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Pathways to Six Signs churches announced

Messenger VOL. 48, NO. 4
























“Formed together in community by the spirit” was the theme for the Annual Conference Session in June and is the spiritual theme as leaders work together to help equip local churches for ministry. The Nebraska Conference Funding Plan supports our connectional work. The narrative and line item versions of the Funding Plan are available on the Conference website,, along with other helpful resources. The webcast will be Sunday, Sept. 11, at 4 p.m. (3 p.m. MDT) and repeated on Monday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m. (6:30 MDT). The Rev. Dr. Carol Roettmer Brewer and Conference TreasurerDirector of Administrative Services Robin Kilgore will host the webcast. Bishop Ann B. ShererSimpson will provide the opening prayer.

The webcast will be archived on UMtube the day after the streaming. The webcast offers groups a time for corporate review of the 2012 Funding Plan. Questions can be sent to or by calling 800435-6107. You may submit questions now or wait for the live question and answer period in the last segment of the webcast. “Local churches in the Nebraska Annual Conference have been very generous when funding Conference Mission Shares in the past. We are working together to fund a variety of ministry programs, and I am grateful for each local church’s financial support,” Kilgore said. Kilgore pointed out the differences between the 2012 and 2011 funding plans are minimal, but in 2012, conference staff and district staff members will receive the first salary increase in three years. Health insurance rates and pension responsibilities will increase slightly as well. Other slight adjustments (both increases and decreases) have also been made as recommended by The Common Table, Conference Council on Finance and Administration, the three teams and the

Fall 2011

2012 FUNDING PLAN — $7,371,281 $0

By KATHRYN WITTE Director of communications


Check us out online:

Connectional giving empowers church Funding Plan review webcast scheduled for Sept. 11 and 12

US-2 Missionary at work in south Lincoln





The graph shows each of the five sections of the budget. Three of the sections are broken down further so that readers can see how some of the major expenditures relate to the rest of the section category. For example, Section V shows conference staff costs lifted from the ministry funds that support information technology, communications, the ecumenical Resource Center, Safe Sanctuaries, building maintenance and other operational funds. Section totals are provided at the top of each section heading throughout the brochure and include: Section I — $2,211,675 Section II — $1,359,651 Section III — $51,700 Section IV — $1,669,205 Section V — $2,079,050

See FUNDING, p. 3

Monk Bryan known for wit, wisdom Friends, family fondly remember former Neb. bishop’s pastoral care

By TRISHA JOHNSON Communications coordinator Bishop Alonzo “Monk” Bryan, known for his sense of humor and deep spirituality, passed away Aug. 20, in Dallas. He was 97. Bryan served as Nebraska Area bishop from 1976 to 1984. “Humorous, joyful, intelligent, these are just a few words that describe who Monk Bryan was,” said Nebraska Area Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson. “His commitment to Christ and to The United Methodist Church enabled him to lead the Nebraska Conference (Area) well. He continued serving

throughout his retirement, and great-great grandfather and we celebrate his life in into the ordained Methodist ministry.” ministry. He graduated Retired Bishop William from Weatherford College, Boyd Grove of Charleston, Baylor University and W. Va., described his Southern Methodist longtime friend as “a University’s Perkins School marvelous preacher, a of Theology, with additional good bishop and a good studies at Drew University MONK BRYAN man … with a strong sense and Iliff School of Theology. of humor and tremendous faith.” In 1939, Bryan was ordained Grove said that Bryan always had deacon as a member of the St. a quick wit, recalling an email that Louis Annual Conference (now the Bryan signed as “The only Monk you Missouri Annual Conference). He know who’s married.” served churches in the Central Texas Bryan was born in Blooming and Missouri conferences, including Grove, Texas, on July 25, 1914, the Missouri United Methodist Church son of Methodist minister Gideon in Columbia, Mo., which he led from and Era Monk Bryan. 1957 to 1976. Preaching was something of a Bryan had been a member of the family business. Bryan followed his World Methodist Council since 1951, father, grandfather, great-grandfather

See MONK BRYAN, p. 3



Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


From the Bishop

Taking the Next Steps in Faithful and Effective Ministry

hat a joy it has been to receive stories of transformed lives and vibrant vacation Bible schools. I have been inspired by how God is working in our churches, in our lives and in our children’s lives. We are growing in discipleship as God uses us as vehicles of love and grace. In every size church, all across the Conference, there are signs that the Spirit of God is stirring among us. Those of us in leadership roles in the Nebraska Conference want to be God’s agents,

Bishop Ann Brookshire Sherer-Simpson

assisting you as you seek to grow in faithfulness and effectiveness in your local congregation. Ten churches are part of the

(ISSN 0194-7761 USPS #376-540) Fall 2011 Vol. 48, No. 4 To inform, educate and inspire Nebraska United Methodists in all areas of mission and ministry in the church.

Kathryn Witte, editor Trisha Johnson, communications coordinator RoxAnn Delisi, circulation Editorial opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church. Columns and letters to the editor are the views of that writer and not necessarily of “The Nebraska Messenger” or the Nebraska Conference. Published four times a year (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall) by the Nebraska Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, 3333 Landmark Circle, Lincoln, NE 68504; phone 402-464-5994 or 800435-6107; fax 402-464-6203. Periodicals postage paid at Lincoln, Nebraska. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Nebraska Messenger, 3333 Landmark Circle, Lincoln, NE 68504.

Letters to the editor posted to UMconnect

“The Nebraska Messenger” welcomes letters from its readers. All letters should be limited to 200 words, signed and include the author’s name, address and church affiliation. Letters should address the mission and ministry of the church. Editing and publication of letters are at the discretion of the editor and will be posted on “UMconnect.” Letters are the opinion of the writer and not necessarily that of the Nebraska Conference or of the Nebraska Messenger.

Nebraska Messenger 3333 Landmark Circle Lincoln, NE 68504 e-mail: fax: (402) 464-6203 Circulation changes:

Pathways to the Six Signs process, a pilot project intended to help local churches increase their discipleship capacity. If you want to know more about Pathways, talk with your district superintendent. The Cabinet and Board of Ordained Ministry are working together on ways to understand clergy effectiveness so that we can have the most effective pastors to appoint to our Nebraska churches. The Board of Ordained Ministry leadership team wants to work in partnership (laity, clergy, churches, conference leadership) to offer good leaders for churches in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ whom God can use to transform the world. We will continue to gather statistics. Each pastor will receive an email from the Rev. Dr. Carol Roettmer Brewer by October 1, explaining how to enter weekly statistics for each local church. These statistics help us follow trends and enable churches to make course corrections. I am grateful for the weekly attendance information many of you already provide. The 2011 church conferences will focus on stories of how disciple making is happening in each local church. I hope you will continue to send those stories to me and to your superintendents. We will keep sharing them in “UMconnect,” on the website and in “The Messenger.” We are all encouraged and inspired

as we learn how God is working within and through you to change people’s lives and to make our communities and world more like what God calls us to be. God has important work for us to do — work to which God has called us, and we are going to help each other do. As I look at our mission field, as I read the daily newspaper, and as I see the brokenness of our changing world, I know God wants us to build communities of faith that make a life changing difference locally and globally. God promises to work through us in redemptive ways if we open ourselves to God’s word through prayer, Bible study and worship. We must learn about the needs of the communities where we live and the most effective ways to tell the Biblical story. Our collective ministry is to serve the world— to help make changes for the people with whom we now live, including our children and our newest neighbors so they will know Christ’s redeeming love and the radical ministry God has for us to do together. With hope, Ann

