News


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 ...

Donations to Camp Comeca can be matched through end of 2016

Donations to Camp Comeca can be matched through end of 2016

10/25/2016
The remaining days of 2016 are also a countdown in the amount of time that donors to Camp Comeca’s capital campaign can see their pledge money doubled. Matching funds of $111,632.61 are available through Dec. 31. As of the end of September, just more than $761,000 had been raised. “That’s huge. It’s a wonderful gift. We need to try to meet that,” Janelle Wilke, leader of the capital campaign, said of the most recent fundraising figure. Wilke urged churches to get creative in their ...

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 ...

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 ...

Students, pastors get plugged into preaching at festival

Students, pastors get plugged into preaching at festival

7/26/2016
Preaching, the Rev. Adam Hamilton says, has never been as important as it is now. “The health of the church is highly dependent upon our doing our best to preach well,” the founding pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, said. “I think it’s the single most important thing we do in our life as a pastor, aside from tending our own souls and making sure we’re serving God ourselves.” The Rev. Ashlee Alley, Great Plains Conference clergy recruitment and development coordinator, ...

Council Executive Committee moves forward on human-sexuality commission

Council Executive Committee moves forward on human-sexuality commission

7/25/2016
While meeting last week in Chicago, the Council of Bishops' Executive Committee approved a framework for implementing the Commission on a Way Forward and took a step toward a called session of the General Conference in 2018. The council acknowledged that the landscape of the church has changed dramatically since the General Conference approved the council's proposal in May, but re-affirmed its commitment to lead the church forward. "The reported declarations of non-compliance from several annual...

Emporia UMC foots bill for school supplies

Emporia UMC foots bill for school supplies

7/25/2016
Thanks to the local United Methodist Church in one Kansas community, many children already can cross a major item off the list of back-to-school chores. First United Methodist Church in Emporia is providing school supplies to the approximately 4,500 students from pre-K through high school this fall. School children will be the beneficiaries of a mission project at Emporia First United Methodist Church to provide school supplies to kids of all ages in the school district. Courtesy photo “It...

Micah Corps interns participate in rally and learn from experts at GBCS, NAACP

Micah Corps interns participate in rally and learn from experts at GBCS, NAACP

7/20/2016
When arriving in Washington D.C., the Micah Corps interns were very excited and eager to see what the week had in store. That same evening, several interns participated in a rally in front of the White House with a march to the Capitol to raise awareness of the recent injustices against people of color and to address the issues people face every day. Addressing how damaging these events are, due to the way people of color are treated in a systematically oppressed world, alerts the media and ...

New bishops consecrated in South Central Jurisdiction

New bishops consecrated in South Central Jurisdiction

7/16/2016
The advice of Jacob found in Genesis 43 was given to the three newly elected bishops of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in their consecration service July 16, 2016, at First United Methodist Church, Wichita. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. is consecrated July 16, 2016, as a new bishop in the South Central Jurisdiction during a ceremony at Wichita First United Methodist Church. Photo by Todd Seifert “Carry a Little Balm and a Little Honey” was the theme of the sermon by retiring Bishop ...

College of Bishops issues statement about unity

College of Bishops issues statement about unity

7/16/2016
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:   While these can be turbulent times in The United Methodist Church, these are also times of emerging and fruitful ministries. Lay and clergy leaders are creating new ministries to reach new people for Jesus Christ. They remind us of the importance of our collective work to grow the number of vital congregations of The United Methodist Church.   We are also committed to do the work that the General Conference mandated: forming and ...

Ruben Saenz Jr. assigned to the Great Plains Conference

Ruben Saenz Jr. assigned to the Great Plains Conference

7/16/2016
An official with the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church has been named as the new bishop of the Great Plains Conference. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. was announced late Friday night, at the closing of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita as the bishop to succeed Scott J. Jones, who served in Kansas since 2004 and in Nebraska since 2012. Bishops have a traditional term limit of 12 years. Jones was named as the new bishop of the Texas Conference, based in Houston. ...

