News


SW Kansas stop on bishop's tour draws 340

SW Kansas stop on bishop's tour draws 340

9/11/2018
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 known plans regarding human sexuality issues leading up to a special session of the General Conference in February in St. Louis. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. speaks to members of churches in the Dodge City ...

David Burke


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

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

9/5/2018
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 appointed pastor of O’Neill United Methodist Church last November, he was no stranger to the Nebraska community.  His father, the Rev. Glenn Loy, was pastor of the church from 1976 to 1983, during which ...

David Burke


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

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

8/27/2018
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 first meeting, at Omaha St. Luke UMC, which drew approximately 350 people on Aug. 25. About 200 attended that afternoon’s session at Lincoln Trinity UMC, and more than 250 packed into Olathe Grace UMC ...

David Burke


Petition process decided for special session

Petition process decided for special session

8/27/2018
The Commission on the General Conference has outlined a process for determining if petitions submitted to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference are in harmony with the Council of Bishops’ amended call to the session, which states that the purpose of the special session “shall be limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based upon the recommendations of the Council of Bishops.” The Judicial Council ruled that petitions may be filed by an ...

Learn more about optional benefits for clergy

Learn more about optional benefits for clergy

8/20/2018
All three-quarter and full-time clergy serving in churches are invited to learn more about optional benefits for 2019 prior to this year’s open-enrollment time. Special webinars are planned to explain coverage for such optional benefits as dental, vision, supplemental life insurance, accident insurance and critical illness insurance.  Conference Benefits Officer Peggy Mihoover will walk participants through the enrollment process for ADP, our online enrollment tool. All clergy serving in ...

‘Outsiders’ gets Mulvane church into community

‘Outsiders’ gets Mulvane church into community

8/15/2018
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 beautiful, and you are loved by God,” the Rev. Mitch Todd, wearing a red stole over a polo shirt and shorts, said as he laid hands on each dog. “May you always be obedient to your masters and know that they ...

David Burke


Nebraska church responds after immigration raid strands workers

Nebraska church responds after immigration raid strands workers

8/14/2018
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 endure,” said the church’s pastor, Brian Loy. After the Aug. 8 raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, 17 business colleagues were arrested on charges connected with human ...

David Burke


Retired Nebraska pastor still fighting death penalty

Retired Nebraska pastor still fighting death penalty

8/2/2018
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 Moore received the death sentence in 1980, after convictions in the murders of two cab drivers in Omaha in 1979. “Mr. Moore has decided not to oppose his execution,” said Griffith, who served two ...

David Burke


Patrons, pastors remember Mead’s Corner

Patrons, pastors remember Mead’s Corner

7/30/2018
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 Corner, the people,” said Leslie Coates, who leads a contemporary service called The Gathering on Sunday nights. “Mead’s Corner is a whole lot of people who have been coming together and meeting together....

David Burke


Summit meets SoCe Life in Wichita field trip

Summit meets SoCe Life in Wichita field trip

7/27/2018
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 the neighboring movement in the South Central neighborhood of the city. On the Thursday of the July 22-28 session, students learned about the work done by SoCe Life, which has spun into the national N...

David Burke


UMY Institute continues legacy of inspiring, motivating youth

UMY Institute continues legacy of inspiring, motivating youth

7/23/2018
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 in the next-to-back row of Baldwin City First United Methodist Church, which was packed for the midweek celebration on July 18. Evelyn Jackson, nearing her 99th birthday, attended the youth gathering ...

David Burke


General Conference delegates discuss A Way Forward

General Conference delegates discuss A Way Forward

7/17/2018
When General Conference delegates get together, they often spend their time discussing votes and lobbying fellow delegates to vote as they do. Lonnie Chafin, a lay delegate from the Northern Illinois Conference, wanted a different approach ahead of next year’s special session of The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly. The 2019 special General Conference seeks to resolve the denomination’s longtime debate over ministry with LGBTQ individuals — a dispute that threatens to splinter ...

Kansas pastor forms Mainstream UMC to push One Church plan

Kansas pastor forms Mainstream UMC to push One Church plan

7/17/2018
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 co-founded by the Rev. Mark Holland, who has taken a sabbatical after 24 years of ministry, including the past 19 as pastor of Trinity Community Church, a United Methodist congregation in Kansas City, ...

David Burke


Bishops praise release of missionaries from Philippines

Bishops praise release of missionaries from Philippines

7/13/2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The bishops of The United Methodist Church are praising God that all three of the young UMC missionaries detained by in the Republic of the Philippines have been allowed to leave that country and are now safely reunited with their families.  American Adam Shaw reached his parents’ home in Brunswick, Ohio, on July 4; Zimbabwean Tawanda Chandiwana landed in his home country of Zimbabwe on July 6; and Malawian Miracle Osman was allowed to leave to and join her parents in Malawi ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Bishops seek declaratory decisions on three plans submitted to General Conference

Bishops seek declaratory decisions on three plans submitted to General Conference

7/12/2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking the Judicial Council for declaratory decisions on the constitutionality of the petitions submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. In an electronic vote on July 7, 2018, the bishops agreed to seek a ruling from the highest court in the denomination on whether proposed legislations known as the One Church Plan, the Connectional Conference Plan, and the ...

Email scams begin to target church officials

Email scams begin to target church officials

7/12/2018
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 W2s, please provide me with the WFID in order to avoid any potential late penalties.” Church members noticed several red flags – the government contacts people by mail, not email; the Social ...

David Burke


Eureka church plays vital role in tornado recovery

Eureka church plays vital role in tornado recovery

7/11/2018
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 been done to the Greenwood County, Kansas, community. “If you didn’t see the tarps on the roofs or the boarded-up windows, you never would have known a tornado went through that town,” Tapley, ...

