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    What Are You Doing with your "Dash" (-)?

    Posted November, 2014
    That riveting question fell from the presenter’s voice as he introduced one of the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards event at Wake Forest University. The presenter explained that most cemetery tombstones and columbarium plaques reveal the names of the departed, followed by their birth date and death date, separated by a simple (–).

    He did not have to state the obvious. The (–) is the symbol for one's life. He just glanced over the large gathering and quietly asked us: “What are YOU and I doing withOUR (-)” The silence in the room was deafening.
    Living our (-) to the Fullest
    Every person in that dinner crowd had just been moved and mesmerized by the video depicting Karen Bruton’s compassionate and courageous work in Sierra Leone (this was prior to the EBOLA virus). Karen received her MBA from Wake Forest University in 1984 and would become one of the outstanding leaders of a quality investment firm on Wall Street. Still, there seemed to be a hole in her (–).

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    Reflections of a Legacy Bearer

    Posted October 2014
    This month's reflection is courtesy of Rev Nancy E. Muth
    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
    -Ecclesiastes 3:1

    I recently retired as the minister of The First Presbyterian Church in Germantown (FPCG), a diverse urban congregation in northwest Philadelphia. It was the end of a nearly 15 year relationship, but also a new season for that church and for me. 

    Now after 15 years of strengthening ministries and inspiring urban church leaders the Center for Urban Ministry (CFUM) and the Rev. Dr. Doug Bailey are facing new seasons. 

    Although CFUM will no longer formally exist, its new season will be in the capable hands of those of you who have benefited from its ministry over the years. You are being asked to continue the legacy! To assist you in this effort CFUM is offering you seed money grants for an urban ministry in your community.         

    During my ministry at FPCG I had the privilege of attending three City of God for American Cities conferences in Washington DC. I learned so very much and enthusiastically returned home each time filled with so many ideas for urban ministry. 

    I also returned filled with stories from the people I met during the conference: participants, conference leaders, those from the pilgrimage ministries, and those many stories from Doug and Carolyn Bailey. 

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    Urban Ministry Spotlight: Staging A Miracle

    posted September 2014

    One of our CFUM, Inc. legacy bearers is a remarkable arts ministry called STAGING A MIRACLE. “SAM" is the soul justice and social justice ministry conceived and offered byFirst United Methodist Church, Sacramento, CA (FUMC). 

    In June 2007, the Senior Minister and the new Director of Children's Ministry of FUMC were keen participants in our “City of God" conference. They were inspired by a pilgrimage to the stunning Sitar Center, an innovative children's center for the arts in the under-served Adams-Morgan neighborhood of D.C. Their creative juices and hearts were “strangely warmed". A brilliant dream was born for Staging a Miracle!

    SAM targets low income children in the midtown and beyond of Sacramento. Initially, it provided a unique five-week summer theater program for children, culminating in free city-wide, packed out performances on an elevated stage built in the church courtyard. They also hosted an encore performance after worship services on the last Sunday of SAM. 

    SAM has now grown into a fabulous year-round program with leadership and coaching by respected artists from the Sacramento fine-arts community. Hundreds of Sacramento families have been transformed. CFUM, Inc. is inspired to be “partners" with SAM in Sacramento. It is mutual inspiration. Readers, visit their website for your inspiration!


    True North on the Christian Compass

    posted September 2014

    The radical Jesus of the Gospels offers a terrifying and timeless invitation: “Come, bring your cross (a metaphor for your death) and follow me. If you want to find your life, you must first lose it. In losing your life for my sake, you will find authentic life."

    Prophet, theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writes that Jesus’ consistent admonition is: “Come, follow Jesus; it will require the death of you."  Good News?? NO, says church-ianity. YES, declares Christ-ianity.

