AC 2014 Daily

June 14, 2014

Each day there will be a special edition of "GPconnect." Below you can find information on what attendees can expect during AC 2014, along with announcements and featured stories.

On fruitfulness

Acevedo’s final message of AC 2014

The Rev. Jorge Acevedo began with the story of a small church that voted to transform their ministry by voting to be a campus of his congregation. He lifted up the phrase, "Creating a culture of discipleship, systems and strategies will determine the harvest you get." He used the parable of the seed sown on rocky ground to link this concept to scripture. He shared photos of his church community garden as well as sandy soil and a hydroponic tomato farm to illustrate his point.

Reflecting on the systems of the UMC, Acevedo recalled the stories of John Wesley, who employed systems of people to organize what we know as the Methodist way.
Acevedo’s congregation organizes their work into four areas:

  • Reach – Ministries that reach out to others, including special needs families, entrepreneurship and hunger ministries.
  • Connect ministries – Connecting with people where they are.
  • Form ministries – Opportunities to learn and grow in faith.
  • Send ministries – Ministries that send people out into the world in ministry. A video told the story of a specific outreach program that provides shoes to children.

Throughout his talk, Acevedo stressed the importance of the local church as a hub for personal growth, outreach, transformation and evangelism, which he summarizes with the words reach, connect, form and send.
He believes that John Wesley really got it right and summed it up by saying, “A vital congregation is one that creates incubator like environments for the Holy Spirit to work God’s grace into people.”

(Bishop Scott Jones later in the morning session committed to “borrowing” the phrase to use in his own teaching.)


Mary Lou Reece hosts clergy spouse breakfast

Saturday morning, Mary Lou Reece made sure to set time aside to honor the spouses of clergy at a breakfast. The breakfast was a time for spouses to get to know and support each other. During the breakfast, it was decided that at the 2015 Great Plains Annual Conference Session, the spouse will have a day-long retreat, to strengthen the fellowship that began today.

Mercy and Justice resolutions pass

By Kathy Lefler, director of communications, East Heights UMC, Wichita, Kan.

Resolutions submitted by the Mercy and Justice Team on gun violence, compassionate immigration reform and global maternal child health passed Saturday.

Christians Respond to Gun Violence

The Rev. Michelle Reed of Woodland UMC in Wichita, Kan., introduced the resolution titled Christians Respond to Gun Violence. She cited statistics on school shootings, homicide rates and gun assaults. "God's security is not by arming ourselves," she said. Discussion opposing the resolution focused on weapon definitions, federal government intervention and that passage would cause division among churches. Those who spoke in favor of the resolution cited a critical need to protect children. The motion carried by a 502-312 vote.

Compassionate Immigration Reform

In bringing forth the Compassionate Immigration Reform resolution, stories were shared of children crossing the border alone and families torn apart by deportations. The resolution, that passed, calls for United Methodists in the Great Plains Conference to advocate before U.S. Congress for changes to reunify families and provide a path for citizenship, among other things. People spoke to the need to not turn our backs those in need and that Jesus calls us to welcome the stranger.

To Support Global Maternal and Child Health Through the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet Project

Courtney Fowler, Great Plains Conference lay leader, presented a resolution to support global maternal and child health through the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet Project. She said often the joy of childbirth ends in tragedy when a mother and/or her child die. "Women are of sacred worth," said Fowler. Supporters spoke to the global need for this resolution, but the section calling for United Methodists to contact Congress for their participation was questioned because it was felt this is a church issue, not a government issue. The motion, which passed, also calls for United Methodists work to create awareness of this issue and provide leadership.

Members review finances, approve 2014 budget

Approved 2015 budget totals $16,036,373

Carl Nord, chair of Finance and Administration for the conference led the financial discussion. He reaffirmed the Rev. Gary Beach as Conference Treasurer and thanked him for his service in times of great change and transition. Beach took the podium and recognized his own staff who have been putting in many hours to make the transition to the Great Plains Conference. He noted that about 30 businesses and pseudo-conference business were shut down during the transition and aggregated into four incorporated organizations. At the same time his staff was reduced, meaning the department is doing more work with significantly less staff.

Read more on the Great Plains Conference website.

Connecting Council accepts bishop’s recommendation on process

A resolution to reduce the conference to 14 districts in order to provide greater funding for campus ministries was brought to the floor on Thursday, officially considered on Friday, and referred to the Connecting Council on Saturday.

The Connecting Council met at a special meeting at 8 a.m. in the Lied Center Johnny Carson Theatre on Saturday to hear Bishop Scott Jones’ recommendation on how to manage the referral.

Read more on the Great Plains Conference website.

Offering totals for 2014 Great Plains Annual Conference Session

The collection for Wednesday's opening worship, totaled $11,329.70 and will go towards the mission partnerships. The collection for the memorial service on Friday, totaled 5,490.04, and will go towards the Global AIDS Fund. The collection for Friday night's ordination service was for human trafficking and totaled $5,643.72. Saturday morning's worship was for the Youth Service Fund, and totaled. $4,419.83. A total of $22,883.29 was collected during the session.

Holding Annual Conference Session in Lincoln has historical value

By Karrie Dvorak, director/curator of Nebraska UM Historical Center.
There's an appropriate symmetry to the fact that the first session of the new Great Plains Annual Conference Session is being held in Lincoln, Neb. The General Conference first authorized the establishment of the Kansas and Nebraska Annual Conference in 1856. Its first session was held in Lawrence, Kansas Territory beginning on Oct 23 — approx. 158 years ago.[1] For the next five years, the conference alternated its annual conference session between locations in territorial Nebraska and Kansas. The last year (1860), it was held at Leavenworth City, Kansas Territory. So, it's as if the Great Plains Annual Conference is picking up where the Kansas and Nebraska Annual Conference left off.  In 1861, the conference split into two — the same year that Kansas was admitted as a state and civil war engulfed the nation.
It's also particularly fitting that Annual Conference Session is being held in Lincoln, the state capitol, because it was originally founded as a Methodist Protestant Colony on July 10, 1862 by Elder J.M. Young. Elder Young migrated with five other families from Nebraska City. He located on Section 23 in Lancaster County, and "on the eighty acres he owned, he laid out the town of Lancaster [original name of the town of Lincoln]. He gave half of the lots in the town to the county and school district and reserved half for Lancaster Seminary," a private [secondary] school for girls, which he hoped to establish for the church. [2] "From the sale of some of the lots, Young built the seminary* building — two stories, red sandstone, thirty by fifty feet — which also housed the district [public] school and, temporarily, the church … Unfortunately, the seminary building burned in 1867 and was never rebuilt by the Methodists Protestants … Elder Young is said to have put $8,000-$10,000 into the total enterprise … [According to an article in the July 2, 1868 Nebraska Statesman:] 'He not only planted his colony on the site of Lincoln, but was the inspiration which had much to do with inducing the commissioners to locate the state capitol on his site rather than at Seward, or one of the other competing points.'"[3]

Next AC session to be in Wichita, Kan.

The 2015 Great Plains United Methodist Annual Conference Session will be held at the Century II Center, in Wichita, June 10-13, 2015.

Correction: In the pension story in the Friday edition of GPconnect Daily, the headline should have read “Amendment to pension and benefit report passes by two votes.”

Editorial Policy: The content, news, events and announcement information distributed in GPconnect is not sponsored or endorsed by the Great Plains Methodist Conference unless specifically stated.

Want to submit a letter to the editor? Email Kathryn Witte at
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