Download the printable version of the June 5 issue of GPconnect.

In this edition:

Focuses on fresh starts highlight 2019 annual conference session
Meet your delegates to the 2020 General, Jurisdictional conferences
Latest storm damage highlights need for more ERTs to deploy
Summer internships begin as young people take their places in Great Plains

Friday is deadline to volunteer as clergy, candidacy mentors for 2019-20

New ministries grants available from conference; deadline is June 30
Great Plains UM Men offering workshops for small, medium churches
Registration for United Methodist Youth Institute closes Monday
We're in search of writers for our daily devotions -- would you like to help us?

Dialogue needs to increase about preventing gun violence
Resolution for Creation Care passes at Annual Conference

Kansas Area UM Foundation announces June certificate rates
GraceMed adds vision services at Topeka's Capitol Family Clinic
Council of Bishops unveils new website, 
Garrett seminary offering new certificates in five programs

When can -- and when can't -- you use YouTube videos in your worship?
UM Men encourages churches to celebrate all men this Fathers’ Day

Topeka Asbury Mount Olive UMC to celebrate its 50th anniversary
‘Godspell’ benefit performance raises more than $1,350 for UMCOR
Resendiz receives first student leadership award at Southwestern
In other news
Blogs and commentary
The week ahead


Focuses on fresh starts highlight
2019 annual conference session

With a theme of “Therefore Go: Serve Others” for the 2019 Great Plains Annual Conference, messages throughout the event, May 29-June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, focused on fresh starts — from setting priorities for ministry to starting off in ministry for newly ordained clergy to coping with unrest in The United Methodist Church amid the ongoing debate over human sexuality.

The session’s special guest was the Rev. Michael Mather, pastor of Broadway UMC in Indianapolis. He spoke about prioritizing people in ministry and emphasized the importance of reaching out to the community to better understand how to serve others.

Mather told stories about how his congregation became more vital to its community by truly getting to know the people around it and harnessing their gifts to reach even more people. In each case, Mather said, it was critical to view situations from a standpoint of abundance of what God was providing to the church and to the people around it.

The Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, provided the ordination sermon and challenged the new elders and deacons, as well as the new commissioned clergy and newly licensed local pastors, to be good shepherds of the Good Shepherd’s sheep.

In conference business, the clergy and lay members passed three resolutions linked to the outcome of the special session of General Conference earlier in 2019. Attendees also addressed clergy renewal leave, health care benefits and issues surrounding climate change.

Read a recap of the annual conference session.

Find links to videos from the conference as well as information about delegates and legislation.

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Meet your delegates to the 2020
General, Jurisdictional conferences

Some of the delegates elected last week from the Great Plains Conference are familiar faces and veterans of several General and Jurisdictional conferences. 

Others are new to the table, bringing a fresh perspective to issues discussed during the General Conference, May 5-15 in Minneapolis, and the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, July 15-18 in Houston. 

With every name listed below, we’ve linked to the profile each filled out prior to the annual conference in Topeka, listing involvement in the church; why that person believes he or she should be a candidate; their skills, knowledge and gifts; their views on where the church is being called; and the challenges and opportunities facing the United Methodist Church today. 

Representing the Great Plains clergy from May 5-15 in Minneapolis will be: 

  • Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas; Hamilton has been a delegate to the General Conference in 2016-19, 2012 and 2008, and an alternate in 2004 and 2000. 

  • Rev. Amy Lippoldt, pastor of Basehor UMC (Papillion St. Paul, beginning July 1); Lippoldt was a General Conference delegate in 2012 and 2016-19.  

  • Rev. Junius Dotson, general secretary of Discipleship Ministries; Dotson was a reserve delegate for the General Conference in 2012 and a Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 2016-19.  

  • Rev. Kalaba Chali, mercy and justice coordinator for the Great Plains Conference; although not a delegate previously, Chali served as a French interpreter for General Conferences in 2008, 2012 and 2016-19.  

  • Rev. Dee Williamston, Salina-Hays district superintendent; this is Williamston’s first time elected as a delegate.  

  • Rev. David Livingston, pastor of Lenexa St. Paul’s UMC (Fairway Old Mission UMC beginning July 1); Livingston was a General Conference delegate in 1996 and 2016-19, and a Jurisdictional alternate in 2008.  

