The Rev. Molly Turner, Imagine No Malaria Field Representative for the Michigan Area, announces that contributions from the state's two annual conferences now totals $1,542,269. read more
Nichea Ver Veer Guy, active West Michigan laywomen, has just returned from a week in New York. She was the only officer of The United Methodist Women participating in the 59th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
In Michigan and across the U.S., the Latino/Hispanic population continues to grow. That growth can be measured in spirit as well as in numbers and new strategies are called for. read more>>
Next week the world's two billion Christians celebrate the week book-ended by the festive days of Palm Sunday and Easter. Are you ready to become a servant, like the Master?
|Students in Africa University's Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources listen to a lecture by Walter Manyangarirwa. ~umns photo/Vicki Brown|
United Methodist News Service
As Africa University celebrated the installation of its new vice chancellor, the 23-year-old United Methodist-related university’s board struggled with growing pains.
The board of directors at its March 20 meeting discussed aging buildings, overcrowded dorms and the need for more professors with doctorates to retain Zimbabwean accreditation of programs.
Bright spots included the announcement of an endowed professorship in agriculture and natural resources, a fundraising campaign for an endowed chair in theology, a record 31 U.S. United Methodist conferences that paid 100 percent of their apportionments to the university, and an endowment that stands at $63.3 million. In addition, 1,405 students used the new online registration system for the second semester of the 2014-15 academic year.
Mushare Furusa, who was inaugurated March 21 as the university’s top executive, reported on cost-cutting measures, a staff audit, a new program for a B.A. in media studies and planning for hospitality and tourism degree.
“We are looking at strategies to get people with Ph.D.s,” Furusa said. One of those strategies could be to help instructors or professors finish a doctoral program. Fifteen are now working on doctorates, Furusa said.
The Zimbabwe Education Ministry requires that 60 percent of instructors must have doctorates for accreditation of each faculty. A faculty at African University is the equivalent of a school or college at a university in the U.S. None of the faculties now meet that standard.
Furusa said he is developing plans to correct the problem by the end of 2016, but added that salaries and fringe benefits at Africa University are lower than at state universities in Zimbabwe. He said a candidate turned down an offer because of salary.
One strategy Africa University is exploring is to partner with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries to find missionaries with doctorates to teach.
Growth brings new challenges
Bishop David Yemba, the university’s chancellor and a bishop in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the university is at the right place, but growth is sometimes difficult.
“When we are growing, there are new challenges,” Yemba said.
Bishop Marcus Matthews, the board’s vice chair, agreed.
“To have a university that is only 23 years old that has all of its buildings paid for and no debt is a university with great opportunities ahead,” said Matthews, leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
Matthews said he is excited about the university’s new leader, noting that Furusa is the first vice chancellor with significant development or fundraising experience as well as 17 years of experience in higher education in the U.S.
“How do we improve the infrastructure to the extent that the university is attractive to parents and students?” Matthews asked, suggesting that dorm renovations, better sports fields and more recreational opportunities would be a start.
The board approved a 2015-16 budget of $12 million with a provision that if income is more than that amount, more can be spent. Last year, total income was $12.8 million and the university ended the year with a $4,000 surplus, the finance committee report said.
Furusa said the university has 353 employees — 208 permanent and 115 on fixed-term contracts — for about 1,500 full-time students and another 1,000 enrolled part-time or through distance-learning programs. The staff includes more than 100 full-time professors, along with part-time and visiting lecturers. “This suggests the existing staff load is high for an institution of our size,” he said.
Aging, overcrowded dorms
“Accommodation for students remains a major challenge,” Furusa told the board.
Students now are living three to a room in rooms planned for two, with 27 students housed at a women’s center in Mutare and others living at the Fairfield Orphanage at Mutare Mission. Some common areas in the residence halls have been converted to living space, the building and grounds committee reported.
“I am saddened by the condition in which our students live,” said Maggie Jackson, the committee chair. The committee urged management to come up with a detailed plan for refurbishing the residence halls, seek funds for new residence halls, and consider using more off-campus housing to reduce crowding.
