News


Amid pandemic, Lydia Patterson faces difficulties due to border closing

Amid pandemic, Lydia Patterson faces difficulties due to border closing

3/31/2020
The good news for Lydia Patterson Institute is that the school was already technologically equipped for the coronavirus-related shutdown of all schools in El Paso, Texas, that began March 16. “We were prepared to finish online,” school President Socorro de Anda said in a phone interview. “We’ve been pretty much doing everything electronically for almost five years.” The bad news is that because of a shutdown of the Mexican border a few blocks away from the school, parents have not been able ...

David Burke


Ministry amid coronavirus: stories from across the Great Plains

Ministry amid coronavirus: stories from across the Great Plains

3/30/2020
  The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the creativity, compassion and caring of churches and clergy in the Great Plains Conference.  In the past few weeks, new ideas have been tried and longtime staples have been adjusted because of the limits of crowd sizes and the dangers of infecting some populations.  We intend to highlight those ideas in this space, which will be constantly updated. If you would like to let the rest of the conference know about the new ideas and changes that have ...

David Burke


General Conference will be postponed to 2021

General Conference will be postponed to 2021

3/23/2020
Subsequent to the announcement by the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference that the 2020 General Conference will be postponed, the full Commission met March 21, 2020 to determine next steps to take in setting a new date. After hearing recommendations from Sara Hotchkiss, Business Manager of the General Conference, and discussion of possible alternatives, the Commission made a determination that the General Conference will not meet in 2020 as originally planned and ...

Via livestream, conference’s first Laity Summit rolls on

Via livestream, conference’s first Laity Summit rolls on

3/23/2020
Like many other events scheduled for the month of March, the Great Plains Conference’s first Laity Summit did not go according to plan. Media producer Eugenio Hernandez, left, instructs Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and Shane Warta, lay leadership coordinator, before the beginning of the Laity Summit livestream. Photo by David Burke What was supposed to be an in-person gathering at Kearney First UMC with 140 laity registered turned into an online gathering with 360 participating at one time or ...

David Burke


United Methodist 2020 General Conference to be postponed

United Methodist 2020 General Conference to be postponed

3/18/2020
Nashville, Tenn.: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has been notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, following recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota and the Mayor of Minneapolis to postpone or cancel events involving 50+ people in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. As a result of this decision, the Executive Committee is announcing that the ...

Commission on the General Conference to meet March 21

Commission on the General Conference to meet March 21

3/16/2020
Nashville, Tenn.: As concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic continue to escalate, the Commission on the General Conference will meet on March 21 via teleconference to discuss plans for the 2020 General Conference, scheduled for May 5-15, 2020. in Minneapolis, Minn.  According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, in the absence of a convened General Conference, only the full Commission, as the duly authorized committee of the General Conference, can set the date of the ...

Bishops request to postpone 2020 General Conference

Bishops request to postpone 2020 General Conference

3/13/2020
The following is a letter to the leaders of the General Conference from the leaders of the Council of Bishops: March 13, 2020 Kim Simpson, Chairperson of Commission on the General Conference Rev. Gary W. Graves, Secretary of the General Conference Sara Hotchkiss, Business Manager of the General Conference Dear Members of the Commission on the General Conference, Grace and Peace in the Name of our Lord, Savior and Healer, Jesus Christ. We write as the Executive Committee of the Council of ...

Legislator, Resurrection ‘force’ Nancy Brown dies at 77

Legislator, Resurrection ‘force’ Nancy Brown dies at 77

3/12/2020
Those who knew her best remember Nancy Brown as someone who cared deeply for her church and her community. Brown, who died of complications from cancer March 9 at age 77, served from 1984-1994 in the Kansas House of Representatives from the 27th District. She was also one of the founding members of Church of the Resurrection, chairing the first visionary committee, early church councils and its social action committee. Nancy Brown, 77, died March 9 of complications from cancer. Her funeral ...

David Burke


Bishops request declaratory decision from Judicial Council on protocol legislation

Bishops request declaratory decision from Judicial Council on protocol legislation

3/11/2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has asked the denomination’s highest court, the Judicial Council, to decide whether the legislation implementing The Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation is constitutional. A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups and several bishops from around the world collaborated on the agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church. The agreement, the Protocol of ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Great Plains delegation votes to endorse protocol

Great Plains delegation votes to endorse protocol

3/11/2020
In their meeting on Feb. 28, the Great Plains Conference delegation approved these actions: The Great Plains Delegation formally endorses the items presented by Wespath to safeguard pensions during this turbulent time. The Great Plains Delegation formally endorses the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.  Further, we discourage all amendments to the Protocol legislation that do not originate from or are not unanimously supported by the original 16 signers.  The Great ...

David Burke


Some worship elements in Great Plains change thanks to coronavirus scare

Some worship elements in Great Plains change thanks to coronavirus scare

3/11/2020
Handshakes, for now, are out. The Passing of the Peace during many worship services in the Great Plains Conference replaced the handshakes with fist bumps, elbow touches, waves, toe taps, peace signs, bows and even a Vulcan salute a la “Star Trek.” The Rev. Chris Jorgensen, pastor of Omaha Hanscom Park UMC, demonstrates the Vulcan salute as an alternative to shaking hands, in this video to the congregation. “There’s some concern about the coronavirus, and we don’t necessarily want to be ...

David Burke


Bishop's Lenten podcast series: 2nd episode now available

Bishop's Lenten podcast series: 2nd episode now available

3/2/2020
Each Monday, throughout the season of Lent, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., episcopal leader of the Great Plains Conference of The United Methodist Church, is the featured guest for a special series of "In Layman's Terms" podcast episodes that explores the seven final sayings of Jesus from the cross. Click the links below, as the podcasts publish, to download each episode. Episode 2 — "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Bishop Saenz and Todd Seifert talk about the second of the ...

SCJ Episcopacy Committee discusses needs for next quadrennium

SCJ Episcopacy Committee discusses needs for next quadrennium

2/27/2020
The South Central Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy conducted its spring meeting Feb. 24-25, and members discussed with the College of Bishops about episcopal leadership needs for the upcoming quadrennium. Episcopal elections occur during Jurisdictional Conference every four years. One of the committee’s duties is to recommend the number of bishops to elect. In a press release, the committee said it is mindful of various factors that could impact that recommendation, including actions ...

Proposed new General Book of Discipline review documents available

Proposed new General Book of Discipline review documents available

2/26/2020
Nashville, Tenn.:  The United Methodist Church’s Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters has launched Generalbod.org — an online resource that makes it easy to review tracked changes to the proposed new General Book of Discipline as a means of offering transparency, and informing and stimulating conversation within the church. Members can now choose to view the content as the proposed final document version or a version with edit notations. The latter highlights revised text and the ...

