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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    about

    Meet the 2020 Delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conference

    Carmen FS Vianese (head of the delegation)

    Local church: Nunda UMC
    Spiritual home: The swing-set behind my parents house - where I would swing and sing and talk with God for hours and hours....
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Choc. Peanut Butter
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee = Hot - 1/2 Reg & 1/2 Decaf with Cream
    Little known fact: I won an "all paid tuition" to the NYC School of Music for Vocals & Theater - but turned it down so that I could spend my Sr. year of High-school at home with my classmates @ KCS in Nunda.
    Guiding scripture: Micah 6:8 ,  Jeremiah 29: 11 - 13 & Philippians 4 : 4 - 9
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: Paragraph 166 = VII. Our Social Creed
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: My heart is pulled in two directions = Lay Servant Ministries & Mission/Justice work through UMW & Global Ministries
    Call to serve as a delegate: There is much work to be done and I am hopeful that we have a chance to be the United Methodist Church we have the potential of becoming! A church that’s doctrine and discipline truly supports their moto of “open hearts and open doors” for ALL of God’s beloved children.

     

    Rev. Bill Mudge

    Local church: Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church
    Spiritual home: In silence and solitude
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilla - all others are additives
    Preferred morning beverage: Buckets of Hot Dark Black Coffee
    Little known fact: I can whistle louder than you!
    Guiding scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: paragraph 120
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: I love to preach.
    Call to serve as a delegate: We are on the edge of the most important decisions of the UMC in this generation. I offered myself for service, and I am honored to serve my family in the United Methodist Church.

     

    J.J. Warren

    Local church: Penn Yan UMC
    Spiritual home:
    Favorite ice cream flavor:
    Mint chocolate chip
    Preferred morning beverage: COFFEE
    Little known fact: I’m actually an introvert (shh don’t let the others know).
    Guiding scripture: 1 John 4:16
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline:
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling:
    Call to serve as a delegate:
    As a cradle Methodist and candidate for ministry the UMC has always been my home. This home hasn’t always been a safe space for me as a gay man, and I know many other queer youth who are seeking God but are turned away because of their sexuality. It’s time we make our Church a safe home for all God’s children.

     

    Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady II

    Local church: Asbury First UMC
    Spiritual home: During camps and on trips with youth.
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
    Preferred morning beverage: Water
    Little known fact: I can sing "Row Row Row Your Boat" backwards.
    Guiding scripture:
    John 10:10b
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: 166
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Church renewal
    Call to serve as a delegate: Everything lastingly good in my life has come from the Methodist church-my sense of hope, my sense of call, my sense of justice, my sense of humor (such as it is). Virtually none of my peers can say the same thing, largely (though not exclusively) because they have been turned off by the treatment of our LGBTQ+ siblings.  This next General Conference will shape the future of the Methodist movement and I want to help ensure a Church where all are welcome and more are able to hear the good news of God’s grace.

     

    Ian Urriola

    Local church: Asbury First UMC
    Spiritual home: The Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Abbott's Chocolate Almond Frozen Custard
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee. Strong, black coffee.
    Little known fact: My first job was a little league umpire.
    Guiding scripture: Philippians 2:4-8
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: "228.2c: The pastor, along with other adult workers with youth and young adults in the local church and beyond (634.4c[4]), shall disseminate information about United Methodist-related Campus Ministry to college/university students or potential college/university students who are baptized members, professing members, or other constituents of the congregation. They shall also nurture, counsel and guide young people as they explore United Methodist and non-United Methodist colleges and universities and non-college vocation options in light of their faith."
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Ministry with young people
    Call to serve as a delegate: Reflect the light and love of Jesus Christ so that disciples are made and the world may be transformed, same as my call to everything else.

     

    Rev. Beckie Sweet

    Local church: Kenmore UMC
    Spiritual home: St. Lawrence River and Sky Lake
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Perry's Cinnamon Stick and Maple Walnut
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee with sweet cream
    Little known fact: I have a cuddly French Angora Rabbit named Jacques!
    Guiding scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: The conclusion of Paragraph 102.
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Developing the "culture of the call," and helping all believers to develop to their created potential as disciples of Jesus Christ.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I am called to help the UMC develop a more just ministry of welcoming and nurture that offers full and equitable opportunities for ministry to and with all persons, particularly our LGBTQIA siblings. 