Students and alumni agree that more dorm rooms and recreational facilities are needed, although a gym has been set up in a vacant room. During the inauguration, donations announced included more than $120,000 toward a new women’s dorm.
Tapiwawashe Muganyura and Joshua Madzivanyika, both students from Zimbabwe, agreed that more and better residence halls are needed.
“For me, I’d like to see us boost extracurricular activities,” Madzivanyika said.
Alumni also are concerned about residence halls. Angeline Mafembo, a graduate who teaches at Watershed College in Zimbabwe and has a young sister who attends Africa University, said she worries about the safety of women who live off campus.
More than one board member said plans need to be drafted and estimates prepared so money can be raised for building new dorms.
Margaret Makadzange, a member of the board of directors, expressed concern that the residence halls and other issues discussed by the board were long-standing problems. “We have been talking about these things for many meetings. What is the way forward?”
Furusa reported to the board that the Ubuntu Retreat Center is not finished. The West Michigan Conference raised $500,000 for the center. A timeline for completion was drawn up. Under an adjudication agreement of the dispute, if the contractor does not adhere to the completion timeline, the company can be replaced, Furusa said. In the meantime, final payments are being withheld.
Furusa agreed that the university faces many challenges, but said plans are being developed and actions taken.
“At times it seems as though everything becomes a priority,” he told the board.
Nancy Speas Hill
You’ve picked your curriculum; you’ve sent out the invitations; you’ve recruited most of your volunteers. The big pieces are covered, but now Vacation Bible School is staring you in the face, and you’re wondering what you are forgetting. Here’s a list of important last-minute (though hopefully not TOO last-minute!) pieces to consider.
We all know that we should be praying for VBS. We hear it all the time. But taking the time to pray for each volunteer, youth and child before VBS truly will draw you into a closer community when you actually gather together. Before you begin each day at VBS, pray for and with your volunteers. Lines of communication opened in this short time can carry over to long-term pastoral relationships.
2. Risk Management
You are about to welcome a large group of young children, teenagers, and volunteers into your church to have a LOT of fun. What could possibly go wrong? Well, probably nothing major at least. But there are certainly risks. And where there is risk, there needs to be risk management. Managing risk protects both your participants and the church.
Many congregations have a policy in place to prevent the abuse of children and vulnerable adults, often referred to as a “Safe Sanctuaries” policy. If your church has such a policy, familiarize yourself with it and make sure you adhere to it in every aspect of your VBS program. If your congregation does not have a formal policy, you can still take basic steps to make sure everyone stays safe. For starters, use the buddy system - even for the adults: no adult should ever be alone with a group of children and/or youth. Take special care in transition times to make sure all participants are accounted for at all times. When it’s time to go home, only release the children and youth to the responsible adult who dropped them off.
It is also worth a conversation with the chair of your trustees committee or like group to confirm that all the planned activities are included under your congregation’s insurance policies. For example, if you are transporting neighborhood children in church and/or volunteers' vehicles, make sure that such transportation is covered under the church’s AND the volunteer’s liability insurance. Likewise, if you are including anything particularly risky (though fun!) activities such as a bounce house, check with your committee and/or insurance provider to see if you need a special policy rider.
3. Volunteer Recruitment
Hopefully by now you’ve got your leaders in place, but you may be looking to fill a few more spots. Think about members whose schedule or health doesn’t generally allow them to volunteer on a regular basis. Perhaps this special event is a great place for them to plug in. Ask the kids who they would like to have serve with them - there’s nothing more likely to inspire a volunteer to respond than an invitation from the kids!
4. Teacher Training and Communication
You want your teachers to feel fully empowered and equipped! Provide your teachers with your curriculum as soon as possible and encourage them to spend time with each of the Bible stories. The more they are immersed in the scripture, the more naturally and effectively they will share the stories with the children. You may hold a teacher training session to introduce the curriculum and logistical concerns specific to your program. Give each leader a small bag with a list of the participants in their group (including emergency contact and pertinent medical information for each child), a list of locations for each activity, a daily schedule, a pack of tissues, a few band-aids and a small container of hand sanitizer.
