News


Little church gets big in little dresses

Little church gets big in little dresses

11/6/2014
Members of Antrim's little church spend their time making little dresses In the basement of a little church in the southern part of Stafford County a group of ladies work to clothe and comfort people they will never meet. The sporadic whir of sewing machines start and stop as pillow cases, sheets and bolts of unused cloth become girl’s dresses, receiving blankets and even cloth diapers as ladies from Antrim United Methodist Church are on a mission that continues to grow. “We started out making ...

Nigeria Partnership orphanage announces secondary school graduation of first class of students

Nigeria Partnership orphanage announces secondary school graduation of first class of students

11/5/2014
The orphanage home of the United Methodist Church of Nigeria (UMCN), Mile Six, Jalingo, Taraba State, celebrated the first set of orphans to graduate from secondary school on Nov. 1, 2015, at the orphanage multi-purpose building. The set of students who are all female include Rejoice Anthony, Rose John, Bukata Kefas, Feleciah Kuvah and Pennoh Isuwa. Nigeria Episcopal Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna, who is also the chairman of the orphanage board of directors, encouraged the orphans to always ...

Hispanic ministry partners pray for one another

Hispanic ministry partners pray for one another

10/29/2014
The morning of Saturday, Oct. 18, First UMC in Lincoln, Nebraska, hosted the third Desayuno de Oración (Spanish for prayer breakfast) for the Great Plains Hispanic Ministry Partners. There were partners from the Lincoln/Omaha area as well as students from Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) in attendance. The gathering was aimed to reaffirm their commitment to ministry and to pray for one another. The meal started early in the morning and became a space where worship and prayer reinforced the ...

Bishop Scott Jones, Stephanie Caro preach at Small Wonders conference

Bishop Scott Jones, Stephanie Caro preach at Small Wonders conference

10/27/2014
The following was written by Sam Fisher, DSA, Olive Crest UMC, Omaha, Nebraska. Small membership church development rose to the top of the conversation this past weekend as the first Great Plains Conference Small Wonders event was held in Salina, Kansas. In the Saturday morning worship service, Bishop Scott Jones urged clergy and laity from small membership churches to start looking at the whole picture. As he reflected on the story of the prodigal son, three words rang in Sam’s Chapel at Kansas...

AC vote ends clergy health plan, replaced with allowance

AC vote ends clergy health plan, replaced with allowance

10/20/2014
Bishop Scott Jones has reviewed the tally of the votes cast by clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference. An overwhelming majority approved the use of the mail/email ballot instead of asking for a special session. The vote was also overwhelming to approve the recommendation of the Connecting Council to end the Conference health plan for clergy appointed to local churches and enrolled lay staff. (Remember that employees of the Conference and clergy appointed to our largest church will ...

Building bright futures

Building bright futures

10/15/2014
By Said Ernesto Velazquez, communications intern St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of high school students on the road to academic and personal success. The congregation’s partnership with Burke High School right down the street has a seven-year track record of student engagement. The students that apply to be part of the after-school support program, housed at St. Luke’s UMC and often called the teen center, are eager to take ...

News from the Big Hairy Audacious Education Caravan

News from the Big Hairy Audacious Education Caravan

10/8/2014
Education Caravan completes 2014 tour The Education Caravan concluded its 2014 tour in Lincoln, Nebraska, at Saint Paul UMC, on Oct. 2, with about 115 in attendance. The grand total for attendance at all six events is close to 700 people. The Lincoln program, which was also webcast, is recorded and available for viewing.  Common discussions centered on the realization that there is so much poverty in the midst of our small towns and cities. Guest presenters offered many ways churches are already...

Partnerships in Minneapolis, Kansas

9/26/2014
by Rev. April Wegehaupt Partnerships between church and community can bring forth transformation and growth, but sometimes not in ways that the church has come to see and measure growth. I had the opportunity in 2009 to embark on a mission with a small group of members from the Minneapolis FUMC to try and ‘transform’ the community; this was through the educational opportunity ‘Faith and Leadership Transforming Communities’. After the initial training, my church group went back to Minneapolis ...

The Lord’s response to the Shipibo prayer

The Lord’s response to the Shipibo prayer

9/22/2014
My name is Dylan Roth, and I am a sophomore at Iowa State University. I am majoring in business economics." This article highlights my experiences from a recent mission trip to the jungles of Peru. I along with 19 others from St. Andrew’s UMC in Omaha, Nebraska, served in the Shipibo village of Palestina along the Ucayali River. Dusk had settled in, and the air began to chill. Our riverboat, La Evangelista (The Evangelist), slowed and approached the riverbank. However, this riverbank was ...

Communities come together to build boxes of hope

Communities come together to build boxes of hope

9/19/2014
This toy box, whose first item is a stuffed bunny, will be sent to a center for troubled youth as part of the Elm Creek, Overton and Williamsburg UMCs’ (in Nebraska) toy box ministry. By SAID VELAZQUEZ, communications intern In a 15-minute drive from Kearney, Nebraska, you will find a small town called Elm Creek with a population of 929 (2012 census information). On the town’s main street are a grocery store, a diner and an antiques store. However, there is an array of surprises at the end of ...

Cabinet and clergy do mission work in Beaver Crossing

Cabinet and clergy do mission work in Beaver Crossing

9/18/2014
The Great Plains Cabinet and second year provisional clergy are spending several days this week working in Beaver Crossing, Nebraska. The community suffered extensive damage from a tornado on May 11, 2014, which also happened to be Mother’s Day. The group has been busy removing many downed or damaged trees, replacing windows in two homes, rebuilding a garage and sprucing up the United Methodist church. Team members have also been cleaning cement blocks that will be used to rebuild an archway ...

Zimbabwe East - Mutasa-Nyanga District/Wichita West

Zimbabwe East - Mutasa-Nyanga District/Wichita West

8/20/2014
August 2014 brings partners together Fourteen Great Plains United Methodists traveled to Zimbabwe in August. After attending the Ebenezer Convention in Harare, members of the travel group divided up to visit their specific partnership churches. A directory of partner churches is currently being updated. Here is the partnership list as of January 2014. Bishop Scott Johns Blog Kathryn Witte's Trip Blog Pratt, Kansas/Honde North Standing in front of the nearly completed Honde North Circuit ...

Nueva Vida: uniting children with their families

Nueva Vida: uniting children with their families

8/6/2014
The Nueva Vida ministry team has been supporting an effort to unite children from Central America with their parents living in northeastern Kansas. The process has involved language translation, sending completed release forms and other documents back and forth to various agencies for approval, and finally, picking up children at the airport or bus station and delivering them to their families. We thank God for the opportunity to re-unite six children with their parents and families in just the ...

Bishop’s Round-Up Against Hunger to celebrate 37th year

Bishop’s Round-Up Against Hunger to celebrate 37th year

8/5/2014
The annual Bishop’s Round-Up Against Hunger is an event to celebrate all that the church does for the poor and hungry throughout the year. The Bishop’s Round-Up Against Hunger  is celebrating its 37th year. Formerly an event of the Kansas East Conference, the Bishop’s Round-Up Against Hunger is now celebrating Hunger Ministries throughout the Great Plains United Methodist Conference. The Bishop’s Round-Up Against Hunger event takes place in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on ...

Immigration crisis and God’s children

7/24/2014
Dear Great Plains United Methodist friends, Many of you have heard about the current crisis of unaccompanied minors coming into the United States. Some of you are already responding in several ways while others continue to discern the best way to address the issue. While we all hold different views on how to address the issue of immigration reform, as Christians and United Methodists our calling has always been to be in ministry with the most vulnerable among us. God continues to call us to ...

New Church Lawrence seeks partners

New Church Lawrence seeks partners

7/16/2014
How do you start a new community of faith that reaches people who have left church; or never experienced church at all? That is the question Pastor Jacob Cloud and the people of New Church Lawrence, in Lawrence, Kan., are asking. They are on a mission to build a community where people connect with God, grow in faith and change the world. New Church Lawrence, formerly Wesley Kansas University, is integrating campus ministry and the local community to build a faith community that both KU students...

Business of the 2014 Annual Conference Session

7/10/2014
Churches close Two churches in the Great Plains Conference have made the difficult decision to close – Dresden UMC, in Dresden, Kan., and Emanuel UMC in Alta Vista, Kan. Both Dresden UMC and Emanuel UMC received approval for discontinuation during the Annual Conference Session on Wednesday, June 11. Episcopacy committee The Rev. Maria Campbell, episcopal committee chair, announced an episcopal residence task force to discuss and make a recommendation on the location of the episcopal residence to...

Bishop's Bicycle Challenge raises more than $11,000 for Open Door

6/25/2014
On the morning of Saturday, June 21, 2014, 110 cyclists took off from Andover UMC in Andover, Kan., for the 5th annual Bishop's Bicycle Challenge. Riders chose between three routes around Butler County, 100K (62 miles), 50K (35 miles) and 20 miles, all starting and ending at the church. The weather was perfect with little wind and no rain. Final numbers are not available yet, although current estimate is $11,000 for the amount of funds raised from the event to support the ministry of Open Door, ...

Northeast Nebraska devastated from tornadoes

6/17/2014
Updates: JUNE 23: Gleaning for field debris still urgent JUNE 20: Pilger area saturated with volunteers – Wakefield, other areas in need JUNE 18: Volunteers arriving along with more storms JUNE 17: Pictures posted, plans being made JUNE 17: Volunteers needed for early response JUNE 16: Tornadoes hit Stanton County Related: How the Great Plains Conference responds to disasters Photos from Great Plains Conference Disaster Response for 2014   Pilger early-response work winds down Agricultural ...

Connecting Council accepts bishop’s recommendation on process

6/14/2014
A resolution to reduce the conference to 14 districts in order to provide greater funding for campus ministries was brought to the floor on Thursday, officially considered on Friday, and referred to the Connecting Council on Saturday. The Connecting Council met at a special meeting at 8 a.m. in the Lied Center Johnny Carson Theatre on Saturday to hear Bishop Scott Jones’ recommendation on how to manage the referral. His recommendation read: --------- For Considering the Reduction of Districts ...

Members review finances, approve 2014 budget

6/14/2014
Approved 2015 budget totals $16,036,373 Carl Nord, chair of Finance and Administration for the conference led the financial discussion. He reaffirmed the Rev. Gary Beach as Conference Treasurer and thanked him for his service in times of great change and transition. Beach took the podium and recognized his own staff who have been putting in many hours to make the transition to the Great Plains Conference. He noted that about 30 businesses and pseudo-conference business were shut down during the ...

Institutions share progress

6/13/2014
The plenary meeting at 9:30 a.m., on Friday focused on new changes and the important connections between Mission Agencies and the churches and communities they serve. Nebraska Wesleyan University Larry Ruth, the representative speaking on behalf of Nebraska Wesleyan University, said that while traditional students and bachelor degrees are still the backbone of the university, changes are taking place. One of these changes includes a larger presence in Omaha, Neb., and the addition of the Rev. ...

Rev. Jorge Acevedo headlines Hispanic Ministry lunch

6/13/2014
Serenading by Hector and Sherri Sanchez blessed everyone approaching Saint Paul UMC in Lincoln, Neb., to attend the Great Plains Hispanic Ministry lunch on Friday, June 12. Colombian harpist William Sanchez further blessed attendees as they gathered and proceeded through the buffet of pulled pork, potato salad and fresh fruit. Cesar Garcia Rodriguez and Miriam Peralta de Garcia welcomed everyone, alternating between Spanish and English. Among the nearly 200 attendees were the Micah Corps ...

State of the conference - ahead of schedule

6/12/2014
Making something truly abundant – Great Plains Conference Lay Leader Courtney Fowler Courtney Fowler, conference lay leader, began by describing the first Great Plains Annual Conference laity session as a time of praise and good will; where seeds of friendship and common bonds were cultivated in the midst of diversity.   Courtney reminded attendees that while the ending of three individual conferences brought grief, this ending is also an opportunity for God to show us a new beginning. Sharing...

Thursday afternoon plenary features proposal to reduce districts to 14

6/12/2014
By Stuart Davis, Orchard-Page-Ewing UMCs, Neb. Taking a time of personal privilege during the Thursday afternoon plenary session, Andy Hargrove (Berryton, Kan.) notified the Great Plains Annual Conference Session members that a motion would be forthcoming to provide more money for campus ministries by reducing the number of districts in the conference from 17 to 14, as of July 2015.   “At the Uniting Conference we said we would be taking bold action to make disciples of Jesus Christ. This is ...

Spreading smiles through Vacation Bible School

6/10/2014
Five young adults from the Great Plains Conference are spending their summer strengthening their walk with God as they disciple children through Vacation Bible School. This internship program through the Small Membership Church ministry has the team in churches across Kansas and Nebraska, in small towns and larger cities, for nine weeks.   The first VBS for the summer was held last week in Axtell, Kan. The congregation anticipated 35 children to participate but attracted 78, which was a pleasant...

Superhero inspires community outreach

6/10/2014
On June 1, 2014, the Rev. Jeff Slater began a special sermon series that he hoped would be both spiritually rich and a lot of fun: Lessons from Smallville. As pastor for First UMC in Hutchinson, Kan., Slater wanted to connect with plans for a Smallville festival and share the gospel.   Slater had read in the Superman comics that Clark Kent was raised a Methodist in Kansas. He structured the sermon series to allow his congregation to “grow along with Superman,” starting the topic of dual ...

Some people just can't call it quits

6/9/2014
For most people, retirement means relaxation, a chance to travel or an opportunity to pick up a hobby. But for many clergy members, retirement means continuing their ministry in a slightly different way.   The Rev. Charlotte Abram officially retired in 2012. However, she has still been active and serving Tri-Community in Omaha, Neb. But now, the time has come for Abram to actually retire.   “Momma went ‘part-time in 2012, but has still been acting like she is ‘full time,’” Abram’s daughter, Noni...

Regenerate gathers Great Plains church planters for retreat, learning and connecting

6/4/2014
“We all want to grow in breadth and depth; and we don’t put a value on sizes,” said the Rev. Matt Miofsky of The Gathering, in St. Louis, Mo., in his opening remarks. Regenerate is part of the Five Touch program of the new church development process in the Great Plains United Methodist Conference. Each appointed pastor of a new church start was part of a two-day retreat that included worship, led by the Rev. Mitch Reece and Nathan Brooks of Church of the Resurrection (Rez) West; and ...

Beaver Crossing, Cordova, Goehner and Sutton: Disaster Recovery Updates

5/19/2014
Updates: JULY 16: Volunteers in Mission teams needed for continuing disaster recovery efforts MAY 27: Plans for long-term recovery in Seward County MAY 19: The latest - Beaver Crossing recovery efforts MAY 17: Beaver Crossing Recovery -- despair and relief MAY 16: Pastor Pat reports from the field MAY 16: Widespread damage will require long-term assistance for recovery MAY 15: A message from Prairie Rivers District Superintendent Lance Clay MAY 14: Volunteers needed as disaster recovery ...

Baxter Springs: Disaster Recovery Updates

5/16/2014
Updates: JULY 16: Volunteers in Mission teams needed for continuing disaster recovery efforts MAY 16: Long term recovery committee being formed MAY 14: Disaster response in Baxter Springs enters long-term recovery phase; Lin Harris named site manager MAY 1: Limited financial relief available to Baxter Springs tornado victims, Bishop Jones makes video appeal APRIL 29: Disaster response underway in Baxter Springs Related: Ian Beyer's Baxter Springs photos from April 27 How the Great Plains ...

Dr. Alyce McKenzie teaches final installment of Great Preaching for the Great Plains

5/14/2014
More than 50 pastors gathered for the last session of the Great Plains preaching seminars led by Dr. Alyce McKenzie and Dr. John Holbert, both from Perkins School of Theology. The final topic was on the delivery of a contemporary worship service. The session ran from 2 p.m. on Monday through mid-day on Tuesday, at Lincoln’s St. Mark’s UMC. The Rev. Evelyn Fisher, director of Congregational Excellence said the intent is to offer a similar forum for learning next year, most likely hosted in ...

How the kidnappings in Nigeria affect the Jalingo Orphanage

5/9/2014
The current situation in Nigeria is of great concern to Great Plains United Methodists, and many have inquired about the effect of the kidnappings on our friends at the Jalingo Orphanage. We continue to listen to our Nigerian friends and how we can support them. Here is what we know at this point. The Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church has maintained a partnership with the United Methodist Church in Nigeria since 1999. With the help of the General Board of Global Ministries ...

Many hands make light the work

5/7/2014
Three exciting reports from Hands on the Great Plains Perfect weather on May 3 for Hands on Topeka About 175 volunteers participated in the fifth annual Hands on Topeka work day, tackling projects that involved painting, landscaping and/or cleaning property. Partnering churches included Asbury Mt. Olive, Berryton, Countryside, Crestview, First, Grace, Highland Park, Kansas Avenue, Lowman, Oakland, Pleasant Hill, Shawnee Heights, St. Peter’s, Susanna Wesley and University UMC. Brenda ...

The story of #ReinventHorton

5/7/2014
When 88-year-old World War II veteran Kenneth Knudson, a resident and business owner of Horton, Kan., was jailed the day after Christmas in 2013 for repairs he could not afford to complete on his building. The story went viral. This is not the kind of headline news on Fox 4 News you wish for your city. However, the story caught the attention of Marcus Lemonis, host of The Profit on CNBC, who called the mayor of Horton with a desire to pay for the repairs on the man’s building. The mayor ...

United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries (UMMAM)

5/6/2014
The inaugural print edition of GPconnect, mailed to Great Plains United Methodists in early May, 2014, included a story on the work of United Methodist Mexican American Ministries (UMMAM) in southwest Kansas. Here's the rest of the story plus photos. Can't see the photo slideshow above? Check out the entire album of UMMAM photos on Flickr. UMMAM's History, Present and Future from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Sarah Trapp, the enabling services manager at United Methodist Mexican-American ...

Disaster response underway in Baxter Springs

4/29/2014
Click here for updates. Disaster response is underway in Baxter Springs, the southeastern Kansas town struck by a tornado on Sunday. Great Plains Conference disaster response coordinator, Linda Stewart, and our disaster response chair, Steve Burnett, are working with the Rev. Wayne Handle of First UMC in Baxter Springs and multiple agencies to coordinate rescue, relief and recovery efforts. Bishop Scott Jones is issuing a conference-wide appeal for contributions. Give through your local church ...

When disaster strikes, who do you call?

4/9/2014
Spring is here and we have already had turbulent weather: large hail, high winds and a few small tornados. In the Great Plains area how do we get involved in helping when a disaster has damaged properties and wounded lives? When a disaster strikes After a disaster strikes communication at all levels is extremely important. Whoever learns of the disaster first is encouraged to initiate the call and all persons called make sure others in this list are notified. Calls would typically progress as ...

Connecting Council recap: from becoming to growing

3/26/2014
Topeka District Superintendent Kay Scarbrough said it well when she said, "We need to change our language from becoming one, new conference to growing as the new Great Plains Conference." The Connecting Council met in the spirit of growing the conference and living into the new structure and Great Plains missional priorities. What is the Connecting Council? The Connecting Council held its spring meeting at Grace UMC, in Olathe, Kan., on Friday and Saturday, Mar. 21-22. The Connecting Council is ...

“Seeing is believing” at historic joint AU/GBHEM Board Meeting

3/25/2014
For the first time in the nearly 22 years since Africa University was founded by The United Methodist Church, the boards of the university and the agency that spearheaded the founding of the Pan-African educational institution met together on the campus in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe. “This is a historic meeting,” Bishop David Yemba said of the joint meeting of the governing bodies of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Africa University. “This was a week very rich in events...

The Twenty Components of an Evangelistically Effective Congregation

3/12/2014
The Gretna United Methodist Church hosted Bishop Scott Jones on Saturday, March 8, to discuss successful evangelism in the fastest-growing area in Nebraska. Jones’ workshop, titled “The Twenty Components of an Evangelistically Effective Congregation,” focused on the United Methodist Church’s mission to reach out and welcome new members and strategies for churches to successfully grow. Missouri River Superintendent Dr. Dan Flanagan organized the event. A dozen members of the Gretna UMC attended ...

Bishop Scott Jones speaks out against discrimination

2/17/2014
In a letter addressed to Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, Bishop Scott Jones, bishop of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference, suggests that House Bill 2453 be killed, as to not legitimize discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals. House Bill 2453 seeks to allow public or private employees to refuse service based on religious views about marriage. In his letter, Bishop Jones, commends Senator Wagle’s statement expressing her concerns about the measure. “It is hard to imagine ...

Burdett, Rozel youth group brightens children's Christmas

12/18/2013
Youth from Burdett and Rozel pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child as the group’s first mission project. (photos by Jolene McCoy) On Nov. 20, 16 members of the new G3 (God’s Good Gang) Youth Group from Burdett and Rozel had a party to fill shoeboxes with small gifts for Operation Christmas Child. Pastor Brad McCoy and his wife, Jolene, are the group leaders, and they had asked members from the United Methodist church in each town for donations to purchase items for the boxes. ...

College Hill UMC youth host annual Thanksgiving food giveaway

12/18/2013
By Brian Sutton, special contributor College Hill UMC youth packed 335 bags of food for a giveaway that included feeding breakfast to 320 people at the Wichita church. (photos by Brian Sutton) On Nov. 22, 26 youth gathered at College Hill United Methodist Church for the sixth annual turkey giveaway. During the evening after some fun and games, the youth put together 335 bags of food for the giveaway in the morning. At 7 a.m. as the youth and volunteers began preparing breakfast and ...

Celebrate Recovery program shows promise

Celebrate Recovery program shows promise

12/6/2013
By Marvé Ralston, special contributor What is the outcome or result of one changed life? I think that is what “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the well-known Christmas classic, was based upon. One life and all the people one life touches.   Sometimes we focus on the numbers, while many of the most dramatic changes we cannot see immediately. They begin one often-painful and time-intensive change in one person at a time. The changes continue producing fruit for generations and touching unlimited numbers ...

Kingman UMC works to 'strike out malaria'

Kingman UMC works to 'strike out malaria'

12/6/2013
By Rev. Patrick Broz, special contributor Members of the Kingman United Methodist Church converged on the Kingman Lanes bowling alley Oct. 26 for an event called Strike out Malaria. Kingman Lanes donated five lanes, two with bumpers, to the church to use for four hours to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. Twenty-seven bowlers laced up shoes and threw bowling balls down the lanes. Several of the bowlers were able to receive sponsorships from neighbors, co-workers, church members and friends to ...

St. Francis UMC uses thought-provoking obstacle course to raise money for Imagine No Malaria

St. Francis UMC uses thought-provoking obstacle course to raise money for Imagine No Malaria

12/6/2013
By Rev. Warren Cico, special contributor St. Francis United Methodist Church used the information on the Imagine No Malaria DVD to educate the congregation about the need to help fight malaria in Africa. The information was presented to the congregation, the Sunday-school classes and the UMYF.   Participants take on the challenges of an obstacle course at St. Francis UMC to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. (photos by Sherry Schultz) For the Oct. 20 fundraiser, we decided to have ...

December is a great month to 'Imagine No Malaria'

12/4/2013
Imagine No Malaria (INM) is an extraordinary ministry of The United Methodist Church, putting our faith into action to end preventable deaths by malaria in Africa, especially the deaths of children. Every 60 seconds, malaria claims a life in Africa. It kills an estimated 655,000 people each year, most of them children younger than five and pregnant women. Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted through the bite of a female anopheles mosquito. However, malaria is preventable, treatable and ...

Saving a slowly dying church

Saving a slowly dying church

12/4/2013
By Susan Cooper, Kansas communications associate director The scenario at Epworth United Methodist Church in southeast Wichita was a familiar one to many mainline denominations — an aging, dwindling congregation in a changing neighborhood. Churches in this situation generally have two choices. They can change, or they can die. More than two years ago, their pastor, Rev. Jimmy Taylor, knew the church had to change. He encouraged the congregation to engage the people in the neighborhood. Epworth ...

Kansas West Conference among UMCOR disaster-response grant recipients

11/26/2013
By Linda Unger, General Board of Global Ministries The board of directors of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) approved on Oct. 11 nearly $700,000 in new grants to sustain long-term recovery efforts in localities across the United States still dealing with fallout from tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and an explosion. During their semi-annual meeting at UMCOR headquarters in New York City, the directors approved six grants for ongoing disaster- recovery work in five United Methodist...

Prayer beads raise money for roof at Camp Norwesca

11/20/2013
Recently the charge conference was held at McCook Memorial UMC where the vision statement “Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” was approved. Two parishioners are leading examples in following the vision of Memorial UMC. Through many hours of making prayer beads, praying and attending many events, Ann Trail and Patty Keene have sold $6,655 worth of prayer beads to repair the roof on the chapel at Camp Norwesca after fire damage that happened one year ago — the ...

Semitrailer and time donated to transport goods

Semitrailer and time donated to transport goods

11/20/2013
Throughout the year, United Methodists from Kansas and Nebraska create and donate care packages to be sent all over the world through United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). However, once the goods are donated, transportation can often create challenges. According to Mary Ann Bede, a former member of the board of directors and current volunteer for the Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) in Chatham, Ill., shipping containers cost a lot of money. In fact, the United Methodist Church...

Chapel Hill expands for growth

Chapel Hill expands for growth

11/15/2013
By Cindy Nolte, special contributor   An addition to Chapel Hill Fellowship UMC is being built to accommodate the current and anticipated growth of the congregation. (photo by Cindy Nolte) Chapel Hill Fellowship in Wichita is growing! With a major capital expansion project, the United Methodist congregation is looking forward to welcoming hundreds of new members in the upcoming years. The new building addition will be able to host nearly 900 people with a 200-seat balcony, which is ...

Grants Help Prevent Malaria in South Sudan

Grants Help Prevent Malaria in South Sudan

11/11/2013
United Methodists fund education, training and medicine Nashville, Tenn.: Thanks to two first-time grants, vulnerable people in malaria endemic South Sudan will get the training and medicine needed to prevent deaths from malaria. Imagine No Malaria recently awarded a grant for nearly $50,000 to the South Sudan District of UMC Health Board, as well as a $325,059 grant to the UMCOR Field Office in South Sudan. These two programs in South Sudan are working together in a successful effort to fight ...

Dodge City District welcomes superintendent, raises $10K for Imagine No Malaria

Dodge City District welcomes superintendent, raises $10K for Imagine No Malaria

11/8/2013
  New Dodge City District Superintendent Rev. Don Hasty, left, with Gabriel Marrero’s assistance, delivers the message in English and Spanish at Hasty’s installation service. (photo by Patti Craghead) Bishop Scott Jones, right, shakes Dodge City District Superintendent Rev. Don Hasty’s hand at the installation service at Dodge City First UMC. (photo by Patti Craghead) The Dodge City District turned Sept. 22 into a daylong celebration. Rev. Don Hasty was installed as the district’s ...