David Burke


Translation for commission's final report expected by July 30

Translation for commission's final report expected by July 30

7/9/2018
NASHVILLE - The final report of the Commission on a Way Forward to the Special Session of the General Conference in 2019 will become available once it has been translated from English into the other three official languages of The United Methodist Church (French, Portuguese, and KiSwahili), anticipated by July 30. "The Commission on the General Conference and the Council of Bishops join the whole church in the desire that everyone within the United Methodist family have access to these materials...

Maidstone Mulenga


Two of three detained missionaries leave Philippines

Two of three detained missionaries leave Philippines

7/6/2018
Two of three United Methodist missionaries who had been detained in the Philippines have left the country, and one, Adam Shaw, has been reunited with his family in Ohio. Tawanda Chandiwana is on the way to his home country of Zimbabwe, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries reported on July 5. A third missionary, Miracle Osman of Malawi, is working with Filipino attorneys on paperwork, and Global Ministries officials are hopeful she’ll be allowed to leave, said Dan Curran, a spokesman ...

Bishops give advice to young pastors at festival

Bishops give advice to young pastors at festival

7/2/2018
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 hosted Bishops Week for the jurisdiction’s episcopal leaders and their cabinets. The nine bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction speak to attendees of the Young Preachers Festival on June 27 at Church...

David Burke


GP Disaster Response returns to Eureka, Kansas

GP Disaster Response returns to Eureka, Kansas

6/28/2018
Two years after the Great Plains Disaster Response team helped those whose property was damaged by a tornado in Eureka, Kansas, they returned to help victims of the latest storm. “They can’t believe this is happening again,” said the Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator for the conference. While the 2016 EF-2 tornado struck from northwest to southeast in the Greenwood County community of 2,000, the June 26 EF-3 storm went from southwest to northeast, creating an X over the town. ...

Evangelism is a job for all of us, annual conference told

Evangelism is a job for all of us, annual conference told

6/15/2018
“Evangelism is a word that makes people feel uncomfortable, something where we feel like it’s only for those people who have that special gift to be an evangelist and who ought to be doing it. Is this right? No, this is wrong! It is bias!” the Rev. Dr. Mark R. Teasdale proclaimed Friday to Great Plains Conference attendees. Teasdale was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Great Plains Annual Conference session held in Wichita. Under the title “Evangelism for Non-Evangelist,” Teasdale shared ...

Eugenio Hernandez


Recap of 2018 Annual Conference

Recap of 2018 Annual Conference

6/15/2018
The 2018 Great Plains Annual Conference Session took place from June 13-16 at Century II in Wichita. For those wanting to relive the moments, reinforce the messages or reflect on them to fellow church members, here is a multimedia collection of what happened at this year's conference. VIDEOS Wednesday, June 13 Sermon: Rev. Wayne Alloway Baptism: Iris Eileen Cannon Memorial service, processional Offering, communion, benediction Thursday, June 14 Worship with Aaron Lee Martin Laity session ...

UMC leader joins in statement on refugee family separation

UMC leader joins in statement on refugee family separation

6/7/2018
The United Methodist Church is joining other faith organizations in a statement urging the U.S. government to stop its policy of separating immigrant families. Below is the full statement signed by dozens of faith organizations. Bishop Kenneth H.  Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, signed on behalf of the UMC. FAITH LEADERS’ STATEMENT ON FAMILY SEPARATION  Recently, the U.S. Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who ...

Amp It Up! camp experience transforms young musicians

Amp It Up! camp experience transforms young musicians

6/5/2018
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 band camp. “She didn’t even want to play guitar. She came here because her friends were coming,” recalled Kendel, now worship director at Abilene Emanuel United Methodist Church, where that same girl ...

David Burke


Wichita districts offer their first confirmation camp

Wichita districts offer their first confirmation camp

6/5/2018
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 during a recent session at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. Photo by David Burke “As a good person,” one student said. “Caring,” another added. “Generous,” another chimed in. But, ...

David Burke


Dozens begin summer internships with Great Plains Conference

Dozens begin summer internships with Great Plains Conference

5/30/2018
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 paths brought all of them to the Great Plains Conference, beginning May 29, as summer interns. Dozens of them gathered at Camp Chippewa, near Ottawa, Kansas, for orientation before spreading out ...

David Burke


Bishops, Upper Room launch Phase 3 of Praying Our Way Forward

Bishops, Upper Room launch Phase 3 of Praying Our Way Forward

5/24/2018
WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- The Council of Bishops, in partnership with The Upper Room, is launching Phase 3 of Praying our Way Forward. Phase 1 involved 84 members of the Council of Bishops praying for The United Methodist Church’s way forward for 15 minutes daily, from August to December 2016. This was followed by Phase 2, which resulted in 18 continuous months of daily individual and corporate prayer by faithful members of annual conferences around the globe. “Now we are ready to launch Phase 3, ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Forward in Unity team prepares for annual conference presentations

Forward in Unity team prepares for annual conference presentations

5/22/2018
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. talks about the recent Council of Bishops meetings while the Rev. Dee Williamston, Salina District superintendent looks on during the May 16 Forward in Unity Process Team meeting. Photo by Todd Seifert   The Great Plains Conference’s Forward in Unity Process Team heard a message about interpretation of scripture from the Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor of the denomination’s largest church, and discussed how best to share information with people who ...

Todd Seifert


Commission ends its work; hears bishops’ recommendation for a way forward

Commission ends its work; hears bishops’ recommendation for a way forward

5/17/2018
NASHVILLE — The 32-member Commission on a Way Forward for The United Methodist Church concluded its ninth and final meeting May 16 in Nashville. The commission met nine times over 17 months. The commission reviewed a wide variety of petitions presented as legislation to previous General Conferences regarding human sexuality and examined how other faith communities and denominations are responding or have responded to the question of inclusion of LGBTQ persons. Courtesy photo “The key part of...