Ann B. Sherer-Simpson, Resident Bishop Nebraska United Methodist Church

ON FAITH AND POLITICS Editor’s note: Sen. Lowen Kruse served in the Nebraska Legislature from 2001-09 and is also a retired United Methodist minister. We have asked him to share ideas on how persons of faith can effectively discuss difficult issues and affect important community decisions. The persistent hatred directed toward various individuals/groups in the name of religion amazes me. Negative attacks are not surprising, as we often blame others for our problems. However, to blame God for our hurtful attitudes? In the current chaotic shouting of conflicting values, the “anti-other-religions” noise gets too much play. We have national candidates for high office with connections to dominionism. These folks commit to designing a government controlled by Christians — but only those Christians who reject Jews and Muslims. Ironically, they base it on a Jewish text: Genesis 1:26-28, which directs believers to have dominion over the earth. (NOT over one another!) That is the text a few religious leaders used to justify driving Indians from their land: Indians chose not to have dominion over the soil! Ruling the world is dangerous fantasy. Who will buy in? All three major faiths declare a God of love, a creator who longs for the welfare of all and who provides a vision of brotherhood/sisterhood that carries into the future. A recent lecturer in Omaha painstakingly reviewed the tenants of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. As a scholar he sought to clarify points of tension and responded to all questions. He concluded, with no one objecting, that there is no religious basis for public conflicts in matters of faith. The conflicts are personal and political, not religious. Within Christianity, Catholics and Protestants have often been consigned to hell, but not by God. Jews are divided into groups, but not by the order of God. Muslims are divided by Jihad with exotic promises of virgins’ rewards, but that is not found in the Koran. Zealots in all three find much to criticize in the others, but only by twisting certain verses and ignoring the rest. To pontificate on selected verses is the definition of fundamentalism, which is a perversion of faith. All three religions are based in God’s love. The heavy weight of instruction in all is on caring for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable. The Kingdom of God is a feast, not a jail. Correcting behavior is for healing, in community. We must acknowledge the horrible stain of the Crusades and Inquisitions in Christian history. Muslim Fundamentalists kill their own people, in direct contradiction of the Koran. The “Know Nothing” party in the 1800s claimed Catholics and new immigrants would bring the downfall of our nation. (Ironically, these former immigrants said privately that they had no source for their accusations. They avoided debate by claiming ignorance and the name stuck.) We will always have “believers” who condemn others and assign their attitudes to God. But we ought not to let them get away with it. The power of our faith is in our confidence in God’s love and forgiveness. We are to make witness to that. The joy of what we can accomplish with God is the message of who we are. We are children of a loving God.



By BARBARA RIXSTINE What if we could study Jesus through a glorious, multi-faceted prism? In “Jesus Through The Eyes of Peter,” Rev. Dr. Jeff Thurman uses Peter as that prism, and then furthers the reader’s study with some commonsense, introspective guidance about what Peter’s involvement in Christ’s life – and Christ’s involvement in Peter’s life – meant then and can mean to us now. Here’s what I mean: “Peter may have been a rough, tough, professional fisherman, but he also had a longing for the Kingdom of God. Peter saw the work of God all around him. After a night of fishing, when the sun rose, he would see the creation of a new day. … He would see the grain planted on the sides of the hills by the Sea of Galilee, waving in the wind.” “Jesus Through The Eyes of Peter” is divided

DEATHS Garnett L. Bond, 92, the spouse of a retired clergy member of the Nebraska United Methodist Conference, died July 13, 2011. She is survived by her husband the Rev. Nye Bond, 3500 Faulkner Drive, #E11, Lincoln, NE 68516; two daughters, Judy Beutler, Cynthia Lee MacNab; and son, Larry Bond. A memorial service was held August 1, at Christ United Methodist Church, 4530 A St., Lincoln. The Rev. Jim Miller officiated. Cremation. Memorials to Christ UMC, 4530 A St., Lincoln, NE 68510; or Nebraska Wesleyan University, 5000 St. Paul Ave., Lincoln, NE 68504. Everett S. Reynolds, 83, retired clergy member of the Nebraska United Methodist Conference, died July 7. He is survived by his wife Shirley, 4821 N. 56th St., Omaha, NE 68104; and three sons, Everett Spencer Reynolds Jr., Harold Reynolds and the Rev. Wayne Reynolds. The funeral service was held July 16 at noon, at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church, 5544 Ames Ave., Omaha, NE. The Rev. Wayne Reynolds officiated. Interment at West Lawn Cemetery, Omaha, Neb. Memorials to family.

into 11 parts, each beginning with one or more specific scriptures Thurman uses to illustrate a specific trait, quote or question about Christ. For example, Part 6 deals with forgiveness and works with Matthew 18, verses 15 to 35. Thurman uses this example to talk about how Peter and Jesus differed in resolving how many times we should forgive and how we might feel now about forgiving those who fool or take advantage of us. Thurman is a United Methodist pastor in Nebraska. He received his doctorate in ministry from Drew School of Theology in Madison, New Jersey in 1992.

UPCOMING EVENTS Pathways to the Six Signs (P26) is a process in which a local church partners with the district superintendent and conference center staff directors to help equip the church to expand its capacity for disciple-making. There are currently 10 churches in a pilot phase (see story on the conference website: The following events, while not organized or managed by the Pathways to the Six Signs process, do offer great resources for growing church capacity by introducing new pathways to spiritual formation and skills building.


Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Duke University, Dr. Randy Maddox, will host a two-day event at Ogallala First UMC. Two-day attendance will qualify for Advance Lay Speaker course credit. The workshop is intended for clergy and lay people who want to learn how our Wesleyan roots impact today’s ministry. He is author of the book, “Responsible Grace.” Register on the conference website under the registration tab. The registration fee is $50.


Omaha’s Rockbrook UMC will host a half-day immersion session on the theme of community-based ministries. A plenary will focus on community, followed by workshops designed to educate and empower participants with the tools to take back to their congregations to make a difference. The workshops run from 2-6 p.m. Go to for more information. Preregistration is required. Cost to attend is $10. Special rates are available for churches that bring five or more people.


Ed Kail is currently the Field Outreach Minister for the Southwest District of the Iowa Conference. He will present an evening of song and storytelling on Feb. 3, followed by a workshop — titled “Revitalizing Rural Congregations” — on Feb. 4, intended to help enhance spiritual growth in the local church. The event will be held in the Lifelong Learning Center at Northeast Community College. Cost is $75 per person, or $100 for a parish team of five ($15 per additional person over five). Register at after Sept. 15. For more information, contact the Elkhorn Valley District at or call 402-371-1313.

Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


MONK BRYAN, from p. 1 attending most World Methodist Conferences until recently. In 1976, the South Central Jurisdictional Conference elected him to the episcopacy and assigned him to the Nebraska Area. He retired in 1984. The Rev. Richard Turner remembers the bishop fondly. Under Bryan’s leadership, Turner served as district superintendent for what was then the South Central District in the Nebraska Annual (regional) Conference. Turner said every bishop comes with special gifts. Bryan’s gift was his focus on spiritual nurturing, or what United Methodists call pastoral care. Another strength Turner recalled was Bryan’s ability to bring cabinet members together for quiet centering and prayer time as each leadership meeting began. “I appreciated the careful way in which he tended to spiritual matters for his cabinet leaders,” Turner said. The Rev. C. Rex Bevins served as the director of connectional ministries during Bryan’s episcopacy. “He brought unity to the Nebraska Conference,” Bevins said. Bevins pointed out how Bryan wanted each pastor to value their families and was a model for prioritizing his own family. He was a “pastor’s pastor,” Bevins said. Bryan was devoted to Wesleyan theology. Bevins said that he always gave away a Wesley teapot to anyone who might be leaving the conference or to honor a person in a special way. The Rev. Robert Folkers, also a former district superintendent who served with Bryan said, “Bishop Bryan would be driving through a town where he knew a pastor might be having a family, health or other issue, and he would make a point of stopping to check on the well being of that pastor and family.” Bryan’s Texas roots remained important to him throughout his life.

“He had a saddle in his office,” Turner recalled. “He was sort of a cowboy at heart, but at the same time he loved classical music.” Grove added that his friend cherished the history of Methodism in Texas, a history many in his family had lived. “Oh yes, he was very proud of being a Texan,” Grove said. Bryan married Corneille Downer of Waco, Texas, in 1941, and they were blessed with three children. His family’s tradition of ordained ministry continued with his son, the Rev. Jim Bryan and grandson, the Rev. Andy Bryan. Corneille Bryan passed away in 1989. In 1992, he married Twila Stowe, widow of Bishop William McFerrin Stowe. They lived in both Dallas and Lake Junaluska, N.C., until moving to Presbyterian Village North, a retirement home in Dallas. Bryan is survived by his wife, Twila, of Dallas; daughter Lucy Barlow, and her husband, Sam, of Dallas; sons Robert Bryan, and his wife, Virginia, of Madison, Wis., and Jim Bryan and his wife, Caryl, of Columbia, Mo.; and his seven grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren. Extended family also includes Twila Bryan’s children, Bill and Mary Frances Stowe; Twila and Bob Gass; and Martha Stowe and Ken Benson. A memorial service was held on Aug. 24, at First United Methodist Church in Dallas. Donations can be made in Bryan’s name to the Corneille Bryan Native Garden at Lake Junaluska, N.C., or to your church or charity of your choice. Cards of condolence can be sent to Twila Bryan at Presbyterian Village North, 8600 Skyline Drive, #1223, Dallas, TX 75283. Heather Hahn, a multimedia reporter for United Methodist News Service, contributed to this story.

FUNDING, from p. 1 Cabinet. The total approved 2012 Funding Plan is $7,371,281, representing a 2 percent increase from the 2011 plan. “We continue to refine our missions to have the greatest impact in reaching people and sharing God’s message both in Nebraska and around the world,” Kilgore concluded. Nebraska United Methodists are encouraged to form viewing groups to learn more about the mission and ministry of the church, as well as how

Mission Share dollars are allocated for ministry. Contact your district office for information on planned viewing groups in your area, or watch it at home on your own computer. On the day of the streaming, go to www. It will also be archived on “UMtube.” Viewing groups are encouraged to gather early (10-15 minutes before) to get settled and have a time of centering prayer before the webcast begins.


Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


Prison Ministry Children’s Sabbath OCT. 9

Churches are encouraged to observe Children’s Sabbath on Oct. 9. The theme for this year is “Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: Answering God’s Call to Protect Children.” For worship resources go to the General Board of Church & Society’s website,

Released and Restored continues to provide crucial services to inmates in Nebraska state prisons. Almost all of Nebraska’s 4,400 inmates will be released at some point. Preparing these individuals to live moral, ethical and legal lives after they are released and re-enter our neighborhoods and communities just makes sense. Through Released and Restored, churches and individuals can be a part of this hugely important risktaking mission and justice ministry. Giving churches and individuals the opportunity to become involved is a big part of what we do. We will provide training to those that are interested in participating in prison and re-entry ministry. We are currently offering our Planning With Purpose program at the Nebraska State Penitentiary

in Lincoln and the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Tecumseh. At the Lancaster County Community Corrections Center, we offer our Jobs Readiness/Life Skills program for those inmates that are close to their release date. Prison ministry isn’t about being soft on crime. Prison ministry is about taking the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who often believe they fall outside the scope of God’s love, grace and mercy. Prison ministry is also about being fiscally responsible with Nebraska tax dollars. On average, it costs Nebraska taxpayers nearly $28,000 per year to incarcerate one person. Currently, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, seven of every 10 inmates released from prison will return. This constant recycling of individuals in and out of the prison system is a waste of human potential as well as of taxpayer

WEIGH IN ON PIPELINE PROPOSAL United Methodists are encouraged to weigh in on the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. The State Department will hold meetings in Lincoln and Atkinson in September. Attend a meeting if you are able to, or contact our Nebraska senators.

Read about one Nebraska woman’s perspective on the pipeline proposal at sitting-in-front-white-house.

To register your views call Sen. Ben Nelson at 202-224-6551 and Sen. Mike Johanns, at 202224-4224

LINCOLN MEETING Tuesday, Sept. 27 12-3:30 p.m.; 4-8 p.m. Pershing Center 226 Centennial Mall


Thursday, Sept. 29 4:30 –10 p.m. West Holt High School 100 N. Main St.

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. — I Corinthians 10:26


Ruth Karlsson (far right, at end of the table) leads a Released and Restored class at the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Karlsson is the executive director of the prison ministry, an Advance of the Nebraska Conference. funds. If we can lower the number of released inmates that return to prison by just 5 percent, Nebraska taxpayers will save just over $1 million. Come and join us in this exciting, rewarding and important work! You can participate in many different ways. Find out how at the “Prison Ministry: Is It For You?” event that will be held at Calvary UMC in Lincoln, Neb., on

Saturday, Sept. 24. Contact the church at 402-476-7353 for more information. We have been doing this since 2004. Ministering to the least of the least is the core of everything we do. For more information about Released and Restored, an Advance of the Nebraska Conference, call 402-806-0565, email or visit

Don’t just imagine a world with no malaria, be an advocate for it The United Methodist Imagine No Malaria Campaign is organizing a new advocacy network focused on preser ving U.S. government assistance for global health. In the current economic climate there is a real danger that funding to fight illnesses like malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis could suffer budget cuts. These cuts would have a profound effect on the lives and health of many of the world’s most desperately poor. The Imagine No Malaria Advocacy Campaign is asking the U.S. Congress to support funding at the same level as the 2011 budget. “These are difficult days for many people but the poorest of this world

ONLINE Visit for more information about how you can help in the fight against malaria. must not be forgotten. If we cut global health funding now, we risk backsliding on the tremendous gains we have made in fighting a number of world’s most life threatening illnesses. We must not let this happen” said the Rev. Gary Henderson, director of Imagine No Malaria.

