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Institutions and Agencies Reports
Saint Paul School of Theology by Dr. Myron F. McCoy, President
Saint Paul School of Theology is a seminary of the United Methodist Church that educates leaders to make disciples for Jesus Christ, renew the Church, and transform the world. We are one institution with two campuses, a free-standing seminary campus in Kansas City and a university partnership seminary on the campus of Oklahoma City University. During the 2011-2012 academic year, 184 students from 14 annual conferences and 7 countries were enrolled in degree programs at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. Thirty-six students were enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at Saint Paul at Oklahoma City University. The Course of Study School at Saint Paul served 297 students at the Kansas City, Missouri, Springfield, Missouri, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma locations. The Resurrection Scholars program was founded on a partnership between Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City and the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. A class was taught by Saint Paul faculty and COR pastors with special presentations from church staff on topics such as church leadership, stewardship, evangelism, governance, pastoral care, and discipleship. In addition, a small group of students were chosen as scholars who completed a 10 hour minimum weekly internship at COR, working in multiple areas of congregational life. The students were also assigned a pastoral mentor, had classes with Pastor Adam Hamilton, and met as a group to process the experience each week. Saint Paul at OCU held its third LEAD seminar on the Oklahoma City University campus. The seminar focused on a variety of leadership topics including time management, spiritual formation, continuing education, and self-care and balance. The LEAD seminars are a collaborative educational project of the Oklahoma Area of the United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City University, and Saint Paul. A Doctor of Ministry cohort track focusing on Revitalizing Congregations began January 2012. The track relates directly to the United Methodist Council of Bishops initiatives (the “Four Foci”) for the Church. The Wesleyan Strategies for the Missional Church DMin track will begin January 2013. Lead faculty include Dr. Henry H. Knight III, Dr. Robert Martin, and Dr. F. Douglas Powe, Jr. In addition to the lead faculty, students will learn from pastors from some of today’s most dynamic Wesleyan congregations. The seminary will honor the Class of 1962 as its first 50 year class during its 51st Commencement Convocation in May. Bishop Teresa Snorton, the first female bishop elected by the CME Church, will speak. The Saint Paul YouTheology program, funded primarily by Lilly Endowment, Inc., is a program for high school youth to explore their faith and calling through worship, service, study, travel, and a mentoring relationship. Several youTheology graduates have become Saint Paul Master of Divinity students. In 2012, an MDiv student who was a part of the seminary’s first group of youTheologians as a senior in high school will graduate from Saint Paul School of Theology.
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The trustees, faculty, staff, and students of Saint Paul thank you for your interest, prayers and support.
Nebraska Wesleyan University by Fred Ohles, President
Nebraska Wesleyan University is embarking on its 125th year. It was founded by Methodists in 1887 and has continued this proud history of relationship with the Methodist/United Methodist Church. Its CORE VALUES emanate from that founding: Excellence, Liberal Arts, Personal Attention to Students, Diversity, Community, and Stewardship. This close tie is made real in the solid quality of teaching and relationships on campus, in the commitment to administrative excellence and openness, and in the focus on intellectual honesty. The relationship is made visible through the Conference contribution of a major portion of support for the University Minister, the Rev. Mara Bailey, as well as funds for student scholarships. The University emphasizes the relationship by funding the position of Assistant to the President for Church Relations, held by Dr. Mel Luetchens, and by adding monies to scholarships for United Methodist students. In another visible indicator, the staff and congregation of First United Methodist Church are highly involved at NWU. Larry Moffet and Jamie Norwich McClennan often teach classes and are involved in the religious life program. First Church hosts a weekly worship service and special events involving students. Several students are paid interns at the church. University Ministries Programming: The University Ministries program on campus has continued to provide opportunities for students to explore their leadership and ministry skills through a variety of offerings. The office supported 10 interns in the fall and in the spring. Seven of our interns focused on ministry leadership on campus in the areas of worship, fellowship, spiritual growth, discipleship, and strengthening the connection of United Methodist students on campus. This