Maidstone Mulenga


Two of five amendments fail to get two-thirds majority

Two of five amendments fail to get two-thirds majority

5/7/2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has completed canvassing the votes of annual conferences on the five constitutional amendments that were approved by the 2016 General Conference.  The five proposed amendments to the Constitution of The United Methodist Church as contained in "The Book of Discipline" (BOD) were as follows:  The first amendment proposed a new paragraph between current Paragraph 5 and Paragraph 6. This new paragraph would have focused on ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Bishops recommend One Church Plan

Bishops recommend One Church Plan

5/4/2018
CHICAGO – United Methodist bishops, meeting in Chicago, engaged in a prayerful process to discern a way forward.  At the conclusion of the discernment process, the Council of Bishops strongly approved the following motion and rationale: Having received and considered the extensive work of the Commission on a Way Forward, the Council of Bishops will submit a report to the Special Session of the General Conference in 2019 that includes: All three plans (The Traditionalist Plan, The One ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Bishop Saenz offers thoughts on council's recommendation on way forward

Bishop Saenz offers thoughts on council's recommendation on way forward

5/4/2018
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It was an honor to participate in the discernment process undertaken by the Council of Bishops to present a way forward for The United Methodist Church concerning human sexuality. I speak for myself and the Council of Bishops in expressing a sincere and deep gratitude for the challenging work the 32 diverse members of the Commission on a Way Forward faithfully engaged in over the past 18 months. The commission ...

Dotson pleased with #SeeAllThePeople progress

Dotson pleased with #SeeAllThePeople progress

5/1/2018
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 gathering hosted by Wichita Calvary UMC. Photo by David Burke “It resonates with the average person in the pew about the need to engage the community, to engage people outside the church, to engage people ...

David Burke


The church is watching, waiting, UMC Bishops are told

The church is watching, waiting, UMC Bishops are told

4/30/2018
CHICAGO – United Methodist bishops were reminded April 29 that the church is watching, waiting and wondering if and how they will lead the denomination into the future. At the opening of the 2018 April/May meeting of the Council of Bishops at the Hilton Rosemont Hotel in Chicago, President Bruce R. Ough told his fellow bishops that he believes that the church, for the most part, will follow the bishops. “They will take their cues from this Council and from this meeting of our Council. If we ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Spam threatening greatplainsumc.org email accounts

Spam threatening greatplainsumc.org email accounts

4/27/2018
To all users with a greatplainsumc.org email account,   A spam email is being used to harvest username and password credentials and hack into users’ accounts.   The spam email indicates there is a document hosted by Microsoft that you need to retrieve by clicking a link. Clicking the link takes you to a website where there are several options to authenticate and retrieve the document: AOL, Office 365, Outlook.com, Google, etc.   Logging in with one of the listed methods does not give you access...

Connecting Council learns more of networks, statistics, bishops’ commission

Connecting Council learns more of networks, statistics, bishops’ commission

4/25/2018
The Great Plains Conference Connecting Council learned about the progress of networks across Kansas and Nebraska, discussed concepts in the book “The Anatomy of Peace” and took part in a town hall-style dialogue associated with possible proposals from the Commission on a Way Forward during the group’s spring meeting April 20-21 in Topeka. Amid Friday’s business items of approving manual revisions for Disaster Response, accepting a report about Great Plains Camps and learning about next steps ...

Todd Seifert


Bishops to act on three major issues at Chicago meeting

Bishops to act on three major issues at Chicago meeting

4/24/2018
The Bishops of The United Methodist Church will meet in Chicago from April 29 to May 4 to celebrate leadership through the passing of the gavel, certify constitutional amendments and finalize their recommendations to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. The April/May meeting of the Council of Bishops will also hear leadership reports regarding immigration, ecumenical relations, racism, disaster relief and other mission and ministry work around the global denomination. “As leaders ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Social Principles revision gets help from Great Plains staffer

Social Principles revision gets help from Great Plains staffer

4/18/2018
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 forth principles for the denomination. The others were The Community of All Creation, The Nurturing Community, The Political Community, The Economic Community and The World Community. The conveners of ...

David Burke


Water’s Edge opens new building, keeps same goal of making disciples

Water’s Edge opens new building, keeps same goal of making disciples

4/17/2018
The Water's Edge Church worshiped in its new building in Omaha for the first time March 18 and consecrated the building April 8. Photo courtesy The Water's Edge   Just as Jesus reached out to men who would become His disciples along the shore of Lake Gennesaret, The Water’s Edge Church is reaching out to the people of Omaha to make 21st century disciples. The Water’s Edge worshiped in its new building for the first time March 18, marking the start of a new chapter for a ministry that began...

Todd Seifert


Fresh Expressions encourages creative ministry beyond the 4 walls

Fresh Expressions encourages creative ministry beyond the 4 walls

4/11/2018
Several members of the Great Plains Conference traveled March 15-17 to Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., to attend the national gathering of Fresh Expressions. The event, attended by more than 500 participants from across the nation, represented a number of denominations and local churches. Great Plains Conference attendees at the Fresh Expressions national gathering were (front row, from left) Rev. Ed Friesen, Pastor Jim Rice, Rev. Dr. Russell Anderson, Carrington Bruce and ...

