Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech in Grosse Pointe, the Rev. Cedrick D. Bridgeforth, now reminds us, "We have options we can choose and we can each do our part to begin to bring about change in every community." read more>>
Bishop Mike Lowry says planting churches requires more than "following the rooftops." United Methodists are starting fruitful congregations in settings as varied as diners and prisons.
December 2 promises a double blessing when United Methodists around the world participate in Giving Tuesday. read more>>
Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey has regretfully accepted the Rev. Dr. Joanne R. Bartelt’s request for an immediate disability leave. She has named retired pastor and former superintendent Rev. Duane E. Miller to serve, effective December 1, 2014.
Deck those halls, warm up that cocoa and wrap those gifts. Sound familiar?
Every year you promise that this Christmas will be different.
Grab a cup of cocoa and join us as we prepare, watch and wait for that wonderful something God is sending our way not just at Christmas, but every single day. Will you make it a daily practice to check the Advent Calendar and share with the community how you are experiencing this season?
You’ll slow down and enjoy quality time with your friends and family, you say. You won’t drag yourself to the Black Friday sales at 6am when you should be sleeping in from a great Thanksgiving celebration, nor will you do your Christmas shopping in your pajamas on Cyber Monday.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to buy the latest gadgets or make progress on that wish list.
But somehow Christmas Eve is here before we know it and we wonder why we don’t feel renewed after this joyous season.
We’re inviting you to enter this season of Advent with intention and awareness. As we prepare, watch and wait for that wonderful something God is sending our way not just at Christmas, but every single day.
So, will you join us by opening your eyes to witness the hope that is already springing up around you? Will you open your hearts for Immanuel, God with us?
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Sign up for daily text or email reminders to check in with us,Text AdventCalendar to 75309 to receive daily reminders.
Finding the true meaning of Christmas. That’s Church.
We hear lots of gloom and doom around the topic of young people and the church. The usual articles focus on declining church involvement, decreased giving, and the rise of the “nones” as a religious category. But earlier this month, I discovered there is more reason to celebrate than to lament.
On November 7-9, I attended Imagine What’s Next, a United Methodist conference for college students held in Denver, CO. Sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and organized by an amazing launch team, Next 2014 focused on the “spaces where church/world and present/future meet.” I went as a representative of The United Methodist Publishing House, and was blessed to connect with 600 college students and collegiate ministers from around the country.
Let me share with you some of what I witnessed this weekend, some of the ways God is working among our United Methodist college students.
I saw powerful, moving worship. Worship was thoughtful and enthusiastic, and it regularly went over schedule (in the very best way). It continued afterwards out into the common areas, as people kept right on singing, praying, and speaking God’s word to one another. It was as if we feasted on God’s presence together and nobody wanted to be the first to leave the table.
I saw our connectional church at its best. Every student I met has a deep desire to serve God and neighbor. Many of them connected with the agencies and seminaries of the United Methodist Church to explore what that will look like in their future. This is how our connectional church is supposed to work: men and women with a passion for the church’s mission are finding support and direction through our denomination.
I saw technology used responsibly and effectively. Online interaction enhanced, not hindered, our real-world experience of Christian community. Event organizers used Livecube to manage the event’s social media presence, enabling participants to interact in real time and share insights and celebrations with one another throughout the weekend. It was a look at how social media can be done right to build up our churches.
I saw the Spirit moving. The hotel’s atrium, our main gathering space, had a piano off to one side. More than once, two or three would begin playing and singing hymns, and others would quickly join in. A small group quickly would become 15, then 20, then 30, playing the piano, drumming on chairs, and singing loudly and beautifully in praise of God. Spontaneous worship in response to the Holy Spirit is a wonderful thing to be a part of.
I saw students thinking deeply and theologically about the future of the church. One student is interested in communications, and he spoke with me about the foundational role communication plays in the church’s identity. What are we called to do, after all, beyond proclaim—communicate—the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ? I high-fived him. Then he took it a step beyond that, reminding me that creation itself is God’s communication. God spoke the world into being, and Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. Carry on, my friend. You are doing good work.
I spoke with several women and men who have a knack for writing, and who feel God calling them to serve with this gift. Their talents are diverse, some with creative fiction and nonfiction, others with curriculum for youth or adults. But what impressed me most was their keen insight into things that must be written. They all have a clear sense of the conversations that Christians need to be having today and in the future. And they have a willingness to tackle those conversations head-on.
