News


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, ...

Great Plains told to ‘go deep’ to bridge racial divide

Great Plains told to ‘go deep’ to bridge racial divide

11/1/2017
  The president and founder of Sojourners encouraged members of the Great Plains Conference to “go deep” during an address Oct. 28 on “the role of the church in a politically/racially divided nation.” “It’s places like this that will turn this country in a new direction,” Jim Wallis told an audience at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, as well as those in several watch parties throughout Kansas and Nebraska and those watching the livestream from the Great Plains website. (See the...

Five selected for 2018 global convocation in South Africa

Five selected for 2018 global convocation in South Africa

10/31/2017
At least five youth from the Great Plains Conference will represent the South Central Jurisdiction at the Global Young People’s Convocation next year in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shane Hinderliter, local church youth ministry coordinator for the conference, said the Great Plains will be represented by five of the 20 young people selected for the convocation, which meets every four years in a different location worldwide. Among those who were voted in as delegates at a youth gathering in ...

Commission on a Way Forward working on interim report to bishops

Commission on a Way Forward working on interim report to bishops

10/30/2017
The Commission on a Way Forward, which is working to find unity for The United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality, began its sixth meeting on Oct. 30, with a devotion that challenged the members to be as one in the body of Christ and to see each person as a reflection of God. The Rev. Dr. Tom Salsgiver, of the Susquehanna Annual Conference in the U.S., sharing on Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, told his fellow Commission members: “I must be the reflection of the one who created me.” “...

Bishops' turn to shape ideas from Way Forward Commission

Bishops' turn to shape ideas from Way Forward Commission

10/26/2017
United Methodists expecting to see proposals from the Commission on a Way Forward will need to wait until the bishops weigh in. “We as a commission serve the Council of Bishops, and the bishops serve the church,” said the Florida Conference’s Bishop Ken Carter, one of three episcopal leaders who serve as commission moderators. Carter is also president-elect of the Council of Bishops. The bishop-appointed commission, which includes 32 members from nine countries, has the task of trying to find a ...

Connecting Council opens with discussion on church vitality

Connecting Council opens with discussion on church vitality

10/25/2017
  The Connecting Council discussed ways to measure congregational vitality, the consolidation of the three Great Plains Conference offices and the response to calls for relief for hurricane victims as part of the council’s annual fall meetings. The group of 65 people – pastors and laity who serve as the decision-making body of the Great Plains Conference between annual conference sessions – met Oct. 20-21 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Salina, Kansas. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. opened the...

Great Plains awards Culture of Call grants

Great Plains awards Culture of Call grants

10/18/2017
A record number of churches and affiliated institutions applied for Culture of Call grants from the Great Plains Conference to help identify future lay, licensed and ordained leaders within their congregations. The Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford, clergy recruitment and development coordinator, said several of the grants in the semiannual process went to some form of mentoring across generations. “A lot of people are identifying the importance of intergenerational connections and the importance of ...

Three churches unite for Hands on Parsons

Three churches unite for Hands on Parsons

10/11/2017
The only uncooperative part of the third-annual Hands on Parsons on Oct. 8 was the dew covering the benches in Forest Park where volunteers from the city’s three United Methodist churches gathered. “We’re the hands and feet of God,” the Rev. Tim Bever, pastor of Wesley UMC, told about 80 volunteers standing, rather than sitting on the benches, at the park bandshell. “We might as well get started without sitting down.” After a short worship service that included communion and Bever’s ...

United Methodist bishops call for a ‘Clean Dream Act’

United Methodist bishops call for a ‘Clean Dream Act’

10/5/2017
United Methodist bishops are urging the United States Congress to pass a Clean Dream Act that would allow undocumented young people the opportunity to work, receive an education and serve in the U.S. military. In statement released today, the bishops said they are praying and urging action for the young people affected by the U.S. government’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The young immigrants, also known as Dreamers, had an Oct. 5 deadline to renew their...

Wichita loads 1,675 buckets for Puerto Rico; various kits accepted in Nebraska

Wichita loads 1,675 buckets for Puerto Rico; various kits accepted in Nebraska

10/3/2017
With the ferocity of a football center, Krysha Jamis hiked a series of five-gallon buckets between her legs, sliding them to the front of a semi trailer outside the Great Plains Conference office in Wichita. “I get a sense of accomplishment,” said Jamis, wife of the Rev. Justin Jamis, pastor of Wichita Mount Vernon United Methodist Church. “I think ministry should be action, so I’m more than happy to come and help in any little way I can – like hauling buckets.” Jamis was among about 50 ...