Declaratory decision sought regarding election of gay bishop; Council of Bishops president issues statement

Declaratory decision sought regarding election of gay bishop; Council of Bishops president issues statement

7/15/2016
On the heels of the election of the first openly gay bishop in the United Methodist Church in the Western Jurisdiction, members of the South Central Jurisdiction voted late Friday night to ask the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision regarding same-sex church leaders. Delegates and observers of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference pray for people who are hurting following the election of an openly gay bishop in the Western Jurisdiction and a vote by the SCJ to seek a declaratory...

Area night puts focus on worship

Area night puts focus on worship

7/15/2016
A mass choir comprised of United Methodists from Kansas and Nebraska take part in the area night concert July 15 as part of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. Photo by Kylie Stamper A night of worship and celebration highlighted the South Central Jurisdictional Conference on July 15. The 2016 Area Night concert, with a fitting theme of God’s Love is >, featured Grammy award-nominated gospel musician William McDowell and his band along with a 182-voice mass choir comprised of ...

Delegates endorse Mission 21 plan that could realign Texas conferences

Delegates endorse Mission 21 plan that could realign Texas conferences

7/15/2016
Taking a proactive move toward the possible downsizing in the number of episcopal areas, the South Central Jurisdiction voted July 15 to endorse a plan that could eventually cut the number of episcopal areas in Texas and New Mexico from five to four, with six annual conferences being reduced to four as well. Members of a committee provided details on what is known as Mission 21 by outlining a redistricting plan that would align Texas and New Mexico based on cultural affinities, equitable ...

Third South Central bishop elected on record 35th ballot

Third South Central bishop elected on record 35th ballot

7/15/2016
Newly elected Bishop Bob Farr and his wife, Susan, bow for prayer after he was elected as a new bishop of the South Central Jurisdiction. Photo by Todd Seifert   On the South Central Jurisdiction’s record 35th ballot, delegates elected the Rev. Robert “Bob” Farr as the third of three bishops to be chosen during the 2016 conference.   Farr, 56, is the director of congregational development for the Missouri Conference. He received 138 of the 212 votes of the delegates, comprised equally of ...

Date, location announced for Rev. Cynthia Meyer trial

Date, location announced for Rev. Cynthia Meyer trial

7/15/2016
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference announced today that a location has been selected for the church trial for the Rev. Cynthia Meyer. The church trial, scheduled to begin Aug. 24, will be conducted at the Brown Grand Theatre, 310 W. Sixth St. in Concordia, Kansas. Meyer stated in a letter to her district superintendent earlier this year that she was in a “committed relationship” with another woman. The conference’s Committee on Investigation, which serves the role of a grand ...

Delegates blend competing statements on human sexuality

Delegates blend competing statements on human sexuality

7/15/2016
Two factions at different ends of the spectrum on The United Methodist Church’s stance on human sexuality issues introduced resolutions. And then they worked together to craft language calling for a middle ground that passed overwhelmingly during the South Central Jurisdictional Conference meeting Friday afternoon. The separate resolutions called for "Unity Amidst Diversity" and "Peace, Patience and Prayer" in their titles. The Rev. Zach Anderson delivers the Committee on Petitions report ...

Northwest Texas official elected on 21st ballot

Northwest Texas official elected on 21st ballot

7/15/2016
The Rev. James "Jimmy" Nunn hugs his wife, Mary, on stage after being elected bishop July 15, 2016, at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita, Kansas. Photo by Todd Seifert   After leading the vote for 17 previous ballots, the Rev. James “Jimmy” Nunn was elected July 14, 2016, as a new bishop by delegates at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita, Kansas.   Nunn, 59, the director of mission and administration for the Northwest Texas Conference, was ...

