Download the printable version of the Nov. 7 issue of GPconnect.

In this edition:

‘Living Water. Living Well’ is theme of 2019 Orders & Fellowship gathering
November ‘Harvesting’ features Fresh Expressions, new staffers
Bishop’s town halls reach final weeks; Topeka, Parsons, Lawrence on tap 

Bishops called to use ‘scriptural imagination’ to lead church
Connectional Table leaders affirm move toward new U.S. structure
Panel discusses gauging the Way Forward’s impact on mission
Wesleyan Covenant Association plans new Methodist movement
Judicial Council sets special session prior to St. Louis conference gathering
Advance Daily Christian Advocate out Nov. 26; e-version available now

Consider your work in the world as a way to live out God’s call
Deadline nears for hybrid United Methodist studies course 

Volunteers needed to help with OneEvent gathering Jan. 5-6 in Salina
Fontanelle’s Christmas camp seeking youth, donations
Be bold, whether in politics or Christianity

United Methodists lead efforts to address housing shortage in Nebraska
Retired missionary shares her experience in Holy Land
Welcoming the stranger? What does that mean?
Global Mission Fellows Program seeks young adults

Active shooter response, church security seminar set for Wichita
Red Cross seeking clergy as spiritual care leaders

From the controller: Remittances for 2018 due on or before Jan. 8
Conference Journal has been printed, still time to order
How to increase your church’s giving in spite of the new tax law

Church of the Resurrection to host Israeli settler, Palestinian activist
Adam Hamilton talks about political split in Methodists, Americans
In other news
Giving Tuesday resources available 
Blogs and opinions
The week ahead


‘Living Water. Living Well’ is theme of 2019 Orders & Fellowship gathering

The 2019 Orders & Fellowship, the annual gathering of the clergy of the Great Plains Conference, will be Jan. 16-17, with a meet-and-greet scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15.

It is an opportunity for you to refresh and renew, drawing deep upon the Living Water of Christ, so that you may Live Well in the next season of your ministry. The event is being held at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas.

From 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, will be a time to meet and greet other clergy at Church of the Resurrection. Cookies and beverages will be provided. You can also register at this time as well as take a tour of the new worship space at COR.

Wednesday morning begins with worship and communion at 8:30 a.m. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. will bring us the word for this service. Registration will be open at 7:30 a.m.

The plenary speaker for Wednesday and Thursday is Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, associate professor of global health at Duke University and research director of the Duke Clergy Health Initiative since 2007. She co-authored “Faithful and Fractured” with Jason Byassee. The book is about pastors taking care of themselves, setting priorities so that they have the space and time to do the ministry they love, and becoming healthier and more whole, to become whom God has created.

After lunch on Wednesday you will have the opportunity to select among 11 different workshops that will explore healthier living, whether it be spiritual, emotional, physical, mental or social health. Which one most resonates with you? Which is most “outside the box” for you? Which one most speaks to your least healthy place? What do you need to pay most attention to so that you become healthier in your ministry? Pre-registration is required so that we can have adequate space for each workshop.

Wednesday ends with a time for the Order of Elders and Deacons and Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members to meet with Bishop Saenz to learn about opportunities in the conference to strengthen your congregation and the vision for 2019.

Thursday morning will end with worship to send us on our way home. Rev. Kevass Harding, Wichita Dellrose UMC, will be the preacher for this service.
Many hotel blocks are set up for the meeting that are near the Church of the Resurrection. 

To view more details about hotels, click "Lodging" on the left side of the screen. All hotel reservations must be made by Dec. 21 to receive the discounted rate.

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November ‘Harvesting’ features
Fresh Expressions, new staffers

The latest episode of "Harvesting the Great Plains" is available on our website! This month we talk about Fresh Expressions with the Rev. Nathan Stanton, director of congregational excellence, and we introduce you to two new staff members: Shane Warta, lay leadership coordinator, and Jayna McFarland, website and social media specialist.

\Titled “Harvesting the Great Plains," our monthly program draws inspiration from Mathew 9:37, which states “The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers.”

Each show features interviews with someone who is helping with the harvest so we can make more disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Some episodes feature stories about people, churches or organizations making a difference.

Watch the November episode here.

