Download the printable version of the January 22 issue of GPconnect.
In this edition:
THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Clergy take their first steps into ABCD at Orders & Fellowship
Bishop discusses protocol proposal with clergy during Orders & Fellowship
Legislative briefing days announced for Nebraska, Kansas
Western Kansas churches raise money to erase school lunch debt
Lydia Patterson Institute makes dreams come true for young students
Advance Daily Christian Advocate available for order or online PDF
5 Day Academy scheduled for April 19-24 at St. Benedict Center
'Preparing for Your Future' seminar is April 20-22 in Salina
Readiness 360 surveys of congregational abundance are available
Men’s ministry retreat welcome to women as well
MERCY & JUSTICE
Kansas, Nebraska will continue to welcome refugees
A Lenten calendar for Creation Care gives prayer, ideas for action
IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2020
Ethnic leadership grants are available from GBHEM
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Wichita Chapel Hill hosts Martin Luther King Jr. celebration
Wichita St. Paul’s traditional chicken noodle dinner is this weekend
In other news
Blogs and commentaries
The week ahead
Clergy take their first steps into
ABCD at Orders & Fellowship
Clergy from across the Great Plains Conference got themselves familiarized with Asset-Based Community Development, or ABCD, during this year's Orders & Fellowship gathering, last week at Lincoln St. Mark's UMC.
Speakers who have had successful launches of ABCD spoke to the clergy, talking about their experiences and giving advice on how it could work in large and small churches.
Read a recap here.
View our O&F photo album.
Find ABCD resources on our web page. For more information, contact your network leader, district strategy team or district superintendent.
Related story: Rev. Adam Barlow-Thompson preaches on the power of neighboring.
Videos of the sessions in the St. Mark's sanctuary should be available in the next week to 10 days.
Bishop discusses protocol proposal
with clergy during Orders & Fellowship
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. told clergy at Orders & Fellowship last week that he welcomed the protocol plan that was announced earlier this month.
“It was a release and a relief that the church doesn’t have hold its breath for the next four months” until the General Conference, May 5-15 in Minneapolis, the bishop told clergy.
Read more about his discussion.
Watch the bishop's video about the protocol and download a PDF version.
Legislative briefing days
announced for Nebraska, Kansas
Dates for the annual legislative events in Nebraska and Kansas have been set.
The Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day in Nebraska will be Saturday, Feb. 8, at Lincoln Christ UMC.
In Kansas, the Legislative Event for Advocacy in Faith, or LEAF, is Feb. 16-17 at Topeka First UMC.
The Nebraska event is sponsored by United Methodist Women and Church Women United and includes morning worship, a choice of three workshops out of nine offered, luncheon, and an afternoon session on “Advocacy: How the Legislature Works and Why and How to Communicate with Your State Senator.” Workshop topics include breaking news, criminal justice, education, immigration, mental health, opioids, racial justice, and water issues.
Registration fee is $20 ($25 after Feb. 5) and free childcare is available if you register no later than today. Register at this link.
LEAF, co-sponsored by Great Plains United Methodist Women and Church Women United, will feature Ernestine Krehbiel, a former Outstanding American History Teacher and current member of the Wichita Board of Education; and the Rev. Darryl Burton, a pastor at Church of the Resurrection called the “Miracle Man,” wrongly convicted of murder and released from prison in 2008 after serving 24 years.
Workshops include faith in action, the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature, National Alliance on Mental Illness, school to prison pipeline and Alliance for a Healthy Kansas.
Although it is co-sponsored by Great Plains UMW, men are welcome as well. There is also a half-price discount for students -- register at this link.
Western Kansas churches raise
money to erase school lunch debt
Through fundraising efforts including a soup supper and a Christmas Eve offering, three churches in Western Kansas successfully erased the school lunch debt from four school districts.
“It was something we couldn’t do ourselves, but it gave us the opportunity to educate our church community about the need and what’s really going on,” the Rev. Patrick Broz, pastor at Colby UMC, said.
Read more about it here.
Lydia Patterson Institute makes
dreams come true for young students
Seventy percent of the students attending the Lydia Patterson Institute, a United Methodist college-preparatory school in El Paso, Texas, are from Mexico and work for scholarships. Ruth Moreno gets up at 4:30 a.m. to start a journey that can take from one to four hours. "Lydia Patterson helps you with your dreams," says the high school senior.
