Download the printable version of the July 1 issue of GPconnect.
In this edition:
THIS WEEK'S NEWS
During webinar, Black pastors express sadness, anger over racism
More about standing against racism from beyond the Great Plains
Pastors starting new appointments miss closure with previous churches
In Layman’s Terms: How pastors can forward their email
Surviving tribulations is part of Lydia Patterson Institute's history
More about coronavirus response from the Great Plains and beyond
What does 15-month delay mean for General Conference?
Death is subject of Thursday's webinar/podcast, 'Threshold'
Scholarships remain for mediation skills training for Great Plains pastors
Foundations of coaching course to begin later this month
Keep connection going for incoming students with campus ministries
Share your faith stories with us through our daily devotions
MERCY & JUSTICE
Micah Corps interns debut new podcast, 'Act.Love.Walk'
Virtual conference on climate change, voting set for next week
Take time to develop a family communication plan before disaster
Applications open for Kansas foundation seminary scholarships
New worship resource available for election season
Books, media address how to discuss racism with children
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Omaha Hanscom Park UMC celebrates drive-thru pet blessing
In other news
Blogs and commentaries
During webinar, Black pastors
express sadness, anger over racism
Black pastors in the Great Plains Conference expressed a mix of sadness and anger, only heightened by events of the previous month, in a webinar Saturday regarding race relations in America.
The webinar, “Time to Listen – Voices of African American Clergy serving in the Great Plains Conference,” was organized by the Rev. Dee Williamston, Salina-Hutchinson District superintendent, and the Rev. Nicole Conard of the conference Congregational Excellence team.
Six pastors from throughout the conference talked about their own personal experiences with racism and their responses to national news of the summer, including unarmed Black men being killed by police.
More than 130 watched the webinar Saturday morning, via Zoom or Facebook Live.
Read highlights from the webinar, and watch video of the entire two-hour session.
The next webinar in the series, scheduled for July 25, will feature international and immigrant clergy. Find out more information here.
More about standing against
racism from beyond the Great Plains
More from the conference's racial justice page.
Pastors starting new appointments
miss closure with previous churches
July 1, as a longtime tradition in the United Methodist Church, signals the new appointive year for pastors and the first day of service for many in their new churches.
In the Great Plains, more than 100 pastors are beginning new chapters in their ministry careers. But many of those hundred feel like they didn’t get a proper chance to say goodbye to their former churches, because of pandemic restrictions on crowd sizes and social distancing.
We talk to some pastors who are making moves in 2020, about how they wish they had proper closure with their last church before they start anew in a different location.
Read more here.
In Layman’s Terms: How
pastors can forward their email
With the start of the new appointive year, it’s a good time to make sure pastors are receiving their email and that pastors only have to check one inbox to save them time.
Todd Seifert, conference communications director, has updated a blog he posted this time last year helping pastors forward emails that come to their Great Plains accounts to either a Gmail, Yahoo or other account, often branded for their local churches.
It’s important to note that pastors either should set their Great Plains accounts to forward to another account that they check regularly or must check their Great Plains inboxes regularly because the @greatplainsumc.org addresses are the only ones to which the bishop, district superintendents and conference staff will send official correspondence.
Read the updated blog about email.
Surviving tribulations is part of
Lydia Patterson Institute's history
The Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas, is struggling with COVID-19 and a closed border, but the president of the United Methodist school said, “We have seen worse.” The school is supported by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, which includes the Great Plains Conference.
Read more from the United Methodist News Service.
More about coronavirus response
from the Great Plains and beyond
The conference’s coronavirus page has been updated with continued pastoral and congregational guidance for reopening houses of worship.
Our ongoing ministry amid coronavirus highlights have been updated with the story of a Kansas pastor whose anxiety over COVID-19 led to a Facebook prayer group that now numbers nearly 300 people.
What does 15-month delay
mean for General Conference?
Because of COVID-19, General Conference organizers are grappling with an unprecedented postponement of the lawmaking assembly. The commission that plans the big meeting answered questions about some of the ramifications of the delay.
Read more from UMNS.
Death is subject of Thursday's webinar/podcast, 'Threshold'
"Death in the Time of COVID" will be subject of the next webinar/podcast, “At the Threshold: Ministry in Liminal Time,” at 10:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, July 2.
Hosts the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford and the Rev. Shelly Petz will feature three different voices and perspectives of death during this challenging season: Dr. Steve Short, a physician in Manhattan who served for a couple of weeks in Brooklyn during the height of the coronavirus crisis; Rev. Shelly McNaughton-Lawrence, pastor of Aldersgate UMC in Olathe; and Rev. Becky Johnson, chaplain at University of Kansas Medical Center. You can register here.
