Download the printable version of the July 22 issue of GPconnect.
In this edition:
THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Special session of annual conference canceled amid COVID-19 concerns
Class meetings strategy of the past may be key to our future
Adapting to coronavirus latest challenge overcome by EmberHope Youthville
Millions in federal aid boost ministries nationwide as well as Great Plains
More news about coronavirus from beyond the Great Plains
Second 'Time to Listen' webinar this Saturday focuses on immigrant clergy
Children's ministry in liminal time is subject of latest ‘Threshold’
‘Therefore Go’ 5K to continue this year as virtual road race
K-State Wesley pays off $1 million debt on its facilities
Yearlong small church kids/youth ministry cohort to begin in August
MERCY & JUSTICE
Micah Corps interns take a virtual tour of Washington, D.C.
Lewis, Vivian proved that faith can change a nation
Nebraska UM Foundation offering ministry grants
UMCom communications training expands to meet leader demand
Does the pandemic challenge your faith? New Bible studies bring insight
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Hillary Houston named as new executive director of Wesley House
Kansas native finds Christ through trials, tribulations as major league pitcher
In other news
Blogs and commentaries
Special session of annual conference
canceled amid COVID-19 concerns
The special session of the Great Plains Annual Conference session scheduled for Oct. 1-4, 2020, in Grand Island has been cancelled due to uncertainty about future coronavirus-related gathering restrictions.
The annual conference will still provide ways for us, together, to celebrate the lives of deceased clergy and clergy spouses, as well as celebrate the commissioning and ordination of pastors. We also will work together to approve a budget for 2021.
The budget process will look different than years past. Here is the proposed procedure:?
- Aug. 15 to Sept. 11 — Regional online budget sessions for clergy and laity members of the annual conference held to present the proposed 2021 Great Plains Conference budget. Dates for regional budget sessions to be announced soon.
- Oct. 5 — The 2021 Great Plains Conference budget with ballots will be sent to clergy and lay members to the annual conference.
- Oct. 30 — Final 2021 budget ballots will be due from annual conference voting members.
- Nov. 6 — Final 2021 budget vote results will be reported to the conference.
Clergy and Laity sessions
An online Clergy Session will be conducted at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 2. More details will be announced as that date draws nearer.
The Laity Session will be conducted at a time and date to be announced soon with a format fitting for an online delivery.
The Memorial Service will be recorded and broadcast on the conference website and Facebook page at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. The Rev. Morita Truman, pastor at First United Methodist Church in Great Bend, Kansas, will be the preacher.
The Commissioning Service will be livestreamed on the conference website and Facebook pages at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, from St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Omaha. Physical attendance will be limited to those specifically invited.
The Ordination Service will be livestreamed on the conference website and Facebook pages at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, from St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Omaha. Physical attendance will be limited to those specifically invited.
Stay up to date with plans for these annual conference session-related events on the Great Plains website at https://www.greatplainsumc.org/ACSpecialSession2020.
Class meetings strategy of the
past may be key to our future
Class meetings — with strong class leaders — were among the ways the Methodist movement spread westward and through the prairies of the United States. But could looking to the denomination's past help laity and churches pave the way to a brighter, more vital future?
In the first of several episodes about class meetings, “In Layman’s Terms” host Todd Seifert talks with District Superintendents Cindy Karges and Don Hasty, as well as retired elder, author and Methodist historian David Lowes Watson. They share why class meetings show promise for helping churches of all sizes — but especially small, rural congregations — boost discipleship, promote leadership and provide churches the tools they need to better serve their communities.
Download the podcast.
Adapting to coronavirus latest challenge
overcome by EmberHope Youthville
EmberHope Youthville, nearly a century old, has adapted to changes brought on by coronavirus pandemic precautions, says its president and CEO.
“None of us had a handle on how we were going to control visits," Nickaila Sandate said. "When you have that many girls on the campus, if someone was COVID-positive and didn’t know it, they would bring that into the cottage, and obviously the other kids and the staff in those cottages would be vulnerable to that.”
Read more here.
Millions in federal aid boost ministries
nationwide as well as Great Plains
The U.S. Paycheck Protection Program, despite its flaws, threw a lifeline to hundreds of United Methodist ministries in the early days of the pandemic.
