News


Survey sheds light on worship, relationships and stress for clergy, laity

Survey sheds light on worship, relationships and stress for clergy, laity

6/21/2017
A survey of clergy and laity conducted prior to an annual conference session workshop on self-care as a spiritual discipline sheds light on the stress levels of pastors, the scriptural anchors for laity and the health of relationships between clergy and their congregations throughout the Great Plains. The survey – conducted by the Rev. Dr. Anne Gatobu, pastor at Ashland United Methodist Church in Nebraska, associate professor of pastoral counseling at Asbury Theological Seminary and leader of ...

Annual conference members affirm Topeka as city for single office

Annual conference members affirm Topeka as city for single office

6/14/2017
When the former Nebraska, Kansas West and Kansas East conferences unified in 2014 to become the Great Plains Conference, it retained its three offices in, respectively, Lincoln, Wichita and Topeka. The Rev. Steve Flader, chair of the conference Board of Trustees, explains why a task force and the trustees decided on Topeka as the home of a single conference office during the 2017 annual conference session in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Photo by Rachel Moser But that era is scheduled to end ...

NUMB ride celebrates its 22nd year

NUMB ride celebrates its 22nd year

6/14/2017
The Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger celebrates its 22nd year this June. So far, the rides have raised more than $854,000.   More than 135 bicycle riders have prepared to explore the wide-open plains of Nebraska as part of the 22nd annual Nebraska United Methodist Bike (NUMB) Ride for Hunger. This event regularly draws bicycle enthusiasts from across the country to ride for 250 miles on a circuit across the state. “Our first NUMB back in 1996 had about 36 riders,” Ritter ...

Annual conference to vote on clergy health care coverage

Annual conference to vote on clergy health care coverage

5/31/2017
Voting clergy and lay members at the Great Plains Annual Conference session will decide on whether to continue to provide a health care stipend to clergy who serve an appointment full time or three-quarter time or to revert to a group health plan. Prior to the opening of the conference – scheduled for June 7-10 in Grand Island, Nebraska – health coverage was the subject of a livestream presentation Thursday, June 1. During the broadcast, the costs and benefits of each option will be explained ...

Topeka receives recommendation as home for single conference office

Topeka receives recommendation as home for single conference office

5/24/2017
  After the April meeting of the Connecting Council, clergy and lay members to annual conference knew they would have the opportunity to vote on whether to condense three conference offices to one. Now they know if they choose the single-office option they then will get to vote on where that office will be. Topeka will be the suggested location, based on a recommendation from the location task force endorsed by the conference Board of Trustees. Initial candidate locations included Topeka, ...

More than 30 interns ready to fan out across Great Plains

More than 30 interns ready to fan out across Great Plains

5/23/2017
  A recent graduate of Kansas State University, Ty Schissel remembers being “blindsided” – but in a good way – when he heard about internship opportunities in the Great Plains Conference. “I didn’t even know it was available,” said Schissel, an Olathe, Kansas, native who plans to enter seminary in the Kansas City area this fall. “They told me they had this awesome, cool internship available, and I got excited and immediately applied.” Active in the K-State Wesley program, Schissel will be ...

Open Door ministry opens doors to new building

Open Door ministry opens doors to new building

5/17/2017
  Location, location, location. It’s a watchword for real estate, and one of the key components for the new home of United Methodist Open Door ministries in Wichita, the largest food bank in south-central Kansas. Open Door, which opened in 1965 as United Methodist Urban Ministry, recently moved its food operations from its former home in downtown Wichita to 2130 E. 21st St. in Wichita, which puts it onto public transportation lines and in a cul-de-sac with the Boys and Girls Club and The ...

Fisher reflects on pastoral career as retirement nears

Fisher reflects on pastoral career as retirement nears

5/15/2017
As a young woman, the Rev. Evelyn Fisher was uncertain of her career path. She had undergraduate degrees in journalism and political science, but her first job working in corporate public relations and public affairs for a Fortune 500 company in Kansas City led her to purveying what she called “propaganda.” Her father had been a city manager for two towns in Texas, and she had begun taking classes to get her masters of public administration. She thought of enrolling in law school but realized,...

After successful Great Plains start, Beach ready for retirement

After successful Great Plains start, Beach ready for retirement

5/8/2017
After the unification that created the Great Plains Conference, the Rev. Gary Beach considered himself a survivor. Literally. Beach, who is retiring as treasurer and director of administrative services for the conference at the end of June, said laying the groundwork that united the Nebraska, Kansas East and Kansas West conferences in 2014 took its toll on his health. In a meeting in March 2013, he began to feel uneasy. The Rev. Gary Beach, Great Plains Conference treasurer and director of ...

Workshop shares strategies for reaching new generations

Workshop shares strategies for reaching new generations

5/3/2017
  Foam fingers, a study group with Applebee’s appetizers and “mugging” first-time visitors. Those were some of the ideas that sprouted from a new satellite church in Wichita, shared in a workshop with two districts and throughout the Great Plains Conference via livestream on April 29, aimed at helping churches reach new generations of people. The Aldersgate ReNew campus had its first services in September. The Rev. Jordan McFall, pastor of the ReNew campus, said the church now averages 120 ...

Reaction to Judicial Council ruling mixed

Reaction to Judicial Council ruling mixed

4/28/2017
The woman who questioned on the South Central Jurisdictional floor the right of a gay pastor to become a bishop said she is “basically pleased” by the decision handed down April 28 by the United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council. “It makes me feel good about the church when there are issues that arise such as this that it’s handled in such a positive way,” Dixie Brewster of Milton, Kansas, said of the ruling that the Rev. Karen Oliveto’s election as bishop violates church law, but that she ...

Bishop Saenz issues statement on Judicial Council ruling

Bishop Saenz issues statement on Judicial Council ruling

4/28/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. issued the following statement following the announced ruling of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church: Dear Friends, Grace and peace to you in the name of the One that has broken down the dividing wall of hostility and created a new humanity by the cross and his blood, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, and Savior (Ephesians 2:11-22). The Judicial Council has ruled in a case that has attracted national attention to a divisive issue within The United Methodist...

