Download the printable version of the Jan. 11 issue of GPconnect.

In this edition:

‘Wesleyan Live’ to feature lectures on the Lord’s Prayer
Five Rivers DS addresses interfaith convocation at Kansas Legislature

Mentoring pastors needed for pastoral leadership interns

Healthy Congregations set first training courses
Church of Resurrection offers Congregational Care seminar
Learn how to use multimedia tools effectively in worship
New procedures in place for approving CLMs 

United Methodists urged to ‘Reclaim the Common Good’
First deadline for Micah Corps internship is approaching
Nebraskans urge Congress to support protections for immigrants 

W-2 video for church treasurers is available online
UM Foundation Board selects Ehren Congdon as director
Order business cards through conference office 

In Other News
Blogs & Opinion

‘Wesleyan Live’ to feature
lectures on the Lord’s Prayer

Registration is now open for the spring edition of “Wesleyan Live.” This five-week course provided by Nebraska Wesleyan University may be a good fit as a Lenten study for individuals or for small groups within churches.

The title for the course is “How the Lord’s Prayer Lost its Radical Edge” and will be taught by the Rev. Dr. Robert Jewett, a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan who also was educated at the Univesrty of Chicago and the University of Tubingen. Dr. Jewett has taught at Morningside College and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and he serves as theologian-in-residence at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln.

The course will begin at 7 p.m. Mondays from Feb. 27 to March 27, with each session anticipated to last approximately one hour. Participants in the Lincoln area may attend in person at the conference office at 3333 Landmark Circle in Lincoln. But all participants can take part via livestream on the conference’s website.

Cost is $40 per person or $20 for retirees and students. Local church groups may take part for a maximum cost of $75.

Learn more about the course and register.

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Five Rivers DS addresses interfaith convocation at Kansas Legislature

The Rev. David Watson, Five Rivers District superintendent, delivered the address for the Kansas Legislature’s Interfaith Convocation on Jan. 10 in Topeka.

The gathering of legislators and guests from four faith traditions gathered for the event on the first day of the legislative session. The event was sponsored by Kansas Interfaith Action, a statewide, multifaith, issues-based advocacy organization that addresses public policies consistent with the values of the faith traditions.

Read a transcript of Rev. Watson’s address.

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Clergy Excellence

Mentoring pastors needed for pastoral leadership interns

As one plank in the strategy to help nurture great leaders for the Great Plains, the Call Team of the Board of Ordained Ministry, in conjunction with the Clergy Excellence office, supports a summer Pastoral Leadership internship program for young adults aged 18-22. This 10-week program will provide young leaders the opportunity to experience pastoral work in the most “hands-on” way possible while being supported by a mentoring pastor and a teaching congregation. We are currently inviting churches to apply to host a summer intern through this conference program.

Commitments of the local church:

  • Desire to assist the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a young adult who is discerning a call to full-time vocational ministry.
  • Willingness of the congregation to be a learning environment, where new ideas and exploration are welcomed and celebrated.
  • No change in senior pastoral leadership over the summer of the internship.
  • Ability to provide housing for the intern with a church family. Housing must be in a location convenient to the church and include a private room, the ability to come and go as needed and the opportunity but not the expectation to join in family meals or activities.
  • Budget of approximately $500 to cover transportation to Internship retreats, attending annual conference session, purchase of a book or other resource and other unanticipated expenses related to the internship.
  • Ability to provide own work space in the church including access to telephone, Internet and printing/copying with regular space available for private meetings. Intern can be expected to provide own computer.
  • Exposure to all facets of pastoral work over the course of the internship. Examples include making hospital visits, funeral preparation, preach and plan worship at least twice, attend committee meetings, meet with new members, teach a class or classes, shut-in visitation, VBS, youth group party, etc.
  • Flexibility in scheduling as ministry has irregular hour. The expectation is for a 40-hour work week with adequate and regular time off.
  • In a multi-staff environment, the intern can be given the opportunity to shadow and learn from multiple staff people but the primary mentoring relationship will be with an ordained clergy person. Regular contact with the senior pastor is expected, at minimum a weekly meeting for reflection, questions and encouragement.

Deadline for churches to apply is March 15.

View more information at

Additionally, do you know a college student who would benefit from a summer internship experience? Early deadline is Jan. 22. The latest they can apply is March 19. They can learn more at

For questions, please contact Ashlee Alley, or 402-464-5994, Ext. 117.

