Because of scheduling conflicts, next week's GPconnect will arrive in your email on Thursday, May 23.

The following week, we will not have a GPC on May 29, but will provide daily coverage of Annual Conference sessions from May 30 through June 1.

Download the printable version of the May 15 issue of GPconnect.

In this edition:

We're two weeks away from the start of AC2019, May 29 to June 1 in Topeka
Volunteer ERT crews continue to make difference in Kansas, Nebraska
Great Plains participants pleased with proposed updates of Social Principles
Bishops seek special offering for migrants; GC approval will be needed

Numerous events taking place surrounding AC2019 sessions

Applications open for marshals, pages at General Conference
2020 session is in search of liturgists to write prayers, calls to worship, litanies

Retirement reception for Rev. Bill Ritter scheduled for June 2
With transitions, events taking place, it’s a stressful time of year for clergy

Camp Fontanelle's corn maze this year is a salute to first responders
Camp Horizon offering arts, other specialty camps in July
Camp Horizon golf scramble set for Sept. 7 in Wichita
Camps Lakeside, Norwesca are in need of counselors, deans for summer
Worship, spiritual disciplines available for Youth at the Summit
‘Peace Works’ is theme of 2019 United Methodist Youth Institute

'God’s gonna trouble the water,' learns participant in Advocacy Days
Training sessions advocate for humane treatment of immigrants, refugees
Think of the earth as our gift from God

Kansas Area UM Foundation offering Pathways for Discipleship grants

Make sure you choose songs covered under CCLI
Check your church property with a springtime checklist
‘Get Them Talking’ is a discussion-starter for families

Staff of Methodist Kitchen in Lyons, Nebraska, hangs up its aprons  
Kansas church celebrates 10 years of Haiti missions
In other news
Blogs and opinion
The week ahead


We're two weeks away from the start of
AC2019, May 29 to June 1 in Topeka


The final deadline to register for annual conference, May 29 to June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, is Wednesday, May 22.

Watch this video invitation from Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.

Sign up to volunteer during the conference.

The conference workbook, which includes materials that will be addressed during plenary sessions, is now available for download. We ask that you print the workbook to bring with you to the event or download it to your computer or electronic device for access. Please do not plan to access it online during the event as connectivity will not always be available depending on how many people are online at the same time.

You may also request that the workbook be printed and mailed to you for a fee of $25 – and an additional $15 for the candidate profiles for the laity delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional conferences. If you are interested in this option, contact Julie Kohr or 785-414-4235 by this Friday. Workbooks will not be mailed until payment is received.

Here is the schedule for the annual conference.

View the profiles for the clergy and laity vying to be delegates in 2020.

Get more information and register for the Therefore Go 5k run/walk, at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 1, at the southwest corner of the Expocentre.

Most of the hotels with group rates for AC still have rooms available.

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Volunteer ERT crews continue to
make difference in Kansas, Nebraska

Since the March 14 flood which devastated much of the State of Nebraska, your Early Response Teams (ERT) has served faithfully to assist homeowners and communities. Fifty-seven ERTs have donated 10,332 hours (as of Monday). They have worked in 14 different counties and will continue to serve the entire state as we are called upon. Fifty-one homes have been mucked out (as of Monday), with a waiting list of around 200 in Fremont alone. There are other homes in Nebraska that I am waiting to hear a status update on from the areas we have been serving in.

The May 7 Kansas flooding deployed teams to Mulvane (shown above), Wellington, Rose Hill, Belle Plaine, Douglass, Winfield and Augusta. As of Monday, 25 ERTs have worked 700 hours in mucking out eight homes and have 13 to go, with possibly 17 others if another faith-based agency does not agree to work in them. ERTs and other volunteers can help in these areas through Saturday. Any new ERTS who have recently completed training are welcome to join us. Some UMCOR badges have arrived, but I have not been able to get the state badge. Email me,, for work this week.

Your donations to the Great Plains Disaster Fund have purchased hot water heaters, box fans, dehumidifiers, extension cords, power strips, Shockwave (treat mold), rubber gloves, biohazard suits for volunteers, wood to build a ramp up stairs to pull items out of basements, and other tools to make the jobs a little easier.

