News Archives

United Methodist Men Want to Give Soldiers 1 Million Devotional Books;Eagle Scout’s Project Inspires

 


Contact: Stephen Drachler, Director
(615) 742-5411 office (615) 456-4710 cell
E-mail: sdrachler@umcom.org

Larry W. Coppock
(615) 340-7149
E-mail: lcoppock@gcumm.org

April 9, 2003

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Keeping alive a tradition born in World War II, the United Methodist Church’s men’s organization is taking steps to serve those who serve the United States in times of war and crisis.

United Methodist Men, based in Nashville, Tenn., needs to raise $3 million to distribute copies of a daily devotional book, Strength for Service to God and Country, to a million U.S. military personnel who serve around the world.

The renewed nondenominational effort continues work by United Methodist Men begun after Sept. 11, 2001, amid increased spirituality spawned by the terrorist attacks on the United States. It was then that a project quietly undertaken by a Boy Scout to share the significance of Strength for Service became known.

Evan Hunsberger of Orange, Calif., had found his grandfather’s tattered copy, first released in 1942, during World War II, and discontinued in 1953 after the Korean Conflict. The former Navy corpsman had kept it with him during both wars, reading from it to comrades as they lay dying. In fact, says his grandson, “He pretty much carried it his entire life.”

Hunsberger had made the task of reissuing the book, originally published by The United Methodist Church under its Abingdon imprint, his Eagle project. He and fellow scouts from his troop eventually put more than 2,500 hours into the initial effort, which included editing computer-scanned copy and raising $25,000 to cover publication expenses. United Methodist Men, which provides significant support to national scouting ministries on behalf of the church, sponsored the project.

(The story of the quest to reissue Strength for Service to God and Country is featured on UMTV video reports the week of April 9. It is available at the UMTV Web site www.umtv.org.)

“Virtually all Eagle Scout projects are worthy,” says Larry W. Coppock, the United Methodist Church’s national director of scouting ministries. “This one is really special. It has a strong spiritual focus. It is an incredible gift and resource we need to give to every person in the armed services.”

Hunsberger gained Abingdon’s permission to update the book for the present generation. After requesting material from hundreds of the nation’s top theologians, he supplemented the original 365 daily devotionals from Protestant clergy with 40 passages from current Protestant, Catholic, Islamic and Jewish leaders, women, and people of color. United Methodist Bishop Ernest Lyght of White Plains, N.Y., an African-American, was among those who contributed.

The added diversity proved a selling point when United Methodist Men sought and gained permission from U.S. military leaders to distribute it. A print run of 30,000 copies with desert tan covers was completed recently, bringing the total to 50,000 in print.

“My only regret about this,” Hunsberger says, is that “it’s going to people that are in harm’s way. But this is something that the people that are in harm’s way need to have.”

United Methodist Men honored Hunsberger in 2002 with its Good Samaritan Award for his tireless efforts in bringing the devotional collection to reality. A Roman Catholic, he is the second non-United Methodist to receive the award.

Donations to the effort may be made to the Strength for Service Publication Fund, P.O. Box 340006, Nashville, TN 37203-0006. Additional information on the effort is available at http://www.strengthforservice.org/.

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email:*
ZIP/Postal Code:*
Question:*

*InfoServ ( about ) is a service of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW


Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.