Monday, May 29, 2017

Gray Miller Named UMVIM, SEJ Assistant Director

Gray Miller now serves as the UMVIM, SEJ Assistant Director.  As the Assistant Director, Gray will assume more administrative duties for the ministry including team registrations.  She would also assume the position of interim Director if needed.  One of the major reasons that Gray enjoys working at UMVIM, SEJ is the connectional nature of the United Methodist Church.  “I enjoy the relationships and connections that I have been able to make over my time working here, whether it is a new team leader excited about taking their first team, a person calling looking for a place to serve in disaster response, those that work in the Annual Conferences. It is so funny to me how large the United Methodist Church is but how “small world” it can be when you see the Connection that is the UMC,” she indicated.

Since October 2, 2014, Gray has been the Disaster Liaison, a role she will continue, serving as the contact between SEJ Conference Disaster Response Coordinators and UMVIM, SEJ.  Her role is primarily communicating the need for volunteers in disaster affected area and as part of the planning team for the annual SEJ Disaster Academy. Gray shares the importance of the SEJ Disaster Academy, “The SEJ Disaster Academy is not just for those who have already involved in disaster response. It is for anyone who has an interest in serving after a disaster and long into recovery. We forget sometimes that a disaster can effect a community long after the actual event is over, and the Disaster Academy is a great place to start learning about how the UMC is involved in disaster response and where you can fit it. It is also a training tool for those who are already involved. The Disaster world is changing, and we are always working to make our responses better. This is a great academy for any and every one to attend.”

She is an Early Response Team Trainer and at times assists UMCOR with SEJ ERT Trainer evaluations.  She is also responsible for making Early Response Team badges.  Gray began a quarterly SEJ Disaster Newsletter last Fall and attended the last two National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) meetings.

As a graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and Asbury Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Intercultural Studies, Gray utilized her studies as well as her passion for mission to go through Individual Volunteer training (now known as Mission Volunteers).  She lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during 2011-2013 teaching English as a Second Language.  Gray attended St. James UMC in Montgomery, AL and is now attends First United Methodist Church, Birmingham, AL.  She is also on the UAB Wesley Foundation Board of Directors.

The UMVIM, SEJ Board is proud to have Gray move into this leadership role allowing her to interact more closely with team leaders and church members.    She puts it bests herself, “I wish that everyone knew what a resource UMVIM, SEJ can be for local churches and volunteers. I believe our office and our staff really are a hub of information that can be so beneficial when planning a team or trying to get your church involved in missions.”

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Reading and Sunglasses for Your Mission

Reading glasses can be one of the easiest, most  inexpensive ways of making people more productive (our estimate is 20% greater income capacity) and promoting economic growth in the developing world. RestoringVision is a nonprofit dedicated to distributing new reading glasses and sunglasses to groups and organizations helping those in need. Since 2003, we have built a network of partners that have collectively served over 5 million people around the world. We offer a simple solution to one of the greatest global health problems. 

RestoringVision series, “Stories of Hope from Around the World,” raises awareness about the need for and impact that reading glasses and sunglasses have on people’s lives by featuring the work of our partners. 
Restoring Vision is the largest non-profit provider of new, brand name readers and sunglasses(not for resale). Please take a look at the following video:

It is amazing how many people benefit from a simple pair of reading glasses which restores their ability to focus close up. This can make the difference between holding a job and being a fully functioning member of a family or community. The problem is massive (500 million worldwide) but the solution is easy. 

Some additional benefits include:
  • Easy to implement for the novice, student, spouse-we provide dispensing tips and tools to make experience easy and rewarding.  Our readers are sorted by power in 25 pair bags, a standard box would contain 400 low, medium, and high powers. However, we provide anything from 100 to tens of thousands of glasses to various partners.
  • Minimal Cost-these not for resale new, brand name glasses that we provide for 35-50 cents per pair.
For more information, go to the RestoringVision website or contact Steven Hancock at