Uniting Methodists seek 'broad, middle in the center'

Uniting Methodists seek 'broad, middle in the center'

10/2/2017
As issues regarding human sexuality threaten to split United Methodists, the first public meeting of a new group is seeking to bolster the center of the denomination. Eighteen days after its website debuted, about 1,000 people listened to and participated in the Uniting Methodists discussion Sept. 29 at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. The Rev. Adam Hamilton, Rev. Tom Berlin and Rev. Olu Brown discuss the concepts behind the Uniting Methodists movement ...

Commission on a Way Forward sketches new ideas to present to bishops

Commission on a Way Forward sketches new ideas to present to bishops

9/21/2017
The Commission on a Way Forward is sketching possibilities for The United Methodist Church’s future that it will present to the denomination’s bishops in November. Commission members, meeting in Berlin, expressed a need for church unity while acknowledging different theological perspectives around homosexuality, according to a press release. As with its previous meetings, the group’s fifth gathering on Sept. 18-20 was open only to members, the three bishop moderators and invited guests. The ...

Bucket drive surpasses goal, brings stories of community

Bucket drive surpasses goal, brings stories of community

9/19/2017
Boise, Idaho-based truck driver David Rivera said he hasn’t seen anything like it in his nine years on the road. “It’s a little different,” Rivera said as he saw his semi packed with UMCOR flood buckets on Sept. 15, outside the Great Plains Conference office in Wichita. “This’ll definitely be something I’ll remember. It’s a neat idea, and I’m glad you guys are doing it.” Earlier in the day, Rivera had stopped at the Topeka office to pick up cleaning buckets. Meanwhile at the Wichita office, ...

Kansas pastor serves on Africa Task Force

Kansas pastor serves on Africa Task Force

9/19/2017
A Kansas pastor is contributing to the future of the United Methodist Church in Africa as part of a task force. The Rev. Amy Lippoldt helps lead worship during one session of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Lippoldt currently serves Basehor United Methodist Church and also is assisting with the Africa Task Force. Photo courtesy United Methodist News Service The Rev. Amy Lippoldt, pastor of Basehor United Methodist Church, is secretary of the Comprehensive Africa Task Force, ...

Advent outreach resources available for local churches

Advent outreach resources available for local churches

9/18/2017
New resources that support local church Advent outreach efforts are now available. The resources carry the theme, “Unwrap the true meaning of Christmas,” and complement The United Methodist Church’s national Advent advertising campaign, which will feature children sharing about their faith and what Christmas means to them. “These tools will support United Methodists as they reach out to their communities with a message of hope and invitation during the holiday season,” said Jennifer Rodia, ...

'Dreamer' pastor 'heartbroken' and 'outraged'

'Dreamer' pastor 'heartbroken' and 'outraged'

9/13/2017
The Rev. Orlando Gallardo says he is “heartbroken” and “outraged” that President Donald Trump has called for the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that has kept himself and approximately 800,000 foreign-born residents in the United States. Gallardo, associate pastor of Trinity Community Church, a United Methodist congregation in Kansas City, Kansas, calls the action “shameful." But the 34-year-old said the Sept. 5 announcement did not take him by surprise. “I ...

Vandals damage cross, roof at Lawrence Native American church

Vandals damage cross, roof at Lawrence Native American church

9/9/2017
An act of vandalism has stunned the congregation at Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church in Kansas. A cross lays on the ground after a vandal or vandals cut it from the Lawrence Indian United Methodist Church building. Photo courtesy Joel Hernandez Either late Sept. 6 or very early Sept. 7, someone used a bench outside the building to climb onto the church’s roof and sawed off the church’s cross-and-flame logo. As the wooden cross with a metallic United Methodist flame attached plummeted ...

Bishop issues statement on DACA program

Bishop issues statement on DACA program

9/5/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. issued the following statement this morning in preparation for an announcement by the Donald Trump administration regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He also co-signed a letter with other faith leaders and elected officials from across the country, as well as Justice for Our Neighbors, to show support for people who are being productive residents of the United States who came to the country illegally at such a young age that they had no say...

