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Features
Tuesday - May 26, 2015
First steps with First Peoples

A year-long journey is beginning at the 2015 Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conferences. It involves repentant steps into the past and reconciling steps toward the future with Native Americans in Michigan and elsewhere.  read more>>


Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Texas flood relief is now underway

Trained volunteers are on the ground in Texas after the Memorial weekend deluge. One pastor assured her congregation, "When you cry, God cries...This is not an act of God. This is a storm ... how we react is what makes the difference.".... read more


Tuesday - May 26, 2015
How to 'think big'

Cornerstone UMC in Caledonia has been named the 6th fastest growing United Methodist Church in America. District Superintendent William Haggard interviews Lead Pastor Brad Kalajainen and Teaching Pastor Ken Nash.

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
UMCOR invests in Risk Reduction

For 75 years UMCOR has shared Christ's love with those in crisis. And through Disaster Risk Reduction UMCOR saves lives even before a crisis strikes.

News
Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Cornerstone among the 'fast-growing'churches

 

In 2015, Cornerstone Church in Caledonia, Michigan was recognized as the 6th fastest growing United Methodist Church in the United States. The expanding congregation of more than 1700 members has grown 47% in the past five years.

Hear District Superintendent Bill Haggard interview Lead Pastor Brad Kalajainen and Teaching Pastor Ken Nash. They explain how their ministry grew from a hand full of people worshiping in a basement to a thriving ministry starting new sub-sites across the area.

The Top 25 List was compiled by the Rev. Len Wilson who says, "I believe that the result of creative thinking is innovative practice, and the result of true innovation is growth. While not all growing churches are healthy churches, healthy churches grow, because growth isn’t the goal; it’s the outcome." Read more of Wilson's analysis.

Your link to Cornerstone online.

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Eight stewardship potholes you want to avoid

TIMOTHY SIBURG
Ministry Matters

For those of you blessed with good roads that never buckle or open up, a pothole is a failure in a road (generally made of asphalt) that results in a crater or hole being created in the road. The Twin Cities of Minnesota are experiencing some of the worst potholes in many years as the remnants of winter recedes, and the battered roads emerge. Needless to say, you don't want to hit a pothole, but it's pretty much impossible right now to avoid them with your car.

So ... what are some of the potholes of stewardship?

Focus only on money
It's very important to focus on money in stewardship, but sometimes we get so focused on the money aspect, that we lose sight of the larger and perhaps more important question of what does it mean to be a steward? We are a steward of all that we have and all that we are. This includes money, but it doesn't just consist of money.

Focus on time and talent and avoid money
Some times congregations and people focus exclusively on an understanding of stewardship around people's particular gifts, strengths and talents. This focus is great for helping people connect their daily lives and work as examples of stewardship, but it can also be a means of avoiding thinking about the difficulties and challenges of money. It can even lead to the avoiding of any money conversations altogether, which isn't helpful either.

Not facing the challenges of finances
This goes along with the previous pothole. If money isn't discussed, then congregations avoid having conversations about helping people be responsible and sustainable stewards with their own finances and budgets. If a person isn't empowered and given space to feel capable and given an opportunity to ask questions, they will continue to avoid facing these challenges. Through this, money can become a real barrier to one's relationship with God rather than a means towards serving and living as God's stewards and children. To quote a popular summation of stewardship, stewardship involves "time, talent, and treasure" together with working together.

Creation of Guilt
A local pastor in the Twin Cities explained this well. He believes that true stewardship comes through two stages of financial health. The first is the "sea level" perspective, which is a focus on budget and debt help and how to budget and get out of challenging debt. The second, is a sort of “how to fly” and “learn to fly” perspective, where one is enabled and shown how to use their wealth to express their values and calling(s). In his view, congregations ask the second piece about callings and values without tackling the first piece. By doing this, congregations inevitably create guilt among their congregants and stewards, and nearly pressures them to take on more debt in order to be able to give. If a congregation doesn't help the person become sustainable, then a congregation may just be making a person worse and not better by pressuring them into giving without the help of how to do so and live into that in a sustainable way.

Inability to tell the story of the mission
In the past it was just assumed that people would give because it was the right thing to do and an expectation. This isn't the case anymore. This doesn't mean that younger generations aren't generous. Younger generations are very generous and want to be. They give of themselves and their resources to movements and to missions that they can sense and see. They don't generally trust institutions, so if an organization or a group can't tell its story convincingly and in a way people can relate to, they aren't likely to cultivate new givers. Successful non-profits have figured this out. Congregations are just starting to scratch the surface though, and it takes a willingness to adapt and change in order to do so.

Assuming people know how the ministry/work is paid for and done
Related to the previous pothole, as people gave in the past as a sort of expectation, people also generally had some grasp of how the ministry/work was paid for. Today's generations don't. And why would they? If more and more of younger generations are growing up without religious or faith experiences, how would we expect them to know how the church does it's work? This means there is ample opportunity for engaging in conversation and mutual learning.

Treating different demographics as "token" people
This shows up all over the larger church. But it reared its ugly head over the weekend. I don't fault the person who said it. We have all thought it, but by thinking it and saying that we want "more younger people" or more people that are different than us to come to this, or particularly to participate in stewardship, we are expressing a desire without asking the all important questions like: "What do younger generations value?" "What can we learn from younger generations?" "Do younger generations view themselves as stewards with gifts?" These are important questions that need to be asked, and they can't be asked of just a few people who, because they are younger, happen to "represent" younger people. It doesn't work like that, just like I, as a Norwegian American cannot speak for all Norwegian Americans. Each person has their own perspectives, experiences, and values. To think they speak for all people who happen to share some characteristics is inauthentic.

Fear of offending people by talking about money
Perhaps this is the age-old assumption. People don't want to hear about money, so by talking about it you are going to offend them. Rhetorical question, but what topics were talked about most in the Bible? Besides, look at the data, people are drowning in fears of scarcity and debt today. They want to talk about money. They need to, in order to overcome these challenges. It's a faith issue, and a spiritual issue.

These are just eight starting potholes that I see around stewardship.

What potholes would you add?

~Ministry Matters is an online resource of the United Methodist Publishing House.

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
God cries with victims of Texas floods

SAM HODGES
United Methodist News Service

May 26, 2015 -- Raging floods in central and south Texas over Memorial Day weekend forced a United Methodist couple onto the roof of their home, where the husband lost his grip and the wife sang hymns until a rescuer arrived.

Larry Thomas, 74, was swept away and is among 12 people missing in the floods that engulfed houses along the Blanco River in Wimberley, Texas. His wife, Carol Thomas, survived with scratches and bruises.

The Thomases are members of Wimberley United Methodist Church and Mrs. Thomas teaches kindergarten at nearby Dripping Springs United Methodist Church’s Pathways School.

“She spent about six hours singing church hymns” while holding on first to a satellite dish and its cable, then as the waters receded coming to rest on a red-tipped photinia hedge, said Jenny Aston, the school’s director.

The ordeal began late Saturday night and Mrs. Thomas was rescued early Sunday morning by a neighbor in a boat, Aston said.

Perhaps as many 20 families of Wimberley United Methodist Church, including the Thomases, lost homes as a wall of water came down the Blanco, said the Rev. Dana Hamilton, pastor.

The Rev. Bill Henderson, superintendent of the Hill Country District of the Rio Texas Conference, mourned the losses.

“We’ve been praying for rain. We just didn’t want all of it to come at one time,” Henderson said. “The cost has been tremendous in property and human lives.”

Conference goes on

Flooding caused problems across much of Texas, including Houston, where the Texas Conference was having its annual gathering at a downtown hotel.

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie decided the meeting, which concludes Tuesday, had to continue on schedule. Voting machines and hotel space were under contracts that could not be extended.

“There’s really nothing else we can do other than just keep on keeping on,” said Paula Arnold, Texas Conference communications director.

Many of the 2,000 people attending are staying at the Hilton Americas, but others were trying to make their way in Monday from the Houston area.

“Some parts of town you cannot get through,” Arnold said. “The streets are completely flooded.”

The Rev. Arturo Cadar made it without problem Monday from nearby Friendswood. “But I saw a lot of towed cars,” he said.  

Relief efforts underway

The Rio Texas Conference already has relief efforts underway, since both the Wimberley and San Marcos areas were hard hit.

“We’re trying to deploy early response teams now,” said Eugene Hileman, disaster relief coordinator. “We’ve distributed all the flood buckets we have. We’re going to be requesting more from UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief.)”

Hileman said donations to the conference’s relief fund or to UMCOR are the best way to help at present.

The First United Methodist Church of San Marcos is using its online ministry ServeSanMarcos to inform and organize volunteers for cleanup.

Some 350 volunteers answered the call, showing up at a parking lot Tuesday morning at 9, said the Rev. Todd Salmi, associate pastor.

“They’re out on the streets now, doing initial response and cleanup,” he said.

Salmi said the church created the website and social media ministry after discovering that local nonprofits needed help in finding and organizing volunteers. The ministry provides up-to-date information and can send out email blasts.

“The church has really been able to be a connection resource,” Salmi said.

An online campaign to help the Thomas family had raised more than $30,000 by Tuesday.

“It’s just been a big outpouring of help,” Aston said.

Hamilton said the couple has been “very active” members of Wimberley United Methodist. She said Larry Thomas had suffered a stroke and had other health problems.

The church met on Sunday morning, after the terrible night of flooding, but had prayers and Scripture reading instead of formal worship.

Her word to her congregation: “God is with us. When you cry, God cries. When you hurt, God hurts. This is not an act of God. This is a storm, and this is what happens. How we react is what makes the difference.”

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Invest in Disaster Risk Reduction and save lives

SUSAN KIM
United Methodist Committee on Relief

May 21, 2015—There are recent disasters that leave us reeling: the earthquake that killed 8,200 people in Nepal, for example. And there are “repeat disasters,” which seem to strike some communities over and over, such as the tornadoes that in the small town of Harvest, Ala., have taken the lives of 57 people over the past several decades.

Do we just wait for the next disaster—and pray it doesn’t happen? Isn’t there something we can do?

Yes. That “something” is disaster risk reduction (DRR), and UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, has a DRR program that quietly saves lives, saves money, and saves people from the fatalistic thinking that they are helpless in the face of the next disaster.

How much do you know about disaster risk reduction?

Q: Isnt reducing disaster risk lengthy and expensive?

A: Not always. For example, at one primary school in Bangladesh, a single eight-hour training by UMCOR partner Muslim Aid—focusing mainly on cyclones—inspired the school staff to establish a small committee to manage disaster risk reduction issues by analyzing risks in the school building. They made small repairs that could avert future damage. Then they reached out to a national organization in charge of public schools, and received a grant to make more significant repairs. “This was not only a training but an example of empowerment,” explained Yovanna Troansky, UMCOR’s program manager for Disaster Risk Reduction. “Not only were people able to understand the risk but they also took the initiative to find resources to reduce the risk. Disaster risk reduction can empower communities to find solutions to the situation that they face.”

Q: Can people really change the way they think about disasters?

A: Yes! Generally speaking, there are two types of thinking that increase disaster risk. First, there are people who know the “next disaster” will happen, but they feel powerless to lessen their risk. So, they do nothing. Second, there are people who are not aware of disasters at all because they either don’t have access to information or they choose to live with a lack of awareness. So, they do nothing. Both these mentalities need to change, and disaster risk reduction—which UMCOR pursues in many locations across the world—is gradually changing people’s outlook and lessening their risk, said Troansky. “I know when we see people suffering during a disaster, we feel moved to do something,” she said. “But if we don’t invest in disaster risk reduction, we are not going to stop seeing people suffering because they will be impacted again and again.”

Q: Is Disaster Risk Reduction really a good investment?

A: First, Disaster Risk Reduction saves lives. In the town of Harvest, UMCOR helped fund a tornado shelter that will keep 475 priceless people safe. This is the most important investment of all. In terms of monetary value, “for every dollar we invest in disaster risk reduction, about $7 dollars will be saved in economic losses and recovery costs,” said Greg Forrester, who heads UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response. Forrester was citing U.N. Development Program information.

In the U.S., UMCOR also funds training to build disaster resiliency among annual conferences that then pass their disaster risk reduction knowledge down to local churches. “It’s a great investment, and we should pay as much attention pre-disaster as we do after the disaster strikes,” said Forrester.

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Michigan Area takes first steps with First Peoples

M. KAY DeMOSS
Senior Editor-Writer, Michigan Area

In 2012, the United Methodist General Conference —  the denomination’s top legislative body — held an Act of Repentance Toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous People service. A General Conference resolution also charged the denomination’s Council of Bishops with carrying out an ongoing process to improve relations with indigenous individuals including local or regional acts of repentance.

The Rev. Dr. Jerome (Jerry) DeVine is guiding a design team that will bring an Act of Repentance Toward Reconciliation to the 2016 combined session of the Detroit and West Michigan conferences. ~mic photo/Jeremy Africa

Many annual conferences are planning worship services where church members can acknowledge the church’s wrongs against Native Americans and other first peoples.

Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey has named the Rev. Dr. Jerome (Jerry) DeVine to convene a design team that will bring such an experience to the Michigan Area during shared Conference time in June 2016.

The design team is working with the Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) of the Detroit Conference and the West Michigan Indian Workers Conference.

DeVine and others came before the Detroit Annual Conference on May 17 to initiate "first steps" toward next year's event. The design team will share a similar invitation with the West Michigan Conference on June 5.

A year ago Native American United Methodist leaders wrote an open letter to the bishops that offers counsel on how acts of repentance can avoid being “token in nature.” The letter asserts that the church must confess past sins but also must address present challenges in ministering effectively with Native Americans and other indigenous people.

Important voices

“We believe this is a time when our UMC can make a vital difference in the lives of our families, communities and nations,” the letter says, “and we, your indigenous brothers and sisters, can offer our wisdom and gifts to the UMC, if we cultivate and tend our partnership.”

The letter’s writers include: Cynthia Kent, chairperson of the Native American International Caucus; the Rev. Anita Phillips, executive director for the denomination’s Native American Comprehensive Plan and the Rev. Chebon Kernell, executive secretary for Native American and Indigenous Ministries at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Oklahoma Area Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr., wrote the cover letter.

In writing the letter, the leaders also consulted with members of Native American International Caucus at their meeting in March. At that meeting, caucus members from across the United States stressed that the healing work will take time. 

“Repentance means to turn completely around and go the other direction,” Kent told United Methodist News Service. “What does this church have to do, to stop what they have been doing that has hurt and hindered the inclusion of native people into this denomination?”

A tangled history

Native Americans have been part of Methodism’s story nearly from the beginning.

One of John Wesley’s great hopes as a young pastor in the American colonies was to preach the gospel to the Yamacraws, Mark C. Shenise told those gathered at the Greater New Jersey Conference’s Act of Repentance in May.

“Unfortunately, he never had a serious chance to minister to the tribe before leaving for England,” said Shenise, who works with the denomination’s Commission on Archives and History. “(Wesley’s) desire to work amongst native peoples never waned despite distance and time which separated him from the New World.¨

Other Methodists did carry out Wesley’s call to evangelize, and as the letter notes, Native Americans were among the first to carry Methodism westward across the United States even “as they made their tragic death marches during the ‘Trails of Tears’ and other historic Native removals.”

But conversion to Christianity didn’t stop the U.S. government’s continued plunder of Native American land and lives.

Methodists played a key role in one such incident — the Sand Creek Massacre. A Methodist clergyman-turned-soldier, Col. John Chivington, on Nov. 29, 1864 ordered the cavalry charge that slaughtered a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians.

The widespread mistreatment of Native Americans did not end with the final shots of the American Indian Wars.

From 1869 to the 1960s, the U.S. government, in collaboration with Christian denominations, systematically removed as many as 100,000 Native American children from their families and sent them far from home to government- or church-run boarding schools. At these schools — some of which were Methodist — youngsters were punished for speaking their native language, banned from acting in any way that might be seen to represent traditional practices and stripped of personal belongings. In some cases, school staff members — who were primarily non-Native — abused the students. 

Native American leaders write in their letter that The United Methodist Church “must acknowledge and respond to the real and recurring trauma experienced by Native American communities, honoring the continued hope we maintain in our People, in our call and in our Creator.”

Present struggles

The letter also notes that Native Americans still face a variety of challenges in the church today.

The Rev. Chabon Kernell (r) co-authored the open letter to the church last year. He will be the keynoter at the Act of Repentance Toward Reconciliation in 2016. ~umns photo/Annette Spence

“In recent years we have witnessed demanding and destructive burdens placed upon Native American churches, fellowships and ministries which threaten the survival of a Native American presence within the UMC,” the letter says.

Kernell, one of the letter signers, said many impoverished Native American communities don’t meet the criteria the denomination uses to determine church vitality — such as average worship attendance, professions of faith, baptisms and financial giving.