    Dying to self is True North on the follower’s compass. It makes us cringe. It is the most difficult centerpiece for the Christian journey. Yet, it is the singular promise for NEW life.
    CFUM, Inc. is not fraudulently claiming martyrdom. Yet we are dying by bringing closure to our ministry. Hopefully by now you are aware that, in our closure, the Board of CFUM, Inc. has made the courageous decision to make seed grants available to you. Information andgrant application forms are available on our website. Effective September 15th, grant applications will be received. Closure for grant applications is October 24, 2014. Our Board members will be the readers and decision-makers regarding grant recipients.

    We hope to be challenged by the receipt of quality grant applications for urban/social justice ministry in the cities of America. Have you submitted your grant proposal? We intend to live our new life through you!


    CFUM Grant Program

    posted July 2014

    You will recall that our CFUM, Inc. closure process includes a Grants Program.  

    Grant Guidelines for applications will be posted on our website on August 112014.  

    CFUM, Inc. is entrusting our legacy to you through our grants to your urban ministries.We look forward to reading your applications. Final Grant decisions will be made by our entire Board.


    CFUM's Legacy

    posted July 2014

    SIERRA Magazine headlined a May/June 2014 editorial with: “What Sort of Person Reads SIERRA"? The writer stated that they remember only one other magazine asking that question: “What Sort of Person Reads Playboy?" The writer conveyed that Playboy’s answer was revealed in a series of full-page, photo-heavy ads revealing that a Playboy reader is a “manly man who attracts the attention of beautiful women because of his taste for silk robes, expensive booze and strong cologne.” Products that advertisers should choose to market in Playboy, of course. SIERRA’S answers were good. Playboy’s answers were memorable. But, their question struck a chord in me.

    So, what sort of person reads our CFUM E-newsletter??

    My answer (lacking full-page, photo-heavy ads) comes from listening attentively to many “City of God" participants, learning about some of your urban ministry programs, and dialoguing with you through e-mails.

    I’ve concluded that you read CFUM E-newsletters out of rigorous pursuit for authentic ministry in the citya passion for God's justice for the common good, and, the relentless probing for “best practice" resources for urban ministry. Have I described you?

    As CFUM shifts our focus to closing well, I have reflected often about the impact of our national ministry. While this decision to close our nonprofit ministry has brought some sadness for many of us, CFUM has much to be thankful for as we consider what God has done through us.

    The impact of CFUM will not end with the closure of the formal organization. Our legacy is YOU, our faithful urban ministry practitioners! And what an inspiring one it is! We are so grateful for the recent outpouring of support, well wishes, and messages of encouragement. Thank you!

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    New Seeds, New Growth

    posted June 2014

    Drawing upon the timeless, rhythmical and biblical images of seeds and growth, the President and the Chair of the Board of Directors announce the closure of Center for Urban Ministry, Inc., effective December 31, 2014.

    A Fertile History


    The images of seeds and growth are significant for us in this announcement. Fifteen years ago, the Rev. Dr. Doug Bailey, then Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in the downtown City of Memphis, envisioned and collaboratively formed this national urban ministry. This vision would bring together many ecumenical clergy and lay leaders in urban churches across our nation, providing “learning laboratory" growth through practical resources for urban congregations.

    Two years later Doug became a faculty member at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, developing and teaching urban/social justice ministry. CFUM, Inc. moved  to Winston-Salem, NC and affiliated with the Divinity School. Since Doug's retirement from the Divinity School, CFUM, Inc. has remained independent.

    The essence of CFUM, Inc. is to “inspire, challenge, assist and resource urban churches in their own transformation for the transformation of their cities.” 

    Throughout the 15 years, the flagship ministry of CFUM, Inc. has been the production of a national annual conference titled, The City of God for American Cities: Reinventing the Urban Church."   Hundreds of clergy and lay leaders have been engaged in these conferences, first in Memphis, and in our nation's capital for the past 13 years. Growing out of “City of God” conferences has been the opportunity for CFUM, Inc. to provide urban church consultations, weekend workshops and regional conferences across the country. Countless clergy and lay leaders bear testimony as to CFUM, Inc.’s unique niche for impacting the ministry within and through their city congregations.

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