Your biggest supply needs will likely be decorations, crafts, and snacks. Many of these supplies can be purchased with your curriculum, but someone will certainly need to make a few shopping trips to pick up the rest. This is a great task to be delegated to volunteers who would like to help but are unable to be at the actual VBS sessions. Just be sure that they are aware of your budget and familiar with your church’s purchasing policies (special relationship with particular retailers, tax-exempt status, reimbursement procedures, etc).
A of kids find their way to Bible School because the church has posted a large banner outside the church. Make sure that your sign is effective - you want it to be visible and eye-catching, but you don’t want it to be so involved that the essential information about your event is hard to read from a passing car. Make sure that accurate VBS information is posted on your church website and any blogs or social media pages your church (or members) maintain. Submit your information to local news outlets to be included in their community announcements. Target an audience with children through local parenting websites, blogs, and magazines. Are there organizations in your area that serve children and families? Inquire about distributing invitations to their clients.
7. Youth Involvement
Some of your best helpers at VBS are your youth! The younger kids love being with them, and it’s important for the youth to have an opportunity to be the older ones for a change. It’s best to keep about a four year difference between the youth and the kids they are partnered with, so perhaps assign younger youth to work with preschoolers, etc. Remember, though, that under most Safe Sanctuary policies, youth do NOT count as a second adult and need to be protected, too.
8. Teacher Appreciation
Volunteers make VBS possible. It will be fun for them. But there will be moments that will be trying, so show your teachers some love with a little treat each day. If you can tie them into your theme, great - but more important is to make your teachers and volunteers feel appreciated throughout the week.
9. Physical set-up
This is another great place to delegate! It can take many hands to prepare the facilities, from decorating to moving tables. In order to make the most of your volunteer power, schedule a workday a day or so before VBS and get as much ready as possible so that when kids arrive you can focus on them.
10. Thank Yous
Event planning 101 suggests that you prepare thank you notes as much as possible before your event, which can include collecting addresses of volunteers, purchasing stationary, addressing envelopes, keeping good records of volunteer participation, and writing/printing notes (which can be personalized after the event). After VBS, you will be tired, no matter how smoothly your event runs. It’s human nature to want to move on quickly, and sometimes thank yous get lost in the shuffle, but they are essential in affirming the ministry of your volunteers . . . which will help bring them back for VBS next year!
When is your VBS? What tasks have you saved for the last minute?
*MinistryMatters.com is an online resource to equip and inspire leaders in the local church.
INM Field Coordinator, Michigan Area
Nearly two years after the Michigan Area committed to raise $1.5 million for Imagine No Malaria, we are pleased to announce that we have exceeded our goal!
|We ate pancakes!|
The year-end total for the Michigan Area stands at $1,542,269. This includes contributions from the West Michigan Conference through December 31, 2014; contributions from the Detroit Conference through January 31, 2015. Globally, The United Methodist Church now stands at 85% of the $75 million goal established in 2008.
Congratulations, Michigan Area churches, on your faithful witness for the people of Sub Saharan Africa.
Together with others, we are in the process of ending suffering and death from malaria. With $10.00 representing an amount which can save a life—we have saved 154,227 lives.
We know that there are still churches who are submitting funds. If you have not made your final gifts, please send your contributions to your conference treasurer, marked for Imagine No Malaria.
|We pedaled bikes!|
Please make your donations by April 30 so that we can have a more complete total by our Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conference sessions.
Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey celebrates this achievement.
"I am pleased to offer my very personal 'Thank you!' to the entire Michigan Area for your generous giving to the Imagine No Malaria effort," she said. "Because of your faithfulness, efforts will continue for the eradication of this completely preventable disease. Even though you will never know the names of those whose lives you have saved, you have truly made a difference!!"
