Want to submit a letter to the editor? Email Kathryn Witte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about events going on around the Conference, visit the events calendar.
To view job openings and items for sale, or submit a listing, visit the Employment/Classifieds page.
Click here for a printable version of UMconnect.
A Web page devoted to the 2012 General Conference has been added to the Conference website. Resources include a listing of our Conference’s delegates, the latest news and information pertaining to GC 2012 and answers to some frequently asked questions. Click here to be taken to this page, found under Resources.
Our General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates will meet this Saturday, Nov. 5, at Kearney First United Methodist Church. Please keep them in your prayers.
Looking for a way to emphasize prayer in your local church, as well as connect church members with the broader UMC? If so, why not invite your congregation to: 1) begin praying for General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates now as they are preparing and 2) pray for God’s will to be clearly discerned by everyone involved in the decisions that will be made at General Conference and 3) use the Prayer Guide for the 40 days before and 10 days during General Conference which will be available free on the General Board of Discipleship website in early 2012. Click here for more information.
The 2012 Annual Conference Session will be June 6-9, 2012, at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Lincoln. We will focus on the “Heartwarming Worship” sign of discipleship. Our featured guest will be author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist Dr. Marcia McFee. Youth and Middle School Annual Conference Sessions will be on the Nebraska Wesleyan University campus.
A friendly reminder to set your clocks back one hour this weekend; daylight saving officially ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6.
A dream team established to envision vital ministry for small-membership churches in the new Nebraska-Kansas Episcopal Area met July 22, at Red Cloud, Neb.
More than 70 people from the three conferences gathered to share ideas and visions for vital small-membership congregations. The team was named by the Nebraska-Kansas Episcopal Area Transition Team to begin thinking through how resources may be pooled to enhance the ministry of small and sometimes rural congregations.
“The small-membership church dream team (SMC) gathered to share our dreams for the future of our many, many churches in Nebraska and Kansas,” said the Rev. Pat Ault-Duell (Kansas West), Transition Team liaison to the group. “How can we seize the opportunity of this moment in our history to rethink and revalue the role small membership churches play in making disciples and transforming their communities?”
The group’s dreams were organized into five topical categories, or groups, for further conversation. Topics include: providing appropriate leadership for small membership churches, encouraging collaboration among small membership churches, nurturing the vitality of small membership churches, nurturing hospitality and community outreach in small membership churches, and strengthening the connection between small membership churches and the new episcopal area.
“It was an exciting meeting,” said the Rev. Harold Backus, Prairie Rivers District superintendent (Nebraska Conference). “The energy was high. Both bishops were a part of the event and added hope to the gathering.”
Team members self-selected to be part of each of the five topical groups. These groups will be meeting over the next several months, with final reports due in December, when the entire dream team will meet again in Belleville, Kan. The SMC dream team will prepare a report for the Transition Team’s January meeting.
“The five work areas we created from that meeting are very engaged,” Backus said.
Ault-Duell added that the sub-groups are being encouraged to take advantage of technology to gather team members for meetings, including conference calls, email and online meeting solutions such as WebEx or Adobe Connect.
“We have an incredible opportunity here to create great partnerships with each other to take what we do to a whole new level,” she said.
Bishop Scott Jones affirmed the work of the Small-Membership Church Dream Team.
“If we’re going to help small churches become more vital, pooling ideas, resources and a common approach will make that more likely,” Jones said.
He said it’s that pooling of resources that will speak to the local pastors and lay members of small congregations.
Photos: Examples of small-membership churches include (from top) Hunter's Chapel UMC in Cody, Neb.; Fontana UMC in Fontana, Kan.; and Clyde UMC in Clyde, Kan.
Clergy in Nebraska will join clergy in Kansas East and Kansas West for a joint called clergy session, Jan. 17-19, 2012, at the Ramada Convention Center in downtown Topeka, Kan. The Rev. Brian McLaren is the featured guest. McLaren is known as author, speaker activist and public theologian. He will address topics of change, leadership and discipleship as the combined session will offer clergy from all three conferences a chance to get to know each other. For more information on McLaren, visit his website, www.brianmclaren.net.
To view a flier with more details, including an agenda, click here.
