This section is about the Mission Volunteers Program Area
of the General Board of Global Ministries
of The United Methodist Church.
The Mission Volunteers Program Area is not a replacement for the grass roots United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) program, nor is our task to control or otherwise manage UMVIM. Our responsibility is to provide support and resources for all global mission volunteer programs including UMVIM and many others.
The United Methodist Church recognizes the important role of volunteers in enabling the church in mission to the world. During the 1996 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, a structure was approved for GBGM that makes Mission Volunteers one of the six major program areas. Responsibilities of this program area include linking with the UMVIM program, as well as facilitating all the other ways that volunteers get involved in ministering to others and providing service for mission programs.
Volunteers are important resources in all kinds of mission institutions, in local outreach ministries, in our work with our mission partners, and in our cooperative efforts with the ecumenical community.
We have identified four program directions to guide our work:
- Strengthen coordination with annual conference and jurisdictional UMVIM Networks.
- Resource and support the development of a cadre of volunteers to respond to needs identified by mission partners.
- Facilitate the involvement of a broad spectrum of participants in the volunteer movement.
- Encourage ecumenical links and programming.
Meet the Staff
Our staff is made up of people with an incredible desire to help support Mission Volunteers.
Assistant General Secretary for Mission Volunteers
Jeanie Blankenbaker is the Assistant General Secretary for Mission Volunteers. Her responsibility is to administer the MV program and to enable the participation of persons from throughout the world in global mission volunteer programs and projects. Her special focus is to identify, recruit, and train volunteers to serve as site managers and to train leaders in mission initiatives.
A native of North Carolina, Jeanie has Sixth Year degrees in Administration and Reading from Georgia Southern University and Appalachian State University, respectively. She served for ten years as Training Coordinator for the United Methodist Volunteers In Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction (UMVIM, SEJ), while living in the South Georgia Conference; was on the Design Team for the SEJ Handbook [Training Manual] for Volunteers; and served as dean of the 1998 UMVIM, SEJ Rally.
Jeanie has over 20 years of experience as a volunteer and team leader of mission teams throughout the SEJ, Central and South America, and the Caribbean (including Cuba). She has worked with the Zimbabwe, Liberia and Mozambique Central Conferences, Cambodian Christian Methodist Association, and the Methodist Churches in Uruguay and Argentina to set up their own UMVIM programs. In addition, she worked with the Methodist Churches in Brazil and South Africa helping to strengthen their existing volunteer programs and training new leadership throughout these conferences. She has conducted numerous training workshops for leaders, potential leaders, and team members throughout the United Methodist Church.
Jeanie has a wonderful daughter who lives and works in Miami, Florida; loves the organization and connectionalism of the UMC; and most of all, loves missions, helping others, and serving God where needed, at home or abroad.
Kim Lehmann works as Program Coordinator in Mission Volunteers, with a primary focus on the implementation of the Global Justice Volunteers and the Primetimers programs. Kim has a B.S. degree from Texas Christian University in Political Science and Economics. Before coming to Mission Volunteers, she worked with War on Want: Campaign Against Poverty, the Nebraska Peace with Justice Office, and the United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs. Kim has been involved in mission through a variety of channels, including through her home church, Rockbrook United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, as well as through GBGM, having served as a Global Justice Volunteer in the Philippines.
Manager, Volunteer Network Services
Michael DeBorja has done yeoman work in the United Methodist Church for more than 20 years. He currently has website, financial, insurance, and communications responsibilities in the Mission Volunteers Office. Michael first volunteered as a student to assist urban poor who had been relocated from Manila, and has been involved in working for social justice in the Philippines. Married, with one son, Michael has done dissertation research on the comprehensive interpretation of American political thought, teaches American and Asian history in a local college, speaks some Chinese and Spanish, and hikes with the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Consultant, Individual Volunteer Program
Greg Forrester is married, with four children ranging in age from 12 to 3 years old. His wife, Gracie, is a physical therapist. They live in Cortland, NY, the geographical center of New York state, about 30 miles south of Syracuse (home of the Orange - for you basketball fans). Greg was a New York state trooper for 10 years, and was recruited in 1999 as the UMVIM Coordinator for the Northeastern Jurisdiction. He has led UMVIM teams to numerous countries and projects. He is passionate about mission / outreach and is excited by the opportunity to work with all of the participants in the Individual Volunteer program.
Dr. Roger Boe
Medical Consultant, United Methodist Fellowship
of Health Care Volunteers (UMF/HCV)
Roger recently retired from 34 years of private pediatric practice in Pocatello, Idaho. He previously served as Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; past President, Idaho Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics; and Chair, Regional Task Force on Children with Disabilities.
Roger Boe has also served as a church school teacher, lay leader, and member of the conference Board of Global Ministries, and has mission experience in Mexico, Bolivia, and Zaire. He and his wife, Donna Hargrave Boe, have been married for 45 years and have two grown children.
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For general inquiries, contact:
Mission Volunteers Office
General Board of Global Ministries
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 330
New York, NY 10115