year our three Risk-Taking Mission and Justice interns worked more closely with the conference RTMJ team to explore how social justice issues impact the local community and the local church. An exciting partnership with other ministries on campus (including Campus Crusade for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students) led to the first all-campus worship night with the local band, BreatheDeep. In November, our office worked with the Board of Ordained Ministry to send 5 students to the Exploration 2011 event in St. Louis, where participants explored a call into ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. We are grateful to the Board as well as these studentsâ€™ local churches for their support as students explored what it means to be called by God in their lives today. Rev. Mara Bailey continues to provide spiritual and vocational counseling, pastoral care, worship leadership, and other ongoing services to the campus. In the fall, we hosted our semesterly peace meal by offering a Hunger Banquet, which was co-sponsored with First UMC-Lincoln. Once again, Ten Thousand Villages
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helped us put on our Fair Trade/Alternative Giving Boutique and we partnered with NWU’s business club to provide fair trade gift options for the holiday shopping season. Over spring break, students traveled to Denver for the annual Give Me Your Hand trip to learn about the issues of poverty, hunger, and homelessness from the Denver Urban Ministries Urban Immersion program. We continue to partner with First UMC-Lincoln on a variety of programs, including our weekly Taizé worship on Wednesday evenings for which pastors Moffett and Norwich-McLennan provide support and leadership. University Ministries partnered with the Nebraska Conference to host events including Confirmation Day (March 3, 2012), Youth Annual Conference, and pastors’ retreats. During her maternity leave early in 2012, a portion of Pastor Bailey’s duties were assigned by President Ohles to Mel Luetchens. Jamie Norwich McClennan and Larry Moffet were given a stipend to cover other parts of the ministry. Student Interns took special initiative on some of the programming. Wesleyan Live: Wesleyan Live is a series of informal classes held each semester and especially designed for clergy, their spouses and active laypersons. The class meets physically at the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications building in Lincoln and is streamed over the Internet through the Nebraska Conference website so people may participate no matter where they live or travel. The classes are also preserved for a time on the website and, permanently, on DVD. During the fall 2011 semester we brought a teacher to Wesleyan Live electronically for the first time through Skype technology. Michael Dowd, author of the book Thank God for Evolution, was our professor and came to us from various parts of the U.S. where he happened to be traveling during the six-week class. In the spring of 2012, Dr. David Peabody, Professor of Religion, NWU, was the teacher of a course titled, “What are the Sources of the Gospels and Why Should We Care?” Financial Assistance to United Methodist Students: During the 2011-12 academic year, 276 United Methodists students received $2,763,657 in scholarships and grants provided by Nebraska Wesleyan University. Included in this total are 131 students who received $104,750 in Nebraska United Methodist Scholarships and two ministerial dependents who received $24,256 in ministerial discounts. Speakers and Events: This year the Mattingly Distinguished Visiting Scholar program responded to both campus classroom and student affairs needs, worked with two local congregations, and provided the community with practical workshop instruction, international non-profit leadership, an Academy Awards nominated documentary, and a nationally recognized speaker and author in Christianity. For the fall of 2011, two Mattingly speakers were invited in coordination with campus and local religious communities. Rev. Jeff Clinger (UMC, Kansas) spoke with both first year and upper division classes in Communication about his training in the Interfaith Youth Core. These Communication classes were focused on interfaith service learning since Jeff, after graduating from NWU, worked with Eboo Patel’s IFYC in Chicago. The second fall presentation series was by Ziad Abbas,
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Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance. The series included his speaking to both first year and upper division classes, a showing of his documentary film on interfaith efforts to provide material needs to Palestinian refugees, and a question and answer period after the film. Abbas, on a tour of the U.S. locally sponsored by the Unitarian/Universalists, also presented to the community during his week in Lincoln. Both speakers engaged in campus luncheon discussions with NWU students, faculty, and local religious leaders. For the spring of 2012, in conjunction with Saint Paul UMC-Lincoln, Dr. Diana Butler Bass, a widely acclaimed author and lecturer who specializes in American religion and culture has been invited. She holds a Ph.D. from Duke University.