Rev. Dr. Mitch Reece

Todd Seifert


Conference team begins work on human sexuality-related resources

Conference team begins work on human sexuality-related resources

4/10/2018
The Great Plains Conference’s Forward in Unity Process Team experienced what a town hall-style meeting would be like for future participants as they learn and discuss the Council of Bishops’ recommendations to help The United Methodist Church find a way forward.  The team, an assembly of leaders from throughout the Great Plains Conference, is designing resources for local congregations to disseminate accurate information and to hear the hopes and concerns from people throughout Kansas and ...

Todd Seifert


Church trades worship for service in 'Doing Good Friday'

Church trades worship for service in 'Doing Good Friday'

4/3/2018
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 those midweek services are not exactly thriving,” said the Rev. Lora Andrews, in her fourth year as the church’s pastor. “We were trying to decide how to go a different way to go about it.” About 60 ...

David Burke


Festival of Friendship reaches out to community

Festival of Friendship reaches out to community

4/2/2018
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 city.  “The community that we sit in the middle of is 62 percent Hispanic, with another 10 or 12 percent nonwhites,” said the Rev. Anne Gahn, Lexington First United Methodist Church pastor.   ...

David Burke


Pipe organ is teaching tool at Lincoln First UMC, Nebraska Wesleyan

Pipe organ is teaching tool at Lincoln First UMC, Nebraska Wesleyan

3/29/2018
 “May all who come behind us find us faithful….” – Jon Mohr  “Let us run with perseverance the race before us.” – Hebrews 12:1  One of the blessings of being a church in close proximity to a university or college is the way each can be a benefit to each other and work with each other. The students and faculty of Nebraska Wesleyan University are such a gift to First United Methodist enlivening every part of our church ministries. One of the amazing people I got to meet as the church organist ...

United Methodists celebrating 50th anniversary of historic merger

United Methodists celebrating 50th anniversary of historic merger

3/29/2018
Nashville, Tennessee – Congregations across the connection are invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary commemorating the event on April 23, 1968, when leaders of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church declared the creation of a new denomination, The United Methodist Church. With the words “Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church,” the new denomination was birthed at the constituting General Conference being held ...

Campus ministries unite for spring break project in Rio Texas

Campus ministries unite for spring break project in Rio Texas

3/27/2018
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 representing the Great Plains Conference spent the third week of March at work performing disaster response in the Rio Texas Conference. Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of ...

David Burke


Commission completes final report for bishops

Commission completes final report for bishops

3/23/2018
Members of the Commission on a Way Forward expressed gratitude at the opportunity to be part of the commission and they signaled hope for The United Methodist Church as they completed their meeting in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 22. Members of the Commission on a Way Forward take part in small-group discussions during a recent meeting in Los Angeles. The commission prepared its final report, which will be presented to the Council of Bishops at its next meeting April 29-May 4 in Chicago. ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Great Plains laity/church on a mission to help “Little Annie”

Great Plains laity/church on a mission to help “Little Annie”

3/20/2018
Children are supposed to spend their days learning and playing, not fighting for survival. Kids battling serious illnesses at least usually have their parents to turn to for support. “Little Annie” has no parents for support. In fact, she’s a child in a Bolivian orphanage who needs financial assistance to have what could be a life-saving surgery. Jenice Epp, a member of McCool Junction United Methodist Church in Nebraska, is raising money so Little Annie (not the child’s real name) can have ...

Rachel Moser


Methodist leaders optimistic about possible changes

Methodist leaders optimistic about possible changes

3/20/2018
DALLAS -- Several leaders of United Methodist Church-related institutions voiced optimism and are preparing for possible changes in the global denomination that could occur as a result of the Special Session of the General Conference called for February next year.   As part of its commitment of offering a proposal that would move the United Methodist Church forward with as much unity as possible, the Council of Bishops invited leaders of United Methodist-related anchor institutions for ...

Maidstone Mulenga


UMW celebrates legacy one stitch at a time

UMW celebrates legacy one stitch at a time

3/16/2018
When United Methodist Women of the Great Plains Conference decided they wanted to commemorate the 150th anniversary of UMW in 2019, they decided to put the crafting skills of women in Kansas and Nebraska to work making a quilt. Marilyn Zehring of Columbus, Nebraska, and Louise Niemann of David City, Nebraska, display the recently completed Legacy Fund quilt, which includes images provided by quilters in all 17 districts of the Great Plains Conference. Photo by Todd Seifert But this is no ...

Todd Seifert


Commission on a Way Forward meets March 19-22 to prepare final report

Commission on a Way Forward meets March 19-22 to prepare final report

3/14/2018
WASHINGTON D.C. – The 32-member Commission on a Way Forward will meet in Los Angeles on March 19-22 to prepare a final report to be submitted to the Council of the Bishops for consideration by the bishops at their April/May meeting. “The Commission is focused on suggesting a way forward that pays attention to our public mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, especially with those who are not yet a part of our churches,” said Bishop Ken Carter, resident...

Maidstone Mulenga


Bishop Ough, thousands of United Methodists to join in rally against racism

Bishop Ough, thousands of United Methodists to join in rally against racism

3/13/2018
WASHINGTON, D.C.  – As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., United Methodists will unite with members of the National Council of Churches in Washington, D.C., April 3-5, for the Truth and Racial Justice Initiative. The events begin with a briefing on alleviating racism and injustice in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, the media, health care, voting, civil and human rights, environmental justice, education and ...

Team assembled to help with focus on unity in Great Plains

Team assembled to help with focus on unity in Great Plains

3/7/2018
With a special General Conference called for February 2019 to address human sexuality concerns drawing nearer, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has assembled a team of leaders from throughout the Great Plains Conference to develop a process to offer resources, tools, disseminate accurate information and to hear the hopes and concerns from people throughout Kansas and Nebraska. The Rev. David Livingston (center) makes a point during discussion about the book "Anatomy of Peace" on March 6, the first ...

