First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Friday, February 23, 2018
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Auschwitz survivor, United Methodist dead at 92

Kathy L. Gilbert, Jan. 18, 2018 | UM News Service (UMNS)
A faithful United Methodist who was one of the last
surviving inmates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp died on Dec. 19, 2017, in Warsaw, Poland. Jadwiga Bogucka-Regulska was 92. Bogucka- Regulska joined the Methodist Church just after World War II. She was a member of Good Shepherd UMC in Warsaw for decades and served as secretary at the headquarters of The United Methodist Church in Poland from 1959-1983.

The Rev. Andrzej Malicki, superintendent of The UMC in Poland, and the Rev. Zbigniew Kaminski, led the memorial service for Bogucka-Regulska. Malicki described her as “an example of pure Christian love … She actively participated in the life of the church to the last and even attended the Days of Renewal of The UMC in Poland in the summer of 2017.” The Days of Renewal is the largest Methodist gathering in Poland. Bogucka-Regulska was born Nov. 20, 1925. On Aug. 12, 1944, she and her mother were arrested and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau along with about 4,000 other
women and children. An estimated 1.1 million people were killed in gas chambers or by systematic starvation, forced labor, disease, or medical experiments at the camp. About 200,000 camp inmates survived. She was liberated by the Red Army on Jan. 27, 1945. “She was always ready and willing to share her life stories, she never held anger against the Nazis and she forgave them all of those things they did … Her witness touched and encouraged many people from different generations — far beyond her familiar and congregational surroundings,” Malicki said.

Man facing deportation gets sanctuary in Detroit church

(The Detroit News, Leonard N. Fleming, Jan. 16)
All Ded Rranxburgaj wanted for his family when he
came to Michigan from Albania 17 years ago was the American Dream. The journey hasn’t been easy. He has worked as a cook or in construction. His wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. He bathes her and handles her care when he’s not at his job.

Facing deportation, Rranxburgaj, 48, sought refuge at Detroit’s Central UMC, one of many declared sanctuaries for immigrants facing expulsion as the Trump administration cracks down on illegal immigrants. “To not see my wife very sick and to leave my sons and not ever see them again, that’s very, very hard for me and for my family.”


Church leaders, along with Michigan United, a grassroots organization that has been advocating for immigrants in the US illegally, say the family will stay in an apartment at the church indefinitely. Central UMC provided sanctuary last year to an African family seeking to remain in the country.

“This person is not a terrorist. He’s not a threat to your country. He’s trying to make a better life,” said the Rev. Jill Hardt Zundel, senior pastor of Central UMC. “We of privilege already have that. We don’t understand what it means to go on this track, to have to do that. And I follow a man named Jesus who flipped tables over, who tried to stop oppression. And that’s what we’re doing here.”

Parishioner Linda Priest, a retired teacher from Belleville, said this is what living her faith is all about — protecting the less fortunate. “We’re trying to live what we say we believe,” Priest said. “We can’t just sit back and say we’re Christians. We have to act like Christians. And this man needs our help. We want to help him. That’s the kind of congregation we are.”

Exiting the program

(The Daily Times, Melanie Tucker, Jan 16)
Two Blount County churches with a long history of partnering with Family Promise to help homeless families have ended those relationships. Kathi Parkins, Executive Director of Family Promise, sent out an email to the other participating churches, asking if some of them might be able to step up and cover the weeks now left vacant by the exits.

It didn't take long. Catherine Nance, senior pastor at Maryville First UMC and Freida Herron, Family Promise coordinator at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, volunteered their congregations to take on the extra weeks. Nance said there wasn't a big, longinvolved discussion about the right thing to do. Associate Pastor Sarah Slack and Family Promise coordinator Mavis Ziegler heard about the need before she did. By the time Nance got the word, Maryville First UMC was volunteering its services.

"This is what we do," Nance said. "Children don't need to be homeless." What also made this an easy decision for Nance and her church was the Scripture they discussed on Sunday, about loving both God and our neighbors as ourselves.