I saw ministers and student leaders guiding the body of Christ within college communities. One Wesley Foundation celebrates communion weekly and builds their life together around worship. Another gathers it students into intentional Christian communities within their college campus, making their Christian walk a daily lived experience. It is not easy being a Christian in a college community, but these students and leaders are living out their faith boldly and with deep commitment.
I saw ordinary Christians being faithful. My favorite moment was speaking with two 20-year-olds who attend church every week, without fail. They want to serve God in other ways as well, but I was struck most by their steadfast, ordinary faithfulness. One talked about how she spends her Saturday nights differently than her peers, because Sunday morning church is non-negotiable. The other regularly offers rides to fellow church members, especially the youth she works with. “I’m the only 20-year-old there,” she said with a smile. “They love me.” Such regular commitment is rare for any demographic in 2014, especially college students. I want to write their churches and tell them what a gift they have. “Keep it up,” I tell them both. “You have no idea how important you are to them.”
The weekend’s conference invited participants to “Imagine What’s Next.” What’s next, I believe, is faithful, informed, and energetic Christians following God and leading the church. And from what I saw this weekend, that is not at all a stretch of the imagination.
With a new year on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about how you can help people engage with the story of God through your sermons. Here are some great ideas and resources.
Take your favorite idea for a kick-start sermon series for 2015 and brainstorm topics for each week. If you do it now, you can create and print a nice informational card about your beginning-of-the-year series to people as they leave your Christmas Eve service.
1. The science of God
Sometimes the church is seen as being in opposition with science. As United Methodists, we take a different stance. The Social Principles clearly state, "We recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God's natural world. We affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world" (Par. 160F). Furthermore, "Science and theology are complementary rather than mutually incompatible."
What if you used scientific principles such as chemical bonds and catalysts to help explain marriage and the body of Christ? You might use the wave-particle duality to explore the Trinity or even wrestle with what implications the Big Bang Theory has on our understanding of God.
Learn more about The United Methodist Church's position on evolution and how science can help church keep its younger members.
2. Everyday heroes
For a moment in the lives of most children, their parents are superheroes. Even though parents know they are just everyday people, their children see something much more within them. That perspective is the perfect entrance into the biblical narrative. The Bible is full of everyday people whom God used in powerful ways to do heroic things. If we can see these Bible heroes for who they really were, maybe we can hear God's call on our lives to step out and be the everyday heroes in our world.
3. Do something
The Methodist church began as a brilliant movement fueled by people who were not content with letting the "professionals" handle the big actions of the faith. In fact, in frontier America, it was not uncommon for the Methodist pastor to be in town only two or three days per month. That meant that the members accomplished the everyday tasks of being the church. Recovering this part of our past is powerful. Take four or five weeks to teach about the importance of having an active faith and to guide people in beginning that work in the world.
Learn how to attract, recruit, train and keep volunteers:
4. Winter blockbusters
Try a new spin on an old idea. Take last summer's blockbusters and show a different clip each week instead of your typical sermon illustration. You could even provide popcorn and refreshments after the service. Make sure you have the right licensing to play movies with purpose and legal permission.
5. Why do we do that?
Even people who have grown up in the church get a little rusty on the reasons for and the meaning of the things we do as a church. Take a month to focus on the theological significance of each part of your worship service, making sure to help people understand the sacraments of Baptism and Communion.
Here are some resources from the General Board of Discipleship to help research this sermon series
Available Online (free):
Great Books to Buy:
Can't get enough sermon ideas? Check out the sermon series section on Ministry Matters.
~Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How can you help create different alternatives to the offering plate for your church?
There are a number of options that are available to churches today. We've broken this down in three ways:
In most instances, a church will make better use of their time and security by working through third party service providers.
There are many options out there for merchant service providers. If you need online giving, card readers, texting to give, or even a full sized kiosk, you have all those options available for a new type of offering plate today.
EasyTithe allows you to integrate online giving within their giving kiosk, which are monitor or computer terminal set ups. They offer a full range of features that could fit just about any size congregation. EasyTithe's pricing suggests that they will take a transaction fee and a standing fee for various levels of their service. This is not a deal breaker, as other services have similar plans and some will have just a standing price or a percentage take per transaction. You will want to weigh the financial options between them and other services.
SecureGive offers unique payment options to go along with their full service features. They have options of flat rate or per-transaction percentages. If you expect a large volume of giving through the various gateways, then it may make sense to pay a flat rate and save over the per-transaction fee. If you do not know the amount of giving you may take in, using the per-transaction fee makes good sense. This way you do not lose money if the online giving is not used regularly.
Giving Kiosk is actually a brand name to a company, though many companies in the marketplace use the term 'giving kiosk' as service options. You may place an electronic kiosk, or kiosks in the narthex, fellowship hall or anywhere in your church. Imagine a sleeker, more personable looking ATM. People are able to use their debit or credit cards to give on a weekly, recurring or event basis. The systems can cost you a minimum of $1000 to approximately $5000 for a single kiosk machine, so the onset is more than some of the online options. The data from Giving Kiosk states that the increase in giving will pay for the set up costs within a month or two of use. Similar to EasyTithe and SecureGive, Giving Kiosk has added features to provide you a website portal where members have their own login and account information.
PayPal may have the easiest set-up of any online merchant service provider. You can set up a business account for free and start taking in donations in minutes. People are becoming more and more familiar with using the services of PayPal as well, so the trust value is built in. There are options to create recurring giving, one-time gifts, and event registrations that can be listed on your church website, but route through PayPal's secure settings.
Vanco Services is used by many United Methodist churches through their UMEFT partnership (United Methodist Electronic Funds Transfer). Through their service, you can develop a custom portal page (colors, logo) through which members can safely give. Vanco's pricing options are pretty straightforward. One unique feature with Vanco is the option to offset the card fees from a transaction. This set up would charge the donor the card fees as part of their donation. With this option, a $100 dollar donation would charge the donor $104.50 (approximately) so that a full $100 donation goes to the church. Many times people are willing to pay these fees for the convenience of online card giving. Vanco can also provide mobile card readers for digital devices.
Flint is a free feature-rich app that allows you to process credit cards by scanning with your mobile device's camera. Simply position the card number in the scan area, then enter the card verification number on the back. No extra hardware or merchant account is needed. All data is fully protected according to industry PCI DSS standards and guidelines. All transactions are encrypted for safety, and no information or images is ever stored on your phone. Transaction rates start at 1.95% and there are no monthly fees. Keyed entry is also supported at the same rate as a scan. Download the free Flint app now on the App Store or Google Play to check out Flint's multiple payment and customer marketing tools.
Square: Square is a card reader that can attach to a phone or tablet. If your church has a wi-fi connection available, then utilizing a tablet to have at a welcome center or church office for people to give is a good starting point in online giving. You can use any tablet or phone for this process, but it is a good idea to invest in a church-owned device to avoid control and possession issues. This can allow a square connected device to be available at all times, not just when the pastor or lay leader is in the building. A neat function of Square is the ability to recognize people through their cell phones when they come into proximity of a device. This actually allows people to give with their cell phone and not have to swipe their card.
Square is a product based service, so you may have to get creative in setting up giving levels as a buyable product as part of your set up. What we mean by that is you might have to create a 'bronze tithe' and assign a price value to that, say $250. This can be a very real option if you are doing a renovation or fundraising project and someone can 'buy a chair' or 'gallon of paint' as giving.
PayPal Triangle: Similar to Square, the Paypal Triangle is free to order and the service will only charge 2.7% per transaction so you avoid any onset or standing fees. You may use it with any device that has the PayPal Here app installed. You can collect donor information within the app. After a transaction on the "Thank You" page, you'll see an "Add Customer Info" link. If donors give you permission, collect their email addresses so you can easily stay in touch.
Check out this great Square vs. Triangle comparison chart. Though Square supports more devices and doesn't require a credit check to apply, it looks like Triangle has the advantage with better options in customer support, check processing and payment channels. Both of these mobile readers may be good options for you to test your online giving market without putting down a large start-up investment.
There is technical work and risk that goes into taking online payments directly off your website. First, you will need to secure a merchant account, a payment gateway and a TLS or SSL certificate.
With recent concerns about Internet security (Target's customer information being compromised or a security bug like Heartbleed re-emerging), your congregants may likely have a concern about online giving. This is understandable and a good question to ask when making a decision on vendors and practices. When choosing an online giving method, consider security compliance of a vendor and your church's security measures. Choose a company that is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant with current security standards. Be sure to look up PCI standards and ask a company representative how they meet those criteria. Take a further step to ensure that your church's hardware and Internet connections (which will be part of the mechanism for making online giving happen) are locked down and secure as well. Be vigilant about people's security concerns.