Rio Texas pastor elected first bishop at 2016 jurisdictional conference

Rio Texas pastor elected first bishop at 2016 jurisdictional conference

7/14/2016
Newly elected Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. stands with his wife, Maye, during a prayer for him after his election July 14 as bishop at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita. Photo by Todd Seifert The connectional ministries and missions vitality center leader for the Rio Texas Conference has been elected as a new bishop by delegates at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita, Kansas.   Ruben Saenz Jr., who turns 55 Saturday, was elected on the third ballot Thursday...

Great Plains responds to Eureka tornadoes

Great Plains responds to Eureka tornadoes

7/13/2016
The Great Plains Disaster Response Ministry has been actively participating in the relief phase after the EF3 and EF2 tornadoes that touched down in Eureka, Kansas, on Thursday night, July 7. Along with tarping multiple roofs, cutting down trees and limbs, removing debris, passing out water and Gatorade, distributing snacks, moving furniture, provided in-kinds gifts of tarps, wood, electrical work to three homeowners, and we provided spiritual and emotional care to many (lost count)! We also ...

South Central Jurisdictional Conference runs July 13-16

South Central Jurisdictional Conference runs July 13-16

7/12/2016
Just like presidential elections, the Summer Olympics and leap day, a pair of events happen for United Methodists in the United States every four years. The General Conference, which this year was conducted in Portland, Oregon, in May, worked to settle issues on a worldwide level.  July 13-16, the five geographic areas in the United States for The United Methodist Church will gather for their quadrennial Jurisdictional Conferences. The Jurisdiction The South Central Jurisdiction, which meets at...

Micah Corps interns, immigration advocates learn about dangerous journey

Micah Corps interns, immigration advocates learn about dangerous journey

7/6/2016
Margi Ault-Duell and Hugo Perez Trejo share information about immigration with advocates during a recent speaking tour in Nebraska. Submitted Photo In June, Margi Ault-Duell and Hugo Perez Trejo, social justice educators with years of experience working at Mexico’s borders to the north and south, spent time with the Micah Corps interns and also offered events at First United Methodist Church in Hastings, Trinity UMC in Grand Island, and First UMC in Omaha. This was made possible through ...

Concert to be a celebration for the Wichita area

Concert to be a celebration for the Wichita area

7/5/2016
VIDEO - Great Plains UMC - 2016 Jurisdictional Conference - 050316-2 from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. The Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church is reaching out into the community on Friday, July 15, during its time as host of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. During what has typically been a night for delegates only at the quadrennial conference – which encompasses United Methodists from 12 regions within eight states, Nebraska to Texas and New Mexico to Louisiana ...

Texas pastor chosen to lead Wichita Saint Mark

Texas pastor chosen to lead Wichita Saint Mark

6/29/2016
A 22-year veteran pastor who considers Saint Mark United Methodist Church one of the “flagship” black churches in the denomination has been chosen as the new pastor for the Wichita ministry. The Rev. Robert Johnson was announced as the new pastor of Saint Mark on June 26. He will begin on Sunday, Aug. 14. Johnson, 50, replaces the Rev. Junius Dotson, who was selected in April as general secretary of the Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church after 14 years at Saint Mark. “Saint ...

Case against Rev. Meyer referred to church trial

Case against Rev. Meyer referred to church trial

6/24/2016
The case against the Rev. Cynthia Meyer, who stated in a letter to her district superintendent earlier this year that she was in a committed homosexual relationship, has been referred to a church trial. The decision was made June 21 by the Committee on Investigation, whose function is similar to that of a grand jury. It is comprised of Great Plains Conference clergy and laity, with duties outlined by The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline in paragraph 2706. The committee conducted a ...

GraceMed expanding into Topeka

GraceMed expanding into Topeka

6/22/2016
With a 37-year history of providing accessible health care to the Wichita area, GraceMed is expanding to Kansas’ capital city. GraceMed will expand its services, including dentistry, into the Topeka area starting in July. Photo provided by GraceMed In mid-June, United Methodist Church-affiliated ministry GraceMed received a $1.053 million federal grant making it the designated health care provider in Shawnee County and privatizing health care in the county. GraceMed CEO Dave Sanford said ...