It is anticipated that the relief phase (cleaning out of homes), will continue through mid-June, as more rain is forecast. Hopefully by the middle of June we will be able to move into the recovery phase in some areas. The drying-out period is taking a long time, as the grounds are still so wet. Once the recovery phase begins, the funds you donated will assist in purchasing insulation, drywall, mud, tape, flooring, and paint. When we reach this phase, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Teams will be needed to make repairs and work on rebuilds. Continue to watch GPConnect, the conference website, Twitter and Facebook pages for announcements.

These ERTs have done terrific work and have represented you well as they serve to make a difference in the lives of these individuals. Their hard work and dedication allow me to connect with city/county officials, Emergency Managers, Red Cross and FEMA as planning for long term needs are being put into place. All these agencies are just like us United Methodists, we must have a series of meetings to accomplish anything! Recovery is going to be long – a process that is going to take patience and understanding. Please continue to lift our neighbors in Nebraska in your prayers. Pray for your ERT’s – for strength and safety while they are working.

We are Responding Together!

-- Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator

VIDEO: KAKE in Wichita does a story on the volunteers in Douglass and what they mean to one homeowner.

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Great Plains participants pleased with
proposed updates of Social Principles

The Rev. Cindy Karges says that being a part of the team tasked with updating the United Methodist Social Principles has been monumental in her career.

“It was probably one of the most meaningful experiences of my 30-some years of being in pastoral ministry and in my whole life of being a United Methodist,” said Karges, Gateway and Great West districts superintendent.

The Church and Society Board approved the revisions of the Social Principles, which hadn’t been updated since they were completed in 1972, four years after the merger of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches.

“I think it’s a great document,” Karges said. “I think it speaks to who we are as United Methodists globally with the parts that were added onto it since ’72.”

Read more about the contributions made by Great Plains participants.

ASK THE UMC: Why do we need Social Principles? Where did they come from?: The Methodist Social Creed, predecessor to the Social Principles, originated over a century ago to express concern over the exploitation of millions of workers.

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Bishops seek special offering for migrants; GC approval will be needed

With more people on the move globally than ever before, the Council of Bishops is urging extra support for The United Methodist Church's work with migrants. The kind of support bishops have in mind will require approval from General Conference and other church decision-makers. 

Read more from United Methodist News Service.

Also from the Council of Bishops:

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Annual Conference

Numerous events taking place
surrounding AC2019 sessions

Click on screen above for a video preview of the conference.

Black pastors, laity to gather May 30

A gathering of black pastors and laity and their families in the Great Plains Conference will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Asbury Mount Olive United Methodist Church, 1196 SW Buchanan, Topeka.

The evening will include a catered meal and time of fellowship and praise.

The cost is $12 for adults and $6 for 10 years and younger, payable to the Salina District Office, 100 E. Claflin Ave., KWU Box 101, Salina, KS 67401. The meal is not part of the Annual Conference registration.

Burton to speak at Mission Lunch

The Rev. Darryl Burton, an associate pastor at Church of the Resurrection and founder of Miracle of Innocence, will speak at the Mission Lunch at noon Thursday, May 30. Burton was wrongly convicted of murder in 1984, and proven innocent and exonerated in 2008.

The final deadline to register for meals is May 22.

UMCOR truck ready to be filled May 29-30

The UMCOR truck will be at Annual Conference this year, available from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 30.

The truck is only to include cleaning kits, hygiene kits and school kits.

Youth invited to get involved at AC2019

Annual Conference is an amazing way for churches and districts to involve their youth at the Conference level. There are countless opportunities for youth to take part, even if they are not voting members or do not typically engage in GPAC activities.

For more information, visit to learn more about how youth can get involved. 