United Methodists golf for EmberHope

United Methodists golf for EmberHope

11/7/2013
  A team playing for Cedar Chapel UMC won a golf tournament that raised money for the United Methodist agency EmberHope. Team members are, from left, Mike Smith, Steve Hysom, Rev. Jim Graves and Pat McCarthy. (courtesy photo) Four United Methodist men golfing as the Cedar Chapel United Methodist Church team participated in a charity golf tournament Sept. 20 to raise money for EmberHope, the United Methodist agency formerly known as Youthville. EmberHope will receive approximately ...

Kansas West UMW meet for final time

Kansas West UMW meet for final time

11/5/2013
By Diane Thompson, special contributor   Four past presidents of the Kansas West Conference United Methodist Women were recognized when the group met for the final time Sept. 28 in Wichita. From left, Jo Eva McClellan, Thelma Miller, Betty Hodson and Anita Turner. (photo by Jo Lynn Lewis) Members of the Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska United Methodist Women met in a uniting conference Oct. 12 in Kearney, Neb. The current presidents of the three conferences’ UMWs are, from left, ...

Zimbabweans share disciple-making with Kansans

Zimbabweans share disciple-making with Kansans

11/5/2013
By Susan Cooper, Kansas communications associate director In the spirit of the Chabadza Covenant, four United Methodists from Zimbabwe travelled to Kansas to share how they make disciples of Jesus Christ. The trip was sponsored by the Wichita East and Wichita West districts.   Portia Kanoyangwa explains Zimbabwean section meetings at Wichita Woodland UMC. (photo by Susan Cooper) Daniel Mutidzawanda talks about the things Jesus commands Christians to do during the class meeting at ...

Valley View UMC displays spiritual growth, outreach, fellowship

11/4/2013
By Jeanette Grenz, special contributor Valley View UMC’s Mission Fair provided information on what the congregation is doing to make a difference in the world. (photos by Ken Grenz) More than 40 church groups participated in a ministry fair at Valley View United Methodist Church in Overland Park on Oct. 27. Representatives from each group staffed the displays and answered questions in order to encourage others to join. There were three categories of displays: Spiritual Growth, ...

United Methodists help flood victims in Kansas

11/1/2013
By Sandy Hendrickson, special contributor Torrential rains in late July and early August caused flash flooding in central Kansas and devastated many homes in Lindsborg, Ellinwood and Hutchinson. In Lindsborg and Ellinwood, the flood waters came and flowed out of the towns within a few hours, leaving many basements filled with water and more than 200 homes damaged. Hutchinson had 333 homes affected, many with floodwater not receding for several days. United Methodist volunteers from the ...

Asbury UMC hosts author, blogger

10/23/2013
By Eva Hedtke, special contributor Rachel Held Evans, author and blogger, speaks at Asbury UMC in Prairie Village. (photo by Eva Hedtke) Rachel Held Evans, center, poses with Rev. Gayla Rapp, Asbury UMC senior pastor, and Rev. Jeff Prothro, Asbury UMC associate pastor. (photo by Eva Hedtke) On Oct. 15, Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village welcomed Rachel Held Evans, a New York Times best-selling author and renowned blogger. Evans discussed her book, “A Year of Biblical...

Enroll in health-insurance plan by Nov. 15 to be covered in 2014

10/23/2013
Cigna health insurance forms and information for open enrollment period By Susan Cooper, Kansas communications associate director The Jan. 1 merger of the Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska conferences into the new Great Plains Conference will have an impact on health-insurance coverage. For the Kansas West and Nebraska conferences, it will bring a change in providers, from HealthFlex to Cigna. The HealthFlex health-insurance plans will end on Dec. 31. All eligible clergy and some ...

Parsons District festival raises money for 2 causes

10/16/2013
The Parsons District Fall Festival was Sept. 15 at Wesley United Methodist Church in Parsons. The theme was “A Time of Celebration.” There were 22 tables that individuals or groups had “adopted” to decorate. Jars were placed on each table for people to vote for their favorite decorated table by putting money in that jar. The three tables with the most money in their jars were the Hamilton Chapel-Ladonna Melton table, the Coffeyville Trinity-Lee and Liz Passwater table and the New Albany-Susan ...

Smith Center UMC takes ongoing approach to help fight malaria

10/16/2013
By Susie Buckley, special contributor Pipe-cleaner mosquitos decorate a net as part of a display in the window of the Smith Center UMC’s Hardly Used Shop to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. (photo by Marilyn Schwertfeger) Smith Center United Methodist Church held a kick-off campaign for Imagine No Malaria on Mother’s Day in May. Members of the congregation were urged to donate $10 to the campaign in honor of their mothers or other influential women in their lives. At the end of July,...

Guest Quest can help your church

10/9/2013
By Rev. Patrick Broz, special contributor Looking for a way to create, resurrect or enhance your church’s hospitality ministry? Searching for ways to increase weekly worship attendance not just for Christmas and Easter but throughout the entire year? Having trouble reaching your Vital Congregations goals in 2013 and beyond? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes” or even “maybe,” then your church can go on a Guest Quest. Guest Quest is an instructional resource to assist churches ...

Krusing the Capital

10/9/2013
span style="mso-bidi-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin">span style="font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-latin">Editor’s note: span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin">Sen. Lowen Kruse served in the Nebraska Legislature from 2001-09 and is also a ...

Argonia UMC skips service, performs service

10/2/2013
By Bill Mock, special contributor Major storm damage was sustained in Argonia in July. As an outreach to the community, the Argonia United Methodist Church decided to do a community-wide cleanup on Sunday morning, July 28, instead of having the regular worship service and Sunday school. Members and friends of the congregation met at the normal 9 a.m. worship time with rakes, brooms, chainsaws and gloves and began cleaning yards full of tree debris. Members of Argonia UMC clean up storm...

Project Revolution brings youth together for 6th time

10/2/2013
By Marvé Ralston, special contributor September brings many things, and, in the Five Rivers District, one of them is Project Revolution, the annual youth rally and lock-in. This year was the sixth Project Revolution. As is customary with this event, it was youth led, planned and executed by the District Council of Youth Ministry.   Youth take the stage at the 2013 Project Revolution, an annual youth rally and lock-in. (photo by Marvé Ralston) For the past two years, the rally has been ...

Justice agency board approves $100,000 for Imagine No Malaria

9/30/2013
Money will help expand field coordinator work in 10 new conferences CHEVY CHASE, Md. — The governing body of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) voted unanimously at its fall meeting to contribute $100,000 to the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria (INM) campaign. Bishop Robert Hoshibata, president of GBCS’s Board of Directors, said he was extremely pleased at the vote to support the Imagine No Malaria Initiative. “Our board has been deeply involved in INM primarily ...

Golfers raise nearly $6K for Camp Horizon

9/26/2013
A four-person-format golf scramble Aug. 10 at the Quail Ridge golf course in Winfield raised $5,874 for Camp Horizon, a United Methodist camp near Arkansas City. The funds will help pay for kitchen appliances in the new sanctuary building at the camp. A team from Chapel Hill Fellowship United Methodist Church won the traveling trophy for the best church-team score and the lowest net score of all teams. Larry Harris, one of the fundraiser organizers, expressed appreciation to all who played, ...

Kansas West UMM hosts inaugural MITour

9/26/2013
By George Houle, special contributor The first ever Mission Impact Tour (MIT) sponsored by the Kansas West Conference United Methodist Men was a huge success! The UMM initiated MIT as a bridge to the future. The tour showed young men not only the blessings of serving others in ministry but also how we are connected through the ministry of men in the local churches. Twenty-two men participated in the first MITour hosted by the Kansas West Conference UMM. (photo by Brian Hopper) The tour...

We're not done yet

9/18/2013
By Bev Weber, special contributor Bishop Scott Jones has announced a goal of every Kansas United Methodist congregation doing something by Dec. 31, 2013, to fight deaths from malaria by raising money for the United Methodist initiative Imagine No Malaria.   Instructions for making pipe-cleaner mosquitos are available from the Imagine No Malaria website at http://inm.larryhollon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/PipeCleaner-Mosquito-Instructions.pdf. (photo by Susan Cooper) The disease ...

Holton Evangel UMC co-sponsors wrestling match, raises money for INM

9/11/2013
By Rev. Dennis Paschke, special contributor Holton Evangel UMC co-sponsored a wrestling invitational to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. (photo by Rev. Dennis Paschke) Over the Aug. 3-4 weekend, the Evangel United Methodist Church in Holton focused on how we all can be a part of changing the world by raising money for Imagine No Malaria. We had a special guest, Carol Russell who is a missionary from Africa. She shared her story with us. We also took a special offering and held a ...

Bishop Jones speaks at immigration roundtable

9/5/2013
Editor’s note: On Aug. 21, UMconnect ran an article about Bishop Jones’ participation in the Bibles, Badges and Business (BBB) roundtable discussion on Immigration. In case you missed it, we are rerunning the article with the addition of video links.   Great Plains Area Bishop Scott Jones joined another church leader and two business leaders in a roundtable discussion for Bibles, Badges and Business (BBB) on immigration reform.   BBB is a national organization that aims to create an alliance ...

Dodge City VBS collects more than $1,200 for Imagine No Malaria

9/3/2013
More than 100 children gathered for Vacation Bible School at Dodge City First United Methodist Church this summer and learned about the frightening disease in Africa and other parts of the world called malaria.  Children attending VBS at Dodge City First UMC donated to the Imagine No Malaria initiative. (courtesy photo) As the children learned that mosquitoes cause malaria and that they could help stop the mosquitoes, they became very excited to help. Over the course of the ...

St. Paul's builds community garden in Lenexa

9/3/2013
  St. Paul’s UMC in Lenexa created a community garden to help feed the hungry and build community involvement. (photos by Rob Reiman) St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Lenexa was awarded a $5,000 grant through the Kansas Community Gardens Project, a joint initiative of the Kansas Health Foundation and K-State Research and Extension. St. Paul’s Lenexa Community Garden is one of 35 community garden projects in the state to receive this funding, which will help support the group’...

Conferences approve plan of organization for Great Plains Conference

8/26/2013
SALINA, Kan.—More than 1,700 United Methodists from the Kansas East, Kansas West and Nebraska annual (regional) conferences met in simultaneous sessions Aug. 22 and 23 in Salina, Kan., to consider the Plan of Organization for the new Great Plains United Methodist Conference. The final section of the plan was adopted just before noon Aug. 23, a full half-day ahead of schedule. A final resolution summarizing the three separate conferences’ actions was adopted unanimously. “Friends, we’ve done ...

Faithfulness requires change

8/26/2013
By Stuart Davis, special contributor Urging the congregation in his benediction at the closing worship of the United Methodist Great Plains Uniting Conference Friday night to embrace the motto, “Great Churches, Great Leaders, Great Disciples, Transformed World” and go out in Jesus’ name to change the world, Bishop Scott Jones ended the final session of the Uniting Conference on a high note. In his message, Jones used illustrations from the struggles of African-Americans to bring home his point...