Judicial Council rules gay bishop's election violates church law; case moves to supervisory response

Judicial Council rules gay bishop's election violates church law; case moves to supervisory response

4/28/2017
Bishop Karen Oliveto (center) shares a moment with her mother, Nelle Oliveto (left) and her wife, Robin Ridenour, after a hearing before the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting in Newark, N.J. The denomination's top court has ruled on a petition questioning whether an openly gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.   The consecration of a gay bishop violates church law, the top court of The United Methodist Church ...

The Way Forward: from Easter to Pentecost

The Way Forward: from Easter to Pentecost

4/26/2017
The following message was released Wednesday, April 26, from the moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward We live in the great fifty days, after the church has witnessed the presence of the risen Christ and before the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is a time of being together in community, discerning the future and depending on God. The Commission on a Way Forward recently gathered for its third meeting. We studied the scriptures, shared meals, reflected honestly about our convictions and ...

Connecting Council recommends single conference office, approves staff structure changes

Connecting Council recommends single conference office, approves staff structure changes

4/25/2017
The Connecting Council at its April 2017 meeting voted to adopt all but one recommendation offered by a consultant in a staffing study. Included is the concept of reducing the conference's three offices to one at a to-be-determined location, the addition of a COO for the conference and a study on how many district offices are necessary to fulfill our mission.

Bishops call 2019 special session of General Conference

Bishops call 2019 special session of General Conference

4/25/2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be conducted Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. In announcing the call, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the special session will be conducted in accordance with Division Two - Section II - Article II of The Constitution of The United Methodist Church as recorded in Paragraph ¶14 of The Book of Discipline (2016). The purpose of the 2019 special session of the...

Creation Care team encourages churches to step up efforts

Creation Care team encourages churches to step up efforts

4/18/2017
The Creation Care Planning Team of the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church is beginning a new project available to all congregations in Nebraska and Kansas. Beginning this Earth Day, April 22, 2017, Creation Care churches will be able to participate in this initiative under the auspices of the Mercy & Justice team of the conference. The program is structured to "... recognize the responsibility of the church and its members to place a high priority on changes in economic, ...

College students embark on a civil rights odyssey

College students embark on a civil rights odyssey

4/12/2017
Over spring break, 14 college students traveled with United Methodist Campus Ministry at Emporia State University on the Civil Rights Odyssey study tour. Ten of the students were related to campus ministry at Emporia State University, and four of the students were related to campus ministry at Washburn University in Topeka. Students visited civil rights historic sites in Topeka, St. Louis, Atlanta, Tuskegee, Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, Memphis and Little Rock. ESU United Methodist Campus ...

Bishops' commission optimistic as it delves into tough task

Bishops' commission optimistic as it delves into tough task

4/10/2017
Members of the Commission on a Way Forward have expressed optimism at reaching consensus on a plan or plans to guide the Council of Bishops in leading The United Methodist Church into the future. During the three-day meeting, April 6-8, at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., the commission members began discussing possible outcomes and timelines on accomplishing their task of examining paragraphs in the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to ...

Focus changing for Epworth Village

Focus changing for Epworth Village

4/10/2017
As the landscape in caring for abused and neglected children changes in Nebraska, Epworth Village is adapting to better serve the needs of at-risk children and families.  In keeping with its strategic plan and vision for the future, Epworth Village, which is based in York, Nebraska, will discontinue residential group home services in order to focus its time, energy, and resources to its in-home family services and foster care programs. Employees have been notified of the transition, and Epworth...

Daily video devotion for Holy Week

Daily video devotion for Holy Week

4/9/2017
Some of the pastors on the Great Plains Conference staff are providing a daily video devotional during Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday and concluding with a message from Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. on Easter Sunday. Watch for the videos each day on the conference's home page and on our Facebook page. Please share them with your friends. And remember to invite someone to worship with you as we walk with Christ to the cross and celebrate His victory over sin and death! Today's devotional is ...

Justice Matters sees progress in Lawrence

Justice Matters sees progress in Lawrence

4/5/2017
In three years, the Lawrence-based Justice Matters has seen progress in the five key social issues that it sees as a priority. But, at its third-annual Nehemiah Action Night on March 30, all involved agreed it still has a long way to go. Updates on the issues – childhood trauma and resilience, affordable housing, racial justice, mental health and jail alternatives – were presented to a crowd of about 1,500 at the Lied Center on the University of Kansas campus. Clergy and laity from the Great ...

‘Growing Young’ author trains GP youth workers; registration still open for Lincoln event

‘Growing Young’ author trains GP youth workers; registration still open for Lincoln event

4/3/2017
Jake Mulder carried no magic bullets when he talked to youth leaders from the Great Plains Conference. “We’re not sharing tips like, ‘Throw a pizza party,’” he told more than two dozen participants in the third-annual Spring Training event for youth leaders March 31 and April 1 at the Aldersgate ReNew campus in Wichita. Jake Mulder talks to participants in the Spring Training youth worker training event conducted March 31 and April 1 at Aldersgate ReNew in Wichita. Another session is ...

Stanton named new director of congregational excellence

Stanton named new director of congregational excellence

3/29/2017
Rev. Nathan Stanton Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. announced Wednesday, March 29, that the Rev. Nathan Stanton will be the new director of congregational excellence for the Great Plains Conference. Stanton, currently the conference’s new church development coordinator, will begin in his new role when the appointive year begins July 1. He will replace the Rev. Evelyn Fisher, who has announced her retirement effective June 30 after nearly 40 years in ministry. “I’m excited about Nathan’s gifts and ...

Church of the Resurrection opens doors to new sanctuary

Church of the Resurrection opens doors to new sanctuary

3/27/2017
As a teenager, the Rev. Adam Hamilton worked at Hardee’s. He was part of a crew opening a new Overland Park location of the fast-food franchise, which had a “soft opening” where staff members could invite their parents. “In case we killed somebody with hamburgers, we wanted it to be family,” Hamilton joked to his congregation. The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, which Hamilton began in a funeral home 26½ years ago, had the self-proclaimed “soft opening” of ...

