Harris, Thomas and Jennie
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Harris, Thomas and Jennie

Missionaries to the Iban people of Sarawak Thomas and Jennie Harris applied for missionary service in 1947, answering a call by Bishop Creighton Lacy to serve the people of China. They were the first African-American couple to be assigned to China by the Methodist Board of Missions. Born and educated in Florida, they were members...

Valencia, José Labarrette (1898-1994)
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Valencia, José Labarrette (1898-1994)

Leader among Central Conference Bishops Born in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Province, in 1898, Valencia grew up as a Roman Catholic, although he became acquainted with Protestants through the United Brethren mission near his home. He came from a family involved in the Filipino struggle for independence. His uncle was a guerrilla in the conflict with...

Zunguze, Escrivâo Anglaze (1914-1980)
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Zunguze, Escrivâo Anglaze (1914-1980)

First African Bishop in The Methodist Church Born in Mozambique in 1914, Zunguze became a Christian through his wife, Thelma, who was a graduate of the Hartzell’s Girl School in Chicuque. He was educated at a Methodist Episcopal Church school in Inhambane province, at the Cambine mission, and Old Umtali in then-Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe),...

Thomas, James S.
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Thomas, James S.

Educator and Leader for Abolishing the Central Jurisdiction Thomas was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and was ordained and became an elder in the South Carolina Conference of the Central Jurisdiction in 1944. After serving as a pastor, he taught at Gammon Theological Seminary. He became associate director of the Department of Education Institutions of...

The Sommers
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The Sommers

Methodist Educators, Relief Leader, Bishops J. W. Ernst Sommer was born to a German Wesleyan minister father and British mother in Germany. He went to Kingswood, Cambridge University, and the university at Lausanne for his education. He taught in London and married a Briton, Beatrice Dibben. From 1907 to 1912, he was a missionary in...

McKenzie, Ann
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McKenzie, Ann

Deaconess Leading Rural Ministry Ann McKenzie’s entry into ministry matches that of many women who chose to become deaconesses in The Methodist Church. When she heard about women doing church work, nothing was said about ordination – women could not be full members of annual conferences at that time, and no one mentioned mission work;...

Varnado, Earnestine
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Varnado, Earnestine

Church and Community Worker Serving as Parish Nurse My journey into Church and Community ministry began (without my knowledge), when I was a young teen. I enjoyed going to the local school on Sunday after church to help register community residents for oral Polio vaccinations. I thought it was an honor to be asked by...

Pewo, Donna Chaat
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Pewo, Donna Chaat

Church and Community Worker with Native Youth My call to ministry formed in my local church. I served as a worship leader, a Sunday school teacher, as chair of the administrative board—I was active. Then one Sunday our District Superintendent came to church and asked me if I was interested in going to lay-speaking school....

Bennettsville-Cheraw Area Cooperative Ministry (BCACM)
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Bennettsville-Cheraw Area Cooperative Ministry (BCACM)

Holistic Rural Ministry The Bennettsville-Cheraw Area Cooperative Ministry (BCACM), established in 1966, is a specialized ministry with rural residents of South Carolina’s Marlboro and Chesterfield counties. With four pastors and a combined church membership below 2500, the cooperative includes one station church (Trinity UMC), two parishes (Cheraw and Bennettsville), and one circuit (Bennettsville Circuit). All...

Esperanza Viva
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Esperanza Viva

Ministry of Hope with Hispanic Youth Do you take the things you have for granted? Carmen, a 35-year-old Mexican woman who lives in Hamilton, Ohio, can answer that question with an absolute no! A single mother with three children, she came to the United States with a desire to find a better future for her...