Keep focus through change

8/22/2013
By Susan Cooper, Kansas communications associate director During opening worship at the Uniting Conference Aug. 22 in Salina, Great Plains Bishop Scott Jones called upon United Methodists in Kansas and Nebraska to look to a new beginning.   The conference session begins the final process of joining the Kansas East, Kansas West and Nebraska conferences to officially become the Great Plains Conference on Jan. 1, 2014. With an emphasis on what transpired at Pentecost, Jones acknowledged the ...

Abilene Emmanuel partners with Kenyan pastor to fight malaria

8/19/2013
By Tiffany Roney, special contributor Shane Britt, pastor of Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Abilene and James Murunga, pastor and speaker from Nairobi, Kenya, used a basketball free-throw contest this past spring to raise funds to fight malaria in Africa. The Emmanuel Missions Committee invited church members to make pledges to Imagine No Malaria that were based on the pastors’ free-throw results. Imagine No Malaria is an effort of the United Methodist Church to end preventable deaths by ...

Christian clowning, service highlight North Central Youth Camp

8/19/2013
By Jim Rice, special contributor Youth got to experience Christian camping in new and exciting ways at the 2013 North Central Youth Camp, hosted this year by Trinity United Methodist Church in Jewell. This was a first-time experience for nearly all of the campers. Carl Warner leads Christian-clown campers during worship at the 2013 North Central Youth Camp at Jewell Trinity UMC. (photo by Amy Topliff) This year, the campers were introduced to Christian clowning, which consists of ...

METour offers life-changing experiences

8/19/2013
By Jalynn Nolte, special contributor When you mix 31 teen-age girls, six sponsors, a great bus driver and the backing of the United Methodist Women, you get the 2013 Mission Education Tour (METour). The 2013 METour was May 31-June 9. The 2013 METour visits the Kansas West Conference office. (photo by Susan Cooper) One of the first stops was Omaha, Neb., and framed the whole trip by emphasizing dealing with justice and poverty. Lisa Maupin and Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede from United ...

Plan of Organization awaits final vote

8/19/2013
By Lisa Diehl, Kansas communications director More than 1,500 people from the Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska conferences will gather Aug. 22-24 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina for the Uniting Conference for the new Great Plains Conference. The theme for the event is “Coming Home Again” because the first Kansas/Nebraska conference session was held in October 1856. With the theme, we recognize our roots run deep to give us a firm foundation from which our future will grow. Our roots as...

Bicycle challenge raises more than $38,000

8/15/2013
By Lisa Diehl, Kansas communications director The 2013 Bishop’s Bicycle Challenge raised more than $38,000 for United Methodist Open Door in Wichita thanks in part to some friendly competition between Bishop Scott Jones and some “uppity” clergywomen. Cyclists start out on the 2013 Bishop’s Bicycle Challenge ride to raise money for Open Door. (photo by Gary Stephenson) Jones started the bicycle challenge in 2010 to raise funds for United Methodist Open Door’s homeless ministry center in...

Chapman UMC gets creative to raise money for Imagine No Malaria

8/15/2013
Pipe-cleaner mosquitos placed on a net represent donations to Imagine No Malaria as part of a three-week fundraiser at Chapman UMC. (photos by Joyce Leach) To raise money for Imagine No Malaria, the Chapman United Methodist Church got creative for a three-week project this summer. A net was hung in the narthex of the church with a baby doll inside the net. Each time $10 was donated, a mosquito made of pipe cleaners was placed on the net. To encourage donating, the congregation was ...

Get your congregation Safe Gatherings compliant

8/15/2013
The online Safe Gatherings abuse-prevention and boundary-awareness program was initiated in the Kansas West and East conferences last year, replacing the in-person Boundary Awareness and Safe and Sacred Space trainings used previously. The 2012 Kansas West Annual Conference adopted a policy that mandates each local church in the conference adopt a policy for the protection of children, youth and developmentally disabled dependent people to be implemented by each church by 2013. The Kansas East ...

So now what? cancelled

8/15/2013
So now what? has been cancelled due to low registration numbers. Bishop Schnase will still preach at Hastings First UMC on Oct. 6, at 10 a.m. Hotel accommodations Local restaurants Robert Schnase serves as resident bishop of the Missouri Area of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Schnase was ordained deacon in 1981 and elder in 1986 in the Southwest Texas Conference. He has authored three books by Abingdon Press. He has served as delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences and worked...

Test: Congregational Excellence: Multiple generations, 1 purpose in Lawrence

Test: Congregational Excellence: Multiple generations, 1 purpose in Lawrence

2/1/2010
The Rev. Jacob Cloud dreamed and prayed about coming home to Lawrence to serve in ministry. In fact, as soon as he found out he was New Church Lawrence is comprised as a mixture of college students from the University of Kansas and members of the Lawrence community. selected to be a church planter, he started asking about the possibility of doing so in his the city where he grew up. Would the church be catered toward students at the University of Kansas? Would it be catered to the ...

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 ...

ABIDE program helps Blue Mound UMC revitalize

By Marvé Ralston Special contributor BLUE MOUND—Nestled in a small town consisting mainly of a gas station, café, bar and two churches is Blue Mound United Methodist Church. The building was built in the late 1800s. This past year, it received a new roof and a new upstairs kitchen and fellowship hall. Worship attendance has increased by 40 percent, and the congregation is more visible to the community as well. This is no small accomplishment in a town boasting 285 in 2008, with a growth of only ...

Congregational Excellence: Tornado destroys building, revatilizes church

The evening of Feb. 28, 2012, started off like any other Tuesday night in Harveyville, Kansas.   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’t much of a storm,” said the Rev. Dennis Irwin, pastor at Harveyville UMC.   According to a story in the Wichita Eagle ...

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