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Download the printable version of the Oct. 31 issue of GPconnect.

In this edition:

THIS WEEK'S NEWS
Gender issues highlight this year’s ‘Transformation of the World’ event
United Methodists nationwide react to synagogue shooting
Paradise found for church’s neighbor in Kansas community
Happy Halloween! So, is this a religious holiday?
Hays town hall crowd concerned about decisions at local level

GENERAL CONFERENCE
Judicial Council says One Church Plan is largely constitutional
Court ruling propels strategy for 2019 special session of General Conference

CLERGY EXCELLENCE
Sacred Encounters/Fresh Expressions session in Olathe draws about 90

MERCY & JUSTICE
Tex Sample to speak at Fairway Old Mission UMC

ADMINISTRATION
Mission Insite introduces donor development services for faith nonprofits

ACROSS THE CONNECTION
Family from Wichita First UMC takes leap of faith to Argentina
HIV/AIDS lecture series to be named for Muttis
In other news
Resources
Newsletters  
Blogs and opinion
The week ahead
Classifieds 

 

Gender issues highlight this year’s
‘Transformation of the World’ event

When the Mercy & Justice committee of the Great Plains Conference began planning the “For the Transformation of the World” event, which took place last weekend, regarding gender issues, it was at the very beginning of the #MeToo movement, and long before the firestorm behind the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh.

“It became all that much more important that the church become part of the conversation, where women’s voices could be heard and could be raised and women’s experiences could be valued,” said the Rev. Sarah Marsh, a member of the committee.

Read more about this past weekend’s event, which took place at Lexington First UMC.

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United Methodists nationwide
react to synagogue shooting

As United Methodists responded to a deadly synagogue shooting, Western Pennsylvania Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi urged people to listen to God as they pray. United Methodists in the area immediately reached out to rabbis and synagogues to find out how they could help, while others attended vigils. 

Read more from the United Methodist News Service.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. asks for prayers from the Great Plains.

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Paradise found for church’s
neighbor in Kansas community

Paradise is a Russell County, Kansas, community that numbers about 50 people and where the United Methodist Church is the only house of worship. A group of under-40 young people in the church decided they should have a service project, and chose to roof the house of a neighbor, who doesn’t go to the church, to show the spirit of Jesus.

Read more about the project.

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Happy Halloween!
So, is this a religious holiday?

Does Methodism celebrate Halloween? What were John Wesley's peculiar feelings about All Saints Day? The Great Plains Conference communications team offers some insight in this eerie video. Thanks to media production specialist Eugenio Hernandez for this creation – and Happy Halloween!

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Hays town hall crowd concerned
about decisions at local level

About 260 Western Kansans packed into the Hays District town hall meeting with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. on Sunday, many of them upset that the decision regarding human sexuality issues might filter down to the local level if the One Church Plan is passed.

“We’ve been forced to do something you guys couldn’t do,” said Bob McCobb, a member of Russell Trinity UMC.

Read more about the town hall, from Hays First UMC.

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General Conference

Judicial Council says One
Church Plan is largely constitutional

A review of possible plans for the future direction of The United Methodist Church found the One Church Plan to be largely constitutional, said a decision released Oct. 26 by the denomination’s top court.

In Decision 1366, which was unanimous, the United Methodist Judicial Council found more problems in the Traditional Plan petitions that would need to be addressed before that plan could pass a constitutional test.

Since another legislative proposal — the Connectional Conference Plan — contains proposed constitutional changes required for implementation, the court ruled it has no authority to scrutinize the plan at this time.

Next February, a special session of General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body, will meet in St. Louis to consider these three legislative proposals from a report by the Commission on a Way Forward, as well as any other petitions considered “in harmony” with the call for a special General Conference.

Read more from the United Methodist News Service.
Judicial Council releases other decisions after October meeting.

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Court ruling propels strategy for 2019
special session of General Conference

Supporters of the One Church Plan, including the Rev. Mark Holland, a Great Plains Conference delegate from Kansas City, Kansas, are looking forward to the special session of the General Conference, now that the Judicial Council has ruled.

“I think our game plan is in place,” said Holland (pictured here in 2016), who started the unofficial group Mainstream UMC to advocate for the One Church Plan, told the United Methodist News Service. He joined with other One Church Plan supporters to file a brief in the case.

Holland said none of the sentences ruled unconstitutional is critical. He hopes the denomination’s bishops, a majority of whom support the One Church Plan, will recommend the adjustments needed so the plan could pass without constitutional amendments.  

Read more from the UM News Service.

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Clergy Excellence

Sacred Encounters/Fresh Expressions session in Olathe draws about 90

About 90 people from the Great Plains Conference and beyond attended a retreat to learn about Fresh Expressions and Sacred Encounters last week in Olathe.