Online registration is available only to those who use a credit card to pay online. If you do not plan to pay online please print the online registration form and mail *along with your check made payable to the Nebraska Conference Treasurer* to:
3333 Landmark Circle
Lincoln, NE 68504
**Registrations without payment will not be accepted.
Blue River District Superintendent Galen Wray has posted a new entry on the blog section, titled "Moral Integrity: A Person of Values." The entry continues his series on Clergy Wholeness. Click here to view the new entry.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Mobile device users can access information about The United Methodist Church on the go with a new free United Methodist app. Developed by United Methodist Communications and Music City Networks, the app is now available for free download for the iPad, iPhone and Android.
Click here to read the full story.
The Conference Leadership Team will hold its second annual Youth Workers Training and Planning Workshop Dec. 3-4, at the Country Inn and Suites in Lincoln, Neb. (5353 N. 27th Street, 402-476-5353).
This training session for youth workers from around the Nebraska Annual Conference will offer participants an opportunity to discuss and learn about mission, ministry and money. Building on last year’s successful conference around starting youth groups, we are looking to help these newly formed groups discover the power of mission trips — figuring out how to start, and conduct successful mission trips, as well as looking at innovative ways to fund them.
To view an agenda and cost information, click here.
This group of conference youth leaders will also take on the task of planning and organizing a Conference-wide youth mission trip for 2012. Come out and hear about the plans for the 2012 senior high and middle school retreats, as well. You will have a chance to discuss the Conference’s plans for youth in 2012, meet with your district leaders to discuss your district’s plans, and receive excellent training on what you can do at a local church level to enhance your own youth.
To register, click here.* The registration is limited by space, so please register early.
*You can use Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader to fill in this form. When you are finished, click Submit to return your data to the form author.
Get the free Adobe Reader 9 from http://www.adobe.com/go/reader.
World AIDS Day, observed on Dec. 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. The UM Global AIDS Fund Special Offering is taken each year on the Sunday in December closest to World AIDS Day; in 2011, that Sunday will be Dec. 4.
According to a report from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS:
The UM Global AIDS Fund was established at the 2004 General Conference to raise $8 million (a commitment of $1 for every Methodist in the U.S.). In just five years, more than $3 million has been raised to support AIDS-related projects around the world. Currently, the Fund supports 175 projects in 37 countries.
It is important to note that 25 percent of the total offerings taken in Nebraska stay in Nebraska and go towards local AIDS projects. Visit the Nebraska UM Global AIDS Fund Task Force page to learn more.
We encourage your church to take this special offering; use some of the following resources to both educate and promote:
You can donate to the UM Global AIDS Fund at anytime. Checks should be made out to "Conference Treasurer," with "Global AIDS Fund, Advance 578" indicated on the memo line, and mailed to the Nebraska UM Conference Center, 3333 Landmark Circle, Lincoln, NE 68504.
Photo: Bill Black, co-chair of the Nebraska UM Global AIDS Fund Task Force, with three students at Mt. Makomwe Primary School in Zimbabwe. All three boys are orphans who lost at least one parent to the AIDS epidemic.
The following was submitted by the Risk-taking Mission and Justice Team.
All Nebraska United Methodists are urged to voice their concern for poor and hungry people by contacting your congressional representatives about the federal budget. Congress passed a budget agreement in August to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over 10 years.
The next step to balance the budget and reduce the deficit now falls on the Joint Selection Committee, or "Super Committee." This bipartisan group of senators and representatives must identify $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions.
We know that Jesus was in continual ministry with the poor and vulnerable. Now we have a responsibility to use our citizenship to speak up for those whose voices aren't often heard in the halls of power. Cuts to anti-poverty and hunger programs are being considered and if enacted would have devastating consequences to those Jesus calls "the least of these."
Please urge your members of congress to form a "circle of protection" around funding to support those who are most vulnerable in our country and abroad. This is a timely matter, so please call today: 1-800-826-3688. For more background information and contacts for the Super Committee, go to UMCOR-endorsed Bread for the World’s website, www.bread.org/hunger/budget.
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, Emmanuel Habimana (pictured at right) will present an edited version of his forthcoming film “The Children Who Lived,” a National Geographic-funded documentary about orphans of the genocide against the Tutsi. The presentation will take place on the campus of Nebraska Wesleyan University, in Olin A, at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Wolf Fund, Gender Studies, Global Studies and University Ministries and is open to the general public.
