News

Invited for One, Been There for Five

Fletcher.Cleivy and Leo.Feb2017
L-R around the table: Esther, Sarah Frances, Everett, Cleivy, Fletcher, Leo

When you visit Brooks-Howell, you never know who you might bump into.  United Methodist Women, family members, friends and church family are typically in and out each day.

Every so often, though, you might just have the opportunity to meet guests of our residents–guests who are serving as mission service personnel overseas.

Recently, Fletcher introduced us to two such visitors.  Dr. Leonardo Garcia and his wife, Dr. Cleivy Benitez Rivolta, clergy missionaries from Cuba serving at Quessua UMC in Angola, Africa.

Fletcher met Cleivy and Leo while he was serving as clergy in Cuba.  They joined us for lunch and afternoon conversation about their mission field.  Fletcher served as a clergy with Cleivy and Leo in Cuba. Even when the couple moved to Africa and Fletcher to Brooks-Howell, they have kept in touch through technology.

Leo and Cleivy were initially invited to East Angola for one year to oversee the orphanage, teach at the seminary, pastor the church, and serve as United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinators (UMVIM).

“We started with 15 children from our orphanage in our weekly Sunday school.  It became a  time to provide children a healthy meal, spiritual formation and a safe place to be.  Now we have more than 1,000 children coming from various places to various locations. As they age into young adulthood, we are training them to be teachers with us,” Cleivy shares as she eats lunch with some of our residents.

Fletcher sings their praises as he adds, “Cleivy and Leo oversee the church, the orphanage and work at the seminary too.  What DON’T they do!?”

After lunch, Cleivy and Leo offered residents and staff an opportunity to join them in the Media Room to hear more about their ministry in East Angola.  Their orphanage is actually located near the first United Methodist Church established in that region.

When asked how long they are consider staying, Leo notes, “We were asked to go for one year, and now we have been appointed there for five.  We will stay while we are needed.”

We are so grateful to Leo and Cleivy for taking the time to connect with Fletcher and our community here at Brooks-Howell.  We will hold their journey and their ministries in our prayers.

You may read more about Leo and Cleivy here.

A Bit of Spring

We know it’s a bit early for Spring, and we are grateful for the early pop of color around campus.  Residents and landscaping crew have been out in the sunshine mulching, weeding, planting.  Sure, Winter may come back to visit us here and there, but we give thanks for the reprieve and celebrate the glory of Creation!

Called, Served, and Serving Still

Often we are asked what our motto means and very simply, it describes how we live our lives as people of faith.  Many of us fulfilled our professional calling as service personnel for churches.  We may have gone overseas as missionaries or served in our own backyards as deaconesses.  We may have pastored churches or worked as administrators for mission organizations.  Regardless of how God called us, we engaged in a life of service to and with others.

As retired adults, we have not stopped living out our faith in action.  Whether we volunteer with organizations in the community or participate in missions projects on campus, we actively engage in issues that are important to us.  Some areas of social justice that we lend our voices, hearts, and hands to:

  • Creation care and climate justice
  • Animal welfare
  • Racial justice and reconciliation
  • Affordable housing
  • Systemic issues contributing to marginalization of individuals such as poverty and illiteracy
  • Immigrants’ rights
  • Maternal and child health
  • Global peace
  • Access to health care
  • Domestic violence awareness
  • Civil and equal rights for all

This commitment to serving still is what makes our community unique.  Even though we may come from diverse mission experiences or demographics, we have the common language of faith and the common desire of service.

Welcome!

Welcome to our new website!  We are so glad you have stopped by to learn more about our community and take a peek at our new pages.

Some new additions you might want to check out:

  • The video on our About page
  • Following our news posts to keep updated with what’s happening
  • The “Upcoming Events” in our sidebar on the Home and About pages
  • Slideshows and photo galleries on most pages
  • Access to our Facebook and Instagram apps in the top left corner
  • Recent editions of The Serendipitor, our community newsletter

Because we have so much information to share, there are two places that will help you navigate the site.  The basic menu at the top of each page highlights general information.  The navigation menu at the bottom of each page invites you to learn more about our site by clicking on different links.

If we are missing anything you’d like to see here, please feel free to contact us.