Here is a video with highlights of the daylong session.

Videos of the full sessions:

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Mercy & Justice

Tex Sample to speak at
Fairway Old Mission UMC

Rev. Dr. Tex Sample, pastor of Kansas City’s Trinity United Methodist Church and professor emeritus of church and society at Saint Paul School of Theology, will be giving a seminar on his new book, “Working Class Rage: A Field Guide to White Anger and Pain” at Old Mission UMC, Fairway, Kansas.

The talk will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the church, 5519 State Park Road.

In his book, Sample says, “White working-class people are poorly understood and perceived as a threat to the common good – unintelligent, self-destructive, utterly incapable of leveraging their own privilege -- white working-class people have recaptured the cultural and political imagination in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Many are scrambling to understand what makes this demographic tick with mixed results.

Scapegoated for all things racist and identified as the voting block that gave the country its most divisive leader in a generation, they are not what they seem: so much more than common xenophobes and red-hat wearing nostalgic for a lost time of white supremacy, this group begs for a richer, more nuanced portrait if they are to be loved and impacted by Christian faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ”

Sample is a much sought-after lecturer, storyteller, workshop leader and consultant.

Copies of his book will be available for purchase.

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Administration

Mission Insite introduces donor development services for faith nonprofits

A new donor development service for faith-based religious nonprofits, Mission Insite’s NPConnect, has been introduced.

MissionInsite is committed to providing you and your team with innovative tools across all sectors of your organization. That's why we are excited to announce our new system, NPConnect, for nonprofits associated with your church or denomination.

Through NPConnect, your nonprofits have access to powerful tools including:
Donor Center analytics that identify:

  • Donors that can give more through wealth intelligence and screening
  • Donor profiles including income, home values, and types of organizations they support
  • Communication and engagement strategies for each donor

Prospect center tools to generate:

  • New prospects in your community with significant capacity to give
  • Targeted prospect lists based on your current donor profiles
  • Cost effective address lists for marketing and outreach

For more information, contact Dylan Edwards, dedwards@missioninsite.com, or 1-877-230-3212, Ext. 1019.

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Across the Connection

Family from Wichita First UMC
takes leap of faith to Argentina

A Wichita family, whose parents both work for First United Methodist Church, is making a major change in their lives in November. Sergio and Patricia Tristan and their sons will move to Argentina to continue missionary work. The job comes with a cost – but they’re happy to be selling nearly all of their possessions and make disciples in South America.

KSN in Wichita reports on the family’s move.

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HIV/AIDS lecture series
to be named for Muttis

Former Bishop Fritz Mutti and his wife, Etta Mae, were recipients of a certificate last week that establishes lectures in their honor at a Breaking Barriers HIV/AIDS Ministry conference in Indianapolis. The lectures are in recognition of the Muttis’ tireless efforts towards eradication of HIV and AIDS.  
 
The Muttis have for decades given their lives to the cause of raising awareness in the church and community regarding the ravages and stigma that continues to plague those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.  The three-day conference was organized by United Methodist Global AIDS Committee and drew participants from around the world.

Read more about the Breaking Barriers conference.

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In other news


Resources

Videos help guide talk among disagreement

A new video series from the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race offers a study program for talking about race, the church and human sexuality among people who disagree. The program features short videos of theologians, pastors, worship and lay leaders, biblical scholars and community activists — many of them people of color. 

Learn more about the videos.

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Get ready for UM Student Day, Nov. 25

On Nov. 25, The United Methodist Church will help ensure a brighter future for its young people. The special offering shared on United Methodist Student Day supports students in our communities and around the world as they live their faith and pursue knowledge. 

In Psalm 119:105, NRSV, we read, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” As you prepare to celebrate this Special Sunday, download the United Methodist Student Day Seven-day Devotional. It will help you reflect on your role in investing in our children’s future. 

Be sure to share it with your church leaders, too, so that they can consider this once-a-year opportunity to empower tomorrow’s leaders. 

For more resources to promote this churchwide Special Sunday, download the free Student Day pastor’s kit and the UMSD Planning Calendar

Don’t forget to order your FREE posters and bulletin inserts/offering envelopes here

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Newsletters  

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Blogs and opinion

  • Misused words in church debates: Retired Indiana Bishop Michael J. Coyner believes many words are being misused in some blogs, articles and even books about the current debates in The United Methodist Church leading up to the called General Conference in 2019. 
  • Methodists seek the way forward: Prior to one of two discussions in the Holston Conference about the special session of the General Conference, Chattanooga Times Free Press columnist Clint Cooper looks at the effect the decision had on other denominations: “It is true that mainline Protestant denominations have been declining in membership and attendance for 50 years or more, but the clergy and marriage decisions have accelerated the downturn.”

The week ahead


Classifieds 

 
 
 
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