A Moment for Mission
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. —James 3:13, NRSV
Juan Miguel Simpson Bennett didn't let the ugliness of his childhood stop him from seeing beauty around him. Born in poverty in Panama, Bennett was the only child of a strong single mother determined to introduce him to God.
"The neighborhood," he says, "was a poor, working-class ghetto with all its attendant problems—drug use, prostitution, delinquent activity." However, this was tempered by his mother who insisted he attend church, perform well at school and get involved in personal development activities and community service.
Growing up under the influence of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean, Bennett was exposed to United Methodist mission teams at a young age. This led him to answer a call to ministry. Today he is superintendent of the Panama/Costa Rica District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas.
While Bennett was serving as a missionary in Honduras, friends at The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries encouraged him to apply for a World Communion Sunday scholarship.
Without it, Bennett says, "I would not have considered following through on my master's program. I was able to engage in a summer degree program that allowed me to take time out for study without abandoning my family and the context in which I serve."
World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity. The offering supports World Communion and Ethnic scholarships and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program. Thank you!
Loving God, teach us wisdom and understanding. Help us to serve you and your children with gentleness born of wisdom. Amen.
From Discipleship Resources: Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide - Gracious God, Giver of Life: as we bring our gifts to you, we are reminded by the psalmist that you expect more than money from us. You desire fruitfulness from us — as you do from all creation. You have nourished us, like trees planted by streams of water, not simply to store up blessings for ourselves, but to bear fruit that will be a blessing to many. Open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to perceive the life of generosity to which you've called us and for which you created us. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, who gave all there was to give for us. Amen. [Psalm 1]
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry challenged Juan Miguel Simpson Bennett in character, mind and heart. "I am interested in bringing thoughtful leadership formation and Christian education to the churches I serve and the wider connection," he says.
"I have been engaged in pastoral ministry for almost 25 years," he adds. "I pray that my ministry has had a transformative impact on the lives of the people of God whom I have served. I have sought to encourage a sense of commitment to communities in which God has placed us."
Bennett will continue to develop leadership programs, engage the church in mission focus and urban ministries and grow academically. "I believe there is no paradox between solid academic grounding and effective pastoral ministry," he says.
When you give generously on World Communion Sunday, you equip gifted, qualified people from around the globe to become the world changers God created them to be.