The United Methodist News Service analyzed the data on United Methodist loan recipients, including churches in the Great Plains Conference, and discussed the results with those including Scott Brewer, conference treasurer and director of administrative services; and Dan Entwistle, senior executive director of Church of the Resurrection.
Read more here.
More news about coronavirus
from beyond the Great Plains
Our coronavirus page gives information on reopening houses of worship.
Second 'Time to Listen' webinar this
Saturday focuses on immigrant clergy
The second in a series of webinars, "A Time to Listen" will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 25.
The subject will be international and immigrant clergy serving in the conference, and panelists will be the Rev. Denise Sawyer, Lee Memorial Health System, Cape Coral, Florida; Pastor Angie Vertz, Bison-LaCrosse-Otis UMCs in Kansas; the Rev. Kibum Kim, Wichita Pleasant Valley UMC; the Rev. Charles Murithi, Nebraska City UMC; and the Rev. Ever Mudambanuki, Bennington-Solomon, Kansas.
The Rev. Dr. Rose Booker-Jones, a retired district superintendent from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference who now lives near Wichita, will be the facilitator.
The webinar is coordinated by the Rev. Dee Williamston, Salina-Hutchinson District superintendent; and the Rev. Nicole Conard, congregational excellence.
Log-in information is available here.
Watch the first Time to Listen webinar from June 27 and read a recap.
Our Racial Justice page includes ways to bring messages of nonviolence and harmony to your communities.
Our responding to racism series continues with a Kansas pastor who brought her message of healing to crowds -- twice. Let us know how your church is taking a stand against racism. Contact David Burke, communications content specialist, at email@example.com.
UMW board: Dismantle racist systems
Children's ministry in liminal
time is subject of latest ‘Threshold’
In recent years, Christian Education has often been left in the hands of church leaders. In the disrupted season in which we now find ourselves, churches and families are trying to figure out how to partner together to spiritually form their children in ways that are new and different than before the stress of a pandemic, economic difficulties, social injustices, and uncertainty shifted the day-to-day of “normal” life.
The latest episode of “At The Threshold” podcast, hosted by the Revs. Ashlee Alley Crawford and Shelly Petz, explores the spiritual needs of parents and children during this season of the coronavirus crisis, ways that families can engage in discipleship together, and what churches can do in terms of outreach, mission, evangelism, and discipleship during this season. Shelly and Ashlee are joined by Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford, who serves as the Intergenerational Discipleship Coordinator of the Great Plains Conference, Mona Candea, who currently serves as Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Grace United Methodist Church in Olathe, Kansas, and Madison Stumbough, who is the Family Ministries Director at Grace United Methodist Church in Winfield, Kansas.
This episode debuted July 16, 2020.
Download the episode.
“At the Threshold” will continue at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 30, with “The Church as an Educational Partner.” 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 National Teacher of the Year, Tabatha Rosproy, Early Childhood Educator who directs a preschool in a nursing home in Winfield; Dr. Tawana Grover, Grand Island, superintendent of schools, and a Great Plains UMC pastor to discuss positive partnerships between churches and schools. Register here.
‘Therefore Go’ 5K to continue
this year as virtual road race
Thanks to a generous grant from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, we are excited to announce that there will be a 2020 Great Plains Conference Virtual Race! Your health and wellness is vitally important. This is an opportunity for clergy and laity to be connected, and care for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. In preparation for the race this year, you will have the opportunity to receive training, support, and encouragement ahead of time. The Great Plains Conference has been focusing on the theme: “Therefore Go: Seek Justice.” Tying into this theme, donations given toward this race will go toward making a difference for antiracist justice education and advocacy within the conference. Clergy and laity are encouraged to sign up together to hold each other accountable and help strengthen our work together.
Who: Open to anyone in the Great Plains Conference
What: Virtual 1 Mile/5k/Half Marathon--your choice of race
When: Training encouragement, spiritual support, and coaching will be available starting Aug. 17; race to be completed by Oct. 10
Where: Your choice of where to walk/run
- Incentive to tend to your faith and wellness
- You will receive support along the way
- You can support antiracist justice ministries
- You will receive a T-shirt and 5K medal
- You can join others in the Conference in the first ever virtual race!
- If you have done something like this before, you can help encourage others
- If you have never done anything like this before, there will be a program for you to help you go from “couch to 5K”
Suggested donation: $15
Please register here by Aug. 17.