  • Rev. Cheryl Jefferson Bell, associate pastor at Church of the Resurrection, was a General Conference delegate in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016-19, and a Jurisdictional delegate in 2000.  

 Laity chosen to represent the conference are: 

  • Oliver Green, Topeka, was a General Conference lay delegate in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016-19; he is associate conference lay leader.   

  • Lisa Maupin, Lincoln, was a General Conference lay delegate in 2016 and a Jurisdictional lay delegate in 2012; she is conference lay leader. 

  • Scott Brewer, Topeka, attended four General Conferences as agency staff, but this is his first as a delegate; Brewer is treasurer and administrative services director for the Great Plains Conference. 

  • Randall Hodgkinson, Topeka, was a Jurisdictional reserve in 2012 and a Jurisdictional delegate in 2016-19.   

  • Steve Baccus, Minneapolis, Kansas, was a lay alternate delegate in 2016-19.    

  • Dixie Brewster, Milton, Kansas, was a General Conference delegate in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016-19, and a Jurisdictional alternate in 2000. 

  • Lisa Buffum, Winfield, has been elected to her first General Conference. 

The clergy representing the Great Plains at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, July 15-18 in Houston, will be: 

  • Rev. Dr. Anne Kiome Gatobu, Kansas City District superintendent, was an alternate delegate in 2016-19.  

  • Rev. Mark Holland, Kansas City, has been a Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, and a General Conference delegate in 2016-19; he is co-founder and executive director of Mainstream UMC. 

  • Rev. Eduardo Bousson, Lincoln, is campus minister at Nebraska Wesleyan University; Bousson has served in the conference delegation in 2008, 2012 and 2016-19. 

  • Rev. Ashley Prescott Barlow-Thompson, a deacon at Wichita Calvary UMC, was a Jurisdictional delegate in 2016-19. 

  • Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, pastor at Lincoln South Gate UMC (Benson St. Paul beginning July 1), was a delegation member in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2006-19. 

  • Rev. Zach Anderson, pastor of Goodland UMC, was a 2016 General Conference clergy delegate, a 2008 lay delegate and a 2004 lay alternate.  

  • Rev. Andrew Conard, pastor of Berryton, Kansas, UMC (Topeka Susanna Wesley on July 1), is a first-time delegate. 

The laity representing the conference at the Jurisdictional Conference will be: 

  • Abigail Koech, Russell, Kansas, a recent Russell High School graduate, will attend her first General/Jurisdictional conferences; she has been district representative to annual conference for six years. 

  • Dan Entwistle, senior executive director of Church of the Resurrection, attended conferences as an observer from 2008 to 2019.   

  • Jesi Lipp, a member of Lenexa St. Paul’s UMC, has been a lay member to annual conference for 15 years, but these will be her first General/Jurisdictional conferences.   

  • Shayla Jordan, Wichita Aldersgate UMC, was a General Conference delegate in 2016-19; she just completed her first year at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.   

  • Ally Drummond, Church of the Resurrection, is a pastoral intern at the church and a former Micah Corps member, attending her first General/Jurisdictional conferences. 

  • Esther Hay, a member of Waverly UMC, was a Jurisdictional delegate in 2016-19 and was the first president of the Great Plains United Methodist Women.   

  • Joyce Jones, a member of Falls City First UMC, has been active in her local church for decades, including serving on the leadership team for the Missouri River District. These are her first General/Jurisdictional conferences. 

Clergy alternates are: 

  • Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford, who attends Lincoln Trinity UMC, is clergy recruitment and development coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. These are her first General/Jurisdictional conferences. 

  • Rev. Kurt Cooper, an ordained deacon, is campus minister at Emporia State University. These will be his first General/Jurisdictional conferences.   

  • Rev. Nathan Stanton, congregational excellence director for the Great Plains Conference, was a reserve delegate in 2012 and a jurisdictional delegate in 2016-19. 

Lay alternates are: 

  • Roy Koech, Russell, Kansas, who will begin his term as a Global Mission Fellow in Philadelphia in August. These are his first conferences. 

  • Abraham Ruffcorn, a recent Emporia State University graduate who will attend Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky this fall. This summer, he is serving the Great Plains as a pastoral intern. These are his first conferences. 