We add our many thanks to Bishop Deb, the full cabinets, district coordinators and Imagine No Malaria Steering Committee for all of their dedicated work.
|The United Methodist-owned Church Center for the United Nations, across First Avenue from the U.N., was a hub of activity during the 59th session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. Nichea Ver Veer Guy is in the front row as part of the UMW delegation. Nichea, a member of Trinity UMC in Grand Rapids, is the Finance Chair for the Global UMW organization. ~umns photo/Linda Bloom|
Senior Editor-Writer, Miichigan Area
Children throughout the United Methodist connection are learning about the history of the Methodist movement and practicing intentional discipleship with the help of drawings of John and Charles Wesley called "Flat Wesleys."
|Flat Wesleys relax in the Preteen room at Grand Rapids Trinity UMC. ~courtesy GR Trinity Facebook|
Grand Rapids Trinity UMC was among congregations receiving laminated copies of the Flat Wesleys to begin the project, which will continue through September, said Melanie C. Gordon, director of Ministry with Children at Discipleship Ministries.
To date more than 700 churches have requested to participate through the children's ministry Facebook page.
"The end result of this project is for children to have the opportunity to practice compassion, justice, worship and devotion, to really pay attention to how they are doing that, and to be able to share their experiences with other children across the Methodist connection," Gordon said.
Nichea Ver Veer Guy, Director of Children's Ministry and Family Life, describes how that has worked at GR Trinity . . .
"Flat John and Flat Charles arrived just as our pastors concluded a six-week sermon series on the Wesleys." Faith formation classes were also being focused on Methodist heritage.
"So the figures visited classrooms and meetings like Church Council," Nichea says, "and people had opportunities to tell them how they were living out their faith."
Some of the younger children shared about their efforts "at learning what God has to say to them." Older children talked about "social holiness and how they followed Jesus outside the church."
After a two-Sunday stay at Trinity, Flat John and Flat Charles were sent on to a church in Maryland, as assigned in the material that brought them to Grand Rapids. The figures were accompaniesd by a letter penned by Trinity children.
"Our hope is that the teachers (at the church receiving the letters) will then read about what the Flat Wesleys did where they were before to their children, and then the process will start again," Gordon said.
The idea for Flat Wesleys, which is based on the youth literature character Flat Stanley©, came from a desire by children's ministry leaders to inspire covenant discipleship with children.
The children in participating churches make their own Flat Wesleys. "They will have the Wesleys with them in prayer, and they will take them when they go out and do an act of service in the community," Gordon said. "This offers them something concrete to help them look for ways of living out their faith."
Later this year, Discipleship Resources will release a resource for covenant discipleship with children, and the experiences of the children who participate in the Flat Wesleys Project will become part of that resource.
|Flat Wesleys met people of all ages at Church Meeting Night at Trinity. ~courtesy GR Trinity Facebook|
"Covenant groups are at the root of Methodism," Gordon said. Members of covenant groups support one another and hold one another accountable in the areas of justice, compassion, worship and devotion and in practicing those daily and weekly in their lives.
"I believe that our church as a denomination has a very strong and unique history, especially when you think about the Methodist movement was a movement, not a church," Gordon said. "And it started with young people getting together trying to hold the church accountable to holiness."
By participating in the Flat Wesley project, children in United Methodist congregations hopefully will be encouraged to learn that the Wesleys were "young people who believed that the church could do more, and they pushed the church to do more," she said.
"It's an amazing story. I think it's a story that we don't look at enough, and we want children to know it, so that they understand why we live out our lives as Christians in this way."
United Methodist children should know "that God equips them with what they need, and the adults are here to guide them on that journey – to guide them and to help them to use those gifts that God has given them," Gordon concluded.
And there's more than one itineration taking place! We've learned that another set of Wesley Brothers is currently ministering at Holland UMC, with their next stop Texas. Any more out there in Michigan?
Congregations interested in participating should contact Discipleship Ministries by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|In February, Leicester Longden (l), retired elder of the West Michigan Conference, gave a lecture at Bridwell Library on the legacy of United Methodist scholar Albert C. Outler. With Longden is Timothy Binkley, a Bridwell archivist who oversaw the reorganization of Outler’s papers.~umns photo/Sam Hodges|
United Methodist News Service
Albert C. Outler remains a towering figure in United Methodism, and he left a towering collection of papers — some 370 archival boxes.
They include letters, drafts of sermons and articles, notes and syllabi for courses, and other documents one might expect from a groundbreaking scholar in Wesleyan studies.
But Outler (1908-1989) also hung onto gas ration cards from the World War II years. He saved his charge-a-plate, precursor to the credit card. From his travels for speaking engagements, Outler kept airline ticket stubs, restaurant napkins and sugar packets.
