News


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 the following agreement:   Rev. Cynthia Meyer's Statement of Faithful Witness and Hopeful Resolution   “After 25 years of leadership in the United Methodist Church, I recently chose to do what some may deem unthinkable: I came out as a ...

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
The Rev. Alice Koech quickly broke the ice with the congregation of First United Methodist Church in Hays, Kansas, when she began as associate pastor last year.  “Some of you don’t know where my accent is from, and I’ll tell you,” she added. “It is from Nebraska.”  Alice and her husband, Ezekiel – pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Russell, Kansas – began new assignments last summer after five years in Big Springs and Chappell/Lodgepole, respectively, in Cornhusker country.  The ...

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 ...

Episcopal address challenges all to go forth

Episcopal address challenges all to go forth

5/11/2016
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. “Everyone here is a child of God. Any behavior to the contrary of that truth undermines the gospel and is a choice to live beneath our privilege,” Palmer, who serves the West Ohio Episcopal Area, said in the episcopal address on May 11. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer delivers the episcopal address during the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by ...

General Conference opens with message about unity of purpose

General Conference opens with message about unity of purpose

5/10/2016
The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church opened Tuesday afternoon, May 10, with a message from Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. for unity during what could be heated debates over contentious issues such as human sexuality. Bishop Scott Jones (center) helps serve communion during opening worship from the General Conference of The United Methodist Church on May 10 in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Todd Seifert. As part of his sermon, Brown, the outgoing president of the Council of ...

General Conference Videos - Updated May 20

General Conference Videos - Updated May 20

5/10/2016
Throughout the 2016 General Conference, check here for videos from the meetings taking place in Portland, Oregon. The Great Plains Conference communications staff will be working with delegates to provide insights into the happenings there and stories about what goes on outside the plenary sessions. May 20 General Conference 2016 has been an emotional roller coaster Frustration tempered with the world's need for The United Methodist Church Some areas of ministry have emerged from 2016 ...

Photos from General Conference

Photos from General Conference

5/10/2016
Check here each day for photos of Great Plains Conference delegates and Bishop Scott Jones as they take part in the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. See what our delegates are doing and see some of the behind-the-scenes images from the events in Portland, Oregon.

Holy Land trip provides chance to reflect on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Holy Land trip provides chance to reflect on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

5/4/2016
(From left) Carol Garwood, Oliver Green and Shayla Jordan pose for a photo overlooking Jerusalem during a trip this winter to the Holy Land. Photo courtesy Oliver Green From the 1960’s movie, "Exodus," The words “this land is mine, God gave this land to me.  This land, this precious land to me ...” ring through my subconscious mind.  I can remember leaving the movie theater with great feelings towards the Israelis and their plight in Palestine.  Fast forward 30 years, when I am chaperoning...

South Central Jurisdiction bishops launch #WeAreMore social media campaign

South Central Jurisdiction bishops launch #WeAreMore social media campaign

4/25/2016
The bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction have joined together to produce a campaign focused on stories that connect people and proclaim that #WeAreMore when united through Jesus Christ. The campaign, called “We Are More,” is designed to engage the people in the pews through sharing and listening to one another’s stories. “People seem to be anxiously bracing themselves as we draw near to General Conference. Some hope for change, others fear division, and most feel uncertain about what ...

UM church secretaries nationwide gather in Wichita

UM church secretaries nationwide gather in Wichita

4/15/2016
They came from large and small churches, United Methodist district and conferences from 28 states, gathering in Wichita for continuing education and a reminder that they aren’t alone. “This gives them a connection, a support,” said Tish Schultheiss, president of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries, which met in Wichita from April 14-16. “When you work in a church office at any level, there’s always something you’ll have to deal with no matter what,” said ...

New Southwestern president urges all to see beauty

New Southwestern president urges all to see beauty

4/14/2016
Seeing and nurturing the beauty inside of others was Bradley J. Andrews’ message to faculty, students and alumni of Southwestern College, as he was inaugurated as the Winfield, Kansas, school’s 19th president on April 14. “I propose that the greatest gift in the world – the single greatest gift in the world – is the ability to find the beauty inside of others and inspire them accordingly,” Andrews said during his inauguration address. “This is education,” Andrews added. “This is the special ...

UM Ministries cuts ribbon to new space for The Big Garden

UM Ministries cuts ribbon to new space for The Big Garden

4/11/2016
United Methodist Ministries kicked off a celebration of 50 years of ministry and its new home by hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 8 at the new Big Garden headquarters. About 75 people attended the ribbon-cutting at 5602 Read St. in Omaha, Nebraska. Nathan Morgan, executive director at the Big Garden, welcomed everyone and shared that with this new space UM Ministries hopes to “grow more food, teach more people and feed more people.” Guests included former Sen. Lowen Kruse, a founding ...