Satellite congregation in Wichita votes to withdraw from UMC

Satellite congregation in Wichita votes to withdraw from UMC

3/19/2017
The Asbury United Methodist Church west campus has voted to withdraw  and separate from the Asbury Church central campus in Wichita, the Great Plains Conference and the United Methodist denomination. The west campus, which has approximately 350 people in worship each week, began as a daughter campus about 10 years ago. Since then, the goal has been for the west campus to flourish and grow to the point that it could mature into its own, self-sustaining United Methodist congregation. But that ...

Bishop Saenz issues statement on Asbury UMC west campus

Bishop Saenz issues statement on Asbury UMC west campus

3/19/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. released the following statement following the announcement Sunday, March 19, 2017, of the decision by the Asbury United Methodist Church west campus in Wichita to withdraw from the Asbury Church central campus, the Great Plains Conference and the United Methodist Church.  His statement is printed in its entirety below:

Neighboring at center of SoCe Life

Neighboring at center of SoCe Life

3/14/2017
  UMC pastors among those that started nonprofit to build connections What seems like a simple goal of knowing your neighbor is the centerpiece of SoCe Life, a 3-year-old Wichita-based nonprofit co-founded by two ordained ministers from the Great Plains Conference. “The thing that sums it up best is being good neighbors,” said the Rev. Adam Barlow-Thompson, who started the group with his wife, the Rev. Ashley Prescott Barlow-Thompson, and friends Matt and Catherine Johnson. The ...

Kansas churches working with fire victims

Kansas churches working with fire victims

3/13/2017
With prayer, financial help and hands-on labor, United Methodists are responding to the devastating fire damage that has struck south-central and southwest Kansas. “It’s been amazing what everybody’s done,” said the Rev. Rick Branson, pastor of Ashland UMC. Called the largest wildfire in state history, it burned 600,000 acres – with more than 500,000 of those in Clark and Comanche counties. Fire spread to as many as 23 counties. How to Help Anyone wanting to make a donation in the Great ...

Leader from Spanish-speaking Kansas congregation released on bond

Leader from Spanish-speaking Kansas congregation released on bond

3/13/2017
Humberto Barralaga poses with his wife and children in this family photo. Submitted photo   An evangelism leader at Casa de Oración United Methodist Church in Dodge City, Kansas, has been released on $8,000 bond after being detained for a month by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Humberto Barralaga’s court date is scheduled for April 4. “The attorney is seeking to obtain a pardon that will allow me to process my papers here, especially considering that my son, who is a U.S. ...

Six months later, GPUMC disaster teams still on job in Mulvane

Six months later, GPUMC disaster teams still on job in Mulvane

3/12/2017
In September 2016, the residents of the south-central Kansas town of Mulvane got hit hard with a double dose of torrential rain, causing the city of 6,300 flooding that it hadn’t seen in a century. Six months later, the attention may be gone from Mulvane, but the need is still there. Case managers Erik Harbutz and Jocelyn Russell Pafume remain on the job helping people of Mulvane recover from the devastating floods from last summer. Photo by David Burke And two case managers from the Great...

Livestreaming widens audience for discussion of church vitality

Livestreaming widens audience for discussion of church vitality

3/8/2017
Whether it was in person at First United Methodist Church in Wichita or through a screen throughout the Great Plains Conference and beyond, clergy and laypersons heard the plans of Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. on Feb. 25. While Bishop Saenz laid out plans for “Leading Vital Congregations” in front of about 200 people at First Wichita, many others in the two-state region joined in the viewing and discussion during the live-streamed workshop. “This is kind of the reality of where we are today,” Bishop...

‘KC Wolf’ rallies around schools in Kansas for UM Men

‘KC Wolf’ rallies around schools in Kansas for UM Men

3/8/2017
Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing in the seventh chapter of Matthew, but even He might be thrown for a loss by the wolf that made his way into several schools March 6 in Kansas. Dan Meers, who has played the Kansas City Chiefs mascot KC Wolf for the past 27 seasons, visited five schools in north-central Kansas for events sponsored by the United Methodist Men before speaking that night at the 68th annual Men & Boys Rally in Beloit High School. At nearly all of the schools – ...

Mission field-based system details becoming clearer

Mission field-based system details becoming clearer

3/6/2017
As more details about the Great Plains Conference’s mission-field based system for district superintendent appointments come into focus, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the cabinet have announced another shift for the 2017-18 appointive year, this time involving the Parsons District. The Rev. Kibum Kim, who has served as the Parsons District superintendent for five years, will be returning to a local church appointment as of July 1. The move provided an opportunity for the expansion of the ...

Bishops' commission moving forward

Bishops' commission moving forward

3/3/2017
Bishop Ken Carter, one of the Bishops Commission on a Way Forward moderators, leads a group discussion. Photo by UMCOM Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia this week, the Commission on a Way Forward continued to make progress towards completing the groundwork for their task, building relationships, engaging in learning, information gathering, working and worshiping together. On Wednesday, the Rev. Donna Pritchard led a morning Bible study of Galatians 2. Later, Commission members joined the staff ...

Documents for Bishop Saenz's church vitality workshop

Documents for Bishop Saenz's church vitality workshop

2/25/2017
The following documents are available for download to enhance the experience and help with learning as you either watch the bishop's presentation via livestream or on the recording (coming soon): Bishop Saenz's PowerPoint presentation Real Discipleship survey See Bishop Saenz's Lenten Message  

Kansas issues explored at LEAF event

Kansas issues explored at LEAF event

2/21/2017
  Continuing a tradition of learning about political issues in Kansas from a faith-based perspective, United Methodist Women in Kansas brought lay persons, experts and advocates together Feb. 12-13 in Topeka. The 42nd annual Legislative Event for Advocacy in Faith, or LEAF, brought more than 110 women – and a few men – to First United Methodist Church in Topeka. The event’s keynote speaker was Judge Ardie Bland, a Kansas City, Missouri, municipal court judge who has tried to divert a growing ...