Letter from elected officials and faith leaders regarding DACA

Letter from elected officials and faith leaders regarding DACA

9/4/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. joined elected officials, faith leaders and Justice for Our Neighbors in signing the following letter to be presented to federal officials as they drew near a decision on continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.     We, the undersigned governors, statewide constitutional officers, mayors, state legislators, local elected officials, law enforcement professionals, and faith and civic leaders are united in declaring that we are with Dreamers ...

Elders for the Earth to meet Oct. 1-4

Elders for the Earth to meet Oct. 1-4

8/29/2017
Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water.  Don't sit this one out.  Do something.  Carl Sagan   Elders for the Earth is a multi-day interdisciplinary gathering geared for folks 50 years old and over who want to learn more about and do something about a changing climate. This Chautauqua-like event is being held at beautiful Mahoney State Park near Ashland, Nebraska, Sunday, Oct. 1- 4. Come when you can, leave when you must..   ...

Help those in Harvey’s path with cleaning buckets

Help those in Harvey’s path with cleaning buckets

8/28/2017
Here is the latest in disaster response efforts from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, from Great Plains Conference disaster response coordinator, the Rev. Hollie Tapley:   A sample of the flood damage in Houston. Photo from Texas Annual Conference. UMCOR Sager Brown Depot Director Amy Fuselier has requested that the Great Plains Conference provide as many Cleaning Kits (Buckets) as possible. Please check umcor.org for a list of items and packing instructions. All kits – ONLY ...

Great Plains hosting SCJ Mission Academy, Sept. 10-13

Great Plains hosting SCJ Mission Academy, Sept. 10-13

8/28/2017
It started as the Disaster Academy, an annual training session for those in the South Central Jurisdiction on what to do in case of emergencies. But in the past two years, it’s grown become to the Mission Academy, broadening its scope on how United Methodists in the eight-state jurisdiction can help in expanded roles. The Leadership Center in Aurora, Nebraska, is host for the South Central Jurisdictional Mission Academy. “It includes all those elements of disaster training and education that...

Impromptu Stand for Love rally gathers 250 at a Newton UMC

Impromptu Stand for Love rally gathers 250 at a Newton UMC

8/24/2017
All it took was an idea – and a Facebook invitation.  The results were about 250 people gathering in front of the Trinity Heights United Methodist Church in Newton, Kansas, on Aug. 16 -- five days after a violent racial attack in Charlottesville, Virginia – for the first Stand For Love Newton, a rally and celebration of peace.  “We came up with the idea Sunday,” said the Rev. Donna Voteau, Trinity Heights pastor. “Two of the youth and one of the youth workers from our 11:11 (contemporary ...

Summit Youth Academy deepens faith, broadens perspectives

Summit Youth Academy deepens faith, broadens perspectives

8/23/2017
For seven days at the end of July, 36 rising high school juniors and seniors from Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and as far away as Mexico attended the Summit Youth Academy on the campus on Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.   Rev. Molly Just leads discussion at Summit Youth Academy. Contributed photo. The Summit, which was designed by the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship and others at the college, focused on helping young people hear God through practicing spiritual ...

Epworth Village leaders meet to discuss future

Epworth Village leaders meet to discuss future

8/21/2017
Through the years Epworth Village in York, Nebraska, has modified, changed and otherwise reinvented itself to meet the needs of the day — the ultimate startup in today’s terms. In fact, we could speak in terms of iterations. What will be the next iteration of Epworth Village? Epworth Village was founded as Mother’s Jewels Home in 1889 by the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Women’s Society determined that opening this home would be an effective way to ...

FCC auctions force changes in church sound

FCC auctions force changes in church sound

8/16/2017
Tony Hillhouse is left almost speechless. “It’s a tragedy,” said Hillhouse, audio-video and internet technology director and praise band leader at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln. He and other sound technicians across the country are learning that any equipment they have purchased that is in the 600 megahertz range will soon be illegal, as the Federal Communications Commission has sold that frequency for cellphone use. At St. Mark’s, all-new sound equipment was purchased when the ...

Bishop Saenz urges United Methodists to stand against racism

Bishop Saenz urges United Methodists to stand against racism

8/15/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. issued the following statement Aug. 15, 2017, regarding the acts of racism the nation witnessed last weekend from Charlottesville, Virginia.

