She will be on a LYN conference call this afternoon. What is it that we want from this partnership? Sharon shared that she sees as a need to raise their awareness until they become our allies. Officially the group is for all those on the margins. One idea is to prepare articles to be included in the daily GC newspaper published by Love Your Neighbor. Do we have any members of our group who are also advocates for the LGBT who could write such articles? Greg Dell would be one potential author.
  • #4 Developing process to work with Boards of Ordained Ministry
  • #5: Russell, update on work with UMW
    Russell met two weeks ago with Mary Chang, who is the new head of the National UMW Mission U program. She has a desire to see the good started by the Mission U study continue. A key issue is can we find a means to report on the effects of the Mission U Disability study? Could we seek teachers of this study to survey their participants and ask, "What has changed? Do you have any stories of change?" One idea was to develop a video telling their challenges in the local churches. Another idea was during each Jurisdictional Conference to have a team of all disabled persons lead worship; could we also do this at each Jurisdictional UMW gathering? Russell is to meet back with her in 2 weeks to continue the dialogue.
  • #6: Future Conference Calls
    It was decided to invite this group to continue meeting monthly via conference calls through General Conference 2016. We would also like to invite at least the chairs of Legislative Action, Higher Education and Seminary Relations, and Publicity to join us. The projected date will be Monday, December 14.

    Russell closed us in prayer; and the meeting adjourned.
    Respectfully submitted, Brian Burch