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Bishop’s town halls reach final weeks; Topeka, Parsons, Lawrence on tap 

So far, more than 3,500 people in Kansas and Nebraska have heard from Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. about the three proposed plans that will be voted upon at a special session of the General Conference in St. Louis in February.

The 15 town halls so far have brought people wanting to be informed about the three plans – One Church, Connectional and Traditional – and asking questions about them and their effects on the United Methodist Church.

Three town halls remain. At 3 p.m. Sunday, Topeka First UMC, 600 SW Topeka Blvd., will host the district session. On Saturday, Nov. 17, Wesley Parsons UMC will host the Parsons District event at 10 a.m., and Lawrence First UMC’s west campus will host the Five Rivers District meeting at 3:30 p.m.

View our photo gallery from the previous town halls.

Consult our Commission on a Way Forward page for resources, updates.

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General Conference

Bishops called to use
‘scriptural imagination’ to lead church

At a time of great stress and uncertainty in the church, Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr. urged his fellow bishops Monday to trust God and use “scriptural imagination” to lead.

Read more from the United Methodist News Service.

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Connectional Table leaders
affirm move toward new U.S. structure

Meeting this week in Atlanta, United Methodist leaders at The Connectional Table unanimously approved a move toward forming a church decision-making body that deals exclusively with U.S. matters. “There are a lot of issues we have to discuss at General Conference because the United States doesn’t have a mechanism for discussing them apart from General Conference,” said the Rev. Brian Milford, a veteran General Conference delegate. “We are trying to find a way to address that.”

Read more from the United Methodist News Service.

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Panel discusses gauging
the Way Forward’s impact on mission

No matter what next year's General Conference decides about the future of The United Methodist Church, agencies and other churchwide initiatives will feel some impact, according to discussion by a Connectional Table panel.

Read more from the United Methodist News Service.

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Wesleyan Covenant Association
plans new Methodist movement

The Wesleyan Covenant Association began working on a contingency plan for creating a new Methodist movement — in or outside the denomination – at its gathering last week in Georgia. The plan depends on decisions made at the 2019 General Conference. 

Read more from the United Methodist News Service.

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Judicial Council sets special session prior to St. Louis conference gathering

The United Methodist Judicial Council will consider five petitions deferred from its fall meeting during a Feb. 19-26 special session. The session will begin just before the denomination's special General Conference, which will meet Feb. 23-26 at the America's Center Convention Complex. 

Read more from the United Methodist News Service.

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Advance Daily Christian Advocate
out Nov. 26; e-version available now

The Advance Edition of the Daily Christian Advocate, the official journal of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, is set to be available in a bound and printed format by Nov. 26, with a PDF of the 2019 ADCA accessible online now.

The Book of Discipline requires that the ADCA be available to delegates at least 90 days before the opening day of General Conference. For the 2019 Special Session, which officially opens Feb. 24 in St. Louis, that date is Nov. 26.

Read more about ordering the Advocate.

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Clergy Excellence

Consider your work in the
world as a way to live out God’s call

Creating a Culture of Call means that the behaviors, beliefs and attitudes of your congregation/community readily support the members of the community to identify and explore a call by God to serve God as a lay, licensed or ordained person. Not everyone who feels a call will work in a church, but as everyone seeks to live out his or her faith more deeply, we pray that everyone will consider their work in the world, and even their everyday interactions with other people, to be an opportunity to live out God’s call. Check out our featured resource for November, a 15-minute video of the basics about calling: Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford presents on “The Anatomy of the Call.”
Do you know about our resources for churches and clergy to use to help people discerning God’s call in their lives? Check out our website here:

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Deadline nears for hybrid
United Methodist studies course 


After starting her job as assistant director of welcoming at First United Methodist Church Richardson, Shandon Klein often faced this question: “What makes United Methodism different from other denominations?” Having grown up an Episcopalian, Klein didn’t know how to answer, so she signed up for the United Methodist Studies course at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. There she learned the answer – and much more.

“I learned about the doctrine and the way the United Methodist Church is set up in a government type of structure,” she said. “I just learned more about my faith in the midst of that.” Klein was so inspired that she later enrolled in Perkins as a graduate student.

Applications are now being accepted for the hybrid United Methodist Studies course, which runs Jan. 3-5. The deadline for enrollment is Dec. 1. Click this link to apply.