“If conferences and the denomination are looking for numbers then they may as well stop; if they are looking for larger churches they may as well stop too,” Kernell told UMNS. “This is the same burden that is placed on pastors and clergy in Native American settings all across the country.  And when the expectations are not met, the ministry is defined as a failure, leaving everyone lost and dejected.”

He suggests a Native American ministry be measured by the responsibilities it has for the wellbeing of its community.

“Are we feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty?” he said. “Are there people asking for use of our facilities for prayer meetings, family gatherings, language classes, community meals and other Native forms of worship? …  We as a church do not acknowledge the responsibilities we should have to all people in regards to their personal and community wellbeing.”

The Rev. Chebon Kernell will be the keynoter of the Michigan Area Act of Repentance Toward Reconciliation next June. ""He will help the Michigan Area look at the larger picture," DeVine notes.

Future change

The letter expresses the yearning that the process of repentance will lead to tangible changes in the denomination.

For Kent, those include conferences working more closely with their Committees on Native American Ministries and native ministries being on the conference agenda, “rather than an afterthought.”

She also would like to see churchgoers give more to the Native American Ministries Sunday fund, which supports Native American outreach in conferences and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans.

Kernell said he hopes for the security of Native American churches and ministries.

“Beyond that,” he said, “I can only hope that conferences, cabinet meetings, church worship services, agency board meetings, will be welcoming places for indigenous people.”

~Heather Hahn and United Methodist News Service contributed to this report. Homepage photo shows Bishop Roy Sano and the Rev Calvin Hill welcoming those arriving on pilgrimage to the Sand Creek Massacre site in June 2014. Rev. Hill, currently in Montana serving churches in the Yellowstone Conference, has pastored congregations in the West Michigan Conference.

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Patience and process in Texas chaos

LARAINE WAUGHTAL & VANCE MORTON
Central Texas Conference

The recent (and apparently ongoing) strings of Texas spring storms have delivered needed rain to much of the state. However, they have also brought tornadoes, strong straight-line winds, hail and, in some areas, too much of that good thing we call rain. The news reports, videos and photos from the communities most impacted probably has many of you wondering how and when the conference is going to respond and roll in with assistance. The answer is two-fold: we already are responding and hold your horses, we’ll let you know as soon as help is needed.

Here is what we currently know from the affected areas of our conference. As of this time, no conference-wide response is needed nor has any such action been requested. If you have other details and you are from that community, please email Laraine at laraine@ctcumc.org or call her through the conference office at 817-877-5222.

Mineral Wells - Reportedly there was little to no flooding or tornado damage to homes as the downtown area absorbed the brunt of the storm. Laraine continues to be in contact with local authorities and will provide updates as available/warranted.
Cisco –The needs of all the families are being met and they appreciate your prayers.
Corsicana and Ellis County – The flood waters are being monitored. There are limited needs but the community is able to meet those needs.
Morgan Mill – ERT teams have been working in this community to clean up the debris field and the situation is under control.
Hillsboro – all is well.

Much of the flooding being reported does not involve any homes. Our CTC communities have been quite blessed that the storm damage has not been more extensive.

How the CTC Responds to Disaster

From the time a disaster happens and is made known, the CTC is in response mode. The CTC Disaster Response Coordinator, Laraine Waughtal, and the members of the Disaster Task Force begin monitoring the situations in our communities and our churches in the affected area and myriad others to learn first hand how we, as United Methodists, can be the hands and feet of Christ. Because the scene of a disaster is just that, a disaster, often times the immediate answer is "We'll let you know what we need as soon as we know."

Sometimes, the hardest part of disaster response is balancing what is being reported by media and what is actually happening on the ground. Watching the TV and reading online reports and Tweets can be deceiving about the scope of a disaster area, because often the details being reported are not complete or accurate.

However, our trained ERT and Disaster Response team members are in contact with those who do know what’s going on. As such, individuals and churches are reminded to be patient and don’t immediately respond to what you are seeing and hearing in the news. Of course that’s a big ask for compassionate christians living in a 24-hour news cycle society, where reporters too often employ the “we have to be first with the story and we’ll get to the actual facts of the situation much later” method of (ahem) journalism. Just try and remember the following before you head to the nearest big box discount warehouse store to buy pallets of bottled water for those in need. By the time you hear of a disaster, the CTC Disaster Response team is

already compiling the most accurate information to share with CTC members and churches and will share it as soon as the local officials are ready to release information;
checking on which victims/survivors are insured versus those who are not;
activating the CTC’s Early Response Teams, who have the specialized training to effectively respond and coordinating with UMCOR if a larger scale response seems necessary;
determining if help is actually needed or if the local community can and prefers to handle it locally;
patiently waiting for the disaster zone to be safe from flood waters, debris, electrical, gas and other issues (yes, they have to exercise patience too!); and
holding off on any response outside our conference as the team never crosses the boundaries of another conference unless invited to come help.

Because these disasters get so much news coverage, and Texans in general are a generous bunch, communities too often end up with the secondary disaster of having an abundance of donated goods that they can’t use and don’t have a place to store. And even the ones that do have storage capabilities probably are in no shape to handle the immediate influx of donations. They have to have time to organize themselves and work things out. We do not want to be a part of the problem by trying to be a too immediate part of the solution.

So, what can you do to help immediately following a disaster? Here are the top 5 actions you can do to immediately assist...
Pray and be patient and let the Disaster Response Team find out the best answer to that question.
When the event is in our conference, believe that the team is working on it and sometimes answers take time.
Understand that most often, the greatest help for survivors are gift cards (what type will be shared when that info is available) and monetary donations to get them what they actually need not what we think they need. Remember, 100 percent of what you give through UMCOR or the CTCSC goes to the recovery of that community – no overhead or administrative costs.
Never call the local UMC in the disaster area in the days immediately following the disaster. That church is already overwhelmed and cannot take everyone’s call. That church is busy just trying to care for its own members and locate them and get organized. If you have questions call Laraine at the conference office. T
Look at the ERT section of the conference website and register for the next ERT training session so you can be more quickly involved in the recovery efforts. .
None of the above is meant to quell the passion and desire to help so often expressed by Central Texas Conference members and churches. That passion is why our Disaster Response Team works so hard and is so vital to our conference. However, it’s been proven time and time again that the best way to focus our conference call to assist those in need is by working through our connectional system, taking all the time and steps to adequately assess each disaster situation and then going in and providing the assistance needed, when it’s needed, where it’s needed and how it’s needed.
 

Events
Friday - May 29, 2015
CORR Meeting

 Meeting By Conference Call 

Saturday - May 30, 2015
Conference UMW Meeting

 Program Committee - 10:00 a.m.

Executive Committee - 12:00 p.m.

Saturday - May 30, 2015
New Beginnings for Staff Parish Members

 Free seminar for members of Pastor/Staff Parish Relations Committee who will have a change in pastors this year.  

To register, email your name, church, email contact, and role (Pastor, support clergy/staff, P/SPRC, Admin) to

Nancy Arnold: narnold@detroitconference.org

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF LOCATION TO TROY: FIRST UMC

Saturday - May 30, 2015
Protection Policy Training
Peoples UMC, on Saturday, May 30th, 2015 from 11 am to 3 pm
Contact info:  Cliff Stallings, 248 443-5766.

 

Sunday - May 31, 2015
Peace with Justice Sunday
Tuesday - June 2, 2015
In Focus

 

Youth group and young-adult leaders are invited to attend a three-day “In Focus” familiarization event about United Methodist Seminars on National & International Affairs. The program will introduce the seminars, which are custom-designed to meet attendee requests, and will explain how to organize and lead a group for these tailored study experiences in the nation’s capital.

This year there will be two In Focus events:

  • June 2-4 (Tuesday to Thursday): Pastors/directors of youth and young-adult ministries in ethnic-minority local church settings.
  • July 7-9 (Tuesday to Thursday): Pastors/directors of Wesley Foundation and other campus ministry groups.

The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS), which manages the Washington, D.C., UM Seminars, will provide lodging, food and seminar materials at no charge for the first 15 persons to register. A $75 registration fee will be charged for all others. Travel costs to and from Washington, D.C., are the attendees’ responsibility.

All UM Seminars are conducted at the United Methodist Building, which is across the street from the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court.

Nearly 2,000 people have attended more than 100 UM Seminars during the past five years. Many groups from across the United States have returned repeatedly to take part in the decades-old program. In 2014, attendees came from 18 states and 16 Annual Conferences.

Engage issues

The UM Seminars program is about learning, experiencing and engaging around issues affecting communities. Seminar activities include experiential exercises, small-group discussions and opportunities to express what you've learned in various art forms.

Authorities on subjects chosen by participants are invited to share information. Often, seminar participants also visit with members of Congress.

Attendees at the "In Focus" event will learn about the program by experiencing a seminar firsthand.

Attendees at this "In Focus" familiarization event will:

  • Engage in experiential education focused on the intersection of faith and social justice;
  • Participate in sample simulations and exercises designed specifically for youths and young adults to connect social issues, public policy and faith;
  • Meet and interact with GBCS staff, community advocates and leaders in the nation’s capital.
  • Develop understanding of the importance of engaging informed by faith with elected officials on issues of justice;
  • Network with other church leaders and educators from around the country;
  • Learn how to plan a seminar experience.

This familiarization opportunity is for persons who have not previously led a group for a seminar. To be eligible to participate, registrants must agree to lead a group to participate in a seminar within the next 14 months.

The seminar will begin in the morning of the first day. Programming will conclude by 5 p.m. on the third day.

Registration

Registration is limited. Deadline for the June 2-4 In Focus is May 8; deadline for the July 7-9 In Focus is June 26..

To register, click on the appropriate dates:

For more information, contact Aimee Hong, director for Seminar Design, via email at ahong@umc-gbcs.org or phone (202) 488-5649, or Dave Johnson, Seminar designer, djohnson@umc-gbcs.org or (202) 488-5644.

Blogs
Tuesday - May 19, 2015
Because you asked what I have been thinking ...

This is a moment which comes to everyone. For some, it comes with more warning and more preparation. For others, it sneaks up on you or even jumps up when you least expect it. I have been anticipating this moment for a number of years, and somehow, it still managed to surprise me with how quickly it has arrived. I’m speaking about retirement and transition, of course.

Mark your calendars now. A celebration of Bill Dobbs' ministry will be held on Saturday, June 20, from 2-4 pm at the Area Ministry Center, 1011 Northcrest Road, Lansing. ~MIC photo/Mark Doyal

As I sit down to write this final Burning Questions blog piece, I have already been through the retirement service at the Detroit Annual Conference and am only days away from my final Annual Conference session in West Michigan. Someone asked me what I have been thinking about in these last few days before the moving people come to take away the books and pictures from the walls of my office. So, if you will permit me, let that be my final Burning Question even if it is not foremost on everyone’s mind.

I’ve been thinking about all the people who have blessed us – Janice and me and our family – over the last 43 years of ministry. Many of them, of course, have already gone on to glory, and many more may well have forgotten the moment or moments which I remember so vividly. But, now, today, they come across the years to remind me that we have been blessed beyond anything we could have imagined when we started out. From that little country church at West Mendon and the arrival of Grandma Dorothy and Grandma Barbara’s welcoming strawberry shortcake just as the moving van departed, to the joys of working with Bishop Deb and all the members of her cabinets as well as every incredible member of our office team, this journey of ordained ministry as an Elder in The United Methodist Church has been a wonderful experience. I know that there must have been painful moments, but I cannot recall the pain. What I am left with is wonderful memories and treasured souls who have made our lives richer for having been touched by them!

I’m also thinking about a line from the service we used every time we left one appointment to go to another. It expressed our awareness of our need for forgiveness and our need to forgive. It was always easier to forgive congregations and church members than it was to admit failure and ask for forgiveness. But the great good news of this repeated exercise was the graceful and forgiving nature of the people of West Mendon and Calvary and Ludington and East Lansing – University and Holland First. They were so forgiving and forgetful that we can only praise God for the mercy and grace we experienced in those appointments. As we now take leave of this last season of ministry in the Bishop’s office, I know that the opportunity for harm has been even greater and the need to forgive and seek forgiveness is even more necessary. Please forgive me for any harm I may have done, either in my writing or in my work as Bishop Deb’s Clergy Assistant. It may be something I said, it may be something I left unsaid or undone. But I hope you will believe that it was never my intention to harm anyone through word or deed!

And I’ve been thinking about what’s next for us – both the “us” of the Dobbs’ household, and the “us” of the Michigan Area. Within a very few days we will know whether the time has come for the two sides of this one state to come together as one whole Area, or if they will remain two distinct conferences. Twice before I thought the time was right, but it was not to be. And, looking back, I now see that it really was not the right time despite all our plans and dreams. There was more work to be done, more bridges to be built, more friends to be made and more joint ministries to be undertaken. Has the right time arrived? I think so, but only the two conferences will reveal the answer on June 10th. However either way, we – the United Methodists of the Michigan Area - are stronger because of the conversations we have undertaken over the last few years and the collaborations we have been a part of. And whatever the future will bring, God is already there beckoning us forward into new possibilities. Our hope is built on nothing less! 

For Janice and me, life’s Sabbath rest is ahead. It is not an ending, so much as it is a next step on a journey and we are not in mourning! We don’t know what it will look like for sure, and we don’t know how long it will go on, but we do know that it will be a great joy because we will be together and we will be in God’s keeping and, oh yes, we are confident that God, in God’s own time, will reveal the answers to all our Burning Questions!

So thanks for reading all these reflections over these last few years, and thanks for all your comments, both favorable and not. You have made it fun to write each month, and I am grateful!
 
SHALOM!

 

Monday - May 4, 2015
Can we learn each other's songs?

 


Amazed and astonished they asked, “… How is it that we hear,      each of us, in our own native language?”
 [Acts. 2:8]

Aho Mitakuae Oyasin.
 
Many of our local churches recently celebrated and observed Native American Ministries Sunday. The Book of Discipline tells us that “this Sunday serves to remind the church of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society.”  [¶263.6]
 
For every human being there is a much greater depth to their identity than is seen on the surface. It takes time to truly come to know another human being. This is also true when we seek to understand one another’s larger cultures and worldviews. 
 
When we consider how the general U.S. population has come to view Native America, it is often through the stereotypes from Hollywood, or the mis-education of history in our schools. Did you know that there are 12 federally recognized tribes here in Michigan alone? And that there are some still seeking that recognition? The 12 tribes here are part of the historic Council of Three Fires, comprised of the Odawa, Potawatomi and Chippewa. They are the Anishinaabe, the People of This Place. My daughter-in-law’s grandfather is an active member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians near Dowagiac, Michigan. 
 
Did you know that there are eight active Native American United Methodist congregations in Michigan, and three other active ministry programs? The Anishinaabe are not a mythical people of the past; they are a vital part of the fabric of the present across the state and across the church. I am particularly encouraged by the new Saganing Native American Ministry Center in Standish, which our conference Committee on Native American Ministries is helping shape. There is also an exciting new formational effort for at risk Native youth in the Pashawbestown area North of Traverse City, in the West Michigan Conference. Brandon Ahmicasaube Smith, a young adult member of the Northport Indian United Methodist Church, had a vision for guiding these youth back onto a pathway that would restore values, leadership and cultural grounding. He gave birth to Spirit Journey, a summer program that brings these young people to the historic Northport Indian Camp Meeting Grounds. 
 
There is much to be celebrated, and much more yet to be told. For these ministries to grow and be known requires non-Natives to begin to build the relationships necessary so that you can see with new eyes and hear with new ears. Remember the line from the book of Acts: “… How is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” Native American Ministries Sunday is an opportunity for each of us to not only give financially to support these ministries, it is also an invitation to move beyond the surface into genuine relationship.
 
In the mid-1990’s the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries launched a new initiative that resulted in a series of song books called Global Praise. It involved bringing together dynamic church musical artists from many cultures around the globe. The desire was to help make the Gospel of Jesus Christ more accessible and more culturally and contextually relevant to all peoples. It was also so that we might once again discover that enriching moment of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when it became clear to all that diverse cultures, languages and practices were a part of God’s intentionality, not a problem to be fixed. 
 
I was working in New York City for the General Board of Global Ministries at the time the Global Praise effort was first starting. I asked one of the artists that were guiding this exploration what his hope was. He talked about wanting us to “learn to sing each other’s song”. What he meant by that was not that I would usurp something that belonged to you and your culture, or you would steal something that belonged to me and my community of belonging, but that when life circumstances push me down, oppress me and cause me to forget the community song that forms my life and soul, then if you have listened to me well, you can sing my song back to me, reminding me who I belong to, until I can once again sing my own song again. When life pushes you down, oppresses you and causes you to forget where you come from, if I have journeyed well with you and listened deeply then perhaps I can sing your song back to you until you once again find yourself.
 
God embraces uniqueness while building commonality. 
 