Haysville UMC celebrates sanctuary renovation

Haysville UMC celebrates sanctuary renovation

8/9/2017
With the flip of a switch, Haysville United Methodist Church was introduced to its new sanctuary on Aug. 6. After a celebratory breakfast in the church’s Family Life Center — including a harpist and what the Rev. Jennifer Whitt called “Methodist mimosas” of orange juice and ginger ale, served in champagne flutes — members of the congregation filed into a darkened sanctuary. It was the first time in more than a year that services were held in the sanctuary, after a spring 2016 roof repair ...

Retired judge, active in UMC and social issues, dies at 91

Retired judge, active in UMC and social issues, dies at 91

8/1/2017
A retired federal judge, active in the United Methodist Church in his personal life and overseeing more than 100 cases against Native American activists in his judicial career, died July 28, 2017. Judge Warren Keith Urbom died at age 91 in Lincoln. Urbom was active in his home congregation of Trinity United Methodist Church in Lincoln, where he taught adult Sunday school since 1957. He was also a delegate of the former Nebraska Conference to six of the seven General Conference sessions from ...

Commission on a Way Forward provides status report

Commission on a Way Forward provides status report

7/27/2017
The Commission on a Way Forward has released a status report to the Council of Bishops and the entire United Methodist Church (UMC), updating the church and the leaders on the faithful work of the Commission after four meetings. The 32-member commission is accountable to the Council of Bishops, which named the members following a mandate from the 2016 General Conference. The charge from the General Conference was for the bishops to find a way forward and for unity in the UMC on issues related to...

Commission on a Way Forward gets input on church's future

7/19/2017
The feedback to the Commission on a Way Forward gives a sense of the task ahead. The commission asked various United Methodists to describe their constituency’s “preferred future for our denomination regarding the nature, conditions and extent of the inclusion of LGBTQ people within the church.” The 32-member commission will sift through the responses when it meets starting July 19 through July 21. The group’s fourth meeting is closed to the public and takes place at an undisclosed location in...

Board of Ordained Ministry revises scholarship policies

7/11/2017
At its May meeting, the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry revised its scholarship policies, including implementing new awards from combined trust funds for our legacy conferences. The board is responsible for making awards for seminary students from two different sources. The first is the Ministerial Educational Fund (MEF). According to the United Methodist Church, “The Ministerial Education Fund is one of seven apportioned funds of The United Methodist Church. The Ministerial Education ...

'See All the People' is a push for discipleship

'See All the People' is a push for discipleship

7/5/2017
Discipleship Ministries is up to something. The top executive of that United Methodist Church agency wants to be clear about what that something is. And what it isn’t. “'See All the People’ is not a program,” said the Rev. Junius Dotson, general secretary of Discipleship Ministries. “It really is an attempt to spur and ignite and inspire the spirit and movement of disciple-making across our denomination.” Recent weeks have seen the rollout of “See All the People,” including a resource guide ...

Pastors train to coach fellow clergy, congregations

Pastors train to coach fellow clergy, congregations

7/5/2017
Tom Osborne, Phog Allen, Bill Snyder, John Cook, Marian Washington, Bob Devaney, Rhonda Revelle, Bill Self. Those names may be familiar to college sports fans in Nebraska and Kansas. The list may evoke images of successful coaches walking along sidelines of college football fields, volleyball and basketball gyms and softball diamonds. In each case the people mentioned – and others like them – have inspired men and women to break through barriers to performance so they could be the best they ...

High schoolers learn more than music skills at Amp It Up camp

High schoolers learn more than music skills at Amp It Up camp

6/26/2017
The first week of June, 23 high school students came together for the Amp It Up worship band camp on the campus of Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. “Amp It Up is a weeklong camp that focuses on building up high schoolers in both their capacity as disciples of Jesus Christ and also as musicians and technical operators of worship bands,” said the Rev. Ben Hanne, campus minister. “It brings students who have never played in a band before into a place where they understand the basics, ...

Don't fall for latest email scam

Don't fall for latest email scam

6/25/2017
The Great Plains Conference wants to alert you to a spam email is making its way into email inboxes across Kansas and Nebraska. The email, disguised as a Microsoft Office 365 alert, tells the recipient that his or her @greatplainsumc.org email address has exceeded its mail daily quota on a server. It goes on to tell the recipient that his or her email will stop receiving new emails within 24 hours and then has a link that promotes that the recipient can upgrade his or her quota for free. Toby ...

