On June 26, 2023, Rev. Randy Myers and Rev. Lois Carter had a “meet & greet” meeting at the Central Office of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (in Richmond, VA) with Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, Rev. Steve Summers (Assistant Bishop), and with the Rev. Marilyn Heckstall (GraceInside Board Member & Liaison for Bishop Sue). This was our first meeting with Bishop Sue since she took office here in Virginia. Randy started off by sharing the history of our ministry (now over 103 years old, founded by a group of caring and visionary Christian denominations in 1920). Randy spoke on the importance of our relationship with the VAUMC, with it being one of the seven founding denominations of GraceInside and with it being the denomination that is by far the largest financial sponsor of our prison chaplaincy ministry for many, many years. Randy presented Bishop Sue with a plaque honoring the VAUMC for its role in founding our ministry and for donating over $1,000,000 just in the last decade. Bishop Sue stated that she would have the plaque placed in the Bishop’s Conference Room, which is currently being refurbished.
Lois spoke about some of the current things that GraceInside is working on. Examples include: keeping our donors engaged by refreshing our website and Facebook page with new and current content, putting out “The GraceInsider” e-newsletter quarterly (with stories and pictures of recent events in our ministry), and creating a lovely new promotional GraceInside bookmark. We also strive to keep our ministry’s name and mission out in front of the churches and denominations by having our Chaplains travel to speak and do presentations. And Randy and Lois of course continue to meet with the judicatory leaders of our founding and sponsoring denominations.
Bishop Sue thanked us for the plaque, as well as for the promotional materials (including our main “church bulletin insert” promotional pamphlet, our new bookmark, a GraceInside pen and a GraceInside coffee cup. Bishop Sue was tremendously enthusiastic and engaged, and “right on the spot” she signed up for our quarterly “The GraceInsider” e-newsletter. We thank Bishop Sue, Rev. Summers and Rev. Heckstall for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet and dialogue with us!