Candler School of Theology
Jan Love, Dean and Professor of Christianity and World Politics Candler School of Theology prepares real people to make a real difference in the real world. Our commitment to authentic discipleship and relevant ministry enables us to develop uniquely well-rounded leaders who are challenged academically, encouraged spiritually, and immersed in Christian service from the first day they arrive on campus. As one of the 13 official seminaries of The United Methodist Church, Candler is grounded in the Christian faith and shaped by the Wesleyan tradition of evangelical piety, ecumenical openness, and social concern. As one of seven graduate professional schools of Emory University, Candler provides a rich context for learning and formation supported by the extensive resources of a top-tier research university. As a school located in the major metropolitan area of Atlanta, Candler offers students a learning environment that reflects the highly diverse communities of our 21st century world. There is no better place for ministry preparation that addresses our major denominational priorities: developing leaders, starting and growing churches, ministry with the poor, and improving global health. Candler’s student body continues to reflect the diversity and breadth of the Christian faithful. Our enrollment stands at 479, with 372 seeking the Master of Divinity, 64 the Master of Theological Studies, 19 the Master of Theology, 17 the Doctor of Theology, and 7 enrolled as Special, Non-Degree students. The total student population is 22% U.S. ethnic minority, 8% international, and 50% women. Forty-four denominations are represented, with 52% of MDiv students being United Methodist. The median age of our entering class of MDiv students is 26, with 50% of total enrollment under thirty. An extraordinary gift of $15 million from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation will make possible the construction of the second phase of the school’s new building. In recognition of this gift, the first building—a 65,000-square-foot facility completed in 2008—will be named in memory of the late Rita Anne Rollins, the first grandchild of the foundation’s namesake. The new building will house the Pitts Theology Library, additional classrooms and offices, group study areas, and the Wesley Teaching Chapel.
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Candler and The General Theological Seminary (GTS) in New York have formed an innovative partnership that includes the sharing of library resources, collaborative educational programs, and the exchange of both students and faculty members. The partnership began this fall with the transfer of 90,000 volumes from GTS to Candler’s Pitts Theology Library, and will continue to expand this year via student/faculty exchanges and continuing education programs. Candler has introduced two new ways to make theological education more accessible. First, we launched a Tuesday-Thursday format for core courses for our incoming students in order to lessen the burden of commuting. Second, we began offering certain courses in an online or hybrid format. Two courses were piloted in January term and spring semester. We remain deeply committed to the highest quality education for our clergy and will offer only those hybrid and online courses that meet a gold standard of excellence in teaching and learning outcomes. Faculty members undergo rigorous training in order to translate their courses to an online format. Candler continues to emphasize preparing our students for leadership in an increasingly global context. We now offer 17 academic exchanges with theology schools across five continents and 15 countries, including many related to The United Methodist Church. In addition to our ongoing summer internship program with the Methodist Church in the Bahamas, this year’s travel seminars included the Middle East Travel Seminar in May-June and World Methodist Evangelism Institute evangelism seminars to Colombia, Indonesia, and Israel. A hallmark of the Candler MDiv experience, the two-year Contextual Education program shapes our students’ pastoral identities by interweaving service at ministry sites with academic analysis in the classroom and spiritual reflection in pastor-led small groups. In any given week, Candler deploys more than 250 ConEd students throughout the region to minister to people in congregations, hospitals, and social service agencies. This year we have continued Candler Advantage, a program designed to pay rising third-year MDiv students for summer internships in congregations so they can further hone their pastoral skills beyond the first two years of ConEd. Candler’s Lifelong Learning events strengthen the church by providing opportunities for clergy and lay leaders to learn more about the practice of ministry. Our Fall Conference, “The Art of Preaching in the 21st Century,” brought to campus some of the most respected names in preaching, including Otis Moss Jr. and James Howell. The Spring Conference, “The Singing Church,” gathered experts to lead an exploration of the best practices and emerging trends of congregational song. In addition to our Lifelong Learning events, Candler oversees the educational process of more than 900 people each year through the Course of Study regional school and our five extension schools in the Southeast. Despite today’s challenging economic climate, Candler remains steadfastly committed to making theological education financially feasible. Although our operating budget essentially remained flat this year, we dedicated $4.5 million to financial aid. Seventy-seven percent of eligible students received Candler-based financial aid, with the average award covering more than two-thirds of tuition. Our widely respected faculty continues to distinguish itself, both in academia and
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in churches and denominational bodies at local, national, and international levels. This year, faculty members garnered prestigious grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Louisville Institute, among others. Dr. Carol Newsom recently completed a term as president of the Society of Biblical Literature. In Fall 2011 we welcomed two new faculty members: Jennifer Ayres in religious education and Anthony Briggman in the history of early Christianity. In Fall 2012 we welcome Neil Alexander, current bishop of the Episcopal Archdiocese of Atlanta, as director of our Anglican Studies Program and Ted Smith as assistant professor of homiletics and ethics. Our UM faculty presence remains strong, with 36 percent of our full-time faculty being United Methodist. Candler draws considerable strength and inspiration from its relationship with The United Methodist Church. Our ability to fulfill our mission of educating faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world depends upon your support, gifts, and prayers. Thank you for the countless ways you advance this vital ministry in the life of our denomination. We invite you to visit us in person in Atlanta or online at www.candler.emory.edu to see firsthand how Candler prepares real people to make a real difference in the real world.