He kept matches.
“That was probably the most alarming thing I found,” said archivist Colleen Bradley-Sanders, reflecting her profession’s special dread of fire. “I gave them to our facilities manager to dispose of.”
From 2010 to 2014, Bradley-Sanders put in 6,000 hours reorganizing Outler’s papers at Bridwell Library, part of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology.
For the first time, there’s a full guide to the Outler collection, available online and in print. Bridwell’s website includes highlights from the collection, such as the sermon Outler preached at the 1968 Uniting Conference in Dallas, officially creating The United Methodist Church.
Bridwell also has on display an exhibit drawn from the collection, featuring 90 items — though no matches.
The library’s combined efforts have a single aim.
“We’re hoping to draw attention by a new generation of scholars to a man who was a leading figure in The United Methodist Church and ecumenically,” said Timothy Binkley, the Bridwell archivist who oversaw Bradley-Sanders’ work and curated the exhibit.
Shaped by his work
The career of Outler — son of a Methodist pastor from southern Georgia — almost defies summation.
He taught at Duke Divinity School, Yale Divinity School and finally at Perkins. He edited a collection of John Wesley’s sermons and formulated the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, which holds that Christians should bring to bear Scripture, tradition, reason and experience as they live their faith.
Exactly how true to John Wesley’s theology the Quadrilateral is remains a matter of debate. But it’s part of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, part of the education of United Methodist clergy and a big part of Outler’s legacy.
Combine that with Outler’s role in the formation of The United Methodist Church, including leading the doctrinal study commission, and contemporary scholars consider him an indispensable figure in the denomination’s history.
“A lot of who we are is shaped by his work and his career,” said Leicester Longden, associate professor emeritus and director of the United Methodist Studies program at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
Outler wrote on other topics, such as Christology, pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit), and pastoral counseling and psychotherapy. The nine-volume “Albert Outler Library,” published by Bristol House, testifies to his productivity.
An ordained elder, Outler also made time for preaching and speaking to clergy and lay groups.
“His parish was the entire denomination,” Binkley said. “He was a very popular speaker.”
Outler’s reputation and influence extended beyond Methodism. He addressed the World Council of Churches and served as an official observer at the Second Vatican Council.
A scholar as busy as Outler would necessarily generate lots of paper. But his pack-rat tendencies also came into play.
If Outler was mentioned in a newspaper article, he saved the whole paper. He kept multiple copies of a course syllabus, and all the records of academic committees he served on, even if he didn’t have much of a role.
By eliminating redundancies and moving some material to the main SMU library, Bridwell Library reduced the collection by more than half.
“It’s a cleaner, more understandable collection,” Binkley said.
The exhibit at Bridwell offers Outler’s first license to preach, a handwritten draft of his sermon to the Uniting Conference, and correspondence between him and the noted theologian H. Richard Niebuhr.
There’s a photo of Outler meeting Pope Paul VI, and awards Outler received from Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Jewish groups.
A legal pad page shows Outler working through whether to leave Yale for Perkins and SMU. In two columns, he listed pros and cons, noting that he had a good garden where he was and that Yale was “the best school in the country,” but also that SMU was offering more money and a chance to serve Methodism in his native South.
The exhibit runs through May 1, but Bridwell will continue to have highlights from it and the rest of the collection online. And the reorganized papers will remain available for scholars.
Longden plans biography
Longden recently gave a lecture at Bridwell on Outler, and feels there’s much more to do on him.
“One of the papers I think needs to be written is on all of the documents of the doctrinal study commission he was chair of,” Longden said. “That would show that from the very start we were an extremely diverse group of people. If we don’t see that, we can’t understand why we’re divided now.”
Longden himself will be spending lots more time with Outler’s papers.
In 2008, he was considering doing an Outler biography, to follow the one by Bob Parrott, published a decade after Outler’s death. Longden went through about 40 archival boxes before feeling overwhelmed. He put the project on hold.
Now that the collection is slimmed down and better organized, he declares himself “fully recommitted” to the biography.
Given his subject, it will still be a job.