The United Methodist Studies course offers a one-stop-shop introduction to Methodist history, theology, and polity in a hybrid format (half online and half in-class) that deepens students’ understanding of and appreciation for Methodism today. Enrolled students will be assigned work outside of the classroom, via books, articles and videos, before spending three days in a classroom setting on the campus of Southern Methodist University.
While required for students enrolled in a United Methodist Certification track, the course will also benefit employees in United Methodist local churches, teachers of United Methodist confirmation classes, and new or longtime members in United Methodist churches, according Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean for External Programs & Professor of Ministerial Studies at SMU Perkins School of Theology.

“The Wesley brothers had a very distinct theology,” she said. “This course really helps anyone to understand what Methodism is about, what the church stands for, and how our polity works.”

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Equipping Disciples

Volunteers needed to help with OneEvent gathering Jan. 5-6 in Salina

Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 5-6, is set to be an awesome weekend of spiritual growth, fellowship and fun for all the youth in the Great Plains Conference. 

The OneEvent will be held at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina, and it our hope that we rock the house with hundreds of our youth!

Expecting lots of youth calls for many, many volunteers to help make this a rich and meaningful event. 

If you would like to share your time with our youth, please sign up at  Also, be sure to follow the link to the sign-up genius to select your location and time! 

Thank you for giving of your time for the youth of the Great Plains Annual Conference. 

Check out this video promoting the 2019 OneEvent.

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Fontanelle’s Christmas camp
seeking youth, donations

It is not even Thanksgiving, yet Camp Fontanelle is already thinking about Christmas ... Christmas Camp that is. Camp Fontanelle will help bring joy and love to children/youth who are in need of blessings, Dec. 14-16.
Through a grant from the Nebraska UM Foundation, up to 40, 9- to 12-year-olds will be able to learn about Christmas, giving, receiving and sharing while they learn lessons based on the Dr. Seuss book, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

The camp is looking for children/youth who may be having struggles in their life because of financial, medical or emotional situations within their family. The weekend, costing nothing to the campers, is a chance for them to have fun, make memories and learn about the love that can be found in Jesus.

The weekend will offer fun camp activities including, hiking, group games, good food, worship, a visit from Father Christmas and maybe another guest or two! The campers will have a chance to learn about service through a project to be created and given to Crowell Memorial Home, the UM Long Term Care/Assisted Living Center in Blair. 

Christmas Camp is also a chance for individuals and groups to connect with the campers. Each camper will receive Christmas gifts that will be opened while at camp. Camp Fontanelle is looking for sponsors to adopt a camper and either purchase gifts, for a specific camper, or make a financial donation to be used towards purchasing gifts. Each child will receive clothing and a fun gift, valued at $100, based on the list received from each camper. 

This is an outreach that Camp Fontanelle is proud to offer to those in need. The camp is looking for campers and sponsors. Please contact Jane Van Horn, or 402-278-0526, with questions, or if you would like to sponsor a camper. If you know of a child/youth that would benefit from this weekend, please share the information with the family.

Find more information in this brochure.

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Be bold, whether in
politics or Christianity

During the political campaigns that culminated this week, Pat McReynolds felt pressure to judge candidates from negative comments rather than positive ones.

But McReynolds, Parsons District director of Lay Servant Ministries, noticed some parallels with politics and faith.

“In both our civic and spiritual lives, we are in control,” McReynolds writes in a blog, published before the election. “The decisions we make are not only important, but life-changing. We must have faith in the processes, both the democratic structure of our nation, and the spiritual one of our faith.”

Read McReynolds’ blog here

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Mercy & Justice

United Methodists lead efforts to address housing shortage in Nebraska

Schuyler Ministerial Association, led by a group of our United Methodist clergy and laity, approached the Rev. Lance Clay, Prairie Rivers and Elkhorn Valley district superintendent, about the need for housing for new members of the Schuyler community, mostly migrant and refugee families who were drawn to Schuyler in order to work at Cargill nearby. The Great Plains Mercy & Justice offered consultation, resources and a grant to allow the steering committee to begin their work. Two of the United Methodist leaders from the get go were Sheri Balak, lay member of Christ United Methodist Church, and the Rev. Pat Norris, United Methodist clergy. Later on, Pastor Dennis Wheeler also provided leadership for the completion of the first home.

