2013 marked the 125th anniversary of Methodist Deaconesses, lay women called by God to engage in full time vocations of love, justice and service. NC Annual Conference currently has three Deaconesses and three Home Missioners (lay men) appointed by the Bishop to various ministries within NC. Two of them, Deaconess Melba McCallum (#S-00195) and Home Missioner Gary Locklear (#982955) , both in Gateway District, are being featured.
Melba McCallum is the founder and director of Partners in Ministry (#S-00193), located in East Laurinburg, NC. Gary Locklear is a GBGM Church & Community Worker assigned to NCC Native American Ministries (#S-00143). Melba and Gary both entered into full-time lay ministry with the church after long careers in other fields. Melba was a higher education administrator. Gary was a manager in private industry. They began the process of becoming a Deaconess or Home Missioner by attending a no obligation Discernment Event, to learn more about this type of Christian ministry and to see if God was calling them. (The next Deaconess and Home Missioner Discernment event is May 2-4, 2014. Applications are due March 28, 2014.)
Gary Locklear wears many hats. Many know him in his role as Lay Leader for the North Carolina Conference. He is a certified Christian coach, working with laity in the conference. His passion, however, is for the small membership church and its preservation, particularly in the Native American Community.
Gary’s focus is leadership development among the 14 Native American congregations within the North Carolina Conference. He also coordinates distribution of school kits and food within the Native American community and organizes individuals and teams to repair homes of low income residents locally in Robeson County and annual trips to Bolivia. Gary tells his friends, “It is possible to meet God on the roof.”
In 2013, Gary coordinated with missionary Wil Bailey (#S-00140) to bring a team from Costa Rica to NC for a unique cross-cultural mission project. The Costa Ricans worked two days at Partners in Ministry with Melba McCallum and three days with the Native American congregations. Gary hosts work teams throughout the year from all over the US. To see about bringing a team to work with Native Americans, contact Gary at 910-734-4070 or glocklear@nccumc.
Partners in Ministry (PIM) grew out of the call God placed on Melba McCallum‘s heart to do something with youth to break the cycle of poverty. Melba says that God gave her direction step-by-step.
Former Rockingham District Superintendent Rev. Leonard Fairley provided early support and encouragement in the founding of Rockingham District Partners in Ministry (today known as PIM).
My passion is to empower youth to become youth leaders. We can break the cycle of poverty through our youth by empowering them to become change agents. We can teach them and they can work with their peers. (Melba McCallum)
PIM has renovated and turned a former school building in East Laurinburg into a multifaceted community center, serving the five counties that make up Gateway District. Programs include Youth Empowerment to Succeed (including leadership training, computer classes, tutoring & mentoring), Summer Food and Fun, community garden, Resource and Referral Center, Rehab Outreach and Recovery (ROAR), Urgent Repair Program, thrift store, food pantry, and GED classes. In January 2014, PIM was named and honored as a Partner Agency of Excellence for 2012-2013 by the Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC.
Partners in Ministry has opportunities for work teams and individuals throughout the year, Monday-Saturday, from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm. Teams may work Monday-Friday, Thursday-Saturday, or just on Saturday. For more information about ROAR, Urgent Repair, or other PIM programs, please call PIM at 910-277-3355 or email Melba at email@example.com.