Making a Difference - May 16, 2012
Bishop attends President's movie night
WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Obama invited Bishop John Schol as one of about 20 guests to movie night April 5 to screen "To Kill a Mockingbird," in the White House's First Family theater to mark the 50th anniversary of the film.
Not only was it a good movie to see, the bishop said, but the evening included a buffet dinner and time to get acquainted with the other guests.
Among the other guests were the grandchildren of the late Gregory Peck, who won an Oscar for his role as a civil rights-minded lawyer, and Mary Badham, who played the child Scout.
President Obama mentioned that author, Harper Lee, sent a statement, and called the movie "the best translation of a book to film ever made."
The book and movie dealt powerfully with the themes of race, mental illness, poverty, single parenting and rural and town relationships, said Bishop Schol. "It was a Maundy Thursday evening with a sacramental movie and a communion with Christ's calling for righteous and just living."
Cleaning God's ‘vessels' energizes secretaries
FULTON – About 70 church secretaries and administrators filled the assembly room at the Conference Mission Center March 28. They came for a day of renewal and expert advice on "Vessel Cleaning: The Center of One's Self," not a session on reorganizing the church files and cleaning one's desk, but on taking care of oneself through the stresses of job, family and loss.
"Can you imagine a God who created one of me, totally unique. With that comes responsibility. That's where vessel cleaning comes in, so God can use me," said Barbara Jaquette, a psychiatric social worker.
Each person chose a clay pot or vase from a large collection, then shared with the whole group why she chose that particular one. "This pot is handmade, reminds me of how blessed I am," said a woman from Severna Park UMC. "This pot of many colors," said the Rev. Connie Smith, "reminds me that we're all many colors." Ella Holland from Epworth Chapel said, "I thought of the hands that made it, and said I could finish my projects."
Foundation honors Latina leader
GAITHERSBURG - When Epworth UMC's Integration of Church and Community Taskforce decided to form a non-profit foundation in order to support and fund its Hispanic outreach ministries, they had little trouble deciding on a name for the foundation. It is now the Ana A. Brito Foundation, Inc.
"We only had to know that the work we are doing is possible because of the vision, moral fortitude and leadership of a very special woman of faith, Ana A. Brito," said the Rev. Jennifer Fenner.
Brito is an immigrant from Cuba who founded a ministry called Ayuda Especial (Special Help), which for 25 years has served hundreds of Latino immigrants and their families.
Through the ministry, immigrants have learned English, overcome barriers of a new culture, gone to college, found new jobs and learned the message of love and justice God provides.
The Ana A. Brito Foundation, Inc. was dedicated March 11.
Retirees help restore oyster population
SOLOMONS ISLAND – Residents of the Asbury-Solomons Island United Methodist retirement community are helping to save the Chesapeake Bay's oysters. Partnering with the Southern Maryland Oyster Cultivation Society (SMOCS), they raise the baby oysters, called spat, from the tiniest shellfish to a mature three inches.
The spat is placed in cages and attached to the Asbury-Solomons pier on the Patuxent River. The volunteer residents take turns cleaning algae off the cages and monitoring the oysters as they develop. The mature oysters are moved onto a man-made reef built into the breakwater 50 feet offshore sometime in mid-July. Then juvenile spat will be placed in the empty cages to begin the cycle again.
Resident Sue Hu explained that oysters were instrumental in the health of the bay. "We're helping to increase the filtering of some of the water feeding into the bay."
No one cares more for the bay and its health than Hu. "I spent more than 10 summers taking kids out onto the Chesapeake Bay to teach them about its value," she said. "And I learned as much as I taught. Stewardship of the bay and its tributaries needs to become a part of our value system." (To learn more visit the website.)