As you can see, putting online payments onto your church website can be taxing and cost prohibitive if you do not have informed people and incoming funds to offset the costs. If you do have some of those things in place, then doing transactions on your website can save you money and be an effective tool.
There are many ways to re-imagine passing the offering plate for the church in today's world. Setting people up for online giving can help the church to have consistent and easy tithing regardless of the ebbs and flows of church attendance. People are not bound to have to remember to bring a checkbook or cash with them to church either.
Print this article out or send it around to your finance committee and let this be a discussion starter at your next meeting.
REV. CEDRICK D. BRIDGEFORTH
Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Chairperson
As long as justice is postponed we always stand on the verge of these darker nights of social disruption. The question now, is whether America is prepared to do something massively, affirmatively and forthrightly about the great problem we face in the area of race and the problem which can bring the curtain of doom down on American civilization if it is not solved.
--"The Other America" Speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at Grosse Pointe High School - March 14, 1968
The sad fact here is that I do not believe anyone is surprised that the nearly prophetic words of the people of Ferguson have come true: “The grand jury will not indict a police officer.” It seems as if the people who struggle to make a life in Ferguson knew something about their city that those of us on the outside did not know. They knew politics and good ole boy systems would prevail. They knew justice lurks around the corner in their town, but they can’t ever seem to make that turn to experience it.
They knew the heat of the summer would give way to cool breezes of autumn just as it always does. They knew the media outlets would abandon the streets of Ferguson quicker than they checked out of their hotels. They knew the black people from around the country who were outraged and boisterous in person and online would grow weary and return to the mundane existence and comfort of employment and political capital provides. They knew. We presumed it, but they knew it. They knew it because they lived it.
The greatest tragedy here is not that the police officer may never face charges for what happened, but that America, especially Black America, may not take this opportunity to band together and work toward solutions that will pave the way for future generations to experience a different reality.
Lives have been lost. Families have been destroyed. Communities have gone up in flames. All the while, America fights wars around the globe to ensure freedoms and liberties for people who have been pushed out or otherwise annihilated due to their religious, ethnic and/or economic realities. There were tanks in Ferguson and people were outraged by the presence of such machinery and weaponry. Questions were raised about the necessity of such fire power, but all one needs to do is watch the news reports coming in from around the world to see that this is the response waged against supposed terrorists or those in opposition to whatever regime is in power or attempting to gain power.
The presence of those tanks were tangible signs or even poignant expressions of the laws stacked against the disenfranchised of this nation and the certain acknowledgment that black people rising up and speaking out are in fact enemies of the State. Those tanks roll when empires are threatened. Those tanks roll when economic engines are at stake. Those tanks roll when young people challenge the status quo. While the tanks roll so does the cameras and rhetoric about change and the need for justice and unity. Now the tanks are gone and so is the hope of some who saw this as a way for people of America to wake up and to own up to its need to do better and to be better.
Whether the local officials of Ferguson or Missouri make any changes that will impact other communities in America, we have options we can choose and we can each do our part to begin to bring about change in every community. We can choose to continue to destroy the businesses in our communities that may never return. We can choose to lash out at the media in hopes they will take us seriously. We can choose to keep silent as crimes are committed on our doorsteps and in our homes. We can choose to remain home on election days - believing our votes mean even less than our voices.
We can make those choices and we can live with the consequences for another generation or two, but will that make room for a generation that has yet to be born? Will those choices free us from slavery, sin and ultimately death? Will those choices help us to rise to a place where we are truly at the tables of power and influence as true participants in the reshaping of America’s race agenda, as opposed to being items on its delectable menu?
Of course we can make such choices, but we know if we do, we are postponing justice while fast forwarding the whole of America to an abysmal future. A few direct and deliberate actions you can take now, wherever you are and whatever your feelings about the inaction and decisions in Ferguson are as follows:
Beyond signing petitions, praying and holding open forums, we must begin to look inward and ask the tough questions about our people and our communities as much as or while we ask similar questions about our nation. The answers and the prospect of gaining such insights may be daunting, but it is work that must be done. We must hold ourselves accountable to police ourselves and protect our own families and communities. We must write our own headlines and novels that tell of our true pain and suffering because unless there are tanks rolling, no one else will.