Bishop Jones issues statement about killings in Orlando

Bishop Jones issues statement about killings in Orlando

6/13/2016
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference issued the following statement Monday morning in response to the attack on people at a nightclub early Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida. "As many of you know, a tragedy has befallen the community of Orlando, Florida, and, indeed, our entire country. "A gunman opened fire early Sunday morning inside a nightclub frequented by people in the LGBTQ community there. According to news reports, at least 49 people were killed and at least 53 ...

Out of Africa, into the Great Plains

Out of Africa, into the Great Plains

6/8/2016
Churches in Kansas and Nebraska welcome foreign-born pastors to lead congregations.

Great Plains interns show leadership at, away from pulpit

Great Plains interns show leadership at, away from pulpit

6/7/2016
The Rev. Nicole Conard quickly quashes the old church cliché about the “leaders of tomorrow.” “These are not the leaders of the future,” Conard, coordinator of young leadership for the Great Plains Conference, said of summer interns. “They lead right now. They are leaders.” Most of the 33 college-age students settled into Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina on May 24 to begin 10-week internships in the Great Plains. “We work on how they lead where they are, in their context, in their way,” ...

Holy Land trip makes deep impression on college student

Holy Land trip makes deep impression on college student

6/7/2016
Each night as I reflect on my day I recite a routine prayer reminding myself of the fruits of the Spirit with it typically ending with “Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.” This is a prayer I mean from the bottom of my heart and have found it to be a beneficial routine. However, I could not possibly comprehend the effects that the last part could potentially have. Thanks to the Great Plains Annual Conference Mercy and Justice Team, I was given the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land ...

Bishop issues letter regarding resolution on reconciliation

Bishop issues letter regarding resolution on reconciliation

6/6/2016
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference issued a letter this morning detailing his actions since the annual conference session voted in favor of a resolution aimed at reconciliation involving the case against the Rev. Cynthia Meyer. Download the letter. The letter is published in its entirety below:

Great Plains Conference approves 'aspirational resolution' involving Meyer case

Great Plains Conference approves 'aspirational resolution' involving Meyer case

6/4/2016
TOPEKA, Kansas - An “aspirational resolution” asking that the decision about the future of an openly gay United Methodist pastor in Kansas be left to the Great Plains Conference bishop was approved Saturday morning during the annual conference session. The Rev. Russell Brown makes a motion to accept a resolution to encourage counsel for the Church and counsel for the Rev. Cynthia Meyer to move the case against her back to the office of the bishop during the Great Plains Annual Conference ...

Watch annual conference livestream

Watch annual conference livestream

6/1/2016
You can watch the worship and plenary sessions of our annual conference session, live from Topeka, Kansas. Go to www.greatplainsumc.org/livestream during the following times: Wednesday - 1:30 p.m. to adjournment Thursday - 8 a.m. to approximately noon and from 1:30 p.m. to adjournment Friday - 8:30 a.m. to approximately noon and from 1:30 p.m. to adjournment (special stream for ordination at 7:30 p.m. Saturday - 8:30 a.m. to adjournment 

Bishop Jones issues statement about General Conference, Rev. Cynthia Meyer case

Bishop Jones issues statement about General Conference, Rev. Cynthia Meyer case

5/24/2016
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference issued the following letter today to pastors across Kansas and Nebraska as well as to lay members to annual conference.  The letter is printed here in its entirety. Or download the letter.

Council of Bishops follows tradition with letter to the church

Council of Bishops follows tradition with letter to the church

5/24/2016
Reviving a tradition that is more than a century old, the United Methodist Council of Bishops sent this letter Monday to the people of The United Methodist Church following the 2016 General Conference, conducted May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. The letter reads as follows: Great Plains Bishop Scott Jones sings a hymn with other bishops after they entered the hall to start the 2016 General Conference opening worship time in Portland,  Oregon. Photo by Todd Seifert   To the people of The ...