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Equipping Disciples

Healthy Congregations
set first training courses

The 2017 schedule of training courses for Healthy Congregations teams has been announced, with the first session beginning Jan. 17.
The certification training series consists of three courses (seven hours total) providing teams with tools for planning congregational and community health ministries, bringing those plans to fruition, and for learning from successes and challenges.

The trainings are offered in two formats: virtual (live training via computer/phone from anywhere) and face-to-face (regional gatherings). The courses are free, and available to all Great Plains United Methodists -- whether currently signed up for Healthy Congregations or considering joining. For the full 2017 schedule, including registration information and more, please visit

Healthy Congregations teams with at least three active, certified (trained) members are eligible for annual renewal funding of $1,000 and other special program opportunities. The program is open to all Great Plains United Methodist Churches and provides health ministry teams with funding support, technical assistance, helpful resources and more. Learn more at

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Church of Resurrection offers Congregational Care seminar

Congregational Care is critical in every local church and no one person can address all the hurt of a congregation or community. 

The Church of the Resurrection’s Congregational Care team invites you to join them Thursday-Saturday, April 27-29, for comprehensive training and networking with other local church leaders regarding congregational care best practices and standards. The seminar is designed to train volunteers to become partners in ministry with pastors and staff to provide care for a congregation. 

Several years ago, Church of the Resurrection developed a program transforming the way care is provided for the congregation. The church equipped volunteers to be Congregational Care Ministers and deployed them to work alongside pastors and staff to minister to and holistically care for the congregation. This partnership between lay and clergy has enabled Resurrection to provide a more consistent and deeper level of care to the church family. The ministry of Congregational Care is deliberate in connecting the church with people during difficult times. 
New this year is a preconference, from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 27, with two topics offered: “Creating a Care Group” or “Depression, Anxiety and Addictions.”

For more information, please visit the webpage,, or contact Kathy Carter at or 913-544-0272.

Registration is limited. Super Early bird rate of $140 for the seminar and $25 for the preconference is available through Feb. 15. Early Bird rate of $160 for the seminar and $30 for the preconference available Feb. 16 to April 5. The regular registration fee is $200 for the seminar and $35 for the preconference.

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Learn how to use multimedia
tools effectively in worship

Would you like to learn more about making use of multimedia tools in worship?

A Lay Servant Ministry class has been designed to provide an overview of methods to enhancing worship through the use of technology. Participants will be exposed to concepts of purchasing equipment, projection methods that help convey the preacher's message and resources available to help sustain the audio/visual effort.

This course serves as an advanced course but can be attended by anyone interested in the subject.

One is scheduled for Jan. 20-21 at First United Methodist Church in Topeka. Download the flier. Register for the course.

Another is scheduled for Jan. 27-28 at Grace United Methodist Church in Hastings, Nebraska. Download the flier. Register for the course.

The cost for this course is $10, which includes snacks and lunch on Saturday.

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New procedures in
place for approving CLMs

The 2016 General Conference amended the way Certified Lay Ministers (CLMs) are approved. The responsibility for oversight of training and final approval now falls to the conference’s Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.

Mary Feit, conference director of Lay Servant Ministry, explains more about it in the latest LSM blog.

Read Feit’s blog.

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Mercy & Justice

United Methodists urged to
‘Reclaim the Common Good’

On Jan. 20, United Methodists around the United States are encouraged to host or join house/church parties from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for an evening of fellowship and food to discuss and engage in ways to “Reclaim the Common Good.” These conversations will be biblically and theologically grounded, affirm our core Wesleyan values, explore challenges in this moment as they impact our communities and nation, and offer opportunities to name ongoing faithful conversations as United Methodists. We hope you'll join.

Five United Methodist agencies – Church and Society, Commission on Religion and Race, Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Higher Education and Ministry, and United Methodist Women – are working together to provide resources for host to use to facilitate meaningful conversations.

If Friday, Jan. 20, does not work well for your community, consider hosting an event another time in January. And if you already have plans that fit with this theme, think of how you might incorporate “Reclaim the Common Good” into your program.

United Methodists participating in conversations for the “Common Good” are asked to share visions using the hashtag #UM4CommonGood.

