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.
By Susan Kim*
March 20, 2012 — Last week, when central Louisiana received a record-breaking 22 inches of rain in one day, Darryl Tate, executive director of Louisiana Disaster Recovery Ministry, was able to quickly get cleaning buckets into the hands of hundreds of affected people.
This rapid response, he says, was possible only because caring people took time to assemble or purchase cleaning buckets long before disaster ever struck.
As disaster responders in many areas of the country prepare for spring flooding, they are urging church members to purchase or assemble cleaning buckets so that UMCOR's relief-supply depots will be ready to ship them out to flood-affected communities without delay.
Despite lighter snowfall and less snowmelt this winter, people in North Dakota and other Midwestern states are preparing for spring flooding. Some communities — such as Minot, ND — are still making a long-term recovery from last year's high water.
UMCOR's supply depots need to continually build up their supply of cleaning buckets, particularly in the spring, said Kathy Kraiza, UMCOR's executive director of Relief Supplies. Kraiza estimated that, last year, UMCOR shipped out more than 18,000 cleaning buckets to flood survivors.
“We've got to replenish to be ready for the next disaster,” she said.
Instructions for assembling a cleaning bucket are attached below. Your support for Material Resources Ministry, UMCOR Advance #901440, will help purchase and ship cleaning buckets and other relief supplies to disaster survivors.
*Susan Kim is a journalist and a regular contributor to UMCOR.org.
As of today, March 28, there are just 26 days left until General Conference 2012 kicks off in Tampa, Fla., on April 24.
The Nebraska Conference will be represented by four delegates — two clergy and two laity — all of whom were elected at the 2011 Annual Conference Session.
Lavina Schwaninger (Hallam UMC) is one of the four delegates. This will be her third time serving as a General Conference delegate; she represented Nebraska in both 2004 and 2008.
“I am excited, proud and honored to represent the Nebraska Conference,” Schwaninger said.
She continued, “This will be a challenging year because of the decisions that are to be made concerning a new structuring system. I covet the prayers of everyone in the conference during our time in Florida.”
Schwaninger will serve on the discipleship legislative committee.
Visit our 2012 General Conference page for a complete list of alternate and Jurisdictional Conference delegates.
LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) — More than 185 United Methodist clergy and laity as of March 21 have signed an open letter announcing their support for proposals to merge nine general agencies, nurture young leaders and empower bishops.
Click here to read more.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A national team of grassroots organizers has been assembled by the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) to lead a year-long initiative to empower local United Methodist congregations to address social justice issues.
The new team will work to build strong local networks within the denomination on specific issues, such as reform of unjust criminal justice, immigration and health-care systems, and the economy.
Through these networks, local advocates will be able to connect with like-minded United Methodists across the country to collaborate and share resources.
The year-long organizing program is an expansion of GBCS’s grassroots immigration and restorative justice programs. In the past year, for example, five new Rapid Response Immigration Teams were added, raising the count to 41. Six annual conferences have committed to a year-long Immigrant Welcoming Congregation Journey, a training program for local churches.
“We are so pleased to announce our National Organizing Team,” said Jim Winkler, GBCS chief executive. “Our grassroots organizers bring a wealth of experience and talent to our organization along with a deep passion for social justice rooted in the church’s mission. Their ability to connect activists across this country will no doubt strengthen The United Methodist Church’s prophetic voice in the public square.”
Click here to read about the National Grassroots Organizing Team members.
The Conference Council on Finance and Administration has approved a slight change to the moving guidelines for clergy beginning in 2012. When selecting the self-move option, clergy will receive a $500 stipend from the Annual Conference for this choice. This stipend is considered taxable income and will be reported to individuals choosing this option at the end of the tax year.
Click here to view the revised guidelines on the Administration page; they can also be viewed on the UMdashboard, under the administrative tab.
By Sam Fisher, University Ministries intern
More than 100 youth participated in this year’s Confirmation Day, held March 4 and 5, in Lincoln. The theme was “Spark: Stay in love with God.” Confirmands had the option of staying overnight on Friday, after first attending a Shabbat service with Congregation Tifereth Israel. Members of the Camp Fontanelle staff taught the youth camp games, while other leaders in the Nebraska Conference led the youth in a series of workshops ranging from how to get involved in their churches to how God can work through them in their lives.
