Cal-Nevada loses a "conspicuous" Volunteer

September 17, 2007

The family and extended family of Lyle Morris gathered last month to remember a man whose name had come to be synonymous with United Methodist Volunteers in Mission in the California-Nevada Annual Conference.


Mr. Morris died August 25, 2007, ending his valiant struggle with cancer. He, along with his wife, Carol, was a member of First UMC-Walnut Creek.


His commitment to working and giving through the UMVIM program was known around the conference and beyond.


Bishop Beverly Shamana presented Lyle with the 2001 Bishops Award during Annual Conference Session. In her remarks the Bishop recalled Morris’ early yearnings to be part of the UMVIM experience. “In 1997 he retired as Manager of Inventory Control from Del Monte Corporation and Pastor Paul Dirdak moved his heart for the peoples of the Balkans’ conflict. While serving as Chairman of our Conference VIM program, he led 16 volunteers to Sarajevo, Bosnia to work with youth. The following year, he saw their need for a new building. Working with the Bosnian government, more than 30 ambassadors, the Board of Global Ministries, community groups and this Annual Conference, he spearheaded the effort to build a new Youth House, raising almost $1,000,000. Through his dedication and leadership, the opening ceremonies for the new Youth House will be celebrated the first week of July. He is a pioneer of Christian mission for a new age. His works are conspicuous.”


In a statement given to the Cal-Nevada Conference office, Sandra Metzger of the Western Jurisdiction UMVIM office said of Lyle, “he was a moving force behind the UMVIM Committee for many years … led a team to Cuba and several teams to Bosnia … in addition to his community work in Walnut Creek. He was a very special person who gave much to the world.”


Lyle remained connected to his beloved UMVIM even as his illness was in its final days.


Cal-Nevada UMVIM coordinator Dr. Sue King recalled receiving a phone call from Lyle. “Lyle contacted me on behalf of someone interested in de-mining programs that California-Nevada Conference was supporting. Up to the very last days of his life, Lyle was in mission to the world. His has been a faithful, fruitful life that we can celebrate even as we miss his physical presence.”