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General Conference

Applications open for marshals,
pages at General Conference

Beginning today, United Methodists may apply online to serve as volunteer marshals or pages during The United Methodist Church’s 2020 General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative assembly will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis.
Approximately 175 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during General Conference.
Marshals are responsible for assisting visitors and special guests in the visitor and reserved seating galleries, checking credentials to make sure that only authorized persons are admitted to the bar of the conference or that of legislative committees, and other duties as assigned.
Pages assist delegates, secretarial staff, bishops, members of the Judicial Council and official visitors. They also distribute approved materials and deliver printed information.
Marshals and pages are responsible for their expenses (travel, food, lodging, etc.). Those interested should submit an online application before the deadline of July 31. Preference will be given to applicants who can serve throughout the entire conference.

If you have additional questions, contact David Atkinson at

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2020 session is in search of liturgists to
write prayers, calls to worship, litanies

The 2020 General Conference worship design team invites United Methodists to take an active role in the worship experience at the denomination’s quadrennial event as it seeks individuals to write liturgy, including prayers, calls to worship and litanies. The denomination’s top legislative assembly is set to meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis.

To apply for the opportunity to write or provide original liturgy for General Conference, individuals are asked to submit a letter of application that includes the following: a sample of liturgy that includes a five-minute devotion, a call to worship, and a prayer of confession all based on Philippians 3:14, along with the name of the writer, email address, phone number, and local church name.

Applications should be emailed to Application deadline is Aug. 1.

Read more here.

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Clergy Excellence

Retirement reception for
Rev. Bill Ritter scheduled for June 2

An afternoon of stories and songs to celebrate the retirement of Rev. Bill Ritter, Blue River District superintendent, will be from noon to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 2, at Lincoln First UMC, 2723 N. 50th St.

Guests are asked to park in the Nebraska Wesleyan University lots. Reception will be in the sanctuary, with refreshments in the west vestry.

Please RSVP to administrative assistant Pam Savery at or 785-414-4228 by Monday, May 27.

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With transitions, events taking place,
it’s a stressful time of year for clergy


  • End of the school year activities are terrific and overwhelming
  • Annual Conference is coming, and I will have to be away from parish duties
  • Summer is coming, and I worry about church attendance numbers and finances
  • People are graduating, moving, leaving, transitioning
  • I have so many things on my to-do list that I'm not sure where to start
  • I am getting ready to move
  • People in my church are arguing
  • People in my church are grieving, struggling, trying to hang onto something
  • I'm tired, burned out, overwhelmed
  • I don't have time or am not taking the time to do that which I know I need to do to grow closer to God and tend to my own physical, emotional, and spiritual health

In addition to amazing and incredible things going on for pastors, this is a list of a few of the burdens that clergy of the Great Plains Conference have shared with me over the last few weeks that are on their hearts and minds. I wonder, as we prepare to gather as the Great Plains Annual Conference, how we might be able to pray for ourselves and one another regarding the joys and struggles that each of us will be carrying as we gather.

John Wesley called prayer “the grand means of drawing near to God.”  He was diligent in spending at least two hours every day in fervent prayer.  Prayer can help us turn our fear, worry, anxiety, struggles, and burdens into faith which can heal us.  Healing faith can transform us personally and collectively.  

I invite you to meditate on your own life and ministry, and reflect upon these words from Philippians 4:6-7: 

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

May it be so.

-- Grace and peace,
Rev. Shelly Petz
Clergy Faith and Wellness

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Equipping Disciples

Camp Fontanelle's corn maze this
year is a salute to first responders

Camp Fontanelle is proud to announce that the corn maze design for 2019 will honor the first responders who selflessly gives of themselves to keep us all safe.

Especially this year, with the flooding that impacted so many, it seemed the perfect design for our corn maze season.

An added bonus is that Camp Fontanelle has chosen UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) to receive a percentage of the entrance ticket sales to help them to continue the boots on the ground work they do to help in disaster relief all across the country and the world. They were in Nebraska within days of the initial flooding. Their commitment to helping others is a worthy cause to support. They will continue to be in the area as it is needed.

Please look for more information about the corn maze and Camp Fontanelle's fall programming later in the summer.

Since 2007, Camp Fontanelle has been providing a place for friends and families to go, in the fall. The corn maze and pumpkin patch has become a place where memories are made and great fun is had by all.

