October 23, 2020
One characteristic of Methodist DNA is a passion for the promotion of knowledge, Scriptural Holiness, and ardent desire to celebrate the gifts and graces of all the children of God. Our church has seen volumes of writings on various subjects throughout history and indeed, many great writers and scholars have emerged from New England Methodist families. We are grateful for each and every one of them!
However, friends, while we acknowledge and celebrate everyone in the New England United Methodist family, it is very rare to see multiple published authors within the same Episcopal family! Furthermore, taking into account that these authors are the wife and daughter of the first and only Bishop to be elected to the Episcopacy from the Maine Conference while serving in that conference, Bishop Cliff Ives, I thought it would be wonderful to celebrate this mother-daughter team.
I also wanted to invite all who either know the Ives family or have been the recipients of their ministerial gifts and graces. In that spirit, when I conferred with Jane and Bonnie, they expressed in a single voice their desire to have BUSTH Professor, Marsh Chapel Dean and long-time family friend, Rev. Dr. Robert A. Hill, moderate the event. I immediately replied, “Amen!” for I could not think of a better scholar, teacher, pastor, and theologian for the celebration.
I am so grateful to Dr. Hill for graciously agreeing to join us this evening. It has been my joy, privilege, and blessing to know Bob, his wife Jan, and their family for the last four decades. Personally, when I was appointed to the beautiful north country of Upper New York, Bob was one of the first pastors to welcome me and offer much invaluable wisdom for doing pastoral ministry. These beautiful gifts and graces are just a part of Bob, who has been a great mentor to countless numbers of clergy and laity through the years, enabling them to transform lives! Bob, on behalf of the Ives family, the planning team, and all present tonight, a hearty welcome with thankful hearts for moderating this evening.
As we conclude this evening, we glorify our Creator God in and through the precious name of our Lord and Savior using the words of the Psalmist who said, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing" (Psalm 100:1,2).
Seacoast District Superintendent David Calhoun hosted a District Resource Day featuring Marden's book, and offered this introduction to the book:
In her book Church Finances for Missional Leaders-Best Practices for Faithful Stewardship, Bonnie Ives Marden has written perhaps one of the most important books on church finances in our time.
Throughout the book she frames this important work in the narrative of the biblical text while sharing her wealth of information with the reader. David A. Snipes, President of the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, commented, “Bonnie’s book is a must read for anyone — lay or clergy — who wishes to have a more complete understanding of the finances of a church.”
There is a practical quality to the book, with its many worksheets and sample reproducible pages, that people can benefit from.
I recently had the privilege of having Bonnie present her work at a District Day in the Seacoast District (Sept. 25, 2020), in the New England Annual Conference. The following comment was shared by the Rev. Sunmin Cho a pastor in the district:
“I appreciate that Bonnie put together very useful information that we might need in our ministry. It is really exhaustive. We might not remember every single detail in the book but having it in our bookshelf would greatly increase our confidence since it will be our ‘go-to’ book. For example, I wish I had given Worksheet 23 at the Appendix to some of my parishioners whom I already filmed for stewardship campaign. That worksheet explains how we as a pastor can prime anyone who is supposed to give testimonies at the stewardship campaign. Anyone who encounters this Worksheet would notice that she put a lot of thoughts in it, and it will help draw meaningful testimonies from our parishioners.”
Bonnie has consulted with a number of churches within my districts, providing valuable stewardship education. I have personally witnessed the turnaround of many of these churches and I have long been impressed with her vast knowledge of church finances.
If you have ever looked for a resource on church finances within the context of the local church or if you are interested in developing your understanding of financial stewardship, then I highly recommend this book to you!
I give it 5 New England Conference Stars!
Bishop Devadhar introduced Ives' book with the following:
Friends, when I got my copy of the book They Also Serve: Methodist and United Methodist Bishops’ Spouses 1940 — 2018 by Jane Ives, I was so engrossed in it, I was not able to put it down. This book is very rich in content —innovative, stimulating, and challenging! As you read this book, you will easily recognize the thousands of hours of hard, patient, and careful work that have gone into producing this volume. Coming from an Eastern culture where many people are reluctant to share their personal stories and achievements, I was amazed by Jane’s precise and accurate capturing of the remarkable stories of Bishops’ spouses. She presented each story with gusto and joy to create a truly wonderful book!
In our Christian calendars, we will soon be celebrating “All Saints Sunday.” One of the definitions of saints, which I have come to appreciate over the years is, “agents of change.” Jane, our deep thanks and great appreciation for gifting the global church with this book which articulates the powerful stories of saints who graduated from their earthly journey to their Heavenly journey, as well as those saints who are still on their earthly journey. Their stories will continue to transform the people of God for generations and centuries to come.
On another level, many clergy spouses are laity. Remember, the Methodist movement was started by laity. Thanks for lifting these people up so beautifully and powerfully and for bringing their stories to our attention. It is my hope and prayer that the glow from this book will ignite sparks all over the globe that become spiritual flames for the glory of God. In that respect, Jane, you are one of the most visionary authors. Thanks be to God, in and through the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, your book personifies the beauty of Maine and the sign of God’s love everywhere!
The bishop offered his gratitude to the authors and panel: