News


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 ...

Bishop Scott Jones urges KS lawmakers to expand health coverage

Bishop Scott Jones urges KS lawmakers to expand health coverage

2/9/2016
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference recently wrote a letter to Kansas legislators urging them to expand KanCare, the state's health program.  In his letter, the bishop asks lawmakers to help people who fall in the "gap," meaning families that don't qualify for tax credits through the Affordable Care Act and make too much money to qualify under current guidelines for KanCare. Here is the bishop's letter to lawmakers:

Great Plains churches asked to take part in March 1 prayer vigil

Great Plains churches asked to take part in March 1 prayer vigil

2/9/2016
United Methodist Churches around the world are encouraged to take part in a prayer vigil that started Jan. 1 and continues up to the beginning of General Conference on May 10 in Portland, Oregon. The Council of Bishops has invited each of the annual conferences to host a 24-hour prayer effort on a specific date, with the intent of creating a groundswell of prayer in the days leading up to the General Conference. It is up to each conference to choose an available date and then design their own ...

Youth assemble 500 health kits for UMCOR

Youth assemble 500 health kits for UMCOR

2/9/2016
For The OneEvent 2016, the Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, needed to think of an idea that would help get the youth of the conference involved in a mission project. She also knew that the United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR) was in need of health kits. Youth who attended The OneEvent helped assemble 500 health kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Photo by Rachel Moser   The goal was to have the health kit “...

GP delegation impressed with Lydia Patterson Institute

GP delegation impressed with Lydia Patterson Institute

2/2/2016
The delegation from the Great Plains Conference who visited the Lydia Patterson Institute on Jan. 26-27 included those who had seen the United Methodist-funded school before and others who were there for the first time. Lydia Patterson students move between classes during a day of school in January 2016. David Burke, Great Plains Conference About a dozen clergy and parishioners toured the school and had breakfast and lunch with the students. Most then traveled to Juarez, Mexico, to see ...

LPI: ‘This place is about changing lives’

LPI: ‘This place is about changing lives’

2/2/2016
Great Plains members see success stories rise from blight at home of Lydia Patterson

Help filling out year-end reports

Help filling out year-end reports

1/28/2016
Need help with filling out your church's year-end reports? Here are some resources to help you with the process. Videos Stat Tables Introduction Finding the Tables online Table 1: Membership and Attendance Table 1: Christian Formation Table 2: Expenses Table 3: Operating Income Table 3: Other Income Other Resources   Other Resources Stat table entry Stats entry instructions Stats FAQ Stats table forms Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 GCFA numbers Local church Audit Guide Fund Balance Report with ...

Briefing previews 2016 General Conference topics

Briefing previews 2016 General Conference topics

1/26/2016
In a gathering that repeatedly stressed church unity despite passionately held differences, United Methodists received a preview of some issues the 2016 General Conference will debate when the denomination’s top lawmaking body meets this spring. Josephine Deere (left) and the Rev. David Wilson (right) of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference pray for the Rev. Tom Albin during the Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS The Rev. Steven Lewis, Gresham ...

Sexuality debate a key topic for General Conference

Sexuality debate a key topic for General Conference

1/25/2016
For Dorothee Benz, the debate is about “whether and how The United Methodist Church will continue to discriminate.” For the Rev. Bill Arnold, the debate is about what church unity looks like and how the denomination lives into its mission statement. “I consider institutional unity a minimum,” he said. The Rev. Dr. Bill Arnold of Asbury Theological Seminary and Dr. Dorothee Benz of Methodists in New Directions take part in a discussion about human sexuality during the pre-General Conference ...

Bishop meets with Meyer as part of review process

Bishop meets with Meyer as part of review process

1/15/2016
The Rev. Cynthia Meyer met with Bishop Scott J. Jones on Friday, 12 days after telling her congregation that she was in a “committed relationship” with another woman. The Rev. Cynthia Meyer exits the Great Plains Conference office in Topeka through a line of supporters after meeting Jan. 15 with Bishop Scott J. Jones as part of a supervisory review process. Meyer, pastor of Edgerton United Methodist Church, near Kansas City, met with Jones at the Great Plains Conference office in Topeka, as ...

The loud tolling of a historic bell rang in 2016 at Trinity UMC in southeast Lincoln.

The loud tolling of a historic bell rang in 2016 at Trinity UMC in southeast Lincoln.

1/12/2016
Thanks to two years of volunteer work and generous memorial donations by two Trinity families, the bell from the chapel where Trinity and three other Lincoln churches got their starts more than a century ago is now on permanent display near 56th Street and Pine Lake Road. Hoping to start a new New Year’s tradition, a small group of Trinity members — chilled by near-zero cold but warmed by hot apple cider, cookies and the strains of “Auld Lang Syne” — gave the steel bell a midnight push to tell ...

Volunteers sought for SE Kansas flood relief

Volunteers sought for SE Kansas flood relief

1/11/2016
The disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church is seeking trained early response team members for work in Baxter Springs in southeast Kansas as the area recovers from flooding. “Two homes are identified that need to be mucked out at this time, according to emergency management,” the Rev. Hollie Tapley said Monday, with the possibility of as many as a dozen others in need of assistance in the Cherokee County town of 4,200. Tapley will meet ...

Hispanic pastor works to quell immigration concerns

Hispanic pastor works to quell immigration concerns

1/4/2016
When a member of his Nueva Vida congregation from Holton Evangel United Methodist Church in Holton, Kansas, was among those threatened with deportation by the Department of Homeland Security over the weekend, Pastor Hector Sanchez took action.   Hector Sanchez Sanchez on Monday took the young man to Kansas City to meet with immigration officials to have an ankle bracelet with global positioning system, or GPS, removed. “If I wouldn’t have taken him today they would have come to get him,” ...

Central Kansas farm couple breaks new ground for UM Foundation

Central Kansas farm couple breaks new ground for UM Foundation

12/21/2015
After 55 years of harvesting wheat, corn and soybeans on their central Kansas farm, Clinton and Bonnie Russell have planted the seeds for a bounty that will benefit United Methodist churches in the state. The couple donated the sale of their farm equipment from a July 25 auction to the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation, establishing a charitable remainder unitrust. The sale of the equipment – including two tractors, drills and a corn planter – raised about $1.3 million for a ministry ...

Great Plains to help Chabadza partner Zimbabwe

Great Plains to help Chabadza partner Zimbabwe

12/15/2015
Zimbabwe, a nation in the southeastern portion of the African continent, struggles in many aspects of life in the 21st century. Less than 50 years removed from independence from the United Kingdom, the Zimbabwe government is widely believed by the United States CIA to have run improper elections at least twice since 2002. And unemployment is estimated by some authorities to be as high as 70 percent in some regions. Yet, the spirit of the people of Zimbabwe is strong. And their faith in Christ...

Will I become a citizen before I die?

Will I become a citizen before I die?

12/15/2015
Dec. 5, Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska (JFON-NE), together with Lutheran Family Services and Centro Hispano Comunitario from Columbus, offered a Naturalization Clinic in Grand Island, Nebraska. Such clinics invite persons who have been a lawful permanent resident (commonly referred to as having their green card) for at least three to five years and are interested in applying for United States citizenship. The process to obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status can take several years. ...

Disciples are nurtured at Kansas United Methodist college

Disciples are nurtured at Kansas United Methodist college

12/14/2015
Set high on a hill overlooking the Walnut River valley in Winfield, Kansas, Southwestern College looks much like any other small college or university with picturesque wooden sidewalks connecting buildings made of native limestone. But this United Methodist college — one of four in the Great Plains Conference —  is doing more than just offering classes and awarding degrees. It’s forming disciples. Southwestern is home to two different programs which engage in spiritual formation and help ...

Openings for clergy positions of Hispanic/Latino congregations announced

Openings for clergy positions of Hispanic/Latino congregations announced

12/3/2015
The Great Plains Annual Conference announces openings for clergy positions of Hispanic/Latino congregations Our vision is to reach a growing Hispanic/Latino population in the Great Plains Conference (Kansas and Nebraska) through a partnership in which the conference supports and equips vital congregations. We desire to be a "church for all the nations, where all can hear the mighty works of God in their own tongue" (Acts 2:8). We value; starting where vision is alive in the people, focusing our...

At least 35 congregations UMC congregations in Kansas, Nebraska ready to help refugees

At least 35 congregations UMC congregations in Kansas, Nebraska ready to help refugees

11/20/2015
Press conference by Bishop Jones on Syrian refugees from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. United Methodist Church congregations across Kansas and Nebraska stand ready to assist refugees from Syria once they are allowed to enter the United States. Bishop Scott J. Jones answers a question from a reporter during a press conference Friday morning, Nov. 20, when the bishop announced at least 35 United Methodist congregations across Kansas and Nebraska were prepared to provide support to refugees from ...

Focusing less on race, more on love

Focusing less on race, more on love

11/17/2015
A combined choir comprised of members from First United Methodist and Saint Mark United Methodist churches sing during worship services as part of the two congregations' "Love. Period." sermon series in Wichita, Kansas. Photo courtesy Rev. Kent Rogers   People have many differences: backgrounds, gender, economic status, physical abilities, even race. It is that final difference that has sparked discussion and, in some cases, tension in communities across the country following the shooting ...

Great Plains partners with Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference

Great Plains partners with Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference

11/17/2015
The “Trail of Tears” – the forced relocation of Native Americans from the eastern United States to what is now Oklahoma – will forever be a stain on our nation’s history. But one positive impact came from the Indian Removal Act of 1830: When natives of the North American continent moved westward, they brought with them Christian beliefs. In fact, they brought with them Wesleyan theology in what was at the time the fast-growing Methodist tradition. Not too many years later – 1844, to be exact ...