At 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, several members of the Schuyler community came together to celebrate the completion of the first home. This home received donations from Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ, Cargill and the United Methodist Great Plains Conference. Several UM churches from the Prairie Rivers and other districts also sent volunteers to support the project. This effort brought the community together to show support and embrace their new neighbors as Leviticus 19:34 reminds us, “The stranger who lives as a foreigner with you shall be to you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you lived as foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

Yessica Marino is the beneficiary of the first home. She, her two boys and her mom are grateful to the Schuyler community and to the Great Plains Conference for making this dream a reality. In addition to the coalition of United Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Catholic, and independent Hispanic Congregations, Columbus Habitat for Humanity, initially led by another United Methodist lay person, Jamie Snyder, offered guidance to the steering committee and got the national Habitat for Humanity to approve the Schuyler pilot project.

The home was constructed by over 250 volunteers from Schuyler and the surrounding area. Marino and her family and friends also participated in the construction efforts. She is excited about the opportunity to be a home owner.

-- Rev. Kalaba Chali, mercy and justice coordinator

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Retired missionary shares
her experience in Holy Land

Retired United Methodist missionary Janet Lahr Lewis recently spoke at four locations in the Great Plains Conference, sharing her knowledge of and experiences in Israel and Palestine. 

Lewis shared information regarding the history of the “Nakba” and the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel since the United Nations decision in 1948. She told the group of many situations where the Palestinian people, children included, are harassed and arrested by the Israeli military. The most egregious events generally take place in the Old City of Hebron where Jewish Settlers are protected by the Israeli military and often children are being arrested and held without the benefit of the presence of their parents or attorneys. Also, the Palestinians within Gaza are essentially enclosed in an open-air prison which is controlled exclusively by Israel. 

Lewis explained that the situation confronting the Palestinians is much like what Apartheid in South Africa was like. Although many people who lived through the apartheid in South Africa have said that the situation for the Palestinians is even worse. At this time in history, the Palestinians are the people who are being oppressed and are having their rights according to international law violated on a regular basis by the Israeli government and the Israeli military. Christ calls us to advocate for those who do not have a voice or cannot make their voices heard. Many of the violations of the human rights of the Palestinians that are perpetrated by the Israeli military are funded by contributions made to the Israeli government by the United States. It is important for people to know that their tax money is part of what is allowing these violations to occur through our military aid to Israel. During fiscal year 2018, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $10.5 million per day in military aid and $0 in military aid to the Palestinians. She shared that one of the ways that we can help is to meet with government officials and request an end to military aid to Israel. 

Another interesting fact that is quite concerning is that the Christian population in Palestine is now only around 1 percent. The major cause of the emigration of Palestinian Christians is the occupation. It is possible that in the future, there will be even fewer Christians in Palestine, where our religion was born. 

-- Carol Ekdahl-Garwood

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Welcoming the stranger?
What does that mean?

Migrants, refugees, asylees, children of all ages, mothers, fathers, families coming from other places have been constantly in the news during the past weeks and months.

The following Bible verses from Leviticus 19: 33-34 stand for numerous others in the Bible that call us to treat the stranger and immigrant with love and dignity:

“When a stranger (immigrant) sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger (immigrant) who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers (aliens) in the land of Egypt …”

But what about our own families? What about protecting ourselves? What if I am afraid of all the changes in our communities and country and around the world?

Many of us across Nebraska and Kansas live in communities with diverse populations, some who have lived here for many years and others who are newcomers. Jesus calls us to see everybody as a child of God, of invaluable sacred worth. But how can we live this out? This is not a partisan issue, it is a humanitarian issue. We are not talking about having open borders. But we are talking about treating others as if they were part of our family.

Recently a sister of mercy working at our southern border shared about a conversation she had with a mother from Guatemala. And this is not an isolated story. There is no work in her country, no money to buy food. Gangs often kidnap children and then demand a ransom. This happened to her 10-year old son. An impossible ransom was demanded. She had no money to rescue her child. Days later, the tortured, mutilated body of her son was discovered. She grabbed her other child and fled. Are we going to turn her away?