  • Charles File, Beloit, is president of the United Methodist Men for the Great Plains Conference and has held various positions for UMM in the Salina District and regionally. These are his first conferences. 

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Latest storm damage highlights
need for more ERTs to deploy

Damage from tornadoes that ripped through Douglas and Leavenworth Counties in Kansas last week have been added to the list of priorities for the Great Plains Disaster Response team, joining flooding in Kansas and Nebraska.

The Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, said there are nearly 400 ERT-trained volunteers, but that far fewer have been at work on the damage.

“We need more than our regular 25 to 30 who are so faithful to respond,” Tapley said. “They’re tired. A lot of them have literally been from Nebraska flooding to Kansas flooding to tornadoes and have not had a break. I’m really concerned about them continuing to push-push-push and continuing to be the ones responding.

“I know they’re tired,” she added. “We need more ERTs to respond.” 

Read more in this story.

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Summer internships begin as young
people take their places in Great Plains

Twenty young people, ranging from entering college freshmen to seminary students, have begun their internships with the Great Plains Conference this fall.

While some see it as a "boot camp" for their future careers, others view it as a way to get closer to God while sharing the love of Christ.

Read more about the interns.

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Clergy Excellence

Friday is deadline to volunteer as
clergy, candidacy mentors for 2019-20

Ministry does not happen alone. It happens with people — church members, other clergy and members of our community. Mentors are among the most significant influences in the life of someone discerning a call to ministry and developing effectiveness in ministry. Have you felt called to come alongside those in the beginnings of ministry? 

The primary way that the Great Plains does mentoring is in a group context. Candidacy Summit and Residency participants are assigned to mentoring groups. However, certified candidates and licensed local pastors who are required (by the Book of Discipline) to participate in mentoring are able to select their mentoring group from two options: Practice of Ministry and Preparation for Ministry. To find out more about the distinction of the two groups and other resources, visit the mentoring page here.

We are currently requesting people to serve as clergy and candidacy mentors for the 2019-2020 Conference year. Those who have completed Course of Study or are ordained as a deacon or elder are eligible to serve as a mentor. Are you interested? If so, would you consider “applying” to be a mentor. Our deadline for applying is June 7. You can register here.

Are you currently serving as a mentor and want to continue? Please register even if you are intending to continue mentoring with a current group. The application will give you a chance to identify your intention about which type of mentoring you’d be willing to do and will be used to match willing mentors with mentoring needs.

If you have questions, please contact the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford,, or 785-414-4216. 

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Equipping Disciples

New ministries grants available
from conference; deadline is June 30


Taking this summer to dream where God is calling your congregation next? Apply for these grants to help jump-start what God may be calling you to do in your community. Next round of applications will be reviewed by June 30.
Fresh Expressions Grant 
Interested in starting a Fresh Expression? Anyone is invited to apply for $500 seed money to start this movement in your area.
Network Grants
Is your network working together to reach your neighborhood and mission field? Apply for grants to help your network start social justice project, missions opportunity, education partnership, young adult initiative or community college outreach.
Urban Ministry Grant
The Urban Ministry Grant funding opportunities provided by the Great Plains Congregational Excellence department and the Great Plains Conference Board of Trustees are from the sale proceeds of properties abandoned by discontinued congregations in counties with more than 50,000 in population. Urban Ministry Grant funding is subject to availability.
Urban Ministry Grant Funds assist districts to carry out objectives of:

  1. Starting new faith communities in urban areas to reach and gather new people in new places for Bible study, outreach, community building, and worship at a site in an area approved by the district strategy team and district superintendent (¶ 259.1,2).
  2. Develop ministries with the poor that evangelize, advocate for justice, and work toward changing the community for the sake of the welfare of the people.
  3. Develop effective and sustainable ministries with existing residents or newcomers at a site in an urban area with cultural, economic, or ethnic groups different from the original or present member (¶ 212.1,2).

Email for an Urban Ministry application and more information.
Any questions or comments, email Donna Ernest, Congregational Excellence administrative assistant, at or 785-282-9111.

