THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Historic jurisdictional conference brings new bishop to Great Plains
Bishop Saenz names clergy veterans to interim positions
New governance system, director to begin Dec. 1 for GP Camps
Charlotte, North Carolina, will be host of 2024 session
Veloso is final fall series guest in online clergy discipleship series
Bishops among panel next week in Dallas on future of the UMC
Children’s ministry online workshop set for Nov. 19
Grants available for emerging ethnic ministries
MERCY & JUSTICE
Great Plains ERTs tackle hurricane damage in Florida
Tuesday is deadline for capital matching grants from conference
Online Q&A on clergy housing allowance set for Monday
Debate looming on how low denomination's budget should go
Advent, Christmas materials for children, youth available
Worship, eat and reach out with ideas for meaningful Thanksgiving
ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Nebraska church celebrates its 150th anniversary this weekend
Kearney First UMC celebrates 150 years
Omaha church hosts its third All People’s Pantry
Southeast Nebraska church closes its doors
Closed church donates its assets to community
In other news
Historic jurisdictional conference
brings new bishop to Great Plains
Last week's South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Houston was historic in many ways, including all three new bishops -- David Wilson, Laura Merrill and Dee Williamston -- elected on the first ballot, unprecedented in United Methodist history.
Bishop Wilson, from the Oklahoma and Oklahoma Indian Missionary conferences, will become the bishop of the Great Plains Conference beginning Jan. 1. He is the first Native American bishop in the denomination. He will succeed Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., who will lead the North and Central Texas confererences.
Bishop Williamston, from the Great Plains Conference, was the first Black woman elected to the episcopacy in the jurisdiction. She will lead the Louisiana Conference at the beginning of 2023.
And Merrill, from the Rio Texas Conference, is one of the two female bishops elected at the same South Central Jurisdictional Conference, the first time more than one woman has been elected in this region. She will be the episcopal leader of the Arkansas Conference on Jan. 1.
Read our coverage of the SCJ, in chronological order:
Check out 12 videos from the SCJ, including the unprecedented first-ballot election, the first news conference with Bishop Williamston, the first news conference with Bishop Wilson, Bishop Saenz' episcopal address, the announcement of assignments, highlights of the consecration service, and response to Bishop Wilson's election and assignment to the Great Plains.
Our Flickr album has more than 300 photos from the historic week in Houston by Great Plains and other conference communicators
Todd Seifert's "In Layman's Terms" podcast interviews new Great Plains Bishop David Wilson prior to the jurisdictional conference. Listen here.
Congratulate Bishop Williamston
If you would like to send cards of congratulations to Bishop Williamston, address them to Great Plains Conference, attn. Julie Kohr, 1207 SW Executive Drive, Topeka, KS 66604.
Other coverage of SCJ
From other jurisdictions
Bishop Saenz names clergy
veterans to interim positions
Two veteran Great Plains Conference clergy will temporarily fill the positions of the departing Bishop Dee Williamston, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. announced today.
The Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford will be the interim clergy excellence director, and the Rev. Dr. Mitch Reece will be interim assistant to the bishop. They will temporarily take over the position previously held by Bishop Williamston, who was elected to the episcopacy last week and has been appointed to lead the Louisiana Conference.
Bishop David Wilson, who will become the Great Plains bishop beginning Jan. 1, will appoint permanent successors in 2023.
Read more here.
New governance system, director
to begin Dec. 1 for GP Camps
A 30-year veteran of camp leadership through both the YMCA and The United Methodist Church will be the first director of camping services for GP Camps.
Bob Kahle is currently director of programs and operations for SC Camps and Retreat Ministries in the South Carolina Conference, including managing the largest of its three camps, Asbury Hills. He previously worked for YMCA camps in New Jersey, California, Michigan and North Carolina.
“We thought he could bring a new, fresh perspective as we change our governance model,” said the Rev. Bill Ritter, chair of GP Camps.
Read more here.
Charlotte, North Carolina,
will be host of 2024 session
The Commission on the General Conference announced that the 2024 United Methodist General Conference will be April 23-May 3 at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Western North Carolina and North Carolina conferences will co-host the event.
“Our people are hospitable and welcoming, and we trust that the delegates who gather for what promises to be a historic gathering will be blessed by the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina and its warmth and beauty,” said Bishop Kenneth H. Carter of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Read more here.
Veloso is final fall series 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, 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!
Bishops among panel next week
in Dallas on future of the UMC
Bishops Cynthia Harvey, Ruben Saenz Jr., Dee Williamston and David Wilson will be among the episcopacy panel for “Space at the Table: Conversations of Hope for the UMC Future,” next week at Lovers Lane UMC, Dallas.
The keynote speaker will be Rev. Mike Slaughter, and the day will include a conversation with Bishop Will Willimon.
The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, and will be available through a livestream at llumc.org/conference.
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.
Grants available for
emerging ethnic ministries
The Vital Congregations team is offering grants for emerging ethnic ministries. Any emerging (new or developing) ministry to or with ethnic minority communities in the Great Plains can be considered.