South Central bishops urge delegates to consider protocol for separation

South Central bishops urge delegates to consider protocol for separation

2/26/2020
Delegates from the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church met on Feb. 20-22 to interview candidates for bishop and discuss matters relating to the 2020 General Conference, a meeting of the denomination’s top law-making body, taking place May 5-15 in Minneapolis. A major part of the weekend was hearing about the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. Rather than explain recently released legislation for the protocol, representatives of the jurisdiction’s ...

Bishop offers invitation to conference-wide Lenten study

Bishop offers invitation to conference-wide Lenten study

2/25/2020
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. inviting the people of Kansas and Nebraska to take part in a journey exploring the love that Jesus showed for all of us. This study is intended to put us all "By His Side." In this introductory video, the bishop explains how the study will work each day on Facebook and tells how he will teach us about the last words of Christ from the cross via a podcast throughout the season of Lent.  

Think tank to look at GC2020 possibilities

Think tank to look at GC2020 possibilities

2/19/2020
General Conference organizers have established a think tank to explore different ways for processing legislation at this year’s gathering of The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body. The assembly, scheduled May 5-15 in Minneapolis, could make decisions about how to split and restructure the international denomination of nearly 13 million members. “This is not a General Conference as usual,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission on the General Conference and a lay member in the ...

United Methodist News Service


'Breaking Chains' theme of 2020 LEAF sessions

'Breaking Chains' theme of 2020 LEAF sessions

2/18/2020
Kansas Secretary of Labor Delia Garcia, Secretary of Labor Randy Watson and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman participate in a panel discussion at LEAF. Photos by David Burke More than 90 people focused on stopping what they see as oppression during a legislative update event Sunday and Monday in Topeka. “Breaking Chains of Oppression” was the theme of the 2020 Legislative Event for Advocacy in Faith, or LEAF, Topeka First United Methodist Church. The 46th...

David Burke


Tennessee layman offers Plain Grace Plan

Tennessee layman offers Plain Grace Plan

2/17/2020
As The United Methodist Church moves toward its 2020 General Conference, many plans for structuring the denomination have been and are being submitted for consideration. 2020 General Conference takes place May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with 862 delegates from around the world. General Conference is the denomination’s top legislative body that makes decisions on submitted legislation. Actions of one General Conference do not bind the next General Conference, meaning every General ...

Western Jurisdiction delegates name GC2020 legislative goals

Western Jurisdiction delegates name GC2020 legislative goals

2/17/2020
We, the First Elected Delegates to General Conference 2020 from the Annual Conferences making up the Western Jurisdiction, appreciate the earnest collaborative work on the Protocol of Grace and Reconciliation through Separation. We are hopeful that it is a connectional path to fulfilling God’s call to mission and ministry. Although we are disappointed with the proposed need to pay for those who wish to leave the denomination, we understand the need for compromise. We believe the Protocol will ...

Nebraska Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day becomes a tribute to its longtime leader

Nebraska Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day becomes a tribute to its longtime leader

2/12/2020
The 45th annual Nebraska Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day included a tribute to its longtime leader. Ruby Thelander from Lincoln, who was among the founders of the event co-sponsored by United Methodist Women, is stepping down as its chair. “I’m going to stay on the committee, but I’m not going to lead it anymore,” said Thelander, who turned 90 a few days before the Feb. 8 briefing day. She added with a laugh, “I’m staying on the committee because I won’t be able to stand not knowing what’...

David Burke


Prairie Rivers wins inaugural ‘Kansaska Cup’ for mission shares payout

Prairie Rivers wins inaugural ‘Kansaska Cup’ for mission shares payout

2/5/2020
The Prairie Rivers District is the first home for the Kansaska Cup, a new traveling trophy presented to the district with the highest mission share payout for a calendar year. The district, covering south-central Nebraska, finished 2019 with a 97.9% payout. The Rev. Lance Clay, Prairie Rivers District superintendent, said he was especially impressed because that district took much of the brunt from last year’s flooding. The Rev. Lance Clay, right, Prairie Rivers District superintendent, ...

David Burke


Topeka churches beefing up security after series of break-ins

Topeka churches beefing up security after series of break-ins

2/5/2020
Two Topeka United Methodist churches are surveying damage, estimating loss, and considering new security measures after each suffered several burglaries over the past few months. Topeka First United Methodist Church Topeka First UMC suffered burglaries Dec. 2, 19 and 24, as well as Jan. 9. “The pattern seems to be that people were sneaking in during large events and hiding,” the Rev. Jeff Clinger, senior pastor, said. Most of the items taken from the church were electronics, including ...

David Burke


Bishop announces 2 new DSes, some district supervisory changes

Bishop announces 2 new DSes, some district supervisory changes

1/29/2020
Two new district superintendents have been appointed in the Great Plains Conference to fill the roles of three retiring DSes and another DS who has completed an eight-year term on the cabinet. The appointments also continue progress toward a conference-wide goal to fully live into a system of networks and base communities for contextual ministries. The Rev. Jenny Collins, currently serving at First United Methodist Church in Abilene, Kansas, and the Rev. Dr. Tom Brady, senior pastor at First ...

Todd Seifert


Retirement brings close of ministry for district superintendents Watson, Bakely, Livingston

Retirement brings close of ministry for district superintendents Watson, Bakely, Livingston

1/28/2020
A trio of district superintendents with more than 80 years combined in the ministry have announced their retirements from the Great Plains Conference.  The Rev. David Watson, DS of the Five Rivers and Parsons districts, is stepping down after 38 years in the ministry. The Rev. Dennis Livingston, DS of the Hutchinson District and a portion of the Hays District, will retire after 29 years. And the Rev. Claudia Bakely, Flint Hills DS, is retiring after 17 years.  The retirements, as well as the ...

David Burke


Clergy get lowdown on ABCD at Orders & Fellowship

Clergy get lowdown on ABCD at Orders & Fellowship

1/22/2020
Presenters during the 2020 Orders & Fellowship gathering asked clergy to adhere to one unofficial rule.  Any time the words “need” or “needy” were uttered, the clergy in the sanctuary at Lincoln St. Mark’s United Methodist Church on Jan. 14-15 were encouraged to boo.  Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. introduces, from left, Daryl Answer, the Rev. Rachel Metheny and the Rev. Mike Mather at the opening of Orders & Fellowship at Lincoln St. Mark's UMC. Photos by David Burke Such is the way of ...