- Children’s Ministry in a Liminal Season (July 16, 10:30 a.m. CDT) — Are you thinking ahead about your fall programming for forming the spiritual lives of the kids in your church? Join Intergenerational Ministries Coordinator, Rev. Melissa Gepford, Grace UMC (Olathe) Children’s Ministry Coordinator Mona Candea, and Grace UMC (Winfield, Kansas) Children’s Ministry Coordinator Madison Stumbough as they share with Ashlee and Shelly about how they’re ministering with children and families during this challenging season. Register here.
- The Church as an Educational Partner (July 30, 10:30 a.m. CDT) — Part of our Wesleyan heritage is to support education as a way of impacting society in a positive way. School districts, teachers, and families navigating the changes of these last couple of months are stressed. How can churches partner to support this important work on behalf of our children? Shelly and Ashlee will be joined by a teacher, an administrator, and a pastor as we discuss positive partnerships. Register here.
- Mark your calendar for Aug. 13 and 27 for 10:30 a.m. CDT! More topics announced soon!
A new page for the webinar/podcasts is available here.
Scholarships remain for mediation
skills training for Great Plains pastors
Several $100 scholarships from Great Plains Conference Clergy Excellence remain for Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders, led by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
The deadline for applying for the scholarships, for those attending before the end of 2020, is July 15.
Conflict is an inevitable part of life. Leaders in all walks of life have a responsibility to lead others through conflict. This training will equip church leaders with skills to help them deal effectively and healthily with group conflict. The training will help you in leading the church, in managing interpersonal conflict, and helping other groups resolve conflict in ways that strengthen rather than divide, that bring peace rather than anger.
The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center has just released dates for this fall, with notice that these trainings will be done by Zoom. Because of this decision, they have reduced the tuition, normally $895, by $200 to $695 for early registrations! With no travel costs or motel, your actual cost to attend this excellent training is even lower.
You will find information about this training and instructions for registering on the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center website. Are you interested? If so, please apply for the Clergy Excellence scholarship here. Please know that the application will accept more than 15 applicants. That way, in case one of the first 15 people later decide not to attend, the scholarship can be awarded to the next person in line. You will be notified if you are in the first 15 applicants and guaranteed the scholarship.
If you have questions, please talk with your District Superintendent or Rev. Nancy Lambert by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foundations of coaching
course to begin later this month
Would you like to make a discovery and learn the foundations of coaching? The new coaching foundations course aims to equip laity with the skills and methods for successful leadership and coaching practice.
The virtual coaching foundations course will be from 6-9 p.m. CDT Friday, July 31, and 9 a.m. to noon and 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. The cost is $20 per-person which includes online learning, nine hours of training, coaching relationships, and a book.
Registration is now open at this link.
Watch this video on coaching.
If you have questions, email Shane Warta, lay leadership coordinator, at email@example.com.
Keep connection going for incoming students with campus ministries
For pastors and amazing youth mentors, if you have high school graduates and college who have been connected to your congregation who are heading to college in the fall, give them the gift of connection by connecting them with the United Methodist Campus Pastor and ministry at their school. While the school year has been different help them live into the next chapter of their lives, you can help give a gift of connection to a student’s life this fall.
Simply enter their name(s) at www.greatplainsumc.org/studentcontact to receive a direct personal connection with a campus minister.
If you prefer to connect them directly with the campus minister with an email or conversation with information at www.greatplainsumc.org/campusministries.
Thank you for your ministry and work in investing in youth and giving them the gift of the United Methodist connection throughout the Great Plains.
For more information, check out the list of campus ministries in our Great Plains Conference at www.greatplainsumc.org/campusministries.
Share your faith stories with
us through our daily devotions
Want to start your day with some inspiration? Get our daily devotions delivered to your email!
Do you want to share your story of faith with others in the Great Plains Conference? Join our talented group of writers from among the clergy, laity and staff of the conference.
Daily lectionary verses are available for inspiration, but if there is a verse that is on your heart, please feel free to use it instead. Write a meditation on the scripture of about 300 words and a two-sentence prayer for reflection.
We welcome a variety of experiences and viewpoints -- you do not have to be a seminary scholar to share your view of God's grace and Christ's love!
Use this link to sign up.
Mercy & Justice
Micah Corps interns debut
new podcast, 'Act.Love.Walk'
The Micah Corps Interns have been up to a lot this summer, and one of our big projects has been the “Act.Love.Walk.” podcast. The podcast is based off of our mission from Micah 6:8 which states, “God has shown you, O mortal what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” The goal of the podcast is to talk to people about how they see the intersections of faith and justice in their lives.