Survey sheds light on worship, relationships and stress for clergy, laity

Survey sheds light on worship, relationships and stress for clergy, laity

6/21/2017
A survey of clergy and laity conducted prior to an annual conference session workshop on self-care as a spiritual discipline sheds light on the stress levels of pastors, the scriptural anchors for laity and the health of relationships between clergy and their congregations throughout the Great Plains. The survey – conducted by the Rev. Dr. Anne Gatobu, pastor at Ashland United Methodist Church in Nebraska, associate professor of pastoral counseling at Asbury Theological Seminary and leader of ...

Annual conference members affirm Topeka as city for single office

Annual conference members affirm Topeka as city for single office

6/14/2017
When the former Nebraska, Kansas West and Kansas East conferences unified in 2014 to become the Great Plains Conference, it retained its three offices in, respectively, Lincoln, Wichita and Topeka. The Rev. Steve Flader, chair of the conference Board of Trustees, explains why a task force and the trustees decided on Topeka as the home of a single conference office during the 2017 annual conference session in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Photo by Rachel Moser But that era is scheduled to end ...

NUMB ride celebrates its 22nd year

NUMB ride celebrates its 22nd year

6/14/2017
The Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger celebrates its 22nd year this June. So far, the rides have raised more than $854,000.   More than 135 bicycle riders have prepared to explore the wide-open plains of Nebraska as part of the 22nd annual Nebraska United Methodist Bike (NUMB) Ride for Hunger. This event regularly draws bicycle enthusiasts from across the country to ride for 250 miles on a circuit across the state. “Our first NUMB back in 1996 had about 36 riders,” Ritter ...

Annual conference to vote on clergy health care coverage

Annual conference to vote on clergy health care coverage

5/31/2017
Voting clergy and lay members at the Great Plains Annual Conference session will decide on whether to continue to provide a health care stipend to clergy who serve an appointment full time or three-quarter time or to revert to a group health plan. Prior to the opening of the conference – scheduled for June 7-10 in Grand Island, Nebraska – health coverage was the subject of a livestream presentation Thursday, June 1. During the broadcast, the costs and benefits of each option will be explained ...

Topeka receives recommendation as home for single conference office

Topeka receives recommendation as home for single conference office

5/24/2017
  After the April meeting of the Connecting Council, clergy and lay members to annual conference knew they would have the opportunity to vote on whether to condense three conference offices to one. Now they know if they choose the single-office option they then will get to vote on where that office will be. Topeka will be the suggested location, based on a recommendation from the location task force endorsed by the conference Board of Trustees. Initial candidate locations included Topeka, ...

More than 30 interns ready to fan out across Great Plains

More than 30 interns ready to fan out across Great Plains

5/23/2017
  A recent graduate of Kansas State University, Ty Schissel remembers being “blindsided” – but in a good way – when he heard about internship opportunities in the Great Plains Conference. “I didn’t even know it was available,” said Schissel, an Olathe, Kansas, native who plans to enter seminary in the Kansas City area this fall. “They told me they had this awesome, cool internship available, and I got excited and immediately applied.” Active in the K-State Wesley program, Schissel will be ...

Open Door ministry opens doors to new building

Open Door ministry opens doors to new building

5/17/2017
  Location, location, location. It’s a watchword for real estate, and one of the key components for the new home of United Methodist Open Door ministries in Wichita, the largest food bank in south-central Kansas. Open Door, which opened in 1965 as United Methodist Urban Ministry, recently moved its food operations from its former home in downtown Wichita to 2130 E. 21st St. in Wichita, which puts it onto public transportation lines and in a cul-de-sac with the Boys and Girls Club and The ...

Fisher reflects on pastoral career as retirement nears

Fisher reflects on pastoral career as retirement nears

5/15/2017
As a young woman, the Rev. Evelyn Fisher was uncertain of her career path. She had undergraduate degrees in journalism and political science, but her first job working in corporate public relations and public affairs for a Fortune 500 company in Kansas City led her to purveying what she called “propaganda.” Her father had been a city manager for two towns in Texas, and she had begun taking classes to get her masters of public administration. She thought of enrolling in law school but realized,...