Read more about Lydia Patterson, funded by the South Central Jurisdiction, including the Great Plains Conference.
Advance Daily Christian Advocate
available for order or online PDF
The Advance Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA), which contains the agenda, rules, delegate listings, petitions, reports from the general agencies/commissions and study committees for the 2020 General Conference, as well as information for delegates and codes of conduct, is now available.
The official written languages of the General Conference for publication of the Advance edition include English, French, Kiswahili and Portuguese. Bound printed volumes of the ADCA may be purchased from Cokesbury. PDF versions are provided at the link above for your convenience.
5 Day Academy scheduled for
April 19-24 at St. Benedict Center
The 5 Day Academy for Spiritual Formation is scheduled for April 19-24 at the St. Benedict Center near Schuyler, Nebraska.
The retreat is for lay and clergy persons of all denominations who hunger for spiritual growth; a time for celebrating holistic spirituality renewing body mind and soul; a time for learning new ways to deepen our relationship with God and to live as faithful servants of God’s love in the world; a time for sharing morning and night prayers, evening Eucharist and silence all of which set the rhythm of the week; a time to be informed, nurtured, sustained and empowered by God’s Spirit for Christian discipleship in the world.
More information is available in this brochure.
'Preparing for Your Future'
seminar is April 20-22 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 20-22 at Salina Trinity UMC.
For any participants who need lodging, the UMC Board of Pensions will cover the cost of the Monday and Tuesday 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 Monday night meal, Tuesday lunch and dinner will be provided by the Great Plains Conference Board of Pensions. The event begins at noon Monday and ends at noon Wednesday.
Download the seminar brochure here for more information.
Register for “Preparing for Your Future.”
Readiness 360 surveys of congregational abundance are available
At Orders & Fellowship, the annual gathering of clergy in the Great Plains, 107 churches signed up to complete Readiness 360 Survey this year! The Readiness 360 Survey takes a snapshot on the congregation’s abundance in dynamic relationships, spiritual intensity, missional alignment and cultural openness.
The churches can take the survey any time during the year and will receive free coaching to interpret the results and discern next steps in ministry. The congregation can take the survey in a timeframe of 3-4 weeks. We can close the survey and set you up with a coach to help interpret the results and next steps. There is no cost to the church for these resources. We look forward to hearing how the Spirit moves and how this resource may help discern the congregation’s next faithful steps in ministry.
If you would like your church to participate in this survey and movement, contact your district superintendent to get set up today.
Men’s ministry retreat
welcome to women as well
When Phillip shares with Nathanael that they have found “him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth.” Nathanael responds, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1: 45-46.
Thankfully, Nathanael overcomes his prejudice and skepticism and does go and see and, as we say, you know the rest of the story. Nathanael becomes a disciple of Jesus and is selected as one of the twelve Apostles by Jesus. What has this story to do with a class on strategic ministry planning? Well, if you are like me and Nathanael, I sometimes let my prejudice, my bias, impact my decisions. Sometimes I never get past the title of a class and decide “this is just not for me.” Our prayer is that you will not let the title “Understanding Men’s Ministry” stop you from attending this class, Feb. 21-22 at Bonner Springs UMC. Yes, it was developed by and is sponsored by men’s ministry. However, the concepts of planning a ministry based on a vision of creating value for women and men to become engaged in that ministry, capturing them into the life of the ministry and then helping them grow spiritually is valuable to women and men in every form of ministry at your church.
Women and men who have attended this class have gone home with the basics for building a stronger ministry.
Pastors encourage the women and men who lead the ministry in your church to come and spend time learning tools and developing a strategy for more successful ministry. Send your leadership team on a planning retreat. CEU credits are available.
Click on this link to register or get more information or contact George Houle at email@example.com.
Mercy & Justice
Kansas, Nebraska will
continue to welcome refugees
We are extremely thankful to all who wrote letters, made phone calls, sent emails and visited the offices of the governors of Kansas and Nebraska as well as other state officials urging our governors to send a letter to President Trump indicating that our states want to continue to welcome refugees and help them resettle. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly sent a letter in early December and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts did so later in December. This was necessary because of a new regulation which went into effect on Dec. 25 stating that refugees will only get resettled in states where the governors indicate their willingness to do so.