James H. Salley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” – Isaiah 43:2 At its inception, many doubted that the dream could be realized. Yet, in February 2012, Africa University launched a year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary. It has quite a story to tell. “We serve a faithful God,” says Dr. Fanuel Tagwira, vice chancellor. “As we now celebrate 20 years of existence, we can say ‘Ebenezer’, for this far the Lord has taken us. He will surely take us further because we serve a God who finishes what he starts.” Recalling the challenges the University faced during Zimbabwe’s economic crisis in 2008-2009, Tagwira noted that “God was on our side…other universities, primary and secondary schools, and hospitals closed, but Africa University students never lost a day of classes.” For this, Tagwira offered his thanks to The United Methodist Church for its responsiveness and unwavering support. In 2011, twenty-seven annual conferences met 100 percent of their apportionments for the Africa University Fund—up from twenty-one in the previous year. These and all contributions from local congregations are deeply appreciated by the University community as they enable our ministry. Africa University is profoundly grateful for the support. Enrollment at Africa University is at an all-time high. The current total population of 1634 students is 42% higher than it was for the 2010-11 academic year. There are 23 African countries represented in the student body. At Africa
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University, male and female students are almost evenly balanced—something that bodes well for increasing the participation of women in decision-making and leadership roles in Africa. New programs are helping Africa University to grow and remain relevant to community needs across the continent. New academic offerings include undergraduate degree programs in Computer Science and Laboratory Science as well as graduate degree programs in Child and Family Studies, and Public Policy and Governance. The University is preparing to launch online distance learning. Online training options will focus on areas such as practical theology, health, and business. The initial target countries for Africa University’s online distance learning outreach are Angola, Côte dIvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. In June 2011, 349 students from 19 African countries graduated. The graduating class was comprised of 69 graduate students receiving master’s degrees, and 280 undergraduate students receiving bachelor’s degrees. The Class of 2011 swelled the ranks of Africa University graduates to more than 4,000 since first opening its doors in March 1992. In their home countries, graduates are addressing critical issues of hunger, poverty, disease, lack of knowledge, and conflict, all of which prevent millions of people in Africa from enjoying God’s promise of abundance (John 10:10; Jeremiah 29:11). At 20, Africa University is part of a crucial feeder system for nurturing a new generation of principled leaders in Africa as evidenced by the number of graduates who are evangelists, pastors, lecturers and administrators of schools, seminaries and universities. “Many believe that Africa University, voted into being by the 1988 General Conference, is the most exciting ministry that The United Methodist Church has ever founded,” says Tagwira. “It is a model of connection; shared responsibility; and best of all, it is a tangible witness to how United Methodists live out the Word of God in a chaotic and self-centered world.” This year, encourage your church to give 100 percent of its Africa University Fund apportionment. The Africa University Fund supports day-to-day operations. Your support helps young people acquire the tools and skills to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, heal communities, enable dignified living, and foster hope. Thank you for believing in and supporting Africa University. For more on Africa University, visit: www.support-africauniversity.org or like us on Facebook.