~umns photo/Rev. Maidstone Mulenga
November 27, 2-5 p.m., the First United Methodist Church of Durand invites the community to its 7th annual FREE Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner. The church is located at 10016 E. Newburg Road, Durand, (just east of town, corner of Newburg and New Lothrop roads). The menu begins with succulent roasted turkey and we go from there: Hearty dressing, rich gravy, creamy potatoes, buttery vegetables and rolls, plus PIES for desert! Take outs are available!
While food is important, it really is about great fellowship and time spent making wonderful memories with family, friends, and making new friends. If you know of anyone who will be alone on Thanksgiving Day, tell them about this opportunity.
We know some people always feel they need to give something in return for the dinner. So (only if you want to), we do receive canned goods and monetary donations for the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank located in Vernon but this is not required! Dont let it stop you from enjoying this thanksgiving meal.
Remember! This dinner is FREE! For more information call the church at 989/288-3880. Office hours are Tuesdays and Fridays 8 a.m. 1:30 p.m. or leave a message and well get back to you as soon as possible.
By now, I hope you have all heard about the “Conversations on a Journey” which Bishop Deb is hosting around the Area over the next three months.
Bishop Deb will be in Cadillac, Escanaba and Midland during the week this blog is published, and later in Grand Rapids and Northville. (see details below)
She is hoping to hear from as many area United Methodists as possible during these five events and she is happy to be sharing her vision and dreams as well. These should be wonderful conversations.
This month’s Burning Question, voiced by a clergy person, came to our office in advance of the first conversation, but was born out of concerns for both the process and any possible outcomes. “I hear the Bishop say she is coming to listen to us, but the last time we had “listening sessions” they were anything but. How can we be sure that this time is different? Why would we want to make the effort to encourage our laity to be there?”
I understand the concern. The last time we talked about listening sessions on an area-wide level, we were operating out of a different set of assumptions and understandings. The people who planned and conducted those “listening” sessions had been given an assignment and thought that the best way to carry out their assignment would be to take a proposed plan to the people and allow them to ask questions about the proposal. Not a bad idea, and well-executed by the members of the MATT team.
But many of us came away feeling like we had different ideas we hoped to share and it seemed that there just wasn’t time or any opportunity to give input. The end result was that some of us were frustrated by the process, and the frustration has not gone away. As I have traveled around the area, I have heard very little resistance to the idea of becoming one conference for the Michigan Area. But I have heard lingering skepticism about how this process will move forward and many questions about timelines and possible input from persons in the pew and behind the pulpit.
So please let me share with you what I think, based on what I have heard to date from Bishop Deb and conference leaders from both Detroit and West Michigan. First, and foremost, I have heard a desire and commitment to learn from the mistakes we have made in the past. Bishop Deb has come to this place after listening to people from across the area, and she is determined to continue to seek input from lay and clergy alike as we go forward. She is coming to these conversations with an open mind and deep trust in the wisdom resident in the people of the Church. She is clear that she wants to give the people of the Area opportunities to weigh-in with their thoughts and ideas, both in these initial stages and throughout the process.
Second, I believe that we will learn from the experiences of others. In the past, we were moving into areas of conversation where few other Annual Conferences had gone, and we did not have many other examples to draw from. But today, many annual conferences have experienced these vital mergers and the creation of a singular new conference where there had been two or more predecessor conferences. They have had successes and bumps along the way and we can learn from them. I know that Bishop Deb and her conference leaders from both West Michigan and Detroit have already been to Indiana to hear about their experiences of moving from two conferences to one new conference, and I am confident that there will be many more such conversations and fact-finding trips in the future.
Third, I am convinced, from what I have heard so far, that we are not in a rush to get to the end of the journey. I believe that the people and conversations I have heard are prepared to take their time in order to get it right the first time. By that I mean that, if the two conferences decide that they would like to become one new conference for the Michigan Area, then the becoming will be stretched out over enough time to allow this new thing to grow and develop, with a variety of inputs through many different means. The new conference, if it is to happen, will not be dropped out of the sky full-grown and fully developed in a matter of weeks. It will emerge from weeks and months of input gathering and idea-testing across the entire area. And I do not believe that this input gathering and idea-testing process will be conducted by the same persons who have brought us to these decision points in the past. We will certainly want to hear their voices and learn from their experiences. But if we are to have a “new” thing, then we must have new leaders with fresh ideas and fewer ties to the ways we have always done things in the past. What excites me is that I believe there are just such persons willing and eager to lead us in these new directions. I also believe that those who have been in leadership roles are prepared to hand off the baton.