Todd Seifert


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

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

3/6/2018
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 crowd after a tour of schools in the area earlier in the day. Kevin Marozas, chairman of the rally, said he was impressed that Norman told about his life differently at every stop. “He touched on a ...

David Burke


Nearing $1 million mark, NUMB rides for 23rd time June 23-27

Nearing $1 million mark, NUMB rides for 23rd time June 23-27

3/2/2018
NUMB, the Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger, is in its 23rd year of making a difference in the lives of those who are hungry. This year’s ride is scheduled for June 23-27. Since its beginning in 1995, NUMB has donated more than $910,000 for the fight against hunger. Proceeds from the ride support four hunger projects from around the world: Nebraska food banks, Heifer International, The Society of St. Andrew and the Africa University agriculture training program.  Bicyclists ...

Gatobu selected as next DS in Kansas City

Gatobu selected as next DS in Kansas City

3/1/2018
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the Cabinet have announced that the Rev. Dr. Anne Kiome Gatobu will be the next Kansas City District superintendent. Gatobu, currently serving in extension ministry with Flourishing Springs, a ministry of pastoral self-care, creativity and coaching, will assume her new position when the appointive year begins July 1. She will succeed the Rev. Dr. Bruce Emmert, who has been appointed to serve effective July 1 as senior pastor of St. Andrews United Methodist Church in ...

Todd Seifert


Commission on a Way Forward clarifies values as it presents two sketches to bishops

Commission on a Way Forward clarifies values as it presents two sketches to bishops

2/28/2018
DALLAS -- What is the Christ’s way forward for doing mission and ministry in the worldwide United Methodist Church? That is the question bishops pondered during their February meeting in Dallas this week as they received an updated report from the Commission on a Way Forward.  In the report given to the Council this week, the Commission shared with the bishops two sketches that carry forward many of the values and principles of the three sketches that were presented to the bishops at their ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Pastors reflect on Black History Month, role in community

Pastors reflect on Black History Month, role in community

2/28/2018
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. Robert Johnson, in his second year at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, Wichita; The Rev. Cynthia Smart, in her ninth year as pastor of Mason Memorial UMC in Kansas City, Kansas; and The Rev. Kevass ...

David Burke


Nebraskans learn about key legislative issues

Nebraskans learn about key legislative issues

2/27/2018
More than 100 people learned about legislation in Nebraska on important topics such as human trafficking, funding for schools, prison reform and immigration during the annual ecumenical legislative briefing day. Founded in 1975, the event provides a full day of workshops and presentations on issues in the Nebraska unicameral legislature. Though winter weather kept some registrants away, the briefing day still drew a crowd that led to full workshop rooms as representatives from agencies and ...

Todd Seifert


Bishops to receive, discuss updated report from Commission on a Way Forward

Bishops to receive, discuss updated report from Commission on a Way Forward

2/22/2018
WASHINGTON, DC - With attention on the missional and theological foundations of The United Methodist Church, the Council of Bishops (COB) is preparing to receive an updated report from the Commission on a Way Forward on possible models regarding the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the global denomination.   The 32-member Commission met last month to rework sketches of possible models of the future of the denomination and will present that updated report to the bishops at a special meeting set for ...

Bishop writes open letter about immigration issues

Bishop writes open letter about immigration issues

2/22/2018
The United States continues to struggle with issues surrounding immigration. In recent weeks, the U.S. Senate has voted on multiple proposals that would have extended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, disagreements on other aspects of immigration policy have stalled further action. Now, a March 5 deadline looms even as Congress continues to debate, and the courts continue to hear cases. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has issued the following open letter to the people ...

Networks system taking firmer hold with change in Elkhorn Valley District

Networks system taking firmer hold with change in Elkhorn Valley District

2/22/2018
The retirement of Elkhorn Valley District Superintendent Eldon Davis has prompted the Great Plains Conference to more fully live into a network-based system introduced last year. The Rev. Eldon Davis, Elkhorn Valley District superintendent, serves communion during the annual Orders & Fellowship clergy gathering in January in Kearney, Nebraska. Davis has announced his retirement, effective June 30. Photo by David Burke Read more about retiring Elkhorn Valley District Superintendent Eldon Davis....

Todd Seifert


Bishop encourages youth to step up at Confirmation Rally

Bishop encourages youth to step up at Confirmation Rally

2/21/2018
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 years before.” Likewise, the bishop said, the athletes didn’t just get their on their own, as he showed photos of snowboarder Shaun White and skier Mikaela Shiffrin with their coaches. “God has put ...

David Burke


Bishop, Cabinet share insights of making appointments

Bishop, Cabinet share insights of making appointments

2/21/2018
It's that time of year when the bishop and cabinet meet often to discuss, pray about and discern appointments for pastors throughout the Great Plains Conference.  But what, exactly, plays into that decision? Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the district superintendents have provided this document (download the PDF) to explain the things they consider as they do their best to match up clergy with churches.  

Africa University's top fundraiser endows scholarship

Africa University's top fundraiser endows scholarship

2/19/2018
Growing up on a small farm in South Carolina, James H. “Jim” Salley never dreamed of becoming the top fundraiser for Africa University, the university founded by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in Mutare, Zimbabwe. James H. Salley, associate vice-chancellor for institutional advancement for Africa University, speaks during the 20th anniversary celebration of Africa University on March 23, 2013. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS. Nor did he expect to give more than $130,000...

Elkhorn Valley DS Eldon Davis to retire

Elkhorn Valley DS Eldon Davis to retire

2/19/2018
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 Rev. Eldon Davis will be retiring at the end of June. “I feel like it’s time to go to a different stage in my life,” said Davis, 69. “I’m looking forward to working with churches and being a part of a ...