David Burke


Western Kansas churches raise money to erase school lunch debt

Western Kansas churches raise money to erase school lunch debt

1/22/2020
Before Christmas last year, the Rev. Patrick Broz was asked by his wife, the Rev. Abby Caseman, what he wanted for a present.  “I don’t need anything — which is what she got me,” recalled Broz, pastor of Colby United Methodist Church. “So, I said what I’d like to be able to do is pay off all the debt of the food balances so kids can get a hot meal, versus a cheese sandwich. If you don’t have enough money, you get a cheese sandwich, and everybody knows what’s going on. There’s a stigma attached ...

David Burke


Barlow-Thompson preaches on the power of neighboring

Barlow-Thompson preaches on the power of neighboring

1/21/2020
When he started discussing Asset-Based Community Development with people a decade ago, the Rev. Adam Barlow-Thompson said, “their eyes would glaze over.”  Rev. Adam Barlow-Thompson, co-founder of The Neighboring Movement, delivers the opening sermon at Orders & Fellowship. Photo by David Burke Barlow-Thompson -- co-founder of The Neighboring Movement, known in Wichita as SoCe Life -- began the 2020 Orders & Fellowship Gathering with a sermon that emphasized the simplest form of ABCD: ...

David Burke


Bishop discusses protocol plan with Great Plains clergy

Bishop discusses protocol plan with Great Plains clergy

1/21/2020
The Jan. 3 announcement of the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation came as a surprise to many United Methodists, including Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.  “Everyone was caught off guard, including many on the Council of Bishops,” the Great Plains Conference episcopal leader told clergy during the 2020 Orders & Fellowship clergy training event at Lincoln St. Mark’s UMC. The bishop provided a time of explanation and questions following the close of Wednesday’s session for clergy ...

David Burke


Bishop offers thoughts on Protocol for UMC's future

Bishop offers thoughts on Protocol for UMC's future

1/12/2020
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has issued the following statement regarding the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation document. Download a PDF of the letter to the Great Plains Conference. Brothers and sisters of the Great Plains Conference,                                                   May the peace and light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ enfold and hold you today.   By now you have read or heard that a Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation (The Protocol)...

More than 250 gather for Resist Harm rallies in Topeka, Omaha

More than 250 gather for Resist Harm rallies in Topeka, Omaha

1/6/2020
A day after the announcement of a proposal for a way forward for The United Methodist Church by letting more traditional congregations form a new denomination, clergy and laity in the Great Plains Conference gathered to support their LGBTQ siblings in two rallies. The Resist Harm gatherings Jan. 4 had been scheduled for several months, but organizers said news of a proposed new protocol energized each meeting. The Rev. Lora Andrews, Lenexa St. Paul's United Methodist Church, and the Rev. ...

David Burke


Pastor pleased with protocol announcement, but says work is still to come

Pastor pleased with protocol announcement, but says work is still to come

1/6/2020
A Great Plains Conference pastor who was among those consulted in the first steps of the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation said he’s pleased with the outcome of the document released Jan. 3, but there is still work ahead. “I think it’s a huge step forward. It’s an acknowledgement that we’re stuck,” said the Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, a Kansas City pastor and founder of Mainstream UMC, which began in August 2018 to represent centrists and progressives in The United Methodist ...

David Burke


Reps from across human sexuality spectrum sign agreement for amicable separation

Reps from across human sexuality spectrum sign agreement for amicable separation

1/3/2020
A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from around the world has collaborated on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC) that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved.  The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was achieved Dec. 17 and announced today, Jan. 3, 2020. The action comes amid heightened tensions in the church over conflicting views ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Conference gets go-ahead for Doing Justice Initiative

Conference gets go-ahead for Doing Justice Initiative

12/20/2019
The Connecting Council learned that the Doing Justice Initiative that it recommended in the fall had been approved for funding, and it authorized money for grants for South Korean pastors during a special meeting conducted via Zoom video conferencing software Dec. 19. The two items were part of a short agenda meant to help the Great Plains Conference conclude its business in 2019 by addressing issues that couldn’t be concluded during the group’s October in-person meetings in Topeka. The ...

Todd Seifert


Camp Fontanelle raises $2.4 million, with $900,000 to go for new center

Camp Fontanelle raises $2.4 million, with $900,000 to go for new center

12/18/2019
Nearly $2.4 million in donations and pledges has been raised for a new retreat center at Camp Fontanelle, with another $900,000 needed in the next year and a half to complete the project, the camp’s site director said.  “There’s a larger number of people we still haven’t talked to. We’re continuing to build on that,” Trent Meyer said. “We definitely haven’t exhausted all the leads that are out there.”  Located northeast of Fremont, Nebraska, Camp Fontanelle celebrated its 60th anniversary ...

Year ahead to include monumental decisions, new events and changes to existing ones

Year ahead to include monumental decisions, new events and changes to existing ones

12/18/2019
As with the brink of any new year, there’s anticipation of what may lie ahead in the next 12 months. But 2020 could likely be a monumental year in The United Methodist Church. It is the end of a quadrennium, meaning both General and Jurisdictional conferences will take place, and the former is anticipated to see major changes in the denomination. Here’s a look at what are likely to be key events in the year ahead, both in the Great Plains Conference and The United Methodist Church worldwide: ...

David Burke


Churches will see increases in property insurance premiums for 2020

Churches will see increases in property insurance premiums for 2020

12/17/2019
Some churches in the Great Plains Conference could see their property insurance premiums increase by at least 25% in 2020.  The churches were part of a mandatory insurance program implemented by the former Kansas East Conference in 1999. About 50 churches that were formerly in the Kansas West and Nebraska conferences opted for similar policies.  The increase comes after a 30% decrease in premiums that was offered in 2017 for a three-year period.  “There’s a general tightening and increase in the...

David Burke


Rev. Cecil Bliss, pastor during Lincoln St. Mark's move, is remembered

Rev. Cecil Bliss, pastor during Lincoln St. Mark's move, is remembered

12/11/2019
The pastor at the helm of Lincoln St. Mark’s United Methodist Church when the denomination’s largest congregation in the state decided to move to a new, larger location is remembered by those throughout Nebraska. The Rev. Cecil Bliss died Nov. 29 in Lincoln at age 86. Rev. Cecil Bliss died Nov. 29 at age 86. During Bliss’s 18 years as pastor of St. Mark’s, the church grew from 2,000 to 3,800 members. It also was prepared to make a move from its previous location at 740 N. 70th St. in ...

