United Methodist Men increase efforts to reduce hunger

Ross Brightwell

Ross Brightwell, president of Eastern Pennsylvania UM Men, attending the National Association of Conference Presidents UM Men (NACP), inserts a token with a picture of a tomato on it, into a game that illustrates how most food is wasted and never reaches a table of hungry Americans. The game was designed by the Society of St. Andrew to show that forty to fifty per cent of all food ready for harvest in the United States never gets eaten.

United Methodist Men increase efforts to reduce hunger

Rich Peck reports on the meeting of the National Association of Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men:  Working through the Society of Saint Andrew, United Methodist Men led 2,067 volunteers to farms where they gleaned 2.55 million servings of free surplus food for the hungry. Conference, local church and district teams of UM Men also provided another 8.4 million servings of fresh produce through the society’s Potato Project.

Wade Mays, an executive with the Big Island, Va.-based society, attended the March 1-4 meeting of the National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men, honored Detroit Conference for providing $22,476 for hunger-relief efforts, the highest in the denomination. He presented Indiana Conference with a Bud-the-Spud Award for showing the highest percentage increase. UM Men in Indiana nearly doubled their giving level, from some $10,000 in 2010 to nearly $20,000 in 2012.

Larry Dozier, coordinator of Stop Hunger Now for UM Men, celebrated that the men gave $3,900 for a packaging event at the World Methodist Conference in Durban, South Africa. Participants in that conference prepared 101,000 packets of dry ingredients and delivered them to a local school. He encouraged other conferences to contribute to the effort to provide emergency food packs to emergency situations around the world.


The National Association of UM Scouters announced that, with the help of the UM Foundation, the association will distribute free back-packing New Testaments to:

·         5,000 Boy Scouts trekking Sangre De Cristo mountains from Philmont Scout Camp;

·         500 Boy Scouts taking canoe trips from the Northern Tier Canoe Base in Minnesota and Canada;

·         500 Boy Scouts at the Florida Sea Base.

In addition, the association prepared 1,000 copies of a special edition for 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts that will be given to girls hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

Larry Coppock, national scouting executive, reported that 371,491 Boy Scouts meet in 11,078 units charted by 6,700 UM congregations, and 6,781 God and Country awards were earned through a partnership with Programs of Religious Relationships with Youth (PRAY). After raising $17,500 for Nothing but Nets at the 2009 BSA Jamboree, Coppock said, he has submitted a proposal to the 2013 Jamboree to highlight Stop Hunger Now, an effort to package dehydrated food for emergency situations.

Strength for Service

In 1942, the Methodist Publishing House published one million copies of Strength for Service to God and Country, a book of daily devotions with 365 meditations prepared by civic and religious leaders for World War II troops. Through the early efforts of a California Boy Scout and support by the General Commission on United Methodist Men, the pocket-sized book was republished with an additional 50 devotions by contemporary authors. The commission has now printed 500,000 copies with 450,352 distributed mostly to deployed military troops. Some 5,600 donors, including 2,500 UM men’s groups have contributed to the publishing effort over the past ten years. A Strength for Service committee is presently exploring the publication of a book of daily devotions for community first responders such as fire fighters, police officers, and ambulance personnel.

Upper Room Prayer Line

Conference presidents met conference prayer advocates who brought $18,000 from their annual conferences to support the 24-hour, 365-day Upper Room Prayer Line.

Migdiel Pérez, manager of the Nashville-based prayer center, honored Gary Spivey, prayer advocate of Nebraska Conference and Don Hyler, prayer advocate for Western North Carolina Conference for raising the highest amount of money for the center. Each man raised $1,800.

In other business, conference presidents and prayer advocates:

·         Celebrated 30 annual conferences that increased the number of charters over the previous year and ten conferences that increase the number of individual (EMS) supporters;

·         Participated in workshops on technology, branding and ways of connecting with men;

·         Celebrated the certification of 34 men currently serving area churches as men’s ministry specialists. Five of 12 recently certified men’s ministry specialists were commissioned during the four-day gathering;

·         Heard David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church, explain that minor changes in worship services can make major changes in the way congregations welcome men (www.churchformen.com).