     

    Marthalyn Sweet

    Local church: Gouverneur First UMC
    Spiritual home: Sky Lake
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Glampfire S'mores by Ben and Jerry
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee with a generous amount of cream
    Little known fact: I only write in cursive.
    Guiding scripture: 1 Peter 4:8-10, Micah 6:8
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: ¶1114 Stewardship and ¶166 The Social Creed
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Camping ministry and community building
    Call to serve as a delegate: I feel called to serve because we are capable of being a church that is more just than our current reality. We are called to make ourselves and our Methodist intuition more perfect by reflecting the love of Christ, seeking justice, and being in ministry with all peoples. I don’t think it’s uncommon for God to move faster than us, but I for one would like to make up some ground.

     

    Rev. Carmen L. Perry

    Local church: Hurlbut Memorial Community Church: Chautauqua
    Spiritual home: My thin place, where earth and heaven intersect, is on a saltwater beach. The place where my faith grew most was the Chapel at Mt. Wesley, a Methodist camp in Kerrville, TX.
    Favorite ice cream flavor: My current favorite flavor is Brownie Batter.
    Preferred morning beverage: Blonde Roast Coffee with cream
    Little known fact: For a while, I appeared in an online recruitment video for Perkins School of Theology.
    Guiding scripture: Recently, the two Scriptures that have guided me are Esther 4:14 & Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: Paragraph 120
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Teaching & Relationship building
    Call to serve as a delegate: My call to serve as a delegate is similar to that of my call to ordained ministry: to advocate and to give voice to the voices that are often missing and/or overlooked and to serve God, to serve our connection, and to serve my local church and community.

     

    Sam Smith

    Local church: Newtonville UMC
    Spiritual home: Anywhere I can see the beauty of creation, whether that be in the middle of the mountains or the city, I have experienced God in all kinds of places. However, the place I feel most connected to God and have experienced growth in my faith has been in the presence of those I have met along the way.
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Grasshopper
    Preferred morning beverage: Peppermint Tea
    Little known fact: In high school I served two terms as president of the Biology Club.
    Guiding scripture: I have two: Micah 6:8 and Galatians 5:1
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: I couldn't really pick just one favorite paragraph, but I do really like the part of paragraph 102 that talks about our "distinctive Wesleyan emphases.
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: My gifts and passions really lie in preaching and teaching. I believe in a thinking church, one that can talk openly about theology and how to be the church in the world. As Methodists we are rooted in class meetings and in universities. We have been getting together for centuries to care for one another, to study, to work for a more just world, and to hold one another accountable. I believe that that's where my strengths lie, and that's the kind of church I envision returning to in the future.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I have attended Annual Conference every year of my life. As I grew up, I was surrounded by this idea of “holy conferencing” and quickly fell in love. Ever since I was a kid, I loved going around the room and meeting new people. Of course, as a child, I didn’t know or even care where anyone I was meeting stood ideologically. I had no idea where they were coming from or anything about them. I would sit and get to know individuals, and it was wonderful. Part of being able to partake in holy conferencing is being able to remember that people are still people. All too often we forget this, because it’s a difficult thing to grasp. However, I feel that this is vital to who we are, now more than ever. It’s easy for the conversation to turn to exclusion, of our LGBTQ siblings and our progressive siblings, but also for our more conservative siblings. I feel that God is calling me to work towards a church in which all have a place at the table. This call has led me to put my name in the running for the 2020 session of General Conference, and continues to guide all that I do in preparing for next year’s session.

     

    Rev. Rachel Ann Barnhart Morse

    Local church: Broad Street Norwich
    Spiritual home: Wherever I'm called to be!
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Coffee
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee (all day, coffee)
    Little known fact: I helped lead our seminary intramural volleyball team (the Union Heretics) to the championship title for the Columbia Grad-School league.
    Guiding scripture: Isaiah 40
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: 163, The Economic Community
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Any way we can work together to live in a way that reflects our values and faith in Christ. This happens a lot with administration, worship leadership, and spiritual direction. Moving on to perfection!
    Call to serve as a delegate: I hope to use the gifts that I have been given and the skills I have developed to be a useful and helpful delegate.

