Twenty-six women from 18 conferences were consecrated as United Methodist deaconesses during the closing plenary worship of the United Methodist Women’s “Make It Happen!” Assembly in Louisville, Ky., April 27.
Deaconesses and Home Missioners are women and men called by God to lay vocations in a lifetime relationship in The United Methodist Church. Their work alleviates suffering, eradicates causes of injustice and all that robs life of dignity and worth, facilitates the development of full human potential, and shares in building global community through the church universal.
“This class of deaconesses reflects the strength and unity found in the diversity of those who are called to ministries of love, justice and service,” said Becky Louter, executive of United Methodist Women’s Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner program. Among the deaconesses being consecrated during Assembly will be Jolynn “Jody” Bullard Halstead of Central United Methodist Church in Asheville, N.C., who knew early on that her work as a registered nurse at the city’s Haywood Street Respite was more than a day job.
“I have a need to be in uncomfortable places,” she said, explaining that she learned about the deaconess service track while leading Bible study in a local jail. “I’ve known for a while I was to be in mission but didn’t know where.”
When she started working with the Reconciling Haywood Street United Methodist mission church’s respite for homeless adults recently discharged from hospitals, her calling became clear. “All these things God put in my way seem to make it clear that I belong, I fit in at Haywood Respite,” she said. “I’m a RN and faith a community nurse, and I’m in mission,” Ms. Halstead said.
- Laarni Serquina Bibay, children's health advocate, Tidewater Pediatrics, Portsmouth, Va.
- M. Garlinda Burton, coordinator of emerging ministries and intersectionality, Hobson United Methodist Church, Nashville, Tenn.
- Kathi Smith Edwards, staff, The Haven Women’s Outreach Center, Clyde, Texas.
- Elizabeth Cheryl Farr, director of communications, New Albany District, New Albany, Miss.
- Elizabeth Sevier Graham, outreach director, United Methodist Committee on Relief Sager Brown Depot, Baldwin, La.
- Jane O. Grays, Outreach Aide, McKendree-Simms-Brookland Outreach House, Washington, D.C.
- Mae Griner, RN, North Florida Regional Medical Center, Gainesville, Fla.
- Megan Elizabeth Hale, teacher, Arlington Independent School District, Arlington, Texas.
- Joylynn Bullard Halstead, RN, program manager, Haywood Street Respite, Asheville, N.C.
- Barbara L. Haralson, program developer, Graham County Interfaith Care Alliance, Safford, Ariz.
- Joy de Leon Hayag, community outreach coordinator, Pitter Patter Pantry, Lanark, Ill.
- Anne Marie Hillman, director of education ministries, First United Methodist Church of Melrose, Melrose, Mass.
- Pamela Marie Johnson, life skills trainer, Oakridge Residential Services, Brainerd, Minn.
- Mary Ellen Kris, ministry with the poor consultant, General Board of Global Ministries, New York, N.Y.
- Jerrie E. Lindsey, court appointed special advocate/administrative assistant, 22nd Judicial District CASA Inc., Ada, Okla.
- Grace Sy Quimsiam-Mallare, lead teacher, Family Service Association-Hemet Child Development Center, Hemet, Calif.
- Christina M. Meyer, special education teacher, Rockford Public School District #205, Rockford, Ill.
- Cecelia Elaine Williams Nelson, registered dietician/nutritionist CitiCare Inc., New York, N.Y.
- Tracey S. Owens, activity coordinator, Brooks-Howell Home, Asheville, N.C.
- Anselma Samson, coordinator for leadership development for church and community, Resurrection United Methodist Church, Chesapeake, Va.
- Elizabeth R. Shadbolt, immigration advisor, Vanderbilt University International Services, Nashville, Tenn.
- Erie Stuckett, CEO/project director, I Challenge You Inc., Greenville, Miss.
- Idelia N. Ulmer, environment health specialist, Seeds of Hope, Henry County Environmental Health Services, McDonough, Ga.
- Judith G. Vasby, coordinator of caring ministries, Willerup United Methodist Church, Cambridge, Wis.
- Lee Anne Venable, development director, Habitat for Humanity, Baton Rouge, La.
- Jane H. Wakeman, school psychologist, Bridgeport Connecticut Public Schools, Bridgeport, Conn.