Renewed emphasis on mission field moves forward

Renewed emphasis on mission field moves forward

2/20/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the cabinet have announced the next phase of a transition to a more mission field-based system for district superintendent appointments in the Great Plains Conference. Effective July 1, the Rev. Dr. Mitch Reece, Wichita East District superintendent, will serve in that same capacity in Wichita East and the Wichita West districts. “The Wichita East and West districts have a large number of effective, innovative, and fruitful pastors and laity who share a similar ...

Campus ministers switch colleges for a day

Campus ministers switch colleges for a day

2/17/2017
In sports parlance, the Rev. Kevin Hopkins and the Rev. Ben Hanne each played “away games” on Feb. 15-16. Hopkins, campus pastor at Baker University, delivered the sermon during Wednesday morning chapel services at Southwestern College. The next day Hanne, Southwestern’s campus pastor, returned the favor with a sermon at Baker during its Thursday morning chapel. It was a homecoming of sorts for Hopkins, who was pastor of neighboring Winfield Grace from 2005 to 2010, but Hanne’s first visit ...

Internships offer faith-filled summer option

Internships offer faith-filled summer option

2/14/2017
Prospects of summer jobs for college-age students in the Great Plains can go beyond mowing grass, babysitting or bagging groceries. The conference offers seven different types of internships involved in various forms of ministry for the summer, each over a 10-week period and each receiving a stipend. “This is something from our United Methodist Church in which they will learn about faith, learn about leadership, learn about themselves and growing as a member of a team and make a difference for...

Family, congregation saddened by separation after man is taken by immigration officials

Family, congregation saddened by separation after man is taken by immigration officials

2/13/2017
A member of the lay leadership team of Casa de Oracion, a Spanish-speaking congregation within Dodge City First United Methodist Church, is one of reportedly 600 people nationwide to be detained in a series of federal immigration raids nationwide. Humberto Barralaga of Dodge City, Kansas, poses in this family photo with his family. Barralaga was one of more than 600 undocumented immigrants detained in a series of raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in recent days. Submitted ...

Ice storm can't freeze out spirit of The OneEvent

Ice storm can't freeze out spirit of The OneEvent

2/3/2017
Freezing rain and ice may have hurt The OneEvent’s attendance, but not its spirit. The OneEvent had roughly 1,100 youth and adults registered, but thanks to an ice storm about 200 were able to attend the event Jan. 14-15 in Salina, Kansas. The Great Plains Conference’s largest youth event featured worship, messages, breakout sessions and other activities. Youth from across the conference look forward to this event each year; however, many of the youth who had to travel long distances chose ...

Bishop announces structural changes to allow for stronger emphasis on mission field

Bishop announces structural changes to allow for stronger emphasis on mission field

2/1/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has announced a change in district superintendent appointments, with goals of fostering more peer-to-peer collaboration among clergy, empowering the laity to more fully participate in the sharing of the Wesleyan witness, and focusing ministry squarely on the mission field for each congregation. The moves are meant to help the more than 1,000 Great Plains Conference churches innovate to focus on the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the ...

Great Plains clergy raise voices in immigration rallies

Great Plains clergy raise voices in immigration rallies

2/1/2017
The Rev. Chris Jorgensen and her daughter take part in a rally in support of refugees in Omaha. Photo courtesy Chris Jorgensen For the Rev. Chris Jorgensen, it was almost a reflex action for her to make her voice known at a weekend rally in Omaha, denouncing President Donald Trump’s new immigration policy. “Christianity needs to come out of this moment in time with its integrity intact, frankly,” said Jorgensen, associate pastor of the Urban Abbey coffee shop and ministry in Omaha. She ...

Council of Bishops president issues statement on Trump immigration order

Council of Bishops president issues statement on Trump immigration order

1/31/2017
Bishop Bruce Ough Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, issued a statement Monday, Jan. 30, regarding President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration at a press conference sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Churches. The event, held at Hennepin United Methodist Church, gathered faith leaders to discuss the topic of immigration. Bishop Ough participated in the event in his role as resident bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United ...

Nebraska Wesleyan president issues letter affirming diversity

Nebraska Wesleyan president issues letter affirming diversity

1/31/2017
Fred Ohles, president of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, has issued the following letter to students, faculty and staff at the United Methodist-affiliated institution. His letter appears in its entirety. Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty Colleagues, Nebraska Wesleyan University aspires to be a diverse and inclusive academic community. Ours is a community that includes immigrants and guests to the United States from around the world. It is a community that encourages our students and ...

Commission on a Way Forward holds organizational meeting

Commission on a Way Forward holds organizational meeting

1/27/2017
The Commission on a Way Forward held its first meeting Jan. 23-26 in Atlanta, with 32 members from nine countries in attendance. Led by commission moderators Bishop David Yemba, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball and Bishop Ken Carter, members worked and worshipped together and began the foundational work integral to their charge of developing consensus about how to move forward amid different theological understandings of LGBTQ identity. “We need to diagnose what is happening in our churches, in our ...

Pastor among Dreamers waiting for citizenship

Pastor among Dreamers waiting for citizenship

1/26/2017
The Rev. Orlando Gallardo was 15 when his mother decided it was worth the risk to send her youngest child across the border of Mexico illegally to give him a chance at a better future. “My mother always worried about me. She pushed me to get an education,” he said. Gallardo had an older brother, a U.S. citizen through marriage, living in Iowa. He agreed to take parental rights and responsibilities for his youngest brother and filed the papers to get legal status for Gallardo. “Just coming to ...

Fisher announces retirement effective June 30

Fisher announces retirement effective June 30

1/25/2017
The Rev. Evelyn Fisher, conference director of congregational excellence, announced Jan. 24 that she intends to retire at the end of the appointive year, June 30. Rev. Evelyn Fisher Fisher became a provisional member of the former Kansas East Conference in 1978 and a full member in 1981. Prior to being named director of congregational excellence for the new Great Plains Conference in 2013, she served churches in Bucyrus, Pomona-Richter, Burlington, Manhattan and Lenexa in Kansas, and she ...