If you have not visited Camp Fontanelle in the fall, consider coming out this year and supporting two fundraisers -- one for the camp and one for UMCOR.

There is something for everyone at the pumpkin patch and corn maze at Camp Fontanelle. Questions? Call 402-478-4296 or email

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Camp Horizon offering arts,
other specialty camps in July

Camp Horizon, near Arkansas City, Kansas, will offer a week of specialty camps from July 22-26.

The week includes a camp specifically for art, led by Art Towne of Mulvane, Kansas. Each camper will create a final piece of art that will stay at Horizon and be displayed for the upcoming year. Painting, Photography, Calligraphy, Creating, Building and all other forms of art were originally created in us as a form of worship. This week of camp will be all about creative freedom as we learn to pour our hearts into everything we do for the glory of God. This camp is for Grades 9-12.

Other specialty camps being offered that week:

  • Science Camp: 6-9th Grade - Led by Bob Morgan, Henry Weiner is returning for this week.
  • Performing Arts Camp: 6-12th Grade - Led by Jordan Suhler
  • Sports Camp JV & Varsity: 6-12th Grade - Old Camp with a new Twist
  • Wilderness Adventure Camp: 7-12th Grade - Canoe Camp and Survivor Camp have combined for a new adventure. Landon Harvey and Paige Gumpenberger are returning for this one.

Register at

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Camp Horizon golf scramble
set for Sept. 7 in Wichita

Camp Horizon’s annual golf scramble is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at Auburn Hills Golf Course in Wichita.

Proceeds will help purchase a “like new” truck for the camp.

The four-person scramble is limited to the first 18 teams. The entry fee is $95 per person, $380 per team, which includes greens fee and cart, two mulligans, range balls and lunch, plus a free round of golf at Auburn Hills.

Prizes will be given for men’s and women’s longest drive, longest putt, and closest to the pin. There will also be a hole in one contest, and two par-five events with the first shot a 300-year given drive.

There also will be a cash-back skins game for $20 per team.

A traveling trophy is awarded to the low-net church team.

Make checks payable to Camp Horizon, with Golf scramble in the memo line. The entry form is available here, as well as sponsorship information.

Mail the form to Larry Harris, 6504 W. Mirabella, Wichita, KS 67205. Enjoy these facts about Camp Horizon.

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Camps Lakeside, Norwesca are in
need of counselors, deans for summer

Two camps in the Great Plains Conference are in need of personnel for the summer.

Camp Lakeside, near Scott City, Kansas, needs two male counselors 18 years or older.

Lakeside and Camp Norwesca, near Chadron, Nebraska, both could use volunteers for the summer to serve as deans of the camps. Deans help provide support to staff during worship, prayer, and possibly some activities if the dean is gifted in a certain area. 

Contact the camps directly for more information. Lakeside’s phone number is 620-872-2021; Norwesca is 308-432-3872.

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Worship, spiritual disciplines
available for Youth at the Summit

The Summit Youth Academy, July 21-27 at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, is a week-long faith formation program for high school sophomores and juniors dedicated to helping students hear and respond to God’s voice in their everyday lives. Worship is one of the ways in which the Summit accomplishes this!
Throughout the week, students will also learn to worship God through different unconventional practices such as devotional reading, communal prayer, acts of service, and even play. Emma Turner has participated in the Summit for two consecutive years and she describes the worship time at Summit as “a new way to feel God’s presence which I’ve never felt before.”
If there is a high school student in your church who desires to join us in a week of enthusiastic worship with other young people their age, nominate them for the Summit!
Hear more testimonies of Summit participants or nominate a student at . We are also available on social media by searching @summitkansas on any social media platform.

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‘Peace Works’ is theme of
2019 United Methodist Youth Institute

For more than 100 years, young people have been coming to the Baker University campus for United Methodist Youth Institute.

UMY Institute is a great week of spiritual growth and faith formation. The theme this summer is "Peace Works" and our week of camp is June 24-29. Youth who have completed the 8th grade through high school seniors who have graduated are eligible to attend.

