David Burke

David Burke serves as the content specialist for the Great Plains Conference.


Salina town hall draws record 375 people to discuss special session

October 16, 2018

Despite unseasonable weather that caused some attendees to return home while en route, 375 people packed into Salina Trinity United Methodist Church on Oct. 14 to hear information about proposals that will come before a special session of the General Conference in February. The crowd was not only ...


Sense of community means growing church numbers in Lindsborg

October 16, 2018

When Gage Harmon was successfully recruited by Bethany College to pitch for its baseball team last spring, he didn’t know anyone in Lindsborg.  An active member of the church in his hometown of Mansfield, Texas – running the audio-video for church services – he Googled “Methodist church in Lindsborg...


Culture of Call grants distributed to seven in Great Plains

October 15, 2018

Four churches, two campus ministries and one camp are the recipients of the fall Culture of Call grants from the Great Plains Conference. Campus ministries at the University of Kansas and Southwestern College were awarded grants, as was Camp Chippewa, three churches in Kansas and one in Nebraska. ...


UPDATE: Hutch church surrounded by water has none in building

October 11, 2018

UPDATE: Good news from Hutchinson's Mitchell Chapel. Despite floodwaters surrounding the church, there is no water inside the building. "It appears that water came within a couple feet of both the east side and the west side doors," the church's pastor, the Rev. Jeff Goetzinger, wrote in an email....


More than 750 south central Kansans attend bishop’s town halls

October 09, 2018

No matter the outcome of February’s special session of the General Conference to discuss human sexuality issues, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. says the goal he has given the Cabinet for 2019 is “zero decline” in the Great Plains. And yes, he understands the obstacles of achieving “zero decline,” which ...


Anita Crisp announces retirement as executive director of Nebraska UM Foundation

October 03, 2018

After seeing friends not getting a chance to spend retirement with their loved ones, Anita Crisp didn’t want to be on that list. That’s why the executive director of the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation has announced her retirement, effective Nov. 19, after eight years in the position.   ...


Confirmands in Ogallala put their ‘talents’ to use for church

September 26, 2018

Seven young men began their confirmation journey at Nebraska’s Ogallala United Methodist Church on Sept. 23, when they were each handed an envelope containing $30. It’s become a tradition for the church’s pastor, the Rev. Chuck Rager, and his wife, Roberta, for about 13 years to make the donation to...


Western Nebraskans hear about proposed way forward for UMC

September 26, 2018

While some of his colleagues have publicly endorsed one of the three plans for the future of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. says he is “taking the position of impartiality” when presenting the proposals to church members in the Great Plains Conference. “From where I’m sitting, I...


SW Kansas stop on bishop's tour draws 340

September 11, 2018

Southwest Kansans got to learn and speak their piece about the proposals for the future of The United Methodist Church in a town hall meeting with Great Plains Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. About 340 people filled the sanctuary of Garden City First United Methodist Church on Sept. 9 to discuss the three ...


O’Neill UMC pastor says helping displaced refugees is a humanitarian, not political, issue

September 05, 2018

Brian Loy, pastor of O'Neill United Methodist Church, prepares to haul donations from an Omaha church. Photos by David Burke   'We just keep loving the people' O’Neill UMC pastor says helping displaced refugees is a humanitarian, not political issue    When Brian Loy was ...


More than 800 hear of proposed plans in first weekend of bishop's town hall meetings

August 27, 2018

More than 800 United Methodists in the Great Plains Conference heard the known options for the future of the denomination in the opening weekend of town hall meetings with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.  “It’s important that we pause and pray and think through our way forward,” Bishop Saenz said at the ...


‘Outsiders’ gets Mulvane church into community

August 15, 2018

One by one they arrived – poodles and Pomeranians, mongrels and mutts – at the swimming pool in Mulvane, Kansas. But before jumping in the pool for the traditional end-of-summer dog swim on Aug. 12, the canines were blessed by the pastor of the Mulvane United Methodist Church. “You are ...


Nebraska church responds after immigration raid strands workers

August 14, 2018

An August immigration raid on a Nebraska community resulted in the arrest of suspected human traffickers, more than 100 families stranded – and First United Methodist Church in O’Neill scrambling to help. “It’s been a rude awakening of our immigration system, and what the immigrant people have to ...


Retired Nebraska pastor still fighting death penalty

August 02, 2018

A retired Nebraska United Methodist pastor is no longer the head of an organization opposing the death penalty. But that doesn’t mean the Rev. Stephen Griffith is giving up on the cause. Nebraska is scheduled to execute its first Death Row inmate in 21 years at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14. Carey Dean ...


Patrons, pastors remember Mead’s Corner

July 30, 2018

With hugs and handshakes – as well as lattes, scones and gelato – patrons and leaders of Wichita First United Methodist Church gave a farewell to Mead’s Corner, the downtown coffeehouse it has operated for 10 years, on July 29. “We celebrate not only Mead’s Corner, the place, but also Mead’s ...


Summit meets SoCe Life in Wichita field trip

July 27, 2018

Ministry, teenagers at the Summit Youth Academy have learned, doesn’t necessarily require wearing a robe and standing behind a pulpit. As part of the second-annual, one-week camp presented by Southwestern College, 23 of the high school juniors and seniors made their way to Wichita to learn about ...


