Global Ministries Fair

By Audrey Stanton-Smith

Early Friday morning, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Jim McCune got a phone call.

”They said one of the places we had tarped after a tornado in Kanawha County is ready for a new roof, so we’ll build it,” he said as he greeted visitors at the Disaster Response booth Friday afternoon in front of Wesley Chapel. “We did four turnkey jobs in the last week. We try to be there until the job is done.”

McCune and other representatives of agencies supported by Global Ministries, like Disaster Response, spoke with Annual Conference attendees during Friday’s lunch break. Their Global Ministries Fair gave delegates a chance to learn how apportionment dollars work within the conference.

The Global Ministries of the West Virginia Conference held an information fair on the oval in front of Wesley Chapel.

”These are folks on the ground level, working with the poor and bringing hope and help to those who are in need,” said Gayle Lesure, a deaconess and retired Church and Community Worker.

”People a lot of times wonder where their apportionments are going. Well, this is where it’s going,” Lesure said, opening her arms to indicate the other fair participants and their work. “It’s going to feed folks, to clothe people, to folks like deaconesses who are working in places where children are being ministered to, or in places with clean water issues, or wherever they are needed.

Booths at the fair offered in-person information and literature to explain the ministries they provide — emergency financial assistance with utilities and rent, overnight shelter and meals, Christmas gifts to underserved children, family services, housing for recovery support, and missionaries around the world and in the United States.

“It’s great that they can come out and talk to us so they know what’s going on and how important it is,” said Anna Troy, a deacon and Church and Community Worker serving at Open Heart Ministries in Clarksburg.

Lesure used the opportunity to encourage laity feeling called to a lifetime of service to attend a virtual discernment event for the Order of Deaconess and Home Missioner. The free event takes place at Aug. 8, at 8 p.m. Those interested should email

Rev. David Stilgenbauer, Volunteers in Mission coordinator, said he hopes the fair will do more than educate. He hopes it will encourage participation.

“I believe it is important for them to come out here and learn about these opportunities for them to engage in meaningful, first-hand ministry — not just hear about it, but do something with it,” said Stilgenbauer.

And those opportunities abound, added Rev. Scott Mayberry, director of New Vision Depot, the conference’s Disaster Response. New Vision Depot works in partnership with Disaster Response Ministries, Volunteers in Mission, UMCOR, and Volunteers Active in Disaster. For information on upcoming Early Response Training events in Keyser and Crosslanes, visit

”You have to get your hands dirty a little bit before mission really comes into focus,” Mayberry said.