Spend a week of your summer making new friends, connecting with Christ, and living in an intentional Christian community.  UMY Institute has awesome small groups, powerful worship services, and great youth and adult leaders. Come check it out this summer! Your UMY Institute journey begins by registering at: Registration closes Monday, June 10.

Watch a video about UMY Institute.

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Mercy & Justice

'God’s gonna trouble the water,'
learns participant in Advocacy Days

Wade in the water,
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water
Valecia Scribner, director of discipleship at El Dorado First UMC in Kansas, shares about her experiences at Ecumenical Advocacy Days in April. Offerings from Peace with Justice Sunday made scholarships for this event possible.  The suggested date to celebrate the 2019 Peace with Justice Sunday is June 16. For resources go to this link.
“I had the privilege of attending Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington D.C., this spring thanks to a scholarship from the Great Plains Peace with Justice Ministries. The entire conference helped me develop a greater understanding of what it means to advocate with marginalized groups and of the various issues people of faith are working on within our government entities. It was refreshing to see so many Jesus followers living out the belief that our faith must compel us to act in this world to bring about God’s kin-dom. 
“One of the most helpful sessions focused on training us to find our own personal story in the midst of what we were advocating for so we can connect with our audience as people. The more a meeting connects the parties in shared humanity, the more effective a meeting can be. One of the issues we were advocating for was the protection of voting rights. At first, I had difficulty seeing how my personal story was connected to this issue (which I recognize is an admission of privilege). Upon reflection, however, I realized I had an experience when I was a new mother. My husband and I were both working full time and were trying to juggle parenting, jobs and getting to the polls. Despite my privilege, I didn’t make it on time to vote that year. Restrictive voting affected me personally, and my advocacy benefitted from sharing my own personal narrative.
“In addition to meeting with the staff of our Kansas senators and representatives, the entire conference decided to let Sen. Mitch McConnell, the floor leader of the senate, know that we were there through signed petitions, personal notes and a prayer vigil requesting that he bring the Voters Rights Act to the floor in the senate. Basically, we rotated through his office all day praying out loud in his lobby area that he would be moved to see justice done. My 10 minutes were shared with six other people, and there weren’t enough chairs in the waiting area to accommodate that many people. So, we sat on the floor, sit-in style, and peacefully did our thing!  It was powerful; that simple act forged a connection between our group and all the social justice warriors of the past, relentlessly and lovingly pursuing justice.
“Like everything else in ministry, I learned that advocacy is all about relationships. Advocating with and not for a marginalized group tips the power balance toward justice. The role of allies is often to support and sometimes protect, but seldom lead. Forming relationships with people in power, who we might often disagree with, is also key to effective advocacy. Breaking down an us vs. them mentality while steadfastly seeking justice is difficult but necessary for transformation to occur. It is hard, frustrating work but the work of every faithful disciple to engage with power structures for the betterment of all Gods’ children. Peaceful water might feel good; the absence of conflict is much more comfortable, so we tend to want to ‘live’ there. But troubled waters change and transform; they move and progress. As disciples, we wade into those troubled waters to create real peace, Peace with Justice. That is infinitely better.”

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Training sessions advocate for humane treatment of immigrants, refugees

“This has been one of the most helpful trainings we have had,” said Deb Brummund, one of the two clinic coordinators for the monthly clinics that Immigrant Legal Center (formerly Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska) offers at Grand Island Trinity UMC. “The presenters were so knowledgeable, enthusiastic and genuine.” In interactions with people in her community, Brummund heard positive feedback from others who had attended.

In April, two trainings were offered in our conference on “Faith Communities as Sanctuary: Standing with Migrants for Justice.” Rebecca Cole, director of organizing at the General Board of Church and Society, and Jennie Belle, immigration and refugee advocacy team at Church World Service, were the main presenters. Cole explored the many stories in the bible about sojourners, migrants and refugees with the participants. Noah and his family had to flee because of the flood, Jacob and his family fled to Egypt to escape a famine, the big exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, these are just some examples. And in the New Testament we have Jesus and his family fleeing to escape death. The question was then posed of how we should treat the sojourner in our midst. Numerous scriptures call us to treat the migrant among us as one of us. Exodus 22: 21 is one of them: “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Belle works with churches across the nation who are housing people living in sanctuary. At the time of the training, there were 47 people publicly living in sanctuary. There are others where the decision is made to not go public. Several United Methodist Churches are among those offering physical sanctuary. Participants explored how a congregation might prepare and decide to offer physical sanctuary. At the 2018 Annual Conference, a resolution was passed saying that we in the Great Plains conference will support churches who decide to offer sanctuary (The Call to Offer Sanctuary).