However, before any of this can happen, Bishop Deb would like to hear from you and have you hear from her. There are several ways this can happen. You can attend a conversation event. You may participate in the planned “web” event in January. You can speak with a conference or district lay leader. You can email the bishop’s office or join the social media dialogue which has already begun. But mostly, you can prayerfully prepare for the opportunity will be given to each annual conference to let the Bishop and conference leaders know, by means of the ballot, whether you agree with their vision for the area.
There will come a moment when our votes will be each be counted and we will be given our opportunity to say “yes, we agree” or “no, we do not.” In the end, the choice will be ours. I know that Bishop Deb is prepared to trust the wisdom of the two conferences and their members on this. She really wants to hear from you!
This week's schedule:
The year: 1952. The place: Hornick, a small town on the very western edge of Iowa. A bubbly, blonde, curly headed little girl had just celebrated her first birthday, and was just beginning to pull herself to a standing position in preparation for her first steps. She, her parents, and her older brother and sister were looking forward to the relaxing, slower paced days of summer in Iowa.
August’s Burning Questions blog generated a number of questions and comments – some posted and more not. I’m grateful to everyone who responded.
One of those who responded had more than a little “heat” in the Burning Question which came my way: “Why does the Bishop not want to use the 'm' word? It’s a merger no matter how we try to 'sugar-coat it.' We should call it what it is. When we fail to do so, we make people wonder what we are trying to hide!"
Great question! Let me see if I can shed some light on the Bishop’s thinking as she leads us forward into a “new thing” – whatever that turns out to be.
First, the reason around the hesitation to use the “m” word. It began when the Bishop was assigned to the Michigan Area. People on the Jurisdictional Episcopacy Committee and others, people she has known and respected for years, told her that she should NEVER use the “m” or "merger" word in Michigan.
There had just been too many bad experiences in the past and there were still too many painful wounds. She has already said that in print and from the pulpit. I’m not sure if some people think she is exaggerating that part of her story, but I know from personal experience that she came with that thought even before she moved to Lansing. And when she got here we did nothing to discourage her from that line of thinking.
But as she moved around the state, and I was there for some of those introductory meetings, she really did hear people asking repeatedly: “When are we going to be one?”
She heard about our conference successes. Both conferences have much to celebrate and be proud of. But she also heard about our failures and our continual decline in membership and attendance no matter what we have tried in the past. And she began to wonder if we might want to try a new way of doing “conference”, a way that refocuses our energies and resources on the core values we all share.
When we use the “merger” word, we tend to think about the past and how to bring two entities together while preserving the things we have always done or valued. And those conversations can become heated. Letting go of the past is always difficult, and the older we become, the more past we have to hold on to. But if we are going to reverse our fortunes and began to build the kingdom again, we need to regain our focus on moving forward. That’s why Bishop Deb and others have been reluctant to use the “m” word. Not trying to hide or sugar-coat anything, just trying to point us to new possibilities.
Second, I want to assure everyone that the destination toward which we are moving is not yet known – to the Bishop, certainly, nor anyone else. It feels to me a little like the Exodus experience of the Hebrew people. They were being summoned to leave a place they had known, a place they had prayed to be delivered from but were reluctant to leave behind, and set out for a “promised” land they had never seen. I am convinced that they were able to make that great journey on the basis of hope and trust. They had a hope that the future would be better than the past and a trust in the One who was making the promise and surrounding them along the way.
Yes, there were some then and there are some now who do not want to set out until we have seen what the promised land actually looks like. I don’t think anyone can answer that request with accuracy at this point. What we can do is clarify and commit to discovering the values and vison which will guide us along the way and help us recognize it when we reach the place toward which we are headed. Those things, the core values or expectations, as Bishop Schnase calls them in his book, Seven Levers, and our defining vision or mission statement can be seen and known before we make the decision to set out on our journey. They may be refined along the way, of course, but they can be and will be stated clearly for everyone to see before we take the first step in the wilderness of transformation and “new things.”