UMW veteran from Kansas to take over SCJ presidency

UMW veteran from Kansas to take over SCJ presidency

4/6/2016
From the time she was a 20-year-old newlywed, Charlotte Morrow has been a part of the United Methodist Women. “I’ve never not been active,” the 68-year-old native of Madison, Mississippi, said. Charlotte Morrow “I think that UMW has the ability for women to grow spiritually,” the current Overland Park, Kansas, resident said, “and it is a way women can have a community of other women – all different ages – that help them learn that life in Christ can begin when you’re very young but continues...

Bishop Jones refers complaint against Rev. Cynthia Meyer to counsel for the Church

Bishop Jones refers complaint against Rev. Cynthia Meyer to counsel for the Church

4/4/2016
Bishop Scott Jones of the Great Plains Annual Conference today referred the complaint made against Rev. Cynthia Meyer to the Rev. David Bell as counsel for the Church. The Rev. Cynthia Meyer gets a hug and well wishes from supporters after a meeting with Bishop Scott Jones on March 28 in Wichita, Kansas. Photo by Todd Seifert   The bishop’s decision came after the parties involved in the supervisory response process – outlined by The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline – were not ...

Bishop Jones shares information about General Conference

Bishop Jones shares information about General Conference

4/4/2016
Bishop Scott Jones shared information about the upcoming General Conference of The United Methodist Church during a livestream broadcast April 2 from the episcopal office in Wichita, Kansas. The broadcast featured the bishop sharing details about the purpose and structure of General Conference, the way it handles legislation and its role in the worldwide church. He then explained what he thinks will be some of the more hotly debated issues facing the 2016 General Conference, which is scheduled ...

Wichita St. Mark pastor elected as a new general secretary of Discipleship Ministries

Wichita St. Mark pastor elected as a new general secretary of Discipleship Ministries

4/3/2016
The Rev. Junius Dotson shares ideas for effectively marketing a local church during a New Church Development meeting in 2015 in Salina, Kansas. Dotson has been elected as the next general secretary of Discipleship Ministries. He starts in his  new role on July 1. Photo by Todd Seifert Ever since his childhood in Houston, the Rev. Junius Dotson says, “being a part of a growing, vital church has been a part of my DNA.” Now Dotson – senior pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in ...

Learn more about how to welcome refugees to the Great Plains

Learn more about how to welcome refugees to the Great Plains

3/22/2016
God calls us to welcome the stranger among us. Why? In the Old Testament, God reminds the Israelites several times that they once were foreigners in a what was a strange land to them, later the Promised Land. In the New Testament, Jesus tells us that we are to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and welcome others as a proxy for the Savior and in living with the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. March 10, the Great Plains Conference and Justice for Our Neighbors-Nebraska hosted the ...

Rally tradition going strong in Beloit for 67 years

Rally tradition going strong in Beloit for 67 years

3/9/2016
For two-thirds of a century, United Methodist men in north-central Kansas have flocked to Beloit for a night of worship and inspiration. The 67th annual North Central Kansas Men & Boys Rally drew about 600 people March 7 from a six-county area to Beloit High School. Former Kansas State and NFL wide receiver Kevin Locket poses with fans during the 67th annual North Central Kansas Men & Boys Rally at Beloit High School. Photo by David Burke “It’s been in Beloit forever because we used to be ...

Methodists leading charge against death penalty

Methodists leading charge against death penalty

3/7/2016
United Methodist churches in the Great Plains Conference are leading the way in efforts against the death penalty in Kansas and Nebraska. “We’re really feeling like this is the year we’re going to get it through,” said Kalaba Chali, mercy and justice coordinator for the conference. Legislatures in the two states are in various stages of laws regarding capital punishment. In Kansas, repeal of the state’s capital punishment statute is being pitched as a way of alleviating the state’s growing ...

Julia Wilke remembered as Disciple Bible Study co-founder, educator

Julia Wilke remembered as Disciple Bible Study co-founder, educator

3/1/2016
Not content to simply be a United Methodist pastor’s wife, Julia Wilke was a partner with her husband, Richard, in the acclaimed Disciple Bible Study program as well as the Institute for Discipleship that bears their name at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. Julia Wilke, co-founder of the Disciple Bible Study program, passed away Feb. 25 at the age of 83. Family photo Julia Kitchens Wilke, 83, died Feb. 25 at a hospital in Houston. She is survived by her husband as well as four ...

