Remarks made by Bishop Warner H. Brown when he presented the second Bishop's award to Ken and Paula Blackshear, Thursday, June 20.
In the 10th Chapter of Luke, the story of the Good Samaritan, when the lawyer asks Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus answers him, "The one who showed mercy," and commands the lawyer to "go and do likewise." Here is another stoty of "See what you have, See your neighbors too."
This afternoon we honor a couple who have been a powerful catalyst for ministry and mission.
For many years, they have led the youth group and served in leadership on just about every board and committee in their local church.
Since the early 2000's, they began to lead Volunteer In Mission (VIM) teams. Over the last ten years, they have led teams to New Orleans (four times), to South Louisiana, and to Alabama. They have also led teams to Mexico for the Jast seven years building a home for a family each year.
Their neighborly service is not only beyond the bounds of our annual conference, but right in their community too. Through the years, they have opened their home to countless children in formal and informal foster care for various lengths of time, from days to years. If someone needed a place, a family, and they were able, they offered their home and their hearts.
This couple even led a local mission project in the construction of a second story bedroom and bath, for a single mom in the church who was caring for her grandmother and raising her 10 year old son in a small two bedroom house.
This couple has volunteered in numerous United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) and Volunteer In Mission (VIM) teams for disaster relief. These trips have included the earthquakein Haiti, flooding in Nicaragua, Hurricane Sandy, and the Fernley flood.
His work has involved service to the community as a probation officer. After retiring from the probation office, he became a counselor working with people on probation. She worked part-time, while raising young children, as bookkeeper with a non-profit that assisted children in need. For the past twenty years, she has been the office manager in her local church. She also served as treasurer for one of our annual conference new church starts and was instrumental in the formation of the Shasta District School of Lay Witness and Mission.
The couple we honor are Ken and Paula Blackshear members of Eureka First United Methodist Church. They have a wonderful tendency of seeing a deep need and filling it. This is the beautiful way they live as disciples of Jesus Christ.