Yet, Church, we have a problem. We have a theological, historical, political, attitudinal, contemporary and practical problem! This problem is rooted in an ancient text, Deuteronomy 7:1-6. It is not a passage that I ever recall hearing someone preach on: “When … your God brings you into the land that you are to enter and take possession of … you must destroy them. … Treat them thus: Tear down their altars, smash their sacred poles, and burn their idols. For you are a people holy in the sight of God… Somehow, I find it hard to see that kind of behavior as ‘”holy in the sight of God”, yet this text became a foundation for the unleashing of a centuries long genocide.
 
Dr. Robert Allen Warrior is a Ph.D. professor and is of the Osage Nation. In an essay entitled “Canaanites, Cowboys and Indians” he shakes open the eyes of the dominant culture church to realize that this story about the invasion of Canaan is not a word of hope for many indigenous peoples. He reminds the reader that as a Native American he reads the text from the life experience and lens of the Canaanite.
 
In 1452 A.D. the Papal Bull Romanus Pontifix, declared “war against all non-Christians throughout the world, sanctioning and promoting the conquest, colonization and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories.” Within a year Spain was given these “rights of conquest and dominion over one side of the globe and Portugal the other” side. In 1823 the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was adopted into U.S. law by the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice “observed that Christian Europeans nations had assumed dominion over the lands of America—and upon discovery—Indians had lost their rights to complete sovereignty and retained a mere right of occupancy in their lands”. (See The BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS of The UMC 2012, #3331). The whole idea of Manifest Destiny began to grow, with America being the new Israel and European settlers God’s chosen people. (Cf., Book of Resolutions, #3336).
 
It is hard to hear or learn someone else’s song if you assume yours is the only one that matters!
 
Before 1492 it is estimated that between 40 – 90 million indigenous people of many cultures, languages and nations lived in the Americas and Caribbean. By 1892 I think it was estimated that only 890,000 remained in what became the United States. There are now in excess of 2.5 million people that identify as Native American in the U.S.  There are now 566 federally recognized tribes and dozens of state-recognized tribes today.
 
As a denomination we have committed ourselves to take a step toward a different future. At the 2012 General Conference the delegates and the Council of Bishops all participated in an Act of Repentance Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.  Out of that action of the general church came a request that every annual conference in the denomination consider what repentance toward reconciliation would look like in the contexts they live in. 
 
While there is the larger picture of what the nation and church have conspired together in there is also the specific setting in which we share life here in Michigan. There were Indian Boarding Schools in many places across the country, including here in Michigan. The Removal Act impacted 100 of tribes and thousands of families, including those in Michigan. Land theft, broken treaties, mineral rights, fishing rights, ceremonial practices, language, family ties, etc. have all been impacted even to the present moment, including here in Michigan.
 
In September of 2014, Bishop Kiesey asked me to develop and convene the design team that will shape a year-long pathway toward the joint 2016 annual conference. During that year non-Native United Methodists will be invited and encouraged to take small steps toward a new understanding.
 
The members of that design team asked: “What might a new covenant between non-Natives and Native Americans look like in Michigan?”
Jeremiah 31:31-34 tells us that this covenant will be written on our hearts, meaning it becomes our way of living instead of something external to our way. Theologian Walter Bruegemann speaks of “inhaling” the new covenant with God. It becomes a part of our very being, equipping us to live God’s intended way of justice and relationship in the world. Our desire with this Act of Repentance Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is that we might all “inhale” a way of living in relationship to one another so that restorative justice, healing, reconciliation and new covenant partnerships might emerge and be lived out here in Michigan and beyond. 
 
For this to truly take place requires that non-Natives learn the real story of our state and national histories, not simply those that were taught in our dominant culture history books. If we are willing to see the past and present through the eyes and experiences of the marginalized we have the opportunity then to see a future that can be quite different than the past.
 
Can we learn to sing each other’s song? Yes, if we humble ourselves and allow God to lead us one step at a time.
 
In Christ’s circle,
 
Rev. Dr. Jerome (Jerry) DeVine, Director of Connectional Ministries
 
[This article was adapted from the sermon DeVine preached on April 19, 2015 at Central UMC in Detroit.]

 

Monday - May 4, 2015
Why is the silence so deafening?
We are in the season of Eastertide, moving readily toward Pentecost.   We proclaim the hope that God is truly with us and rejoice in the promise that God’s intentional creational diversity is our blessing in the world. 
 
And yet, for many, the events of the daily news for the past several months weigh heavy in the heart and seek to rob us of this blessing. Life in this country has been marked by protests fueled by the grief and anger that many of this nation’s citizens experience daily in the wake of officers involved in the fatal killings of unarmed African American men.  
 
Yet, in the midst of such deep social unrest, many of our local churches have been silent. And, it is all too real that silence from authorities is the norm, including from the Church.  One United Methodist in our Detroit Conference felt compelled by the images of the struggles in Ferguson and elsewhere. 
 
Rev. Jeff Nelson, pastor at Redford-Aldersgate UMC, reached out to Black and White clergy colleagues in his community to begin to build deeper relationships and to then engage community leaders. 
 
Nelson shared, “It is important to not be silent, even if we are not sure what to say.” The group of six ecumenical colleagues have titled themselves One Redford, affirming that there is not a White Redford and a Black Redford, or an Old Redford and a New Redford. 
 
Together they proclaim “We are One Redford—One Community—One set of people committed to living and raising our families right here!” From this base of trust and relationship they now have reached out to the key community leaders, such as the Chief of Police and Township Supervisor.
 
Many dominant culture Americans and, undoubtedly, many United Methodists see the events and deaths of unarmed Black men as individual and tragic incidents. For those involved in the protests in several cities, the deaths are not individual or isolated, they are part of a larger system that privileges White Americans and discriminates against American of color.  The cries represent the pain not only caused by recent events, but it reflects layers upon layers of injustices inflicted upon people of color in America for generations.
 
The prophet Micah proclaimed that we are to “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Throughout its history the United Methodist Church has struggled with what this looks like in real daily life. Central to the struggles within our Church and the U.S. social, political and economic fabric has been the injustice of racism. The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church teach that racism is a sin that has both personal and institutional dimensions, and the results, within the U.S. context, brings practices of white privilege and racial discrimination. 
 
The Acts of Repentance at four successive United Methodist General Conferences (2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) have drawn on the United Methodist Social Principles’ teaching on institutional racism, white privilege, and racial discrimination to acknowledge the mistreatment of African Americans and indigenous people within the life of the denomination. Because of our denominational history and our social teaching, all United Methodists must acknowledge and carefully consider the allegation of racism in this contemporary moment.
 
The hard work of making the Acts of Repentance more than one-time apologies and the Social Principles more than just words on a page wrest squarely on our shoulders. In order for these Acts and Principles to encourage true healing and lead to the forming of life giving relationships, the spirit of repentance and reconciliation must be received and enacted by United Methodist in their local contexts. It is therefore incumbent for Michigan United Methodists to take up this sacred work in response to the particular historical moment in which we find ourselves.
 
This sacred work must involve critically reflecting on the pernicious and persistent realty of racism in both the church and U.S. society. This will include wrestling with the policy and practices of the United Methodist Church that result in white privilege and racial discrimination as well as examining institutional racism at work in the criminal justice system through practices of profiling, mass incarceration, and use of excessive force. For United Methodists in the State of Michigan is it also important to wrestle with how the events in Missouri, New York, Cleveland, Baltimore and elsewhere might be linked with recent local protest and resistance to Emergency Financial Management in predominately African-American municipalities and to the alleged targeting of low income African-American and Hispanic residents for water shut off in Detroit. Might these also be linked to the pernicious and persistent force of racism?
 
Along with this statement, leaders of the Michigan Area of the United Methodist Church have also committed themselves to providing ongoing places of dialogue and training for leaders in our local churches. It is the hope of these leaders that these conversations might inspire and guide our local churches to engage in this moment within the context of their local communities.  To be silent is deafening in the midst of pain and injustice. We urge and encourage every local United Methodist Church to reach out into your communities proactively to build relationships across cultures, classes and generations to address issues of brokenness and systemic inequity. Let your voices be heard.
 
After all, the cross and resurrection are signs and symbols of God’s abundant life and saving love in a world marked by oppression, injustice, and violence. May we who survey the Easter Cross have the courage to truly live in the gracious judgment and hope that each proclaim.  
 
In Christ’s circle,
 
Rev. Dr. Jerome (Jerry) DeVine, Director of Connectional Ministries, Detroit Conference
Rev. Paul Perez, Detroit Conference Director of Mission and Justice Engagement and Leadership Recruitment
Ms. Ernestine Campbell, Chair of the Detroit Conference Commission on Religion and Race
Rev. Dr. Darryl Totty, Chair of the United Methodist Black Clergy of Michigan
Rev. George Covintree, Chair of the Board of Justice, Advocacy and Equity, Detroit Conference
Tuesday - April 14, 2015
Will the church be left behind?

 

Just got back from a lovely one mile walk in the sunshine and I don’t have to tell you that, after this long, long winter, I enjoyed every step! The temptation was to keep on walking, but duty called and my computer was waiting. But when I’m finished here, the sun is still shining and the road is beckoning!
 
The Burning Question for this month comes as two sides of the same coin. I first saw it on a blog post by a layperson, but I have heard it since from lay and clergy alike. “When considering the decision to move forward with the creation of one new conference, what are the compelling reasons for change and what are the compelling reasons for remaining as we are now, with two separate conferences?”

As I begin to think about the answer for this two-sided question, I am very much aware that what would be compelling for one person might not be compelling or ‘as’ compelling for another. There is something of the personal in each answer, so let me share something of my compelling reasons even as I invite you to consider what will be compelling for you.
 
One advantage of being in ministry for 43 years is that I have seen a lot of changes in the ways that we do our work. Some have been easy changes but most – like any change - have not been without their challenges.
 
When I started out we were doing bulletins on typewriters and mimeograph machines – with stencils and correction fluid. We had no (or very few) conflicting demands for people’s time on Sunday mornings, and businesses still closed for church holidays. And we had no cell phones. I remember the first cell phones I ever saw. They were “bag” phones or car phones and it was a major production to carry one around reserved, for the most part, for the well-to-do.
 
So I had a pager in my pre-cell phone days. All it did was beep to ask me to call my office or my home to find out what it was that I needed to know. It worked wonders. There were at least two occasions when I beat the family to the hospital. But it also wreaked havoc on our family dinners. On more than one occasion, the pager would sound off in the middle of the main course and we all know that strident beeper tones or ringing cell phones are not be denied. But in the end we adjusted to the change because it enabled us to be more effective in ministry. We had to learn how to live with it and when to turn it off, but we also had to admit that, in the end, we were better for the change.
 
Our culture and our context for ministry have changed dramatically over the last 40 years. Change is coming much more rapidly and those who cling to the past are often left behind by those who embrace the change for the sake of the desired end goal. This is not to say that change is ever easy. It makes me very uncomfortable when I am not sure what is happening or where we are going, and I don’t think I am the only one. And not all change produces the desired outcome, whatever that outcome may be, early in the process. It can take repeated trial and error attempts before we get to the place we want to be. But if we don’t make the effort, if we don’t at least try, we will never achieve the goal we seek.
 
For me personally, that is both the compelling reason to change and the answer when someone is looking for a compelling reason to remain where we are. The structures we have become comfortable with, the ones we know backwards and forwards, are no longer producing the growth outcomes we desire and we are fast approaching a place where those embracing change are going to leave us, if they haven’t already. My comfort, or more accurately, my dis-comfort with change and the unknown are not compelling reasons for me to vote to resist change. And just working harder at doing what we have been doing is not the answer.
 
Cell phones are better than pagers and computers are more productive than typewriters in the hands of the right person. We have an opportunity to design a conference that is more nimble and more responsive to changing populations and a changing state. We have a chance to create a structure which is able to care for those who have gone before all while having the wherewithal to seek and save those who have not yet heard the Good News of grace and salvation. We have a chance, if the people of both annual conferences agree, to build something tailored to the demands of the next generation and the next after that. Of course, we must be careful not to forget our past or our promises to generations of pastors and laity who have toiled in this harvest before we every started. But we cannot, we must not be so tied to our past that we cannot adjust to the present or adapt for the future.
 
Brothers and Sisters, the world will not end if you all decide not to embark on this new venture. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; and Christ’s kingdom, already begun, will come in its own time. But I believe that we have an opportunity here to do a new thing in Michigan which can and will, by God’s grace, help us all do ministry more effectively and fruitfully in the days and weeks and years to come!
 
Till next time – Shalom!

 

Tuesday - March 17, 2015
Moving toward a decision point

I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for the early signs of spring and the returning warmth in Michigan. I know that I am not alone in thinking that the last two winters have been harder to bear than earlier ones, and I don’t think it is only old age and approaching retirement causing me to think that way. Come on spring!

I have been hearing the same question from a number of people lately, and, even though it has been addressed in a variety of other forums over the course of the last year, I would like to share myperspective.  The Burning Question for this month is this: Why aren’t we seeing more information about what this “new conference” in the Michigan Area will look like before we are asked to vote on it? I’m not comfortable voting for something until I know what it will look like!”

One very good friend even said to me that they would not buy a house without a building inspection and didn’t think we should be asked to “buy” an annual conference without knowing what it would look like.
 
I absolutely agree that we should not buy property without being absolutely clear what it is that we are buying. And in the past two votes on this question that was the approach we took. We were offered a plan for an annual conference which had enough detail to determine whether or not we wanted to “buy in” to a new conference.  Many, on both sides of the conference divide, said “yes,” but enough said “no” that the new conference did not happen and now we are back to a decision point in the lives of our two conferences. However, this time the decision is being presented in a different way.

In my opinion, this is a better way to move forward. Before we expend all the time, energy and dollars to develop a plan for one conference, let’s decide whether or not we want to be “one conference” for the entire State of Michigan. Let’s decide whether or not the idea has merit. Let’s vote on the concept before we vote on any specific plan. If a majority of us believe that we can be better together as one unified conference than we are as two separate conferences and we make a commitment to make that happen, then we believe it will. We have the intelligence and the experience to fashion a new thing that will reflect our shared vision on
how best to make disciples for Jesus Christ and transform our world as the image of God’s Creation for the 21st Century. Of that I have no doubt!
 
But if we, as your conference leadership teams, have been reading you wrong and this is not what you want for Michigan, then this is the time to know that. And, in my opinion, this is really the fundamental question we have to decide. Do we want to be one? Or do we believe that we can be better by continuing down the same paths we have followed in the past?
 
Make no mistake; this is not a vote about change. Some of you think that the vote is “will we change or won’t we? As someone who has seen the numbers and taken the toll of the empty and shuttered buildings which used to be United Methodist churches, I know that we have to change! We cannot continue to do “conference” and “church” the way we have always done them. It would be insane to think otherwise. The question on the ballot at annual conference this year is deciding whether we can make these changes better by working together, or by continuing to go our separate ways.
 
Whatever we decide, there will be years of hard work ahead. There are difficult challenges which have already presented themselves to your cabinets and conference leadership teams relating to changes in our Michigan Area and the communities contained within the boundaries of our two conferences. How will we do more with less? How will we fish for people when there are fewer people and they are located in different places that we found them in the past? How will we address the problems of aging buildings and shrinking resources and fewer young people in our pews?
 
And, if the vote is affirmative, how will we design a structure that enables mission and strengthens local churches without becoming an even greater burden to lay and clergy across the state?
 
These are the Burning Questions for all of us that I leave you with this month. And I do so with great confidence because I believe that with God’s help and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit we can find answers to these questions - and others not yet asked - as we seek to serve Jesus Christ together! 
Sunday - March 15, 2015
Perspectives: "Breaking News...": Are you listening or tuning out?

“Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.  Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.”    Luke 12:2-3, NRSV


Perhaps you thought it would go away, or even hoped it would go away.  Let it retreat back to the shadows where light won’t reveal it.  It is more comfortable for you that way, and the light can be fearful if you do not know how to move forward. 

On the other hand, maybe you instead feared that it would be allowed to become hidden and out of sight once again, while all of the underlying pain, tension and systemic patterns remain unresolved. 

Hope and transformation can only be found in the spaces where darkness and light meet.  This is the place of relationship.  To move beyond the divide we are compelled to move into relationships.  This is especially true as we consider issues of race, racism, multicultural complexity, power and community here in the United States.

On April 25th you are invited to Beyond the Divide: Building Relationships for a New Tomorrow. Click for details. 
 
On a cold December evening several key leaders from our Detroit Conference came together in a conference call to prayerfully determine how we as United Methodist Christians in this time and place could respond to the tensions, tragedies and pain unfolding over circumstances in Ferguson, Missouri, and shortly thereafter in New York City and elsewhere across the nation. 

Each time the secular news media has begun to drop the underlying issues from their coverage a new situation has emerged, even to this day.  That which is often kept in darkness for many is now continually being brought into the light.  Christ compels us to step into that place and build for a new tomorrow.

