Meet the Deacons: Rev. Vivian Ruth Waltz
September 23, 2019 / By Rev. Vivian Ruth Waltz / 1 Comment
I am Deacon Vivian Ruth Waltz, appointed by Bishop Webb to an extension ministry as fulltime Director of the SSJ Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence in Buffalo. The mission of the Sister Karen Center is to eliminate violence in ourselves, in our society, and in our world. We work to create a nonviolent community in our thinking, our acting, and our relationships.
Our primary training program is the Alternatives to Violence Project where we explore the causes of violence, the roots of nonviolence, and how to resolve conflicts in a positive way. We provide workshops for adult community and church groups, in schools, with homeless and abused youth, as well as in Wende Correctional Facility for men and Albion Correctional Facility for women.
I also work with the Buffalo Peacemakers Gang Intervention and Outreach Program. Peacemakers work with law enforcement to intervene in potentially violent situations with youth in or at-risk of joining gangs.
The Sister Karen Center runs “Camp Peaceprints,” a day camp for economically disadvantaged children which provides exposure to a diverse community while introducing and exploring communication, social justice issues, community organizing, and peaceful conflict resolution.
In my role within Hamburg UMC, I preach and lead worship, I assist Pastor David Nicol in the sacraments; I teach bible study; I chair the Outreach Team (including our ministries to people recovering from addiction, as well as our hospitality ministry to homeless families); I visit homebound members; I am secretary for our UMW Circle; and I enjoy singing in the choir!
I love being a deacon and being called to focus on the need for justice in the world. Over the years, I have often told the elders in my church that I am glad I am not called to “Order” in the UM Church. Any administrative challenges are not my job - my job is to respond with compassion to those who are struggling to find peace in their lives wherever I find them.
Each week before the pastor’s benediction, I dismiss the congregation with a charge to find and to serve God outside the walls of the church. Hear the challenge that United Methodist deacons put before you: seek out the lost and the lonely in the world, and know that in caring for “the least of these” in the family of God, we are serving Christ himself! (Matthew 25:40)