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First deadline for Micah Corps internship is approaching

The first application deadline for the Micah Corps 2017 summer internship is quickly approaching. There will be three deadlines:

  • Jan. 22, with interviews Jan. 24-27.

  • Feb. 19, with interviews Feb. 21-24.

  • March 19, with interviews March 21-24.

The Micah Corps is a ten-week social justice internship offered by the Great Plains Conference. This summer will mark its ninth year.

Abi Franks, an intern from 2016, explains that her experience in Micah Corps helped her to understand a relevant issue in her community. Her social justice focus area was human trafficking, and as Abi lives in an origin city, the knowledge she gained from Micah Corps allowed her to connect with individuals working in this area. She is now able to use this knowledge to help combat this problem in her community. When asked what she would tell potential future Micah Corps interns about the internship, Abi said, “it’s a great program and I really love it. I don’t think there’s anything else out there like it and I think that’s a really cool thing. It’s something that’s worth investing in and its worth investing yourself in.”

To learn more about the Micah Corps and to apply, visit If you have any questions, please contact Katie at

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Nebraskans urge Congress to support protections for immigrants

More than 60 Nebraska business, city, faith, education, law enforcement, health and local community organizations and leaders signed a public letter to Nebraska’s members of Congress urging legislation that continues the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The letter, signed by Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. on behalf of the Great Plains Conference, represents a strong showing of community support recognizing the contributions to Nebraska by DACA recipients and their families, and urges Congress take action to protect them from deportation so they can continue to go to work, attend school and contribute their skills to Nebraska’s communities.

The Rev. David Lux, senior pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln, served as one of the speakers at a press conference on the issue Jan. 10 at the church.

See a video of the press conference and find a link to the letter in this post from Nebraska Appleseed.

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W-2 video for church
treasurers is available online

An informational video by the Rev. Gary Beach, treasurer and director of administrative services for the Great Plains Conference, guiding church treasurers in how to fill out W-2 forms for clergy is available for viewing here, and a sample form and instructions can be found here.

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UM Foundation Board selects
Ehren Congdon as director

The Board of Directors of the United Methodist Church Foundation has selected Ehren Congdon as Director. Congdon, who had served as Manager of Investor Relations for the past year, assumed his role Jan. 1, 2017. Congdon brings years of experience in financial planning, client relations and investment consultation.
Dixie Hall, chair of the board of directors, said “We are blessed as a board to have someone with Ehren’s experience fill this position. The United Methodist Church Foundation is poised to continue its progress in the area of responsible investments that will support the Church’s ministries.”
The foundation will continue its relationship with the Humphrey/Kelly Group of Merrill Lynch Global Institutional Consulting and Foundations.
Mark Humphrey of Humphrey/Kelly said, “We are delighted with the selection of Ehren Congdon as the new Director of the United Methodist Church Foundation. We have worked closely with Ehren in his past position with UMCF and we believe he brings strong investment and marketing experience that can build on the long-term success of the Foundation. We look forward to working with the new leadership team and providing Merrill Lynch’s investment and philanthropic services to continue the Foundation’s mission, ‘To empower the Church, local to global, by modeling a generosity in trusted partnership with agencies and institutions to endow its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.’” 
Byrd Bonner, who served for 17 years with The United Methodist Church Foundation said, "After the great blessing with the ministries of the UMC Foundation, I have great confidence in its new direction with Ehren Congdon. The new focus on endowing ministry through broader development of planned and endowment gifts will build on the work to date. I leave the Foundation encouraged by the new vision and I am honored and truly blessed to have served Christ in this way."

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Order business cards
through conference office

If you are in need of business cards, send your name, church or agency affiliation, address, phone numbers, email and website to Roxie Delisi at

She will be placing a bulk order in the next few days, so now is a great time to place your order and receive your business cards quickly. The cost is approximately $35 for 500 cards.

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Across the Connection

In Other News

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Blogs & Opinion

  • In Layman’s Terms: Todd Seifert, conference communications director, writes that change – to a new year and to a new president, among other changes – can be difficult. But through the stories of three significant changes in the Bible, we learn about trust in God and hope.
  • Human sexuality: The Rev. Lloyd T. Nyarota, an elder from Zimbabwe and a consultant for the General Board of Church and Society, writes that the debate over homosexuality in The United Methodist Church overshadows other serious issues in Africa.


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