This day of listening, discovery and exploring is being sponsored by our Detroit Conference Commission on Religion and Race and Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships.  Input from the chairs of our Board of Justice—Advocacy—and Equity, Michigan Area Black Methodists For Church Renewal, Michigan Area Black Clergy Association, Spiritual Transformation Ministry for the African American Community, cabinet and conference staff have given shape to a place of sacred sanctuary for difficult issues to be named and brought into the light. 
 
Of special note is our keynote speaker, Rev. F. Willis Johnson of Wellspring UMC in Ferguson, MO.  In a United Methodist News Service article Heather Hahn writes of Rev. Willis:
 
The Rev. F. Willis Johnson runs toward death to ponder life. Before worship most Sundays, the pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri, races more than 2 miles to the spot where Michael Brown lost his life. As his feet pound the pavement, Johnson prays. “I run to the place where a relationship was ruptured to be reminded that such relationships can be redeemed,” the United Methodist pastor said. “I go to a place of pain and hurt to be reminded that is the point at which forgiveness is initiated. That is what happened at Calvary.” 
 
[Editor's note: the Rev. F. Willis Johnson will not be able to be present for this workshop. Stay tuned for announcement of additional leadership.]
 
If you are someone that hoped the complexities of race, racism, power and control in this country would slip back out of the limelight, I invite you to instead walk into the light of this conversation.  If you are one that simply has not known how to move forward, I invite you to trust God’s grace to help you learn how to build new relationships while having your understanding opened up in this light.  If you are one that has feared that these tensions, patterns and pain will once again slip into the darkness then I invite you to come so that together we United Methodists in Michigan can build relationships for a new tomorrow
 
In Christ’s circle,
Rev. Dr. Jerome (Jerry) DeVine
Director of Connectional Ministries
Classifieds
Thursday - May 28, 2015
Disaster Response Liaison - North Central Jurisdiction

                                                                               

     The Board of Directors of United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM-NCJ) announces a job opening for a Disaster Response Liaison. UMVIM-NCJ works to connect those who wish to be in hands-on mission with the many project options open in the United Methodist church.

 
The office of UMVIM-NCJ is currently based in Brookings, SD, but the Disaster Response Liaison would work from their home conference in the North Central Jurisdiction.  The Disaster Response Liaison would primarily oversee/relate to the conference disaster response coordinators of the North Central Jurisdiction and support the UMVIM-NCJ Coordinator with a communication, educational and leadership role in the disaster response ministry of the jurisdiction.  This person will work under the supervision of the coordinator of UMVIM-NCJ (currently Lorna Jost) and in coordination with the UMCOR Assistant General Secretary for USA Disaster Response (currently Greg Forrester).  Among other duties, the Disaster Response Liaison would organize and oversee the ~ every 18 month, Volunteer Leadership Academy.
 
A full job description and list of qualifications are available by request.   (also www.umvimncj.org)
 
 
Application:
Persons who are excited about the disaster response ministry of the United Methodist Church should send the following to Melisa Bracht-Wagner, melisa.brachtwagner@yahoo.com, head of the search committee.
1.     Cover letter of interest/intent
2.     Resume
3.     Three (3) letters of reference:
a.    One from someone who has seen you in action in a disaster response situation (on an ERT or rebuild team, spiritual care or connecting neighbors ministry, etc)
b.    One from a church leader
c.     One personal reference
 
Applications close on July 15, 2015

 

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Cokesbury Community Resource Consultant

 Compensation: Salary + bonus/incentive program

non-profit organization
 
Primary Duties:
  •    Acquires, develops and strengthens relationships with United Methodist congregations, church leaders, denominational offices, and key accounts throughout the state of Michigan.
  •     Provides services in the areas of curriculum sales/education, custom products, and local events/displays through frequent visitation.
  •    Provides leadership to Churches within the local retail market, ensuring that the stated needs are met and exceeded.
  •     Analyzes and resolves complex customer service issues, and monitors current trends in the Christian market and competitors.
  •    Provides detailed custom-measuring services to congregations.
  •     Manages processes related to external resource events and displays, ensuring high quality, accurate, attractive, well-stocked displays, and positive, accurate, and timely communication and customer service.
  •     Assists management in documenting customer expectations and product/service needs for the assigned geographic area. Assists in leading customer promotions, initiatives and contacts while partnering with other sales departments and Corporate Office support staff.
 
Requirements:
  •      An Associate's degree in Business Management, Business Administration, Christian Education, or closely related field, OR at least three (3) years of retail, customer service, or outside sales experience. A Bachelor's degree is preferred.
  •       Previous experience with Christian Education resources, general Christian resources and/or Cokesbury product offerings is strongly preferred.
  •       Excellent interpersonal skills and verbal and written communication skills. Excellent sales and customer service skills with outstanding phone etiquette. Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. Ability to work independently, demonstrating good time management skills. Good problem-solving skills.
  •       Advanced proficiency with PCs and mobile technology, including basic proficiency with word processing and spreadsheet software (MS Word and Excel preferred). Ability to learn and assimilate database management functions, utilize iPad work functions and online sales tools.
  •       Good basic math skills, including ability to use basic linear and weight measurements, especially inches, feet, and pounds.
  •       Knowledge of the United Methodist Church, their programs and resource needs is strongly preferred.
  •     Valid Driver's License and reliable personal vehicle to serve the geographic market.

We offer advancement opportunities, benefits package, paid training, and paid vacation after 6 months. Looking to interview and hire for an immediate opening.

APPLICATION PROCESS:
Please respond with your resume and any other supporting documentation. Please include a minimum salary expectation with your submission.

www.umph.org
www.abingdonpress.com
www.cokesbury.com

The United Methodist Publishing House (Abingdon Press, Cokesbury) is a publisher, wholesaler, retailer, and distributor of ecumenical Christian resources for the church and for the broader community of faith.

 

Friday - May 22, 2015
Director of Youth Ministries - First UMC Montgomery

First United Methodist Church  (www.fumcmontgomery.org) of Montgomery, Alabama, is searching for a full-time Director of Youth Ministries to oversee the junior and senior high youth ministry.  Worship is the heart of the identity of this beautiful church, which has two traditional worship services averaging 1,200 attendees.   

Currently, there are 50-75 youth participating in youth programs with the potential for growth. A spark of excitement has become contagious, as First United Methodist Church has committed to put sustainable structures in place for the youth ministry and has active adult volunteers serving the youth.  This program needs a creative leader who is ready to lead the youth program and mentor youth interns into the ministry.  The main responsibilities are the following: 

  •       Lead the youth: The Director of Youth Ministries will seek, build, and strengthen relationships with the youth, their families, the youth staff, and adult volunteers, as well as, enable relationships to be built between the youth and youth volunteers. The Director of Youth Ministries will nurture these relationships to ensure the youth are growing in their journey of becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

  •        Manage the youth processes: The Director of Youth Ministries will recruit, equip, and build teams of youth ministry leaders and volunteers. The Director of Youth Ministries will oversee all youth programming to ensure events bring an atmosphere of belonging and fellowship that will support the development of spiritual discipleship.

 Qualifications include:      Preferred five years of experience in leading a youth ministry program

  •       Bachelors degree
  •       Ability to serve as a spiritual role model by demonstrating a commitment to Christian spiritual practices and by articulating a personal faith journey
  •       Ability to lead a team with a positive spirit that supports the mission, vision, and core values of First United Methodist of Montgomery
  •       Ability to lead people and manage processes effectively in short-term planning and especially in long-range planning
  •       Alignment with the beliefs and practices of the United Methodist Church 

For more detailed information and to submit a resume, please contact Teresa Sippel at teresa.sippel@ministryarchitects.com.

 --------------------------------------------------

Wednesday - May 20, 2015
Chelsea Retirement Community: Staff Chaplain

 

     Part time positions as chaplian

      Click Here for more information and application 

 --------------------------------------------------

Tuesday - May 12, 2015
Organist, Part-time

First United Methodist Church of Warren in Warren, MI, seeks a part-time organist. 

Duties will include the following:  

  • provide service music at one Sunday morning service per week and occasional special services
  • participate in worship planning with Pastor and Music Director
  • accompany (piano) our Sanctuary Choir at weekly rehearsals and during the Sunday morning service
  • play at funerals and weddings


Our Allen organ is a 3-manual, 38-stop instrument installed in 2012.

Submit resumes with references to contact@warrenfirstumc.org 
by July 1, 2015.  

-----------------------------

Tuesday - May 12, 2015
Youth Minister Genesis UMC (Grand Rapids)

Paid part time position for Youth Minister (20 hours / week)

Primary purpose of the Youth Minister is to introduce young people to Christ; to disciple them in spiritual growth;  and to train them in serving Christ with their life.

The Youth Minister will be responsible for designing and presenting content for weeklySunday youth group meetings for adolescents in grades 7-12.  Youth Group format includes games, worship, message, small group activities and technical formatting of material being presented.

The Youth Minister will:

  • Work closely with adult volunteer leadership team,
  • Recruit additional volunteers as needed,
  • Planning and facilitating once a month external activities (fall retreat etc)
  • Desire to perform outreach as a part of growth strategies is preferable
  • Participate in weekly staff meetings and with other staff members

Candidate will possess a deep faith in Christ, strong communication and relational skills, good organizational skills and strong technical and social media skills.  Preferred candidates will have a commitment to the Genesis vision of a progressive theology inclusive of all people, enjoy working with teens, and desire to grow in faith along with the families we are serving.

Candidate must be willing to submit to , and pass a criminal background check

Application Deadline is June 12, 2015   *   Email Resume to Susan Gray

-----------------------------

Obituaries
Friday - May 22, 2015
Maikrzek - Eileen

Mrs. Eileen Maikrzek , mother-in-law of Rev. William C. Cleland [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Friday, May 22, 2015. 

ARRANGEMENTS:
Visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at Zinger-Smigielski Funeral Home, located at 2091 Main Street; Ubly, MI 48475 [989-658-8501]. 
Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. at St. John Catholic Church of Good Shepherd Parish, located at 4470 N. Washington Street; Ubly, MI 48475 [989-658-8824]. There will be a time of visitation from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. prior to the service.

CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO:

Rev. William & Mrs. Deb Cleland
129 S. Silver Street
Bad Axe, MI 48413

GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE GIVEN TO:

Hospice Organizations

Rec’d 5/26/2015 cb

Tuesday - April 28, 2015
Burkhead - Mr. Ralph

Mr. Ralph Burkhead, father of Rev. Weatherly Verhelst [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Tuesday, April 28, 2015. 

 
ARRANGEMENTS:
 
A Memorial Service will be held at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Ann Arbor: First UMC.  The church is located at 120 S. State Street; Ann Arbor, MI 48104 [734-662-4536].
 
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO:
Rev. Weatherly and Mr. Craig Verhelst & Family
8610 Canal Road
Sterling Heights, MI   48314
 
 
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO:
 
Rev. Weatherly and Mr. Craig Verhelst & Family
8610 Canal Road
Sterling Heights, MI   48314
 
Tuesday - April 28, 2015
Strobe - Mrs. Kathleen

Mrs. Kathleen Strobe, spouse of Rev. Dr. Donald B. Strobe [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], mother of Rev. David R. Strobe [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy] and Rev. Carole Lyman [Retired West Michigan Conference Clergy], died Tuesday, April 28, 2015. 

ARRANGEMENTS:

A Memorial Service will be held at a later time.


CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO:

Rev. Dr. Donald B. Strobe (Spouse)
Regents Pointe
19191 Harvard Ave., Apt 209B
Irvine, CA 92612
 
Rev. David Strobe 
5930 Augusta Lane
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE GIVEN TO:

Memorial Garden Fund at Ann Arbor First United Methodist Church
120 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104



 

Friday - April 24, 2015
Rice - Shirley Ann

Mrs. Shirleyann Rice, surviving spouse of Rev. Allen B. Rice, II [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Friday, April 24, 2015. 

ARRANGEMENTS:

A Celebration of Life Service was held Saturday, May 2, 2015 at Church of the Western Reserve located at 30500 Fairmount Boulevard in Pepper Pike, Ohio 44124.

CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO [Daughter]:

Ms. Beth Wilder
7618 Fair Oaks Road, SE
Olympia, WA 98513

 
Sunday - April 19, 2015
Price - Rev. Jack

Rev. Jack E. Price (Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy), died Sunday, April 19, 2015.

ARRANGEMENTS:

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will take place at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 30, 2015 at Court Street UMC, located at 225 W. Court Street; Flint, MI 48502 (810-235-4651).

CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO (Spouse):

Mrs. Martha Price
4287 Mt. Vernon Pass
Swartz Creek, MI 48473

GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE GIVEN TO:

Court Street United Methodist Church 
or 
The American Parkinson Disease Association, Inc. 
135 Parkinson Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305

https://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5693/donate_page/donate

 

Friday - April 10, 2015
Stout - Mrs. Margaret

Mrs. Margaret Stout, surviving spouse of Rev. Dr. Samuel F. Stout [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Friday, April 10, 2015.

ARRANGEMENTS:

The Funeral Service was held Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.  at Birmingham: First UMC, 1589 W. Maple Road; Birmingham, MI 48009.

CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO [Son]:

Mr. John Stout
139 Windemere
Royal Oak, MI 48073

GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE SENT TO:

Methodist Children's Home Society
Development Office
26645 W. Six Mile Road
Redford, MI 48240
Appointments
Sunday - May 24, 2015
Covington, Diane
FROM Christian Methodist Episcopal Denomination ( CME) TO Redford New Beginnings 1/2 time (Paragraph 346.1)
Sunday - May 10, 2015
Carruth, Hayden K.
FROM Honorable Location TO Retirement
Sunday - May 10, 2015
Forsyth, Robert (Bob)
FROM Unappointed TO Morrice UMC/Bancroft UMC as DAS (Local Cert. Candidate)
Sunday - May 10, 2015
Elliot, Patricia
FROM Morrice UMC, Bancroft UMC TO Unappointed Local Pastor - Withdrawal
Sunday - May 10, 2015
Amick, Susan D.
FROM Office of Christian United & Inter-religious Relationships (UM Council of Bishops) TO Pastoral Fellow: Emory Healthcare (Para. 331.4b) Atlanta GA.
Sunday - May 10, 2015
Hart, Daniel
FROM Grosse Point Associate Pastor (PE) TO Grosse Point Associate Pastor (FE)
eNewsletters
Wednesday - May 29, 2013
Detroit Conference Connection - May 29, 2013

Detroit Conference Connection - May 29, 2013

CONFERENCE NEWS

For the latest news from the Detroit Conference, please visit www.detroitconference.org/news.
 
Perez named to Detroit Conference program staff
The Rev. Paul Perez, a deacon currently serving at Livonia: Newburg UMC and as the regional coordinator for Justice For Our Neighbors - Southeastern Michigan, has been named the Conference Director for Mission and Justice Engagement and Leadership Recruitment. Perez will begin his duties on July 1, 2013.
 
West Michigan Annual Conference session opens today
The 45th annual session of the West Michigan Conference opens today (May 29) on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. The opening worship service begins at 7:00 p.m. Watch live
 
BLOG: In the Same Boat…or Pup Tent
In his latest Monday Memo e-newsletter, the Rev. Dr. John Harnish, senior pastor at Birmingham: First UMC, writes about how "Methodists and Boy Scouts just seem to go together," and explores the similarities between The United Methodist Church and the Boy Scouts of America in regards to inclusion. Read article 
 
Last edition of the Conference Connection ...
Since November 2009, the Detroit Conference Connection has been the weekly resource for churches and leaders in the Detroit Conference to stay up-to-date on Conference, Area, and denominational news. This edition will be the final edition of the Detroit Conference Connection. As part of the ongoing transition from two separate conference communications offices into one Michigan Area Communications Team, a new weekly Michigan Area e-newsletter will debut in July. Watch for information about the new e-publication in the coming weeks. 
 
Bob Miller honored at MTSO Closing Convocation
Graduating seminarian Bob Miller, from the Detroit Conference, was honored at the Closing Convocation of Methodist Theological School in Ohio May 7. Miller, appointed to Milan Marble Memorial United Methodist Church, received the David Wilcox Leadership Award. The award honors the service and leadership of the Rev. Dr. David Wilcox within the United Methodist Church and as a trustee of MTSO.  The recipient must reflect characteristics of servant-leadership within the MTSO community and in church ministry, and show promise to become a leader in judicatory connections. Miller received a Master of Divinity degree at MTSO’s commencement May 18.

TIDBITS AND OTHER INFORMATION YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW …

Parish Paper - Informed Decisions
The June issue of The Parish Paper - Ideas and Insights for Active Congregations - is now available for downloading on the conference Web site. The edition addresses the topic - "Making Informed Decisions during Times of Change." To download the issue, please visit www.detroitconference.org/parishpaper.
 