Music with a mission

Music with a mission

5/24/2016
Grandma and Granddaughter duo use music and action to support Epworth Partners Program By Kerry Hoffschneider   Carlie Bauer spoke and sang about the Epworth Village Mission to Archer Zion/Fairview United Methodist congregation members. Bauer is an Epworth Village Interpreter and Partner for the mission after being encouraged to sign up to help support the cause by her grandmother, Harrietta Reynolds, a long-time servant of the United Methodist Church. Photo provided by Epworth Village ...

GC2016 wrap-up: Farewell, Portland. Thanks for the doughnuts.

GC2016 wrap-up: Farewell, Portland. Thanks for the doughnuts.

5/21/2016
Believe it or not, General Conference 2016 spent more than twice as much time debating a Rule of Order than the hot topic of human sexuality. After almost three days of considering an alternative method for discussing legislation, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body referred its most difficult subject — sexuality — to a study commission and moved on to other matters. Delegates pause for a moment of prayer following the morning discussion and expressions of confusion in the May ...

May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

5/20/2016
As delegates prepared for the last day of General Conference 2016, the words of the immortal sage Jerry Reed may have run through their minds: We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there. Voting clocks shrank from 30 seconds to 10 and more than one presiding bishop urged delegates to speak less and vote more. Delegates rolled up their sleeves and plunged into a daunting collection of remaining petitions before the closing gavel fell.  Budget passes with slight increase General ...

May 19 wrap-up: Conference takes up key legislation on penultimate day

May 19 wrap-up: Conference takes up key legislation on penultimate day

5/19/2016
A day after tabling potentially contentious legislation on human sexuality, General Conference 2016 moved through its calendar at a steady clip, possibly noticing that time to finish its task is running short. Though discussion on the difficult subject was avoided, that other difficult subject — money — had to be addressed. Would the “way forward” set the church financially backward? The Cherokee Choir from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference sings during morning worship at the 2016 ...

Female pastors celebrate; say struggles continue

Female pastors celebrate; say struggles continue

5/19/2016
UMC Women in Clergy from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. As the 60th anniversary of women receiving full clergy rites in The United Methodist Church was celebrated Thursday during the General Conference, female clergy delegates in the Great Plains Conference say there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality with their male counterparts. “It’s exciting to think about the perspectives that women bring into the ministry, the voice they bring into the ministry,” said the Rev. Rebecca ...

Translators share the power of words

Translators share the power of words

5/19/2016
English-speaking delegates had the opportunity to experience what hundreds of non-English-speaking colleagues go through regularly when Bishop Patrick Streiff of the Central and Southern Europe Central Conference presided over the afternoon plenary session in French on May 17 in French. Though not his native language, he chose to do so because French is one of the languages translated during General Conference. The Rev. Dr. Anne Gatobu translates a worship service from English to Swahili during...

May 18 wrap-up: Sexuality dominates debate in unexpected ways

May 18 wrap-up: Sexuality dominates debate in unexpected ways

5/18/2016
Last week it was debating how to debate. Today, it was voting on whether to vote. A day of tension, frustration and confusion ended in a decision to “put a pin in it.” Delegates to General Conference 2016 spent most of the day deciding whether to move forward on dozens of petitions regarding the denomination’s stance on human sexuality, or whether to refer that difficult subject to a special commission to be appointed by the Council of Bishops. They referred. Now the newly created body will ...

Motion to accept bishops' plan resurrected, passes

Motion to accept bishops' plan resurrected, passes

5/18/2016
Adam Hamilton reacts to human sexuality motion introduced to deal with LGBT issues in UMC General Conference 2016. from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. After hours of deliberation, two failed motions and an accusation from the floor of a bishop directing people which way to vote, the General Conference voted to accept and enact a plan for unity presented by the Council of Bishops. The motion to accept the bishops’ proposal eventually passed 425-408. It proclaims the intent of the bishops to ...