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Great Plains UM Men offering
workshops for small, medium churches

The men of our Conference are reaching out to the small- and medium-sized churches of the Great Plains to help create an environment that makes disciples for Jesus. They will bring three offerings to our two-state area. The plan is to continuously rotate the offerings around our area so that it is as convenient as possible for as many churches as possible to take advantage of these opportunities. The offerings will include classes on servant leadership, intentional small groups for spiritual growth, and strategic ministry planning.

The first offering is “Lead Like Jesus,” based on the book and student guide from Ken Blanchard's ministry. This offering is open to all women and men. You are encouraged to reach out and invite your secular friends who want to build their company leadership team. The class is approved as an Advance Lay Servant class and CEU credit can be arranged if anyone needs either of these. Cost is $50 and if three from a church register, the pastor can come free. Great church leadership building opportunity. The class will be held from 7-9:30 p.m. Aug. 16 and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 17 at McPherson First UMC. For more information and to register, go to the UMM page on the GP website.

The second offering is a retreat opportunity for men at Camp Fontanelle in Nebraska. This is an opportunity for the men of your church to gather together and share their common ministry experience and learn more about the small group environment that Jesus and the Wesleys used to help men grow from spiritual children to fully mature, reproducing Disciples of Jesus. Our men will gather with men from up to four annual conferences on Friday evening, Sept. 27 and all day Saturday, Sept 28. Cost is $75 including meals and lodging. For more information and to register, see this poster.

The third offering is a class on strategic mission planning. If your church has a leadership team that serves like Jesus and men who are growing as disciples, you still need a solid ministry strategy. This offering is also open to all women and men. While the material is based on Pat Morley's ministry to men, the concepts of a strategy that helps create value for people to join the ministry, that captures them in to the life of the ministry and then sustains them as they grow spiritually in and through that ministry are valid even if your ministry is human trafficking, youth, women or men. This class is also approved for Advance Lay Servant credit and CEUs. Cost is only $50 and if three from a church register, the pastor can come free. Great church leadership building opportunity. The date and location for this class has not been set yet. We are talking with churches in the KC/Topeka area.

The goal is to continue to offer these classes on a rotating basis around the Conference. If your church and men's group would like to help plan and host one of these events in the future, please contact George Houle at

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Registration for United Methodist
Youth Institute closes Monday

For more than 100 years, young people have come to Baker University in Baldwin City Kansas, to attend United Methodist Youth Institute. Institute is a week of Christian spiritual growth and faith development for high school students (incoming freshman through graduating seniors). At Institute, youth experience Christian community and are taught to receive and give care and support as modeled by Jesus Christ. Institute is intentional about making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The deadline for registration is Monday, June 10.

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We're in search of writers for our daily
devotions -- would you like to help us?

There are several openings in June to write our daily devotions! If you're interested, please sign up at this link, which includes the recommended scripture for that day (although you are welcome to go off the grid and pick your own). Writers have been clergy, laity and staff members. You don't have to have a degree in theology! All perspectives are welcome.

Does your church or your pastor already write devotions? We'd be glad to use them! Have you found old devotions in your church archives that still speak to the Great Plains today? Send them in!

For more information, contact Lisa Soukup,

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Mercy & Justice

Dialogue needs to increase
about preventing gun violence

Another tragedy happened last week with people getting killed by senseless gun violence. Prayers and loving thoughts from people around the nation are surrounding the families who lost loved ones. This is so important, but we are called to do more. The level of violence in our country does not need to be accepted as something we can’t do anything about. It has not always been this way and it doesn’t have to stay this way. Why is our nation the only developed country with such a high level of gun violence?

Visualize a row boat with just one oar, it will not go very far. We need two oars, prayer AND action.  With prayer and action under God’s guidance, we can bring about change.

Number 3428 in our 2016 Book of Resolutions, “Our Call to End Gun Violence,” reminds us that as followers of Jesus, “called to live into the reality of God’s dream of shalom as described by Micah, we must address the epidemic of gun violence so ‘that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in God’s paths.’ Therefore, we call upon United Methodists to prayerfully address gun violence in their local context.”   
This can be done in a variety of ways including the following:

  • For congregations to make preventing gun violence a regular part of our conversations and prayer times. Gun violence must be worshipfully and theologically reflected on, and we encourage United Methodist churches to frame conversations theologically by utilizing resources such as “Kingdom Dreams, Violent Realities: Reflections on Gun Violence from Micah 4:1-4” produced by the General Board of Church and Society.
  • For congregations to assist those affected by gun violence through prayer, pastoral care, creating space, and encouraging survivors to share their stories, financial assistance, and through identifying other resources in their communities as victims of gun violence and their families walk through the process of grieving and healing.
  • For individual United Methodists who own guns as hunters or collectors to safely and securely store their guns and to teach the importance of practicing gun safety.
  • For United Methodist congregations to advocate at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence. These could include universal background checks on all gun purchases, ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty, ensuring all guns are sold through licensed gun retailers, prohibiting all individuals convicted of violent crimes from purchasing a gun for a fixed time period and others.

More resources can be found here.
The prophet Micah casts a hopeful vision of the future where nations will “beat their swords into iron plows, and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Micah 4:3) Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Let us work passionately on promoting peace!

-- Andrea Paret, Great Plains Conference peace with justice coordinator

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Resolution for Creation Care
passes at Annual Conference

Just over three years ago, the Creation Care Team of Great Plains Conference was formed. Working under the auspices of the Mercy and Justice Team, our group of dedicated team members has met by conference call many times and in person on two occasions. Three of our members attended the Creation Care Summit held at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, last summer.

We fervently believe that all of us should take actions to care for this beautiful earth that has been given to us by God! “Climate change poses a … threat.” Quote from God’s Renewed Creation document by UM Council of Bishops.

Last Saturday, June 1, at Annual Conference in Topeka, a Resolution for Creation Care was presented and passed! This resolution sets forth measurable action steps to be taken. These include becoming a Great Plains Creation Care Church, becoming involved and taking actions promoted by United Methodist Women in their Be Green program, conducting an energy audit of church property, and promoting nonpartisan public policies that address reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources.

You will find more action steps included in this resolution. It is our hope and prayer that many congregations will become involved and participate. Please contact any team member to learn more. We are Carol Windrum, Tom Genung, John Martin, Lynne Hunter and myself. My email can be a contact point:

-- Eileen Sieger

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Kansas Area UM Foundation
announces June certificate rates

The Kansas Area Foundation is pleased to announce the June rates for the Certificate of Participation.

The rate for a two-year certificate is 1.75% and a one-year certificate is 1.45%. 

Through the Certificate of Participation program, the Foundation's Loan Ministry is able to provide church loans throughout our connection.

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GraceMed adds vision services
at Topeka's Capitol Family Clinic

GraceMed is pleased to announce that vision services are now available at the Capitol Family Clinic at 1400 SW Huntoon, Topeka.

The vision services are a wonderful compliment to the medical, dental and behavioral health services already available at the Capitol Family Clinic.

“Adding of vision care is an important service, especially for those with diabetes and hypertension,” stated Dave Sanford, GraceMed CEO. “Having this complimentary service means we are better able to meet the holistic needs of our patients under one roof.”

Dr. Mark Judd born and raised in northwestern Kansas. He did his undergraduate work at the Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, before attending the Oklahoma College of Optometry at Northeastern State University.

Judd has more than 20 years of experience in family practice optometry. GraceMed’s Highland Park Family Clinic, 2025 SE California, offers primary and behavioral health services and patients are referred to the Capitol Family Clinic for dental and vision care.

GraceMed welcomes anyone for care and accepts private insurance plans as well as Medicaid (KanCare) and Medicare. A sliding fee discount for those without health insurance is also available. Call 785-861-8800 to schedule an appointment for medical, dental or vision services.

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Council of Bishops unveils new

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has announced the launch of a new website dedicated to the issues and business of the 120-plus leaders, who give oversight to the denomination.

The website, , contains the biographical information of the active and retired bishops; latest news regards the COB; information about annual conference dates; and detailed information about the ecumenical work that the COB and its staff undertake on behalf of the church.

The website will be maintained by the COB staff.

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Garrett seminary offering new
certificates in five programs

Prospective students can begin applying to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s new credit-bearing certificate programs in child advocacy, Christian education, evangelism and church planting, music ministry, and spiritual formation and direction. Designed to be affordable, accessible and relevant, these are ecumenical certificates, most with a track of courses for those seeking The United Methodist Church’s professional certification.