“I’m looking at five years,” Longden said.
The Detroit Conference and the Crossroads District Offices will both be closed for Good Friday on Friday, April 3, 2015.
The 1st Saturday of the month(beginning March), A Spaghetti Dinner will be served from 4-7pm. The cost is Adult $7.00, Twelve & under $4.00, Under 5 is Free.
Come and enjoy some great food!
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!
“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.
|Bishop Deb listening in Midland. Please click here for Frequently Asked Questions on Conversations on the Journey.|
Where are you going? I asked,
To places I have never been, was the answer.
What do you plan to do? I asked.
My purpose will be evident at journey's end.
Who has planned your itinerary? I asked.
Its plan will be revealed at times most unlikely.
Why would you consent to such a vague plan? I saId.
I accepted the challenge when I accepted life, was the answer.
What a great time we have had traveling across Michigan. The weather was not always the best, but the people who came out to each of the first four events made the Bishop’s Conversations on a Journey truly exciting.
It was great to hear people’s questions and comments about the possibility of creating a new conference for Michigan. It was especially exciting to be part of the “live” webcast from Cornerstone Church in Grand Rapids.
If you go to either conference website, you will find the notes which were taken at each on the events and you can even find an archived copy of the webcast. They will give you a much better sense of what we heard than I can in these few lines.
However, there were some Burning Questions which came my way during our time on the road which I would like to try and answer here for the benefit of everyone.
The first question came from a clergy person: “Does everyone who is appointed in the Detroit Conference have to go to the city of Detroit or the Upper Peninsula at least once? That’s what I heard last week at our clergy forum.” The second question, this time from a lay person, was actually heard in several variations: I know we are talking about Annual Conference, but that is way “down there” and I never see any of that at my local church. What’s a good reason for me and our church to support this idea? How will this change affect us?” And finally, at every session: “What would be a missional reason for doing this?”
I should start off by saying that neither the Bishop nor Mark Doyal nor I ever heard anything that could be characterized as negative about the “other” conference. Questions, to be sure, but nothing from either side which would lead anyone to believe that we were anything but sisters and brothers in the faith. Separated by miles and isolated by years of little or no communication, people were still not hateful or unkind. Even my clergy colleague was not being deliberately unkind. He just didn’t know enough about the Detroit Conference or the ministry locations mentioned in the question.
And my answer to this question is relatively easy: First of all, appointments in the Detroit Conference are made just like the appointments in West Michigan; by a bishop and cabinet who are committed to making disciples for Jesus Christ and transforming the world. They understand that their critical part of that process is the appointing of clergy who will do everything in their power to accomplish the same goal in the place where they are appointed. There are no pre-determined rules about where one must be appointed in either conference. The bishop and cabinet do not sit down and say to themselves, “Who hasn’t been to the UP yet? or “Who hasn’t done time in Detroit yet?” any more than they say “Who hasn’t been to a two-point charge or a really small town yet?”
Appointments are discerned on the basis of the gifts of the pastor and the needs of the congregation. There are some tethers attached to some pastors, but most of those are related to spouse or family concerns and are most often expressed as places we want to stay near rather than places we don’t want to go. And I can tell any pastor who asks that every church is unique and all people are similar in regard to their faith needs, regardless of where they live. There are some fantastic ministries happening in the cities of Detroit and Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo and Flint and there are equally fantastic ministries going on in the small congregations of the Heartland or Blue Water districts and across the Upper Peninsula.
Not every pastor will have an opportunity to reap where another has sown, but every pastor will have the opportunity to bloom where they are appointed. It’s true that some of us do not have the same gifts or skills and so we may not be equally effective in every location. But based on my personal life experience, I will say that we should not assume that there are only certain places where we can serve. I’ve been in open country and inner city and county seat settings and have found opportunities to do ministry in each place where I’ve been appointed. That is less a reflection on my gifts and more on my willingness to love the people wherever I get the opportunity to serve. And I can truthfully say that I have found people to love in every area of this state – regardless of the conference or district boundaries.