Church members have been asking what “the church” is doing to help people fleeing violence and coming to our southern border. These people come asking for asylum according to U.S. and international law. They are not breaking the law.  This is a critical time for the church to respond and not be silent.

The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) is working closely with the Methodist Church in Mexico to see where donations can be sent to do the most good. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working to establish and provide resources for people most directly affected. The call for funds and offerings will go out soon. At the same time it is important to be in contact with our senators and representatives and let them know that we insist that we follow our own laws and allow those arriving at the border to present themselves and ask for asylum.

Other challenges are working on how best to be a force of welcome and how we can change the current narrative. The people coming are not invaders or terrorists or criminals. They are God’s beloved children, seeking asylum and safety. 

Our Great Plains Immigration Rapid Response Team works closely with GBCS. If you want more information or are interested in joining the team, please contact Sandy Sypherd ( or Andrea Paret (

-- Andrea Paret, Peace with Justice coordinator

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Global Mission Fellows
Program seeks young adults

The Global Mission Fellows Program is looking for young adults age 20-30 who are ready to answer God's call to Do Justice, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with God. With opportunities in the United States and abroad, Fellows stand alongside community organizations to work on a variety of issues such as poverty alleviation, migration, education, public health and more.

Benefits include a living stipend, relocation assistance, health insurance, housing, a service award of $1,500, and student loan deferment.

Resources are available to print, and this video gives more details.
Find more information in this brochure.

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Disaster Response

Active shooter response, church
security seminar set for Wichita

A seminar in active shooter response and church security will be from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive, Wichita.

Discussed during the seminar will be how to respond in an active shooter situation, actions taken by first responders, support after an active shooter situation, considerations on securing your church, and how one church implemented a security plan.

Speakers include Wichita Police Department detective Jason Dautrich, ATF special agent Brett Watterson, Great Plains Conference disaster response coordinator the Rev. Hollie Tapley (pictured here during an active shooter response session at Chapel Hill last year), protective security adviser Chuck Clanahan and chief security officer Galen Womack.

The seminar is free and open to people of all denominations.

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Red Cross seeking
clergy as spiritual care leaders

During times of disaster and on those days where other crisis touch the lives of all individuals, Great Plains Disaster Response is proud to stand alone side of our partner, the American Red Cross. They are currently in need of ordained clergy to serve as spiritual care leaders in times of events. If you feel called, please contact Sarah Wickham at

ERT session coming up: Saturday 12/8, First UMC Topeka. Register online at

Hurricane Michael update: The Alabama West Florida Conference, South Georgia Conference, and the Florida Conference are still working to assess all of the areas in the path of Hurricane Michael. If you have an intent to serve in one of these areas in the upcoming months, please contact me ( for more information.

--Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator

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From the controller: Remittances
for 2018 due on or before Jan. 8


All 2018 remittances must be postmarked on or before Jan. 8, 2019. Remittance sent after Jan. 1 must clearly be marked with “December 2018” if you are remitting 2018 money. Money postmarked after Jan. 8 will be considered 2019 money regardless of how the remittance is marked.
Tips for submitting final payment:

  • Verify that the total of your remittance form and the check amount agree.
  • Make check payable to Great Plains Conference and mail it along with a remittance form to P.O. Box 4837, Topeka, KS 66604. Do not include benefit payments in this mailing as they go to a different PO box.
  • If you are unable to meet the mailing deadline contact the office in Topeka (1-877-972-9111) to authorize a one-time automatic debit out of your church account. You must turn in the ACH withdrawal form no later than 10 a.m. Jan. 8 to ensure the payment is received at the bank by the deadline.

Mission Share letters for 2019 are already posted on the website at Remittance forms for 2019 will be loaded to the website January 9, 2019 after 2018 remittances close.

 -- Niki Buesing, assistant treasurer/controller

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Conference Journal has
been printed, still time to order

The 2018 Great Plains Conference Journal has been published and will eventually be in the mailboxes of those who have ordered the printed product. It’s not too late to order the directory, Volume A and B of the journal, via a special website.