     

    Samuel Mudge

    Local church: Salem United Methodist Church
    Spiritual home: Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Cherry Garcia
    Preferred morning beverage: Orange juice
    Little known fact: I was a certified New York State EMT for two years before moving out of state for grad school.
    Guiding scripture: Matthew 22:37-40 “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: I enjoy the part of ¶105 that describes each part of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.  The use of Tradition, Experience, and Reason as a way to guide our application of God's scripture and the practice of our faith is something I believe is crucial for our church, especially in light of our church's current struggles.
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: I am very passionate about ministering to those who have suffered trauma and/or rejection at the hands of the church. When people in the church treat others with hate or disdain, those who have been mistreated sometimes begin to believe that God hates them as well. My goal is always to communicate the unwavering, unconditional love of God, especially to those who have been told they must change themselves in order for God to love them.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I believe God has called and equipped me for service as a delegate for the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.  Embracing the truth of who God created me to be and coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have had unique experiences in my life which have required me to have patience and respect for people with whom I fundamentally disagreed, but who I also loved dearly.  It is difficult work, but our church is in desperate need of this kind of understanding now.  We are a church that is hurting deeply after the decisions of the last General Conference.  It is my hope that we can move through, and past, this time of hurt without causing one another further harm, finding a way to repair the damage which has been done, and to affirm and celebrate all of God's children.

     

    Rev. Dr. Michelle Bogue-Trost

    Local church: Central: Endicott
    Spiritual home: My faith has always grown the most in community. My grandmother's church first taught me what it was to have and to be in a family of faith (in the best sense). I feel most connected to God through other people.
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip, though a black cherry/chocolate chunk in a vanilla base has my attention this summer.
    Preferred morning beverage: My chai (tea) latte
    Little known fact: My bucket list dream is to own and pilot a hot air balloon.
    Guiding scripture: Acts 2, the story of the birth of the church
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: It's such an odd question. I'd say any paragraph that affirms inclusion and embrace of all persons; likely that means (most of) the Social Principles paragraphs.
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Building community; matching people's gifts and graces with their passions and the needs of the world; connecting persons across the Connection; helping people discover a relationship with God.
    Call to serve as a delegate: My call is as it has been for General Conference: to seek the best the UMC can be, realizing the potential God has placed in God's people, even through an institution. My place in that is to remind us of the power of the Holy Spirit to heal hearts and change outcomes while disrupting institutional comfort, moribund structure, and the notion that we are personally helpless to do anything.

     

    Drew Griffin

    Local church: Tioga Center UMC
    Spiritual home: Sky Lake
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Coffee
    Preferred morning beverage: Iced coffee
    Little known fact: I am a literal shepherd with a small flock of sheep.
    Guiding scripture: Romans 12 and Psalm 23
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: The end of paragraph 104
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: New Faith Communities
    Call to serve as a delegate: “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26 NLT

     

    Rev. Carlos Manuel Rosa Laguer

    Local church: IMU Emmanuel/ Emmanuel UMC
    Spiritual home: Anywhere / Everywhere
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Soft vanilla with chocolate dip
    Preferred morning beverage: Double café espresso
    Little known fact: I like fishing.
    Guiding scripture: Hebrew 4:12-16
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: N/A
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Forming disciples
    Call to serve as a delegate: Unique opportunity to represent my UNYC.

     

    Rachel John

    Local church: Voorheesville FUMC
    Spiritual home: Skye Farm Camp and Retreat Center
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookie Dough
    Preferred morning beverage: London Fog
    Little known fact: I play 4 instruments
    Guiding scripture: Philippians 2:3-18
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline:
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Global ministry
    Call to serve as a delegate: As I grew spiritually being involved in youth ministry, I heard God's calls to continue serving  in any way possible even after graduating and stepping into a new chapter of my life.