Michigan Cokesbury Resource Consultant
Cokesbury would like to provide you with the information you and those within your conference need. To help meet your needs they have placed a Community Resource Consultant in the Michigan Area. Community Resource Consultants (CRCs) are a team of highly trained individuals providing personalized response and trusted, relevant resources to support your ministry. They are equipped to make personal visits at a time convenient for your hectic schedule. The CRC in the Michigan Area is Scott Woolum (swoolum@cokesbury.com, 248-330-5163).
 
Save the date - Circuit Rider Town and Country Workshop/Retreat
The 38th annual Circuit Rider Town and Country Workshop/Retreat will take place on Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 6-8, 2013, at the West Branch Quality Inn in West Branch, Mich. Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey will be the guest speaker, addressing the theme "Life in the Glass Bowl: managing privacy and boundaries as the preacher/spouse." More information 
 
Online market benefits local churches
The Office of Corporate Responsibility at the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, is announcing a new program. UMCmarket will allow United Methodists the opportunity to shop online at some of their favorite places while generating a donation to their local church.  Read news release  |  Sign up for UMCmarket
 
Conference on kids’ faith development
Church leaders and workers who are engaged in ministry with children can celebrate their work and discuss ways to help children grow in faith at the 2013 United Methodist Conference on Ministry with Children. The conference, “Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord,” is set for July 23-26 at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship is the sponsor.  Read news release  |  To register

CAMP AND RETREAT NEWS

The Values of Being Accredited
Judson Collins Center, Camp Kinawind, and Lake Huron Retreat Center are accredited by The American Camp Association, as is Camp Michigamme in the Marquette District. When you see the ACA sign at a camp, know that it is trusted sign. The ACA-Accredited Camp sign has 50 years of parent trust behind it. For a very busy and preoccupied public, it is a way to presort among camp options.  Accreditation identifies those programs which offer a solid foundation of health, safety, and program quality. It offers assurance that camps comply with up to 300 health, safety, and program quality standards. It is solid proof of our accountability, credibility, and commitment.  It is evidence that we care. It demonstrates that we have gone to great lengths, have been evaluated, and have passed the test!  It shows that we continually seek expert counsel. Experts from many fields, including The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Red Cross, etc., continually work with ACA to improve their camp standards program. Serving the children and youth of our Conference through camp and retreat ministries is a great privilege, and a great responsibility. Being accredited helps us provide an even greater experience to your young people!
 
Open House and Groundbreaking at Judson Collins Center - June 8
Join us for a great day at Judson Collins Center on Saturday, June 8!  It will be a day of camp fun and celebration.  The day begins at 2:00 p.m. with a variety of camp activities, including hayrides, canoeing and kayaking, and ga-ga ball.  At 4:00 p.m., we’ll have a special time of worship with Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey as we break ground for the Acorn Lodge, a new retreat center that will serve up to 50 people.  At 5:30 p.m., we’ll enjoy a Barbecue dinner, followed by more fun and a closing campfire. For more information and to make dinner reservations, please visit www.umccamps.org.
 
Golf Scramble for Camperships - June 14
The Joanne Liles Memorial Golf Scramble for camperships will be Friday, June 14 at the Chemung Hills Golf Course in Howell, Mich. The cost of $85 for individuals or $320 for a foursome covers 18 holes, carts, lunch, great fellowship and prizes! The scramble is a great way to help young people attend church camp this summer while have a fun day out with friends. For more information and online registration, visit www.umccamps.org.

UPCOMING EVENTS

To view the conference calendar and submit events, please visit www.detroitconference.org/events. For events happening in local churches across the conference, please visit http://www.detroitconference.org/events/index?mode=church. Local churches may submit events through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
  • May 30 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Administrative Assistants, Staff) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • June 1 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • July 4 - Conference office closed in observance of Independence Day
  • July 8-16 - Wesley Heritage Tour with Bill Dobbs
  • July 12-14 - 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men
  • July 21-26 - Michigan Area School for License as a Local Pastor
  • August 20-22 - Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry

APPOINTMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey has announced the following appointment for the Detroit Conference.
  • Dr. Frederick Sampson, III to Bloomfield Hills: St. Paul UMC (Detroit Renaissance District), effective July 1, 2013. He is currently serving as a staff member at Redford Aldersgate UMC (Detroit Renaissance District). Sampson is the campus pastor for the West Outer Drive campus.
For all appointment announcements, please visit www.detroitconference.org/appointments.

DEATH NOTICES

The following death notices were received by the Conference Office over the last week. To view all of the death notices, please visit www.detroitconference.org/obituaries.
  • Cynthia Hall, sister of Rev. Jan Brown [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy] died Monday, May 20, 2013.

CONNECTIONAL NEWS 

 
Inseparably tied by the tornado
MOORE, Okla. (UMNS) — “We need to embrace that, sometimes, the right thing to say is nothing, and simply share the embrace and the tears,” writes the Rev. Adam Shahan, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church, in The Huffington Post. Shahan, age 12 when the 1999 EF5 tornado hit Oklahoma City, has been there twice.  Read commentary  |  Support U.S. disaster relief  |  How to volunteer  |  Dealing with disaster
 
Boy Scouts lift ban on gay members
GRAPEVINE, Texas (UMNS) — Boy Scouts of America leaders voted by a substantial margin today, May 23, to lift the organization’s longstanding ban on openly gay youth in the Scouting movement. The change could affect ministries at 6,700 United Methodist churches in the United States. The discussion also has helped re-energize a longtime debate about human sexuality within The United Methodist Church.  Read story and post a comment
 
Bishop: Time to lobby senators over immigration reform
WASHINGTON (UMNS) —The Senate Judiciary Committee will send an amended immigration reform bill to the full Senate when it reconvenes in June. United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño is calling for bishops and other United Methodists to use this crucial time to contact their senators because the bill has “weaknesses that would keep it from being the just and humane comprehensive immigration reform that we have all worked so hard for,” she said. Carcaño, of the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference, along with the other active bishops of The United Methodist Church, went to the U.S.-Mexican border.  Read more  |  View slideshow
 
Looking ahead
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. 
  • Inspiration Saturday, June 1 — Event featuring Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey and the Rev. Lovett H. Weems of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT at Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center, Grand Rapids, Mich. Details.
  • Free webinar “The New Senior: Boomers,” June 20 — 6:30 p.m. CT, tips on ministering to this large generation from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.
  • “Inside Out for the Glory of God,” July 12-14 — Eleventh national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details
  • School of Congregational Development, Aug. 15-18 — Hosted at Denver Marriott Tech Center, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Path1 and Board of Global Ministries. Theme is “Encountering God at the Edge.” Details
  • School of Congregational Development, Satellite Experience, Aug. 17 — Offsite participation is available from satellite congregations within the five U.S. jurisdictions. Registrants will participate remotely through live and tape-delayed interactive live streaming. Details.
  • Exploration 2013, Nov. 15-17 — Event for young adults, ages 18-26, considering ordained ministry, Marriott Denver Tech Center, sponsored by United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Speakers include Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, senior pastor of the multicampus Grace Church in Southwest Florida. Details.

CLASSIFIEDS/JOB OPPORTUNITIES

To view and submit classifieds, please visit www.detroitconference.org/classifieds. Local churches may enter a classified through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
 
Current job openings within the Detroit Conference:
  • Worship Leader - Bay City: Grace UMC
  • Music Director - Bay City: Grace UMC
  • Director of Youth Ministry - Clarkston UMC
  • Youth Leader for Junior and Senior High Students - Holly: Calvary UMC
  • Part-time Custodian - Goodrich UMC
  • Part-time Communications Director - Clarkston UMC
  • Part-time Clerical Assistant - Detroit: Central UMC
  • Nursery Attendant - Detroit: Metropolitan UMC
  • Part-time Youth Director - Crossroads District
  • Custodian - Detroit: Trinity-Faith UMC
  • Church Secretary/Treasurer - Brown City UMC

Detroit Conference Social Media Links

Detroit Conference on facebook: www.facebook.com/detroitconference
Detroit Conference on Twitter: www.twitter.com/umcdetroitconf
Wednesday - May 22, 2013
Detroit Conference Connection - May 22, 2013

Detroit Conference Connection - May 22, 2013

Editor's note: The Detroit Conference Connection will cease publication following next week's edition (May 29). A new Michigan Area e-newsletter will debut in early July. For news and information during June, please visit www.detroitconference.org.

CONFERENCE NEWS

For the latest news from the Detroit Conference, please visit www.detroitconference.org/news.
 
Bishop Kiesey calls for prayer for tornado victims
Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey is calling on Michigan United Methodists to "join our prayers together" for the people affected by the devastating tornados in recent days. Read more  
 
2013 Detroit Annual Conference session review
Beginning a quadrennial theme of "Disciples: Made in Michigan," the 2013 session of the Detroit Annual Conference focused on leadership as it met from May 16-19 in Adrian, Mich. For the 45th consecutive year, the conference took place on the campus of Adrian College, a United Methodist-affiliated institution. Read more 
 
Oklahoma Conference asks collaborative response
“I know you are seeing and hearing news reports about the devastation and want to assist. … Do not self-deploy. Best practices in times of crises call for a collaborative response, so people who can help are directed to where that help and those skills are most needed and will be most effective,” wrote the Rev. Richard Norman, disaster response coordinator for the Oklahoma Conference. The confirmed death toll was at 51 with hundreds injured after a second round of devastating storms hit the state Monday. Here is what the Oklahoma Conference is asking people to do
 
How to give in response to disasters
The United Methodist Church is well situated to respond to disasters because of its churches in almost every county and community across the United States and the worldwide Methodist connection with annual conferences, central conferences and autonomous partner churches on five continents.  Here is how giving works  |  Cash donations encouraged over clothing, other items  |  Volunteers urged to be patient
 
Opening worship "Remembers" Detroit Annual Conference
The 2013 session of the Detroit Annual Conference opened on Thursday, May 16, with an opening worship that featured a time of remembrance, a baptism, and a sermon from Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey. Read more
 
Hamilton brings Leadership Institute to Detroit Conference
The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, gave three talks during the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session, teaching leaders about leadership, worship, preaching, and missional outreach. Read more
 
"Through Death Comes Resurrection," conference preacher reminds
The Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank offered two challenging sermons during the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session, focusing on revitalizing congregations and individuals. Read more


TIDBITS AND OTHER INFORMATION YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW …

Mission u (formerly the School of Christian Mission) 
The handout at Annual Conference and the insert in the Detroit Conference News (the Conference United Methodist Women newsletter) reversed the listing of two of the study leaders.  Rev. Dr. Jerry DeVine will be the study leader for the study "The Call:Living Sacramentally, Walking Justly".  Rev. Dr. Sherry Parker will be the study leader for the study "The Roma of Europe".   Mission u Events are happening Saturday, July 20 at Livonia:Newburg UMC; Thursday, August 15 and Friday-Saturday, August 16-17 at the Lake Huron Retreat Center.   Registration information can also be found on the United Methodist Women conference website http://www.gbgm-umc.org/detcumw
 
How the new Facebook news feed affects your church
On March 7, 2013, Facebook announced a major update to the news feed. Learn about the changes and takeaways to implement immediately. Read more
 
Aldersgate Day: Celebrating Wesley’s experience
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — May 24 is Aldersgate Day. This celebrates our founder John Wesley's life-changing experience at a meeting on Aldersgate Street, London, May 24, 1738. He wrote extensively of that experience in his journal for that day. Read Wesley’s words at Interpreter Online  |  What a Georgia church plans
 
Easily find and engage local communities via social media
Even if you're doing everything possible to promote your church and make it easy for new visitors to find you, it may not be enough. So find them. Read more
 
Resources for graduation, commencement, and baccalaureate
The General Board of Discipleship has compiled free resources to aid in worship during the graduation season. View resources 
 
It's time! Put your sermon audio online: Best hosting plans
Among any church’s most easily shared resources is the weekly sermon. New Web technologies and digital recorders make it easy to capture and upload sermons. What are you waiting for? It's time! Read more

UPCOMING EVENTS

To view the conference calendar and submit events, please visit www.detroitconference.org/events. For events happening in local churches across the conference, please visit http://www.detroitconference.org/events/index?mode=church. Local churches may submit events through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
  • May 26 - Peace with Justice Sunday
  • May 27 - Conference office closed in observance of Memorial Day
  • May 30 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Administrative Assistants, Staff) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • June 1 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • July 4 - Conference office closed in observance of Independence Day
  • July 8-16 - Wesley Heritage Tour with Bill Dobbs
  • July 12-14 - 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men
  • July 21-26 - Michigan Area School for License as a Local Pastor
  • August 20-22 - Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry

APPOINTMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

For all appointment announcements, please visit www.detroitconference.org/appointments. To view the document that was handed out at the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session containing all appointments as of May 20, 2013, click here.

DEATH NOTICES

The following death notices were received by the Conference Office over the last week. To view all of the death notices, please visit www.detroitconference.org/obituaries.
  • Rev. John Miller [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy] died Sunday, May 19, 2013.

CONNECTIONAL NEWS 

Click here to view the latest stories from the United Methodist News service. 
 
Church begins 3,175 new worship places worldwide
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church established 3,175 new places for new people to worship God around the world during the past quadrennium, according to a new report. The Worldwide Church Plant Update includes 684 new churches started by annual conferences in the United States, 574 new churches and cell groups initiated by Global Mission Initiatives, and 1,917 new missions, churches, circuits and preaching points in the Central Conferences. Read more
 
Saying farewell to United Methodist Reporter
DALLAS (UMNS) — United Methodists across the United States are sharing a sense of loss following the news that UMR Communications, publisher of the United Methodist Reporter, will shut its doors May 31. After years of financial struggles, the board of UMR Communications unanimously voted May 16 to shutter the Dallas-based nonprofit, ceasing a publication that has been covering Methodism since 1847. Read story and post a comment
 
Garrett-Evangelical selects new president
EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) – The Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Board of Trustees selected Lallene J. Rector to be the next president of Garrett-Evangelical. Now the seminary’s vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, Rector will succeed Philip A. Amerson, who will retire on Dec. 31 after nearly eight years as president. Read story 
 
Looking ahead
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. 
  • Peace with Justice Sunday, May 26 — One of the churchwide special Sundays, it provides financial support programs that advocate for peace and justice in annual (regional) conferences and around the globe. Resources.
  • Inspiration Saturday, June 1 — Event featuring Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey and the Rev. Lovett H. Weems of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT at Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center, Grand Rapids, Mich. Details.
  • Free webinar “The New Senior: Boomers,” June 20 — 6:30 p.m. CT, tips on ministering to this large generation from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.
  • “Inside Out for the Glory of God,” July 12-14 — Eleventh national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details
  • School of Congregational Development, Aug. 15-18 — Hosted at Denver Marriott Tech Center, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Path1 and Board of Global Ministries. Theme is “Encountering God at the Edge.” Details
  • School of Congregational Development, Satellite Experience, Aug. 17 — Offsite participation is available from satellite congregations within the five U.S. jurisdictions. Registrants will participate remotely through live and tape-delayed interactive live streaming. Details.
  • Exploration 2013, Nov. 15-17 — Event for young adults, ages 18-26, considering ordained ministry, Marriott Denver Tech Center, sponsored by United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Speakers include Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, senior pastor of the multicampus Grace Church in Southwest Florida. Details.

CLASSIFIEDS/JOB OPPORTUNITIES

To view and submit classifieds, please visit www.detroitconference.org/classifieds. Local churches may enter a classified through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
 
Current job openings within the United Methodist connection:
  • Youth Director - East Lake UMC (Florida)
  • Worship Music Director - Bowling Green First UMC (Ohio)
Current job openings within the Detroit Conference:
  • Youth Leader for Junior and Senior High Students - Holly: Calvary UMC
  • Part-time Custodian - Goodrich UMC
  • Part-time Communications Director - Clarkston UMC
  • Clerical Assistant - Detroit: Central UMC
  • Nursery Attendant - Detroit: Metropolitan UMC
  • Part-time Youth Director - Crossroads District
  • Custodian - Detroit: Trinity-Faith UMC
  • Church Secretary/Treasurer - Brown City UMC

About the Detroit Conference Connection

The Detroit Conference Connection is the weekly e-newsletter of the Detroit Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Every local church is encouraged to have their leaders subscribe to the Connection so that they can receive the latest news from the conference and general church. To subscribe to the Connection, please visit www.detroitconference.org/site/stayconnected. To submit news items for the Detroit Conference Connection, please send stories to Paul Thomas, Director of Communications

Detroit Conference Social Media Links

Detroit Conference on facebook: www.facebook.com/detroitconference
Detroit Conference on Twitter: www.twitter.com/umcdetroitconf
Wednesday - May 8, 2013
Detroit Conference Connection - May 8, 2013

Detroit Conference Connection - May 8, 2013

CONFERENCE NEWS

For the latest news from the Detroit Conference, please visit www.detroitconference.org/news.
 
