Saint Paul Alumni Becomes Congo Bishop

Saint Paul School of Theology alumni, Rev. Mande Muyombo was elected as a United Methodist Bishop to the Congo. Muyombo received his Master of Divinity degree with an Ethics/Church and Society Concentration in 2010 and his Doctor of Ministry as part of the Children and Poverty in a Globalized Economy cohort in 2015. 

“Bishop Muyombo’s praxis thesis, Affirming Human Dignity of Former Child Combatants: A Collaborative Ministry Model Between Kamina-Ville United Methodist Church and Kamina Methodist University, exemplifies the value of collaborative relationships,” said Dr. Angela Sims, Saint Paul Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Ethics and Black Church Studies. “Brother Guy’s work on behalf and with child soldiers and the communities in which they reside is a reminder that we are called to affirm the humanity in all of God’s children.”

Story from United Methodist News Service

By Eveline Chikwanah
Chikwanah is a communicator of the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference

March 18, 2017 | KAMINA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS)

The Rev. Mande Muyombo, an executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, has been elected a United Methodist bishop by delegates at the Congo Central Conference.

Muyombo, 44, was elected March 18 at the quadrennial meeting in Kamina.  On the fourth ballot, he was the only candidate and received 278 votes. The other two candidates had withdrawn.

“I am committed to working towards the unity of The United Methodist Church because I am a product

The Rev. Mande Muyombo helps lead opening worship at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

of the UMC connection,” said Muyombo.

At Global Ministries, he has been executive director for Global Mission Connections with responsibility for the mission agency’s regional offices.

Muyombo is the first graduate from Africa University to be elected bishop and is the youngest bishop in the Congo Central Conference. “I am ready for the new role as bishop. I have been involved in mission from everywhere to everywhere,” he said.

Muyombo was the fourth and final bishop elected by the 292 delegates at the Congo Central Conference.

Three Congolese bishops were retiring: Bishop Kainda Katembo, South Congo; Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, North Katanga, and Bishop David Yemba, Central Congo.

Muyombo was born in a poor family in Kambove village in Haut Katanga province. His father had two wives and 16 children.

“The UMC enabled me to go to school, and my ministerial training unfolded at Africa University and Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas, U.S. After working as president of Kamina Methodist University, I was called to serve as executive secretary for Africa at General Board of Global Ministries and later promoted to assistant general secretary in the mission evangelism department,” Muyombo said.

He said he is grateful to Ntambo and to Thomas Kemper, top executive for Global Ministries, who shaped his ministerial experience. 

Muyombo is married to Blandine Muzhinga, and they have three daughters and a son.

A consecration service for the three new bishops was held March 19 at Wakadilo Conference Centre, Kamina.


Rodenburg Leads Rural Church During 125th Anniversary

Rev. Shannon Rodenberg, MDiv’ 13, visits with a long-time congregation member during Fairland First United Methodist Church‘s 125th Anniversary in Fairland, Oklahoma. She believes it is important to celebrate traditions and multiple generations in the church as a rural minister.

“We celebrated the past, the work that God is doing right now, and dreamed of where God will take us in the future,” said Pastor Rodenberg.

The congregation explored new ways to welcome young families and community members with mobility concerns to the festivities.

“The celebration was an excellent way to propel the congregation forward in ministry to the community,” Rodenberg said.

Church Renewal: Rev. David Kim Leads Congregation to New Growth

Rev. David KimWhen Rev. David Kim received his appointment  at Central Korean United Methodist Church in Overland Park in 2013, his congregation was small. With a congregation of only sixteen members, Pastor Kim knew that church renewal was only possible with God. “At that time, I spent most of my time in prayer,” he said.

David Kim interviewed and was chosen to be one of seven Resurrection Scholars when he attended Saint Paul School of Theology. The program had a three-pronged approach with a Church Leadership class taught by a seminary professor, an internship/practical application portion at Church of the Resurrection, and a small group reflection time with a pastoral leader to discuss pastoral issues that they had encountered. “The Resurrection Scholars program was designed to make faithful leaders to change the world,” he said. “I was able to learn many leadership skills and observe Rev. Adam Hamilton and their leadership team as I developed a pastoral mind.”

Reverend Kim learned that it was not enough to be satisfied with the status quo. He assessed the needs of those currently in the church but also in the rest of the area. He soon realized that not all immigrant families were available on Sundays for worship. Many of the parents had to work.