We started this podcast off with talking to the five Micah Corps interns, and explaining how we got involved in Micah Corps. Then we interviewed Rev. Dr. Kalaba Chali, the conference Mercy & Justice coordinator, about where he sees justice and faith in our conference. This week we interviewed Rev. Carol Windrum, who has worked with Peace & Justice ministries and Mercy & Justice teams in Nebraska and Kansas for many years. She also started the Micah Corps internship 12 years ago.
We are excited to share our ministry in a new way this summer. You can listen to our podcast for free on Spotify
, Google Podcasts
, and RadioPublic
-- Carly Redding, Micah Corps
Virtual conference on climate
change, voting set for next week
During this high-stress time, our connection to and protection of the physical world around us remains important. When nature is threatened, so are we. When protected, the earth can nourish our bodies and souls.
From 5:30-7:15 p.m. Thursday, July 9, join the League of Women Voters of Nebraska and the Great Plains Conference to learn more about the connection between faith-based communities and the impact of climate change through the lens of voting rights on our society. Cille King, League of Women Voters of Kansas co-president, will be one of the speakers at this online event.
Register for this Zoom conference at bit.ly/2TIGE5i. You will receive the Zoom link by email. The conference will include an overview of climate change, a session on voting rights and breakout sessions. Learn more about the Great Plains Creation Care Team: greatplainsumc.org/creationcare.
Take time to develop a family
communication plan before disaster
Have the ability to communicate with family members during a disaster.
Find out more here.
Applications open for Kansas
foundation seminary scholarships
The Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation is pleased to announce the 2020-21 KAUMF Seminary Scholarship application is available on its website, www.kaumf.org.
The scholarship is available to seminary students who are a certified candidate for ministry or a provisional member of the Great Plains Conference from churches in Kansas. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2020.
The Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation Seminary Scholarship Fund was started by the Kansas West Conference with the goal of raising $4 million to help persons called into ministry graduate from seminary without debt. We are honored to continue helping seminary students in the Great Plains Conference.
If you are interested in helping to raise up the next generations of church leaders or if your church has resources dedicated to helping students go to seminary, but do not currently have students in the church to support, the foundation would be honored to partner with you. Please contact the Foundation at 888-453-8405, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.kaumf.org.
New worship resource
available for election season
The Wichita-based Neighboring Movement has partnered with TheVoterNetwork.org to create a four-week worship series, "Tending the Civic Soil," for the election season. A description of the series can be found at the NeighboringMovement.org.
Books, media address how
to discuss racism with children
Bringing children into calm, educated discussions can help a younger generation confront the reality of racism and be part of ending racial injustice. UMC.org suggests books and other resources to help address this difficult topic with children.
Find out more.
Across the Connection
Omaha Hanscom Park UMC
celebrates drive-thru pet blessing
About 50 dogs, cats, turtles, and even a hedgehog made it to Omaha Hanscom Park UMC’s first drive-thru pet blessing on June 25.
Most of the pets received goodie bags. Out of the 100 gift bags, 94 were for dogs and six were for felines.
“We don’t expect that many cats to go out and be sociable,” the Rev. Chris Jorgensen said in a Facebook video promoting the event.
See a photo gallery here, taken by 15-year-old Jack Adrian, who was recently baptized when his mother joined Hanscom Park.
In other news
- Discipleship Ministries: Path 1, July 1, 2020
- Communication Essentials, July 1, 2020
- Slingstones (Korean), July 2020
- Leading Ideas, July 1, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Generous Living, June 3, 2020
- A Sermon for Every Sunday, June 30, 2020
- The Source, June 30, 2020
- Connectional Giving, June 29, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Worship Planning, June 29, 2020
- United Methodist Now, June 29, 2020
- Leading Ideas Talks, June 27, 2020
- Immigrant Legal Center, June 26, 2020
- GBHEM Resources, June 25, 2020
- Safe Gatherings, June 25, 2020
- Compass, June 25, 2020
- Ministry Matters, June 24, 2020
Blogs and commentaries
- When pandemic ends, confusion in church will remain: The Rev. William B. Lawrence examines constitutional issues presented by plans for the future of The United Methodist Church. The former Judicial Council president, now living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, writes that the church seemed confused even before the global pandemic upended the world's priorities. He expects that confusion to continue after the pandemic.
- Silence is violence: The Rev. Ali Young of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recognizes that many pastors are reluctant to address uncomfortable topics such as racism from the pulpit, but she feels that silence goes against a pastor's call to be a prophetic voice. "We cannot be more concerned about offending people than we are about people of color being killed by police," she writes. "We cannot simply condemn racism, we need to be anti-racist."