K-State Wesley pays off
$1 million debt on its facilities
Eleven years after it has moved into its current home, K-State Wesley has paid off its $1 million debt.
“We had some very nice, really wonderful gifts to help us be able to do that,” said the Rev. Jim Reed, development director for the Manhattan ministry. “But we also had lots and lots of people who supported it. It turned out really well.”
The “Finish the Dream” campaign, which began in January 2017, completed the final half of retiring the debt, Reed said.
Read more here.
Yearlong small-church kids/youth
ministry cohort to begin in August
Intergenerational Discipleship at the Great Plains Conference has partnered with Ministry Architects to offer a year-long small-church kids/youth ministry cohort beginning in August.
Coaching materials are geared toward smaller, pastor-centric churches with an average worship attendance of 150 or fewer.
The Zoom trainings every other month, and on the off-months, coaching calls with the conference's consultant. For more information, contact the Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford, intergeneratonal discipleship coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lewis, Vivian proved that
faith can change a nation
The Revs. John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were models of authentic religion, said United Methodists who found inspiration in their lives of faith. The two civil rights movement icons died on July 17.
Read more from United Methodist News Service.
Nebraska UM Foundation
offering ministry grants
The Nebraska United Methodist Foundation is pleased to announce a ministry grant opportunity available to Nebraska churches and affiliated agencies of the Great Plains Conference.
The Foundation is able to award these grants due to the generosity of donors to our Gifts from the Heart Endowment Fund. These grant dollars are available to enhance and expand your ministries. The ultimate goal of these awards is to provide assistance, both for new ministries and thriving ministries wishing to grow.
These grants are made for programs and activities and include operating expenses and supplies necessary for those programs or activities. They are not made for building repair, replacement, or expansion.
The application deadline is Sept. 30. For application materials and more information, please visit our website at https://www.numf.org/scholarships-grants.
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 877-495-5545.
UMCom communications training
expands to meet leader demand
Amidst heightened demand, the United Methodist Communications training team has launched a new set of online courses designed to assist those in leadership tasked with creating and maintaining engaging online worship experiences in a socially distanced world.
This summer, four new courses have been released:
Read more here.
Does the pandemic challenge your
faith? New Bible studies bring insight
In "Healing the World: Bible Studies for the Pandemic Era," the World Council of Churches offers eight Bible studies to facilitate coming to terms — as individuals, groups and communities of faith — with the loss, fear and confusion engendered by the pandemic, and the bracing prospect of building the world anew.
Find out more.
Across the Connection
Hillary Houston named as new
executive director of Wesley House
Wesley House in Pittsburg has a new executive director.
Hillary Houston began work last week at the outreach mission of Pittsburg First UMC, established in 1982 to serve low-income families and individuals in southeast Kansas.
Read more from the Pittsburg Morning Sun.
Kansas native finds Christ through trials, tribulations as major league pitcher
A native of Osage City, Kansas, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen talks about how his faith shaped him through the ups and downs of his major league career.
Read more from sportsspectrum.com.
In other news
- Communication Essentials, July 22, 2020
- Immigrant Legal Center, July 22, 2020
- Leading Ideas, July 21, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Generous Living, July 21, 2020
- A Sermon for Every Sunday, July 21, 2020
- MyCom, July 21, 2020
- Discipleship Ministries: Worship Planning, July 20, 2020
- United Methodist Now, July 20, 2020
- Leading Ideas Talks, July 18, 2020
- Nebraska United Methodist Foundation, July 2020
- GBHEM Resources, July 16, 2020
- Engage with Global Ministries, July 16, 2020
- UMCOMtigo (in Spanish), July 16, 2020
- Compass, July 16, 2020
- Ministry Matters, July 15, 2020
- Communication Essentials, July 15, 2020
Blogs and commentaries
- Internship balances protest, pastoral care, preaching: Luke Lea, a Candler School of Theology student and certified candidate for elder in the Tennessee Conference, writes about his summer internship at a Nashville church. Lea has sought to balance protest, pastoral care and preaching. “They can inform one another — they must!” he writes.
- UMCOR among sources of hope during pandemic: Russian Bishop Eduard Khegay writes that COVID-19 has posed all manner of challenges for pastors and churches in the Eurasia Episcopal Area he oversees. But he draws hope from certain Bible passages and from the help provided to churches in his area from fellow United Methodists, through UMCOR's COVID-19-related grants.