David began a Prayer Meeting on Friday evenings at 9:00 p.m. At first there was some push-back. Friday evenings are generally considered a “fun” night. “God gives us IMG_4356his best, why don’t we give Him some of our best time as well?” Pastor Kim explained. He also began early morning prayer services at 5:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.

As the youth population increased he implemented a contemporary service in English for second generation Korean youth to enjoy. Pastor Kim also began offering discipleship classes twice a week to challenge his congregation. He started a podcast for former sermons to be heard.

Slowly, the word got out about new church practices.

Pastor Kim started implementing programs to help with hunger and other social services. “Our congregation has been praying not only for this church but also for the entire community in Kansas City. We want to serve people in need,” he said. The congregation believes in serving others first. In 2014, the mission team renovated a United Methodist Church’s children’s room in Kansas City before renovating their own children’s classroom. This year, the congregation pledged to send money every month to support an Indian missionary and his ministry in the slums of MumbaRev. David Kim Congregationi, India.

Central Korean UMC now has 110 people in attendance. They have an orchestra and church choir. There is an interpreter and translating devices so that guests can hear the Korean language sermon in English. Sounds of happy children can be heard from the Sunday School rooms. Congregation members can smell the sweet smell of kimchi when they enter the building every Sunday. All are encouraged to stay for fellowship and a shared meal after worship.

“Church leadership is not easy,” said David Kim. “I have found that you will not always be liked.” Pastor Kim explains that he prays daily for God’s guidance as he works to bring about change and church renewal.


MATS Graduate Applies Knowledge to Career at Children’s Mercy Hospital

Robin CarrollRobin Carroll graduated this May with her Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) as part of the Class of 2016.“I enjoyed my time at Saint Paul. It has exceeded all of my expectations,” she said. “I feel that I’ve been academically and spiritually challenged over the past four years.”

Ms. Carroll wanted to attend Saint Paul to receive an MATS degree for a variety of reasons. “My goal was to become more ‘religion literate,’ and more fully understand why religion is important to others. I also wanted to grow in my own faith,” she explained.

Carroll works in Clinical Emergency Preparedness at Children’s Mercy Hospital. She has worked in a variety of roles during the past 30 years. Ms. Carroll became intrigued by the work of one of the founding sisters of Children’s Mercy Hospital and decided to write a historical-ethical review for her final MATS conference with Dr. Jim Brandt, Professor of Historical Theology.

“Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson was a fascinating woman, especially for the time period in which she lived (1860-1933),” said Robin Carroll. “She was selfless in her dedication to provide medical care to children from families unable to pay for such services. She welcomed the entire community to take part in caring for others. I find her an inspiration to the work that I do as Dr. Richardson was motivated primarily by strong ethical convictions and a concern for others.”

Robin has begun applying her learnings as she grapples with best practices in preparing for emerging infectious diseases in the Kansas City community, “In the back of my mind I think about what Dr. Richardson might have done with even less medical knowledge than we have today. I believe she would have thought through every possible scenario to prepare for and serve the needs of the community,” said Robin Carroll. And the Saint Paul graduate  plans to carry that same spirit forward in her work.

Rev. Dr. Stephenson and Rev. Lampe Receive 2016 Distinguished Graduate Awards

Saint Paul School of Theology presented two distinguished graduate awards at its fifty-fifth Commencement Convocation on the Kansas Campus.

Rev. Dr. Jack Stephenson, MDiv 1982 and DMin 1994

Jack StephensonRev. Dr. Jack Stephenson is Senior Pastor of Anona United Methodist Church: A Multisite Church with three campuses in the Largo and St. Pete, Florida areas. The Florida multi-site church is both a recognized laboratory and a teaching church referenced by many denominations. Stephenson is published and he teaches World Religion to college students. He is also a post graduate professor and lecturer for Protestant clergy in the areas of Church Health and Leadership.

“Your pastoral leadership at the Anona United Methodist Church: A Multisite Church and one of the fastest growing churches in the United States is not a secret,” said Acting President Nancy Howell. “Jack is a graduate who has taken a serious personal approach to making disciples for Jesus Christ. He has provided extraordinary vision, passion, faithful and effective leadership, and we honor him.”

Rev. Karen Lampe, MDiv 2002

Karen LampeRev. Karen Lampe is the executive pastor for Congregational Care at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Her work includes all of the pastoral care (counseling, financial care, prayer ministry, visitation) as well as weddings, funerals, baptisms, and pastoral connections to the church family. She has taught numerous practicums at Saint Paul School of Theology as a seasoned ministry practioner.