Seeds of justice DUE OCT 3

Social Justice Seed Money is available for your church! Check it out at RTMJ. Omaha First UMC’s Box City (at left) is a great example of a local church putting this seed money to use. Apply by Oct. 3.





Editor’s note: Andrew Brackett is the Education and Event Coordinator for the Nebraska AIDS project office in Kearney, Neb., and has been involved with HIV/ AIDS efforts, helping individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and their families in central Nebraska. He is a member of the Nebraska UM Global AIDS Fund Task Force and has been actively involved in reducing the stigma and prejudices associated with HIV/AIDS across the state of Nebraska.

ike many people I encounter on a daily basis, I knew very little about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) when I started working for the Nebraska AIDS Project almost four years ago. I soon learned that AIDS is a relatively new disease and was first discovered in the U.S in 1981. AIDS is one of the leading causes of death among Americans under age 44, and to date there is still no known cure for the disease. In 2009, 33.3 million people around the world were living with HIV/AIDS, more than 60 million people had been infected with HIV since the pandemic began and Many well-meaning faith-based organizations AIDS has been and still continues to be the leading cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the fourth grapple with issues such as: leading cause of death globally. “How will taking on this issue be perceived among the congregation?” Despite the widespread impact of this disease, “Is this something that we should be many still know very little about HIV/AIDS or know doing since there are already service how it is transmitted, and many in the church still providers doing this work?” struggle to develop a thoughtful, biblical response to “Will we lose members because of our those affected by this disease. decision to become involved in HIV Much of the fear regarding AIDS centers around prevention?” a lack of understanding as to how the disease is “Where is the line in our involvement?” transmitted. AIDS is spread through the human It is important for all to recognize that faith immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is transmitted in three ways; sexual contact, contact with the blood based organizations are already involved in HIV prevention to the extent that they feed the hungry, infected by the virus, or through prenatal provide premarital counseling, clothe transmission. the needy and provide meaningful social As HIV incubates in a person’s body, connections. But the only answer that can a process which can take years, it can be offered to any of the questions here is severely compromise a patient’s diseaseyet another question: “What would Jesus fighting immune system. The resulting do?” condition is called AIDS, which leaves the Get Involved. Each year, the Nebraska patient vulnerable to a host of diseases and UM Global AIDS Fund Task Force opportunistic infections that otherwise ( challenges would not be fatal. all of its church congregations/members Casual contact such as breathing the BRACKETT to participate in taking an offering for the air around an infected person, or even United Methodist Global AIDS Fund touching or kissing has not led to transmission. As a result, those who do not carry HIV can, with little (see box below). Currently the fund supports 175 concern about infection, welcome those infected with projects in 37 countries and 25 percent of the Global HIV to join in all normal social interactions at the AIDS Fund offering is able to be used for local AIDS projects. Many individuals right here in the state of workplace, in their homes and in church. Jesus is calling His church to reach out with Nebraska affected by HIV/AIDS have been direct compassion to those devastated by AIDS. Just as Jesus recipients of this fund, and as a member of the United touched the afflicted of His day, the church’s response Methodist HIV/AIDS Task Force, I encourage you should be guided by compassion. If the church believes and your congregation to take a stance. As AIDS that sinful behavior is connected with how some may continues its alarming growth rate, it is clear that this contract the disease, the church cannot, by Christ’s disease will impact every family and every church own example, judge the inflicted or ignore the need, community. Christians must be diligent to overcome but rather it should extend the same forgiveness and unwarranted fears regarding the disease and support those suffering from its effects. compassion that Jesus offers to all.

Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


Camp Fontanelle

2011 ANNUAL BBQ September 18, 2011

Worship Services at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm Lunch Served at 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm Entertainment and Activities from 12:30 pm to 7:00 pm Silent Auction Ends & Live Auction Begins at 2:30 pm Live Performances all afternoon

THE GLOBAL AIDS FIGHT On Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, every United Methodist Church in Nebraska is encouraged to take a special offering for the UM Global AIDS Fund; 25 percent of offerings total stay in Nebraska and go towards local AIDS projects. In 2010, approximately $2,000 was raised Conference-wide. If you would like to give now, checks should be made out to “Conference Treasurer,” with Advance 578 indicated on the memo line, and mailed to the Nebraska UM Conference Center, 3333 Landmark Circle, Lincoln, NE 68504.

There are many resources for local churches on the UM Global AIDS Fund website, including a “toolkit” with sermons starters, statistics, videos, handouts and more. Visit AIDS ambassadors are still needed in our local UM churches. The ambassador’s job is to promote the World AIDS Day special offering and to send prayers to those affected by AIDS. If you are interested or would like more information, email Andrew Brackett at

*NEW* Jumping Pillow (for all ages), GaGa Ball Tournament, Corn Maze (fee), Pony Rides (fee), Laser Tag (fee), Tree Climbing (on rope), Pumpkin Patch Pumpkin & Face Painting, Labyrinth, Innatables For Kids, Archery Scavenger Hunts, Hiking On Trails




Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger



HiDef Large churches aren’t the only ones utilizing new, emerging technologies By TRISHA JOHNSON Communications coordinator


echnology in worship is an oft-used phrase in the 21st century. Many associate its use with large or mediumsized churches, especially those with larger budgets. But that’s just not the case. More and more, small and rural churches are buying projectors, mounting screens on their walls and incorporating videos into their worship services. The Dakota City United Methodist Church in Dakota City, Neb., is a prime example. This past spring the Elkhorn Valley District church with a membership of just over 100 and an average weekly attendance of 60, installed three 55-inch LCD (liquid crystal display, i.e., flat panel) screens, one on each side of the altar, and one at the back of the sanctuary for the pastor and praise team. Introducing this sort of technology was something the congregation — under the guidance of the communications committee — had been considering for some time, but put off doing so for various reasons, including cost. The chair of the committee, Melvin Shadbolt, said that waiting proved to be a fortuitous choice. “We almost made the mistake of getting rearscreen projection a few years ago,” Shadbolt said. “But we dragged our heels and we’re glad we did, because we instead got the new LCD screens which they are now available in larger sizes, at affordable prices.” What really made it fortuitous was that, had they gone with the rear projection system, the screen would have been washed out by the ambient light streaming in through the church’s large stained glass windows. Something Shadbolt, president of ATV Research, Inc., a video wholesale and consulting business, had been concerned about. “Projectors are the norm in most churches, but I urge those considering introducing some sort of technology to look at the LCD screens as well,” he said. “Generally speaking, the LCD monitors are ideal for older churches with uncontrollable light from windows, and they are much more affordable than they used to be.” Another way to keep the cost down is to find people in your congregation with the know-how to install the equipment. This is something to which the Rev. Zach Anderson can attest. Anderson is currently the associate pastor at

Papillion St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, but served the Raymond and Pleasant Dale United Methodist Churches until July of this year. Both are small, rural congregations in the Blue River District; both use projectors and screens. “Both churches cut costs by running wiring and doing most of the other labor themselves,” Anderson said. “They were able to keep the video and audio systems they purchased to minimal costs to allow for the project to be possible. It really was a group effort with some advising by those with technology knowledge.” The matter of mounting screens on sacred space is not to be overlooked. “Our church building is 150 years old, one thing we were very aware of was keeping the integrity of the building and sanctuary in making the decision where to place the screens,” said the Rev. Joan Frenzel, pastor of Dakota City and Homer United Methodist Churches. “The most important thing is you don’t ever want to cover up the cross.”

