Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jerusha and Wes Neal write from Fiji

Please be in prayer with us over the next Sixteen Days...

Wednesday, November 25th, is the beginning of "Sixteen Days of Activism Against Domestic Violence in Fiji."  Domestic violence is a problem all over the world, but the numbers in the Pacific are grave.  2 out of 3 women in Fiji have experienced gender-based violence in their lifetimes - and 25% of women are currently living in an abusive home.  Wes's work around trauma-healing and Jerusha's advocacy work around "Break the Silence Sunday" address this issue in our community.  But we address it as well in our classrooms.  Helping students have fresh eyes for texts that have often been used to justify violence is important work.

This year, through a partnership with the ecumenical advocacy group Christian Talanoa Network, Wes and Jerusha were able to invite Mrs. Barbara Kemper to Fiji.  Mrs. Kemper is a trained psychotherapist and former missionary to Brazil who is a specialist in a technique called "bibliodrama."  She will begin lecturing at Candler School of Theology next fall.  Mrs. Kemper led three 3-hour workshops for our students and student spouses around the texts of Tamar (2 Sam. 13) and the widow and oil (2 Kings 4).  The workshops encouraged deep reflection, discussion and commitments for the future.  We are so grateful for how God is at work.  Over the next 2 weeks, Mrs. Kemper will continue these workshops at 4 local churches (with translation into local dialects provided.)  Please keep this season of learning in your prayers.

As a gift to you, we are attaching a booklet of daily prayers put together by the Christian Talanoa Network and the House of Sarah (a woman's counseling center) - so that you can better pray with us throughout the 16 days.  You will see that the last prayer in the collection was written by Wes.

As you gather for your Thanksgiving feasts, keep the women of the world in your hearts.  Thank God for their resilience, their voices and their hope!

We are proud to be your missionaries,

Wes and Jerusha Neal

The prayer guide accompanying this year's emphasis can be downloaded here!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Pay DUES before the increase and save money!

2016 dues now payable!

Avoid the dues increase and pay ahead!

The Gathering voted to raise dues as of January 1, 2016, from $30 to $36 per person (and to $72 per couple without the previous couple’s discount). The decision has been delayed the last few years. Now seemed the appropriate time in the light of recent pension and salary increases and the need for extra funds to assist Steering Committee members’ travel to the UMMA Steering Committee meeting, the annual Gathering and GBGM Board meetings. New Life dues will also be in effect.

Dues may be paid in advance at the 2015 rate for as many years as you choose, including at the couple’s rate — just be sure to designate which years you are paying.

Checks may be sent to our current treasurer is DarEll T. Weist through the end of December. . Send him a check for your 2016 and future dues! Or go to <> to link to our PayPal account to pay your dues. (Our new Chair Katherine Parker <> will be experimenting with sending reminder invoices from PayPal to make dues payment even easier.)

Send checks to DarEll T. Weist, 619 Leyden Ln, Claremont, CA 91711-4236 before the end of the year to qualify for the old rate instead of the new!. If you have questions, his email address is <>.

After January 1, 2016, Alina Saucedo Paucara , stationed in Nicaragua, will assume the formal bookkeeping duties of treasurer. Harkening back to an earlier era, Jim Dwyer will be her U.S.-based assistant or — as the title used to be — coordinator to receive and deposit checks on her behalf. His address is 787 Plymouth Road, Claremont, CA 91711-4249.

Here is a statement of new and old dues levels:

Old Rates vs. New Dues Rates:

One year at a time

        Singles before January 1, 2016:        $30

                after January 1, 2016:         $36 (= $3 / month)

        Couples before January 1, 2016:         $50

                after January 1, 2016:         $72(= 2 x $36 = $6 / month)

        Affiliates before January 1, 2016         $20

                after January 1, 2016        $25

Lifetime members paying before January 1, 2016, by age of older partner

        Under 75         $450 (=$30x15) for singles;         $750 (=$50x15) for couples;

        Over 75 $300 (=$30x10) for singles; $500 (=$50x10) for couples;

        Affiliates $300 (=$20x15)

Lifetime members paying after January 1, 2015, by age of older partner

        Under 75         $540 (=$36x15) each or $1,080 (=2x$36x15) for couples

        Over 75         $360 each (=$36x10) or $720 (=2x$36x10) for couples

        Affiliates $375 (=$25x15)