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2017 Minutes

Minutes at the executive meeting of the WFDM

August 4, 2107
Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center
5128 FM 66
Waxahachie TX 75167

Opened at 9:12am with prayer by Pr. Ronilson Lopes, Emmanuel Deaf Ministry of Central Methodist Church, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Rev.Tom Hudspeth, Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, presiding as General Secretary.
Voting delegates:

  • Ghana: Collins Prempeh
  • Kenya: Rev. Margaret Mukami and Alice Kagwiria
  • Korea: Rev. Nam and Rev. Han
  • Sri Lanka: Rev. Samuel Gnanarajah
  • Brazil: Pr. Ronilson Lopes de Almeida and Priscila Lopes
  • USA - Kirk VanGilder and Tom Hudspeth
Also present visitors and interpreters without vote: Carol Stevens; Michelle Menefee; Andrea Raye; Jason Hopkins; Karen Harrell; Sheila Finn; Hyewon; Scott Burley and others.

Minutes from 3rd Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf in Nairobi are on the website UMCD.org > World Federation of Deaf Methodists. The website is a sub link of the UMCD site because we have control of it and are already financially in ownership of it.
We reviewed those minutes and the website.


General Secretary Report:

Rev. Tom Hudspeth has been serving as General Secretary of WFDM for 12 years. He feels it would be prudent to rotate someone else into that position.
The United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries (UM-DHM) spent $44,000 (2010 to 2013) in support of the 3rd conference in Nairobi. About $25,000 was spent by this committee for the 4th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf. Additional financial support and resources were provided by Lovers Lane United Methodist Church of Dallas, Texas.
At the Executive Board meeting during the 3rd Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf, we had hoped to have the Deaf Ministry in Guam host the next Global Conference (2017) with a back-up plan of Hawaii in the USA if Guam was unable to host. Guam was unable to host and so we began exploring options in Hawaii, none of them were feasible. In January 2016, the US co-president, Lisa Jordan (now Wirkus) was unable to continue in her position and so Tom Hudspeth took responsibilities to look for a US site as General Secretary along with support from Rev. Nam. With assistance from Rev. Leo Yates, Jr. the Lakeview Campground in Waxahachie, TX was identified as a potential host site for the 4th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf. The selection of the site was endorsed by the United Methodist Congress of the Deaf, meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota of July 2016 and by Rev. Nam of the Methodist Church of Korea. In September 2016, a contract with Lakeview was signed by Rev. Tom Hudspeth, and a deposit of $4200 was paid by the Deaf Ministry of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, the official host church of the 4th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf.

World Methodist Council:

Rev. Tom Hudspeth requested Rev. Sandi Johnson, senior pastor of Christ Church of the Deaf, Baltimore, Maryland, to the World Methodist Council gathering in Houston, TX in September, 2016 to connect with that larger body of Methodist churches and promote our 4th Global Missions Conference.
Rev. Sandi Johnson reports: Sandi connected with Bishop Ivan Abrams of the Methodist Church of South Africa, and president of the World Methodist Council about the WFDM connecting officially with the WMC. They were very excited about this and had been thinking about things like this as well. There is a process the Council has to approve that sort of relationship. It's not certain what such relationship and representation may look like or what sort of timeline it would take to formalize. But they were very supportive. Michelle Menefee interpreted their worship service into ASL and that also raised visibility of Deaf ministries.
Kirk asks about if this relationship might lead to funding for our conference or if coordination for meeting logistics might be available. Bishop Abrams was uncertain about those sort of matters but that by connecting with that body we would have voice and vote in that process and access to all the resources that members have.
Emily Smiley (USA) asked what are the resources that would be available? Tom answers, the World Methodist Council website could have a section on WFDM where we could catalogue our ministries for others to find. There would be some funding support. We might be able to have combined meeting sites. These would not be available until whatever process to join might occur.

Election of officers and the next Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf:

Tom clarifies that it is our tradition that the next President of the WFDM is the host coordinator for the next Global Missions conference.
Tom opened this conversation of 2021 host with prayer.
Brazil indicates interest. Pr. Ronny Lopes shares his thoughts about hosting the 2021 gathering. Brazil has around 7.5 million signing Deaf people and the idea of Deaf ministry is very new to the Methodist Church there. Having this event would raise their profile and bring this ministry to the attention of the Bishops there. It would also continue to the work of the recent American team (June-July 2016) visit that provided training, inspiration, and awareness to draw in more Deaf people to their ministries. There is a Methodist Church Missions center north of Rio de Janeiro (in Teresopolis) we could use.
Tom supports this based on his impression of the recent American team visit. The Center and organizing teams for the conference they visited was great. There were also the Brazil Deaf Association and Deaf schools in the area in addition to the church ministries. It would also put us in a new continent and perhaps like the Kenya conference, where Collins Prempeh came and joined the Methodist church and started ministries in Ghana, we could have an impact in Brazil and beyond. Tom indicates that the UMC-DHM cannot promise 100% the level of funding that has been available in the past due to changes in funding.
Kirk indicates that many people have come forward after the skits, dances, and other participation at this conference indicating they'd love to go to Brazil.
Scott Burley (USA) also says this would be a great way to support the Brazil deaf ministries. He remembers the big statue of Jesus.
Rev. Nam comments that Korea is in support of the 2021 conference in Brazil but we need to figure out the financial support.
Rev. Tom Hudspeth called for a vote and Brazil's bid for the 2021 conference was accepted by unanimous consent. This vote also automatically elected Rev. Ronilson Lopes De Almeida as president of the World Federation of Deaf Methodists and host pastor of the 5th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf.
We must all work together to support this conference financially in looking for sponsors and funding. Sandi Johnson (USA) says this is something we can take to Bishop Abrams and the WMC to ask for specific support. Sandi is willing to make that contact with Pr. Ronny's support.
Pr. Ronny says he is overwhelmed with the honor of becoming President and overwhelmed with the idea of organizing this. Tom clarifies that this is why we have a General Secretary position to provide support in leadership. Also past organizers will be offering their support.

Officer Elections:

Rev. Nam Nominates Kirk VanGilder for General Secretary. Kirk says it may be unwise to accept it as he has other obligations that may be coming soon. Also the US has held this position for 12 years already and it may be worth considering someone from another nation.
Kirk nominates Rev. Nam as he has shared ideas about adding bylaws and guidelines and perhaps he would like to lead us in that direction as General Secretary. Rev. Nam's concern is that his distance from the next conference in Brazil would create problems.
Rev. Nam then nominates Tom Hudspeth to continue. Tom accepts with the clarification that he is not trying to hold on to the position and control, and that it would be wise for us to figure out a new General Secretary in four years.
Tom would like to see the website develop to include Deaf ministry news from all our constituent nations. We would want to receive news from everyone that we can post there as well.
The motion for Tom to continue passes.
Rev. Samuel Gnanarajah congratulates Pr. Ronny and Tom and remind us we all need to provide assistance and perhaps we should have an assistant General Secretary. Tom nominates Rev. Nam as assistant General Secretary. He accepts. Meeting adjourns with prayer by Rev. Samuel Gnanarajah at 10:12


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