THE EQUIPMENT IS INSTALLED, NOW WHAT? Once the equipment is installed, it obviously doesn’t run itself. You’ll need someone to operate it each Sunday, as well as someone to create the PowerPoints that will be projected. “Search out the people in your congregation with computer skills, as well as someone who knows or is willing to learn PowerPoint,” Shadbolt suggested. He pointed out that this is also a great way to get somebody involved in a ministry, perhaps even a young person who would otherwise just “sit on the sidelines” each Sunday. When creating PowerPoints, it is important to pay attention to the fonts and graphics you use. You want to use fonts that are easy to read; size and color are also important. Another essential element is graphics. “The PowerPoint offers a visual to go along with your worship service and gives you the opportunity to make your service dynamic, vibrant and exciting, and graphics are the key,” Shadbolt advised. He offered up resources including, various websites for free clip art and downloading video clips from YouTube. The ‘little’ things can make a huge difference.

NOT FOR EVERYBODY Introducing technology in your Sunday worship

Melvin Shadbolt, chair of Dakota City UMC’s communications committee, says smaller c LCD screens as opposed to the larger — and more expensive — projector systems. service can be a divisive issue. There are those who may resist letting go of the feel of the hymnal in their hands. On the opposite end of that spectrum, there are those who are eager to view everything up on the screen and feel that it will enhance their worship experience. Then there are those who feel that it will detract from their ability to connect with God on the Sabbath. How do you make both of these groups happy? “We assured people we were not asking them to give up the hymnal,” Shadbolt said. “We still provide hymnals and include the hymn number on the screen, so they have a choice.” He said that, initially about half of the congregation appeared to be looking at the screens; within a couple of months, more and more people are looking at them and not at the hymnals. Sometimes it is the members who take the lead in introducing technology into their church. According to Anderson, the Pleasant Dale UMC began putting the lyrics up to all songs without prompting by the pastors. Both they and the Raymond UMC were very member-led initiatives to get the projection systems going. “Some resisted this system because they just didn’t see the need,” he said.” But, they didn’t do anything to

stop it other than vocalize opposition when given the opportunity in committee, and after a while it sort of became a non-issue.” And then there are the theological considerations. In an informal poll taken on the Nebraska United Methodist Conference Facebook page (facebook. com/umcneb), 17 of 23 respondents said that they feel that technology in worship “adds to/enhances the worship experience,” four people said they are “not a fan” of it, and two said that they can “take it or leave it.” One respondent commented, “Worship is not about what we receive but about praising and honoring God. If technology can be used to praise and honor God and not just entertain us then I am all for it.” Perhaps the best solution is to not make the technology the focal point, but to use it to enhance the message. In an article on The United Methodist Church’s website ( titled “Congregations Liven Sunday Worship with New Media,” media consultants Len Wilson and Jason Moore wrote, “Some argue that new media somehow hinders the ability to form community in worship. The exact opposite is true. The screen allows us to join together in experiences that may not be possible through any other form. For example, using the personal story of someone in the


Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger

Camp Fontanelle



congregations should look into using smaller congregation as a testimony video can help us connect with them and with others around us.”

BENEFITS There are definitely benefits to be had from introducing technology to your worship service. “I think the misconception of most churches is that technology is for the younger people in the congregation,” Anderson said. “But the benefits are much greater for all people when it comes to lyrics to hymns and liturgy. I noticed an increased participation in singing when the words were on the screen versus looking at a hymnal.” It’s also helpful for times when you are lacking live musicians. “The organist at Raymond became ill for an extended period of time and a replacement wasn’t always available,” Anderson recalled. “There are many ways to bring music into the service using YouTube, midi files, and other musical recordings. We were able to continue with our normal schedule of worship. I think this will be an expanded benefit to smaller churches as time goes on.” Frenzel said the YouTube clips she often uses for children’s sermons have become quite popular. She incorporates videos from both the Conference and the

If your church is considering or is in the process of implementing a projection system or LCD screens, Melvin Shadbolt is available to answer questions you might have. Reach him at ATV Research, Inc., 800-392-3922 or 402-987-3771. The Bell Creek Cluster of the Elkhorn Valley District held a technology in worship workshop this past March, and will hold one on Facebook and websites for churches on Oct. 29. For information on holding a similar workshop at your church or in your district, contact the Rev. Nora Mendyk at the West Point Trinity UMC-UCC, at 402-3722271. Graphics: iStockphoto, istock. com; Midnight Oil Productions, Video clips:, UMtube (go to and click on UMtube on the right side) Digital UM hymnal package — Cokesbury, The three main music licensing companies: CCLI , ccli. com; LicenSing ,,, Video licensing: CVLI,

general church into the worship service on a regular basis. (Note: Be sure to attain the proper licensing to show film clips. See box above for resources.) “Seeing those videos really helps bring the United Methodist connection to life for a lot of these folks,” she said. The transition to the LCD screens also helped the Dakota City UMC save some money, as they purchased the new digital UM hymnal package, and thus didn’t have to buy the newest hymnals.


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Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


Following God’s call

Melody Adams takes her service, leadership from pew to pulpit

New associate lay leader puts faith in God’s plan

By TRISHA JOHNSON Communications coordinator Melody Adams has offered her ministry to the Nebraska United Methodist Conference in numerous ways over the years, including serving as a lay delegate to the last three General Conference sessions and serving as associate lay leader for the past three years. Now, she is offering her ministry by serving as a minister. Adams resigned from her position as associate lay leader to serve as a full time local pastor; she started her appointment to the Shelton United Methodist Church on July 1. Melody Adams (left) receives a plaque of “It was an honor and a privilege to have served appreciation from Bishop Ann B. Shereras associate lay leader,” Adams said, “I feel like God Simpson, for her service as the associate is using all of those past experiences to prepare me lay leader, at the 2011 Annual Conference Session courtesies and awards banquet. for where I am heading.” Her desire to enter the ministry came about from a few funerals she assisted with at her home and one in Omaha, and Adams said it nice to be a church, Cambridge United Methodist. In helping little closer to them. The people of the Shelton UMC have been with those funerals and interacting with the families, it made her realize she wanted to be able nothing less than welcoming to the first female to help them on more of a personal, one-on-one pastor to ever serve their church. “The members level. are eager to grow the “I felt like God was telling me I’ve I felt like God was telling me I’ve church and are very ‘marinated’ long ‘marinated’ long enough, that it was ministry-minded, which makes me enough, that it was time to move on to a new ministry, excited,” she said. time to move on and to follow my call, and that is to “One of my goals to a new ministry, and to follow my make disciples of Jesus Christ for the is definitely to help grow the church and call, and that is to transformation of the world. to get people who make disciples of — MELODY ADAMS, Shelton UMC have been absent Jesus Christ for the back in the pews.” transformation of To the new associate lay leader, she offered the world,” she said. She gave up her job working in the marketing up the advice to support Conference Lay Leader department of a bank with four branches in Tom Watson in any way that she can, including southwest Nebraska and attended course of study spiritually. Duties include helping with planning the laity luncheon at the Annual Conference Session in Salina, Kan., this past June. While it is not an ideal situation to be serving and assisting the lay leader with his duties. Adams is enjoying the tasks that come along a church in Shelton (located in central Nebraska) while her husband Mike, a grading contractor, with being a local pastor; she has a baptism and remains back in their hometown of Arapahoe (in funeral coming up, and a wedding in the fall. While the southwest part of the state), they are making she is a little nervous, she does not let that deter her. “I know the Lord will provide what I need,” the best of it and he fully supports her decision. They have two grown daughters, one in Lincoln she said.