Hesston church steps up after shootings

Hesston church steps up after shootings

2/26/2016
The Rev. Keith Schadel was already planning on a sermon about fear the morning of Feb. 28 at the Hesston United Methodist Church in Kansas. The subject, based on the first six verses of Psalm 139, didn’t change, but following the workplace shooting at the Excel plant in Hesston on Feb. 25, which left four dead (including the gunman) and 14 injured, Schadel said his sermon illustrations did. Specifically, Schadel said, he spoke of the apprehension he had when discussing an ecumenical church ...

First of 3 confirmation rallies draws 65 teens to Hays

First of 3 confirmation rallies draws 65 teens to Hays

2/22/2016
When she was their age, Lindsey Graber told Great Plains confirmation students, she felt like prayer was a “one-way thing.” “I wasn’t receiving much back,” Graber, a Southwestern College religion and philosophy major from Wichita, told junior-high students and high-schoolers at the first of three Bishop’s Confirmation Rallies on Feb. 13 in Hays, Kansas. Bishop Scott J. Jones poses for a selfie with students participating in the Bishop's Confirmation Rally on Feb. 13 in Hays, Kansas. Photo by ...

Nationally acclaimed speaker challenges Kansans on death penalty

Nationally acclaimed speaker challenges Kansans on death penalty

2/22/2016
Bryan Stevenson advocates for fairness and the abolition of the death penalty in the criminal justice system during a reception at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita on Feb. 20, as Mark McCormick, Rev. Junius Dotson and others listen. The nationally renowned advocate’s visit to Kansas was facilitated by Saint Mark UMC and the Mercy and Justice Ministry of the Great Plains Conference. Photo by Sarah Gooding Kansas currently has nine inmates who have ...

Bishop Scott Jones offers testimony against Nebraska anti-refugee bill

Bishop Scott Jones offers testimony against Nebraska anti-refugee bill

2/20/2016
The Rev. Nancy Lambert, Great Plains director of Clergy Excellence and assistant to the bishop, reads prepared testimony on behalf of Bishop Scott J. Jones during a Nebraska Legislature Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill that would hamper efforts to help refugees seeking a safe place to relocate within the state. Photo by Andrea Paret Bishop Scott J. Jones recently wrote testimony for the Nebraska Legislature about LB 966, a bill that would force Nebraska refugee resettlement agencies, ...

LEaD talks help pastors learn from each other

LEaD talks help pastors learn from each other

2/19/2016
While corporate America has its TED Talks, or Technology, Entertainment and Design, the Great Plains Conference introduced LEaD Talks, or Leadership, Education and Discipleship, at the Orders & Fellowship clergy meeting Feb. 17-18 at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Seven pastors and one lay person from churches and colleges large and small in Kansas and Nebraska delivered the 10-15 minute talks to their fellow clergy, interjecting their own call stories, humor and life ...

Pastors talk about rekindling fire, passing spark to next generation

Pastors talk about rekindling fire, passing spark to next generation

2/19/2016
Pastors who attended the annual Orders and Fellowship clergy meetings explored how to develop, maintain and grow a culture of call throughout the Great Plains Conference. The two-day event Feb. 17-18 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, featured leadership, education and discipleship (LEaD) talks from seven pastors and one lay person from throughout Kansas and Nebraska, lively worship settings and two teaching moments and one sermon by Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the ...

Nebraska legislative briefing day takes on tough topics

Nebraska legislative briefing day takes on tough topics

2/15/2016
More than 200 people gathered Feb. 13 to learn more about legislation and difficult topics that are being addressed by the Nebraska Legislature. The annual Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day at Christ United Methodist Church in Lincoln provided attendees with the opportunity to explore such weighty topics as the death penalty, human trafficking, climate justice and the widening poverty gap. Organizers said the key takeaway from the event is that everyday residents can make a real impact on the...

Youth enjoy humor, fellowship, worship at The OneEvent

Youth enjoy humor, fellowship, worship at The OneEvent

2/10/2016
Back flips accompanied many displays of talent, laughs and other fun at the 2016 edition of The OneEvent,conducted  in Grand Island, Nebraska. About 1,200 youth attended the event at the Heartland Event Center. Photo by Evan Reeder More than 1,200 young people from throughout the Great Plains Conference came together Jan. 30-31 for the youth event of the year, The OneEvent. The 2016 OneEvent, Pyromaniac, was – for the second year in a row – hosted at the Heartland Event Center in Grand ...

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