Micah Corps interns create several youth activities

Micah Corps interns create several youth activities

11/17/2015
Creating change in the world — youth activities focus on poverty, environment, food security, peace/nonviolence and immigration. The 2015 Micah Corps interns have created activities for youth groups that offer a series of discussions, videos and activities which will teach youth how the issues connect to their faith and challenge and inspire the youth to use their power to change the world. These activities are formatted under five four-part units where through the activities, Scripture and ...

Mayor remains church pastor, thanks to dad

Mayor remains church pastor, thanks to dad

11/16/2015
The Rev. Mark Holland needed help when he was elected mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, and not just at city hall. The Rev. Mark Holland joins a Meals on Wheels route in Kansas City, Kansas. He’s pastor of Trinity Community Church, a United Methodist congregation, as well as mayor of Kansas City, Kansas.  Photo courtesy Mark Holland Holland knew that if he was going to be a full-time mayor and continue as senior pastor at Trinity Community Church, he would require pastoral reinforcement. So he ...

President of Council of Bishops issues statement on Paris attacks

President of Council of Bishops issues statement on Paris attacks

11/16/2015
Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr., president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, has issued the following statement about the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris:  John 11:35 Candles and flowers were placed outside the Le Carillon café in tribute to those killed in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks. At least 129 people died in various locations and more than 350 were injured. Photo by John Seigenthaler, Aljazeera America Jesus wept. This week, we weep for those in Paris. We weep for the senseless ...

Epworth Village seeks more partners for its ministries

Epworth Village seeks more partners for its ministries

11/9/2015
The ministry of Epworth Village at York, Nebraska, has a small group of committed United Methodist volunteers who work tirelessly to raise awareness about the Christ-like work Epworth Village is doing in Nebraska.  Epworth needs churches, individuals and families to become involved by praying for and supporting this nearby mission effort. In doing so, they become “Epworth Village Foundation Partners.” These volunteers are Epworth Mission Interpreters and are prepared to go to churches and ...

Connecting Council explores ways to say 'Yes!' to ministry

Connecting Council explores ways to say 'Yes!' to ministry

11/3/2015
The Great Plains Conference’s Connecting Council opened its fall meeting Oct. 30 at Camp Comeca talking about how to foster a culture of saying “yes” to new possibilities in United Methodist churches across Nebraska and Kansas. The capital campaign to provide for long-term maintenance at Camp Comeca, near Cozad, Nebraska, was just one topic discussed during the Oct. 30-31 meetings of the Connecting Council, which was conducted at the camp. The group of pastors and laity, which serves as the ...

New Hope celebrates Kenya Night in Nebraska

New Hope celebrates Kenya Night in Nebraska

10/22/2015
New Hope United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, hosted Kenya Night on Oct. 9 by serving a traditional Kenyan meal. After the meal the Kenyans in attendence shared some songs in Swahili, and those in attendence learned some phrases in Swahili such as “Jambo,” which means “Hello,” and “Asante,” which means “Thank you.” The evening concluded with a drum circle led by the Rev. Kelly Karges. Kenya night was filled with music, dancing and fun for everyone in attendance.  See a video story of...

Education Partnership grant recipients announced

Education Partnership grant recipients announced

10/20/2015
Fourteen recipients will receive Education Partnership grants for 2015 totaling more than $9,500. The recipients will receive the matching funds from the Great Plains Annual Conference for a variety of innovative projects that support the goals of the conference public education initiative. The mini-grants are in amounts up to $1,000. The Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, who chaired the grant committee, said the group chose not to fund requests for school supplies this year, placing the emphasis ...

Pumpkin patch, corn maze at Camp Fontanelle offer laughs, scares

Pumpkin patch, corn maze at Camp Fontanelle offer laughs, scares

10/13/2015
Whether you like sweet treats, are the more athletic type or like to be scared in the dark, Camp Fontanelle has something to offer you over the next three weekends. The pumpkin patch and corn maze at Camp Fontanelle is holding Search for Treats in the maze, its sixth-annual Wilderness Run and Scary Nights in the Maze, with the first event on Oct. 18.   Search for Treats Dress in costume and head out to Camp Fontanelle Oct. 18 and 25 for the annual Search for Treats in the Maze in collaboration ...

Residents benefit from art therapy at Youthville’s Secure Care facility

Residents benefit from art therapy at Youthville’s Secure Care facility

10/13/2015
Refocus. It’s often hard to do, but an essential part of life in stressful situations. The ability to refocus allows us to take a time out, clear our thoughts and then get back on track. For some this might mean going for a walk outside, hopping in a car for a scenic drive or maybe even just finding a quiet room to sit and relax.   For residents at Youthville’s Secure Care facility in Newton, Kansas, living with a dozen other teenage girls can bring on some stressful situations and the need to ...