Not every church is able to offer physical sanctuary. There are other possibilities to support immigrants, refugees, and asylees including donating funds to organizations offering legal help to immigrants, organizing Know Your Rights trainings for immigrants, accompanying immigrants to their check-ins with ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), or regularly being in contact with our senators and representatives to advocate for better and more humane laws. Educating the general public through Immigration 101 workshops is also important since there is so much misinformation in the media. Annie Waxman López, an attorney with Immigrant Legal Center, shared information about our current immigration system with the participants in Grand Island. Our current immigration laws date back several decades and are outdated. For the majority of immigrants there is no legal pathway to follow to become documented.

Kathleen Grant is a member of the Omaha Area Sanctuary Network, an interdenominational group developed out of trainings organized by our Great Plains Immigration Task Force and GBCS. Members of this group regularly accompany immigrants to their court hearings and offer other support in a variety of ways. “The presentations were wonderful. The biblical grounding of Sanctuary was very helpful. I also really appreciated the notion of expanding ‘Sanctuary’ to supporting those seeking asylum until their cases are adjudicated.”

June 20 is World Refugee Day. Consider observing this day being thankful that we do not have to flee and thankful for all the many contributions refugees have and are making in our communities.

For stories of immigrants, go here. To learn more or become involved in what United Methodists in the Great Plains Conference are doing in support of immigrants, please contact Sandy Sypherd or Andrea Paret

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Think of the earth
as our gift from God

This year marked the 50th celebration of Earth Day!! The first year was 1970 and it has continued ever since. The United Methodist Church has long designated one Sunday in April as the Festival of God’s Creation.

In this crucial time of the ever-present threats to our world and to our lives by climate change, may we be newly resolved to take healing steps ourselves. We must also use our voices to encourage others to protect and take care of our ailing earth.

As I delivered the children’s sermon on a recent Sunday, I placed a globe in a box and wrapped it as a gift. I invited two children to unwrap God’s gift to us -- the earth! And I told them that we must care for God’s gift as God has charged us to do in scripture. God made the earth and entrusted us “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

-- Eileen Sieger
Great Plains Creation Care Team

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Kansas Area UM Foundation offering Pathways for Discipleship grants

Through generous gifts, the Kansas Area Foundation will offer grant applications at Annual Conference to help change lives across Kansas. Churches are invited to apply for a one-time matching grant of up to $1,000. Applications are due to the foundation by Sept. 1. 

“I am excited the foundation is offering these grants to be a catalyst to change lives across the connection,” Rev. Dr. Dustin Petz, president and CEO of the Foundation, said. “The vision of these Pathways for Discipleship is to help churches have the resources needed to do the ministries God is calling them to do. We believe we will help make disciples, launch new programs, and transform communities.” 

The grants are from the Pathways for Discipleship funds at the foundation. Grants will provide matching funds for new money raised to support three key areas in the church. 

The first area is ministry and outreach grants to expand the missional outreach of the church through programming, outreach ministries and mission trips. Brick and mortar requests will not be accepted. 

Secondly, grants will be provided for children and youth programs. The grant can be used for all aspects of programming from children to young adults. 

Lastly, the leadership education grants help support continuing education for clergy and laity serving local congregations. The grants may also assist in leadership development programs or local church laity to strengthen their knowledge and service of the church as a whole.