After successful Great Plains start, Beach ready for retirement

After successful Great Plains start, Beach ready for retirement

5/8/2017
After the unification that created the Great Plains Conference, the Rev. Gary Beach considered himself a survivor. Literally. Beach, who is retiring as treasurer and director of administrative services for the conference at the end of June, said laying the groundwork that united the Nebraska, Kansas East and Kansas West conferences in 2014 took its toll on his health. In a meeting in March 2013, he began to feel uneasy. The Rev. Gary Beach, Great Plains Conference treasurer and director of ...

Workshop shares strategies for reaching new generations

Workshop shares strategies for reaching new generations

5/3/2017
  Foam fingers, a study group with Applebee’s appetizers and “mugging” first-time visitors. Those were some of the ideas that sprouted from a new satellite church in Wichita, shared in a workshop with two districts and throughout the Great Plains Conference via livestream on April 29, aimed at helping churches reach new generations of people. The Aldersgate ReNew campus had its first services in September. The Rev. Jordan McFall, pastor of the ReNew campus, said the church now averages 120 ...

Reaction to Judicial Council ruling mixed

Reaction to Judicial Council ruling mixed

4/28/2017
The woman who questioned on the South Central Jurisdictional floor the right of a gay pastor to become a bishop said she is “basically pleased” by the decision handed down April 28 by the United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council. “It makes me feel good about the church when there are issues that arise such as this that it’s handled in such a positive way,” Dixie Brewster of Milton, Kansas, said of the ruling that the Rev. Karen Oliveto’s election as bishop violates church law, but that she ...

Bishop Saenz issues statement on Judicial Council ruling

Bishop Saenz issues statement on Judicial Council ruling

4/28/2017
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. issued the following statement following the announced ruling of the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church: Dear Friends, Grace and peace to you in the name of the One that has broken down the dividing wall of hostility and created a new humanity by the cross and his blood, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, and Savior (Ephesians 2:11-22). The Judicial Council has ruled in a case that has attracted national attention to a divisive issue within The United Methodist...

Judicial Council rules gay bishop's election violates church law; case moves to supervisory response

Judicial Council rules gay bishop's election violates church law; case moves to supervisory response

4/28/2017
Bishop Karen Oliveto (center) shares a moment with her mother, Nelle Oliveto (left) and her wife, Robin Ridenour, after a hearing before the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting in Newark, N.J. The denomination's top court has ruled on a petition questioning whether an openly gay pastor can serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.   The consecration of a gay bishop violates church law, the top court of The United Methodist Church ...

The Way Forward: from Easter to Pentecost

The Way Forward: from Easter to Pentecost

4/26/2017
The following message was released Wednesday, April 26, from the moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward We live in the great fifty days, after the church has witnessed the presence of the risen Christ and before the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is a time of being together in community, discerning the future and depending on God. The Commission on a Way Forward recently gathered for its third meeting. We studied the scriptures, shared meals, reflected honestly about our convictions and ...

Connecting Council recommends single conference office, approves staff structure changes

Connecting Council recommends single conference office, approves staff structure changes

4/25/2017
The Connecting Council at its April 2017 meeting voted to adopt all but one recommendation offered by a consultant in a staffing study. Included is the concept of reducing the conference's three offices to one at a to-be-determined location, the addition of a COO for the conference and a study on how many district offices are necessary to fulfill our mission.

Bishops call 2019 special session of General Conference

Bishops call 2019 special session of General Conference

4/25/2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be conducted Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. In announcing the call, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the special session will be conducted in accordance with Division Two - Section II - Article II of The Constitution of The United Methodist Church as recorded in Paragraph ¶14 of The Book of Discipline (2016). The purpose of the 2019 special session of the...

Creation Care team encourages churches to step up efforts

Creation Care team encourages churches to step up efforts

4/18/2017
The Creation Care Planning Team of the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church is beginning a new project available to all congregations in Nebraska and Kansas. Beginning this Earth Day, April 22, 2017, Creation Care churches will be able to participate in this initiative under the auspices of the Mercy & Justice team of the conference. The program is structured to "... recognize the responsibility of the church and its members to place a high priority on changes in economic, ...