David Burke


Emmert leaving Cabinet to serve at Omaha St. Andrew's UMC

Emmert leaving Cabinet to serve at Omaha St. Andrew's UMC

2/16/2018
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the Cabinet of the Great Plains Conference announced Friday, Feb. 16, that the Rev. Dr. Bruce Emmert will be reappointed from his role as Kansas City District superintendent to serve as lead pastor at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Omaha, effective July 1. St. Andrew's UMC has been led for 13 years by the Rev. Bruce Davis, who is retiring at the end of the appointive year on June 30. Kansas City District Superintendent Bruce Emmert leads a prayer during an ...

Todd Seifert


Topeka church reaches out for Black History Month

Topeka church reaches out for Black History Month

2/15/2018
A United Methodist Church in Topeka is celebrating Black History Month and reaching out to the community at the same time. In a special service at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, Asbury Mount Olive UMC, 1196 SW Buchanan St., will host nearby Calvary Baptist Church for its celebration. A play, “Remembering the Past,” will include a narrator and actors representing historic African-Americans, including Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks. Calvary Baptist’s pastor will provide the sermon, and its choir ...

Bishop Saenz leads Lenten devotion on our journey to the cross

Bishop Saenz leads Lenten devotion on our journey to the cross

2/15/2018
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. is offering a devotion most days during Lent meant to help United Methodists in the Great Plains Conference and beyond embrace scripture during this time of preparation and reflection. Each devotion includes scripture for learning, questions for meditation, prayer and other spiritual aspects, such as a Gloria Patri.

Salina church gives ‘Night to Shine’ to special-needs individuals

Salina church gives ‘Night to Shine’ to special-needs individuals

2/14/2018
They arrived wearing tuxedos and evening gowns, under an arch of military sabers. They got their hair and makeup done and shoes shined, and walked through a row of paparazzi on the red carpet. They got pictures taken in front of a balloon arch. They enjoyed dinner, sang karaoke and danced long past the appointed hour; some got their first rides in a limousine. It was, indeed, their “Night to Shine.” Kansas Wesleyan’s Student Activities Center was one of 537 locations on Feb. 9 for “A Night...

LEAF event updates, encourages political action among women

LEAF event updates, encourages political action among women

2/13/2018
  In her opening prayer, the Rev. Sandy Vogel made the intention of the 43rd annual Legislative Event for Advocacy in Faith, or LEAF, event clear. “We want the very best for all people,” said Vogel, congregational care pastor for Topeka First United Methodist Church, where LEAF took place Feb. 11-12. The theme was “Called to Community,” based on Hebrews 13:1. Through keynote speeches and workshops throughout the two-day event, about 140 women – and a few men – learned about issues facing ...

Washington trip blossoms into mentoring program for Omaha youth

Washington trip blossoms into mentoring program for Omaha youth

2/6/2018
The Roots and Wings Education Mission Trip last summer brought together young people from three Omaha-area churches for fellowship, sight-seeing and history lessons, some from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Photo courtesy Living Hope UMC in Omaha   What started as a summer trip to Washington, D.C., for three Omaha churches has blossomed into a mentoring program for many of the youth who want to get closer to Christ. “It was a learning trip, but it was also a ...

Former UM pastor turns in credentials, starts in new denomination

Former UM pastor turns in credentials, starts in new denomination

2/2/2018
A former United Methodist pastor who told her congregation two years ago that she was a lesbian has turned in her credentials after serving a new church in a different denomination. “I no longer have any formal relationship to the United Methodist Church,” the Rev. Cynthia Meyer, interim minister at Central Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Topeka, wrote in a statement. ​The Rev. Cynthia Meyer gets a hug and well wishes from supporters after a meeting with Bishop Scott Jones on ...

'Wesleyan Live!' returns with new instructor

'Wesleyan Live!' returns with new instructor

1/30/2018
Nebraska Wesleyan University begins a new season of “Wesleyan Live!” with a new instructor.    The Rev. Jonathan Redding, visiting assistant professor of religion, will take over the lectionary Lenten Bible study for the Rev. Dr. Robert Jewett, a theologian who is retiring from the program.    Redding is a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University and has a master’s of divinity degree from Wake Forest. He has taught at Middle Tennessee State University and University of the South. He is ...

Commission moderators emphasize mission as key to way forward

Commission moderators emphasize mission as key to way forward

1/30/2018
The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward are urging United Methodists to engage in reflections on where they see mission at the heart of the denomination as well as seeing mission as significant for resolving conflict.  Below is the statement from Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball, and Ken Carter.   Mission and the Way Forward  in the Season after the Epiphany At the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward, the members were asked to share three words ...

Christmas spirit of giving alive and well in Great Plains

Christmas spirit of giving alive and well in Great Plains

1/24/2018
Calvary United Methodist Church in Wichita raised more than $10,000 to help United Methodist Open Door, a Wichita-based homeless shelter and food pantry. Photo courtesy Wichita Calvary UMC The Christmas decorations have been taken down and boxed. The nativity scene animals have returned to their barns, and the presents have been exchanged. But the generosity of United Methodist churches in the Great Plains Conference has lingered well past the holiday through donations to those inside and ...

Consultants talk money with pastors at Orders & Fellowship

Consultants talk money with pastors at Orders & Fellowship

1/24/2018
Pastors need to think more like fundraisers while keeping their churches focused on their missions. That was the overriding theme of the 2018 Orders & Fellowship meeting, Jan. 17-19 at Younes Conference Center in Kearney. Two nationally recognized experts on fundraising from Horizons Stewardship – Horizons founder, the Rev. Dr. Clif Christopher, and the Rev. Dr. Mike Slaughter, who recently retired after 38 years with Ohio’s Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church – challenged the ...