Bishop Ough shares Council of Bishops proposal for unity

Bishop Ough shares Council of Bishops proposal for unity

5/18/2016
The following is a statement read during the morning plenary session May 18 in Portland, Oregon: Galatians 3:25-29 (NRSV) 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 ...

Church hopes to build on Imagine No Malaria program success

Church hopes to build on Imagine No Malaria program success

5/18/2016
NO MALARIA-EMILY BALLARD from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Seeking to build on the success of its global health initiative “Imagine No Malaria,” The United Methodist Church this week affirmed its commitment to positively impact the lives of children everywhere through the next phase of its global health work. Coordinated by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, “Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children” aims to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020. ...

May 17 wrap-up: Schism rumors quashed

May 17 wrap-up: Schism rumors quashed

5/17/2016
General Conference 2016 may have started off slowly, but it’s full steam ahead now. On a day with a full docket, delegates considered whether to give $20 million to a group of church growth consultants, whether to eliminate lifetime tenures for U.S. bishops and whether it’s time to create a new hymnal. All that while the Council of Bishops president said the bishops are committed to church unity. Opening worship In his May 17 sermon on Matthew 18:10-14, Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams, top executive of...

Great Plains delegates help take lead on debate

Great Plains delegates help take lead on debate

5/17/2016
Mark Holland on Bishops leadership from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Members of the Great Plains Conference delegation played a major role in encouraging bishops to take on a larger leadership role in the debate on LGBTQ issues that have so far stymied the 2016 General Conference. A motion made by the Rev. Mark Holland, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church and a clergy delegate from Kansas City, Kansas, urged the Council of Bishops on Tuesday to make an unbinding recommendation to the ...

May 16 wrap-up: Week two begins with elections, celebrations, protests

May 16 wrap-up: Week two begins with elections, celebrations, protests

5/16/2016
Before tackling the pile of petitions before them, delegates to General Conference 2016 voted to fill vacancies in key positions on the Judicial Council, the University Senate and the Commission on General Conference. And then, voting officially began. Opening worship “God is the host for our “banquet,” be it General Conference or God’s “kingdom on earth,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey said in her sermon on May 16 at General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body. The Louisiana ...

Church sets goals for next four years

Church sets goals for next four years

5/16/2016
The United Methodist Church has set bold goals to increase the number of disciples, address poverty, improve Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Pacific Northwest Episcopal Area talks during a press conference May 16 about four goals set for The United Methodist Church. Photo by Todd Seifert the health of children and improve leadership by the time of the next General Conference in 2020. Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area led a presentation that laid out the goals for the ...

UMW celebrates 150 years of advocacy

UMW celebrates 150 years of advocacy

5/16/2016
The United Methodist Women took a moment to celebrate its past during the General Conference on Monday afternoon, while brimming with excitement about the group’s future. A seven-minute presentation featured the history of the UMW, which began 150 years ago as an outreach to women and children in India.   Members of The United Methodist Women celebrated the 150th anniversary for the  organization during a special presentation at General Conference on May 16. Photo by Todd Seifert The UMW ...

General Conference - May 14 recap

General Conference - May 14 recap

5/15/2016
Worship, an address by young people and a silent protest for LGBTQ inclusion began Day Five of General Conference 2016, which ended with final legislative committee meetings. Young people’s address inspires While only two young people spoke on the General Conference stage Saturday morning, thousands more stood with them. Chelsea Spyres of Detroit and Peter Cibuabua of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, began their witness by identifying themselves as “ambassadors sharing young people’s ...

Dotson wearing many hats at General Conference

Dotson wearing many hats at General Conference

5/14/2016
Forgive the Rev. Junius Dotson if he needs a few moments to collect his thoughts during a discussion – particularly during the hustle and bustle of General Conference. The Rev. Junius Dotson of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, takes part in a legislative committee meeting May 14 during General Conference in Portland,  Oregon. Dotson will become general secretary of Discipleship Ministries in July.  Photo by Rachel Moser It’s not because he’s slow to ponder a response. ...