Local pastors help lead Hispanic outreach

Local pastors help lead Hispanic outreach

10/5/2015
The Rev. Arturo “Artie” Cadar is a full-time local pastor recently appointed to lead CrossRoads United Methodist Church in Houston. CrossRoads was created by the merger of an aging, Anglo congregation and a younger, primarily Hispanic congregation founded by Cadar. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Arturo Cadar. The Rev. Arturo “Artie” Cadar gave up a six-figure salary in the business world — and his Mercedes Benz — to become a licensed local pastor in The United Methodist Church. He credits a ...

Central conferences depend on local pastors

Central conferences depend on local pastors

10/1/2015
Lay pastor Raphaël Aboua serves Ebenezer Beago United Methodist Church in Abidjan and 10 other United Methodist Churches in Côte d’Ivoire. Photo by Isaac Broune, UMNS.   Raphaël Aboua oversees 11 United Methodist churches in Côte d’Ivoire, serves as president of its United Methodist lay pastors’ group and also shares the gospel via United Methodist radio in his native language, Abouré. With his salary of $140.15 a month, he’s trying to support his elderly parents and put a daughter through ...

Series spotlights local pastors in the United Methodist Church

Series spotlights local pastors in the United Methodist Church

10/1/2015
Local pastors — non-ordained, and in most cases without a seminary degree — are growing in number and taking on more roles in The United Methodist Church. In this series, United Methodist News Service’s Sam Hodges provides coverage of the overall trend, the rapid growth of part-time local pastors, the use of local pastors in Hispanic outreach and the challenges faced by local pastors in in the Central Conferences. The Great Plains Conference communications team will provide localized ...

Success Stories: College Avenue UMC youth make game day a mission

Success Stories: College Avenue UMC youth make game day a mission

10/1/2015
The youth group at College Avenue United Methodist Church in Manhattan, Kansas, have shown that location truly is a key ingredient to success. Making that location work for you, though, takes planning and effort. The youth at College Avenue sell season parking spaces in their church parking lot, which is located just across the street from the Kansas State University football stadium. The money raised goes toward an annual mission trip to ensure anyone who wants to go can participate. Then, ...

Part-time pastors claiming more pulpits

Part-time pastors claiming more pulpits

9/30/2015
The Rev. Mark Windley (right) prays with parishioner Jada Roarx at Amazing Grace Community of Faith in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS. The Rev. Mark Windley works full time and more as sales manager for an industrial supply and services company. When not working, he’s leading Amazing Grace Community of Faith, an African-American United Methodist church plant in Louisville, Kentucky. Windley preaches. He also sets up chairs and checks the sound system. The church ...

Number of local pastors on the rise

Number of local pastors on the rise

9/28/2015
When large, multisite Grace Church in Florida needed a pastor for its new downtown Fort Myers campus, the Rev. Arlene Jackson got the call. She began with about 30 in worship. Over five years, her flock at Grace — a United Methodist church — has grown to more than 400. Many were previously “unchurched” and recovering from addictions, as she did. The Rev. Rudy Rasmus is a local pastor who has led his church, St. John’s United Methodist in downtown Houston, to mega-church status. Rasmus, seen ...

From Interpreter magazine: Pastor writes about grief after wife's death

From Interpreter magazine: Pastor writes about grief after wife's death

9/23/2015
It is not easy to know how to relate to someone experiencing deep grief. Such grief comes to all of us eventually, usually more than once in our human experience. In our culture, however, we do not always deal well with the emotional journey represented by the word "grief." At the outset of grief over the loss of a loved one, we have certain cultural and religious rituals — funerals, memorial services, graveside services — to mark a person's passing, but after such rituals are finished, a ...

People from variety of faiths gather in Omaha to pray for the planet

People from variety of faiths gather in Omaha to pray for the planet

9/23/2015
United Methodists, Muslims, Catholics and Unitarians, along with UCCs, Buddhists, Lutherans, Jews and some people with no faith tradition came together Sept. 19 to “Pray for the Planet” in an interfaith service.  Leaders and lay people read prayers and positions that their denominations and religions have taken to express the need for action to care for the world's environment. The front lawn of First United Methodist Church in Omaha served as the venue for the Pray for the Planet event Sept. ...

Epworth Village introduces new CEO

Epworth Village introduces new CEO

9/14/2015
Epworth Village, a United Methodist ministry based in York, Nebraska, has a new permanent executive director. Margaret Donovan The six-month search has been completed with the recent announcement by Dr. Nancy Dob, president of the Epworth Village, Inc. Board of Directors, of the hiring of Margaret Donovan of Eagle Butte, South Dakota. She began her new position as chief executive officer of Epworth Village on Sept. 8. She takes over for Harrietta Reynolds, who has been a commissioned United ...