College students embark on a civil rights odyssey

College students embark on a civil rights odyssey

4/12/2017
Over spring break, 14 college students traveled with United Methodist Campus Ministry at Emporia State University on the Civil Rights Odyssey study tour. Ten of the students were related to campus ministry at Emporia State University, and four of the students were related to campus ministry at Washburn University in Topeka. Students visited civil rights historic sites in Topeka, St. Louis, Atlanta, Tuskegee, Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, Memphis and Little Rock. ESU United Methodist Campus ...

Valentine, Cunningham latest recipients of Culture of Call grants

Valentine, Cunningham latest recipients of Culture of Call grants

4/12/2017
Intergenerational mentoring was the common thread in the latest two Culture of Call grants awarded by the Great Plains Conference. Nebraska’s Valentine United Methodist Church received a $2,000 grant, and Kansas’ Cunningham UMC received $1,500. The grants were designed to provide churches, campus ministries and United Methodist organizations in the Great Plains with resources to fuel their imaginations to cultivate a Culture of Call. “We appreciated that these applications were seeking to build...

Bishops' commission optimistic as it delves into tough task

Bishops' commission optimistic as it delves into tough task

4/10/2017
Members of the Commission on a Way Forward have expressed optimism at reaching consensus on a plan or plans to guide the Council of Bishops in leading The United Methodist Church into the future. During the three-day meeting, April 6-8, at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., the commission members began discussing possible outcomes and timelines on accomplishing their task of examining paragraphs in the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to ...

Focus changing for Epworth Village

Focus changing for Epworth Village

4/10/2017
As the landscape in caring for abused and neglected children changes in Nebraska, Epworth Village is adapting to better serve the needs of at-risk children and families.  In keeping with its strategic plan and vision for the future, Epworth Village, which is based in York, Nebraska, will discontinue residential group home services in order to focus its time, energy, and resources to its in-home family services and foster care programs. Employees have been notified of the transition, and Epworth...

Daily video devotion for Holy Week

Daily video devotion for Holy Week

4/9/2017
Some of the pastors on the Great Plains Conference staff are providing a daily video devotional during Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday and concluding with a message from Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. on Easter Sunday. Watch for the videos each day on the conference's home page and on our Facebook page. Please share them with your friends. And remember to invite someone to worship with you as we walk with Christ to the cross and celebrate His victory over sin and death! Today's devotional is ...

Justice Matters sees progress in Lawrence

Justice Matters sees progress in Lawrence

4/5/2017
In three years, the Lawrence-based Justice Matters has seen progress in the five key social issues that it sees as a priority. But, at its third-annual Nehemiah Action Night on March 30, all involved agreed it still has a long way to go. Updates on the issues – childhood trauma and resilience, affordable housing, racial justice, mental health and jail alternatives – were presented to a crowd of about 1,500 at the Lied Center on the University of Kansas campus. Clergy and laity from the Great ...

‘Growing Young’ author trains GP youth workers; registration still open for Lincoln event

‘Growing Young’ author trains GP youth workers; registration still open for Lincoln event

4/3/2017
Jake Mulder carried no magic bullets when he talked to youth leaders from the Great Plains Conference. “We’re not sharing tips like, ‘Throw a pizza party,’” he told more than two dozen participants in the third-annual Spring Training event for youth leaders March 31 and April 1 at the Aldersgate ReNew campus in Wichita. Jake Mulder talks to participants in the Spring Training youth worker training event conducted March 31 and April 1 at Aldersgate ReNew in Wichita. Another session is ...

Stanton named new director of congregational excellence

Stanton named new director of congregational excellence

3/29/2017
Rev. Nathan Stanton Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. announced Wednesday, March 29, that the Rev. Nathan Stanton will be the new director of congregational excellence for the Great Plains Conference. Stanton, currently the conference’s new church development coordinator, will begin in his new role when the appointive year begins July 1. He will replace the Rev. Evelyn Fisher, who has announced her retirement effective June 30 after nearly 40 years in ministry. “I’m excited about Nathan’s gifts and ...

Church of the Resurrection opens doors to new sanctuary

Church of the Resurrection opens doors to new sanctuary

3/27/2017
As a teenager, the Rev. Adam Hamilton worked at Hardee’s. He was part of a crew opening a new Overland Park location of the fast-food franchise, which had a “soft opening” where staff members could invite their parents. “In case we killed somebody with hamburgers, we wanted it to be family,” Hamilton joked to his congregation. The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, which Hamilton began in a funeral home 26½ years ago, had the self-proclaimed “soft opening” of ...

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