Orders & Fellowship gathering aims to spark new ideas

Orders & Fellowship gathering aims to spark new ideas

1/24/2017
Thinking outside the proverbial box to attract new and younger disciples of Jesus Christ was an overriding theme of this year’s Orders & Fellowship gathering, Jan. 18-19 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kansas. More than 600 clergy from across the Great Plains heard ideas for entrepreneurial ministry from the Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean and what young people want in worship from the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady.   ‘Entrepreneurial Moment’ The Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean makes a point during one...

Bishop Saenz challenges pastors at Orders & Fellowship

Bishop Saenz challenges pastors at Orders & Fellowship

1/23/2017
When Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. was assigned as episcopal leader of the Great Plains Conference, he was given a notebook with facts and figures about the two-state region: A whopping four pages. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. shares his reflections on the Great Plains Conference after his first few months traveling Kansas and Nebraska as the area's episcopal leader. Photo by David Burke It wasn’t nearly enough of a description of the 1,000-plus churches, clergy and laity in the region, but the bishop ...

Anglemyer to serve as new Missouri River DS

Anglemyer to serve as new Missouri River DS

1/21/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has announced that the Rev. Chad Anglemyer, pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Omaha, will join the cabinet of the Great Plains Conference on July 1 as the new Missouri River District superintendent. Anglemyer will replace the Rev. Dr. Dan Flanagan, who is retiring after 47 years of ministry, the final seven as a district superintendent. Rev. Chad Anglemyer Anglemyer became a provisional member of the former Kansas West Conference in 1988 and a full member ...

The OneEvent still on

The OneEvent still on

1/13/2017
The OneEvent is still on!  We are setting up now.  We will begin at 1 pm Saturday afternoon at The bicentennial center in Salina.  There will likely be modifications to the schedule.   We know that if the current weather forecasts hold true many of you will not be able to drive to Salina safely and we want you to make wise decisions with safety in mind. We are working to be able to live stream as much of the event as possible. We will keep you posted on those details. if you decide that your ...

Bishop Saenz and Maye share Christmas message

Bishop Saenz and Maye share Christmas message

12/21/2016
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and his wife, Maye, shared a Christmas message for the people of the Great Plains Conference. From the conference to you and your family, merry Christmas and happy new year!  

Wichita church emphasizes unity in Christ over divisiveness

Wichita church emphasizes unity in Christ over divisiveness

12/16/2016
Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wichita is charting a middle course amid the denomination's theological divides and disagreements about homosexuality.

JFON-NE helps teen who found himself alone in a foreign country

JFON-NE helps teen who found himself alone in a foreign country

12/13/2016
Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE) client Roberto is a native of Nicaragua. Living in abject poverty with his mother and younger siblings, he didn’t even have shoes. When he was 16, he decided to reunite with his father in Nebraska and find a way to support his family. It didn’t quite work out as he planned. Upon arrival in the United States, the teen was taken into custody. His time in detention was the first he had ever seen running water. His remark on being in jail was, “I saw ...

College students Imagine What’s NEXT

College students Imagine What’s NEXT

12/6/2016
Daniel Reffner, a senior at Southwestern College, crafts pottery during a worship time at the Imagine What's NEXT conference for young adults in Atlanta. Photo courtesy NEXT conference Before he had his turn before 700 fellow college students at the Imagine What’s NEXT conference in Atlanta on Nov. 4-6, Daniel Reffner admitted to some stage fright. “It was very humbling, and it made me emotional,” said Reffner, a senior majoring in religion and philosophy at...

Church of the Resurrection launches website rich in resources

Church of the Resurrection launches website rich in resources

11/15/2016
It’s easy to recognize the success of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. A congregation that started in a funeral home in 1990 is now the largest church in the denomination with more than 20,000 members worshipping on four campuses in the Kansas City area. With such phenomenal growth in a denomination that has seen steady declines throughout the same time period, it’s understandable that other churches would reach out to Resurrection’s leaders for ideas, training and resources. After...

Poverty issues addressed in Lincoln workshop, panel discussion

Poverty issues addressed in Lincoln workshop, panel discussion

11/14/2016
  Discussions and testimonials regarding gender, race, poverty and the environment were the focus of an event dubbed “For the Transformation of the World” Oct. 29 at First United Methodist Church in Lincoln. A panel discussion about poverty highlighted the morning events, while the remainder were discussed in several workshops. The event was presented by the Mercy and Justice team of the Great Plains Conference. “You are truly friends of justice,” the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, general ...

Church Leaders Kick Off Quadrennium With Vital Congregation Focus

Church Leaders Kick Off Quadrennium With Vital Congregation Focus

11/7/2016
About 750 leaders of The United Methodist Church gathered in Jacksonville, Fla., this week to start the new quadrennium focused on the mission of cultivating vital congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, said the Council began planning and praying for this Extended Cabinet Summit nearly two years ago. “This Summit grew out of the Council’s commitment, forcefully stated in our 2012 Call to ...

Council of Bishops to call for 2019 General Conference

Council of Bishops to call for 2019 General Conference

11/2/2016
Sets forth actions to involve the whole church in prayer and conversation Through an affirmative vote at their fall  meeting this week, the United Methodist Council of Bishops expressed their intent to call for a special session of the General Conference in either February or March of 2019 and asked the business manager of the General Conference to move forward with exploring venues and a bid search. The Constitution of The United Methodist Church provides that the Council of Bishops may call ...

Connecting Council discusses next steps for Great Plains Conference

Connecting Council discusses next steps for Great Plains Conference

10/31/2016
The Connecting Council began laying the foundation for discussion about vision and next steps for the Great Plains Conference during the committee’s fall meeting Oct. 21 at First United Methodist Church in Hays, Kansas. The council, tasked with making timely decisions between annual conference sessions, is comprised of 70 people, including all 17 district superintendents, district lay leaders, directors for administration, congregational excellence, clergy excellence and communications, ...