Community gardens: Plan now for ministry in the spring

Community gardens: Plan now for ministry in the spring

9/9/2015
Looking for a program with the potential to bring new life to your congregation? Community gardens address food insecurity while building relationships in your neighborhood and providing members with volunteer opportunities close to home.   The Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, pastor of South Gate United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, shares some words during the dedication ceremony for a shed at a community garden. While each community garden is unique to its location, a common theme is ...

United Methodists respond to migrant crisis in the Mediterranean

United Methodists respond to migrant crisis in the Mediterranean

9/9/2015
The United Methodist Church is taking steps to help address the humanitarian crisis taking place in the Mediterranean as more than 300,000 people seek to escape the dangers of their countries caused by civil war, terrorist activities and climate changes. The massive influx of migrants from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kosovo and Eritrea, is considered to be the largest movement of people that Europe has experienced since the end of World War II in 1945. So far, more than 3,000...

Wesley House expands to help Pittsburg area's homeless, hungry

Wesley House expands to help Pittsburg area's homeless, hungry

9/3/2015
The homeless community in Pittsburg, Kansas, became Marcee Binder’s family as they sheltered in the lobby of Wesley House throughout the last winter’s bitter-cold days. Jami Crowder, homeless prevention and rapid rehousing program manager, hands Robert Blunt a couple of blessing bags filled with basic food supplies, socks, hygiene items and other easily portable necessities, during a homeless services event Aug. 28, at Wesley House UMC in Pittsburg, Kansas. Binder, executive director and ...

Lay Servants help 3-church charge succeed

Lay Servants help 3-church charge succeed

8/31/2015
The Rev. Lee Wigert works from his desk at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska. Wigert, a psychology professor and mental health practitioner, serves the three-charge of Juniata-Kenesaw-Holstein United Methodist churches on a half-time basis with the help of lay servants. The Rev. Dr. Lee Wigert serves the three-church charge of Juniata-Kenesaw-Holstein United Methodist Churches in south-central Nebraska. From his home in Hastings, the circuit to all three churches extends approximately ...

United Methodist Mexican American Ministries getting new name

United Methodist Mexican American Ministries getting new name

8/28/2015
The website for United Methodist Mexican American Ministries, based in Garden City, Kansas, declares that it is “Committed to Christ’s work in the world. Serving people of all races, colors & faiths since 1974.”   With an upcoming name change and designation as a federally qualified health center, the organization hopes the southwestern Kansas communities it serves will better understand that stated mission.   “Part of the impetus for the name change is people have the impression that you have ...

Kansas Wesleyan, Saint Paul partner to expedite M.Div. program

Kansas Wesleyan, Saint Paul partner to expedite M.Div. program

8/26/2015
Kansas Wesleyan University President and CEO Matt Thompson, Ph.D., and the Rev. H. Sharon Howell, president of Saint Paul School of Theology, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a 3+3 theological studies undergraduate-graduate program. The agreement is thought to be the first of its kind to be established between a United Methodist-based university and a United Methodist seminary. Kansas Wesleyan University President Matt Thompson and the Rev. H. Sharon Howell, president of Saint ...

Smartphone app could help bolster pastoral care

Smartphone app could help bolster pastoral care

8/24/2015
The Rev. Wayne Alloway, senior pastor at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, had a bout with restlessness. But out of his inability to relax may come an idea for a smartphone application that could help many pastors in the Great Plains Conference and beyond sleep better at night. Rev. Wayne Alloway “One night I had a terrible time getting to sleep,” Alloway said. “I had a string of funerals, and I had a few people I had intended to check on that I’d put on the back burner...

Jurisdiction offers mission academy

Jurisdiction offers mission academy

8/13/2015
The South Central Jurisdiction is offering a mission academy that will feature courses ranging from disaster response to leadership to understanding poverty. The academy is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 25, to 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Hobletizelle Camp & Conference Center, 8060 Singleton Road, in Midlothian, Texas. The cost is $180 or less, depending on housing needs. To learn more, contact Audrey Phelps, director of Volunteers in Mission and Disaster Response for the South ...

Young adults provided with Exploration scholarships

Young adults provided with Exploration scholarships

8/13/2015
If you know a young adult, ages 18-26, who have sensed God might be calling them to ordained ministry, have wondered what ministry in The United Methodist Church is all about, would like help sifting through issues involved in an ordained vocation, or want to learn more about The United Methodist seminaries and theological schools, tell them about Exploration. Exploration is a three-day event for young adults to hear, discern and respond to God’s call to ordained ministry and to explore their ...

Record sum raised for NUMB

Record sum raised for NUMB

7/30/2015
The Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger (NUMB Ride) celebrated its 20th anniversary with a loop ride starting June 27 and ending July 1 in Ogallala. A single-year record total of $75,000 was raised by 148 registered riders.  This year boasted more than a dozen riders raising more than $1,000 each, also qualifying them for a free registration for next year’s ride scheduled for south-central Nebraska. The 20-year total raised by the ride is $791,000. Riders huddled together in the ...