“No one has touched the lives of more Saint Paul students in the last decade than Karen has in her capacity as Congregational Care Executive Pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection,” said Saint Paul Acting President Dr. Nancy Howell. “In addition, her leadership across the United Methodist denomination has challenged many congregations to reshape how clergy and laity partner in the delivery of congregational care.”

Neil Blair to Serve as Saint Paul School of Theology President

The Board of Trustees has named Rev. Neil Blair as President of Saint Paul School of Theology. Blair is a 1980 Master of Divinity graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology. He will begin his leadership on July 1, 2016.

“We are fortunate that Neil Blair has agreed to provide leadership to Saint Paul during this time. Neil has a long and fruitful history with Saint Paul. He brings with him knowledge and love of the seminary as well as a strong understanding of the church and theological education’s special role in the life and vitality of the church,” said Saint Paul Board Chair Twila Glenn.

Neil Blair returns to the seminary with a combination of passion for Wesleyan evangelism, knowledge of The United Methodist Church, and a variety of development leadership experiences. Blair most recently served as the Executive Director for Institutional Advancement for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Previously, he was the President of The Foundation for Evangelism of the UMC in Lake Junaluska, N.C. and Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. Additionally, he served 19 years as Vice President for Development at Saint Paul School of Theology.

Blair is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Annual Conference and served eight years in a local church in Missouri. He has two grown sons.

Pastor Jo Mead Fosters Real Relationships Between Diverse Communities

Jo Mead - Beyond ToleranceIn 2015, the United Methodist Church noted that race relations was the top issue facing the denomination. Saint Paul graduate, Rev. Jo Mead, decided that she no longer wanted to just talk about it, but instead to act and form a real relationship with another congregation.

She contacted Pastor Eric Williams at Brotherhood Presbyterian Church. Eric’s church was listed as non-white and it was near where University United Methodist Church church was originally located before it moved to 21st Street across from Wichita State University. “I wanted this to be neighborly,” said Jo. The two pastors corresponded by email, phone and then planned to meet for lunch. She went to the local restaurant and began to wait for Eric to arrive.

Unlikely Lunch Partners?

Jo Mead And Eric Williams“I asked if there was anyone waiting. First the staff said no. I waited again. Then I asked if there was anyone waiting for Jo or an Eric thinking they may have names confused. They said one man was waiting but he was not waiting for me. So I left.”

Later, Pastor Eric called and wondered why Pastor Jo hadn’t shown up for lunch. “We had a good laugh that the two of us were not seen by the restaurant staff as potential lunch partners. We met again the next week at the same restaurant, and the staff was apologetic and kind.”

The two pastors arranged for a pastor swap, with Williams preaching at University UMC on November 15th, 2015 and Mead scheduled to preach at Brotherhood Presbyterian in April 2016.

As part of the partnership, each congregation tied ribbons to trees on their respective church properties and in the yards of members. The ribbons were to show their support of real relationships with – and not just tolerance for – people of different races, religious beliefs and cultural differences. Instead, those differences, as well as the shared love for Christ, are being celebrated.

Local TV stations covered when the ribbons were tied on trees at City Hall while the mayor spoke about the importance of real relationship. A community rally was held on November 22nd, 2015 at Century II. People made commitments to how they would live out “Beyond Tolerance” across their communities.

The two congregations are planning collective mission opportunities and a social chili supper.

“It’s when we break bread together that we enter into real relationship,” Pastor Williams said.

Jo Mead With KidsTruly the two congregations enjoy having fun. The chili supper has gone from a shared meal to a competition between pastors to see who can make the best chili. The best chili will be voted on with money that will be donated to a shared local mission making it a win/win for everyone.

As this congregational partnership has been formed, Pastor Jo Mead has often thought back to a seminary class led by Dr. Kris Kvam called Engaging World Religions.

“I had the opportunity to be in conversation with members of the Isalmic community of Kansas City. This experience taught me to open myself to opportunities of learning and growing together with the hope of making room at the table for all.”

“The opportunity here in Wichita is one of stepping out of our racial silo into the fullness of kingdom living regardless of race.”