Habimana will also share his own story of survival. Seventeen years ago Rwanda was strewn with the corpses of a million citizens; today it stands as one of the safest, most peaceful and most gender-equal countries on the African continent.
Habimana survived the slaughter of his parents and five of his siblings when he just was 9 years old, fending for himself and living as a servant of Hutu militia before nearly starving in a refugee camp in Congo. His story of survival and life after genocide offers a unique opportunity to talk about trauma and forgiveness.
Habimana has served as an interpreter and guide for Kigali’s Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Center and was president of a Rwandan association promoting unity across ethnic lines between young people. He found that his personal experience of tragedy helped him to counsel severely traumatized children.
Click here to view the film’s official trailer.
Hastings Grace UMC invites interested persons to accompany a Volunteers in Mission (VIM) team to Mexico next year. They will fly out of Omaha on Jan. 6, 2012, and return on Jan. 15. The group will spend their time in the area of Pueblo with the integrated development program, "Give Ye Them To Eat (GYTTE)." This is a mission project from The Advance of The United Methodist Church.
Members of Grace UMC had a great experience at this site last year. For more information, view the attached flier or contact the Rev. Cindy Karges at email@example.com or 402-463-5696.
BeADisciple.com will host a five-day online workshop for United Methodist congregations who need to write a Safe Sanctuary policy. Participants will learn: why congregations should have a Safe Sanctuary policy, what the policy includes generally and specifically, how to get a policy written and approved, and how to implement it.
Participants will have access to the website 24 hours a day and be able to work at a time of day most convenient. There will be two daily readings and one daily discussion question. Participants will be required to post a response to the question and to at least two other participants every day. Participants will not be expected to write the policy during these five days but may send it to the workshop leader for feedback later when it is written.
What's the benefit for participation? Compliance with denominational and Annual Conference requirements and Continuing Education Units, if needed. But more importantly, Safe Sanctuary policies protect our children and youth, our teachers and leaders, and our congregation’s reputation and resources. What better benefit than to know you are helping in such a great mission? This five-day intensive online workshop provides the information in a fast, concise way – giving a congregation a jump-start on writing this all important policy.
Those interested in learning more or enrolling should visit: http://beadisciple.com/workshops.html#SSIntensive.
The Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship is dedicated to providing educational opportunities that nurture and enrich Christian leaders, lay and clergy, for effective living and ministry. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for all IFD workshops. To read more about these and other upcoming workshops, visit www.BeADisciple.com. Register there to receive monthly email updates or to enroll for an online course.
Scheduled for Feb. 18-25, 2012, in New York City, this seminar will bring together Christian women from Japan, Korea and the U.S., ranging in age from 18 to 35, to focus on violence against women. We will explore gender-based violence and discrimination and the environment that fosters violence, and we will discuss the international conventions and resolutions established to end such violence. We will also consider how our faith calls us to respond. The seminar will be held at the Church Center for the United Nations, across the street from the United Nations.
If you know any young women who might be good candidates to apply for the Young Women's Peace Seminar, visit the event page on the Women's Division website.
Financial assistance may be available; contact Carol Windrum at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
By Rogene Silletto, Nebraska UMW communications coordinator
On Oct. 15, 2011, Nebraska United Methodist Women (UMW) participated in a Volunteers in Mission (VIM) activity at Epworth Village in York, as part of their annual meeting. During the morning the women clipped and counted Campbell's labels, trained to be certified Epworth Advocates, painted pumpkins with Epworth students, worked on the grounds (clipped, raked, pulled weeds), wrapped Christmas gifts for the boys at Epworth, unloaded vans and stored in-kind gifts such as, paper products, personal hygiene items, school supplies, and Christmas gifts, helped with filing, and cleaned the school. Bead crosses and hymnal angels were made and tours of Epworth Village were also completed. As there were 278 women in attendance at the meeting, it was a busy and very productive morning, and a true example of Faith, Hope and Love in Action!
Click here to view a photo gallery of their VIM project.
On the business side, Nebraska's Women's Division Director, Marilyn Zehring installed the 2012 leadership of the Nebraska United Methodist Women, at York First United Methodist Church.