Lay Servant Ministries: Helping at the pulpit and much, much more

Lay Servant Ministries: Helping at the pulpit and much, much more

7/27/2015
Lay servants fill the pulpits of many Great Plains Conference churches each week, sharing their thoughts on the scriptures and attempting to link the Word of God to the issues people face in today’s world. Kathy Uldrich preaches as part of her role as a lay servant. She assists with a three-church charge, helping primarily at Juniata United Methodist Church in the Prairie Rivers District in Nebraska. Lay servants do preach as one of their primary roles, but they also take on many more tasks ...

Disciple Bible Study makes God’s word available on the fast track

Disciple Bible Study makes God’s word available on the fast track

7/22/2015
Disciple Bible Study has changed lives. The 34-week study has been credited by many people over the years with helping them at least start down the path of fulfilling the United Methodist Church’s mission statement of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. In fact, more than 3 million people have participated since Disciple's inception in 1987. But at 34 weeks in length and with classes of 2½ hours each week, fewer and fewer people seemed to find the time to take ...

Big Garden makes big plans for Omaha campus

Big Garden makes big plans for Omaha campus

6/30/2015
The Big Garden, an effort by United Methodist Ministries in Omaha, Nebraska, is launching an ambitious effort to build a full campus over the next 18 months. This artist rendering shows one concept of what the Big Garden Campus may look like in North Omaha, Nebraska. The Big Garden, which started in 2005 with a goal of building 12 community gardens in Omaha, has worked with hundreds of churches, schools and non-profits to build gardens. Along the way, it has taught thousands of people how to...

Bishop's Bicycle Challenge celebrates 6th successful ride to support Open Door

Bishop's Bicycle Challenge celebrates 6th successful ride to support Open Door

6/24/2015
On the morning of Saturday, June 20, 2015, 97 cyclists took off from Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, for the 6th annual Bishop's Bicycle Challenge. Riders chose between three routes through West Wichita and rural Kansas, 100K (62 miles), 50K (31 miles) and 20 miles, all starting and ending at Aldersgate UMC. The weather was sunny and humid with a bit of wind. 100 percent of funds raised from the event support the ministry of Open Door, a conference-supported mission ...

Bishop issues statement about same-sex marriage petition

Bishop issues statement about same-sex marriage petition

6/16/2015
Bishop Scott J. Jones has issued a statement to all clergy and lay members of the Great Plains Conference regarding Petition 7. This legislation, titled "Acknowledgment of Diverse Beliefs Regarding Homosexuality," passed during the Great Plains Annual Conference session Saturday, June 13, in Wichita, Kansas. The letter explains that the vote changes nothing about how the church operates today and that the vote moves the petition to The United Methodist Church's General Conference in May 2016 ...

Benefits of the Chabadza Partnerships Between the Great Plains Conference – Wichita West District & the Zimbabwe East Conference – Mutasa Nyanga District

Benefits of the Chabadza Partnerships Between the Great Plains Conference – Wichita West District & the Zimbabwe East Conference – Mutasa Nyanga District

6/7/2015
My name is Lloyd Chaukura. I am a church member of the Zimbabwe East Conference in Mutasa Nyanga District. I was born in 1988 on the 14th of January at Old Mutare Hospital. My father has worked for Hartzell High School as a general worker for 33 years now. We stay as a family at Old Mutare Mission. I am the only boy in a family of five children. I grew up at the Mission and have been attending church service at Ehnes Memorial church ever since l was 12. I have been a circuit youth president for ...

Haiti Partnership: Long-standing relationship yields new friends, fresh hope

Haiti Partnership: Long-standing relationship yields new friends, fresh hope

6/2/2015
Relationships are tricky. When people are in synch, relationships provide stability. However over time people can grow apart, becoming unaware of each other’s dreams and needs. When cultural and language differences make the situation more complex, relationships can shift out of balance. The Great Plains United Methodist’s Mercy and Justice Ministry – tasked with developing the relationship between the conference and Haiti – sent a team to La Gonâve to check our assumptions on how we can help ...

Looking back at Bridges to the Future

Looking back at Bridges to the Future

6/2/2015
Leadership in the former Kansas East and Kansas West conferences had a vision for what they wanted to become in the middle of the last decade. It was 2005 when Bishop Scott J. Jones encouraged the development of strategic plans that called for new church starts, improved camping facilities, campus ministry and a greater emphasis on multicultural ministries. A youth at Camp Chippewa prepares to fire an arrow. The camp, along with two others in Kansas, benefitted from funds raised in the Bridges...

Disaster response training events across the Great Plains

Disaster response training events across the Great Plains

5/27/2015
Early Response Team (ERT) Trainings have been updated on this list of Early Response Team (ERT) events scheduled to take place in the coming months. Lunch will be provided during the sessions and there will be a free will offering to help with cost. Saturday, June 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Humboldt UMC, 806 N 9th St, Humboldt, KS 66748. For more information, contact Russell Anderson, Southeast Region coordinator at rev.russanderson@gmail.com. Cost is $25, register here. Saturday, June 6 from ...

