The Rev. Marcee Binder is expanding on her work in mission outreach and justice ministries for the Missouri River District by adding responsibilities at the conference level.
As of last month, Binder has become the liaison for the Missouri River and Elkhorn Valley districts to the Congregational Excellence team and will work with churches conference-wide to make them aware of available grants and help in the grant-writing process.
“Marcee was a clergy person who was discerned by the cabinet to have the capacity to bring valued church experience and non-profit experience anywhere she was appointed,” the Rev. Nathan Stanton, congregational excellence director, wrote in an email. “The Missouri River role was a vison that came from that discernment that while we started the ‘Do Justice’ campaign across the Great Plains, the Missouri River District was a place that a person like Marcee would be able to build relationships with UMC clergy as well as other denominations to strengthen those possibilities for collaboration.”
Binder, commissioned as a provisional elder in 2020 and scheduled to be ordained as an elder in 2022, said she was excited about the additional duties, which also will include being part of the district strategy team.
“I have always admired the work of the conference,” she said. “That has always been where my eyes have set sight, seeing where my gifts and graces are set and how I am compatible.
“Nathan and that team are phenomenal, the way that they’re collaborative and the way they work together to provide the best resources for congregations is something I’m really excited about,” she continued. “I think I can add value to that.”
From 2014 to 2020, Binder was director of Wesley House, a Pittsburg-based outreach mission serving low-income families in southeast Kansas. It is a mission of Pittsburg First UMC, where she also was associate pastor.
Her work during the 2020-2021 ministry year was underwritten by an Urban Ministry Grant. This year, she is paid in part by that Urban Ministry grant and a Vital Congregations grant.
Binder will continue to be based in Omaha and continue her work with missions in the Missouri River District.
Beginning work last year during the pandemic, Binder made strides in diversity and inclusion issues as well as networking churches in the Omaha area to work together for justice issues.
“That’s what justice work is, a bunch of people working together toward the same cause to move the needle, realizing what’s good for one person is good for the whole,” she said. “Seeing that happen in the Missouri River District is so exciting.”
A certified grant writer, Binder said she wants to make more churches in the conference’s two states aware of money available from Congregational Excellence, including Network grants, Fresh Expression grants, Serving with Others grants, Urban Ministry grants, Youth Worker Training grants and Ethnic Ministries and New Church Development grants.
“I think that’s something that’s much needed in the conference and something teams that work with the grants can appreciate,” she said.
The Rev. Sarah Marsh, who began in July as mercy and justice coordinator for the conference, said she has long appreciated the work that Binder has done at Wesley House and in the Missouri River District.
“She and I have talked and asked how our missions would align, and we’re in the process of figuring that out,” Marsh said. “I’m just really excited to have the opportunity to take this next step to say how we can work at both the district level and the conference level on the ground together.”
Stanton said Binder’s work will benefit the conference and the district.
“The change in the role is an affirmation of the work she has done during this past year as well as the important work and leadership still to be done in and through the local church to transform the community,” he said.
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