THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Video shares Bishop Saenz’s presentation from district meetings
Bishop Saenz named as distinguished alumnus by seminary
Connecting Council OKs expansion of diversity task force to committee
Capital matching grants available; deadline is Nov. 15 for 2022 money
Discipleship Ministries offers 4-week sermon series on #BeUMC
Podcast spotlights the seven declared candidates for bishop
SCJ-BMCR renews call for racial, ethnic inclusion in College of Bishops
Lippoldt is this Thursday's guest in online clergy discipleship series
Final deadline for 2022 clergy wellbeing grants is Tuesday
Health Ministry Fund offers Mental Health First Aid training
Children’s ministry online workshop set for Nov. 19
MERCY & JUSTICE
Three from Jalingo Orphanage graduate from Africa University
Advent studies for adults are available from media center
Advent resources to help you create a community connection
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Teen Center helps youth in Omaha determine direction
Winfield Grace UMC partners with Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
Church in St. Paul, Nebraska, celebrates its 150th anniversary
In other news
Video shares Bishop Saenz’s
presentation from district meetings
In a special episode of “Harvesting the Great Plains,” Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and Todd Seifert, conference communications director, take part in a discussion that shares the contents of the recently completed district meetings with the conference’s episcopal leader.
In this video, the bishop provides answers to questions that have come to the conference office and to district superintendents related to church disaffiliations and ongoing concerns over human sexuality.
The bishop also shares some details about the upcoming South Central Jurisdictional Conference.
Download or watch the video.
Download our two-page PDF on our core beliefs.
Bishop Saenz named as
distinguished alumnus by seminary
The Perkins School of Theology Alumni/ae Council has selected Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. (M.Div. ‘97; D. Min. ‘09) as the 2022 recipient of the Perkins Distinguished Alumnus/a Award. He will be honored Nov. 14 at Southern Methodist University.
Read more in this news release from SMU.
Connecting Council OKs expansion
of diversity task force to committee
What began last year as a short-term Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity Task Force could become a permanent committee next June, based on a vote by the Connecting Council during an online meeting Saturday.
The original DEI task force, comprised mostly of clergy from the Great Plains Conference, was called by Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. in 2021 to provide the cabinet and conference leaders with findings and recommendations that counteract unconscious bias, and?reduce and eliminate discriminatory practices at all levels of the conference so the Great Plains can leverage the full potential of its diverse clergy, laity and congregations.
Read more Connecting Council news here.
Capital matching grants available;
deadline is Nov. 15 for 2022 money
Prompted by a motion from the floor of the 2022 annual conference, the Great Plains Conference board of trustees has established matching capital improvement grants for churches.
“The matching grant component helps the church demonstrate their long-term commitment to the project and accompanying ministry,” the Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, chair of the board of trustees, wrote in an email.
Grants of up to $25,000 are available from the conference. No church may receive more than $50,000 in a five-year period.
Grant application forms are available at this link. The deadline for fourth-quarter grants for 2022 is Nov. 15. $115,000 will be available for the remainder of the year, with $451,000 available during 2023.
Read more here.
Discipleship Ministries offers
4-week sermon series on #BeUMC
In concert with United Methodist Communications People of God Campaign, Discipleship Ministries has created a four-week non-lectionary based worship series to be used as a celebration of who we are as Wesleyans, as United Methodists, as the People of God. Learn how to acknowledge our blessings and the ministries that continue even in difficult times.
Find out more and download here.
Podcast spotlights the seven
declared candidates for bishop
The “In Layman’s Terms” podcast, hosted by Todd Seifert, Great Plains Conference communications director, has provided a short series of brief interviews involving the seven known candidates for bishop in the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church.
Each of the candidates was asked the same questions to help laity and clergy across the Great Plains and the jurisdiction get to know the candidates a little better prior to the elections Nov. 2-5 in Houston.
Each episode is 22 to 27 minutes in length.
Download them here or click on the name of the candidate below.
Or download each individually:
- Rev. Dee Williamston, director of clergy excellence and assistant to the bishop in the Great Plains Conference.
- Rev. Dr. David Wilson, assistant to the bishop in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
- Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner, associate dean for Wesleyan Engagement and the Royce and Jane Reynolds associate professor of evangelism and Methodist studies at Duke University Divinity School.
- Rev. Dr. Eddie Rivera, provost of the New Mexico Conference.
- Rev. Dr. Randall Partin, senior pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- Rev. Laura Merrill, Capital District Superintendent in the Rio Texas Conference.
- Rev. David Gilmore, Northwest District Superintendent in the Missouri Conference.
The 2022 South Central Jurisdictional Conference is Nov. 2-4 at First United Methodist Church-Westchase Campus in Houston. The schedule can be found here.
The sessions will be livestreamed at scjumc.org.
SCJ-BMCR renews call for racial,
ethnic inclusion in College of Bishops
The South Central Jurisdiction Black Methodists for Church Renewal called on the SCJ College of Bishops to include diversity, equity and inclusion it its elections for the episcopacy next week.