To learn more about the Pathways for Discipleship grant opportunities please visit

Grant applications will be available at the Foundation’s booth at Annual Conference and on the foundation’s website beginning May 29. Only one grant application per church will be accepted. If you have any questions, please contact the foundation at 620-664-9623 or email

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Make sure you choose
songs covered under CCLI


In his blog, “In Layman’s Terms,” Todd Seifert, communications director, continues his series on CCLI to help you ensure your church is protected from any legal issues surrounding use of copyrighted materials.

In this second installment, he explains how to check that a song is covered and how to obtain the copyright information for the beginning or end of your song’s slide.

Read the blog.

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Check your church property
with a springtime checklist

Have you walked around your church property yet to make sure everything is in working order after the harsh winter and sometimes horrific spring weather? Here is a spring checklist from United Methodist Insurance to ensure that your church is in good condition.

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‘Get Them Talking’ is
a discussion-starter for families

“Get Them Talking” is a series of resources to help families start conversations about faith during dinner, devotions or anytime. 

Each month, highlights a relevant topic and offer a Bible passage, a short reflection, some starter questions, a prayer, and an activity to help live into what we talk about. We designed these to be used daily or weekly throughout the month. 

Imagine what your family will learn about God, the church, and each other when you get them talking!

Check it out.

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Across the Connection

Staff of Methodist Kitchen in
Lyons, Nebraska, hangs up its aprons  

The Methodist Kitchen has been feeding Burt County, Nebraska, fairgoers since 1945. Overall, it has been a "wonderful experience," says Bev Preston of Memorial United Methodist Church, "but times change and things evolve." Jessica Crimmins reports and took this photo for the Lyons Mirror-Sun and Oakland Independent.

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Kansas church celebrates
10 years of Haiti missions

Grandview United Methodist Church of rural Winfield, Kansas, is hosting a celebration of its missions in the Caribbean country of Haiti. This celebration will be an extended Sunday service at 9:30 a.m. June 2. A spaghetti meal will be served at noon. The community is invited to share the celebration.

Ten years ago, with the encouragement of Pastor Samuel Lee and a boost of faith, several members of Grandview UMC departed to build more classrooms at Bigarrouse Orphanage (typically called Big House Orphanage) near Les Cayes, Haiti. That which was initially intended to be a mission to build a church in a third world country was divinely redirected to Bigarrouse Orphanage.

Over the years, that first mission trip developed into relationships with the Haitian people that have continued today. With the help of the Winfield area community and many other donors, Grandview has returned many times to Big House to build classrooms and a kitchen, provided care assistance and clothing to the orphans and installed a solar-powered clean water system. Additional solar-powered clean water systems were also built in various other locations in Haiti.

Recently Grandview provided support to an agricultural group named PHF (Planting for Hope and Future). PHF has been assisted by H4H (Harvesting for Haiti), a U.S. organization based in Ohio. PHF has been purchasing farmland to produce crops to help feed the people, provide jobs and show farmers efficient and sustainable agricultural techniques. Grandview and the Sunflower Parish have continued to support PHF.

These mission trips have been life-changing for those who have travelled and for those who have provided support. The joy, the sadness and the fellowship shared with the Haitian people have continued to be a part of the lives of those that participated. The rewards are not just the completed projects worked on in Haiti, but the relationships that developed. The Haitians received some needed help, but the mission teams and those that supported them have received much more in grace and peace. Thank you, Haiti!

The photo shows PHF team members, from left, Frantz Girodier, Rochelin Forzene, Frantz Dorcel Ady and Naive Augustave.

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In other news

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Blogs and opinion

  • More than a game: Dream League in Sugar Land, Texas, provides those with special needs a chance to play baseball. The Rev. Chappell Temple believes that sponsoring a Dream League team is one of the best things his church does, creating a “beloved community” and offering theological insights.
  • Answering God’s call: The Rev. Kim Cape, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, challenges believers with some questions aimed at exposing thinking that reduces God to fit into human parameters.
  • A missionary once again: The Rev. Wes Magruder was a United Methodist missionary in Cameroon early in his career. Now, after a long stint serving local churches in North Texas, he and his wife are returning to the African mission field. In an essay, he reflects on his decision and on the need for all Christians to be "boundary-crossers" in sharing the good news.

The week ahead


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