APPOINTMENT CHANGES Interim changes of appointments: Rev. Michael Burgess from BlueHill/Bladen UMCs to Elmwood St. Paul UMC.

Ray Charles Underwood will provide pulpit supply to Exeter/ McCool Junction.

position for me. He did. I became the learning center director at the Open Door Mission and worked with adults to help them improve their academic skills. I continued to pray, each day better understanding that God has a plan, even though I might Hi! My name is Micole Harms. not always understand it. Not even I was born and raised in Omaha, two weeks ago, I was finally offered and even though I have lived a long-term subbing position with in Mexico, Spain, and Omaha Public Schools, in Chicago, Nebraska is my the third grade. home. I was baptized in the During all of this, I had to United Methodist Church, learn to depend on God. and have attended a UM Sometimes it was hard. church most of my life. Sometimes I was mad at I currently attend FaithGod for not giving me what Westwood, in Omaha. I wanted. This is why I need Growing up, going to church. My pastor once told church was just part of the the story of an atheist and Sunday routine. In high HARMS a Christian discussing the school, I became involved importance of church. The atheist in two local youth groups and asked why the Christian attended eventually became active on the if he couldn’t remember every district, conference and jurisdictional sermon. The Christian asked the levels. Although I continued to atheist, “Do you remember every attend church in college, I didn’t meal your wife has ever made?” really feel connected. After Even though we may not remember graduation, and attending an every sermon, it nourishes us and awesome church in Chicago, I sustains until the next. came back to Omaha and started When I was asked to be the looking for a new church family. I knew I wanted to be involved and associate lay leader, my initial not just attend. I tried a few different thought was “YES!” even though I churches, but Faith-Westwood just waited a couple weeks to give my felt right. I became involved in a answer. My only hesitation was using young adult group, participated in my limited vacation time to attend outreach events, and started getting the Annual Conference Session. It to know people. Even though Faithwas my dad (a non-believer) who Westwood is a really big church, it is talked me into it. He knew how welcoming like a small church but important my church involvement still has opportunities to get involved. was in high school, and he wanted It wasn’t until about five me to take this opportunity to be years ago that I started to really involved again. appreciate God’s power in my life. Last weekend, I attended my I am the girl who had (and has) a first Laity Link meeting. I’ll be honest, plan. But God’s plan was different most of the time I was just trying to than mine. I wanted to teach keep up with what we were talking elementary school; instead I was about; I had never attended this offered a position teaching junior group’s meeting before. I have high. I taught for three long years, a lot to learn, but I am excited then resigned, trusting God to find to once again be involved on me a new teaching position. My the conference level. My past friends asked me regularly, “Why experience, even though it was as aren’t you freaking out?!” I knew a youth, will serve me well. Already I freaking out wouldn’t help. I had to have brought some new ideas and let go and let God. After six months insights to the group. I am looking of being unemployed and having forward to meeting people and depleted my savings, God brought helping the local church members me to the Open Door Mission, a understand what it is that happens Christian homeless shelter. I was at the different levels of the church the bilingual receptionist for seven and helping them get more months and continued to pray that God would find a teaching involved.


Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


Welcome to our family


Nebraska Conference United Methodist Women

ANNUAL MEETING October 14-15, 2011

By Louise Niemann UMW president I re-read the email today. Once again, it brought a smile to my face and made my heart burst with pride. “The Missouri River District is pleased to have two new units beginning this summer.” The message from District President Diane Jensen announced the organization of a District Unit and a unit at Living Hope United Methodist Church. The short letter noted both groups would be comprised of six to10 members. The number had me reflecting on the 142 years of our history. In 1869, a handful of women met in Boston and began the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, the predecessor to United Methodist Women. They quickly sent a female doctor and female teacher to India to meet the needs of women and children, the beginning of a worldwide movement of women in mission. Joining a family of 800,000 members, it reads like a birth announcement,

WHERE: York First United Methodist Church and Epworth Village in York, Nebraska KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Harriet Jan Olson, Deputy Secretary of the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries.

Judith Pierre-Okerson, Women’s Division director, Florida, led the study of Haiti: Challenges and Hope at the Nebraska Conference Cooperative School of Christian Mission. Pierre-Okerson has lived in Haiti and brought a unique, personal perspective to this study. celebrating the arrival of twins! “We are delighted to welcome these two units to the Missouri River District.” Two new groups of women setting out to change the world, turning faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth around the world. These new arrivals show so much promise and have so much to offer. Oh, and by the way our family isn’t finished growing yet. We’re “expecting” to have several more “announcements” in our future.

2012 NEB. CONFERENCE UMW OFFICERS Vice President: Rena Conner (GY) two-year term Treasurer: Nancy Purintun (GY) two-year term Education and Interpretation: Mary Ellen Kilmer (GW) twoyear term

Special activities will be taking place at Epworth Village on Sat., Oct. 15, 2011 as the United Methodist Women become Volunteers In Mission. Members will be helping with grounds work and school cleaning, organizing a Christmas Store, clipping and counting labels, painting pumpkins and making hymnal crosses and angels. Don’t miss the registration deadline of Sept. 23. Forms for registration, Scavenger Hunt and “Walking in the Light for Mission” T-shirts are available online at or in District Newsletters.

Social Action – Judy Dangler (PR) two-year term

Paid for by Neb. UMW

Chair, Committee on Nominations – Doris Whitacre (GY) two-year term

Contact: Rogene Silletto trsilletto@ 8000 Lowell Ave. Lincoln, NE 68506

CON Class of 2015 – Esther Hay (at large) CON Class of 2015 – Barbara Skeen (PR)

How’s your prayer life? By Doug Kallesen, UMMen communicator

put the dates on your calendar and plan to come.

Recently our local church leaders read “Becoming a Praying Congregation” by Rueben P. Job. This is one of the resources being used to help our church members deepen their prayer lives. Considering who we are praying to, that makes praying a priority. Also, Jesus prayed — and frequently! UMMen help to keep the Upper Room Living Prayer Center operating. You can call 1-800-2512468 (7 a.m.-11 p.m.) any day, and someone will pray with you. Contact Gary Spivey, our conference prayer advocate (402-740-1514) to find out about hosting this prayer line in your church. More information is available at prayer_ministries.