Saint Mark job fair helps those with criminal past

Saint Mark job fair helps those with criminal past

10/31/2016
The search for a job can sometimes be difficult. It’s even more so when the job seeker has a criminal background. Helping to bridge that gap is the prison ministry of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, which conducted its fourth biennial Job Fair Expo on Oct. 27. “They feel encouraged,” said David Wilkinson, a member of the prison ministry team since it began in 1999. “I think it plants a lot of seeds in people’s hearts.” About 150 people attended the October job fair, which ...

Council of Bishops announces members of human-sexuality commmission

Council of Bishops announces members of human-sexuality commmission

10/24/2016
The United Methodist Council of Bishops has announced the membership of the Commission on a Way Forward. "After three months of diligent and prayerful discernment, we have selected eight bishops, 11 laity, 12 elders and one deacon to serve on the commission," said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops. "This group is representative of our theological diversity." Ough said the makeup of the 32-member commission is roughly comparable to U.S. and Central Conference membership....

For the Transformation of the World

For the Transformation of the World

10/21/2016
The Great Plains Mercy & Justice Team invites you to spend a day encountering poverty and related issues. Besides worship and a panel discussion with outstanding leaders (the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, the Rev. Dr. Charlotte Abram and the Rev. Mark Holland) a variety of workshops will be offered in the afternoon of Oct. 29.

Conard remembered for leadership in Great Plains, Zimbabwe

Conard remembered for leadership in Great Plains, Zimbabwe

10/20/2016
The loss of the Rev. A. Mark Conard is being felt by United Methodists in both the Great Plains and in an African nation where he helped establish a partnership. “He was loved by both people in Zimbabwe and in the Great Plains Conference,” said the Rev. Kalaba Chali, Mercy and Justice coordinator for the conference. “He will be missed by a lot of people,” Chali added. A retired pastor and former district superintendent, Conard died Tuesday, Oct. 18, at a Wichita hospital. He was 68. Funeral ...

Conference announces recipients of culture of call grants

Conference announces recipients of culture of call grants

10/19/2016
Nine churches, campus ministries and colleges have received Culture of Call grants in the latest round of awards given by the Great Plains Conference. Grants in the first round totaled $8,000. The total for this round totaled $16,565, with each grant ranging from $1,265 to $2,000. Creating a Culture of Call means that the behaviors, beliefs and attitudes of the church or organization supports the members of the community to identify and explore a call by God to serve as a lay, licensed or ...

Chabadza partners work together on pilot project in Malawi

Chabadza partners work together on pilot project in Malawi

10/18/2016
As part of our Chabadza partnership with the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference, a group from the Great Plains Conference is traveling in Malawi from Oct. 12 to 28 to participate in young people’s ministry training. The group includes the Rev. Micki McCorkle, Great Plains small-membership church coordinator; Rick Bartlett a member of the Chabadza Leadership Team; the Rev. Sophirina Sign, a leader in the Zimbabwe Conference; and a team from Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Following ...

New Saint Mark pastor wants to get back to basics

New Saint Mark pastor wants to get back to basics

10/17/2016
In his first few months as senior pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, the Rev. Robert Johnson is already getting down to business. But he’s also backing away from what he calls the “busy-ness” that’s bogging down the largest African-American congregation in the Great Plains. “What does God want us to do very well? Let’s do those things,” Johnson told parishioners at a town hall meeting. “Too many programs on top of programs, projects on top of projects. “Backing off the...

Small Wonders gathering reaches out to millennials

Small Wonders gathering reaches out to millennials

10/17/2016
The schedule for the third-annual Small Wonders Conference listed an 8 a.m. Saturday worship on Oct. 8, but there was no sermon, no offering and only the slightest strains of an acoustic guitar. Instead, the Student Center at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina had various stations set up, where participants could create with paints or Play-Doh, write notes of forgiveness or sit in silent, reflective prayer. Teresa Stewart, a Kansas City-based expert on small congregations, said her church ...

Bishop calls for work to continue during celebration of assignment service

Bishop calls for work to continue during celebration of assignment service

10/15/2016
A call to further the mission that already has been started by Jesus Christ highlighted the formal introduction of Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. to the Great Plains Conference on Oct. 15. “We have a lot of unfinished work to do,” Saenz told several hundred clergy, laity, conference officials and guests at a service at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Basing his sermon off John 21: 15-17, Saenz said the people of the church need to counter those walking away from the faith by giving ...

'It was a calling': Family talks about journey through foster care to adoption

'It was a calling': Family talks about journey through foster care to adoption

10/14/2016
HENDERSON, Neb. – Jeremy and Amy Janzen were listening to My Bridge Christian Radio when their hearts were inspired to pursue a journey into the world of foster care that would eventually lead them to welcome two, precious, adopted children into their home – Anna and Jonah. “We were having a hard time starting a family and were pursuing our options,” Amy said.  “We then began our foster care journey by getting licensed with Christian Heritage out of Lincoln.  That was September of 2010.” “Then...

Some summer ’17 internship applications ready

Some summer ’17 internship applications ready

10/10/2016
It’s barely fall, but it’s time for college students to be thinking about their plans for the summer of 2017.

Great Plains pastor among leadership of Commission on Religion and Race

Great Plains pastor among leadership of Commission on Religion and Race

10/6/2016
Erin Hawkins, top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race speaks May 10 to the United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose / UMNS The United Methodist Church's agency charged with challenging, leading, and equipping lay members and clergypersons to become more interculturally competent, to ensure institutional equity, and to facilitate vital conversations about religion, race, tribe, and culture has elected Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe as ...

Open enrollment for clergy optional benefit plans going on now

Open enrollment for clergy optional benefit plans going on now

10/5/2016
span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Arial",sans-serif; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:#333333;mso-ansi-language:EN-US; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">Open enrollment for 2017 optional benefit plans for clergy of the local churches is currently underway. The enrollment period is Oct. 3 - 21, 2016. Do not miss out on enrolling, changing or dropping your benefits. The Great Plains Conference will be using PlanSource again, an online enrollment and ...