David Burke


Southwestern budget cuts include combining campus minister, discipleship director positions

Southwestern budget cuts include combining campus minister, discipleship director positions

12/11/2019
Budget adjustments announced last week by Southwestern College include the reorganization and restructuring of several administrative and staff functions. Among the downsizing of 13 staff positions, the positions of campus minister and director of discipleship will be combined into a single role.  Southwestern President Brad Andrews said that the adjustments are necessary for the college in Winfield, Kansas, southeast of Wichita, to reach a balanced budget and to achieve the financial latitude ...

Six Great Plains churches seeking disaffiliation

Six Great Plains churches seeking disaffiliation

11/22/2019
Disagreement over same-gender marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons have prompted six churches in the Great Plains Conference — all in Kansas — to begin the process to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church. Emmanuel Church in Abilene, The Benton Church in Benton, Aulne UMC near Marion, Esbon UMC, Burns UMC and Cassoday UMC all have begun the process. The churches are in various stages of the process, which includes a vote by the congregation with a 66% threshold and a majority vote ...

Todd Seifert


Great Plains delegates vote to endorse Williamston

Great Plains delegates vote to endorse Williamston

11/19/2019
Members of the Great Plains delegation to the General and Jurisdictional conferences say a prayer of blessing over the Rev. Dee Williamston after their decision to endorse her for the episcopacy. Photo by Scott Brewer   A 22-year veteran of the military and current Hays and Salina district superintendent has received the endorsement of the Great Plains Conference delegation to the General and Jurisdictional conferences as a candidate for bishop. “I feel like I’m a warrior for the Lord, I’m ...

David Burke


Bishop issues pastoral letter following council meeting

Bishop issues pastoral letter following council meeting

11/13/2019
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has issued the following letter to clergy and laity in the Great Plains Conference following the recent meeting of the Council of Bishops. Download a printable copy of the letter. Members of the Great Plains Conference,                                                                                            Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, the One we all belong to and whose will it is for us as His people to give thanks to God in all circumstances (1 ...

Bishop Saenz looks forward to work with General Board of Global Ministries

Bishop Saenz looks forward to work with General Board of Global Ministries

11/13/2019
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. says he’s excited about the possibilities in the next quadrennium in his appointment to the General Board of Global Ministries. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. confers with fellow bishops at the special session of the General Conference in February in St. Louis. File photos by Todd Seifert “The first quadrennium, I focused on the annual conference and being present and getting to know the pastors and the churches and the context,” Bishop Saenz said of the 2016-2019 term. “This ...

David Burke


Bishop Saenz chosen to deliver sermon during 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis

Bishop Saenz chosen to deliver sermon during 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis

11/12/2019
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. will get his largest congregation yet during the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis. The episcopal leader of the Great Plains Conference has been chosen to give the sermon on the morning of May 8. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. delivers a sermon at the Great Plains Annual Conference in 2017. File photo by Todd Seifert “It’ll take a lot of prayer and a lot of reflection and a lot of time,” Bishop Saenz said, “and a lot of drafts and restarts.” The bishop was chosen by the ...

David Burke


Judicial Council upholds exit plan, conference will follow procedures

Judicial Council upholds exit plan, conference will follow procedures

11/2/2019
Bishop Kenneth H. Carter speaks during an oral hearing before the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting in Evanston, Ill. Carter is president of the denomination's Council of Bishops. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.   Rulings from the United Methodist Church Judicial Council on special provisions allowing congregations to leave the denomination changes little, if anything, for churches within the Great Plains Conference. Scott Brewer, conference Treasurer and director ...

United Methodist News Service


Great Plains internships for 2020 will help local churches grow leaders

Great Plains internships for 2020 will help local churches grow leaders

10/30/2019
The summer internship program for the Great Plains Conference in 2020 will be calling on local churches to help identify potential leaders. Applications have opened for the 10-week internships in youth ministry, kids ministry and pastoral ministry, as well as the Micah Corps program. For 2020, churches are being asked to look within their congregations for potential leaders and apply for a matching grant of up to $1,750 for a full-time intern that will assist in their church. The Great ...

David Burke


Connecting Council addresses community building, General Conference and more

Connecting Council addresses community building, General Conference and more

10/23/2019
The Great Plains Conference’s Connecting Council considered what it means to be a “great church,” discussed budget reductions amid the denomination’s tumultuous times, the possibility of a special-called annual conference session in 2020, a plan for disaffiliation of churches, and recommended a social-justice initiative during the council’s busy two-day meeting Oct. 19-20 in Topeka. “We’re being real intentional about building community because that’s what is going to keep us together going ...

Todd Seifert


New webpage, materials celebrate 'Great Start' in the Great Plains

New webpage, materials celebrate 'Great Start' in the Great Plains

10/23/2019
A new webpage and promotional materials are out in hopes of convincing potential clergy that they can have a great start in the Great Plains Conference. The Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford, clergy recruitment and development coordinator, said the Great Start project began as a way to recruit seminary students for the conference. Flyers with QR codes that link to video testimonials are being distributed during visits to 10 United Methodist seminaries. Photo by the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford “We ...

David Burke


Fourteen churches, campus groups receive Culture of Call grants

Fourteen churches, campus groups receive Culture of Call grants

10/16/2019
Four campus ministries, the Institute for Discipleship and nine churches will divide more than $21,000 in the fall round of Culture of Call grants. “We love seeing creativity come from churches and campus ministries who are exploring ways that they can cultivate people to explore their call,” the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford, clergy recruitment and development coordinator, said. “We were happy to be able to invest in each of these communities to find ways that God can continue to grow their ...

Bishops seek resolution to crisis along southern border

Bishops seek resolution to crisis along southern border

10/11/2019
The South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops issued a letter today addressing concerns along the southern border of the United States. The bishops called for policy changes to address what they called a humanitarian crisis. "Christian teaching tells us that realities that forcibly displace and dehumanize people must spur us to practical concern and action," the bishops wrote. "Our actions must be more than just words and prayers, but rather care that hospitably tends to their wounds, ...

After special session, Church of the Resurrection changes its Leadership Institute plans

After special session, Church of the Resurrection changes its Leadership Institute plans

10/1/2019
Just like it had done for the previous 20 years, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection began planning its annual Leadership Institute a week after the close of the 2018 gathering.  “It is a year-round process,” said Kari Burgess, program director of ShareChurch. “We start combing through (participant surveys) right away and get ideas of how we might change and better Leadership Institute for the next year.”  Nearly 2,500 people from all 54 annual conferences attended the 2019 ...

David Burke


Great Plains attendees feel energized after Leadership Institute

Great Plains attendees feel energized after Leadership Institute

10/1/2019
With the 2019 Leadership Institute in its backyard at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, better than one in 10 attendees were from the Great Plains Conference.  More than 260 pastors and laity from Kansas and Nebraska attended the Institute, Sept. 25-27. Nearly 2,500, representing all 54 annual conferences and 46 states, attended the 21st annual Institute.  More than 250 Leadership Institute attendees from the Great Plains Conference attended a strategy breakout session ...

David Burke


Leaders begin to form ideas for new church plants in Great Plains Conference

Leaders begin to form ideas for new church plants in Great Plains Conference

9/25/2019
Strategies for starting new United Methodist churches have changed over the past several years, a pastor who helps guide church starts told a group of clergy in a recent training session.  Rev. Dr. Iosmar Alvarez, Lexington District superintendent from the Kentucky Conference, discusses church planting with members of the Great Plains Conference on Sept. 20 in Topeka. Photos by David Burke “In the past, we had a lot of ‘parachute drops’ (beginning churches without the guidance of a parent ...

David Burke


Scammers targeting churchgoers with fake text messages from pastors

Scammers targeting churchgoers with fake text messages from pastors

9/23/2019
The Rev. David Livingston was stunned to learn over the weekend that someone claiming to be him was texting members of Fairway Old Mission United Methodist Church, asking for gift cards to benefit cancer patients.  “There’s so much legitimate need in the world, and for legitimate need and people’s good hearts to be exploited is just disappointing,” Livingston said. “They’re violating the good nature of parishioners as well as pastors.”  The Rev. David Livingston, seen here during the special ...

David Burke


Bishop requests financial assistance for hurricane victims

Bishop requests financial assistance for hurricane victims

9/7/2019
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has drafted the following letter of support for financial assistance for people impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and along parts of the U.S. Atlantic Coast. At this point, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is asking congregations and individuals to limit donations to financial gifts and not supplies of any sort. Also, please do not self-deploy to provide assistance. Rather, please wait until UMCOR provides more instructions once damage ...

African bishops say United Methodist Church will continue, even after 2020 General Conference

African bishops say United Methodist Church will continue, even after 2020 General Conference

9/6/2019
MUTARE, ZIMBABWE -- Bishops in Africa have vowed that The United Methodist Church will continue in Africa even after the 2020 General Conference. Therefore, the bishops have resolved not to support any proposed legislation or plans that call for dividing or dissolving The United Methodist Church. “We do not support any legislation that calls for the dissolution of The United Methodist Church. We uphold our values as a connectional and worldwide church committed to ‘Making disciples of Jesus ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Dotson kicks off 'Soul Reset' book tour with leaders summit in Wichita

Dotson kicks off 'Soul Reset' book tour with leaders summit in Wichita

8/28/2019
The Rev. Junius Dotson believes that churches, their pastors and leaders need to hit the “Reset” button.  Dotson, general secretary and CEO of Discipleship Ministries, returned to Wichita — where he served as senior pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church from 2002 to 2016 — for a leadership summit to kick off a promotional tour for his book “Soul Reset,” to be released Sept. 1.  The Rev. Junius Dotson's new book, "Soul Reset," will be released Sept. 1. Photos by David Burke Subtitled...

David Burke


Topeka First UMC learns about civil discourse over difficult issues

Topeka First UMC learns about civil discourse over difficult issues

8/27/2019
With growing ideological rifts everywhere, from the nation’s political landscape to The United Methodist Church, David Procter says proper discourse is becoming endangered.  “Civility is not doing well — and it’s getting worse,” said Procter, director of Kansas State University’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy.  David Procter, director of Kansas State University’s Institute for Civil Discourse and Democracy, leads a "Dialogue Workshop" at Topeka First UMC. Photos by David Burke ...

David Burke


Garden project at Omaha church grows with fellowship, interaction

Garden project at Omaha church grows with fellowship, interaction

8/21/2019
When the Rev. Chris Jorgensen was looking at ways that Omaha Hanscom Park United Methodist Church could reach out into the community, the answer was right outside her door.  It was a garden the church had started about 10 years earlier, with the assistance of the Big Garden mission in Omaha.  A garden group gathers outside Hanscom Park UMC in Omaha for a short church service. Contributed photos “We didn’t get that far outside the church, but we did get outside the church,” Jorgensen, in her ...

David Burke


Group drafts separation plan for denomination

Group drafts separation plan for denomination

8/13/2019
The United Methodist Church’s conflict over homosexuality is irreconcilable and calls for amicable separation into different denominations, according to a 12-person group of centrists, traditionalists and progressives that began meeting in late June. “We’ve discovered The United Methodist Church can’t live in the same house together peaceably, but we can live next door to one another,” said the Rev. Kent Millard, president of United Theological Seminary and one of the group’s organizers. Millard...

United Methodist News Service


Improper voting at GC2019 voids disaffiliation legislation

Improper voting at GC2019 voids disaffiliation legislation

8/12/2019
Bishops Thomas J. Bickerton (center) and Gregory V. Palmer (right) confer with colleagues on legislative procedures during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Bickerton is the Council of Bishops representative on the Commission on General Conference. The Commission on General Conference — meeting behind closed doors — reviewed an investigation that found evidence of four ineligible people casting votes using the credentials of delegates who were not present. File photo ...

United Methodist News Service


Lay Academy for Rural Church Ministries celebrates 20th anniversary, plans expansion

Lay Academy for Rural Church Ministries celebrates 20th anniversary, plans expansion

8/7/2019
For more than three decades, the Rev. Dr. Carl Ellis has seen rural churches increasingly struggle to find effective leadership and adapt to changing times.  Twenty years ago, preceding The United Methodist Church’s development of a certified lay minister program, Ellis began the Lay Academy for Rural Church Ministries, which trains laypersons to serve in the local church.  “It’s kind of evolved through the years,” Ellis said. “I got to the point where I have two courses that match the ...

David Burke


Bishops call for discipleship; urge end to white supremacy, xenophobia

Bishops call for discipleship; urge end to white supremacy, xenophobia

8/6/2019
In the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Council of Bishops President Bishop Ken Carter is calling for United Methodists to help end white supremacy and xenophobia which he says is fueling a culture of violence.  Crosses for each of the victims of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, being assembled before being taken to a memorial site. Photo courtesy Reuters In a statement released Aug. 6, Bishop Carter commended the statements of Bishop Gregory Palmer and ...

Maidstone Mulenga


‘Reimagined’ OneEvent moves to Omaha, Lincoln in summer of 2020

‘Reimagined’ OneEvent moves to Omaha, Lincoln in summer of 2020

7/31/2019
After six years as an early-January gathering of youth from across the Great Plains Conference, the OneEvent is changing its focus, its location and its calendar for 2020. The “OneEvent Reimagined” is scheduled for June 14-18 in Lincoln and Omaha. “We’re moving to a mission trip model,” said the Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford, intergenerational discipleship coordinator. “This will be basically a turnkey mission opportunity for youth groups.” The "reimagined" OneEvent will be June 14-18, 2020, in...

David Burke


BeADisciple offering six practical ministry certifications beginning in August

BeADisciple offering six practical ministry certifications beginning in August

7/24/2019
After a few years away from children’s ministry and returning to her calling at a different church, Jessica Bates wanted to learn as much as she could. “I felt very equipped to do some of the parts of what it takes to be a children’s minister, but not all of it,” said Bates, now working at Winfield First United Methodist Church. That’s why she entered an online certification program through BeADisciple.com, a program of the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern ...

Mission shares collections down after special session

Mission shares collections down after special session

7/24/2019
Bishop Michael McKee, president of the General Council on Finance and Administration, confers with Moses Kumar, GCFA’s top executive, on July 19 in Dallas. GCFA’s board heard that giving across the church is down since the 2019 General Conference in February. Photo by Sam Hodges, UM News Service   The United Methodist Church continues to face a financial hangover from the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis, where passage of the Traditional Plan led unhappy churches and individuals to a ...

United Methodist News Service


Connectional Table to propose legislation creating new U.S. structure

Connectional Table to propose legislation creating new U.S. structure

7/23/2019
CHICAGO —The Connectional Table approved sending legislation to General Conference 2020 that would create a new structure for churches in the United States, called a regional conference, during an online meeting July 18.  The proposed legislation stipulates that the U.S. Regional Conference would have geographic boundaries congruent with the territory of the U.S. annual conferences. Jurisdictions would continue to function with their current powers and duties, including their process to elect ...

Bishops call for new ways of embodying unity through mission, relationships

Bishops call for new ways of embodying unity through mission, relationships

7/18/2019
CHICAGO – The bishops of The United Methodist Church will seek to strengthen annual conferences in 2019 through the ministries of sending and missional strategy, Bishop Kenneth Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, said in a statement.     In a statement released at the end of the Executive Committee meeting outside Chicago on July 17,  Bishop Carter said: “Our primary work is not legislative or legalistic. In this season, our primary calling is to discover new ways of embodying unity ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Great Plains among those represented on YOUTH2019 stage

Great Plains among those represented on YOUTH2019 stage

7/17/2019
Two young adults from the Great Plains Conference took center stage at YOUTH2019, July 10-13 in Kansas City, Missouri. Erynn (Dahlke) Kuehl from the Great Plains Conference was the emcee for YOUTH2019. YOUTH2019 video grab Erynn (Dahlke) Kuehl was the emcee of the quadrennial event, and Abigail Koech was the speaker for the Friday night worship. Kuehl said she applied to be a member of the design team three years ago and after being selected, volunteered to be the emcee. “They decided I was ...

David Burke


KCK church combines three different cultures for its VBS

KCK church combines three different cultures for its VBS

7/15/2019
The Vacation Bible School program at Kansas City Bristol Hill United Methodist Church on July 14 was like many VBS wrap-ups, with youngsters hamming it up during the songs, kids waving to their parents in the congregation and older siblings watching out for their little brothers and sisters in the front row.  But unlike the other VBSs, Bristol Hill’s was a triad of churches and cultures – African and Micronesian children joined with the predominately white church that hosted the week.  ...

David Burke


Bishop Hicks remembered for compassion, gentle nature

Bishop Hicks remembered for compassion, gentle nature

7/8/2019
The Great Plains Conference invited people who knew Bishop Kenneth Hicks to send in some of their fond memories of the man who served in Nebraska before serving as bishop in Arkansas and Kansas. The bishop died June 19 in Little Rock, Arkansas, one day after his 96th birthday. His wife, Elaine, died June 29, also in Little Rock, but her passing was not yet known when the invitation for remembrances for the bishop was announced. The Great Plains Conference received 11 responses. Their remarks...

Wamego, Seward churches get involved in community for Fourth of July

Wamego, Seward churches get involved in community for Fourth of July

7/3/2019
When the Rev. Michael Tomson-DeGreeff began at First United Methodist Church in Wamego six years ago, he was told the Kansas community loved its fireworks on the Fourth of July. “I said, ‘Yeah, sure,’” he recalled. “I grew up in St. Louis watching the fireworks at The Arch, which were amazing. And I lived in Boston for six years, and the fireworks in Boston were amazing,” Tomson-DeGreff said. “So, I thought, ‘How good could this be?’ “But it blew me away. It was way better,” he added. “How was ...

David Burke


Administrative assistant-turned-pastor looking forward to new role

Administrative assistant-turned-pastor looking forward to new role

7/2/2019
Just as she had done for the past four years as administrative assistant in the Blue River District, Pam Savery filled out forms this spring that officially put pastors in their new assignments. But unlike previous years, Savery entered her own name as a three-quarter time pastor in the three-point charge of Hallam, Martell and Roca, Nebraska. “It was kind of surreal,” Savery said of the paperwork. “It was kind of a reality check that this was actually happening.” “It’s been kind of strange, but...

David Burke


NUMB officially surpasses the $1 million mark

NUMB officially surpasses the $1 million mark

6/28/2019
The Rev. Bill Ritter takes part in the Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger (NUMB) with his sons Brett and Blake. Here, they ride past a lake north of Lakeside, Nebraska. Submitted photo NUMB XXIV returned to Chadron, Nebraska, the site where the first NUMB Ride in 1996 took place, and it was on this route that the ride surpassed the $1 million mark. NUMB — the Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger — is directed by the Rev. Bill Ritter, the Blue ...

United Methodist Youth Institute full of tradition, transformations

United Methodist Youth Institute full of tradition, transformations

6/27/2019
Amaya Harrison credits the United Methodist Youth Institute with saving her life — literally.  Amaya Harrison, Topeka, praises during worship services on visitors' night at United Methodist Youth Institute. Photos by David Burke The Topeka teenager, one of the youth care group coordinators at Institute, told a full sanctuary at Baldwin City First UMC about her early teens, which included substance addiction and emotional challenges, either of which could have cut short her life.  New to ...

David Burke


UMC Bishops pose five questions to Judicial Council on Traditional Plan

UMC Bishops pose five questions to Judicial Council on Traditional Plan

6/26/2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church (COB) has asked the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality, meaning, application and effect of certain petitions adopted as the Traditional Plan by the 2019 General Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri, in February. Although the Judicial Council addressed the constitutionality of all of the petitions adopted at the 2019 General Conference in Decision 1378, the COB has identified other ...