Upcoming Opportunities WINTER RALLY, CAMP COMECA, FEB 17-19, 2012.

Program and registration details will be posted on the UMMen webpage when available, but please

counselors at the three camps and a scholarship for a college student headed for seminary. WEBSITE UPDATES

Potato Gleaning for food pantries will happen near O’Neill September 24 and October 1. Call Dave Mendyk for more information, at 402-3722149. GET CONNECTED

The time is coming up for renewing your annual unit charter and individual membership through EMS (Every Member Shares through Evangelism, Mission, and Spiritual Life) or the Legacy program. Get the necessary information online at

Recent Activities FONTANELLE RALLY

The rally at Camp Fontanelle on Aug. 19-21 was attended by 23 men. The multitude of inspirational and fun activities included: ministry training, scouting and 100 Club updates, Bible study, testimonies, Upper Room Prayer Line remote answering, prayer hike, grass seeding, and mailing prep. Other highlights include Dale

Most of the attendees of the rally at Camp Fontanelle, Aug. 19-21.

Clymens relating his dramatic climb of Mt. Whitney, Missouri River District Superintendent Dan Flanagan’s worship service, and Willy Lucht receiving the Nebraska Lifetime EMS award for his untiring service in scouting and UMMen. Also, who can forget the cracker barrel fellowship, the steaks, and the excellent food all weekend long. MISSION FUND DISTRIBUTION

Those present at the August 20 business meeting at Camp Fontanelle approved the distribution of the $8,464 raised

by the Cowboy Bike Ride/Walk benefiting the Nigeria/Nebraska Partnership, hunger relief in the U.S. and in South Africa, Heifer International, the three UM camps, Hispanic Ministries within the UM Church, Upper Room Prayer Line, Epworth Village, prison ministry, Haiti, homeless ministry, VIM tool trailer, and devotional books for the military. In addition, donated UMMenBarnabas funds totaling $4,435 were used to provide appreciation gifts to all 29 summer youth camp

If you haven’t viewed the new and updated conference website, please check it out. Go to the men’s page at ummen for the latest information. The General Commission has also updated their website. Check it out at Especially note at media/videos.html the interviews (7:12 version) of UMMen leaders attending the annual meeting at Nashville that Gary Spivey’s thoughts show up at 3:15 mark and Craig Nordaker’s at 4:05.

Paid for by UMMen

Contact: Doug Kallesen 402-563-1570 3917 Adamy St. Columbus, NE 68601


Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


Dream team reports due September 19 By KATHRYN WITTE Communications director Much work lies ahead over the next few months in preparation for 2012 annual conference sessions in Kansas East, Kansas West and in Nebraska. The 2012 sessions will include a binding vote on becoming one new annual conference. “All three conferences have indicated they want to continue to explore how Kansas East, West and the Nebraska conferences can come together as one new conference,” said Nebraska Area Bishop Ann B. ShererSimpson. “At the same time all three conferences have members with many questions,” Sherer-Simpson continued. The questions aggregated from all three annual conference sessions are being addressed through newly established dream teams, previously assigned technical teams and the Transition Team (questions are posted on the conference website at www.

Techno Dream Team, Small/Rural Church Dream Team, Young Adult and Clergy Dream Team, Youth Dream Team and the Racial/Ethnic Dream Team. Some groups have already been meeting within their current team structure, i.e., the Sexual Ethics Teams of each conference. The two technical teams made reports at each annual conference session and they continue to do their work. The Joint Distributing Team is studying compensation, health insurance and pension practices of each conference. The Asset Allocation Team is compiling a comprehensive inventory of properties, holdings and institutional relationships as well as the apportionments formulas and budgets of the three conferences. A group of six from the Transition Team will be evaluating some of the issues not assigned specifically to teams. The group is comprised of two from each conference. Apportionments and staff issues need recommendations by Jan. 15, 2012, due to budgetary implications.\NEBKAN. Dream teams are groups that will explore how ministry could be achieved as one new conference. The goal of these teams is to help create new ways of doing ministry in a new conference. One goal is to keep the purpose at the forefront as a new structure and staff is considered. To date, the following dream teams have been established, and more will be created as the need is determined:

The five issues are: Episcopal office, location and cost Name of the area Apportionments Plan for conference buildings Staff — how do we implement the vision?

Those selected for the group include: West: Gary Brooks and Bob Cox; East: Jan Todd and David Livingston; Nebraska: Brian Kottas and Tom Watson Both bishops will resource the group. Gary Brooks was named the convener. “I hope some recommendations come forward in regard to these five issues,” said Tom Watson, chair of the Transition Team. He went on to say that some of the five issues will need to be addressed in light of becoming one episcopal area beginning in September 2012. For example, the apportionment issue is a conference one and only

needs to be addressed if we become one conference. The bishop’s office is an episcopal issue that will need to be resolved by the time it takes effect. “I don’t anticipate any recommendations regarding districts coming forth in the immediate future,” said Watson. Nancy Brown, Oliver Greene and Sheran Cramer, with input from the Transition Team, developed guidelines for teams to use as they meet and discern complicated issues. Those guidelines can be found at www.\NEBKAN. According to the June 13 minutes, Dream Team reports are due to the Rev. Dr. Carol Roettmer Brewer by Sept. 19, in preparation for the next Transition Team Meeting on Oct. 3-4, in Wichita. Technical Team reports will also be heard at the October meeting. Questions, comments and suggestions should be forwarded to Roettmer Brewer at or Tom Watson at

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Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger


CCPI offers help, hope Pension project helps retirees outside of U.S.

ONLINE Visit www.ccpi-umc. org to read first-hand accounts of how the Central Conference Pension Initiative has helped people in need, like Beatrice Kaykay, a surviving spouse and pension recipient in Liberia.

By TRISHA JOHNSON Communications coordinator We all know the importance of having a pension plan, and the peace and assurance that comes with knowing that, when the time comes to retire, you will have funds to keep you and your immediate family clothed, sheltered and fed. The clergy of our conference are afforded this comfort, but there are thousands of retired United Methodist pastors across the ocean who are not. That’s where the Central Conference Pension Initiative (CCPI) comes into play. (The Central Conferences are those that are outside of the United States.) According to the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB), under whose auspices the program operates, the goal of the CCPI is to “provide sustainable pension payments to clergy and their spouses in 62 annual conferences in Africa, Asia and Europe. Nine annual conferences in Africa are covered under the initiative, which serves 429 retired pastors and 547 surviving spouses.” The program was born out of a mandate from General Conference 2000 to launch a pension support plan for the central conferences. The current goal is to raise $25 million dollars; the GBPHB reports that $22.5 million in pledges have been received to date. At least $500,000 in new contributions were received during this annual conference season,

“Praise God for all of you,” she said. “Because you don’t know us, but you see us.” KAYKAY

including $3,432 from the Nebraska Annual Conference Session in June. The Nebraska Conference has proven to be a faithful supporter of the initiative. Nebraska churches and individuals have pledged or contributed more than $321,000 to date. Among the top contributors are the Kearney First and Milford United Methodist Churches. When the Rev. Gary Main was appointed senior pastor at Kearney First UMC in 2008 he found that the congregation’s commitment to the CCPI ran deep. His predecessor, the Rev. Marvin Koelling, had introduced the program two years before, asking the church to accept a goal of raising $5,000 a year over 10 years. The administrative council felt so strongly about the program that they upped the goal to $10,000 a year over five years. “I was proud to inherit the commitment to this goal, but it was also a bit daunting,” Main said. “I honestly haven’t had to do much to keep it going, the people just have a passion for it.”