     

    Rev. Marti (Martha) Swords-Horrell

    Local church: First UMC Oneonta
    Spiritual home: All my pastoral appointments
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate Panda Paws
    Preferred morning beverage: Black coffee
    Little known fact: I swam on the first Varsity Women's Swim Team at Colgate University.
    Guiding scripture: Luke 1:46-55 "Magnificat"
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: 105
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Ministry with marginalized persons
    Call to serve as a delegate: I am called to serve as part of the UNY Delegation to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference which will meet July 13th - 16th in Hunt, Maryland. My calling is one of listening and responding: to the Holy Spirit, to my fellow delegates, and to others in the UNYAC leadership as well as in the local churches as together we discern the next faithful steps of the NEJ for the coming years.

     

    Linda Barczykowski

    Local church: Member of Pendleton Center UMC - currently serving as CLM Gowanda UMC
    Spiritual home: Pendleton Center UMC
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookies and cream
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee
    Little known fact: At one time I was a firefighter and had my EMT certification.
    Guiding scripture: Philippians 4:6-7
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: 102 - Our Doctrinal Heritage
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: I love preaching and leading Bible study.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I felt called in 2015, but did not feel I had enough experience at conferences to be a delegate at that time. In March when I heard Bishop Webb say it was time for "new conversations" I felt an even stronger to become a delegate. I put it in God's hands as to which conference (if either) I would be elected to attend.

     

    Rev. Drew Sperry

    Local church: Calvary (Latham) UMC
    Spiritual home: Sky Lake Camp and Retreat Center
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookies and Cream
    Preferred morning beverage: COFFEE!
    Little known fact: I do not like chocolate.
    Guiding scripture: 1 John 4:19 "We love because God first loved us."
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: Paragraph #102
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: I am most passionate about sharing God's love and connecting people with Christ, whether it be through preaching, teaching, visiting, or serving. I believe by helping others discover a relationship with Christ that their lives are transformed by God's love, and witnessing this transformation is the most fulfilling aspect of ministry.
    Call to serve as a delegate: Throughout my life I have felt God's call into different forms of service, most recently I felt a calling to serve UNYAC as a delegate in 2020. I hope for the work done in 2020 to help lead our church into the future, together, so that we can fully express the love of God with our world. And to ensure that God's church as expressed in the uniqueness of United Methodist traditions continues, and evolves to better reflect the inclusive love of Christ for all people.

     

    Melysa Acevedo

    Local church: Christ Church Troy
    Spiritual home: Sunsets with a view
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Ben and Jerry's Half-Baked
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee, light and sweet
    Little known fact: I love to race go-karts but I can't drive a real car.
    Guiding scripture: Micah 6:8
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: 131: The Unity of Ministry in Christ
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: I think it's crucial to make theology and ethics accessible to everyone- I love engaging people and helping them learn something new.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I want to exercise my ability to approach strangers and participate in community with them, even if we don't see eye-to-eye on everything. I want to experience Christian community on a larger scale than I ever have before, and I hope I can help other people do the same.

     

    Rev. Rebecca Laird

    Local church: Farmington UMC
    Spiritual home: Casowasco
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Bittersweet Symphony
    Preferred morning beverage: Iced decaf coffee with cream
    Little known fact: I played accordion when I was in elementary school.
    Guiding scripture: Micah 6:8
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: I do not have one.
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: Meeting people where they are/gather outside of the church walls.
    Call to serve as a delegate: “Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, belonging is having that voice be heard” ~ Anonymous. My call to serve as a delegate in 2020 is summed up in that quote. It’s a call to help make room at the table for a truly diverse body of Christ and to help us move from just diversity and tokenism to inclusion and belonging.

     

    Dan Fuller (lay reserve delegate)

    Local church: Chenango Bridge UMC
    Spiritual home: Chenango Bridge UMC
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Sea salt caramel
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee and a large orange juice
    Little known fact: I enjoy hiking and kayaking, especially in the Adirondacks.
    Guiding scripture: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: Paragraph 104  - "Our Doctrinal Standards and General Rules."
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: I support and encourage a holistic type of discipleship, where all persons are encouraged to form an authentic and life-giving relationship with God through the indwelling of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, in such a way that all disciples are lead to life-long growth and maturity and are transformed and nurtured through God’s grace, truth, and love.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I believe our denomination is at a critical turning point. With God’s guidance, we need to find a new way to relate together as Methodists. The 2020 General Conference gives us an opportunity to prayerfully reflect on the decisions of 2019 and fashion a new reality that seeks to “do no harm” to our brothers and sisters, no matter what their theological persuasion. I personally hold to a traditional view of scripture and want to be in a connection which honors that. At the same time, we need to honor the deeply held beliefs of all United Methodists as we find a better way forward. At this point, I believe the best way toward a peaceful and effective future would be for the denomination to form two distinct theologically-based connections that could exist under one umbrella association.

