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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Upper New York’s trio of missionaries

    June 17, 2015 / By The Rev. Jeff Childs

    The Upper New York Conference is blessed to have three individuals among us who are preparing, currently providing, and just completing for missionary service in The United Methodist Church through the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM).

    Gracie Lynn BesseGracie Lynn Besse is the daughter of the Rev. Deborah Earthrowl, pastor at the West Hebron and Salem UMCs, and a recent graduate of Siena College, majoring in psychology with minors in peace studies, international studies, and multicultural studies. She studied abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Haifa, Israel, focusing on peace and conflict studies. In response to her call to serve struggling people in other parts of the world, she has become part of the Global Mission Fellows program.

    Global Mission Fellows are young adults that serve in missions abroad. They respond to do ministry with people in the community, discovering ways God is already at work and becoming a part of that work. They aim to engage with local communities, connect the Church in mission, and grow in personal and social holiness.

    Besse’s placement site for the next two years is in Bogotá, Colombia, working with a media organization to help empower women and children dealing with the effects of discrimination, poverty, war, and violence. The organization works to change the systems that perpetuate these injustices.

    Before she leaves for training and her placement, she is available to speak at churches and is seeking prayer and financial support for her ministry. Contact her by email at, by phone at (518) 932-3925, or by mail at P.O. Box 412, Salem, N.Y. 12865.

    Olga Gonzalez-SantiagoOlga Gonzalez-Santiago is a Church and Community Worker, a specific type of GBGM missionary, who actively does mission and ministry in the assigned church and its surrounding community. Currently Gonzalez-Santiago is the only missionary serving an assignment located within the Upper New York Conference. She is serving in the Syracuse area through the ministry of the Syracuse Westside Urban Mission (SWUM) located at Brown Memorial UMC. She is available to come and speak at churches. Contact her by email at, by phone at (315) 475-8996 (home) or (787) 248-6777 (cell), or by mail at 226 Davis St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13204.

    Sarah MudgeSarah Mudge is the daughter of Adirondack District Superintendent the Rev. Bill and Shari Mudge and has just completed serving in the US-2 track. This program is for young adults called to serve in the United States, for a commitment lasting two years. Commissioned in August 2013, Sarah was assigned to the Tacoma Community House in Tacoma, Wash., and at Mary’s Place in Seattle. She is available to speak at churches; contact her at

    If you, or anyone in your church, are feeling a call to missionary service, contact John Conklin, Conference Secretary of Global Ministries: by email at; by phone at (607) 785-7328 (home) or (607) 725-7836 (cell); or by mail at 203 Vanburger Road, Owego, N.Y. 13827.

    TAGGED / Connectional Ministries

    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."