In 1940, Hubert Johnson, president of Methodist Children’s Home from 1933-1966, established a group of clergy and lay members called Commissioners. These individuals would act as volunteer fundraisers and advocates for MCH. Through the past 77 years the activities and responsibilities of Commissioners have changed, but they continue to serve and play an important role in sharing the MCH story.
The primary role of the Commissioner now can be seen through the acronym HOPE:
Help MCH fulfill its mission through gifts of time, talents and treasure.
Organize a special event for MCH at their church or in their community.
Provide insight on ways MCH can partner with them to serve at-risk families in their community.
Enlist others as benefactors and friends to support the mission of MCH.
It has been a long standing tradition for MCH to hold a two-day Commissioners meeting in Waco, Texas. On Oct. 24-25, MCH Commissioners from across Texas and New Mexico, representing six different United Methodist Conferences, gathered for a time of fellowship and learning to be further equipped to advocate for MCH.
During the two-day meeting on the Boys Ranch and Waco residential campus, Commissioners had a full schedule of events on their agenda.
On the first evening, they shared a meal with the 2017 MCH Choir and several Boys Ranch residents. They were treated to a choral performance and a student testimony on how MCH has impacted them. The Commissioners also heard from Tim Brown, president and CEO of MCH, Trey Oakley, vice president for development at MCH, Mark Ward, Commissioner chairperson, and other members of the MCH Benefactor Relations team.
The second day of the meeting provided time for breakout sessions with Residential Care, Transition Services, MCH Family Outreach and Spiritual Development. As part of understanding the vision and direction for MCH, Commissioners were invited to tour the Daniels Home, the newest residential home on the Waco campus, and to receive detailed information about the “Building Hope” capital campaign and the projected growth and projects that are in plan for the ministry.
Kelly Lawson, special gifts coordinator for MCH who directed the two-day meeting, saw the different sessions as a highlight of the time shared with the Commissioners. Lawson said that each group discussion was opportunity for Commissioners to connect with different parts of MCH to get an in-depth and realistic understanding of what life looks like for those MCH serves every day.
Further, Lawson stated the breakout speaking sessions gave Commissioners a time to interact with one another and to share about their own ideas and experiences regarding how they are able to intentionally spread the news about MCH in their own communities.
To conclude the meeting, MCH conducted its first commissioning service in the Chapel. There, 28 veteran Commissioners and 21 new Commissioners received and accepted the call to action to commit themselves to the MCH Commissioner statement of HOPE.
“Ending on this note felt very special,” said Lawson. “We have the opportunity to bear witness to God’s work in the world through this ministry in one small way. The Commissioners came, they learned, they were inspired, and now they are sent forth into their communities to do essential work. It is sacred work.”
Echoing Lawson’s message, Oakley stated, “Commissioners are a piece of our legacy and will remain important advocates for our ministry. We are grateful for the support and awareness they raise throughout Texas and New Mexico.”