Applications are being received through Dec. 1 and grants will be awarded before the end of the year. Applications can be completed here -- and questions can be directed to Rev. Jeff Clinger, director of congregational excellence.
Great Plains ERTs tackle
hurricane damage in Florida
When disasters happen around the world, Great Plains is invited to help, and we respond! It is what our ministry is all about – serving with compassion and care as we are the hands and feet of Christ. It is our calling, not just something we do. The Florida Conference Disaster Response Coordinator extended an invitation to us soon after Hurricane Ian had left much destruction in the State of Florida. A group of eight ERTs (Early Response Team) joined together from all over the conference to make the trip to North Fort Myers, Florida. Once there, our team was joined by three from the Mississippi Conference and one from the Alabama West Florida Conference for a week of hard work.
Their task was not an easy one. Blown debris and belongings of the homeowners had to be removed before the home could be muck (gutted) out. The home received 40 inches of water during the hurricane and days of rain. Once the belongings were out, then the team could begin the task of removing drywall and flooring. You can see the process through the pictures.
The bonding of individuals on this trip, and any other ERT trip, is what presents as a true blessing. New friends are made. New individuals become a part of our family.
If you are not already an ERT, we invite you to become a part of our ministry. Disasters strike without warning, and often there is an immediate need and continued needs in the months following the event. We have a training coming up in January for new ERTs and a recertification training Nov. 20 for those who are already an ERT, yet whose credentials have expired. You can find information on these: www.greatplainsumc.org/register.
A heartfelt thank you to Tom and Susan Manning, Dave Mize, Larry Beeson, Susan Poling (team leader), Jenny Claborn, Kristen Ellis and Brian Farber for a job well done in Florida!
-- Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator
Tuesday is deadline for capital
matching grants from conference
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.
Online Q&A on clergy
housing allowance set for Monday
A housing allowance is a benefit to clergy that lowers the amount of income subject to federal income tax. Bryan Mills, general counsel for the General Council on Finance and Administration, will lead a question and answer session online at 2 p.m. CT Monday, Nov. 14.
Debate looming on how low
denomination's budget should go
The two bodies that develop the denomination-wide budget that goes before General Conference agree that deep cuts are needed. However, disagreements are brewing between the Connectional Table and General Council on Finance and Administration board on what stewardship requires in a time of mounting church disaffiliations.
Read more from UM News Service.
Advent, Christmas materials
for children, youth available
Advent and Christmas resources available for children and youth from the United Media Resource Center include “Animated Stories from the New Testament: The King is Born” on DVD, “Advent Jesse Tree” devotion book, and “Gift of the Nutcracker: Children’s Leader Guide” study guide.
See those and more here.
Worship, eat and reach out with these
ideas for a meaningful Thanksgiving
With the term “thanks” appearing 100 times in the King James Version of the Bible, it’s fair to say gratitude is a biblical concept. United Methodist Communications has suggestions for worship, mealtime and other ways churches can reach out during Thanksgiving in the U.S.
Across the Connection
Nebraska church celebrates
its 150th anniversary this weekend
Lexington United Methodist Church is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a special church service this weekend.
In the first of a three-part series, Brian Neben of the Lexington Clipper-Herald looks back at the church’s history and how it has made itself essential to the community.
Read more here.
Kearney First UMC
commemorates 150 years
Through ups, downs and even a Christmas Eve fire in 1969, Kearney First UMC has persevered for 150 years.
The church celebrated its sesquicentennial this week with music and memories.
See more from the Kearney Hub.
Omaha church hosts its
third All People’s Pantry
Omaha Hanscom Park UMC hosted its third All People’s Pantry last weekend, where community and church members can distribute and pick up culturally appropriate food, much of which is not available in local grocery stores.
“Within less than six months we have served 1,055 people from 25 countries from the two events March and July,” said Peter Karanja, associate pastor for community engagement.
The church’s Facebook page reported more 1,100 people from 200 families, representing 28 countries, were served.
See more from KMTV.
church closes its doors
After 134 years of serving its southeast Nebraska community, Burchard United Methodist Church closed its doors last month.
The church, which had been known for its chicken noodle suppers, had dwindled to four members.
See more from the Beatrice Daily Sun.
Closed church donates
its assets to community
When Nebraska’s Stanton UMC closed this year, the church leaders decided to donate various assets from the church to multiple organizations in the community.
One of them was the Stanton County sheriff’s office, which received $6,000.
See more from News Channel Nebraska.
In other news
- Ministry Matters, November 9, 2022
- A Sermon for Every Sunday, November 9, 2022
- Mission Link from Dr. David Upp, November 2022
- Discipleship Ministries: Worship Planning, November 7, 2022
- GCFA Collaborator, November 2022
- Equipping Disciples, November 3, 2022
- Camp Norwesca-Northwest Nebraska Tourism, November 2022
- Discipleship Ministries: Path 1 News, November 2022
- Camp Norwesca, November 2022
- CCLI Top Songs, November 2022
- GP Youth Collective, November 2022
- GP Kids+Family, November 2022
- Kies Update from Mutare, November 2022
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