Download the printable version of the March 20 issue of GPconnect.
In this edition:
THIS WEEK'S NEWS
As historic floods strike Nebraska, Great Plains volunteers make way
New webpage focuses on recovery efforts, financial contributions
Early Response Training can help in flood recovery efforts
Guest readiness seminar is Monday in Salina; Kearney date cancelled
Saint Paul celebrates removal of sanctions, end of probation
Improper voting allegations surface from special session
Fresh Expressions Roundtables set for April in Great Plains
‘Preparing for Your Future’ seminar set for April 23-24 in Salina
Healthy Congregations retreat features Good Neighbor Experiment
Summit Youth Academy provides a week for youth to hear God's call
Fontanelle offering variety of camps; counselor positions available
Camp Fontanelle cancels Easter Family Fun Day
Early bird pricing offer ends Thursday for Resurrection conferences
Consider becoming a servant-leader, Gateway official says
MERCY & JUSTICE
Mercy & Justice department offers Social Justice Seed Money
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Baker's Kevin Hopkins looks back at Antarctica assignment
Anniversary pins, certificates available from Great West District
Blogs and opinion
The week ahead
As historic floods strike Nebraska,
Great Plains volunteers make way
Historic floods – caused by snow in the west and rains in the east – have enveloped Nebraska in the past week.
As of midday Wednesday, more than 80 percent of the state – including 77 counties, four tribal nations and more than 75 cities – have been declared disaster areas.
But as it has done in so many other disaster areas, the Great Plains
Disaster Response team is responding. The Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator, left Tuesday en route to Valley County, Nebraska, in the central part of the state.
In other flood-related news, two of Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.’s regional gatherings – Saturday in Columbus and Sunday in Omaha – have been postponed. More information will be coming on rescheduled dates.
Here are other updates from the Great Plains UMC website:
Topeka television interviews with Rev. Hollie Tapley, Great Plains disaster response coordinator:
New webpage focuses on recovery
efforts, financial contributions
If you would like to help with flood recovery efforts, please visit our website where you will learn how to make a financial contribution, take an Early Response disaster training and/or sign up to be a short-term volunteer (with on-site training):
VIDEO: Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. asks for contributions.
UMCOR is supporting the efforts of the Great Plains Conference with a $10,000 solidarity grant.
- 100 percent of your financial gift goes directly to disaster relief in Nebraska and Kansas
- All volunteers must be Safe Gatherings certified
Early Response Training can
help in flood recovery efforts
If you would like to get involved with flood recovery efforts through Great Plains Disaster Response, come to an Early Response Training this Saturday, March 23, in Waverly, Nebraska.
You will learn about the roles Early Response Teams play in the early days after a disaster:
- Providing a Christian presence, being a part of the caring ministry of “listeners”
- Take steps to prevent further damage to a family’s personal property: tarps, flood clean-out, debris removal
- Help manage donated materials, gather information, or do other things needed in the community
- Observe survivors' needs and report those to the local disaster operations
The class registration fee is $25 Learn more and register on our website.
Guest readiness seminar is Monday
in Salina; Kearney date cancelled
A guest readiness workshop, “5 Things Your Visitors are Thinking but Won’t Ask,” will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday at Salina Trinity UMC.
A previously announced workshop at Kearney First UMC has been cancelled because of the Nebraska flooding.
More information is in this downloadable brochure.
The session will be led by Jason Moore, an author, speaker and worship coach whose books include “Digital Storytellers: The Art of Communicating the Gospel in Worship,” “Design Matters: Creating Powerful Imagery for Worship” and “Taking Flight with Creativity: Worship Design Teams That Work.”
He has also designed worship alongside leaders including the Rev. Adam Hamilton and the Rev. Michael Slaughter.
Register online at this link, or by calling the conference office at 785-272-9111.
Saint Paul celebrates removal of
sanctions, end of probation
“We’re breathing a good bit easier,” Rev. Neil Blair, president of Saint Paul School of Theology, said last week after the Higher Learning Commission announced that sanctions had been lifted against the Leawood, Kansas-based seminary.
“We continue to be the seminary, hopefully, of choice in the Midwest,” Blair added.
Read more about the end of the probationary period for the seminary.
Related: A study asks if having 13 United Methodist seminaries is sustainable.
Improper voting allegations
surface from special session
In the wake of allegations of improper voting surfaced in a New York Times article last week, the General Conference Commission is looking into the matter.
The Rev. Kalaba Chali, mercy and justice coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, was working as a translator at the special session in St. Louis and said that a delegate from the Congo was not a member of a church there.
Read more from the United Methodist News Service.
Fresh Expressions Roundtables
set for April in Great Plains
Fresh Expressions Roundtables, the next step in implementing the Fresh Expressions movement in the Great Plains, will take place from April 5-8 at five locations in the conference.
