For immediate release July 15,2013
Media contact: Donna Dodson  (410) 945-8397

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CHANEY APPOINTED AS REVITALIZATION PASTOR, TO START A NEW FAITH COMMUNITY

The Rev. William T. Chaney Jr. has been appointed to the Infinite Grace Parish which is comprised of two congregations by resident Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. . A new church initiative Infinite Grace Fellowship and revitalizing church West Baltimore United Methodist Church.  Rev. William T Chaney Jr began his pastoral duties in the historic 40 West Corridor of Baltimore on July 1.  The initial worship will be located at 5130 Greenwich Avenue in Baltimore.

Rev. Chaney most recently served as the District Superintendent of the Baltimore Metropolitan District. Rev. Chaney, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, is a natural, dynamic speaker, who has also served churches in Georgia, Ohio and Maryland since 1990, prior to coming to Baltimore. William has a passion for youth which was demonstrated while he served The Youth Theological Initiative at Emory University , the Youth Hope Builders Academy at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Frederick County. He has also been a featured speaker with Monster.com’s “Making it Count” program to provide students with templates for success in high school, college and beyond.

Regarding his appointment with enthusiasm, Pastor Chaney explains, “My main objective is to develop a dynamic, multiethnic congregation that is relevant to this current generation and serves the needs of the people in the West Baltimore community.  I have a vision of both congregations being healthy, vibrant churches that function through team ministry to provide opportunities for people’s lives to be transformed.”

Chaney is married to Rev. Michelle Holmes Chaney, and they have one daughter, Courtney Elizabeth.  Pastor Chaney holds degrees in communication from the University of Cincinnati and Georgia State University. He obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Georgia.

The Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church is comprised of 694 congregations with nearly 200,000 members. It is the home of Methodism in America, with the founding of the denomination at Lovely Lane Chapel in 1784.
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Friday, May 10 2013Image

BALTIMORE, MD – The reality of death and loss is one with which the church and its leadership must cope every day.  Families lose loved ones to disease, age, and inexplicable accidents.  Consoling and encouraging these families is difficult at best and heart wrenching at worst.  It is the challenging task of reminding them that God has a plan for all lives, and a part of that plan is for each life to come to an end in this world.  Some are receptive and understanding, some try to receive it only as hopeful optimism, and others can’t see past their tears and their hurt to anything that God has planned.  Grief comes in many forms, but none so great as the grief felt when one person thinks themselves so audacious as to take the life of another, especially the life of a young boy or girl, making death and loss greater than a pain with which to cope; it becomes a tragedy of the human condition, and a heartbreak for an entire community.  May 9 was a day of such tragedy and heartbreak, as  Rev. Bruce and Mrs. Deborah Haskins were dealt a crushing blow as their son, Joseph, was gunned down in Baltimore, Maryland.

            In a city of tremendous diversity and culture, one reality has made itself glaringly apparent over the last few years that I’ve spent with its people; gun violence is an accepted facet of this community.  No outrage, no disgust at such a wanton act inflicted upon yet another young African-American male, just a brief moment of shock and awe, then back to daily life.  Vitality interlaced with cruelty, as if it is essential to one’s existence in this city.

            I am angry.  I am disgusted, and I am outraged.  I am not only enraged by those who would commit such an act, but also by those who claim that they love and follow God, the giver of life.  Those who  live out their faith as United Methodists in Baltimore, the birthplace of Methodism in America, should be up in arms against the rampant, ravenous, unchecked spirit of violence which plagues all who live here.  We are the people of God who should be claiming dominion over the earth, as God intended, yet we are too timid to claim ownership of the streets where we live and work.  This is unacceptable.  There is too much at stake when we consider that most of these victims of gun violence comprise our next generations.  We are idling while the preservation of our culture and future is decimated. That is unacceptable.

            While I understand the trepidation Christians have when facing the threat of gun violence, we must acknowledge that we have already seen that our elected officials are unable to agree on sensible gun legislation.  Their message is clear: the people must take control and reclaim those environments embroiled in the conflict between the sanctity of life and the violent counter-culture that demands silent compliance from the masses.  Our fear is more deadly than a bullet in that it ensures that more criminals can fire without apprehension.  The United Methodist Church must make a stand and act to infuse the Holy Spirit back into the soul of the Baltimore community.  We must turn our fear into fuel for the fight against the spirit of violence that has nested in the souls of too many people.  It is our responsibility as citizens, as people of God, to protect and defend those souls from such a spirit, and to protect all of our people from the destruction that such a spirit heralds.  Joseph Haskins must be a name that rings in the hearts of every Christian as we lead those hearts to take up courageous action in confronting our local, state, and federal legislators, our police department, and even confronting the passivity in each other.  Reclaim Baltimore in the name of God.  Let Joseph Haskins be the last.

Christmas Invitation

Christmas Worship Invitation

Yesterday Andy Lunt (Director of Congregational Development), Paul Nixon (Path One Consultant) and I drove through the City of Baltimore.  We were loaded down with maps, demographic reports and news clips about about the various communities, that comprise the Charm City.  Our goal was simple, to identify places where a UMC community of faith was missing.

We drove through Franklin Square, Lafayette Square, Bolton Hill, Fells Point, Canton. Paterson Park, John Hopkins Hospital and then straight out Belair Road to Overlea and back across the city to Catonsville, through PIkesville and Mt. Washington.  As we drove through and talked to people, observed the community differences and the obvious challenges I was most disturbed and shaken by the extreme poverty that exists in several neighborhoods where there is no UMC.  I know that the rule of thumb in starting a new church is go to where there is community growth.  I get that but we need a new strategy for our urban communities and for city centers.

I am praying that God will send ministry servants who care and will participate in a ministry to directly address the plight of the poor, the working poor and those living in communities where the social problems including food insecurity, access to healthcare, drugs being sold on the streets and addictions of every kind outweigh and overshadow the hope that there is a better life and the realization of God’s love in their lives.

My prayer is that we develop a team to change one neighborhood in a major way to reflect the Reign of God’s kingdom here on earth. If you will join me in this prayer, please leave a comment.

This Friday, December 7, 2007 the congregations of the Baltimore-Washington Conference will commit to Hope for the City, a movement to bring God’s shalom to Baltimore. Baltimore has experienced a significant rise in violence and the number of murders. Baltimore is the birthplace of our denomination and our witness and action is critical.

We will gather at 11 AM at John Wesley United Methodist Church for worship and a press conference. We will present a five point action to address the rise in violence and provide support for the families that are victims of murders. We will also highlight a larger plan for the city of Baltimore. I need for our pastors and laity to support this effort. Our presence will communicate our concern and commitment to God’s city. Your presences will also be a comfort to the families present that continue to grieve the loss of a loved one. John Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3202 West North Avenue and Hilton Street.

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