Maidstone Mulenga


‘God’s grace is shining’ at Camp Lakeside in Kansas

‘God’s grace is shining’ at Camp Lakeside in Kansas

6/25/2019
With a recent change in management, Camp Lakeside is “alive and doing well,” Sara Shaw said.  “We’ve had lots of God moments out here,” said Shaw, camping ministries coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. “I call it ‘God goosebumps’ that whenever you need a gentle reminder that God’s grace is shining, it’s out here.”  Sara Shaw, camping ministry coordinator, second from left, leads a cookout at Camp Lakeside. Photos courtesy Camp Lakeside Facebook page The camp, founded in 1948, is ...

David Burke


Bishop Hicks, striver for peace, dies at 96

Bishop Hicks, striver for peace, dies at 96

6/20/2019
Pastors just starting out and those with years of experience turned to Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks as a trusted and compassionate adviser. Hicks died June 19 in Little Rock, Arkansas, just a day after his 96th birthday. Tributes and Memories Share a memory or tribute about Bishop Kenneth Hicks by submitting your thoughts via this form (please limit statements to 300 words or less). Tributes and memories will be collected through July 5 and will be published on our website soon after that date. “...

United Methodist News Service


McCool Junction UMC celebrates pastor's retirement and a launch into ministry

McCool Junction UMC celebrates pastor's retirement and a launch into ministry

6/18/2019
Like about a hundred other churches in the Great Plains Conference, McCool Junction United Methodist bid farewell to its pastor during services on June 16.  But the central Nebraska church was not only celebrating the retiring Rev. Ralph Gaines, who helped the church triple its membership over his six years, but the launch of ministry for church member Jenice Epp, assigned to churches in Bassett and Springview in north-central Nebraska.  “You’re never too old to change professions,” said the ...

David Burke


Alternatives are available to flawed 'Roar!' VBS curriculum

Alternatives are available to flawed 'Roar!' VBS curriculum

6/13/2019
Dear Pastors, Kids Ministry Directors, and VBS Directors in the Great Plains Conference:    The Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford is intergenerational discipleship coordinator for the Great Plains Conference. Over the weekend, Group’s Vacation Bible School curriculum was the topic of much social media discussion and debate. Group describes its theme, Roar!, as an “epic African adventure [that] engages the whole heart.” At first glance, the theme appears to take on a safari feel, with animals as ...

Conference works to fill void left by record number of retirees

Conference works to fill void left by record number of retirees

6/11/2019
With a record number of retirees this year – more than 55 – the Great Plains Conference has worked to fill the vacancies in several ways.   A record number of clergy -- more than 55 -- are retiring this year from the Great Plains Conference. Photo by Todd Seifert Among them is a new influx of international pastors. Of the the new pastors this year, four are from South Korea, four are from the Congo and three are from Kenya. “Our conference is very open to receiving international pastors,”...

David Burke


Topeka Asbury Mount Olive UMC celebrates its 50th anniversary

Topeka Asbury Mount Olive UMC celebrates its 50th anniversary

6/10/2019
The Rev. Harry Christian had simple instructions for his Topeka Asbury Mount Olive United Methodist Church to celebrate its golden anniversary. “Laugh, shout, jump, cry,” he told the congregation on June 9, “whatever you want to do to celebrate those 50 years.”   The Rev. Harry Christian welcomes the congregation to the 50th anniversary celebration at Topeka Asbury Mount Olive United Methodist Church. Photos by David Burke The church is a merger of two black Methodist Episcopal ...

David Burke


Conference talks about serving others, reacts to General Conference outcomes

Conference talks about serving others, reacts to General Conference outcomes

6/5/2019
With a theme of “Therefore Go: Serve Others” for the 2019 Great Plains Annual Conference, messages throughout the event, May 29-June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, focused on fresh starts — from setting priorities for ministry to starting off in ministry for newly ordained clergy to coping with unrest in The United Methodist Church amid the ongoing debate over human sexuality. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. set the tone with his episcopal address by acknowledging the church’s struggles. “...

Todd Seifert


Interns ready to get to work this summer in Great Plains Conference

Interns ready to get to work this summer in Great Plains Conference

6/5/2019
Internships in the Great Plains Conference are a win-win situation for all involved. The young people get experience in the church and social justice ministries while the organizations get fresh perspectives and eager workers. Pastoral leadership interns Brayan Martinez, center, and Abraham Ruffcorn, with the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford. Photos by David Burke This year 20 interns, ranging from incoming college freshmen to seminary students, are at work in the Great Plains. Seventeen of them ...

More ERTs needed to mobilize after latest round of spring storms

More ERTs needed to mobilize after latest round of spring storms

6/4/2019
Damage from tornadoes that ripped through Douglas County, Kansas, last week have been added to the list of priorities for the Great Plains Disaster Response team, joining flooding in Kansas and Nebraska. Douglas County officials said the May 28 tornado injured 17 people, three of them seriously, and damaged more than 60 homes, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. At its peak, the twister was a mile wide and had wind speeds of 170 mph. The tornado was the county’s first measured at EF-4 since...

David Burke


Annual Conference 2019 Portal

Annual Conference 2019 Portal

6/1/2019
This page serves as a portal for information about the 2019 Great Plains Annual Conference from May 29 to June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas. The theme for Annual Conference 2019 is, "Therefore Go: Serve Others."   Livestream All plenary times will be livestreamed on the conference website at www.greatplainsumc.org/livestream. A link is provided via the button below. A special link is provided below for the memorial service May 30, hosted by Topeka First United Methodist Church....

UMCNext organizers Dotson, Hamilton optimistic about annual conference

UMCNext organizers Dotson, Hamilton optimistic about annual conference

5/23/2019
Two high-profile pastors from the Great Plains Conference, each a member of the UMCNext convening team, said they expect the momentum from their three-day gathering this week to extend into their own annual conference sessions next week. Rev. Junius Dotson, executive secretary of Discipleship Ministries and a former pastor at Wichita Saint Mark UMC, says he expects a resolution to reach the floor of the Great Plains session, May 30 to June 1 in Topeka. “Every annual conference obviously is ...

David Burke


UMCNext meets at Church of the Resurrection to discuss new directions for the denomination

UMCNext meets at Church of the Resurrection to discuss new directions for the denomination

5/22/2019
More than 600 U.S. United Methodists spent three days grappling with possible options for forging what they hope will be a more just and inclusive church future. What united those at UMCNext, which met May 20-22 behind closed doors, was their opposition to the Traditional Plan. That legislation, which the special 2019 General Conference approved by a vote of 438-384, retains the church stance that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and strengthens enforcement...