The roundtables will be at:
- Derby Woodlawn UMC, 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 5
- Colby First UMC, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 6
- Lexington First UMC, 4-7 p.m. Saturday, April 6
- Omaha St. Andrew’s UMC, 2-5 p.m. Sunday, April 7
- Topeka First UMC, 6-9 p.m. Monday, April 8
The cost is $100 per participating church, with up to 15 attendees per church. Register for any of them at this link.
Fresh Expressions Roundtables serve as an opportunity for small groups from a church, denominational group or area to:
- Ask in-depth questions about the concepts, theological foundations, and the developmental process of fresh expressions
- Envision the implications of fresh expressions for their specific congregation and community
- Gain some experience with fresh expressions to get up close and personal guidance on how they take next steps on this journey
‘Preparing for Your Future’
seminar set for April 23-24 in Salina
The Great Plains Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits, along with the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, invite you to “Preparing for Your Future,” April 23-24 at Salina Trinity UMC.
All active clergy members of the United Methodist Church who are preparing for their future. Spouses are welcome.
This event is an opportunity to learn about the many benefit issues that affect your life and ministry. You will be given guidance on an active ministry to a retirement lifestyle. Caring for one’s physical, emotional, spiritual and social well-being is essential to maintaining — even improving — one’s quality of life.
For any participants who need lodging, the UMC Board of Pensions will cover the cost of the Tuesday night stay at a hotel. If you indicate on the registration form that you need lodging, the UMC Board of Pensions will make the arrangements. You will not need to make your own reservations.
The Tuesday night meal and Wednesday lunch will be provided by the Great Plains Conference Board of Pensions. Event begins at noon on Tuesday and ends after questions at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
Download the seminar brochure here for more information.
Register for “Preparing for Your Future.”
Healthy Congregations retreat
features Good Neighbor Experiment
Health is so much more than what happens in our doctor's office. The 18th annual Healthy Congregations Retreat, April 25-27, explores why factors in the places where we live, learn, work and pray are so critical to our health and wholeness -- and how local churches can improve health in both the congregation and community.
For 2019, the April 25 preretreat features the kickoff of a special new opportunity for churches to participate in the Good Neighbor Experiment curriculum from the SoCe Life Neighboring Movement team. Designed for churches and faith communities, Good Neighbor Experiment moves us from scarcity to abundance, from program to relationship, from needs to assets, and from fear to love. The curriculum is perfect for small groups, Sunday school classes, and leadership teams, working best as a coordinated effort across the congregation. In this first session, participants will learn about the curriculum and explore three key ingredients of neighboring: abundance, relationship, and joy. View a short video and learn more here.
The retreat is open to all Great Plains United Methodists, and is provided at no cost to participants through United Methodist Health Ministry Fund sponsorship. The event is held at scenic Rock Springs 4-H Center, near Junction City. Learn more and register online.
Summit Youth Academy provides a
week for youth to hear God's call
If there’s a high school sophomore or junior in your church or community who is wondering, “What is God’s purpose for my life?” “What am I called to do?” “Who am I called to be?” Nominate them for the Summit Youth Academy, July 21-27 at Southwestern College in Winfield.
The Summit is a week-long faith formation program that provides young people with the resources to hear God’s answer to these questions.Resources such as theological classes, reflections in small groups, the practice of spiritual disciplines, and a strong community of faith.
Scholarships available for Great Plains youth and churches. Visit www.summityouthacademy.org to nominate a student or to find more information about the Summit. You can also follow us on social media by searching @summitkansas on any social media platform.
Fontanelle offering variety of camps;
counselor positions available
Camp Fontanelle staff is looking forward to an exciting summer, as they share the language of peace to the 2019 campers. Whether the lessons are the African philosophy of Ubuntu (embracing community, unity and interdependence) or Shalom, God is present and affecting the lives of campers to go out into the world in peace.
Camp Fontanelle has camps for all ages including a Family Camp weekend, preschool camps and a new Advanced Survivor Camp. There are the "same ol' " camps, which are always exciting, as well as a couple other new camps.
There are still openings for female summer staff. Those interested in applying should have a passion for Christ, the ability to work long hours and a desire to help children, youth and adults learn more about their faith.
Contact Program Director Joel Coleman at email@example.com to apply. Interested candidates should be at least 19, or in their first year of college.
Camp Fontanelle is a camp for all peoples. In 2018, there were 104 United Methodist Churches represented, with at least 12 other faiths attending and also those who declare no faith base as well. Camp Fontanelle is a place for the campers to find peace in nature, peace in their soul and strength to go out into the world to face everyday challenges.
If you have been affected by the flooding and attending camp would be difficult, please contact the camp to learn about assistance.
To learn more visit here. For additional questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 402-478-4296.
Camp Fontanelle cancels
Easter Family Fun Day
Due to the damaged roads from area flooding and the continuing repair to the fire damaged 7:24 Shelter, the Camp Fontanelle staff have canceled Easter Family Fun Day, scheduled for Sunday, April 14.