Way Forward Commission fleshing out 3 possible futures

Way Forward Commission fleshing out 3 possible futures

1/22/2018
  The Commission on a Way Forward is fleshing out the details of three possible models for how the denomination treats LGBTQ inclusion. The multinational group, appointed by United Methodist bishops, held its seventh meeting behind closed doors Jan. 18-20 in Dallas. Each model has its supporters among the 32 commission members with no single plan having a clear majority, commission members told United Methodist News Service. “Some commission members prefer one sketch; others prefer a different ...

Participants kick up their boots at fifth-annual OneEvent

Participants kick up their boots at fifth-annual OneEvent

1/9/2018
On the first weekend of January, “yee-haws” joined with “amens” at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina. The fifth-annual The OneEvent, a gathering of nearly 1,000 junior-high and high school-age youth, had a Western theme. Organizers wore cowboy hats and shirts or prairie dresses. A wagon wheel and hay bales decorated the stage. A conestoga wagon sat in the lobby for group pictures. It matched the theme, “Dead? or Alive!,” based on James 2:26. In the arena of the events center, ...

An Epiphany Message: Spiritual Insight and Pilgrimage

An Epiphany Message: Spiritual Insight and Pilgrimage

1/6/2018
Jan. 6, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany. Epiphany celebrates the revelation and manifestation of Christ the King to the Magi, and ultimately, the gentile world. The Magi journey across many miles following a star until it rests over the Christ child in Bethlehem. There, they offer the Christ child gifts worthy of a righteous and eternal king who is prophesied to provide abundance for his peoples, defend the cause of the poor with justice, deliver the needy, crush the ...

Take action in January to stop human trafficking

Take action in January to stop human trafficking

1/3/2018
The brutal institution of slavery did not end with the American Civil War. In fact, slavery – known today as human trafficking – is a burgeoning industry that requires not just education to stop it, but action from people of faith in Jesus, the Christ, who sets the whole person free toward an abundant life.   Indeed, human trafficking is a worldwide epidemic that has claimed more than 21 million victims, many of them young girls sold into the sexual slavery industry (http://www.unodc.org/unodc/e...

Wichita Saint Mark starts ‘new era’ with RISE

Wichita Saint Mark starts ‘new era’ with RISE

1/2/2018
Saint Mark United Methodist Church is hoping for a “RISE” – literally, figuratively and spiritually – in 2018. The Wichita church, the largest African-American church in the Great Plains Conference and one of the flagships in the country, is spending the year focusing on its mission and evangelism while reaching out more into the community, said its pastor, the Rev. Robert Johnson. RISE will be introduced at the Wichita church, at both its main and southeast campuses, with Sunday services ...

A Resolute Heart Cry for 2018 – Make Us a Blessing!

A Resolute Heart Cry for 2018 – Make Us a Blessing!

12/30/2017
To the Blessed People of Great Plains Conference,   A member of my hometown church and close friend of the family sent Maye and me $250 every month for four years while I attended seminary. The check would arrive within the first three days of each month. That financial gift made it possible for me to work a part-time job so I could focus on my seminary studies and finish within four years. It has been 20 years since I finished seminary, and my friend has never asked me for anything in return....

‘Shark Tank’ sequel puts entrepreneurial spirit into action

‘Shark Tank’ sequel puts entrepreneurial spirit into action

12/19/2017
Presenters entering the second round of “Shark Tank” presentations for the Great Plains Conference on Dec. 13, weren’t showing off gizmos and gadgets for big-money backing. Instead, they brought ideas for expanding ministries and reaching out for new disciples in sessions at First United Methodist Church in Topeka. Based on the hit TV competition series, the Great Plains’ “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurial-minded pastors made their pitches for new programs to a panel that included other pastors, ...

Wichita ReNew expands Christmas tradition

Wichita ReNew expands Christmas tradition

12/18/2017
When the Aldersgate ReNew campus started in west Wichita in 2016, it didn’t realize it had to keep a tradition going. The former At the Well United Methodist Church, whose building ReNew took over, had hosted a Christmas party for underprivileged youth, ages 13-17, in the neighborhood. But no one had told ReNew about it. “Last year, we kind of threw it together,” said the Rev. Jordan McFall, ReNew pastor. The 2017 version of the Christmas gathering, on Dec. 14, expanded the guest list to ...

Haiti seminary student studying missions in Great Plains

Haiti seminary student studying missions in Great Plains

12/12/2017
Jacki Sincere As a child growing up in Haiti, Jacki Sincere remembers missionaries introducing themselves to his church and explaining they were from a far-away land called Kansas. In early December, Sincere got the chance to make one of several return trips to Kansas, this time as a seminary student wanting to learn about how churches in the Great Plains Conference try to make disciples.   Sincere, 37, is currently studying for his masters of divinity degree at a seminary in Jamaica. “...

Education is best defense against active shooter, conference leader says

Education is best defense against active shooter, conference leader says

12/6/2017
If church leaders remember nothing else from her Dec. 3 workshop on how to deal with an active-shooter situation, the Rev. Hollie Tapley says, it’s three words. Run. Hide. Fight. “It’s our responsibility to prepare and be prepared,” Tapley, disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, told about 225 people at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita. The 90-minute training was livestreamed in partnership between the conference and the host church. View the recording. ...

Great Plains internships changing focus for 2018

Great Plains internships changing focus for 2018

12/5/2017
Internships in the Great Plains Conference will have a different format in 2018. Besides Micah Corps, the social justice ministry that will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next summer, opportunities for young people in the Great Plains will include expanded opportunities for learning about youth ministry and pastoral leadership, and a new type of internship will allow people to work within the newly forming networks of the conference. The new network interns will work with a mentoring ...