United Methodist News Service


Nearing retirement, Ritter reflects on 42 years of ministry

Nearing retirement, Ritter reflects on 42 years of ministry

5/21/2019
Even after he announced his retirement, the Rev. Bill Ritter had second thoughts. “I wrestled with it,” the Blue River District superintendent said about concluding 42 years of ministry. “This has been my life, this is all I’ve ever been is a pastor. To think of myself as not being an active pastor was not my nature.” The Rev. Bill Ritter shares a laugh with the Rev. Nancy Tomlinson, his successor as Blue Valley and Elkhorn district superintendent, before the Orders & Fellowship gathering at ...

David Burke


Revs. Nan, Lew Kaye-Skinner reflect on careers in ministry as retirement nears

Revs. Nan, Lew Kaye-Skinner reflect on careers in ministry as retirement nears

5/21/2019
Two of the most visible clergy during the Great Plains Annual Conference sessions are among the 54 retirees from the conference this year. The Rev. Nan Kaye-Skinner and the Rev. Lew Kaye-Skinner are retiring from their appointive positions – she as senior pastor of Lincoln Trinity UMC and he as adjunct faculty in the Bryan LGH College of Health Sciences – but say they are willing to continue their roles during the sessions. Nan has served as secretary of the conference for the past several ...

David Burke


Bishops offer pastoral word, make key decisions at May meeting

Bishops offer pastoral word, make key decisions at May meeting

5/9/2019
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church completed its May 2019 meeting held outside Chicago with a pastoral and prophetic word in response to the decisions of the Special Session and the codification of some of those decisions in the Book of Discipline. “Bishops are not judges or legislators. Bishops are preachers, teachers, shepherds, mediators and missional strategists who appoint clergy and lead annual conferences to make disciples for the transformation of the world,” the ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Great Plains participants pleased with proposed updates of Social Principles

Great Plains participants pleased with proposed updates of Social Principles

5/8/2019
The Rev. Cindy Karges says that being a part of the team tasked with updating the United Methodist Social Principles has been monumental in her career. “It was probably one of the most meaningful experiences of my 30-some years of being in pastoral ministry and in my whole life of being a United Methodist,” said Karges, Gateway and Great West districts superintendent. The Church and Society Board approved the revisions of the Social Principles, which hadn’t been updated since they were ...

David Burke


College ministries spend their spring breaks in service

College ministries spend their spring breaks in service

5/7/2019
While others at their colleges might have been enjoying the sun and fun of spring break, campus ministries of several Great Plains schools were instead exploring service and becoming the hands and feet of Jesus for those less fortunate. Here’s a look at what the students accomplished: Wesley-KU Seven students from the University of Kansas’ Wesley KU Campus Ministry, along with two adults from a local church and campus minister Susan Mercer, went to Puerto Rico, serving in and around San Juan...

Thirteen kids in small, central Kansas church baptized

Thirteen kids in small, central Kansas church baptized

5/1/2019
One by one, they stepped up to the small table where a pitcher and a bowl of water sat. Most of the 12 children — first- through eighth-graders — winced a bit in anticipation of the water that was sprinkled on their heads, but almost all of them walked away with contented smiles on their faces. The Rev. Dennis Carter baptizes a girl, among 13 youth who went through the sacrament at Kanopolis UMC on April 28. Photos by David Burke By the time they were finished, the dozen kids – along with ...

David Burke


Ellsworth church celebrates 40 years of afterschool program

Ellsworth church celebrates 40 years of afterschool program

4/30/2019
What started as the idea of a group of stay-at-home mothers four decades ago has grown into a weekly tradition at Ellsworth United Methodist Church. Kids of the Kingdom draws about half of the students of Ellsworth Elementary School, across the street from the church, for 100 minutes of music, recreation, crafts, Bible lessons, verse memorization and snacks every Wednesday afternoon after school for pupils in kindergarten through fourth grade. Children in Kids of the Kingdom perform for the ...

David Burke


Omaha confirmation class chooses to delay becoming members of United Methodist Church

Omaha confirmation class chooses to delay becoming members of United Methodist Church

4/30/2019
After eight months of confirmation classes as an introduction to United Methodism, a group of eight junior-high students at an Omaha church said they don’t want to join the denomination until people of all sexual orientations have the right to marry in the local church and serve as pastors. The Omaha First UMC youth made a statement during services at what was to be their Confirmation Sunday, April 28. Read the statement from the Omaha First youth here. “We want to be clear that, while we love ...

David Burke


Council of Bishops responds to Judicial Council ruling on special session

Council of Bishops responds to Judicial Council ruling on special session

4/26/2019
The Council of Bishops expresses its deep gratitude to the Judicial Council for its careful review of the actions of the 2019 General Conference. The Judicial Council’s decisions are clear and sound, and they give helpful guidance to the Church.  In Decision 1378, the Judicial Council ruled that the constitutional parts of the Traditional Plan enacted by the General Conference were severable from those parts that it ruled were unconstitutional. The parts of the Traditional Plan that were ...

United Methodist News Service


Court OKs part of Traditional Plan, exit plan

Court OKs part of Traditional Plan, exit plan

4/26/2019
— Chart summarizes ruling on the Traditional Plan petitions and the Disaffiliation petition. — Council of Bishops issues statement on ruling. The United Methodist Church’s top court has found that while some provisions of the newly adopted Traditional Plan remain unconstitutional, the rest of the plan is valid as church law. That was the Judicial Council’s ruling on a requested review of the Traditional Plan, which was approved during a special denomination-wide legislative session in February ...

United Methodist News Service


37 clergy, 44 laity offer selves for election as General, Jurisdictional conference delegates

37 clergy, 44 laity offer selves for election as General, Jurisdictional conference delegates

4/24/2019
Profiles from people who have offered themselves for election as delegates to the 2020 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference are available to be downloaded from a page on the Great Plains Conference website. The profiles are broken out for clergy and laity, and each can be viewed either individually or can be downloaded as a single document to make printing easier. Each profile contains demographic information for the person and includes their answers to questions pertinent to the ...

Connecting Council hears ideas for organizing for justice ministries

Connecting Council hears ideas for organizing for justice ministries

4/9/2019
The Connecting Council heard proposals during its April meeting in Topeka from two organizations that could help provide a boost to justice ministries throughout Kansas and Nebraska.  Direct Action & Research Training (DART) and the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) presented proposals of how they could partner with the more than 1,000 churches across the Great Plains to live out the call from Micah 6:8 to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly” with God. The ...

Todd Seifert


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