Amendments to UMC Constitution to be considered at annual conference session
As part of the business of the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session, members of the conference will consider four amendments to the Constitution of The United Methodist Church. These proposed amendments were passed by a two-thirds margin during the 2012 General Conference session in Tampa, Fla. Read story 
 
Liberia missionary visiting Detroit Conference in May
Princess Jusu, a missionary with the General Board of Global Minsistries serving in Monrovia, Liberia, will be visiting the Detroit Conference during the next two weeks. Read more 
 
Michigan Area Ministry Center proposal
For the past 15 years, the Michigan Area has rented 3,500 square feet in Okemos, Mich., for use as the Episcopal office. A proposal from the Trustees of the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences will be considered at the 2013 annual conference session to locate and jointly purchase property and structure for a Michigan Area Ministry Center. Watch video 
 
Collections to benefit Haiti, Liberia, and malaria to take place at annual conference session
A number of special collections will take place during the annual conference session, including offerings for ministries in Haiti and Liberia, Imagine No Malaria, and collections of new underwear for community agencies as part of the Bishop's Seat Cover Project. View all of the opportunities for you and your church to give 
 
Join Bishop Deb in urging funding to prevent malaria-related deaths
In conjunction with the Imagine No Malaria campaign, the General Board of Church and Society is asking mothers (and others) to sign the "Moms for Moms" petition to preserve U.S. global health funding to fight malaria and other diseases of poverty. Due to across-the-board U.S. spending cuts related to the sequester, global health funding is being cut by 4.8%. These cuts will significantly impact treatment, prevention and care related to malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Join Bishop Deb and sign the petition 
 
New website powers United Methodist young adults
A collaboration among United Methodist agencies and local ministries has produced a new website, revgo.org, to help connect young adults in "spiritual discernment through missional engagement." United Methodist-connected ministries that engage young adults as interns, missionaries, staff and ministry leadership teams can use REVGO as a platform for fundraising, story sharing and recruitment. For more information
 
Updated malaria documentary now airing on NBC
United Methodist Communications is releasing an updated version of the Imagine No Malaria documentary, “Killer in the Dark: An Extraordinary Effort to Combat Malaria,” in collaboration with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission. This sequel, set to air on NBC affiliates through Nov. 3, reflects new research and scientific advancements in the fight against malaria. More information
 
May edition of Michigan Area Reporter now online
The May edition of the Michigan Area Reporter, the newspaper of the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences, has arrived at local churches across the state and can now be viewed online. Read the paper 

2013 ANNUAL CONFERENCE SESSION

The 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session will take place on Thursday-Sunday, May 16-19, on the campus of Adrian College in Adrian, Mich. Information about the annual event can be found at www.detroitconference.org/annualconference.
 
Health Screening to take place during annual conference session
As part of its wellness initiatives, the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits will offer a health screening during the 2013 annual conference session. The screening will again be conducted by Personal Health Partners (PHP) who provides health screening opportunities for many annual conferences. The screenings will take place on campus from 6:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. on Friday-Saturday, May 17-18. The cost of the screening for all active clergy, lay employees, spouses, and dependents age 18 or older that are enrolled in the conference group health insurance plan is being subsidized by the Board of Pension and Health Benefits. All others may receive the screening at a cost of $120, which is payable to PHP at the time of the screening. As part of the screening, fasting for eight hours is preferred but not required. A patient-friendly interpretation of the screening results with explanation of significant findings will be mailed to the participating within two weeks of the screenings, which the participant is encouraged to share with his/her primary physician. Results from the previous year are also included in the report for comparison and reference. Results are completely confidential. The laboratory panel being offered contains a comprehensive array of tests based on those done annually for the physical exam of the President of the United States. Significant findings may indicate the presence or risk of serious, acute, and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer.
 
Committee on Nominations seeks to fill vacancies
There are a variety of vacancies in the Report of the Committee on Nominations, 2013, that require special passions and skills, which the Committee on Nominations does not have the knowledge to fill.  For this reason, the Committee on Nominations encourages all members of the Detroit Annual Conference session to examine the Report of the Committee on Nominations, 2013, identify agencies which have a blank line (_______), and look up the nature of each agency in the Agency Description center. If you know a person who has the passions, skills and time to fill the job, please submit a Nominee Application, which is available at the same website. An individual who has the necessary qualifications is encouraged to “self nominate,” which can be a rich talent source, or you can nominate a fellow member, especially if you have discussed the position with the individual and know that the person will accept. Important jobs, as chairs or members, include the Committee on Disability Concerns, Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries, Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Protection Policy Committee, Board of Global Ministries, Committee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns, and Board of Pension and Health Benefits, as well as the other agencies. In addition, the Committee on Nominations requests At-Large Nominee Applications for its five open positions (one clergy, two laymen and two laywomen) which are to be nominated by the Annual Conference. All Nominee Applications should include the nominee’s initials in the “acceptance” box at the bottom of the first page and be emailed to Michelle Walkup (michellewalkup@sbcglobal.net) by Tuesday, May 14, or be delivered to Michelle at the Detroit Annual Conference session before 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. 
 
United Alumni meal - Saturday. May 18
All alumni and friends of United Theological Seminary are invited to a lunch at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the WOW Cafe on the campus of Adrian College. United President Wendy J. Deichmann will be present to share exciting news about United's growth and new programs for prospective students. Contact the Rev. Dr. J.D. Landis at 989-835-7877 to RSVP. The WOW Cafe is located in the Arrington Ice Arena. 
 
Clergy choir being formed for Service of Ordination and Commissioning
A choir made up of active and retired clergy (including deacons, elders, and local pastors) is being formed for the Service of Ordination and Commissioning, which will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Clergy interested in singing with the choir are asked to bring their robes and a red stole to wear during the service. The Rev. David Gladstone will be directing the choir.
 
2013 session to be live-streamed
All plenary sessions and worship services during the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session will be streamed live on the conference website.

TIDBITS AND OTHER INFORMATION YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW …

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Keep up with the latest product releases! TechShop e-cards give you the rundown on new products, along with access to exclusive promotional codes to save on purchases! TechShop e-cards are published once every three to four weeks. Sign up today: umcom.org/subscribe_techshop.

CAMP AND RETREAT MINISTRIES NEWS

Hospitality Tent at Annual Conference
Camp and Retreat Ministries will be back at Annual Conference again this year with our Hospitality Tent.  Be sure to stop by and enjoy some coffee, cookies, popcorn , fruit and fellowship!  We’ll again have coffee travel mugs and water bottles for sale, along with other camp store goodies.   Proceeds go to support our campership fund, so plan to eat heartily and give generously!
 
Open House and Groundbreaking at Judson Collins Center - June 8
Join us for a great day at Judson Collins Center on Saturday, June 8!  It will be a day of camp fun and celebration.  The day begins at 2 PM with a variety of camp activities, including hayrides, canoeing and kayaking, and ga-ga ball.  At 4 PM, we’ll have a special time of worship with Bishop Kiesey as we break ground for the Acorn Lodge, a new retreat center that will serve up to 50 people.  At 5:30 PM, we’ll enjoy a Barbeque dinner, followed by more fun and a closing campfire.  
For more information and to make dinner reservations, please visit www.umccamps.org.
 
Golf Scramble for Camperships - June 14
The Joanne Liles Memorial Golf Scramble for camperships will be Friday, June 14 at the Chemung Hills Golf Course in Howell, Michigan.  The cost of $85 for individuals or $320 for a foursome covers 18 holes, carts, lunch, great fellowship and prizes!  The scramble is a great way to help young people attend church camp this summer while have a fun day out with friends.  For more information and online registration, visit www.umccamps.org .

UPCOMING EVENTS

To view the conference calendar and submit events, please visit www.detroitconference.org/events. For events happening in local churches across the conference, please visit http://www.detroitconference.org/events/index?mode=church. Local churches may submit events through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
  • May 16-19 - 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session - Adrian, Mich.
  • May 26 - Peace with Justice Sunday
  • May 27 - Conference office closed in observance of Memorial Day
  • May 30 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Administrative Assistants, Staff) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • June 1 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • July 4 - Conference office closed in observance of Independence Day
  • July 8-16 - Wesley Heritage Tour with Bill Dobbs
  • July 12-14 - 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men
  • July 21-26 - Michigan Area School for License as a Local Pastor
  • August 20-22 - Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry

APPOINTMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey has announced the following appointment for the Detroit Conference:
  • Carol Blair-Bouse to Flint: Hope UMC (Crossroads District), effective July 1, 2013. She is currently providing pastoral leadership to Bay City: Christ UMC (Saginaw Bay District).
Editor's note: In last week's Connection it was announced that Lee Sayer was appointed to New Lothrup UMC (Crossroads District) as a district superintendent assignment, 1/2-time, effective July 1, 2013. We mistakenly referenced Lee as a male and sincerely apologize for the error. This will be her first assignment.
 
To view appointment updates, please visit www.detroitconference.org/appointments

DEATH NOTICES

The following death notices were received by the Conference Office over the last week. To view all of the death notices, please visit www.detroitconference.org/obituaries.
  • Rev. Roy Syme [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy] died Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

CONNECTIONAL NEWS 

 
Theologian faces charges for same-sex wedding
NEW YORK (UMNS) — A United Methodist theologian and retired elder is facing formal charges under church law and a potential trial for officiating at the same-sex wedding of his son. The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, a retired seminary dean noted for his work on Christian ethics, presided over the wedding of Thomas Rimbey Ogletree to Nicholas Haddad on Oct. 20. In a statement, Ogletree, 79, described the ceremony as “one of the most significant ritual acts of my life as a pastor.” Read story and post a comment
 
United Methodist bishops work toward common goals
SAN DIEGO (UMNS) — “Exploring leadership for an emerging church” will be the theme of the first meeting of the Forum of Residential Bishops, scheduled on May 5-9. Read news release
 
‘By all means, save some!’
TRENTON, N.J. (UMNS) — Amid recent tragedies in Boston and West, Texas, retired United Methodist Bishop Felton May points to the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass a bill on gun safety as potential for future tragedy and violence. In a commentary, May cites disappointment in politicians “who broke the hearts of gun victims’ families everywhere and also broke their vow to represent the interests of voters, an overwhelming majority of whom support universal background checks for gun purchases.” Read full story and comment
 
Looking ahead
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. 
  • Older Adult Recognition Sunday, any Sunday in MayResources compiled by the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference.
  • Free webinar “Has God Been Invited to the Conversation?” May 9 — 6:30 p.m. CT, help with church and community prayer from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • Ascension Day, May 9 — Celebrate Christ’s Ascension with resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
  • Mother’s Day, May 12 — Imagine No Malaria provides offering envelopes, posters and bulletin inserts to prepare for special offerings on Mother’s Day to benefit the campaign, which has significant impact on the lives of mothers and children. Details.
  • Free webinar “Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus Across the Generations,” May 14 — 6:30 p.m. CT, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • Free webinar “Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life,” May 16 — 6:30 p.m. CT, help with stewardship from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • Change the World, May 18-19 — Join the United Methodist Rethink Church event that helps build community locally and fight malaria globally. Details.
  • Pentecost, May 19 — Celebrate the birthday of the Christian church with resources from the Board of Discipleship and the United Methodist Publishing House’s Ministry Matters
  • Free webinar “Spiritual Development in the Early Years,” May 22 — 10 a.m. CT, tips on the spiritual development of children from birth to 5 from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.
  • Peace with Justice Sunday, May 26 — One of the churchwide special Sundays, it provides financial support programs that advocate for peace and justice in annual (regional) conferences and around the globe. Resources.
  • “Inside Out for the Glory of God,” July 12-14 — Eleventh national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details
  • School of Congregational Development, Aug. 15-18 — Hosted at Denver Marriott Tech Center, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Path1 and Board of Global Ministries. Theme is “Encountering God at the Edge.” Details

CLASSIFIEDS/JOB OPPORTUNITIES

To view and submit classifieds, please visit www.detroitconference.org/classifieds. Local churches may enter a classified through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
 
Current job openings within the United Methodist connection:
Worship Music Director - First UMC - Bowling Green, Ohio
 
Current job openings within the Detroit Conference:
Director of Youth and Family Ministry - Flint: Lincoln Park UMC
Nursery Attendance - Detroit: Metropolitan UMC
Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries - Detroit: Central UMC
Conference Director for Mission and Justice Engagement and Leadership Recruitment - Detroit Conference
Youth Director (part-time) - Crossroads District
Custodian - Detroit: Trinity-Faith UMC

About the Detroit Conference Connection

The Detroit Conference Connection is the weekly e-newsletter of the Detroit Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Every local church is encouraged to have their leaders subscribe to the Connection so that they can receive the latest news from the conference and general church. To subscribe to the Connection, please visit www.detroitconference.org/site/stayconnected. To submit news items for the Detroit Conference Connection, please send stories to Paul Thomas, Director of Communications.

Detroit Conference Social Media Links

Detroit Conference on facebook: www.facebook.com/detroitconference
Detroit Conference on Twitter: www.twitter.com/umcdetroitconf

 

Wednesday - May 1, 2013
Detroit Conference Connection - May 1, 2013

Detroit Conference Connection - May 1, 2013

CONFERENCE NEWS

For the latest news from the Detroit Conference, please visit www.detroitconference.org/news.
 
Collection for UMCOR Cleaning Buckets to take place on May 29
A conference-wide collection of UMCOR Cleaning Buckets will take place on Wednesday, May 29, to help alleviate the high demand in the Midwest for the disaster response materials. Learn more 
 
Parish Paper - Important conversations
The May issue of The Parish Paper - Ideas and Insights for Active Congregations - is now available for downloading on the conference Web site. The edition addresses the topic - "Important Conversations: How to Avoid the Sand Traps." To download the issue, please visit www.detroitconference.org/parishpaper.
 
Last chance to register for annual conference
This Friday, May 2, is the final day to register for the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session. After Friday, the only way to register for the conference will be on site at Adrian College. Register now
 
Bishops work toward common goals
“Exploring leadership for an emerging church” will be the theme of the first meeting of the Forum of Residential Bishops, scheduled on May 5-9, 2013 in San Diego. Read more 
 
United Methodists to Change the World in May
On May 18-19, United Methodists around the globe will unite in service with their local communities for the fourth annual Change the World weekend. Change the World was observed in more than 1,500 locations internationally in 2012. United Methodist Communications has created several free planning resources including a sermon series and ideas for service projects. To locate an event in your area, go to RethinkChurch.org. Join the Change the World conversation online on Facebook, or on Twitter and Instagram using #changetheworld and #rethinkchurch. Resources  Learn more
 
Chuck Knows Church: Communion
“Chuck Knows Church” leads viewers through communion, one of two sacraments (along with baptism) in The United Methodist Church. This is the first of a three-part series about communion.  Read and watch

2013 ANNUAL CONFERENCE SESSION

The 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session will take place on Thursday-Sunday, May 16-19, on the campus of Adrian College in Adrian, Mich. Information about the annual event can be found at www.detroitconference.org/annualconference.
 
United Alumni meal - Saturday. May 18
All alumni and friends of United Theological Seminary are invited to a lunch at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the WOW Cafe on the campus of Adrian College. United President Wendy J. Deichmann will be present to share exciting news about United's growth and new programs for prospective students. Contact the Rev. Dr. J.D. Landis at 989-835-7877 to RSVP. The WOW Cafe is located in the Arrington Ice Arena. 
 
Clergy choir being formed for Service of Ordination and Commissioning
A choir made up of active and retired clergy (including deacons, elders, and local pastors) is being formed for the Service of Ordination and Commissioning, which will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Clergy interested in singing with the choir are asked to bring their robes and a red stole to wear during the service. The Rev. David Gladstone will be directing the choir.
 
#dac13
For Twitter users that will be attending or watching the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session: if you are going to be tweeting during the conference, please use the hashtag #dac13.
 
2013 session to be live-streamed
All plenary sessions and worship services during the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session will be streamed live on the conference website at www.detroitconference.org/aclive.
 
iPad Giveaway at the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference by the Called to Ministry Team of the Board of Ordained Ministry
If you have had a Called to Ministry Sunday since the 2012 Detroit Annual Conference, you may enter our iPad giveaway which will take place during Annual Conference. You may enter by emailing the Board of Ordained Ministry Recruitment Team at enteringministry@gmail.com with (1) your name, (2) church or ministry setting, (3) when you had your Called to Ministry Sunday, and (4) names of anyone who responded to God's call to ministry. If you do not know what a Called to Ministry Sunday is, in it's simplest form is to have at least one moment during your worship service to ask if anyone may feel called to ministry and to speak with clergy of the church or ministry setting to discuss his/her call to ministry and to pursue the next steps.  For more information and resources on having a Called to Ministry Sunday, please email us at enteringministry@gmail.com and we will send you more information.  Please also visitwww.detroitconference.org/calledtoministry to learn more and to share our website and resources with someone who feels call to ministry.  The website includes BOM Recruitment Team members to contact with any questions and/or for guidance.