     

    Rev. Dr. Bill Allen (clergy reserve delegate)

    Local church: Bemus Point UMC
    Spiritual home: Houghton Wesleyan Church
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate Panda Paws
    Preferred morning beverage: Orange Juice
    Little known fact: I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 1990.
    Guiding scripture: Luke 9:23 - Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

    Matthew 28:18-20 - Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    2 Timothy 2:2 - And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: ¶ 120. The Mission—The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Local churches and extension ministries of the Church provide the most significant arenas through which disciple-making occurs.
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: I am passionate about inspiring the local church to embrace fully its core task of discipleship. Because the Kingdom of God (the rule and reign of God) is of ultimate importance, we are called to help people enter that Kingdom by starting a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are also called to apprentice these new Christians until they become mature in their faith and are trained, motivated, and empowered to reach out and apprentice more people into this justifying and sanctifying relationship with God.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I am called to be a peacemaker between various theological camps. All voices must be heard and respected. I will work hard to listen and share with dignity and grace. I will also do all I can to promote a healthy, biblical future for the UMC.

     

    Rachel Giso (lay reserve delegate)

    Local church: First United Methodist Church of East Greenbush
    Spiritual home: Wherever I am I feel connected to God, but my very early years at Avon UMC formed my faith. Those days at Potsdam UMC sustained my faith, while my short time at Mary Taylor Memorial UMC reformed my faith. The Devine intervention in the desert of Arizona brought me back to the path, and all the time in the Adirondacks provides me the freedom to connect with God in the most natural way. It is the many years at FUMC East Greenbush where my leadership skills have developed, and it is my desire to continue to refine those skills in The United Methodist Church.
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Peanut Butter Cup
    Preferred morning beverage: Coffee is a must for me, but always after a glass of water.
    Little known fact: I am a member of the Adirondack 46er club.
    Guiding scripture: Proverbs 22: 6 & Mark 12: 30 & 31
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: Paragraph 124: Our Mission in the World
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: As a teacher, a former Youth Group advisor and director of Vacation Bible School, I am very passionate about children and youth ministries. I also feel called to be an advocate for young adults by serving as a bridge for all generations.
    Call to serve as a delegate: Much like the message our bishop shared at Annual Conference 2019, I reacted at first to this call as the child on the grocery store floor with arms crossed, answering with a defiant "No!" Even when my pastor, playing the role of the well-intended bystander trying to help the caregiver, urged me to complete the nomination process, I still resisted. It was the story of a fellow church member, who served as a delegate years ago, that coaxed me to step out of the boat. Confidant in Jesus and trusting in the plans God has for our church, knowing the Holy Spirit is with us for every step, I am honored to be a part of this team serving as an alternate with my prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

     

    Rev. Harold Wheat (clergy reserve delegate)

    Local church: Serving Tabernacle UMC in Binghamton
    Spiritual home: United Methodist Mission Intern Program (GBGM)
    Favorite ice cream flavor: Vanilla Peanut Butter (Soy)
    Preferred morning beverage: Tea, Earl Grey
    Little known fact: The first canoe I built sunk like a stone. 
    Guiding scripture: Mark 12:30-31
    Favorite paragraph of the discipline: Paragraph 105 "Our theological task is both critical and constructive."
    Area of ministry that is most fulfilling: It is a privilege to witness people wrestling with the big questions of faith and growing in maturity. Accompanying people in Bible Study, worship, and mission is helps me feel a sense that I am fulfilling my own call to ministry.
    Call to serve as a delegate: I experienced a nagging sense of spiritual unease whenever I distanced myself from the intention to put my name forward. Having been elected to serve as an alternate for the Jurisdictional Conference team, I feel that God is calling me to be present in the conversations and to focus on prayer for the team and the conference.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."