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Lily Jones

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Lily Jones

10/4/2016
The Pastoral Leadership internship program is for young adults aged 18-22. This ten-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. Lily Jones served at Springfield (Nebraska) UMC for the summer of 2016.   The great staff at First UMC, who made my internship not only possible, but so much fun. The Big Garden where we grew all kinds of vegetables ...

Great Plains announces winners of education grants

Great Plains announces winners of education grants

9/29/2016
The Great Plains Conference has issued its Education Partnership grants for the 2016-17 school year. The committee responsible for reviewing grant applications chose to fund projects at 13 schools ranging from $350 to $1,000 each. Priority this year was given to funding projects that laid groundwork for sustainable ministries, that leveraged in-kind giving, utilized volunteers to build relationships with students and/or that were unique and creative partnerships between congregations and ...

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Jesse Gichuru

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Jesse Gichuru

9/29/2016
The Pastoral Leadership internship program is for young adults aged 18-22. This ten-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. Jesse Gichuru served at First UMC in El Dorado, Kansas, for the summer of 2016.   During a Habitat for Humanity project.. VBS at El Dorado First UMC. During a service at El Dorado First UMC. During a service ...

El Dorado church finds lessons in pumpkins

El Dorado church finds lessons in pumpkins

9/28/2016
It’s fall in the Great Plains, and that means that, from Starbucks to farmers markets, pumpkins are everywhere. Including the First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, Kansas. The church has concluded a five-week series, “Lessons From a Pumpkin Farm,” that is part of its annual “Discipleship Pathways” lessons, said the Rev. Andrew Conard. “We try to look at discipleship more deeply and have some fun along the way,” said Conard, pastor at El Dorado since 2012. The pumpkin idea first ...

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Hannah Sipes

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Hannah Sipes

9/27/2016
The Pastoral Leadership internship program is for young adults aged 18-22. This ten-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. Hannah Sipes served at First UMC in Manhattan, Kansas, for the summer of 2016.   My first week at Manhattan FUMC was spent with 10 awesome first grade kids at Deep Sea Discovery VBS. It was such a blessing to discover God...

With mix of old and new, Aldersgate ReNew opens in Wichita

With mix of old and new, Aldersgate ReNew opens in Wichita

9/23/2016
From its sanctuary to its logo, the Aldersgate ReNew Campus in Wichita is determined to be a hybrid of the traditional and the modern. “There’s a balance there,” said the Rev. Jordan McFall, pastor of the satellite campus that opened the weekend of Sept. 17-18 with a block party on Saturday night and a contemporary worship service, followed by pizza, on Sunday. More than 160 adults attended the first service at Aldersgate Renew, 11215 W. 13th St. N. ReNew takes place in the building that ...

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Greg Reffner

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Greg Reffner

9/22/2016
The Pastoral Leadership internship program is for young adults aged 18-22. This ten-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. Greg Reffner served at Harper and Argonia (Kansas) UMCs for the summer of 2016.   Being prayed over on my last Sunday in Harper. A shot of the sanctuary at around 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. Depicting time spent in ...

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Briana Hutton

Pastoral Leadership interns share experience - Briana Hutton

9/20/2016
The Pastoral Leadership internship program is for young adults aged 18-22. This ten-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. Briana Hutton served at New Covenant UMC in Wichita, Kansas, for the summer of 2016. Preaching I preached three times while at New Covenant UMC and lead the Teen’s Sunday school class whenever possible. The experience was ...

X’s and O’s of ministry

X’s and O’s of ministry

9/20/2016
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.’s game plan has included time as teacher, coach, businessman. Before he got the call into ordained ministry, the Rev. Ruben Saenz Jr. was a high school teacher and assistant football coach. And even though he’s been away from the gridiron and the classroom for more than 28 years, the new bishop of the Great Plains Annual Conference still keeps some of those same philosophies from his coaching days as a pastor and church leader. “One of the crossovers of that is ...

Floods return to Mulvane, and so do Great Plains crews

Floods return to Mulvane, and so do Great Plains crews

9/10/2016
The Rev. Lora Andrews, pastor of Grace UMC in WInfield, and a crew of interns from Southwestern College helps assemble a blockade to keep water from returning to the Prices' basement. Photo by David Burke Just when Lancie Price of Mulvane, Kansas, thought the worst of the flood damage to her home was over, more water poured in on Sept. 8. Price, whose house is behind the Mulvane High School football stadium and in front of a creek, already suffered the worst damage after an Aug. 19 ...

New ministry aims to make 'ConnectioN' between college students, community

New ministry aims to make 'ConnectioN' between college students, community

9/8/2016
Beth Menhusen almost didn’t attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus ministry worship service that Monday evening. It wasn’t a case of “senioritis,” although the student from Mankato, Kansas, didn’t feel very well. But something energized her to make the effort, so she found her way to the student union and the room in the corner where students gathered to sing praise songs and listen to a brief message. Little did she know that she would leave with a notion that a vision of hers to...

Bishop Saenz delivers first sermon as episcopal leader in Great Plains

Bishop Saenz delivers first sermon as episcopal leader in Great Plains

9/6/2016
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. delivers the sermon Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, at First United Methodist Church in Topeka. His appearance maintained a tradition from the former Kansas East Conference for the new bishop to deliver the first sermon of the new assign- ment at the church. Photo by David Burke The first weekend in the Great Plains Conference proved earth-shaking for Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. Saturday morning, he told the congregation Sunday at First United Methodist ...

Couple grateful for help with flood-damaged house

Couple grateful for help with flood-damaged house

9/6/2016
The Rev. Hollie Tapley gave orders to Mulvane, Kansas, homeowners Dan and Stephanie Cleaver. “Y’all need to take a day off,” Tapley, disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, told the couple. Photos by David Burke “You can only do so much,” she added. “You need to spend some time somewhere.” Her suggestion came a little more than two weeks after the Cleavers’ house, which they had just purchased in July, was severely damaged by the Aug. 19 storm that dumped as much as 7...