UMY Institute continues legacy of inspiring, motivating youth

July 23, 2018

The “Who’s Been Here the Longest?” competition during visitors’ night at United Methodist Youth Institute was no contest. Alumni of the weeklong gathering, simply known as Institute, were asked to stand if they were there in 2010, then 2005, 2000, with one attending in 1980. But the winner was ...


Kansas pastor forms Mainstream UMC to push One Church plan

July 17, 2018

RELATED: General Conference delegates discuss A Way Forward. A longtime United Methodist pastor has begun a campaign to support the Council of Bishops in its One Church Plan in advance of a February special session of the General Conference to decide on human sexuality issues. Mainstream UMC was ...


Email scams begin to target church officials

July 12, 2018

The email received by the treasurer of a church in the Dodge City District looked official and sounded ominous. “As of today, we have no record of you submitting w2's (sic) for the tax year of 2017,” it read. “Note: Please re-enter and submit your W2s as soon as possible. Once you have submitted the...


Eureka church plays vital role in tornado recovery

July 11, 2018

The Rev. Hollie Tapley, Great Plains disaster response coordinator, talks with Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer at the Eureka Community Center. Photo courtesy Eureka Herald. A week and a half after an EF-3 tornado hit the town of Eureka, the Rev. Hollie Tapley says, it was tough to tell that damage had ...


Bishops give advice to young pastors at festival

July 02, 2018

Bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction gave advice to those new to the ministry or considering going into the clergy during the Young Preachers Festival. The third biennial festival, June 27-28, was presented by the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, which also ...


Amp It Up! camp experience transforms young musicians

June 05, 2018

Kaitlin Kendel from Abilene Emanuel UMC leads a group practicing to lead worship at the Great Plains Annual Conference session June 15 during the recent Amp It Up! music camp at Southwestern College. Photo by David Burke   Kaitlin Kendel remembers a past participant at the Amp It Up! worship ...


Wichita districts offer their first confirmation camp

June 05, 2018

For a group of 17 junior high-age students, 70-plus years in the future seems pretty far away. But the question was posed to them by the Rev. Wendy Mohler-Seib: If you die at 85 years old, how would you want people to remember you? Confirmation camp students listen to the Rev. Wendy Mohler-Seib ...


Dozens begin summer internships with Great Plains Conference

May 30, 2018

Some were there to reinforce the call they feel to ministry. Others wanted to learn how they could make a difference in the world. And others were ready to find out about the different ways they could serve the church. Interns discuss issues at Camp Chippewa. Photo by David Burke Those differing...


Dotson pleased with #SeeAllThePeople progress

May 01, 2018

The general secretary of Discipleship Ministries says he’s “extremely pleased” with the first year of the See All the People initiative. The Rev. Junius Dotson, general secretary of Discipleship Ministries, makes a presentation April 28 as part of Men Make the Difference, a Christian men’s ...


Social Principles revision gets help from Great Plains staffer

April 18, 2018

The first revision of Social Principles in the 50-year history of the United Methodist Church was aided by a leader from the Great Plains Conference. The Rev. Kalaba Chali, mercy and justice coordinator, led a seven-person committee that drafted The Social Community, one of six committees to set ...


Culture of Call grants providing internships

April 11, 2018

The three recipients of the spring Culture of Call grants are all providing internships to young people interested in entering the ministry, the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford said. “Internships are such a great way for churches to call forth a gift from somebody within the church and to go deeper,” ...


Church trades worship for service in 'Doing Good Friday'

April 03, 2018

For churches in many denominations, Good Friday services are often the most dramatic, the most meaningful – and the least-attended. So for their first “Doing Good Friday,” parishioners at Winfield Grace UMC spent March 30 making improvements to their church, neighborhood and city. “We all know ...


Festival of Friendship reaches out to community

April 02, 2018

The central Nebraska community of Lexington has seen its population grow in the past 20 years, from 6,000 in the 1990s to more than 10,000 in the most recent census.  The growth was thanks to a Tyson Foods meatpacking plant, which not only added to the population but turned it into a multicultural ...


Campus ministries unite for spring break project in Rio Texas

March 27, 2018

College students from Nebraska and Kansas work to help repair a mobile home park before FEMA brings in new homes for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Photo courtesy Emporia State Campus Ministries While their friends may have had plans for fun and sun over spring break, 40 college students ...


Big leaguer’s message hits home at Men and Boys Rally

March 06, 2018

A former Major League Baseball player was a hit with the approximately 250 people who attended the North Central Kansas Men and Boys Rally, March 6 in Beloit. Les Norman, who played for the Kansas City Royals from 1995-96 and now hosts a radio show on sports-talk station WHB in KC, spoke to the ...


Pastors reflect on Black History Month, role in community

February 28, 2018

As Black History Month draws to a close, we asked pastors of three of the Great Plains Conference’s largely African-American churches to talk about how their church celebrated throughout February, and what directions they see for the future. Participating in separate interviews were: The Rev. ...


Bishop encourages youth to step up at Confirmation Rally

February 21, 2018

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. told about 125 confirmands and youth group leaders that their journeys are similar to the athletes in the Winter Olympics. “They didn’t just get there for the opening celebration,” he told those attending the Bishop’s Confirmation Rally. “They got there years and years and ...


Elkhorn Valley DS Eldon Davis to retire

February 19, 2018

Elkhorn Valley District Superintendent Eldon Davis jokes with colleagues during a break time at the annual Orders & Fellowship clergy gathering in January in Kearney, Nebraska. Photo by David Burke   After 18 years in the ministry and three years as Elkhorn Valley District superintendent, the ...