Download the printable version of the March 11 issue of GPconnect.
In this edition:
THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Bishop’s podcast series continues with Jesus’ promise to a criminal
Churches make changes in worship during coronavirus scare
Restarting churches can be a difficult process
Great Plains Conference delegation votes to endorse protocol
Bishops request decision from Judicial Council on protocol legislation
‘Liberation United Methodist’ gets a hearing at UM-Forward event
Clergy excellence team to add clergy leadership coordinator to staff
'Preparing for Your Future' workshop in Salina approaching next month
More than 100 sign up for conference's first Laity Summit, coming next weekend
Registration open for Healthy Congregations retreat, April 23-25
Online survey tool mobilizes congregations, multiplies mission impact
Amazon Wish List created for those struck by Tennessee tornado
Registration open for Disaster Response Academy, Aug. 27-29
Fill the truck’ to help stock UMCOR Depot in Salt Lake City
Kansas Area UM Foundation to partner with UM Development Fund
Nebraska UM Foundation offers New Start/New Faith Community Grants
Nebraska UM Foundation offers legacy program workshops
Kansas Area UM Foundation sets dates for investing, legacy workshops
Free communications resources are available to local churches
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Hays UMC remodels its basement for contemporary service
In other news
Bishop’s podcast series continues
with Jesus’ promise to a criminal
In the second of seven special Lenten episodes of the “In Layman’s Terms” podcast focusing on the final sayings from Christ on the cross, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. shares with host Todd Seifert his reflections on Luke 23:43, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Through this statement to a criminal on the cross, Jesus shares His love for all of us who fall short of God’s expectations of us and gives us the hope of a life with Jesus in paradise.
Listen to the podcast.
Churches make changes in
worship during coronavirus scare
If you worshiped last Sunday, you probably didn't shake hands during the Passing of the Peace. Fist bumps, elbow touches and even Vulcan salutes were the norm, part of changes many congregations in the Great Plains are making during the coronavirus scare, as well as a heightened flu season.
But that's not the only changes some churches are making. Take a look at how a few congregations in the conference are making changes to the way they do church during this time.
Read more here.
can be a difficult process
A church that is fast losing attendance has two choices, according to a church restart expert. It can become a “hospice church” until there are no members left, or take dramatic steps to recruit new, younger members.
Florida’s Aloma United Methodist Church is taking the latter approach, putting its property on the market and doing services starting March 15 in the Geek Easy, a bar.
Read more from the United Methodist News Service.
Great Plains Conference
delegation votes to endorse protocol
In their meeting on Feb. 28, the Great Plains Conference delegation approved these actions:
The Great Plains Delegation formally endorses the items presented by Wespath to safeguard pensions during this turbulent time.
The Great Plains Delegation formally endorses the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.
- Further, we discourage all amendments to the Protocol legislation that do not originate from or are not unanimously supported by the original 16 signers.
- The Great Plains Delegation formally endorses the concept of the US becoming a Regional Conference. Both the Connectional Table and the Christmas Covenant offer a promising way forward.
No. 1 was a unanimous vote, and Nos. 2 and 4 were approved by a vote of 24-1.
“My sense is that most of our delegates don’t want to see a division in the church but recognize at this point it seems inevitable,” the Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and Great Plains chair, said in a statement. “My personal hope is that the UMC that emerges after the separation will remove the current restrictive language in the Discipline regarding homosexuality, thus recognizing and allowing for our differing interpretations of scripture regarding the church’s ministry with and for LGBTQ persons.
“We will continue to be a church with large numbers of people across the theological spectrum who are unified in our common desire to follow Jesus Christ, our Wesleyan approach to the gospel, and our passion for ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world’,” he added.
Bishops request decision from
Judicial Council on protocol legislation
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has asked the denomination’s highest court, the Judicial Council, to decide whether the legislation implementing The Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation is constitutional.
Read more here.
‘Liberation United Methodist’
gets a hearing at UM-Forward event
A proposed new denomination, tentatively called the Liberation Methodist Church, got plenty of discussion at a UM-Forward event held last weekend in Dallas. Others attending said they still prefer to work within The United Methodist Church for a comprehensive social-justice-focused approach to ministry.
Read more from the United Methodist News Service.
Check out our General Conference Resource page.
Clergy excellence team to add
clergy leadership coordinator to staff
The clergy excellence team is expanding to include a new position, clergy leadership coordinator.
Among the responsibilities in the new position are integrating congregations with their new cross-racial, cross-ethnic or cross-cultural pastors.
“We recognize that there are ways of supporting and helping clergy that we’re not able to care for at this time because of the limitations of the current clergy excellence team,” said the Rev. Nancy Lambert, clergy excellence director. "This way we can better serve our clergy and expand the ways that we support clergy, especially international and cross-culture clergy.”
The Great Plains Conference has one of the largest numbers of foreign-born pastors in the country, Lambert added.