The group also endorsed three candidates in the election during its meeting last weekend in St. Louis.
Read more from the Missouri Conference.
Lippoldt is this Thursday's guest
in online clergy discipleship series
Clergy, have you had an opportunity to watch any of the conversations with some of our own GP Clergy as they share vulnerably about their own discipleship? We hope you’ll take some time to do so and reflect upon ways that God may be inviting you to consider your own discipleship. We’ve compiled some ways here, but we also want to provide small groups of clergy to connect (virtually) with one another and with one of the guests who shared his or her own experiences. Check out upcoming Clergy Discipleship Virtual Meet-Ups below:
- Thursday, Oct. 27, 10-11 a.m. CT, Rev. Amy Lippoldt, St. Paul’s UMC, Papillion, NE. Watch Amy’s testimony here. And register for the meet-up with Amy here.
- Thursday, Nov. 17, 10-11 a.m. CT, Rev. Juan Carlos Veloso, Iglesia Comunitaria and Grace UMC, Omaha. Watch Juan Carlos’ testimony here and here. Register for the meet-up here.
We hope to see you for a bit of connection, sharing, and mutual encouragement!
The fourth episode of At the Threshold's "Discipleship: Real Talk" is a conversation with author Alex Absalom, and is now available on the clergy stories page of our website.
Final deadline for 2022 clergy
wellbeing grants is Tuesday
Since the fall of 2021, the Office of Clergy Excellence has awarded more than 70 Clergy Wellbeing Grants. Our Great Plains clergy have used them for retreats, coaching, spiritual direction and other customized wellbeing practices or resources. Our final cycle of grants for 2022 is nearing the deadline of Nov. 1. If you are serving one of our Great Plains UMC churches as the pastoral leader and have not requested a Clergy Wellbeing Grant, consider how you might pay attention to your own soul in the season ahead.
Check out the video explaining more about the $450 grant that is available to clergy that can be used to enhance a planned renewal leave or to create space for spiritual self-care in the midst of your ministry and are intended to be the sort of things that would be approved by your continuing education or travel budget. Our website for self-care mini-grant opportunities also includes a link to apply for the grant. All grant requests for 2022 must be received by Nov. 1 with follow up report and request for reimbursement received by Dec. 31, 2022.
Check out some soul-care resources for planning your own solo (or small group) retreat, meeting with a conference peer coach or having conversation with a Spiritual Director. And don’t hesitate to be creative!
Clergy, would you give yourself the gift of reflection and self-care?
Health Ministry Fund offers
Mental Health First Aid training
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is a proven and effective resource that teaches lay people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in their community.
In this one-day, 6.5-hour online training, participants will learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and substance use concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. The training helps anyone who wants to learn how to provide initial help to someone who may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness or crisis, and provides tools to help friends, family members, colleagues, and others in the community.
The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is offering sessions of MHFA each month through March. The trainings are open at no cost to all individuals. Anyone in your church may attend but each person should register individually. You must register at least one week prior to your preferred training. Spaces are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact Dashinika@healthfund.org with any questions.
The remaining 2022 sessions are at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 28, Nov. 3 and 18.
Register to attend at https://healthfund.org/a/healthy-congregations/mental-health-first-aid/.
Children’s ministry online
workshop set for Nov. 19
Whether we are volunteers, part time staff, or working full time in Children's Ministry, God has placed a call on our lives to care for the faith needs of our community's kiddos.
With all that Children's Ministry can bring, how do we know what to say "yes" to? How can we discern where God is going and what God wants us to do in ministry?
"Pruning our Passions" is a 90-minute opportunity to begin the discernment process of how to stay healthy in ministry with kids! Join our children's ministry regional coordinators and Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford from 9-10:30 a.m. CT Saturday, Nov. 19, on Zoom for a moment of peace, reflection and care.
Registration is free and now open at https://gp-reg.brtapp.com/PruningOurPassions2022.
Mercy & Justice
Three from Jalingo Orphanage
graduate from Africa University
The Mercy & Justice Team is excited to share that three members of the Jalingo Orphanage in Nigeria were able to graduate from Africa University. This was made possible through the Mission Partnership between the Great Plains Conference and the Nigeria Conference. Thank you to our local churches for your faithful sending in of Mission Shares and support for our international partners.
See Powerpoint with more information here.
Advent studies for adults are
available from media center
Advent begins a month from Thursday, and United Media Center has nearly 30 DVD studies and six books for adults available to borrow.
Among the DVD studies are “Angels of Christmas: Hearing God’s Voice in Advent” by Susan Robb; “Because of Bethlehem” by Max Lucado; and five studies by Rev. Adam Hamilton. Books include “Christmas: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” by Bishop Richard Wilke; and “Making Room: Sharing the Love of Christmas” by Ed Robb.
See these and others here.