Graduate Talks to Current Students about Building Long-Term Missions

Building MissionsDr. Jim Brandt and Saint Paul alum Trista Soendker Nicholson recently compared their experiences in Guatemala and Haiti. Trista shared stories of Haiti and gave advice to current students about building long term missions.

“One of my greatest privileges teaching at Saint Paul has been taking students to Guatemala to learn from Guatemalans about their lives and ministries” said Rev. Dr. Jim Brandt. “Our approach has been to do deep listening and learn how we might be in ministry with people like those in Guatemala in a way that is culturally and contextually appropriate.”

Trista Soendker-Nicholson participated in the Guatemala immersion in 2011.

“It was immensely gratifying to hear her speak as a graduate to the Saint Paul Community about how that experience has shaped the work she is doing in Haiti, said Dr. Brandt. “The Missouri Conference mission in Haiti does the kind of incarnational ministry we affirm: listening to the people, building long-term relationships, and doing ministry alongside folk in ways that are mutually transformative.”


Dr. Tex Sample Brings Community Organizing to Saint Paul

Dr. Tex SampleTex Sample is a specialist in church and society, a storyteller, author, and the Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society at Saint Paul School of Theology.

After moving back to Kansas City, Dr. Sample has reengaged with the seminary in several ways. This past August, students at the Saint Paul: Church of the Resurrection campus and Saint Paul: Oklahoma City University campus were able to learn from his many years of experience in Community Organizing.

Tex brought in four professional community organizers from the National Offices of Industrial Areas Foundations who helped with the teaching.

My conviction is that real change occurs from the bottom up. Great things begin when the people involved are doing the work and organize around their concerns. Many of the efforts start out in grass roots efforts. Building relationships has the power to get things done.

Dr. Sample related Community Organizing to the work that pastors do in the church. “An awful lot of these skills translate into ministry and can immediately be put into place as a pastor. Skills such as listening, building relationships, talking to government officials, business leaders, and the minimum wage worker.” he said.

<a href="">Not only do pastors need to know how to talk to people, they also need to analyze information and find out the common areas where agreement may occur.

I emphasize the 1 to 1 meeting in my class,” said Dr. Sample. “You need to find out the passions, interests, and convictions of others before they will follow you.

Dr. Sample was recently asked to fill in at a local Kansas City church until a full-time pastor is found. “I took it upon myself to call each of the 96 people on the member list before starting to work. It was a 96 member congregation and after those calls 150 people showed up on the first Sunday. People want to know that you care.

Ed Kail Teaches Saint Paul Students About Rural Life and Ministry

Ed KailWhat does a person do after they retire? They may read, write, or travel. Others, like Ed Kail, continue to share their knowledge and passion with others.

Kail (pronounced Kyle) is a leading advocate for rural churches; he was a leader in Iowa’s response to the 1980s farm crisis. In 1991, he began to teach Town and Country Ministries at Saint Paul School of Theology and was director of Course of Study for five years. He then went on to serve churches in Iowa, until his recent retirement.

Upon returning to the Kansas City area, Ed Kail reconnected with Saint Paul School of Theology. He participates in our Town and Country Ministry Committee meetings and helped organize and lead a Rural Immersion Ministry in western Kansas this summer.

Saint Paul students lived with families in the rural communities of Lyons and Nickerson, Kansas. This allowed them to experience several “day in the life” experiences of their hosts. They also reflected theologically after visiting with the churches and pastors of each town. Emphasis was placed on the relationship of church to community and how lay and professional ministries relate to their contexts. The particular locus of the immersion included rural disaster relief efforts, pastoral care needs of rural ministries, and insights into farming and agriculture.

Rural ImmersionWe enjoyed having the students here in Lyons. It was a good week,” said Saint Paul alum Rev. Brenda Davids. She even alerted the local newspaper and the Saint Paul students became front page news.

Rev. Davids explained that she appreciated the relational aspect of being the pastor at a small church. “I appreciate ‘walking with’ the families in this town through some of the happiest (baptisms, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays) and some of the most difficult (deaths, illness) times in their lives. These are the times I experience God at work through us.

Saint Paul alum Rev. Melissa Naylor was also happy to answer questions about the rural town of Nickerson where she served. “Rev. Melissa Naylor was very open and honest about the joys and struggles that she has experienced as a rural minister,” said MDiv student Linda Jones. “I have not lived in a rural area and I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything.

We are so happy that Rev. Ed Kail has come back to the area to be with family and that he continues to enhance our rural ministry program at Saint Paul School of Theology!