The person in this position will also have responsibility for developing continuing education opportunities in the conference.
The deadline for contacting Lambert to recommend yourself or another pastor is March 18.
Read the job description here.
'Preparing for Your Future' workshop
in Salina approaching next month
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.”
More than 100 sign up for conference's
first Laity Summit, coming next weekend
More than 100 people have signed up for the inaugural Laity Summit, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Kearney First UMC. This is for all lay persons, lay servants, lay leaders, and laity discerning a call for more of a leadership role. It will be a one-stop leadership gathering with worship, workshops, childcare, and food! The aim is that all in attendance network, learn and obtain resources for leadership.
For more information, details and to register go to this link.
The cost is $15 per person and that includes lunch, materials from workshops and walk-away resources for opportunity.
Hear about the summit on Todd Seifert's "In Layman's Terms" podcast.
Read about the first-ever summit.
Registration open for Healthy Congregations retreat, April 23-25
Registration for the 19th annual Healthy Congregations Retreat is now open. Reserve your place today and join us in April to explore new ways your church can lead and partner to strengthen families, congregations and communities.
Held April 23-25 at Rock Springs 4-H Center near Junction City, Kansas, the retreat is open to all Great Plains United Methodists interested in congregational and community health ministry. Sponsored by United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, there is no cost to participate, but pre-registration is required.
The 2020 event features several additional opportunities before and after the main retreat, including the Good Neighbor Experiment 2020 cohort kickoff, Healthy Congregations certification training and Strengthening Families Program training.
Visit healthfund.org/hcr for full details and to register.
Online survey tool mobilizes
congregations, multiplies mission impact
Readiness 360 is an online survey tool for mobilizing congregations to multiply in ministry and missional impact. R360 measures a congregation’s spiritual intensity, missional alignment, dynamic relationships and cultural openness.
Churches have found it helpful to take a snapshot of where the congregation’s current realities, use with leaders, and begin visioning. Coaches are able to help interpret data and create next steps with key leaders. All of this is free.
If you would like a code to take the survey at your church, email the DS to get set up today.
Find out more here.
Amazon Wish List created for
those struck by Tennessee tornado
Nine tornadoes blew through Tennessee on March 3, destroying more than 1,500 homes and 500 businesses -- including many churches and schools. The General Board of Higher Education & Ministry is working with the Tennessee Annual Conference and UMCOR to gather supplies for hygiene kits and supply buckets for tornado relief. This is an affordable, tangible way to help if you so desire. To support this project, we created this Amazon Wish List of needed supplies. Items range from $5.19 to $24.97 and will ship directly to GBHEM. Any amount helps. Thanks for considering this!!
Items ordered from this list will be shipped directly to GBHEM and we are asking that supplies or donations be delivered no later than Wednesday, March 25.
Please feel free to share with your friends, family and churches if they are looking for ways to help in the aftermath of these tornadoes.
Here is the link to the Amazon order list.
--Rev. Meg Lassiat, GBHEM
Registration open for Disaster
Response Academy, Aug. 27-29
Registration is now open for the Great Plains and UMCOR Disaster Response Academy, Aug. 27-29 at Rock Springs 4-H Retreat Center, south of Junction City.
Disasters are no stranger to the Great Plains Conference. 2019 was an extremely busy year for our volunteers and those churches and communities affected by flooding or tornadoes. The outlook for 2020 looks to be no different. In being the example of Jesus to the individuals hurting and displaced, it takes the entire Annual Conference to make a difference!
The Academy is open to all individuals, laity and clergy! Local churches can learn about Connecting Neighbors, what is expected if a disaster happens in your community. Currently active ERTs can attend level 200 trainings to strengthen their capacity in serving. Long Term Recovery Groups and Emergency Managers are invited to learn what it means to establish relief and recovery well, so that individuals are empowered to participate in their healing on the road to a new normal. Our leadership track with empower local clergy, administrative staff and others to know the delivery of sequence before, during, and after a disaster.
All attendees will worship together, fellowship around the table for meals, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Plenary sessions will cover Foundations of Disaster, Ministry of Caring, and a keynote by Cathy Earl, Director of UMCOR.
Cost is $250 per person, which includes meals, lodging, materials, and meeting space. For those commuting, the cost will be $150 per person, which includes meals, materials and meeting space.
Register for the Academy here.
'Fill the truck’ to help stock
UMCOR Depot in Salt Lake City
The Great Plains Conference will “fill the truck” to go to the Salt Lake City UMCOR Depot during the Annual Conference sessions.
The truck will be located outside the box office of the Stormont Vail Events Center in Topeka from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 28.
Donors should bring complete kits only for cleaning, hygiene and school use. Box and label each box with the number of kits inside.
For more information, contact the Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator, at email@example.com.