So, over these next weeks and months, several things will be taking place. Work will be done and input will be sought from all across the Michigan Area as we try to carefully and purposefully listen to you and others share your vision and values for what these new things might look like. There will be opportunities to share with the bishop personally as she travels from St. Joe to Detroit and Adrian to Traverse City to Marquette to meet with and listen to lay and clergy from the four corners of this great state. Please notice that I have been careful to use the “listen” word. That, too, is not sugar-coated or disingenuous. She really wants to listen and to hear from you. She will not be coming with a fixed agenda or a series of “talking points.” She will be coming to listen.
And she will continue to share her sense of call and excitement for what is possible when the people of Michigan come together to do great things for the kingdom. She believes that we are better together than we are apart, and that this is a time for the people of the Area to unite around a vison of disciple-making that can transform the world.
May it be so!
Perspectives on Hope: Crossing the
United Methodist Communications has opening for a
for details Click Here
United Methodist Communications has opening for:
Details Click Here
Children/Youth Ministry Coordinator position
Approximately 10 hours per week, $150 per week
North Lake United Methodist Church at 14111 N. Territorial Rd, Chelsea is looking for an innovative and enthusiastic person who is organized, detail oriented, has experience with children, is flexible, and is available on Sundays.
The staff person would be physically at North Lake UMC team teaching Sunday School and meeting with our Youth Group on Sunday. The staff person would be communicating with the Education team and the pastor in planning Sunday School and Youth group activities. The staff person would also, be conceiving and implementing new Christian programming targeting children and youth and helping to coordinate volunteers for these programs.
Please send a resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pianist/organist for the Ortonville United Methodist Church, in Ortonville, MI. Organ playing is not necessary but a plus. Call Sharon Williams at 586-707-7348
2006 FORD FREESTAR HANDICAP CONVERSION VAN
10 lowered Floor, Power Slide Out Ramp, Automatic Sliding Door, Lowered Drivers Side Sliding Door, Manual Wheelchair Tie-down System, Inside Spare Mount, Removable Front Driver & Passenger Seat Bases, One Touch Remote Entry, Magnetic Entry, Power Kneeling Suspension. EZ Lock Power Tied Base, BKT-2G Wheel Chair Bracket for EZ Lock, Side Entry.
Number of Owners: Two, received by Central in 2009
Current Owner: Central United Methodist Church, Detroit
Condition: Excellent, garaged during winter months.
Maintenance: Maintained by Avis Ford, Southfield
When used: Only on Sundays to pick up Wheelchair bound parishioners.
Central United Methodist Church, Detroit
23 E. Adams Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
Mr. Walter Cain, father-in-law of Rev. Dennis E. Irish [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Thursday, November 13, 2014.
Rev. John N. Howell [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Saturday, November 8, 2014.
Mrs. Paula Thompson, spouse of Rev. James W. Thompson [Former Detroit Annual Conference Clergy,
Retired Indiana Conference Clergy], died Sunday, October 26, 2014.
Funeral Service will be held at 2:00pm Sunday, November 2, 2014, at Aldersgate UMC located at 5130 Lincoln Avenue; Evansville, IN 47715 [812-477-7816].
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO:
Rev. James Thompson
2704 East Blackford Avenue
Evansville, IN 47714
GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE GIVEN TO:
Aldersgate UMC - 5130 Lincoln Ave.; Evansville, IN 47715
Methodist Temple UMC - 2109 Lincoln Ave.; Evansville, IN 47714
Mrs. Bonnie Jean McKown, surviving spouse of Rev. Billy J. McKown [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Monday,
September 29, 2014.
A Memorial Service was held Thursday, October 2, 2014 at the Swartz Funeral Home located at 1225 West Hill Road; Flint, MI 48507
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT:
To The Family of Mrs. Bonnie McKown
c/o Swartz Funeral Home
1225 W. Hill Road
Flint, MI 48507
Mrs. Arlene Watt, surviving spouse of Rev. Robert C. Watt [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Friday, September 26, 2014.
Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, October 3, 2014, at Holly: Calvary UMC, located at 15010 N. Holly Road; Holly, MI 48442 [248-634-9711]. A time of visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. prior to the service.
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO [Son]:Mr. & Mrs. Robert Watt
GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE GIVEN TO:Residential Hospice Foundation