United Methodists across our conference joined with many others in advocating for this. The timing was especially meaningful at a time of celebrating Christmas and remembering Jesus’ parents fleeing their home country to protect Jesus from death. Students and staff at Creighton University in Omaha were among many who took action with a total of 90 personal letters sent to Gov. Ricketts. But there were many others across our states. Our hearts go out to the many people forced to flee their country because of war, violence and hunger. Many have been living in refugee camps for years, waiting to be approved as refugees. It is a very complicated process with refugees being the most thoroughly vetted persons entering the United States. The United States is accepting a small number of refugees in comparison to our population and the size of our country. But each refugee we welcome is one more person given the opportunity to build a life in safety and be able to contribute to our communities. Who is it we encounter when we meet a refugee? Christ says, what you have done to one of these, you have done to me.
On Jan. 15, a U.S. federal judge in Maryland issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the implementation of the Trump administration’s executive order which asked states and localities to opt in to refugee resettlement. Rebecca Cole, director of Grassroots Organizing with General Board of Church and Society, said, “we give thanks for the wisdom of this decision. We also express gratitude for the leadership provided by our refugee resettlement partners, Church World Service, HIAS, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, who filed this lawsuit.”
It is unclear what will happen next with this case. It continues to be crucial that we United Methodists are in contact with our elected officials and let them know how refugees contribute to our communities. Cole adds, “The United Methodist Church remains committed to welcoming and resettling refugees. We will continue to share stories of how refugees enrich our congregations and communities.”
To read her full statement, go to: https://www.umcjustice.org/news-and-stories/an-update-on-refugee-resettlement-in-the-u-s-986
-- Great Plains Immigration Rapid Response Team
A Lenten calendar for Creation
Care gives prayer, ideas for action
The Conference Creation Care Team invites clergy and laity to walk through the Lenten season mindful of God's good creation. This daily calendar gives specific prayer and action ideas that will help focus disciples on tending God's earth more faithfully. From air in your tires to air drying laundry, from reducing “energy vampires” to planning a garden, there is something to pray about or do each day of Lent.
Download the calendar here.
IRS issues standard
mileage rates for 2020
The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. For more information please go to the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-issues-standard-mileage-rates-for-2020.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a cent from the rate for 2019,
- 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down three cents from the rate for 2019, and
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
The business mileage rate decreased one half of a cent for business travel driven and three cents for medical and certain moving expense from the rates for 2019. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.
Ethnic leadership grants
are available from GBHEM
The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has opened applications for Ethnic-in-Service Training grants. The agency awards grants up to $10,000 to programs designed to bolster the recruitment, training and retention of ethnic leaders at every level of the church and its ministry. The deadline to apply is March 5.
Across the Connection
Wichita Chapel Hill hosts
Martin Luther King Jr. celebration
Wichita Chapel Hill UMC hosted “Our Heritage, Our Hope,” a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Saturday. Here’s coverage from KAKE in Wichita: Watch video.
Wichita St. Paul’s traditional
chicken noodle dinner is this weekend
Wichita St. Paul’s UMC continues its 74-year tradition with its annual chicken noodle dinner.
The work started Jan. 11, when church members gather to make egg noodles using more than 3,200 eggs and 800 pounds of flour.
Read more in this article in the Wichita Eagle.
In other news
- Leading Ideas, January 22, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Young People’s Ministry, January 21, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Worship, January 21, 2020
- A sermon for every Sunday, January 21, 2020
- MyCom, January 21, 2020
- Leading Ideas Talks, January 18, 2020
- CCLI, January 16, 2020
- 5 New Ideas from Discipleship Ministries, January 16, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Children’s Ministry, January 16, 2020
- Engage with Global Ministries, January 15, 2020
- Ministry Matters, January 15, 2020
- Leading Ideas, January 15, 2020
- The Big Garden, January 2020
- A sermon for every Sunday, January 14, 2020
- The Source, January 14, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Offertory Prayers, January 13, 2020
- United Methodist Now, January 13, 2020
- Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation, January 2020
Blogs and commentaries
- Reflecting on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: Bishop Kenneth Carter, president of the Council of Bishops and leader of the Florida Conference, offers a reflection on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s commitment to living out his faith. Carter writes that King "perceived a vision for the church and the nation, and he was willing to work and to suffer toward that end."
- How did John Wesley handle money?: John Wesley, Methodism's founder, grew up poor. But the sale of his writings and his preaching made him one of England's wealthiest men. He made sure to give almost all of it away. Charles Edward White, a professor at Spring Arbor College, writes about Wesley's stewardship of money.
The week ahead