Secondly, the “will” in the second question is easier to speak to than the “how.” I can say with confidence that, if this creation of a new conference is done right, it will affect everyone. If we become more fruitful and dynamic as a conference and begin to support the work of local congregations with excellence in leadership and a shared expectation of effective missional congregations that are making disciples for Jesus Christ who are transforming the world, then every local church member will see and experience the kind of life-changing movement of the Holy Spirit which cannot help but change us.
But “how” we are going to do that and what that new conference will look like is impossible to say at this point. It is too early to speak with any certainty about retiree health care or the place of campus ministry in the life of the conference. We are a little like the Israelites who must have asked Moses exactly where they were going and how long it would take before they would set one foot in the wilderness. The biblical record seems clear. There were many who were very uncomfortable with the lack of certainty. They were, I think, good people who simply preferred the certainty of the way they had always done things to the uncertainty of an unclear destination or an unknown path, even though they had be praying for just such a “next step” in their nation’s future.
Like the children of Israel, we are at a stepping-off point on our life’s journey. We are poised at the precipice of an unseen future and we are about to decide if we will step out in faith or not. The good news in all of this is that we will get to decide what our next destination, our new conference will look like. The outcome is not pre-determined and it will not be decided by the infamous “them.” It will be all of us – clergy and lay alike – who will pool our resources and talents to create something uniquely able to respond to the circumstances we will face in the days and weeks and years to come!
Well, friends, we are deep into the Christmas rush.
Central United Methodist Church in Waterford, MI is looking to hire a part-time youth director for approximately 12-20 hours a week. The youth director will be compensated with a salary of $12,000 per year.
Interested applicants are requested to send a letter of application and resume to John Lawrence by Monday, April 13, 2015 at email@example.com or at Waterford Central United Methodist Church, 3882 Highland Rd, Waterford, MI, 48328. Phone: 248-681-0040
The job description and
the application for employment can be found on the front page of our
website: www.waterfordcumc.org or at our Church office. Thank you.
We are not the perfect church looking for the the perfect youth pastor, but God is doing some exciting things around here and were looking another team member to join us in reaching out in the greater Okemos area.
God is calling Okemos Community Church to go to the next level in reaching high school, college and young adults. Our staff team is solid, dedicated and enjoys working together; now were searching for the right person to lead our children and student ministries to that next level, to help us launch post high ministries, and to build our connections with young adults and families.
We desire a person with a deep commitment to Christ, an outgoing personality, a drive to connect kids to Christ and to strengthen their faith, along with the proven ability to recruit, motivate, organize and lead volunteers. Organizational skills will be critical, as will a team player attitude.
We are open to clergy or laity for this full time salaried position. Those who are headed toward ordination, or are trained as local pastors, are encouraged to apply. As an independent congregation, that affiliates with The United Methodist Church, we are open to persons from different denominations. We are a main-line congregation with a progressive theology that is deeply committed to social and mission ministries.
Were located 2 miles from Michigan State University and all that has to offer. The Okemos, Haslett, and East Lansing school districts consistently rank highly in the school systems in the state. We currently worship 170, and are growing. Our single worship service is traditional in style; we plan to add a distinctly different service that will connect with younger people.
The Youth Minister
You love Christ and are committed to the church as a place to make disciples and deepen faith
You love to work with children, youth, college and young adults
You have a great sense of humor, an engaging personality, and plenty of energy, enthusiasm and drive
You are a leader, called to lead youth, youth leaders, and parents
You are self-motivated, with a bias toward action and have solid organizational skills
You have experience leading youth groups, motivating and managing volunteers, and launching new ministries
The Job Description Overview (see link to full job description)
The Associate Pastor for Children, Youth and Young Adults reports directly to the Senior Pastor and is responsible for the development and oversight of leadership teams and ministry with children, youth, post-high/college students and young families (those 0-30 years old). If clergy, the Associate Pastor will assist with pastoral duties beside the Senior Pastor (preaching, worship leadership, pastoral care, etc.) The position is full time, with a total compensation package of up to $50,000, depending on experience. For a complete job description, go to http://bit.ly/OkemosAssocPastorJobDescript. We are anxious to begin the position as soon as the right person is found. Applications will be continually reviewed as received.