Elkhorn Valley DS remembered for humor, love for missions, youth

Elkhorn Valley DS remembered for humor, love for missions, youth

5/16/2015
The Rev. Marvin Neubauer is remembered by friends for his infectious sense of humor, his caring for people, desire to help with missions and love for his family. The Rev. Marvin Neubauer Neubauer, 57, was serving as superintendent of the Elkhorn Valley District in the Norfolk, Nebraska, area for the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church when he passed away unexpectedly Thursday, May 14. As the news of his death settled in for family, friends and colleagues, loved ones ...

Epworth Village continues its evolution, seeks new CEO

Epworth Village continues its evolution, seeks new CEO

5/4/2015
Epworth Village in York, Nebraska, has undergone many changes since its founding as an orphanage in 1889 under the name of Mother’s Jewels Home. But one constant to this day has been its commitment to preserving families whenever possible by following the teachings of Christ. Recreation that provides fun challenges is one staple of life at Epworth Village in York, Nebraska. The village that once accepted children from the orphan trains now provides a variety of services for kids who have ...

President of United Methodist Council of Bishops calls for prayer, healing

President of United Methodist Council of Bishops calls for prayer, healing

5/1/2015
BERLIN — Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., president of the Council of Bishops, appealed to the people of The United Methodist Church on May 1 in a letter calling them to join together in prayer for the church and the world. The action came as the bishops of The United Methodist Church gathered in Berlin for the Council of Bishops meeting, which started May 1. In the wake of natural disasters and incidents of violence, Bishop Brown remembered those who are hurting and suffering under the weight of ...

East Heights UMC shows love for Wichita

East Heights UMC shows love for Wichita

4/27/2015
East Heights United Methodist Church joined with 40 churches on April 25 to clean, plant, paint and build during LOVE Wichita, a citywide day of service. Church members of all ages and skill levels served at the Robert Dole VA Medical Center, the Hilltop Neighborhood cleanup, the College Hill Pool and United Methodist Open Door. A team also cleaned up the grounds at Jefferson Elementary School, the church’s ministry partner. Improvements also were made to the church’s Natural Playscape ...

Wichita University UMC dedicates new roof-top solar array on Earth Day

Wichita University UMC dedicates new roof-top solar array on Earth Day

4/23/2015
“Wichita University United Methodist Church is a tree-hugging, cat-loving church,” the Rev. Charles Claycomb said. “We believe ecology is at the heart of the Christian faith and practice. God finds intrinsic value in the Earth and all its creatures.” To celebrate Earth Day 2015, the University UMC dedicated the church’s new roof-top solar array. The $70,000 installation cost was funded through Westar Energy’s Solar Photovoltaic Project. Read more here and in the Wichita Eagle. See below how much...

Spring Training for youth ministry knocks it out of the park

Spring Training for youth ministry knocks it out of the park

4/22/2015
Great Plains United Methodists who work in any aspect of youth ministry were invited to a brand new training event called Spring Training which took place this past weekend. Each church was encouraged to send their Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, pastors, confirmation mentors and others to one of two locations to learn together how to have a great youth ministry. Darren Falk of Silver Lake UMC teaches junior high and high school Sunday school. He came because, “I’m an amateur and I always...

At Orders and Fellowship 2015, clergy challenged to develop leaders

At Orders and Fellowship 2015, clergy challenged to develop leaders

4/9/2015
The Orders and Fellowship gathering for clergy was held Jan. 21-22, 2015, at St. Mark’s UMC in Lincoln, Nebraska. The featured speakers came from a United Methodist congregation in Georgia where they have developed a discipling and leadership program for their congregation that begins intentionally with children in the fourth grade. They were invited to share how they developed the program and implemented it congregation-wide to inspire our clergy for developing spirit-led leaders in the local ...

Carrying the cross

Carrying the cross

4/8/2015
Thirty-five members of the Harlan Lake UMC Parish (Alma and Republican City, Nebraska) and friends experienced “Carrying the Cross” for the first time on Good Friday. Members met in Alma and took turns carrying the cross approximately three miles on the walking trail to Methodist Cove campground at the Harlan County Reservoir. Nine golf carts followed along for those who wanted to ride part or all of the way. Prior to the walk, bottles of water were placed by the trail with a sign that read, “...

Young Clergy Leadership Forum leaves lasting impact on Great Plains clergy

Young Clergy Leadership Forum leaves lasting impact on Great Plains clergy

4/7/2015
The Great Plains Mercy and Justice Team sponsored the Rev. Kirstie Garnes to attend the 12th annual Young Clergy Leadership Forum in Washington D.C. at the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS). Held Jan. 26-29 on Capitol Hill, the event was limited to 75 participants, age 35 or younger, usually provisional or ordained clergy serving in full-time appointments to local congregations. The theme this year focused on one question: “How can we come together to build a world where all people are ...