"With many of the regular roads to Camp Fontanelle impassable, the staff determined that it would be better to cancel this year's event," Communications Coordinator Jane Van Horn said. "The thought of people getting lost because of the road closures is a true concern."
If there are any questions, please contact the camp at 402-478-4296.
Early bird pricing offer ends
Thursday for Resurrection conferences
Register your teams for one of two conferences hosted April 4-5 at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas: The Art of Radical Hospitality Conference and Empowered: A Model of Care. Thirty-five states are represented with over 400 participants already registered, which will make this training event a great opportunity for connection with church leaders from many contexts.
Early Bird pricing of $159 ends this Thursday, March 21.
Consider becoming a
servant-leader, Gateway official says
Ardith Davenport, lay servant ministries director for the Gateway District, says that she has been considering the role of the servant-leader recently.
“Jesus and his disciples modeled this kind of response as described in Mark 9:35-37,” Davenport writes in this Lay Servant Ministries blog. “Jesus taught about servant-leadership in this passage declaring, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be the least of all and the servant of all.’ The person who is ‘first’ is the leader. That leader must in turn serve the others. In the case of our local churches, leadership means seeing the needs and responding in Jesus’ name.”
She also encourages laity throughout the conference to consider training sessions, and links are included in the blog.
Mercy & Justice
Mercy & Justice department
offers Social Justice Seed Money
What situations do people in your community face that keep them from living a life of dignity and fulfillment? Or are there issues people in other parts of the world face that we could help alleviate by advocating and working for justice? Is your congregation or church group ready to get involved in a social justice ministry and outreach effort?
The Great Plains Conference Mercy & Justice Team is offering small seed money grants (for up to $1,000) to help with projects that address issues of social justice. Such projects look at root causes of situations of injustice and how to make positive change. Projects last year focused on predatory lending and a voter awareness/generational bridge-building/social issues awareness initiative. Other issues addressed over the years have included environmental issues, poverty, racism, and injustices migrants face. Justice-focused outreach goes beyond helping individuals by looking at structures that perpetuate societal inequities.
God wants abundant life for all of us. How can we help change unjust structures to help make this a reality?
In our United Methodist Social Creed we commit ourselves to “the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of all persons.”
Application deadlines are May 31 and Sept. 30.
More information can be found in this flier.
For the online application go to: https://www.greatplainsumc.org/justiceandadvocacy
Across the Connection
Baker's Kevin Hopkins looks
back at Antarctica assignment
“You’re truly at the bottom of the world,” the Rev. Kevin Hopkins, campus minister at Baker University, said of his recent assignment for the U.S. National Guard.
Hopkins served as chaplain at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, which houses 800 researchers with the National Science Foundation and 100 military personnel, about 800 miles from the South Pole.
He will give a presentation on his experiences Thursday at Baker’s weekly chapel service.
“I have brought back this incredible knowledge of how vast this planet is and how interconnected we all are,” Hopkins told the Baker Orange. “The scenery around the station was awesome. I saw seals and penguins daily. It was not hard to stay motivated. I had to pinch myself and say, ‘You are really in Antarctica.’”
Read more from the Baker Orange.
Anniversary pins, certificates
available from Great West District
Honor your 25-, 50-, 60- and 75-year members with a unique pin and/or distinctive two-color certificate.
The lapel pins are designed with the cross and flame emblem and the words “United Methodist Church (25, 50, 60 or 75) years” embossed around the border of the pin. The 25-year pin is a bronze-colored finish, 50-year is a gold-colored finish, 60-year is a matte nickel finish, and 75-year is a silver-colored finish. A corresponding certificate for each is also available.
Many churches use these pins and certificates to honor special members on Heritage, Laity or All Saints Sunday.
The pins, which are $4, and certificates, $1, are offered exclusively through the Great West District office and are available to all United Methodist churches across the country. Phone 308-284-8922 or email email@example.com.
- Ministry Matters, March 13, 2019
- Leading Ideas Talks, March 16, 2019
- Mission Link from Professor David Upp, March 2019
- United Methodist Now, March 18, 2019
- Nebraska United Methodist Foundation, March 2019
- 5 New Ideas from Discipleship Ministries, March 2019
- A Sermon for Every Sunday, March 19, 2019
- Safe Gatherings, March 2019
- Engage with Global Ministries, March 2019
- Leading Ideas, March 20, 2019
- Ministry Matters, March 20, 2019
Blogs and opinion
- In Layman’s Terms -- Recalling another flood from another place at another time: Communications Director Todd Seifert shares in his latest blog some tips he learned for helping flood victims from his time covering a massive flood as a journalist.
- What’s next for our UMC?: Without overlooking the obvious pain and divisions that have arisen from the 2019 General Conference, it may be time to look ahead and to ask, "What is next for our United Methodist Church?" Retired Indiana Bishop Michael J. Coyner looks to the future.
The week ahead