May 13 wrap-up: Laity address, State of the Church Report

May 13 wrap-up: Laity address, State of the Church Report

5/13/2016
After several days where General Conference delegates were clearly divided over Robert’s Rules vs. Group Discernment and placards vs. iPads, on Day Four, they were urged repeatedly to work together, and shown examples of the good the church can do when it heeds that advice. Laity address Morning worship by delegates Ande Emmanuel, Eunice Iliya, Joyce Madanga and Habila Bala, delegates from Southern Nigeria Conference, react to the morning worship music at the 2016 United Methodist General ...

Laity challenged to get more involved in ministry

Laity challenged to get more involved in ministry

5/13/2016
Lay members of The United Methodist Church admonished their peers who are delegates to General Conference to remember that they share in the responsibility of making disciples of Jesus Christ in the world. The Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede leads a time of prayer May 13 for Courtney Fowler with some of the  Great Plains Conference delegation and staff prior to Fowler taking part in the laity address from the floor of the General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Rachel Moser The May 13 ...

Dakotas-Minnesota bishop is new president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

Dakotas-Minnesota bishop is new president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

5/12/2016
Bishop Bruce Ough, bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church, today became president of the Council of Bishops of the 12.3 million member global United Methodist Church. Bishop Bruce R. Ough (left) receives the gavel as incoming president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops from outgoing president Warner H. Brown, Jr. during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS Bishop Ough assumed the presidency of the Council from ...

General Conference May 12 recap

General Conference May 12 recap

5/12/2016
After a roller coaster of “will-they-or-won’t-they” episodes usually reserved for love interests in a romantic comedy, delegates finally decided their relationship with Rule 44: They won’t. The final tally on the much-debated Rule 44 — a proposed Group Discernment Process — was 355 yes and 477 no. However, even getting to a simple up-or-down vote took the delegates most of their morning.?Over the past three days, the United Methodist General Conference also has offered a live demonstration of ...

Great Plains pastor tells poignant story while speaking for Rule 44

Great Plains pastor tells poignant story while speaking for Rule 44

5/12/2016
The Rev. Mark R. Holland of Trinity Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas, supported the use of what has become known as “Rule 44” during General Conference of The United Methodist Church because, he said, he has seen how small-group discussions can help foster understanding. The Rev. Mark Holland (left) shows a photo of his daughter, Esther, to Honorine Mwad  Mujing, who raised his daughter from 2 days old until adoption, and the Rev. Mande Muyobo, who led the mission trip to Congo during ...

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

5/11/2016
A day after the celebratory tone of opening worship came a reminder that General Conference is one big, long meeting. As delegates got down to business, debate over one of the Rules of Order will stretch into a third day while the episcopal address urged United Methodists to “trust God and go.” In the episcopal address on May 11, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. Members of Signatur, a choir from Norway, ...

'Rule 44' decision postponed again

'Rule 44' decision postponed again

5/11/2016
Just one day after postponing a contentious rules change for The United Methodist Church's General Conference, the matter was delayed yet again so amendments could be considered by the Rules Committee. Debate on Rule 44, which would move proposals related to human sexuality into discussion groups comprised of small groups in hopes of building consensus, initially was tabled by a mere eight votes. A motion by a delegate from Europe led to a second vote, which this time had Rule 44 pulled back ...

3 churches, 1 district get ‘Culture of Call’ grants

3 churches, 1 district get ‘Culture of Call’ grants

5/11/2016
Three churches and one district in the Great Plains Conference are the recipients of monetary grants that will help them develop a “Culture of Call” in the two-state region. The Rev. Ashlee Alley, Great Plains Conference coordinator of clergy recruitment and development, talks about "culture of call" during a talk at February's Orders & Fellowship  clergy training session. Photo by Todd Seifert. The churches are FirstLight (in Gardner), Lenexa and Tonganoxie United Methodist churches, all ...

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