Drew University Theological School Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan Dean, Drew University Theological School
Drew Theological School, deeply rooted in its United Methodist heritage, is a place that empowers its students to conceive and implement dynamic ministries. Drew offers the MDiv, MA, MAM, STM, DMin, and PhD degrees, as
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well as certifications in Camp and Retreat Ministry, and Spiritual Formation. Academically rigorous and spiritually revealing, Drew develops religious leadership prepared for these ever-changing times. Drew offers 100% tuition scholarships to all United Methodists who meet all admissions requirements and have a 3.5 undergraduate GPA or higher. In the fall semester, I had the honor of welcoming a new class of students to Drew. This new class is composed of 73 masters and 13 PhD students. In addition, we also admitted 58 DMin students who started the program in the various cohorts around the country. We also welcomed another 19 students in the spring semester. We began the new academic year with a new Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in Dr. Morris Davis, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Wesleyan/Methodist Studies and welcomed two new faculty members and a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Kate Ott joined us as Assistant Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Dr. Elías Ortega-Aponte as Assistant Professor in AfroLatino/a Religions and Cultural Studies, and Dr. David Evans as a post-doctoral fellow position and Lecturer in the History of Christianity. As we began a new academic year, I was reminded of Drew’s impact and contribution in the global context. I had the privilege of visiting Drew alumni in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. Our alumni spoke with great appreciation of the education they received at Drew and the professors who taught them. Drew’s influence in Korea, in particular, is historic. Henry G. Appenzeller, a graduate of Drew in 1885, brought Methodism to Korea. Appenzeller’s connection with Drew has brought hundreds of students from Korea to Drew. Today, we have alumni teaching in seminaries and universities and serving churches in Korea. I have enjoyed teaching a course on the General Conference and will be taking the class to Tampa. We were honored to have leaders such as Jim Winkler, General Secretary of GBCS, Harriett Olson, Deputy General Secretary of the Women’s Division, and Erin Hawkins, General Secretary of GCORR, come and speak to the class. Three members of the Drew community are serving as delegates to the General Conference: Mark Miller, Tanya Bennett and myself. We are living into a “majority minority” faculty, staff and student body at Drew that trains leaders for the church that will be soon serving in a “majority minority” world. Forty-five percent of our faculty is African/African Americans, Asian/Asian Americans, and Latino/a. We have almost an equal number of women and men on the faculty. We are thrilled to have received a grant of $75,600 from the GCORR Action Fund for the purpose of widening the ethos of multi-ethnic theological education. The grant will assist us in a thorough curriculum review with the hopes of enhancing every aspect of the multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural reality at Drew. Creative, cutting-edge, inclusive, multi-cultural, social justice ministry is part of the legacy of Drew, and I am proud to be associated with it! Below are just a few other ministries that make me proud to be associated with Drew. Bishops in Residence at Drew I have enjoyed meeting Bishops and many Boards of Ordained Ministry to convey
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our desire at Drew to be a resource to the entire denomination. I am particularly pleased that Drew is hosting a January Term class taught by UM Bishops. This past January, Bishop Alfred Johnson taught a class in urban ministry. He recently shared with me some reflections about his experience teaching here at Drew: “I am deeply impressed with the quality, depth and reflective experience of the students in my class. Both their reflection, inquiry and contribution to the field of urban ministry greatly deepened my own theological reflection and praxis.” In January 2013, Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Eastern PA and Peninsula Delaware Conference will teach a class on Ministry with People with Disabilities. In January of 2014, Bishop Jane Middleton of the Central PA Conference will teach a class on Ministry and Health. United Methodist Liaison at Drew The Rev. Jeff Markay continues to work with our UM students by introducing them to the leaders and resources within our denomination. He helps them navigate the process toward commissioning and ordination as well as with issues of discernment. We have monthly UM Lunches to meet with bishops, and leaders of the general agencies, conferences and connection. We are grateful for every opportunity to build a UM ethos here at Drew so that the connectionalism is strong when our students graduate to become leaders in their settings of ministry. We are also grateful to have the Rev. Susan Worrell as the Deacon Liaison on campus who shares resources and wisdom with those hearing a call to the Ministry of the Deacon in the UMC. Center for Clergy and Congregational Health and Wholeness In the fall of 2011 representatives from GBOPHB of the UMC came to Drew to meet with Dean Samuel and me. The purpose of the visit was to explore developing a partnership between the two institutions to address issues of clergy health. This cooperative partnership will lead to two things in 2012, namely, the launching of a longitudinal study on the health habits of seminary students while in seminary and for five years upon graduation and a conference, bringing together deans and presidents and staff members from the 13 UM seminaries, to be held in June on Clergy Health and Theological Education. Taking seriously our shared lot in a global community, theological education is not just interested in “small talk”— we strive for hard talk, demanding friendships and challenges. We at Drew look forward to working with the good and faithful people of the UMC as we forge deeper friendships in the shared ministry of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary by Philip A. Amerson, President