ESL allows Pleasant Valley UMC to reach Hispanic community

ESL allows Pleasant Valley UMC to reach Hispanic community

4/6/2015
The ESL (English as a Second Language) program at Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, is dedicated to serving the Hispanic community by providing quality language instruction to Spanish speaking people. The ESL program is one of the primary outreach ministries of Pleasant Valley UMC. Each spring and fall semester, Jennifer Jepsen along with her husband, Tim, hosts the ESL program every Thursday. The program lasts for eight weeks in the fall and nine weeks in the spring. ...

Connecting Council considers budget to sustain new churches, redistricting, strategic plans

Connecting Council considers budget to sustain new churches, redistricting, strategic plans

3/31/2015
Randall Hodgkinson delivers the opening devotion during the Connecting Council's meeting March 20 at East Heights UMC in Wichita, Kansas. The Connecting Council voted to show support for a variety of mission projects, a fundraising plan for Camp Comeca and, perhaps most importantly, to support new churches during its spring meeting March 20 and 21 at East Heights United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas. The council, which meets twice annually to conduct the business of the Great Plains ...

Free training offered to build school-church partnerships

Free training offered to build school-church partnerships

3/24/2015
In this era of political battles over budget cuts for public education, now is the perfect opportunity for local congregations to reach out to their communities by providing support for our children – to energize the movement toward academic success. That’s the basis for the Energizing Education Partnerships program with the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. A series of free workshops has been planned to help move schools and congregations into partnerships that support ...

Immigration documentaries share the realities faced by our newest neighbors

Immigration documentaries share the realities faced by our newest neighbors

3/24/2015
The Great Plains Conference’s Mercy & Justice team –  together with Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska, Nebraska Appleseed and Kansas Appleseed – is inviting you to screenings of two immigration documentaries at different locations in our conference. The directors of the documentaries will be present.  ‘Trails of Hope and Terror’ A movie based on this book will be shown in Gering, Nebraska, as well as in Wichita and Dodge City, Kansas. The Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre will screen his ...

Congregational Excellence: Tornado destroys building, revitalizes church

Congregational Excellence: Tornado destroys building, revitalizes church

3/19/2015
The evening of Feb. 28, 2012, started off like any other Tuesday night in Harveyville, Kansas. Debris is all that remains above ground after a tornado hit Harveyville United Methodist Church in Kansas in 2012.   The small community about 35 miles southwest of Topeka was enduring an evening of rain, and a Bible study was taking place at the home of a Harveyville United Methodist Church member. But the storm that night would turn out to be far more than a simple rain shower.   “It really wasn’...

Grow spiritually with academies lasting 5 days, 2 years

Grow spiritually with academies lasting 5 days, 2 years

3/19/2015
Worship, with communion every day, is a key component to the Five Day Academy experience. Photos courtesy Jamie Steckelberg Scott/jamesAnn Photography Sometimes amid the hustle and bustle of modern life, we forget to take time to grow spiritually and to connect with others who are following Christ. The Five Day and Two Year academies, sponsored by Upper Room Ministries, provide opportunities for participants to do both amid the tranquility of retreat centers across the United States, ...

Great Plains Mercy and Justice team putting votes into action

Great Plains Mercy and Justice team putting votes into action

3/11/2015
Have you ever gone to Annual Conference and voted "yes" on a bunch of amazing petitions and resolutions that call us to transform the world – only to come home and have it tucked into a short Annual Conference report to your congregation?  Have you ever wondered what happens to those resolutions and how they get acted upon? Members of the Mercy and Justice Team meet in January in the Great Plains Conference Lincoln, Nebraska, office.   Well this year, stop wondering and start advocating – ...

Lyons youth get after game hangout

Lyons youth get after game hangout

3/10/2015
In rural communities such as Lyons, one of the largest complaints by youth is that there is nothing to do in the community. One woman and a group of supporters is looking to change that. Kari Troyer has worked for the past year at turning the upstairs area of Lyons UMC into a comfortable, safe environment for children to come relax at on Friday evenings. Troyer explained that the “after game party” was originally created to give Lyons and area youth a place to hold a post-game party after home ...

Author on tour to discuss the tragedy of gun violence

Author on tour to discuss the tragedy of gun violence

3/4/2015
An author, hunter and National Rifle Association member will tour Nebraska and Kansas later this month to share his vision of what the world would be like without gun violence. The Rev. James Atwood’s speeches and community events are scheduled for March 15-22 in Lawrence, Topeka and Wichita in Kansas and in Omaha, Lincoln and Grand Island in Nebraska. His visit corresponds with the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath. Atwood, author of the book “America and Its Guns: A Theological Expose,...

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