Advent resources to help you
create a community connection
Invite your community to worship with you this Advent with the help of customizable outreach resources. Choose from banners, signs, postcards, invitation cards, posters and more. All are available in a wide variety of designs and messaging.
Order in English or in Spanish.
Across the Connection
Teen Center helps youth
in Omaha determine direction
For the past 15 years, students at Burke High School in Omaha have been steered in successful directions thanks to a project co-founded by Omaha St. Luke UMC.
The Teen Center provides “opportunities for students in an after-school environment with intentional exposure to education and relationships,” according to the center director.
See more from WOWT.
Winfield Grace UMC partners
with Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
Members of Grace United Methodist Church in Winfield have established a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a statewide coalition working throughout Kansas to encourage people and organizations to promote policies that ensure everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. As a partner organization Grace UMC joins business leaders, doctors and hospitals, social service and safety-net organizations, faith communities, chambers of commerce, advocates for health care consumers, and many more.
The two organizations hosted a “Walk With the Gap” event Saturday, Oct. 22, at Keyhole Drive at Southwestern College. The purpose was to bring awareness to the need to expand KanCare in Kansas. Current estimates say 150,000 Kansans could receive coverage with this change representing hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars which Kansans already pay and simply do not come back to the state.
"Kansans are paying more for everything these days, including health care. KanCare expansion is a way we can bring down health care costs for everyone and provide accessible health insurance to 150,000 Kansans who currently can't afford it" said April Holman, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. "We are so excited to be walk in Winfield this weekend to bring awareness to the fact that 8 out of 10 Kansans support expansion.”
Pastor Charles McKinzie of Grace United Methodist said: “Most of the people who would benefit from this change are those who get called the ‘working poor.’ They don’t have the financial means to afford quality or comprehensive health insurance, but currently make too much to receive the benefits of KanCare. These are good people struggling to get by. Many of them make impossible choices like whether to buy groceries or get their medicine. As a follower of Christ, I believe that healing the sick is holy work and so I’m proud to say that the congregation of Grace United Methodist has stepped up to walk with those in this coverage gap.”
Church in St. Paul, Nebraska,
celebrates its 150th anniversary
A 150th anniversary celebration of Methodism in Howard County was held on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the United Methodist Church in St. Paul, Nebraska, beginning with the 10 a.m. worship service.
The service with 121 people attending included: special music by the young children, our own choir quartet members, and extra congregational singing of favorite hymns. Rev. Susan Murithi wove various aspects of Methodism history into her sermon message and challenged the group to continue our long history of mission work and service projects. Brief highlights of 150 years of Methodism and the churches involved was read.
The most anticipated part of the service was honoring the 50-, 60-, and 70-year members for their faithful attendance and service. Picture shows 20 honorees that attended the service.
The rest of the day included: an 11:30 a.m. potluck meal with catered meat, old fashion outdoor games for children and youth, a viewing table of church historical/picture scrapbooks, past member pictorial booklets, and a continuous video of past church memories.
With everyone’s efforts and God’s help, the 150th celebration was a huge success.
--Charlene Craig, historian from UMC of St. Paul, Nebraska
In other news
- Safe Gatherings, October 26, 2022
- Ministry Matters, October 26, 2022
- Leading Ideas, October 26, 2022
- BeADisciple, October 25, 2022
- Discipleship Ministries: Generous Living, October 25, 2022
- A Sermon for Every Sunday, October 25, 2022
- Discipleship Ministries: Worship Planning, October 24, 2022
- Church and Society, October 20, 2022
- CCLI, October 20, 2022
- Equipping Disciples, October 20, 2022
Classifieds are posted for 30 days unless otherwise requested. Please allow three business days for your classified to appear on the website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to update or renew your classified. Submit your classified here.
- The Great Plains Conference is accepting applications for a communications administrative assistant
- Director of student ministries needed at First UMC, Mountain Home, AR
- Faith based program director position open at The Neighboring Movement
- First UMC in Mountain Home, AR is seeking a children’s ministry director
- Grinnell, IA UMC is hiring a director of congregational discipleship
- Camp Lakeside is searching for a camp director
- Minister of youth, young adults, and missions needed in Kenilworth, IL
- Part-time youth director needed at Valley Center First UMC
- Full-time church business administrator needed at First UMC Lawrence, KS
- Part-time administrative assistant needed at First UMC, Lawrence, KS
- Aldersgate UMC, Olathe, is searching for an office administrator
- Adminstrative Assistant needed at Hiawatha First UMC
- Associate director of children's ministry needed in Birmingham, AL
- The Coastal Virginia District of the Virginia Conference is recruiting an administrative manager
- The Great Plains Conference is searching for a lay leadership and congregational vitality coordinator
- Concordia First UMC needs a Christian education director
- Needed: The Faith We Sing and Worship & Song pew editions
- Indian Heights UMC in Overland Park, KS is hiring a children's and family ministry coordinator
- Nursery care attendant needed at Asbury UMC in Prairie Village, KS