TIDBITS AND OTHER INFORMATION YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW …

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Pastors Moving to New Churches Need the Right Start
Are you a pastor preparing to begin ministry in a new setting? With The Right Start DVD/CD Resource, you’ll learn how to end your current ministry well, develop a personal transition plan, and make the most of your first days, weeks, and months in your new congregation. Learn more
 
Learn 50 Ways to Welcome a New Pastor
If a new pastor or associate pastor is in your congregation’s future, be sure to check out the updated 50 Ways resource from the Lewis Center. This free handout shares how to say goodbye to your current pastor in a healthy way and offers helpful advice on how to welcome your new pastor. Download the PDF now

CAMP AND RETREAT MINISTRIES NEWS

September Retreat for Singers and Choirs
Individual singers and choirs are invited to the Adult Choir Retreat at Lake Huron Retreat Center Septermber 6-7.  Make plans now to attend before church choirs take their summer break. Join us for a weekend of music education and worship at an opportunity for all adults who love music. Arrive Friday evening and jump right into rehearsals and fellowship! Rehearsals, Bible Study and fellowship continue through Saturday. Take home some new music to use with your church choir!  The weekend concludes with a special benefit concert.  Participants may commute or stay at our wonderful retreat center just north of Port Huron.  Register online at www.umccamps.org/eventsessions .
 
Register Now for Summer Camp
Summer camp registrations have been pouring in this past week!  Parents recognize that a week of church camp gives their young people a week in God’s amazing creation making new friends, growing faith, learning new skills, building self-confidence, encountering new role models, and having loads of fun.  Secure your young person’s place at camp this summer, and register them online today at www.umccamps.org
 
Church Retreats at Myers Lake Campground
A growing number of United Methodist Churches are discovering Myers Lake Campground as a great place to have a retreat that is low in cost and high in enjoyment!  Myers Lake offers newly renovated group campsites, as well as camper cabins that can be combined with campsites  to serve your group’s needs.    Centrally located near Byron, Myers Lake also offers options for day away events for your church.  For more information, visit www.myerslake.org , or call (810)266-4511.
 
Upcoming Events:
  • Prayer Shawl Retreat at Judson Collins Center, May 3-4
  • Memorial Weekend Camping at Judson Collins Center and Myers Lake Campground, May 25 - 27
  • Memorial Weekend Camping at Judson Collins Center and Myers Lake Campground, May 25 - 27
  • Camp Kinawind Volunteer Work Camp , May 29 – June 4
  • Open House and Groundbreaking at Judson Collins Center, June 8
  • Golf Scramble for Camperships, Chemung Hills Golf Course, Howell, June 14

UPCOMING EVENTS

To view the conference calendar and submit events, please visit www.detroitconference.org/events. For events happening in local churches across the conference, please visit http://www.detroitconference.org/events/index?mode=church. Local churches may submit events through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
  • May 5 - Golden Cross Sunday
  • May 16-19 - 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session - Adrian, Mich.
  • May 26 - Peace with Justice Sunday
  • May 27 - Conference office closed in observance of Memorial Day
  • May 30 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Administrative Assistants, Staff) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • June 1 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • July 4 - Conference office closed in observance of Independence Day
  • July 8-16 - Wesley Heritage Tour with Bill Dobbs
  • July 12-14 - 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men
  • July 21-26 - Michigan Area School for License as a Local Pastor
  • August 20-22 - Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry

APPOINTMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey has announced the following appointments for the Detroit Conference:
  • Nancy Bitterling to Port Austin and Pinnebog-Grindstone UMCs (Blue Water District), effective July 1, 2013. She is currently providing pastoral leadership to Nashville UMC in the West Michigan Conference.
  • Danny Bledsoe to Juddville UMC (Crossroads District) as a district superintendent assignment, 1/4-time, effective July 1, 2013. This is his first assignment.
  • Benjamin Bower to Trenton: First UMC (Detroit Renaissance District) as a full-time local pastor, effective July 1, 2013. This is his first appointment.
  • Esther Irish to Columbiaville UMC (Crossroads District) as a full-time local pastor, effective July 1, 2013. She is currently providing pastoral leadership to Flint: Dimond UMC (Crossroads District).
  • Eric Johnson to Gaines and Duffield UMCs (Crossroads District), effective July 1, 2013. He is currently providing pastoral leadership to Sandusky: First UMC (Blue Water District).
  • Keith Lenard to Wyandotte: Glenwood UMC (Detroit Renaissance District) as a district superintendent assignment, 1/2-time, effective July 1, 2013. This is his first assignment.
  • Elizabeth Macaulay to medical leave of absence, effective April 15, 2013. She was providing pastoral leadership Trenton: First UMC (Detroit Renaissance District).
  • Lee Sayer to New Lothrup UMC (Crossroads District) as a district superintendent assignment, 1/2-time, effective July 1, 2013. This is his first assignment. 
To view appointment updates, please visit www.detroitconference.org/appointments

DEATH NOTICES

The following death notices were received by the Conference Office over the last week. To view all of the death notices, please visit www.detroitconference.org/obituaries.
  • Mr. Douglas Guibord, brother-in-law to Rev. Jerry D. Griggs [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Friday, April 26, 2013.

CONNECTIONAL NEWS 

 
Church vitality: How do you define it?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Leaders across the denomination are pondering that question even as they seek to increase the number of highly vital churches. This is the first in an ongoing series of reports. Read story and post a comment
 
How old is too old to join the clergy?
HOUSTON (UMNS) — A proposal from the Texas Annual (regional) Conference to discourage people over 45 from becoming candidates for ordination and people over 60 from licensed local pastors is igniting debate across the denomination. Read story and post a comment
 
George W. Bush Presidential Center dedication at SMU
DALLAS (UMNS) — The dedication was — to no small degree — a United Methodist event, given that former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, are active United Methodists; that they chose to put the facility at a United Methodist school (Laura Bush’s alma mater); and that their pastor, the Rev. Mark Craig of Highland Park United Methodist Church, delivered a prayer. Sam Hodges of the United Methodist Reporter offers an overview of the new presidential center. Read story  Read Craig’s prayer
 
United Methodists mourn passing of Bob Edgar
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Rev. Bob Edgar, a United Methodist pastor and a “tireless defender of the poor and an advocate for justice” died unexpectedly April 23 of a heart attack at his home. He was 69. Edgar, who was the top executive of Common Cause, is the former top executive of the National Council of Churches and a former six-term congressman from Pennsylvania. He was president of Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology from 1990 to 2000. Read story
 
HBO movie raises needed malaria awareness
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — “Programs like The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative and its partner organizations are making a difference, producing life-saving results,” writes the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, as World Malaria Day approaches. “Malaria’s impact has been cut in half in just a few short years, but the battle is still far from over.” Read full commentary  Learn about the HBO movie  Imagine No Malaria
 
Looking ahead
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. 
  • Deadline to register for Welcoming Ministry 100, May 1 — Online course from May 8 to June 19, sponsored by United Methodist Communications, $29. To register
  • Free webinar “Leadership in Small Churches,” May 2 — 6:30 p.m. CT, especially for churches with 100 or fewer in worship attendance from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • National Day of Prayer, May 2 — Resources for U.S. event from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
  • Older Adult Recognition Sunday, any Sunday in May — Resources compiled by the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference.
  • Free webinar “Tell of God’s Love; the Small Church Story on a Shoestring,” May 7 — 6:30 p.m. CT, help for small churches to get the word out from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • Free webinar “Has God Been Invited to the Conversation?” May 9 — 6:30 p.m. CT, help with church and community prayer from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • Ascension Day, May 9 — Celebrate Christ’s Ascension with resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
  • Mother’s Day, May 12 — Imagine No Malaria provides offering envelopes, posters and bulletin inserts to prepare for special offerings on Mother’s Day to benefit the campaign, which has significant impact on the lives of mothers and children. Details.
  • Free webinar “Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus Across the Generations,” May 14 — 6:30 p.m. CT, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • Free webinar “Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life,” May 16 — 6:30 p.m. CT, help with stewardship from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register
  • Change the World, May 18-19 — Join the United Methodist Rethink Church event that helps build community locally and fight malaria globally. Details.
  • Pentecost, May 19 — Celebrate the birthday of the Christian church with resources from the Board of Discipleship and the United Methodist Publishing House’s Ministry Matters
  • “Inside Out for the Glory of God,” July 12-14 — Eleventh national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details
  • School of Congregational Development, Aug. 15-18 — Hosted at Denver Marriott Tech Center, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Path1 and Board of Global Ministries. Theme is “Encountering God at the Edge.” Details

CLASSIFIEDS/JOB OPPORTUNITIES

To view and submit classifieds, please visit www.detroitconference.org/classifieds. Local churches may enter a classified through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
 
Current job openings within the United Methodist connection:
Current job openings within the Detroit Conference:
  • Nursery Attendance - Detroit: Metropolitan UMC
  • Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries - Detroit: Central UMC
  • Conference Director for Mission and Justice Engagement and Leadership Recruitment - Detroit Conference
  • Youth Director (part-time) - Crossroads District
  • Office Manager (part-time) - Byron UMC
  • Youth Director - Asbury UMC, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Part-time Children's Choir Director - Northville: First UMC
  • Custodian - Detroit: Trinity-Faith UMC
Other job openings:

About the Detroit Conference Connection

The Detroit Conference Connection is the weekly e-newsletter of the Detroit Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Every local church is encouraged to have their leaders subscribe to the Connection so that they can receive the latest news from the conference and general church. To subscribe to the Connection, please visit www.detroitconference.org/site/stayconnected. To submit news items for the Detroit Conference Connection, please send stories to Paul Thomas, Director of Communications

Detroit Conference Social Media Links

Detroit Conference on facebook: www.facebook.com/detroitconference
Detroit Conference on Twitter: www.twitter.com/umcdetroitconf
Wednesday - April 24, 2013
Detroit Conference Connection - April 24, 2013

Detroit Conference Connection - April 24, 2013

CONFERENCE NEWS

For the latest news from the Detroit Conference, please visit www.detroitconference.org/news.
 
BLOG: A Faith for Hard Times
Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey, in her latest Michigan Meanderings article, writes about the recent difficult days for our country, our state, and our world. Read article and comment 
 
Committee on Nominations introduces new process
The Detroit Conference Committee on Nominations is seeking interested individuals for several at-large members prior to the 2013 annual conference session as a way to improve the nominations process. Read more 
 
Bishop Kiesey speaks on Michigan flooding
Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey issued a statement on the recent flooding in the Michigan Area after visiting the flooding that has affected Lowell, Mich. Read statement and find out how you can help 
 
Love crosses the finish line
Kimberly Grauer was in Boston on April 15 fulfilling a promise to her dad. She was among the runners stopped by police at Mile 25. “I got three medals," she says, “when I saw the faces of my mom, brother and friend that evening.” Kay DeMoss of the West Michigan Conference shares the story of Grauer and her family.  Read story

2013 ANNUAL CONFERENCE SESSION

The 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session will take place on Thursday-Sunday, May 16-19, on the campus of Adrian College in Adrian, Mich. Information about the annual event can be found at www.detroitconference.org/annualconference.
 
Clergy choir being formed for Service of Ordination and Commissioning
A choir made up of active and retired clergy (including deacons, elders, and local pastors) is being formed for the Service of Ordination and Commissioning, which will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. Clergy interested in singing with the choir are asked to bring their robes and a red stole to wear during the service. The Rev. David Gladstone will be directing the choir.
 
iPad Giveaway at the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference by the CALLED TO MINISTRY Team of the Board of Ordained Ministry
If you have had a Called to Ministry Sunday since the 2012 Detroit Annual Conference, you may enter the iPad giveaway which will take place during Annual Conference. You may enter by emailing the Board of Ordained Ministry Recruitment Team at enteringministry@gmail.com with (1) your name, (2) church or ministry setting, (3) when you had your Called to Ministry Sunday, and (4) names of anyone who responded to God's call to ministry. If you do not know what a Called to Ministry Sunday is, it is to have at least one moment during your worship service to ask if anyone may feel called to ministry and to speak with clergy of the church or ministry setting to discuss his/her call to ministry and to pursue the next steps. For more information and resources on having a Called to Ministry Sunday, please email enteringministry@gmail.com and more information will be sent to you. Please also visit www.detroitconference.org/calledtoministry to learn more and to share our website and resources with someone who feels call to ministry. The website includes BOM Recruitment Team members to contact with any questions and/or for guidance.
 
2013 session to be live-streamed
All plenary sessions and worship services during the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session will be streamed live on the conference website. 

TIDBITS AND OTHER INFORMATION YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW …

Jan Thomas Receives National Award
Jan Thomas, former Director of Outdoor and Retreat Ministries for the Detroit Conference, recently received the Legacy of Leadership Award from the National Camp and Retreat Leaders of the United Methodist Church. The award recognizes leaders who have given years of exemplary service to camp and retreat ministries. Jan was one of the first female leaders in camping ministry, paving the way for many more. Jan will be stepping back into service this summer as she provides interim leadership to a United Methodist Camp in Alabama.
 
Prayer Shawl Retreat at Judson Collins Center
Come to Judson Collins Center May 3 and 4 to learn about Prayer Shawl Ministry!  Beginners as well as veterans are welcome! Share your experiences and ideas for prayer shawl ministry, or learn how to get one started. There will be time for instruction, worship, rest and growth as together we explore the amazing gifts that go into our crafts. Enjoy a weekend of being nurtured by Judson Collins Center’s gracious hospitality.  Guests are invited to come for the whole event or just part. For more information, visit www.judsoncollinscenter.org , or call (517) 467-7711.
 
The Power of Camp
The Christian Camping Association reports that the average American child spends 7.5 hours a day on electronic media:  television, video games, phones and ipods, and computers and tablets—totaling nearly 113 days a year!  16% of young people age 6 -19 are obese, and only 33% of our young people get enough exercise.  The average child spends 3.5 minutes of meaningful conversation with a parent every day. A week of church camp provides young people with caring, Christian adult role models, time to think without distractions, and high adventure all in the beauty of God’s creation.  A young person that spends a week at camp is there more waking hours than if they attended an entire year of Sunday school or youth group.  They form lifelong friendships that provide positive peer pressure.  It gives them a chance to be known and loved.   Adolescents gain the tools they need to make the tough decisions they face. Help the young people in your church and in your community experience the power of camp!  Register online today at www.umccamps.org .

UPCOMING EVENTS

To view the conference calendar and submit events, please visit www.detroitconference.org/events. For events happening in local churches across the conference, please visit http://www.detroitconference.org/events/index?mode=church. Local churches may submit events through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
  • April 25 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Administrative Assistants, Staff) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • April 27 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • May 5 - Golden Cross Sunday
  • May 16-19 - 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session - Adrian, Mich.
  • May 26 - Peace with Justice Sunday
  • May 27 - Conference office closed in observance of Memorial Day
  • May 30 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Administrative Assistants, Staff) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • June 1 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • July 4 - Conference office closed in observance of Independence Day
  • July 8-16 - Wesley Heritage Tour with Bill Dobbs
  • July 12-14 - 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men
  • July 21-26 - Michigan Area School for License as a Local Pastor
  • August 20-22 - Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry

APPOINTMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey has announced the following appointments for the Detroit Conference:
  • Michael Sawicki to Midland: Aldersgate UMC (Saginaw Bay District), effective July 1, 2013. He is currently appointed to FaithWay UMC (Saginaw Bay District)
  • Ted Whitely, Sr., to Birmingham: Embury, Troy: Fellowship, and Waterford: Trinity UMCs (Detroit Renaissance District), effective July 1, 2013. He is currently providing pastoral leadership to Detroit: Calvary UMC (Detroit Renaissance District).
To view appointment updates, please visit www.detroitconference.org/appointments

CONNECTIONAL NEWS 

 
Judicial Council splits East Africa decision
SEATTLE (UMNS) — A 10-year financial dispute between the Western Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference and the East Africa Annual Conference that wound up before The United Methodist Church’s top court has ended with a split decision that likely will not please everyone. Neill Caldwell, editor of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate and a correspondent for United Methodist News Service, reports on the council meeting. Read story and post a comment
 
‘Home Run’ hit for recovery ministries
TULSA, Okla. (UMNS) — “Home Run” is a movie about addiction — a story of a professional baseball player whose life spirals out of control because of ego and alcohol. Premiering today, April 19, the inspirational feature film highlights the recovery ministries offered by thousands of United Methodist churches.  Read news release
 
Looking ahead
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. 
  • April 25 — World Malaria Day. Help fight the disease at imaginenomalaria.org.
  • May 1 — Deadline to register for Web Ministry 100 — Online course from May 8 to June 19, sponsored by United Methodist Communications, $49. To register.
  • May 1 — Deadline to register for Welcoming Ministry 100 — Online course from May 8 to June 19, sponsored by United Methodist Communications, $29. To register.
  • May 7-9 — RENEW retreat for United Methodist single clergy, Selah Inn at the Ranch, Mount Vernon, Texas. Details.
  • May 12 —  Mother's Day. Imagine No Malaria provides offering envelopes, posters and bulletin inserts to prepare for special offerings on Mother’s Day to benefit the campaign, which has significant impact on the lives of mothers and children. Details.
  • May 18-19 — Change the World. Join the United Methodist Rethink Church event that helps build community locally and fight malaria globally. Details.
  • July 12-14 — “Inside Out for the Glory of God.” Eleventh national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details
  • Aug. 15-18 — School for Congregational Development. Hosted at Denver Marriott Tech Center, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Path1 and Board of Global Ministries. Theme is “Encountering God at the Edge.” Details

CLASSIFIEDS/JOB OPPORTUNITIES

To view and submit classifieds, please visit www.detroitconference.org/classifieds. Local churches may enter a classified through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
 
Current job openings within the United Methodist connection:
Current job openings within the Detroit Conference:
  • Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries - Detroit: Central UMC
  • Administrative Secretary - Plymouth: First UMC
  • Conference Director for Mission and Justice Engagement and Leadership Recruitment - Detroit Conference
  • Youth Director (part-time) - Crossroads District
  • Office Manager (part-time) - Byron UMC
  • Youth Director - Asbury UMC, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Director of Children's Ministries (part-time) - Holly: Calvary UMC
  • Office Manager/Financial Secretary - Lake Louise Christian Community, Camp and Retreat Center
  • Part-time Children's Choir Director - Northville: First UMC
  • Custodian - Detroit: Trinity-Faith UMC
  • Coordinator of Youth Ministries - Auburn UMC

About the Detroit Conference Connection

The Detroit Conference Connection is the weekly e-newsletter of the Detroit Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Every local church is encouraged to have their leaders subscribe to the Connection so that they can receive the latest news from the conference and general church. To subscribe to the Connection, please visit www.detroitconference.org/site/stayconnected. To submit news items for the Detroit Conference Connection, please send stories to Paul Thomas, Director of Communications.