Kansas Area UM Foundation to
partner with UM Development Fund
The Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation is partnering its loan portfolio with the United Methodist Development Fund. The Rev. Dr. Dustin Petz, president of the Foundation, said the board decided this partnership would broaden the scope of churches the Foundation would able to serve and enhance its capacity to focus on its greatest strengths.
“We were glad to pioneer this kind of relationship with UMDF,” Petz said. “As a smaller UMC foundation, we have a unique role to magnify the church’s capacity to leave a lasting impact. We wanted to partner with UMDF to gain from their staff’s expertise in loans and to focus on our greatest strength, which is legacy giving.”
Read more in this release.
Watch a video about the partnership.
Nebraska UM Foundation offers
New Start/New Faith Community Grants
The Nebraska United Methodist Foundation announces a new church development grant opportunity available to Nebraska churches and affiliated Nebraska agencies of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference.
Due to the generosity of donors supporting congregational development, the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation has grants available to enhance and support your new church development. The ultimate goal of these awards is to alleviate a little bit of the financial burden.
Grant applicants should be aware that priority will be given to the following:
- A New Start that is recognized by Congregational Excellence as a New Start/New Faith Community.
- A New Start deemed to be of an outreach and beneficial nature to the larger community.
- A New Start that is in collaboration with other United Methodist entities.
- A New Start that has identified other sources of revenue.
- A New Start that is an integral part of a long-range plan for growth and outreach.
Grants will be awarded on an annual basis. Applications must be received by April 1 to be considered. For application materials and more information, visit www.numf.org.
If you have questions about the application process or would like to talk to the Foundation about how you can help grow these types of grants, please call 1-877-495-5545.
Nebraska UM Foundation
offers legacy program workshops
The Nebraska United Methodist Foundation is offering two regional church training workshops, March 18 and 25, to help guide and support clergy and laity in building a legacy program within the church. The Foundation can assist churches and individuals in identifying ways to plan for the future and help make decisions on how to utilize planned gifts to maximize their impact for their United Methodist church and ministries.
Lunch will be provided.
Legacy Workshops will be held at the following locations:
- March 18, Holdrege First UMC, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- March 25, Valentine UMC, noon to 3 p.m.
RSVP at www.numf.org/rsvplegacy, 1-877-495-5545, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansas Area UM Foundation sets
dates for investing, legacy workshops
The Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation invites you to attend an Investing for the Future Seminar and a Leaving a Lasting Legacy Workshop this spring.
At the Investing for the Future Seminar, a Wespath Institutional Investments representative will share information on investing for the long-term. Topics will include: helping your church to align with its mission, resources for socially responsible investing, and strategies amidst volatile times.
The Investing for the Future Seminar will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on the following days:
- March 16 at Wichita Aldersgate UMC
- March 17 at Hays First UMC
- March 18 at Church of the Resurrection, Leawood
For the second year, the Foundation will be offering Leaving a Lasting Legacy Workshops across the state. The one-day regional church training workshops will help equip pastors and lay persons to begin and/or grow their planned giving ministries. A planned giving ministry is about inviting people of your congregation to leave a lasting legacy through a planned gift. This ministry is based on the belief that God is still at work in the community and by giving generously you can change the lives of those who will come after you.
This spring’s workshops will be held at the following locations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with lunch provided:
- March 24 at Colby UMC
- April 1 at Olathe Grace UMC
- April 14 at Wichita Calvary UMC
To register for an Investing for the Future Seminar and/or a Leaving a Lasting Legacy Workshop, please visit www.kaumf.org/register.
If you have any questions regarding the upcoming events or would like more information on a Foundation representative meeting with your congregation, visit website www.kaumf.org/presentations or contact the Foundation Office at 620-664-9623 or email@example.com.
Free communications resources
are available to local churches
Are you taking advantage of United Methodist Communications’ free pro-level services and tools to reach out into your community? Check out the top 10 menu of support for church communications.
Across the Connection
Hays UMC remodels its
basement for contemporary service
Hays First United Methodist Church began in 1910, when the congregation met in the basement of its building.
When a sanctuary was built in the 1940s, the basement was converted into a gymnasium.
And now, the lower level will return to its roots when a contemporary worship center replaces the gym. A new, 5 p.m. Sunday service will begin on Easter.
"We are really reclaiming the history with this new service," the Rev. Mike Rose, Hays First UMC pastor, told the Hays Post.
Read more here.
In other news
- United Methodist Communications, March 11, 2020
- Leading Ideas, March 11, 2020
- Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation, March 2020
- A sermon for every Sunday, March 10, 2020
- CCLI News, March 2020
- The Source, March 2020
- United Methodist Now, March 9, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Worship, March 9, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Path 1, March 5, 2020
- Ministry Matters, March 5, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Stewardship, March 5, 2020
- Compass, March 5, 2020
- United Methodist Communications, March 4, 2020