Newly elected officers are President, Louise Niemann; Vice President, Rena Conner; Treasurer, Nancy Purintun; Social Action, Judy Dangler; Education and Interpretation, Mary Ellen Kilmer; Chairperson on Nominations, Doris Whitacre; Committee on Nominations, Class of 2015, Esther Hay (at large) and Committee on Nominations, Class of 2015, Barb Skeen. Yearly appointed officers are Librarian, Mary Ann Bede; Annual Report Director, Jamie Snyder; Historian, Dixie Allbery; and Information Technology Resource Person, Peggy Walters.
By Jaimee Trobough
The Rev. Dr. Carol Roettmer Brewer, director of connectional ministries for the Nebraska Conference, was honored during the Annual Report Dedication at the UMW statewide meeting in York, on Friday, Oct. 14. Louise Niemann, president, presented the 37th annual report of the Nebraska Conference UMW in front of a full sanctuary of UMW leaders and representatives saying, “Rev. Carol Roettmer Brewer exhibits qualities that make her stand out in a crowd. She also exhibits leadership beyond Nebraska and the local Conference. Now we have permanently recorded our admiration for you.”
Roettmer Brewer received the annual report and graciously thanked Niemann saying, “I am reminded of how you all have nurtured me through the years. Thank you.”
Global Ministries Task Force members the Rev. Lyle Schoen and the Rev. Alan Gager recently attended a conference for Global Ministries secretaries from across the South Central Jurisdiction, in Albuquerque, N.M.
According to Schoen, the purpose of this conference was to “help those who do this job learn from each other through stories and challenges.”
Click here to read more about their experience, as reported by Katie Lamb, Risk-taking Mission and Justice intern. (PDF)
Photo: Attendees of the annual Fellowship Gathering of Conference Secretaries of Global Ministries of the South Central Jurisdiction. Among the attendees were the Nebraska Conference's Alan Gager (back row, second from the left) and Lyle Schoen (back row, third from the left).
Mark your calendar for Horizons of Faith 2012, scheduled for March 23-25. Featured guest Joerg Rieger will be speaking on “Empire, Economics and Christ: Does Christianity Still Make a Difference?”
Rieger is the the Wendland-Cook Endowed Professor of Constructive Theology at Perkins School of Theology. Horizons of Faith is hosted by Omaha First United Methodist Church.
Micah Corps intern Barbara Karel has been working with Lincoln Trinity UMC to plan a "Thrift Shop Fashion Show" at the church, on Sunday, Nov. 20. The evening will also include a meal and worship. Come with your favorite cool thrift shop outfit and be ready to explore how our consumer dollars are linked to our faith. The fun starts at 6 p.m. View the attached flier for more information.
Clinic with a Heart, a local faith-based free urgent care clinic in Lincoln, will celebrate and recognize their 675-plus volunteers in an appreciation event on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m. at Southwood Lutheran Church, in Lincoln. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this event will recognize the efforts and contributions of volunteers in serving people with health needs. Lincoln St. Mark’s UMC member Harry Windle, is among those being honored for more than 200 hours of service.
From March 2008 through September 2011, volunteers gave total 23,193 hours of service.
"These volunteers provide a tremendous service to the community," said Shirley Foster, director of volunteers. "In fact, just in the last three months, volunteers saw 842 clinic patients."
In addition to Windle, other volunteers to be recognized for more than 200 hours of service include:
Clinic with a Heart, located at 1701 S. 17th St., Suite 4G, offers free clinics each month on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30-7 p.m. Patients are seen on a walk-in basis, no appointments necessary. Clinics assist individuals without insurance or who are under-insured. Services provided include medical, dental assessment, chiropractic, physical therapy, mental health, hearing screenings and vision screenings and exams. Funding for Clinic with a Heart comes from mission team sponsors, corporate sponsors, individual donors, church grants and events like this.
By Richard Massey
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. − Mount Sequoyah Retreat and Conference Center marked the 75th anniversary of its iconic cross with a splendid sunset piano concert by Jonathan Story.
Held on location at Cross Overlook Park on a golden autumn day, the Oct. 23 concert was attended by several hundred people who enjoyed the music from the comfort of lawn chairs. As the sun approached the horizon, Story entertained with spirituals like Deep River and Sweet, Sweet Spirit, as well as a classical piece by Schubert.
Story concluded the concert with a spirited rendition of Spanish Rhapsody by Liszt, a technically challenging 19th Century work known for its rapid chords. After the crowd saluted Story with a standing ovation, he again sat at the grand piano and treated the crowd to a patriotic and at times romantic encore. Playing Stars and Stripes Forever and a dreamy Schumann-Liszt collaboration, Story gave the audience a full musical experience.