Detroit Conference Social Media Links

Detroit Conference on facebook: www.facebook.com/detroitconference
Detroit Conference on Twitter: www.twitter.com/umcdetroitconf
Wednesday - April 17, 2013
Detroit Conference Connection - April 17, 2013

Detroit Conference Connection - April 17, 2013

CONFERENCE NEWS

For the latest news from the Detroit Conference, please visit www.detroitconference.org/news.
 
Last Chance! Registration Deadline for 2013 Annual Conference session is Friday!
The registration deadline for the 2013 annual conference session is April 19. After the registration deadline passes, those individuals registering will not be able to register for special meals and a $30 late fee will be charged. Register for the conference today at www.detroitconference.org/annualconference.
 
Bishop Deb offers statement on Boston bombings
Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Kiesey said "our hears and prayers are with the people of Boston," in a statement released on Monday, April 15. Read statement and comment
 
Host a movie party to fight malaria
Throw a party to save lives. That’s the message The United Methodist Church is sharing in preparation for World Malaria Day, April 25. United Methodist advocates for Imagine No Malaria can raise awareness by hosting screening parties of HBO’s new movie, “Mary and Martha,” starring Oscar® winner Hilary Swank and Oscar® nominee Brenda Blethyn. The movie follows the journey of two women who meet in Africa and work to raise awareness of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that claims a life every 60 seconds. Learn how to participate 
 
United Methodists offer prayer and comfort after Boston bombings
As investigators search for answers, the people of The United Methodist Church offer prayer, comfort and resources for healing in the aftermath of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.God in action after Boston bombing. Read story and view resources 
 
Bishop urges peace in Korea
United Methodist Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has issued a letter urging “North and South Korea to negotiate directly through their government leaders to forge an agreement ending the nuclear threat in the Korean peninsula” for the sake of the world community. Read story and post a comment  Read letter

2013 ANNUAL CONFERENCE SESSION

The 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session will take place on Thursday-Sunday, May 16-19, on the campus of Adrian College in Adrian, Mich. Information about the annual event can be found at www.detroitconference.org/annualconference.
 
Conference choir members, ushers needed
The annual conference session worship committee is inviting any interested persons to participate in the choir, brass choir, or serve as an usher during worship services. DOWNLOAD THIS FORM and submit it by April 19 if you are interested in serving in any of these areas.
 
Images needed for annual conference worship services
The worship committee for the Detroit Annual Conference session would like to invite people to participate in a pictorial collection of people celebrating ministry. They are looking for people to send in pictures of people participating in ministry activities in local churches so that they can celebrate the goodness that is being done in communities across the conference. They are looking for all sorts of different activities from baptisms to choirs to vacation Bible schools to softball games. Anything that you could share where people are enjoying being a part of ministry in some fashion is welcome. A collage of these pictures will be presented as a part of the Saturday (May 18) morning worship. If you have some good pictures that you would like to share, please send them to Brian Kelley at bkelley@umc-sc.org by May 1.
 
Voting items available for download
The voting items for members of the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session are now available online at www.detroitconference.org. Voting items will not be mailed or available in print. It is the responsibility of every member to print or download the materials, and for local churches to make sure their members have the necessary materials. 
 
Special collections during the conference session
A number of special collections will take place during the annual conference session, including offerings for Haiti and Liberia, and collections of new underwear for community agencies as part of the Bishop's Seat Cover Project. Click here to view all of the collection opportunities for your church. 
 
Guest speakers to visit annual conference session for special meals
Several groups will be having guest speakers during their special meals at the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session. The Rev. Amy DeLong, executive director of Kairos CoMotion, will speak at the Board of Church and Society dinner on Friday, May 17, while Princess Jusu, a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries serving in Liberia, will be the keynote speaker at the Board of Global Ministries dinner that evening. On Saturday, May 18, the Rev. Kris Kappler, a Detroit Conference clergy member serving as a missionary in Kazakhstan, will speak at the IMPACT breakfast. Dr. Philip Amerson, president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, will speak at the Garrett Alumni dinner. Friday, April 19 is the final day to register for special meals. View all special meal opportunities

TIDBITS AND OTHER INFORMATION YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW …

New Beginnings Workshops
The Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is offering workshops to insure a healthy transition for those churches that are changing pastors this summer. The workshops are free of charge, and there are separate workshops for staff-parish relations committee members and pastors, program staff, and administrative assistants/secretaries. View the flyer and registration form 
 
Michigan Area Haiti Task Force newsletter
The Michigan Area Haiti Task Force has begun producing a newsletter, which can be viewed here
 
5 signs your church needs social media training
You have a website. You tweet. You're on Facebook. You blog. You may think this article doesn’t apply to you. Not so fast. There is always room for improvement. read more »
 
8 ways to connect young adults to the church
During the coming summer, young adults in your church, as well as their friends, may have time – and skills – to share. Create opportunities for young adults to engage with the church and community. Read more
 
Putting Your Passions and Skills to Work
In an effort to more effectively identify, nurture, and utilize the passions and skills of United Methodists, the Detroit Conference Nominations Committee, has developed a new Passions and Skills Inventory. This tool, available online is a quick, easy way for clergy and laity to better connect with the many ministries of the Detroit Conference, and for the committee to better utilize the United Methodist connection to strengthen the Conference's ministries by enabling people to serve in ways and areas best suited to their God-given talents. Take the survey 

CAMP AND RETREAT MINISTRIES NEWS

Presenters Available to Local Churches to Promote Camping
One characteristic of vital congregations is that they offer many options for children, youth, and families.  A visitor from the Conference's camp and retreat ministries can help families in your church understand and take advantage of this valuable ministry that is available to them. They can tailor their time with you to help meet the needs of your particular setting, whether it is providing a Sunday morning message, visiting with classes or youth meetings, a mid-week program, a home based “tupperware party” with parents, summer opportunity fair, or other setting. To learn more and schedule a presenter, please call Jim Parkhurst in the Camp and Retreat Ministries office at (800) 334-0544 x337, or e-mail jparkhurst@detroitconference.org.
 
Ride the Bus to Camp Kinawind this Summer
Bus transportation to and from Camp Kinawind will be offered for several weeks of camp this summer, with pickup and drop off points in Pontiac and Flint. Camp Kinawind is our wonderful north woods Christian camp that is your camper’s base for rustic and adventure camping. For more information, visit www.umccamps.org.
 
Enjoy RV and Tent Camping at a Christian Campground This Summer
Myers Lake Campground, centrally located near Byron, Michigan, offers RV and tent camping to you and your family in a safe, clean, alcohol-free lakeside setting. A sandy beach with paddle boats and other rentals are available for your enjoyment. Join them for worship by the lake every Sunday morning. Myers Lake also offers camper cabins to rent. Church groups may be interested in visiting Myers Lake together for a time and retreat and fellowship, using one of their newly upgraded group sites. Many special themed events happen throughout the summer for your family’s enjoyment. Volunteer and stay free on their work week, April 24-28! To learn more and to make a reservation request, visit www.myerslake.org.
 
Correction
The dates for the Teddy Bear camp at Lake Louise were listed in correctly in the Camp and Retreat brochure. The correct dates are July 14-16 for Terry Bear 1 and August 4-6 for Teddy Bear 2. For more information visit www.lakelouisecommunity.org.

UPCOMING EVENTS

To view the conference calendar and submit events, please visit www.detroitconference.org/events. For events happening in local churches across the conference, please visit http://www.detroitconference.org/events/index?mode=church. Local churches may submit events through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
  • April 25 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Admin. Assistants, Staff) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • April 27 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • May 5 - Golden Cross Sunday
  • May 16-19 - 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session - Adrian, Mich.
  • May 26 - Peace with Justice Sunday
  • May 27 - Conference office closed in observance of Memorial Day
  • May 30 - New Beginnings (Pastors, Admin. Assistants, Staff) - Frankenmuth UMC
  • June 1 - New Beginnings (Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee members) - Troy: Big Beaver UMC
  • July 4 - Conference office closed in observance of Independence Day
  • July 8-16 - Wesley Heritage Tour with Bill Dobbs
  • July 12-14 - 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men
  • July 21-26 - Michigan Area School for License as a Local Pastor
  • August 20-22 - Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry

APPOINTMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michigan Area Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey has announced the following appointments for the Detroit Conference:
  • John Amick to UMCOR as Assistant General Secretary, International Disaster Response, effective July 1, 2013. He is currently providing pastoral leadership to Flint: Hope UMC (Crossroads District).
  • Jeremy Benton to the Wesley Foundation of Greenville, N.C., as campus minister, effective July 1, 2013. He is currently providing pastoral leadership to Ortonville UMC (Crossroads District).
  • Tim Callow to Newberry and Engadine UMCs (Marquette District) as a full-time local pastor, effective July 1, 2013. He is currently attending Duke Divinity School.
  • Patricia Green to retirement, effective July 1, 2013. She is currently providing pastoral leadership Milan: Marble Memorial UMC (Ann Arbor District).
  • Carolyn Harris to retirement, effective July 1, 2013. She is currently providing pastoral leadership to Salem Grove UMC (Ann Arbor District) as a part-time local pastor and will continue to serve Salem Grove UMC in retirement.
  • Jennifer Jue to Wayne: First UMC (Detroit Renaissance District), effective July 1, 2013. She is currently serving Napoleon UMC in the West Michigan Conference.
  • Lisa Kelley to Hillman and Spratt UMCs (Saginaw Bay District) as a full-time local pastor, effective July 1, 2013. This will be her first appointment. 
  • Mark D. Miller to Muskegon Central UMC (West Michigan Conference) as senior pastor, effective July 1, 2013. He is currently providing pastoral leadership to Midland: Aldersgate UMC (Saginaw Bay District).
  • In Boem Oh to Troy: Korean UMC (Detroit Renaissance District) as associate pastor, effective July 1, 2013. This is his first appointment.
  • Matthew Osborne to Sandusky: First UMC (Blue Water District) as a full-time local pastor, effective July 1, 2013. He is currently providing pastoral leadership to Algonac: Trinity and Marine City UMCs (Blue Water District).
  • Kristin Parks to Blissfield: First UMC (Ann Arbor District), effective July 1. She is currently serving as the youth director for the Crossroads District.
  • William Sanders to Fairgrove and Watrousville UMCs (Saginaw Bay District), effective July 1, 2013. He is a retired elder from the West Michigan Conference and has most recently served Standish: Community UMC and Saganing Indian Church (Saginaw Bay District).
  • Norma Taylor to Sterling Heights UMC (Detroit Renaissance District) as a district superintendent assignment (DSA), effective July 1, 2013. This is her first assignment.
  • Alonzo Vincent to retirement, effective July 1, 2013. He is currently providing pastoral leadership to Mt. Morris UMC (Crossroads District).
To view appointment updates, please visit www.detroitconference.org/appointments

DEATH NOTICES

The following death notices were received by the Conference Office over the last week. To view all of the death notices, please visit www.detroitconference.org/obituaries.
  • Mrs. Marjorie Stone, mother-in-law to Rev. Dr. John E. Harnish [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Saturday, April 13, 2013. 

CONNECTIONAL NEWS 

 
God in action after Boston bombing
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Evil struck Monday, but by Tuesday it was clear evil did not have the last word. United Methodists in Boston and around the globe testified to the ways they saw God in action after two explosions shattered the peace of the Boston Marathon, claiming at least three lives and leaving more than 170 injured. Read story and post a comment
 
Judicial Council starts spring meeting
SEATTLE (UMNS) — The United Methodist Judicial Council begins its spring meeting April 17 in Seattle. In addition to the April docket, the council will consider an item deferred from the council’s October 2012 meeting on how United Methodist church funds are handled in East AfricaView April docket
 
Cokesbury consultants now available
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Cokesbury is building a staff of community resource consultants across the United States to offer customers personal support, even as its stores close their doors. So far, the United Methodist Publishing House’s retail arm has hired 43 consultants and ultimately plans to have 50 on call. Many will work near the locations of former stores. “Because it is less expensive to place a community resource consultant in a market than a store, we took the opportunity to significantly expand the personal support we can provide touching more markets than we could hope to do with stores,” said Amy Smith of the United Methodist Publishing House.  To find a consultant near you
 
‘Pastors are human, too’
INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) — Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner reflects on the suicide of the son of the Rev. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church pastor and best-selling author. Coyner is saddened that in Warren's time of grief, others have used the tragedy to condemn both him and the Christian faith. “Perhaps this sad situation with the Warren family can remind all of us that clergy and their families are human, too,” he writes. Read blog 
 
Looking ahead
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. 
  • April 18-19 — “Light the Fire! Divine Healing,” church renewal conference — Ginghamsburg Church, Tipp City, Ohio. Details.
  • April 21 — Festival of God's Creation/Earth Day Sunday is April 21. The United Methodist Board of Church and Society offers resources.
  • April 25 — World Malaria Day. Help fight the disease at imaginenomalaria.org.
  • May 1 — Deadline to register for Web Ministry 100 — Online course from May 8 to June 19, sponsored by United Methodist Communications, $49. To register.
  • May 1 — Deadline to register for Welcoming Ministry 100 — Online course from May 8 to June 19, sponsored by United Methodist Communications, $29. To register.
  • May 7-9 — RENEW retreat for United Methodist single clergy, Selah Inn at the Ranch, Mount Vernon, Texas. Details.
  • May 18-19 — Change the World. Join the United Methodist Rethink Church event that helps build community locally and fight malaria globally. Details.

CLASSIFIEDS/JOB OPPORTUNITIES

To view and submit classifieds, please visit www.detroitconference.org/classifieds. Local churches may enter a classified through the Church Dashboard at www.detroitconference.org/churchdashboard.
 
Current job openings within the Detroit Conference:
  • Youth Director (part-time) - Crossroads District
  • Office Manager (part-time) - Byron UMC
  • Youth Director - Asbury UMC, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Administrative Secretary - Plymouth: First UMC
  • Director of Children's Ministries (part-time) - Holly: Calvary UMC
  • Office Manager/Financial Secretary - Lake Louise Christian Community, Camp and Retreat Center
  • Part-time Children's Choir Director - Northville: First UMC
  • Custodian - Detroit: Trinity-Faith UMC
  • Coordinator of Youth Ministries - Auburn UMC

About the Detroit Conference Connection

The Detroit Conference Connection is the weekly e-newsletter of the Detroit Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Every local church is encouraged to have their leaders subscribe to the Connection so that they can receive the latest news from the conference and general church. To subscribe to the Connection, please visit www.detroitconference.org/site/stayconnected. To submit news items for the Detroit Conference Connection, please send stories to Paul Thomas, Director of Communications.

Detroit Conference Social Media Links

Detroit Conference on facebook: www.facebook.com/detroitconference
Detroit Conference on Twitter: www.twitter.com/umcdetroitconf