Monday, September 22, 2014

Profile: Congratulations to Vidette Bullock Mixon, United Methodist Women Board Recording Secretary in the Office of the General Secretary

Congratulations to Vidette Bullock-Mixon
United Methodist Women Board Recording Secretary in the Office of the General Secretary

Ms. Mixon has had a 33-year career with the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church as the Director of Corporate Relations, Investment Community - Wespath and Assistant General Secretary where she administered Wespath's $19 billion socially responsible investments program on behalf of the UMC's 91,000 employee benefit plan beneficiaries. In her work she also promoted pension fund opportunities for alternative investments that support community development and people with low and moderate incomes by representing the General Board on the United Methodist Church's taskforce on Ministry with the Poor and Communities of Shalom at Drew University Theological School. Most recently, Vidette was the recipient of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)2013 Legacy Award.

Due to her knowledge of the United Methodist Church, its structure and polity, Vidette will be able to quickly grasp on to the most immediate of tasks as she integrates into her new function of Board Recording Secretary.
Vidette will not only be adjusting to her new position but also to her new life in New York City as she is relocating there from Evanston, IL to assist UMW in fulfilling their mission.

Profile: Rev. Michelle Watkins-Branch - Speaker Sept 7 2014

Rev. Michele Watkins Branch is a pastor-scholar-activist bred in the United Methodist Church and the Black freedom movement tradition. Rev. Michele is a proud product of the Maceo D. Pembroke, Sr. Memorial Institute for Ministerial Recruitment and Leadership Development where she answered her call to ministry at the age of 16, and for which she now serves as Dean.

On June 10, 2014, Rev. Michele was commissioned as a Provisional Elder in the Northern IL Conference of the United Methodist Church and appointed to SBC-21 (Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century).

As a part of her appointment to SBC-21, Rev. Michele has been locally deployed as a Clergy Intern to St. Mark United Methodist Church, Chicago IL where here ministry focuses on the spiritual formation of youth, young adults, and single parent families. Before pastoral ministry, Rev. Michele worked for over 8 years as a community organizer under her mentor, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and spent the last 2 years of her tenure at Rainbow PUSH as the National College Director for PUSH Excel. She has worked as the Youth Pastor at Morgan Park UMC in Chicago, as an educator in the DC Public Charter Schools.

Rev. Michele holds a Master of Divinity degree (Theta Alpha Kappa) from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University in Washington, DC (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude); and a Certification in Non-Profit Management from Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.

Wedded to both the church and the academy, as an extension of her pastoral ministry, Rev. Michele is working toward the completion of her PhD at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in the area of Theological, Historical, and Ethical Studies. Her dissertation research focuses on constructing a holistic understanding of Christian salvation that is both spiritually and materially redemptive, particularly in a culture of violence.

Rev. Michele is married to Rev. Marlan D. Branch, an Associate Minister of St. James AME in Chicago, IL whom she proudly confesses as her soul mate and life partner in ministry. Rev. Michele is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Update from Helen Roberts-Evans, Missionary to Liberia


Thank you for your continuing support during these difficult times for the people of Liberia. We are presently facing a new and huge challenge- the outbreak and spread of the Ebola virus. Due to the Ebola crisis all schools are closed. Public gatherings are banned and many market places are closed. On August 6, 2014, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a 90-day State of Emergency. In her address to the nation, the President said that the probable, suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola in Liberia have exceeded 500 with 271 deaths including 32 deaths among health workers. The number of infected persons and deaths continues to grow each day.

Although many hospitals are now closed as they cannot cope with the crisis, Ganta United Methodist Hospital remains open and has experienced 2 confirmed Ebola virus deaths. The Ministry of Health recently provided supplies to the hospital through our church's Department of Health and Social Welfare. The supplies include bleach for disinfecting, gloves, and disposable screening suits.

UMCOR provided a grant of $5,000.00 through the UMC Liberia’s Department of Health and Social Welfare. These funds were used to purchase supplies for Ganta Hospital and various UMC clinics. Please pray that people will accept the fact that the Ebola virus is real, that people will refrain from handling infected persons without protective gear, that there will be improved and more effective Ebola response teams, and traditional burial practices will be curtailed to prevent spreading the virus.

Global Ministries offered missionaries serving in Liberia and Sierra Leone the option of leaving the country if we decided to do so. I opted to return to the United States. While here, I plan to continue to contribute to our United Methodist support efforts. I arrived in New York City on August 18, 2014. My tentative plan is to remain in the States until the situation stabilizes and hope to return to Liberia in November. I am staying in contact and in prayer with my colleagues and those I work with in Liberia. Please pray with me as I seek ways to fruitfully assist in building awareness of the impact of this dangerous disease and inviting support for the medical efforts to overcome it.

As the Ebola virus spreads in West Africa, The United Methodist Church continues to be present and respond through West African United Methodist church leaders and annual conference health boards, denominational health facilities, medical missionary colleagues, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The church’s three hospitals and five clinics in Sierra Leone, one hospital and three clinics in Liberia and one UMC supported clinic in Guinea are all participating in Ebola virus awareness and treatment efforts. A key way you can contribute to our United Methodist response to the West African Ebola crisis is through donations to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450. All gifts received will be used to fund UMCOR’s response to this and other emergencies.

Although schools are closed, the Department of General Education & Ministry is involved in renovation of several United Methodist Schools and in distribution of supplies recently donated by the Holston Conference. Rev. Sampson W. Nyanti, our Associate Director for Administration, is serving as Acting Director in my absence. The work of the Department of General Education & Ministry will continue regardless of my not being in the country. I am in daily contact with our staff via email.

Indeed I am blessed by your support! During this time of crisis and uncertainty, your prayers sustain and encourage me. While in the USA, I am available to visit with churches and groups; especially in annual conferences that support my Global Ministries salary and my projects. I am very thankful to the pastor and congregation of Wesley UMC in Elkton, MD for providing me with a place to stay.

Please let me know if you desire me visit your church. You can contact me at:
Email: or
Cell Phone: 646-416-4598

My address while in USA is:

Helen Roberts-Evans
c/o Wesley United Methodist Church
41 Justice Way
Elkton, MD 21921

For financial contributions, you may:

1. Use Global Ministries' website: to send a donation for my salary support. At the bottom of the page, click on "Missionaries". Scroll to my name on the missionaries page and my profile will appear. At the bottom of my profile is a link to make an online donation.

2. Send a check to Advance GCFA
 P.O. Box 9068
 New York, NY 10087-9068
for my project and salary support.
On the notation section of your check, write Advance Number #3021129 (my Global Ministries salary support) and/or Advance #15125B (Scholarships for Elementary, Secondary, College and Seminary Education), Advance #3021654 (Sheltering the Children of John Dean Town), Advance # 14488A (Swords Turned into Plowshares), Advance # 3026070 (Construction of New School Buildings).

I appreciate your faithful support of my ministry, and your abiding and prayerful concern for the people of West Africa during this crisis. May God’s grace and healing comfort those afflicted by the Ebola virus and every human disaster. Pray for my colleagues in Liberia who continue their committed work. Pray for my health and physical and spiritual strength as I continuously think about and sort through all the concerns raised during this crisis!

I look forward to hear from you.

Yours in Christ,
Helen Roberts-Evans
Advance # 3021129