News

Annual Conference


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 ...

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...

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...

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 ...