The piano concert to commemorate the cross serves as a precursor to an even bigger celebration - the 90th anniversary of the Mount Sequoyah campus, which will occur in the summer of 2012. Planning to mark the 1922 beginnings of Mount Sequoyah is already underway.
The historic cross at Mount Sequoyah has long been a source of faith and hope, a place of meditation, reflection and joy. Each day an assortment of people visit the location for outstanding views of the sunset. The cross is also a popular spot for wedding proposals, vow renewals and family photos.
Visible from many locations west of the mountain, the cross has been a fixture as Fayetteville has evolved from a tiny Ozark town to a bustling hub of commerce, education and entertainment. The exact date of the cross remains unclear, but an annual report issued by then-Superintendent S. M. Yancey indicates that an electric cross costing $300 was erected in either 1935 or 1936. That cross was eventually replaced with the back-lit Plexiglas structure that stands today.
Though a hard date remains elusive, one thing is beyond certain: Cross Overlook is an enduring source of inspiration.
"It was extraordinary," said Story, referring to the concert. "I felt like I was in touch with nature and with God. When I played I looked out over the sunset and I was free."
Thousands have come to Mount Sequoyah as the Jurisdictional meeting place over the decades. To celebrate the 90 years of Mount Sequoyah, we are seeking testimonials from those whose lives have been changed in the shadows of the Cross or on the Mountain top. Please send your story to: email@example.com. Label the subject bar 90 YEARS. Notes or letters: Mount Sequoyah, 150 Skyline Drive, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 72701.
“Church memorabilia can be items to treasure. However, determining which items to keep, how to store them and where to keep the treasures can seem a daunting task.”
Susan Cooper, communications associate director for the Kansas Area, has written a very helpful article on determining what needs to be archived and what can be tossed.
Click here to read the story on the Kansas West website.
New to the Resource Center library is a study for women by Bible teacher and inspiring speaker Sheila Walsh (pictured at right).
Using scripture and real-life stories, Walsh offers a study on what God has promised us and how these promises can give us daily confidence, joy and hope. The 10 lessons in this series are:
To preview this great new study for women, email Diane Dunkerson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 1-800-435-6107. Watch for next week’s article in UMConnect previewing some of the wonderful Advent studies available at the Resource Center, or visit our online catalog at www.umcneb.org/ResourceCenter.
The Society of St. Andrew Advent (SoSA) devotions and giving program is designed to draw participants closer to God’s loving gift to the world — Jesus.
Advent is a special period of mental and spiritual preparation for the coming of Christ, encompassing the four Sundays before Christmas Day. Our devotional booklet provides a personal meditation for each day during Advent.
Those who participate in our Advent devotions program are invited to give, in the name of the Christ Child, a gift of food by making a small daily donation to the Society of St. Andrew during the season. These contributions will be used by the Society of St. Andrew to feed the nation’s hungry — at a cost of about two cents per serving!
The Advent devotions starter kit includes a sample devotional booklet and instructions for church leaders to administer the church's participation in this program.
Please note: Our Advent material is provided free of charge to individuals and congregations who covenant with us to donate to our ministry during the Advent season.
The Society of St. Andrew is a national nonprofit hunger-relief ministry that rescues about 25 million pounds of fresh, nutritious, excess produce each year that would otherwise go to waste for various marketing reasons. This food is then distributed to critical feeding agencies across the country at no cost to the agencies or the hungry people they serve.
The first Sunday of Advent comes early this year; it is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27. Click here for Advent Wreath candle lighting meditations for use in worship, home, Sunday school and small groups. (A free download from the General Board of Discipleship).
Check out a short video from UM Communications for tips on social media timing, length and frequency. They’ve decoded the latest research to help you build deeper online relationships and boost engagement. Click here to view the video on YouTube.
Countryside, a large United Methodist Church in Topeka, Kan., is seeking a director of Christian education and children’s ministry. This is a full-time position with benefits. Some education background and/or experience is preferred. For more information, call 785-266-7541 or email Emily@countrysideumc.org.
Editorial Policy: The content, news, events and announcement information distributed in UMconnect is not sponsored or endorsed by the Nebraska United Methodist Conference unless specifically stated.