On the site, you can decide how you want to purchase:

  • Directory – Features listings of churches and clergy by district, churches in alphabetical order, clergy in alphabetical order and lay members to annual conference. Cost is $13.50.
  • Volume A – Features the business conducted in the 2018 annual conference session and reports from conference staff, agencies and affiliated ministries. Cost is $24.
  • Volume B – Features statistical tables and historical records and data. Cost is $17.50.

Bundle all three for $52.
Bundle volumes A and B for $41.50.

Shipping costs may differ, depending on location.

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How to increase your church’s
giving in spite of the new tax law

Too many church leaders are operating under the assumption the new tax law will have a negative impact on giving. This doesn't have to be the case.

The new tax law provides opportunities to benefit donors and grow church giving. How? 

Click here to find out what you need to know.

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Across the Connection

Church of the Resurrection to host
Israeli settler, Palestinian activist

The Rev. Adam Hamilton and the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection would like to invite you to join them for a very special evening. At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Palestinian Shadi Abu Awwad will share a message of how they are cultivating a foundation for peace across the deepest divides, titled “Painful Hope.”
Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi and teacher, and a passionate Zionist settler who has been profoundly transformed by his friendship and interaction with local Palestinians. His understanding of the reality of the Middle East conflict and of Zionism has been utterly complicated by the parallel universe to which he has been introduced. 

Shadi Abu Awwad is the grandson, son and nephew of strong proud Palestinian leaders who were at the helm of the First Palestinian Intifada (Uprising). He grew up imbued with a deep hatred for Israelis. When still a child, his family underwent a major transformation and were among the pioneers in reaching across the divide to their Jewish neighbors to work together to create a shared vision for the future. As the Palestinian architect and coordinator of the Roots youth movement, Shadi facilitates shared encounters and experiences among Palestinian and Israeli teenagers, building a new generation of leaders who can confront the real problems between their communities while acknowledging each other's shared humanity.

Shadi and Hanan will tell their personal stories and of their efforts to build a better future for their peoples. They come with no ready peace plans in hand, but only with the conviction that human understanding and trust will be the prerequisites for lasting justice, freedom and peace on that tiny sliver of land that they both call home.

To register, go to: (There is no cost to attend this event.) Questions? contact

More information is in this brochure.

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Adam Hamilton talks about
political split in Methodists, Americans

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, talked to National Public Radio’s “1A” recently, including the topic that, according to a 2017 study, United Methodists are the nation’s most politically divided denominations, 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.

What is his plan to get people of faith thinking differently?

Listen to the 30-minute interview here.

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In other news


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Giving Tuesday resources available 

In 2017, millions of people from 150 countries raised over $300 million on Giving Tuesday. This year on Nov. 27, United Methodists will once again come together as a part of that movement to advance vital ministries around the world.

Here is a pastor and leaders kit, including video, tool kits, social media images and logos for use free of charge.

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Blogs and opinions

  • Try one of these methods for reading the Bible: Many people claim to love the Bible, but how many people have actually read it? Maybe the scriptures seem a bit intimidating? Or maybe you’re concerned you won’t understand what you’re reading? You can overcome those doubts and draw closer to God by exploring some options for reading the Bible. In his latest “In Layman’s Terms” blog, Todd Seifert, conference communications director, shares how he has read through the Bible six times – and how he is embarking on a different way of reading it on his seventh journey through the scriptures.
  • Embracing immigrants helps economy thrive: “Time and time again, I’ve witnessed just how powerful it can be for a community to embrace immigrants,” Emiliano Lereda, executive director of the Immigrant Legal Center in Omaha, writes in the Omaha World-Herald. “In my experience, the more that newcomers feel truly Nebraskan, the greater the payoff for our state’s economy. Immigrants in Nebraska, for instance, founded 40 percent of our Fortune 500 companies.” Immigrant Legal Center, formerly Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska, is partially funded by the Great Plains Conference.
  • A heavy heart in dangerous times: The latest tragedy in a house of worship continues to be disturbing to the Rev. Jeff Goetzinger, pastor of Little River and Hutchinson’s Mitchell Chapel UMC. “We should not have to worry about providing extra security in a place we go to seek peace, comfort, and spiritual guidance,” he writes in The Hutchinson News. “We should not have to provide active shooter training for our congregations. But our world is constantly changing, and these things become part of the things pastors, church, leaders, and all in the pews worry about.”

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The week ahead

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