BUILDING, from p. 12 and being scraping. On Saturday, July 23, 41 volunteers arrived on the scene to finish scraping and begin painting. Seventeen other individuals kept the workers fed and hydrated and supplied them with paint brushes and scrapers. The group started at 8 a.m. that Saturday and finished the job at 4 in the afternoon. “We look forward to our next project, when we can leave the building and spread God’s love,” said Alisa Parde, assistant to pastoral ministry.

One of those people is Tom Watson, longtime member of Kearney First UMC, as well as the Nebraska Conference lay leader. “The pastors in the Central Conferences, and in particular in Africa, have been very effective evangelists,” Watson said in an email interview. “Over the years, they have exhibited great commitment to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ and most of them have lived hard lives. I was convicted by stories of the great difficulty many of these retired pastors and their families have to just survive, and I believe the Church has some obligation to help these faithful men and women meet at least a basic standard of living.” He observed that, if our pastors in the U.S. faced the same future, there would be a huge outcry. That is much of the same reason the Rev. Michael Curd was drawn to the program. Curd was appointed pastor of the Milford UMC in 2007, the same year the CCPI began its big fundraising campaign. Nebraska Area Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson called together a group of pastors, Curd among them, to meet with a representative from the fundraising agency with whom the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits had contracted. “What struck me was that the Bishop verbalized exactly what I was feeling, and that is that this is a justice issue,” Curd said. With the assistance of the GBPHB’s fundraising consultant, he held a reception at his parsonage and invited some families from the Milford UMC whom he thought would be likely to help. Several families did pledge that day, as well as some individuals who had the means to make substantial donations.

We have received many wonderful stories about vacation bible school and faith in action in response to Bishop Ann B. Sherer-Simpson’s call for stories on how your church is touching the lives of others. Go to umcneb. org/vbsstories or faithinactionstories to read more of them.

“I was so appreciative of those pledges, but what was really key was the group of members who are on fixed incomes who pledged,” Curd said. Pledges totaled $35,000 in those first few months. While that is an impressive amount for a congregation with just over 340 members, Curd was not surprised. “These are just extremely gracious people,” he said. “They are good to the bone. What spoke to them was the same thing that spoke to me.” According to the CCPI’s website (, while much has been accomplished over the past decade, there is still a significant amount of work yet to be done. There are 71 annual and provisional annual conferences in 42 countries outside

the United States. The process of implementing a pension program in these countries is often long and made difficult by the complexities of local laws, cultures, history and traditions in these diverse areas. Pension pilot projects recently began in Cote d’Ivoire, the two annual conferences that make up Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone. The hope is to continue to expanding to more and more conferences. If you would like to make a donation to the CCPI, you can do so online at, or through your local church. Checks should be made payable to Conference Treasurer, with No. 764 written on the memo line. Checks can also be mailed directly to the Nebraska UM Conference Center, 3333 Landmark Circle, Lincoln, NE 68504.

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Fall 2011 Nebraska Messenger




Bartley’s Kemper Memorial UMC held a special celebration on July 24, 2011, to mark the church’s 125th birthday. Bricks from the former Mallalieu College were used to build the church in 1899. Sunday, July 24, 2011, marked the celebration of 125 years for the Kemper Memorial United Methodist Church in Bartley, Neb., with more than 100 people in attendance. The service was led by Bartley’s pastor, the Rev. Sherry J. Sklenar. Gateway District Superintendent, the Rev. Alan Davis brought greetings and offered congratulations to the congregation. A DVD message from Nebraska Area Bishop Ann Brookshire Sherer-Simpson was presented. Former Bartley pastor the Rev. Art Phillips was the guest speaker and delivered the message “Looking, Thinking, Praying.” Special music was shared by Arlene Newcomb and in addition the 125th anniversary theme song, with words by Alberta Wolf, was sung. The celebration continued with a catered meal and program at the American Legion Hall. Special guests were recognized and presented with a commemorative crystal ornament created for the celebration. Those recognized were Davis, Phillips, Sklenar, Jan Peck, the late former Pastor Tom Peck’s wife, the Rev. Irene Coates and lay leader George Probasco. Letter greetings were read and members were honored with pins and certificates for 25, 50, 60 and 75 years of church membership. Special music was presented by Larry Foster and Dale Wolf. Following the program, a reception was hosted by the Bartley United Methodist Women who served cake and ice cream. The town of Bartley was established by Rev. Allen K. Bartley, who dreamed of Bartley’s former pastor the Bartley becoming a university town. He Rev. Art Phillips was the was greatly instrumental in the founding of guest speaker at Kemper’s Mallalieu University, which opened in the 125th celebration. fall of 1886, graduating one class in 1888. The life of the university was short; people did not flock to Bartley and students didn’t come for the university either. In 1889 the Nebraska Conference decided to support Nebraska Wesleyan at Lincoln, instead of Mallalieu University. Excavation for the new church building began in September of 1899. The brick from the abandoned Mallalieu College building was salvaged and used to build the church. The cornerstone was laid on November 18, 1899.


Fun in the sun and sand

The Tryon UMC was transformed into a place to have a lot of fun! We had an awesome day at our Life in the “Son” Beach Bash VBS. We had 27 children and 11 helpers join us as we learned about Jesus calling us to tell others about him, trusting Him to be with us even in the midst of the storms of life and the fact that with Jesus by our side we can float instead of sink. We played games, sang music and had yummy snacks. We also had a great time making the crafts that coincided with our Bible lessons and putting together a cleaning bucket, health kit, and school kit for our mission project. Pastor Shannon Williams said, “We were blessed to work with people from churches in the area and in the community who felt the same passion we did for bringing the stories of Jesus alive. Because of our cooperative effort we were able to reach children in Tryon and the surrounding area with the message that Jesus loves them and they can place their trust and hope in Him.”


The church left the building

On July 23, McCook Memorial United Methodist Church had a mission day for a family in need, and the church left the building. The family in need was Wayne and Barbara Dybdahl. Both Wayne and Barbara are physically disabled; Wayne with Parkinson’s disease and Barbara suffers from COPD, is on oxygen and uses a scooter to get around. Their insurance company told them that if they did not repaint their house, they would lose coverage, and they did indeed receive a letter saying they were about to be dropped. That’s when the McCook Memorial UMC stepped in to help. A crew of five showed up on July 20, to power wash

See BUILDING, p. 11

Fall 2011_  

$0 $800,000 $2,000,000 $1,600,000 $1,200,000 $1,075,000 $1,004,050 $546,906 $527,800 MONK BRYAN Section I — $2,211,675 Section II — $1,359,6...

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