From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Mission board will use wind-up radios to spread information
07 Apr 2000 13:31:35
April 7, 2000 News media contact: Linda Bloom·(212) 870-3803·New York
NOTE: For related coverage of the United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries meeting, see UMNS stories #187, #188 and #189.
STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) - A real "hands-on" approach to mission was
demonstrated during the April 3-6 United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries meeting when each director was given a wind-up radio to use as a
For those living without electricity or easy access to batteries, such a
radio can provide an important source of information from the outside world.
And that is exactly how the board intends to use the radios in a new mission
Sharon Maeda, a board executive, explained that the project is the result of
the church's desire to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. "The role of
the church goes far beyond ministry to the sick and their families," she
In Zambia and Uganda, a massive public information campaign has helped "stem
the tide" of HIV/AIDS cases, she said. By providing the wind-up radios to
small communities in other parts of Southern Africa, the mission agency
hopes to provide facts and helpful information about HIV/AIDS.
Made by Freeplay Corp., the radios - which also can be solar-powered - cost
the board about $50 each. Directors are being asked to raise funds to supply
a minimum of 10 each. The board also is working to supply small portable
radio stations, retailing at $5,000, which literally fit in a suitcase. With
30 to 50 watts of power, a station can be operated on electricity, with a
generator, or even through the cigarette lighter in a vehicle.
In a related matter, directors were asked to immediately write letters to
their Congressional representatives regarding legislation against low-power
radio stations. The Federal Communications Commission had approved low-power
radio this year, but legislation against that initiative has moved through
The board considers low-power radio stations "the last and best chance for
the voiceless in America to have a voice of their own. Examples of some of
the United Methodist partners who could benefit by operating such stations
include a native peoples' community center connected to a church in Nome,
Alaska; a Haitian congregation in Brooklyn; the Oklahoma Indiana Missionary
Conference and Red Bird Missionary Conference; and various inner city ethnic
In other business, directors approved several large grants to help with
relief and recovery efforts in Sierra Leone, an African country devastated
by civil war. A total of $200,000 -- $50,000 annually for four years - will
be used to subsidize the United Methodist nurse and eye clinic programs, and
$450,000 will be disbursed over a three-year period for food and water
distribution. Another $45,000 will be used to purchase a generator and
vehicle for the Sierra Leone Annual Conference's relief office.
Among the many other projects and grants approved were $1 million for
hospital renovation projects in the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Liberia,
Mozambique and India; $484,000 to the Orphan Trust of the United Methodist
Church in Zimbabwe, which mainly serves children whose parents have died of
AIDS; and $250,000 to support a children's nutrition project in five feeding
centers in and near Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of
Congo. Preliminary approval also was given, once a source of funds is
located, for an eventual grant of up to $2.5 million to complete all
unfinished construction projects of the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
The board's Millennium Fund approved seven project proposals in the United
States, totaling just over $1.9 million; two projects in Africa, totaling
$810,000; and two projects in Europe, totaling $100,000. It was announced
that the fund would be depleted after these grants are made, but that
fund-raising to replenish the Millennium Fund will continue.
After a presentation on the board's efforts to stand in solidarity with the
people of Vieques, Puerto Rico, directors filled out postcards to send to
President Clinton, asking for an immediate end to U.S. military practice on
the island, a return of the land to its people and the provision of
In personnel matters, the directors nominated the Rev. Randolph Nugent to
another one-year term as the board's general secretary, even though his
tenure exceeds the 12-year limit on top executives imposed by the
denomination. As the head of an agency, Nugent's nomination must be
confirmed by the General Commission on Ministries. Directors also nominated
Stephen Brimigion to another term as treasurer, asking that he, too, be
allowed to exceed the 12-year rule.
Two new executives also were elected - the Rev. Edith Gleaves of Durham,
N.C., as deputy general secretary for mission personnel and the Rev.
Youngsook Charlene Kang as deputy general secretary for mission contexts and
relationships. The Rev. John McCullough, currently associate general
secretary of mission personnel, announced his resignation, effective June 1,
during the meeting.
In a separate March 31-April 3 meeting, the Women's Division of the Board of
Global Ministries took a number of actions. Those included:
· Approving grants totaling $287,533 for 13 national welfare reform
· Earmarking $250,000 to develop a "Women and the Bible" Web site as a
source of Bible study for and by women;
· Establishing the Sara Starnes Shingler Public Education Internship
as a tribute to Shingler's service as president of the Women's Division
during the last four years;
· Approving a grant of $151,000 for a mission and theology program for
female Asian graduate students, in cooperation with Ewha Women's University
in South Korea and Drew University Theological School in New Jersey;
· Voting to create a video about the World Trade Organization and its
implications for economic justice;
· Supporting a call for state and federal moratoriums on the death
penalties and affirming an increase in participation in campaigns focusing
on inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system; and
· Urging United Methodist Women to participate in the "16 Days of
Activism Against Gender Violence" Nov. 25-Dec. 10 and the U.S. State
Department to vote for the draft optional protocol on the new ban on child
soldiers when the U.N. General Assembly meets in the fall.
# # #
United Methodist News Service
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