Kansans mark final Bishop’s Roundup Against Hunger

Kansans mark final Bishop’s Roundup Against Hunger

11/27/2017
Youth volunteers help during the Bishop's Roundup Against Hunger in November. Photo by David Burke   Just as they’ve done for four decades, youth and adults gathered at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Lawrence on Nov. 18, taking donations and helping feed a need in the community. But the 40th Bishop’s Roundup Against Hunger was also its last, at least in its familiar form. The Rev. Shirley Edgerton, a retired United Methodist pastor from Topeka, said two reasons brought the event to a ...

Salina, KC districts take new angle for charge conferences

Salina, KC districts take new angle for charge conferences

11/27/2017
For generations of United Methodists, the annual church charge conference had a reputation as a rather stiff, business-filled necessity. But for at least two districts in the Great Plains Conference this year, charge conferences became a place for learning, fellowship and celebration. The Kansas City District conducted its missional charge conference Nov. 12 at Grace United Methodist Church in Olathe. The Salina District-wide charge conference was conducted Nov. 19 at First United Methodist...

Small-town Kansas church thinks big, wins award

Small-town Kansas church thinks big, wins award

11/26/2017
His parishioners believe he’s the reason for the change, but Pastor DeMerle Eckart shrugged off any suggestion that he deserved an evangelism award from Discipleship Ministries and The United Methodist Church. “God has granted us this award,” Eckart said after receiving the One Matters Award for evangelism during the Salina District charge conference Nov. 19 in Concordia, Kansas. “Anyone could have won this award, because it’s the Holy Spirit that’s doing the work. The Holy Spirit works where...

UM Health Ministry Fund's president to retire in January

UM Health Ministry Fund's president to retire in January

11/21/2017
Kim Moore, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund’s first president, is retiring at the end of January 2018 after a 30-year career with the Hutchinson-based philanthropy. In honor of Moore’s leadership and service, a public reception is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Main Street Event, 2 North Main, Hutchinson, with remarks at 4. No RSVP is necessary. For those wishing to honor Kim on the occasion of his retirement, a scholarship has been established in his name at Southwestern ...

Conference to provide grants for clergy with exorbitant health care costs

Conference to provide grants for clergy with exorbitant health care costs

11/15/2017
The Great Plains Conference Pension and Health Benefits team has taken steps to help clergy who qualify obtain a grant to offset escalating costs for health insurance. The team has established an emergency health grant for active clergy serving at three-quarters or full time who are eligible for the current health allowance of $15,850. The grant comes in response to inquiries from clergy members serving churches as three-quarter-time or full-time pastors who found purchasing health insurance on...

Wichita student selected for Switzerland seminary scholarship

Wichita student selected for Switzerland seminary scholarship

11/15/2017
Daniel Reffner didn’t think he had a chance. He found out about a scholarship to attend the prestigious Ecumenical Institute at Chateau de Bossey, located in Switzerland. But the late-September deadline was four days away. “I definitely perceived it as taking a chance,” the Wichita native said. “It sounded phenomenal, but it was due in four days. I didn’t think it would be possible.” After a phone interview with the Council of Bishops (where he admitted he “didn’t think I did exceptionally ...

Great Plains to conduct active-shooter training Dec. 3

Great Plains to conduct active-shooter training Dec. 3

11/13/2017
The recent, tragic shootings at a Baptist church in Texas, where a gunman killed 25 people and an unborn child, as well as wounded another 27, has brought awareness of violence in houses of worship. The Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator for the Great Plains Conference, will conduct training on how to deal with an active-shooter situation at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive, Wichita. The training will be livestreamed ...

UMC bishops call for respectful conversations in time of uncertainty

UMC bishops call for respectful conversations in time of uncertainty

11/10/2017
LAKE JUNALUSKA, NORTH CAROLINA - United Methodist Church bishops are calling on members of the denomination to engage in respectful conversations amidst growing conflict over political, religious and justice issues in many places in our world.   In a pastoral letter released at the end of the Council of Bishops (COB) meeting at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina today (Nov. 10, 2017), COB President Bruce R. Ough reminded the members that the UMC was a Church which is diverse in its theological ...

Council of Bishops exploring three models for future

Council of Bishops exploring three models for future

11/9/2017
Lake Junaluska, N.C. -- Placing emphasis on the values of unity, space and contextuality – all for the sake of mission – the Council of Bishops (COB) is exploring sketches of three models as possible directions for a way forward for The United Methodist Church over LGBTQ inclusion. With the mission of God through the risen Christ at the core, the bishops this week received an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward that offered three sketches of models that would help ease the ...

Churches learn importance of intentional discipleship systems

Churches learn importance of intentional discipleship systems

11/9/2017
Many churches say they want to grow and be a better witness for Christ in their mission fields. But they fail to implement and use an intentional discipleship system that would transform that dream into a reality. That was one major point shared by the Rev. Dr. Phil Maynard, a well-known United Methodist author and discipleship coach, during a two-day workshop Nov. 3-4 in Lincoln. The information was shared as part of a New Church Development gathering at Christ United Methodist Church, but ...

Great Plains young adults dominate Explore Calling

Great Plains young adults dominate Explore Calling

11/8/2017
The setting for Explore Calling – a Nov. 3-5, nationwide gathering of young people considering ordained ministry – was Portland, Oregon. But it might as well have been called Great Plains West. “I’d say we were easily the best-represented conference there,” said Shane Hinderliter, local church youth ministry coordinator, who attended the gathering. Hinderliter estimated that of the 470 people who attended, 61 were from Kansas and Nebraska, including 45 young adults, seven campus ministers, ...

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