UMC crews make progress in Mulvane

UMC crews make progress in Mulvane

9/6/2016
Ten days after massive flooding struck the south-central Kansas town of Mulvane, crews from the Great Plains Conference of The United Methodist Church have concluded their early response to disaster relief in the area and are ready for long-term recovery. Volunteer David Rayson hauls flood buckets from the Mulvane Public Library. The buckets contain cleaning supplies homeowners need to start the clean-up process after floods. Photo by David Burke “We’ve got to do a ride-around, but it looks...

New bishop 'ready to get to work' in the Great Plains

New bishop 'ready to get to work' in the Great Plains

9/1/2016
The Rev. Ruben Saenz Jr.’s first day as bishop of the Great Plains Conference was a blend of the new and the familiar. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. (center) talks with the Rev. Nathan Stanton, conference coordinator of New Church Development, during a cookout in the bishop's honor Sept. 1 in Wichita, Kansas. Photo by David Burke “It’s day one on one hand,” Saenz said after a cookout Sept. 1 with the Wichita staff, “but on the other hand I feel like I’ve had a good on-ramp and a good sense of ...

Zimbabwe, other South African countries face humanitarian crisis

Zimbabwe, other South African countries face humanitarian crisis

8/24/2016
A state of humanitarian crisis and disaster has been declared in Zimbabwe.  Half the country’s rural population of 10 million people will need food assistance by Christmas.  From Angola to Zimbabwe, food prices are soaring, and malnutrition is on the rise as the latest El Nino weather event takes a brutal toll on an already serious drought. The people there are facing significant food and livelihood gaps.   As I read the news stories and hear life experiences from my Zimbawean friends my heart ...

Jurisdictional conference opens intern's eyes to inner workings of the church

Jurisdictional conference opens intern's eyes to inner workings of the church

8/23/2016
The 2016 South Central Jurisdictional Conference, comprised of delegates from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, involved days full of voting for new bishops, presentations on the well-being of churches and affiliated organizations and plenty of fellowship. Topics discussed ranged from finances and church details to elections to young adults. Erynn Dahlke of Kearney, Nebraska, addresses the South Central Jurisdictional Conference during the young ...

Great Plains United Methodists asked to help Louisiana flood victims

Great Plains United Methodists asked to help Louisiana flood victims

8/19/2016
Disaster Relief in Louisiana from Louisiana Annual Conference on Vimeo. The rain began late Aug. 11 and refused to let up, dumping more than 12 inches in as little as eight hours. In some locations, rain totals exceeded 15 inches and was tropical in nature as it stalled out over the greater Baton Rouge area. In fact, local forecasters quickly pointed out; had this system been over open water, it would have likely been classified a tropical storm. Schools, government offices and most local ...

Prayer guides Columbus church’s journey to new Outreach Center

Prayer guides Columbus church’s journey to new Outreach Center

8/16/2016
The sound of sewing machines fills a corner of the downstairs of what has become known simply as The Outreach Center of First United Methodist Church in Columbus, Nebraska. It is Tuesday morning, the traditional gathering time of women who put their gifts of sewing to use in a ministry that extends far beyond the congregation. Bev Weil examines fabric to be pinned together so it can be sewn during an Aug. 9 gathering of the Methodist Quilters at The Outreach Center, a ministry of First ...

Flip-flops, socks help disadvantaged in Hutchinson

Flip-flops, socks help disadvantaged in Hutchinson

8/15/2016
It started as a way to add color to the exterior of First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson, Kansas. But the results have become a simple, yet effective, outreach to the community. Since the spring, church members have strung flip-flops and socks on the trees and bushes in front of its building in downtown Hutchinson, available to anyone who needs the footwear. Trees with new flip-flops and socks have not only brightened up the church but have proven helpful to people in need of footwear ...

Parties in Rev. Meyer case reach resolution

Parties in Rev. Meyer case reach resolution

8/3/2016
On August 1, the parties involved in the complaint against Rev. Cynthia Meyer met to have conversation about the possibility of a just resolution. The parties worked for 12 hours and made a good-faith effort to find common ground. At the end of the day came to an agreement.

Great Plains internship leads to creation of church mural

Great Plains internship leads to creation of church mural

8/2/2016
This artist rendering shows what a mural for the side of the Life Support Center at New Covenant United Methodist Church in Wichita will look life once the painting has been completed.   Like many other interns in the Great Plains Conference this summer, Briana Hutton is leaving her mark on the church where she served. Her mark, however, is physically larger and more public. An art major entering her sophomore year at Sterling College in Kansas this fall, Hutton has created a...

GP disaster volunteers help in tornado relief

GP disaster volunteers help in tornado relief

8/1/2016
A charred foundation, gnarled trees and piles of metal siding are all that remain on Scott Howard’s property, northwest of Eureka, Kansas. His 9½ acres suffered some of the worst damage of EF3 and EF2 tornadoes that hit Greenwood County on the night of July 7. “The tornado came in and turned the house into toothpicks,” Howard said. “Threw everything everywhere all over my property and other people’s property.” The Rev. Hollie Tapley, Great Plains Conference Disaster Response coordinator, ...

Lydia Patterson students intern at Asbury church in Wichita

Lydia Patterson students intern at Asbury church in Wichita

8/1/2016
During the summer of 2016, Asbury United Methodist Church in Wichita was pleased to host two interns, Damaris Martinez and Brayan Martinez, from the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas.   Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI) is one of our successful educational institutions supported by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. LPI's goal is to provide quality bilingual, cross-cultural academic education by creating opportunities for students to develop skills to succeed ...

Planters take first steps in starting new ministries

Planters take first steps in starting new ministries

8/1/2016
The new church planters pray over the Rev. Matt Miofsky, founding pastor of The Gathering UMC in St. Louis. Photo by David Burke   Trees don’t sprout the minute they’re planted in the ground. It takes tending, care and patience for the finished products to bloom from the earth. That’s the theory behind two initiatives in the Great Plains Conference, both of which accompany a 2015 goal to nurture 20 new church starts by 2020. The first of 12 monthly sessions – for New Church Crucible and ...

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