Certificates are perfect for those interested in professional development or lifelong learning, and those wanting to “try” theological education without the larger time and financial commitments of a degree program. Courses are offered at a rate of $425 per credit hour making it the lowest credit-hour fee for a credit-bearing certificate among United Methodist seminaries.

Find out more in this brochure.

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When can -- and when can't -- you
use YouTube videos in your worship?

Todd Seifert, conference communications director, wraps up a series of his "In Layman's Terms" blogs on copyright law compliance in by looking at what you can and shouldn’t use from the popular videos website YouTube.

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UM Men encourages churches to
celebrate all men this Fathers’ Day

While some men may never have children of their own, they provide guidance to children and youth as scoutmasters, sponsors of youth organizations, big brothers in Big Brothers Big Sisters, school mentors and a score of other ways. United Methodist Men urges churches to celebrate a “Men’s Ministry Sunday” on Fathers’ Day. 

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Across the Connection

Topeka Asbury Mount Olive UMC
to celebrate its 50th anniversary

Topeka Asbury Mount Olive United Methodist Church will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a special banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 8, in the Building A Conference Center at the Washburn Institute of Technology, 5724 S.W. Huntoon. Tickets cost $25 each.

The anniversary celebration will continue on Sunday, June 9, at the church, 1196 S.W. Buchanan. Events that day will include a special anniversary service at 10:45 a.m. featuring Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., of the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church, and an anniversary service at 4 p.m. with guest speaker, the Rev. Robert Johnson of Wichita Saint Mark United Methodist Church. An anniversary musical will be staged at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 29.

For more information, call the church at 785-232-6801.

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‘Godspell’ benefit performance
raises more than $1,350 for UMCOR

A production of the musical “Godspell” last month at Wichita Chapel Hill UMC helped raise $1,352 for UMCOR.

The production was a partnership between Summit Youth Academy, KBT Studio of Performing Arts and Chapel Hill.

The cast was composed of seven high-schoolers, with college students playing Jesus and John/Judas, said Katie Banks-Todd, the show’s director.
Banks-Todd is a lifelong member of El Dorado Trinity UMC and a longtime friend of Wendy Mohler-Seib, Summit Youth Academy director. They decided UMCOR would be the best beneficiary for the second of two benefit performances.

“There were multiple highlights from the night, but one particularly fun piece was having a talk back session with the cast about their experience playing the disciples and Jesus,” Mohler-Seib said. "It was so great to hear teenagers talk about the Gospel of Matthew.”

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Resendiz receives first student
leadership award at Southwestern

Raquel Resendiz, a 2019 graduate of Southwestern College, was named the first recipient of the Dr. Dawn Pleas Student Affairs Leadership Award during Honors Convocation in April.

The Dawn Pleas Student Affairs Leadership Award celebrates a student who has been a role model on campus, regardless of whether or not they held a formal leadership position. This award is designed to promote the Southwestern College values of personal growth, responsible citizenship and leadership through service. 

Resendiz is from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and a graduate of the Lydia Patterson Institute. She graduated cum laude (with honors) with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and a minor in leadership. She was a member of Leadership Southwestern and of Interact (an international student organization) and was a resident assistant. 
“She was a great role model and very strong academically,” says Dan Falk, dean of students at Southwestern.

The award is named for Dawn Pleas, who has worked in a variety of positions related to student affairs at Southwestern and currently is the vice president for student success. Student affairs staff named the award for Pleas in honor of her 25 years of service to students at the college
Pleas was thrilled that Resendiz was chosen.

“Raquel is a phenomenal individual and I am so pleased her name is attached as the first-ever winner of this award,” Pleas says. “Eventually I feel like this award will be known as just the Pleas award, and that makes me think of my dad (Donald Pleas), and he would be so proud.”

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In other news

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Blogs and commentary

  • Women arise for better lives: The Women Arise Network uses communication strategies and technologies to reduce human suffering, improve lives and amplify women's voices around the world. “Today's technologies allow us to reach people who do not have access to radio, television or the internet,” writes the Rev. Neelley Hicks. "A simple text message can pass through these barriers." 
  • Live tomorrow’s life today: The Rev. Christopher Momany, who is leaving his post as chaplain at Adrian College, delivered this baccalaureate sermon about the importance of vision in the church and academia.

The week ahead


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