Please email a complete resume (including a list of 4-6 personal references) to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also mail your resume to: Okemos Community Church, P.O. Box 680, Okemos, MI 48805.
Click on link above
This is a great opportunity to join a historic congregation with a growing community of young families. Our current Director is moving out of state, and we want to continue and expand upon the innovative and developmentally appropriate programs that our families have found to be both meaningful and fun. We are looking for someone who has a passion for ministry with children, as well as outstanding communication skills in connecting with people of all ages.
The Director will work 25-30 hours per week, including Sunday mornings, regular but flexible weekday office hours, and some midweek or weekend programs. A degree in Education, Christian Education, Child Development, or comparable education and experience is required. Successful previous experience in guiding children’s ministry programs is highly desirable. Our salary is competitive, and includes annual continuing education funds.
Located in the historic Village of Franklin, Michigan, Franklin Church is just south of Fourteen Mile Road, just west of Franklin Road. Surrounded by playgrounds, a sledding hill, and a village green, we are a United Methodist Church that is small enough to feel like a warm family, but large enough to make a difference in mission projects in Detroit, Pontiac, and across the world.
The Guest Services Director serves as the leader and manager of Guest Services, and is the primary contact with guest groups and their leaders. This position recruits and develops guest groups, and coordinates their scheduling. The Guest Services Director oversees the hosting of guest groups and serves as a liaison for the needs of guest groups and for the Bay Shore Camp staff.
Rev. Billie J. Hipwood [Assembly of God Clergy, Retired From Serving in the Detroit Annual Conference], died Saturday, March 7, 2015.
The Funeral Service will be held at 4:00pm Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at the Buresh Funeral Home located at 212 W River Road; Oscoda, MI 48750 [989-739-5141]. Visitation time will take place beginning at 1:00 p.m. prior to the service.
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO [Daughter]:
Rev. Leonard W. Gamber [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Sunday, February 15, 2015.
A Memorial Service will take place at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, February 19, 2015 at St. John UMC, located at 3214 Grand Prix Drive; Sebring, FL 33872 [863-382-1736].
An additional Memorial Service will be held at a later date in the Crossroads District at Swartz Creek UMC.
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO [Spouse]:
Mrs. Joanne Gamber
1208 N. Peniel Avenue
Avon Park, FL 33825
GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE GIVEN TO:
Asbury Seminary - 204 N. Lexington Avenue; Wilmore, KY 40390
Avon Park Holiness Camp Association - 1000 West Lake Isis Avenue; Avon Park, FL 33825
Mrs. Phoebe Aubin, mother - in - law to Rev. Mary G. McInnes [Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Saturday, February 7, 2015.
Mr. Damon & Rev. Mary McInnes
Visitation will take place Monday, February 9, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors, located at 524 Liberty Park; Lapeer, MI 48446 [810-664-8282].
Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at the Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors - Capstick Chapel in Lapeer.
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO [Son]:
Dr. Daniel H. Krichbaum [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], died Tuesday, February 3, 2015.
Memorial Service will be held at Birmingham: First UMC located at 1589 W. Maple Road; Birmingham, MI 48009 at [248-646-1200].
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO [Spouse]:
Mrs. Susan Krichbaum
24082 Bingham Pointe Drive
Bingham Farms, MI 48025
GIFTS IN MEMORY MAY BE GIVEN TO:
1) Neuroscience Center of Excellence - Beaumont Foundation, P.O. Box 5802, Troy, MI 48007 [or online at: www.beaumont.edu/foundation/
2) Daniel Krichbaum Memorial Fund - Detroit Public Schools, Fisher Bldg., Ste. 1004; 3011 W. Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202
Rev. Dr. Robert W. Boley [Retired Detroit Annual Conference Clergy], father of West Michigan Conference District Superintendent, Rev. John Boley, died Saturday, January 31, 2015.
Visitation will take place Friday, February 6, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wagley Funeral Home, located at 1501 W. Maumee Street; Adrian, MI 49221 [517-263-1400]. Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 7, 2015 at Adrian: First UMC located at 1245 W. Maple Avenue; Adrian, MI 49221 [517-265-6973].
Adrian First: UMC and Chelsea Retirement Communities