On Saturday, Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson spoke words of encouragement to the youth, reminding them of God’s unconditional love for them in their faith journey. Before departing everyone took part in a worship experience that included an ancient form of Communion that included olives, cheese, oil, milk and honey alongside the traditional elements. This tied a part of our historical traditions from the church universal to our practices as United Methodists today.
View additional photos of Confirmation Day 2012 on the University Ministries Facebook page, www.facebook.com/nwuniversityministries.
Please note that the Nebraska Conference Center in Lincoln will be closed next Friday, April 6, in observance of Good Friday.
In 2012, the church will come together, not only for General Conference, but also to change the world by expressing justice and compassion in community on May 19-20, 2012. Register for Change the World before April 16 and receive a free lawn banner (see sample here), sermon series bundle and t-shirt.
Your event will be charted on rethinkchurch.org’s map. National advertising will bring in thousands of visitors to our website and they will be able to see you on the map and know how to join your church’s event.
2,000+ events registered worldwide in 2011! Projects ranged from developing/enhancing community gardens to fighting human trafficking. Think now about what your congregation will do to Change the World!
Nebraska Conference events
Change the World 2012 seeks to build community locally and fight malaria globally; McCook Memorial UMC and the Nebraska Conference are both holding malaria-related walks on May 19. Does your church have an event planned? Be sure and tell us about it so we can help spread the word! Email your event information to Trish Johnson at email@example.com.
The Call to Action report reminds us that vital congregations have “disciples engaged in mission.” Change the World is an opportunity to connect your mission-minded disciples with the mission of the whole denomination.
Follow the Twitter hashtags #CTW2012 and #rethinkchurch to see what others are doing.
Note that the March 14 webinar hosted by Stephanie Ahlschwede and Lisa Maupin has been archived on UMtube. Click here to view it.
Native American Ministries Sunday is on April 22 this year. Be sure to order your free offering resources now. It supports scholarships for Native Americans attending United Methodist schools of theology and ministries that reach out to Native Americans.
Your gifts to Native American Ministries Sunday help Native American students get the education they need to pursue God’s call in their lives.
Prentis Harris is one such person. He can recall the exact moment God called him to be a pastor. A member of the Lumbee tribe, Harris received a scholarship funded by Native American Ministries Sunday gifts to equip him for that role. Harris is studying at Duke University, The Divinity School, Durham, N.C. He hopes "to be the best pastor I can be for God and for the church,” he says.
Harris gives back through leading young adult ministries and other roles. He contributes each year on Native American Ministries Sunday. “I give toward the [offering] and promote it by going to different places speaking about the opportunity it has given me as a Native American going to seminary.”
If you cannot celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday on April 22, receive the offering on any other day of the year.
You can give online to Native American Ministries Sunday at any time. Give Now.
Click here to watch a video about Sacred Winds Native American Ministry, in Lincoln, Neb.
Established in 2005 through the Nigeria-Nebraska Partnership, the orphanage in Jalingo, Nigeria, is currently home to 98 children who have lost both of their parents due to various causes. The children not only live at the orphanage, they also receive their education there, as well as the love and spiritual nurturing that would otherwise be lacking in their lives.
Mother’s Day (May 13) is an appropriate time to remember all the children in the world who have been left homeless and parentless through no fault of their own. It takes about $2,000 to support one student for one year. Every United Methodist Church in Nebraska is encouraged to take a special offering on May 13, or an alternate Sunday. Look for promotional resources in next week's UMconnect. The recently updated Nigeria Partnership brochure is attached below.
For more information on the Nigeria-Nebraska Partnership or on sponsoring one of the orphans, visit the Nigeria-Nebraska Partnership page, www.umcneb.org/Nigeria.
The spring Middle School/Confirmation Retreat is scheduled for April 13-15, at Camp Comeca, located near Cozad, Neb. This retreat is for all students currently in grades 6-8 or enrolled in a church Confirmation preparation program.
See pg. 2 of the registration packet (attached below) for all of the pertinent details. Youth leaders, please read over the instructions carefully. Questions should be directed to: Chad Schuchmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, or John Butler, email@example.com. The early bird registration deadline is March 30.
Global Youth Service Day is coming up on April 21. United Methodist Ministries will host an event for youth teams (middle school through high school) and youth leaders to engage in local service projects in the metro-Omaha area. We have many fun potential projects including serving at a community meal, stocking food pantries and several outdoor garden projects. We encourage teams from outside of Omaha to participate. If your group has any special needs or concerns, don't hesitate to contact us.
The cost to participate is $15, which includes lunch, transportation to and from service sites, and commemorative t-shirt. (Registration fee is waived for youth leaders.) Omaha's TRI-Community UMC (6001 Fontenelle Blvd.) will be the host church for this event, which starts at 9 a.m. and wraps up at 3 p.m. Registration deadline is April 9. Call Jaimee at 402-898-9862 for more information.
Click here to register online. We hope you'll join us for this exciting day of service!
Join in the festivities and fun at Camp Fontanelle this Sunday, April 1. The fun begins at 2 p.m. with recreational tree climbing and egg dyeing in the lodge. Egg hunts begin at 2:45 p.m., with a new hunt every 45 minutes until 4:15. Hayrack rides/tours will visit the petting barn (there will be bunnies!) and jumping pillow. Laser tagger play will begin at 4 p.m. End the day right with worship around a campfire at 5:30 p.m., followed by s'mores/hot dogs. This event is open to the public. More info can be found at www.campfontanelle.com or direct questions to Trent Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-459-0686. We hope to see you there!
Camp Fontanelle is offering half-price registration for Guardian Angel and Sonshine Camps to all who register by March 31. This is a great opportunity to check out the camps with your loved ones for the first time. Guardian Angel is a 24-hour experience where preschool through kindergarten-aged campers attend with a trusted adult. Sonshine is a 48-hour experience where first and second-graders attend with a trusted adult. Grade is determined by grade attended as of January of 2012. More than one child can attend with one trusted adult or vice versa. Godparents, take this opportunity to spend some quality time with some spiritual focus with your godchildren. Grandparents, bring your grandchildren. Don't miss out on this limited-time offer. Each individual attending must fill out a registration form. Download and print forms or register online by visiting www.umcneb.org/camps.
Contact Trent at email@example.com or 402-459-0686 if you have questions. Registration for all camp sessions for all ages is open until sessions are full.
United Methodist Ministries (UMM), an accredited Volunteers in Mission (VIM) site, is encouraging Nebraska groups to come to Omaha for their mission experiences this summer. UMM has placement availability during May, July, and August; June is fully-booked.
UMM’s mission experiences are a combination of hands-on work, educational opportunities, and small-group reflection for youth and adults. UMM’s mission experiences are uniquely tailored to ensure that each team has an experience specifically created to meet their needs. Teams work around the Omaha area at social service agencies such as community gardens, homeless shelters, food and clothing pantries, and churches.
UMM welcomes teams of all ages including youth groups, adult groups, school groups, and families. Mission experiences with UMM typically run two to five days. UMM can also arrange lodging, if needed.
UMM believes strongly in educating mission teams about justice issues in order to help participants identify areas in need of change within their home communities. Issues that are addressed vary, but may include:
Nebraska groups, in particular, are encouraged to register now for summer 2012 mission experiences, as most of the currently-booked teams are from out of state. To book your summer mission experience or to find out more, contact Lisa Maupin, UMM Communications and Volunteer Director, at 402-898-9862 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Youth from Crete's Grace United Methodist Church work at in an inner-city community garden in Omaha as part of their VIM experience with United Methodist Ministries.
Enjoy lunch and conversation with Dr. Jim Noseworthy from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Thursday, June 7, at Fireworks Restaurant at noon. This lunch is open to all who are interested in hearing news from Garrett-Evangelical. Please join us and bring prospective students with you.
For more information, view the attached flier or contact Kay Burlingham at 847-866-3988.
Time Out United Methodist Campus Ministry (UMCM) needs your help to soften to blows delivered by cancer. This semester, the students of Time Out would like to support the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation (JAJF) in their effort to grant lasting memories to families facing a disease that impacts the entire family. JAJF provides "WOW! Experiences." These experiences are provided by national resources for families, where the Mom or Dad, has the diagnosis of a limited life expectancy cancer. The WOW! Experience allows to families, with a direct focus on the children, to take a timeout from cancer to create new lasting memories in the precious time remaining.
The concept of the WOW! Experience is different in that it is created by a national pool of donated resources. Companies across the United States donate everything imaginable to make this happen. From travel and transport to the WOW! destination — to every planned activity along the way, with the journey ending with the family’s return home. But, even with all that is given – the Jack & Jill Foundation must help to offset the cost of each and every trip. The cost per family is $1,500.00 and Time Out UMCM would like your help in providing a family with one last chance to make memories before time is no longer an option.
The Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation fundraiser needs your assistance to be successful. Donations to the JAJF can be made out to the Conference Treasurer. Please include the special project number of 2726 in the memo line of your check and mail to the Nebraska Conference Center, 3333 Landmark Circle, Lincoln, NE 68504.
As a thank you for supporting this effort, Time Out is hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for kids 4th through 8th grade on Saturday, March 31, at the Malone Center in Lincoln. We hope that you will join us on this day of fun by forming a team. Click here for details and to register and become a part of one family’s lasting memories.
Paul Yates, the director of involvement for Tiny Hands International in Lincoln, will talk about the problem of modern-day slavery (human trafficking) on Tuesday, April 3 at 5 p.m. He will share about the issue globally as well as speak to how people can fight against the problem right here in Nebraska.
Following the presentation products made by survivors of human trafficking in Nepal will be sold, and all sales benefit the work of Tiny Hands International. The presentation is being held in Olin B in the Olin Science building, located on the northwest corner of Nebraska Wesleyan University’s campus (50th and St. Paul) and is free and open to the public. If you are looking for resources for your church or ministry on how to be involved in the fight against human trafficking, this will be a great event to attend!
At the March National Association of Conference Presidents meeting in Nashville, Nebraska Conference United Methodist Men’s President, Dave Mendyk and Western North Carolina Conference President, Henry Dozier each received a plaque recognizing their conference's support for the Upper Room Ministries.
Each conference donated approximately $1,800 this year, and the Nebraska men have regularly supported the Upper Room Living Prayer line at their Men’s rallies. Nebraska was also recognized as one of 30 conferences that had increased the number of chartered UMMen units during the year.
Congratulations to our United Methodist Men!
Photo: Henry Dozier (left), Western Carolina Conference UMMen president, and Dave Mendyk (right), Nebraska Conference UMMen president, hold a plaque each conference received in recognition of their support for the Upper Room Ministries.
By Peggy Shorney, NOMAD volunteer
Nomads? Nomads? Who are the Nomads?
During the winter, the best definition is “Nice Old Methodists Avoiding Deep Snow.” But NOMADS really is Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service; NOMADS is a mission outreach of United Methodists.
On our NOMADS team went to San Antonio, Texas, to the Methodist Mission Home campus where we helped with several projects. They had two new two-story storage sheds that we insulated, dry walled, and painted both inside and out. Another project was building a new evaluation room within a larger classroom.
There were eight of us living in our RVs (recreational vehicles) for three weeks. Some days we relaxed after working and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Even with breaks and a six-hour work day, we accomplished a lot of work. Our team enjoyed sharing time and stories with the staff members. We also met enthusiastic students on the campus and greeted them each day.
If you are interested in more information about NOMADS, call 866-466-6237 or call Peggy and Glenn Shorney at 402-489-5539.
The Older Adult Council of the Iowa Annual Conference recently received a grant from the General Board to Discipleship to conduct a day long workshop on caregiving and they would like to invite members of the Nebraska Conference to join them to talk about this timely topic.
The workshop will take place Saturday, April 28, at First United Methodist Church of Des Moines. The registration deadline is April 13. See the attached flier/registration form for more information.
How Online Giving Can Raise Your Church's Income Online giving through electronic funds transfer (EFT) is not the offering of future, it is already here! Churches that have offered this to their people are seeing more income through the consistency of EFT, while their donors are appreciating the convenience!
A complete list of General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) webinars for local church leaders (and archives of webinars you might have missed) can be found at www.gbod.org/committee_resources.
Awaken your spirit and inner creativity as you connect with God’s Spirit in a casual day of reflection and hands-on visual expression with a community of like-minded people on Saturday, April 28, at Crosier Park Gymnasium in Hastings, Neb. Registration starts at 8:45 a.m.; the day will conclude at 12:45 p.m.
This springtime retreat will engage participants with simple art materials like paint and clay in a non-threatening environment where creativity is encouraged and celebrated. We will explore the process rather than the end product, and NO previous experience is necessary.
The retreat will be led by Glenda Dietrich Moore of Lincoln. Moore has led Spirituality and Creativity workshops for over 15 years. She delights in helping others engage their creativity to better their lives and connect with God’s Spirit. She is a professional artist, art instructor, and ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The cost is $38, which includes supplies. To register, contact Laurie Schmitt 402-984-6112 or email@example.com. Registration and payment are due by Thursday, April 19.
The dramatization of the Last Supper will be presented on Thursday, April 5, 6:45 p.m., at the Johnny Carson Theatre (801 Riverside Blvd.) in Norfolk, Neb.
What were the disciples thinking and feeling during this last meal together? How do they come to grips with the story that is unfolding before them? Come and discover the lives and backgrounds of these faithful twelve.
Members of the Norfolk area United Methodist Churches assume the identities of the disciples and Jesus as represented in Leonardo DaVinci’s famous painting. Included in the presentation will be Scripture, music, and the sharing of the bread and cup as a community of faith, if you wish to partake. A freewill offering will be taken to offset expenses.
A job fair is scheduled for April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for veteran job seekers, active duty military members, Guard and Reserve members and eligible spouses at the Lancaster Event Center, 4100 N. 84th St., in northeast Lincoln. This event will be a one-of-a-kind free hiring fair for employers who are committed to hiring our veterans and job seekers.
Employers must pre-register for free at HoH.GreatJob.net.
Jobs seekers are strongly encouraged to register for free at HoH.GreatJob.net. Walk-ins are welcome but space is not guaranteed. If you need assistance registering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This hiring event is being conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Community Foundation, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Nebraska Department of Labor, the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, the Nebraska National Guard, the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), the Nebraska Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), NBC News, and other local partners.
Cokesbury offers a wide array of Vacation Bible School programs to choose from. We provide these options because we know that VBS programs are as varied and unique as the churches that sponsor them. Our goal is to provide you with the perfect program for your specific needs.
As we journey through the last couple of weeks of Lent our attention turns to Jerusalem and the events of Holy Week. What would it have been like to have lived then and experienced those events that changed the world?
“Victory at Jerusalem” is a 60-minute, four-part documentary that relives the last days of Jesus’ life, taking a site-by-site visit of the places where the events of Jesus’ last days took place. We begin at Bethany and end at Jerusalem, visiting such places as the Kidron Valley, the Mount of Olives, Herod’s family tomb, the Garden of Gethsemane, the house of Caiaphas, the Potter’s Field and Golgotha. Segment one begins at Bethany and follows Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Segment two visits Gethsemane and an Upper Room. Segment three follows the traditional sites of Jesus’ arrest, trial and scourging and the fourth and final segment leads us to Golgotha and a garden tomb.
In “The True Easter Story” we travel with Ray Vander Laan to Israel and learn about ancient Jewish holidays and customs that surround the death and resurrection of Jesus. Vander Laan examines the depth of the Easter story as it began 2000 years earlier with a promise between God and Abraham. This video contains two sessions: “The True Easter Story” (45 minutes) and “Lamb of God” (20 minutes. Both of these DVD studies would be perfect for those groups wanting to do a special Easter program or a two-session study of the events surrounding Easter.
To receive a copy of either of these Easter studies email Diane Dunkerson at email@example.com or call at 1-800-435-6107. To see a complete and detailed list of all our Easter videos visit our catalog at www.umcneb.org/ResourceCenter.
Pastor Bonnie McCord offers this compilation of resources to help congregations study and celebrate Earth Day. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 this year.
Among the resources included is “God’s Renewed Creation.”
Marriage and family therapist Connie Lofgreen of Omaha speaks to the issue of sexual misconduct among clergy, in a guest entry in an ongoing series on clergy wholeness and ethics from the Rev. Galen Wray.
Click here to read Lofgreen’s entry.
Click here to read past entries.
It was recently suggested by Paul Dunn of Omaha that every United Methodist church in Nebraska ought to go to the state’s unclaimed property website, www.treasurer.org/up/upsearchprop.asp, and search simply using the term Methodist. According to Dunn, there are over 30 results. Most are under $300, but a half dozen are over $300.
Nebraska United Methodist Conference Communications will be printing business cards in the coming month. If you would like a "Nebraska United Methodist Conference" branded business card, please contact Roxie Delisi at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the information you would like on your card, including church or agency affiliation, address, phone numbers, fax, e-mail, website, etc.
The cost is approximately $35 or less for 500 cards, depending on the number of people who choose to purchase cards.
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.