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary continues its commitment to its core purpose: to know God in Christ and, through preparing spiritual leaders, to help others know God in Christ. We are faithful to the charge of preparing bold and articulate leaders who share the transforming love of Jesus Christ. Last fall the seminary welcomed ninety-three new students, raising enrollment to 382, a nine percent increase. More than thirty religious traditions, four
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continents, twelve countries, and thirty-two states are represented in the student body, including 204 United Methodist students. The seminary awards more than $2 million in institutional financial aid. The newly-created Linked in Ministry Scholarship is a 100 percent scholarship awarded to the first student admitted to Garrett-Evangelical from his/her annual conference who is a candidate for United Methodist ministry and maintains a 3.3 GPA. Loder Hall and Stead Hall (formerly Lesemann Hall) reopened last summer. Loder, a Gold-certified LEED facility, includes a student center, student lounges, a state-of-the-art classroom, a dining hall, two small chapels, modern residence rooms with private baths, and guest suites. Stead Hall includes a conference room and library offices and houses the Stead Center for Ethics and Values. The seminary participates in the Green Seminary Initiative, incorporating an ethic of care for creation into the identity and mission of the institution. We are a founding participant in the Blessed Earth Seminary Stewardship Alliance, a collaborative project for the purpose of preparing future church leaders to be catalysts for positive change around issues of environmental sustainability. A partnership with Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) gives Garrett-Evangelical students the opportunity to obtain a concentration and/ or certificate in Peace Studies, and AMBS students can meet United Methodist ordination requirements through a certificate in United Methodist Studies earned through Garrett-Evangelical. Plus is the first of its kind cooperative executive education program of GarrettEvangelical and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. The three-year leadership certification program for seminary graduates and professionals in ministry includes six seminars led by experts in non-profit leadership. Intersection, an innovative continuing education opportunity, incorporates readings, online presentations, and reflection on contemporary issues of life and ministry. Continuing education credit is available. Garrett-Evangelical helps develop bold local pastor leaders through the UMC Course of Study School. This quality education and formational experience, guided by a strong and committed faculty, offers classes in English, Spanish, and Hmong. In addition to the on-campus residential model, Garrett-Evangelical supervises three extension locations: Indiana, Illinois Great Rivers, and Upper Midwest (Iowa). The seminary continues to raise $2 million to endow the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation, ensuring that the seminary remains at the forefront of developing and enhancing spiritual formation studies at the certificate, master’s and doctoral levels. The expanded Doctor of Ministry program offers four tracks: Congregational Leadership, African American Congregational Leadership, Spiritual Direction, and Mission in the Contemporary United States. Our D.Min. program is also a portal to the Association of Chicago Theological Schools’ D.Min. program in preaching. We are proud to serve the United Methodist Church, and we ask for your continuing prayers and support as we pursue our mission and our renewed vision.
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Lydia Patterson Institute by Socorro de Anda, President
It is my pleasure to submit this report to the Bishop and members of the conference with great appreciation for your love, support and prayers as we work together to do Godâ€™s work on the border. Lydia Patterson Institute is a true representation of the meaning of connectionalism as proclaimed by the United Methodist Church. Together, with every member of this conference and beyond, we have just entered into the 99th year of ministry with underprivileged young men and women on the US-Mexican border. Life on the border is a daily challenge. In the last few years, our students have lived some of the most horrifying experiences that one can imagine. Some have lost members of their families, including one or both of their parents. Most have experienced assaults, kidnappings, and death and violence on the streets. The character of our students is such that in spite of all, they still manage to smile. They have faced the situation with courage and faith. They have remained focused on their school, and they constantly thank Lydia Patterson and the United Methodist Church for bringing them hope and a place of refuge where they feel safe. They are grateful for the spiritual encouragement they receive here, and continually talk about Lydia Patterson as their mean for survival. Their goal is to graduate and go to college. Again, thanks to the support of our United Methodist colleges and universities, 95% of our students are reaching that dream. Last year, the United Methodist colleges and universities awarded more than $1 Million in scholarships to our students alone. After two years of drops in enrollment as a result of the violence and the economy across the border, we recovered our students this year. With so many parents out of work, we doubled the number of work scholarships in order to keep the students in school. It is at times like these when the faith of our supporters becomes most evident. We are thankful to United Methodist individuals and churches that went beyond paying for their apportionments to provide for one or more scholarships to save our students. Many in your conference were among those who made the difference, and we are extremely grateful. The work of Lydia Patterson goes beyond providing a good education to the students. It is about preparing leaders for the church and forming disciples for Jesus Christ and the transformation of the world. The lay ministry program has grown from 5 students to 95 this year. Students continue to serve churches locally and throughout the jurisdiction. Many are now in seminary; others are in the process for ordination; and some are youth leaders, Bible teachers, choir directors, or maybe even leading small churches. Through this program, we hope to comply with the needs of the church as well as change the lives of many, including ours. The support of our United Methodist friends is evident in their recognition of our work. At times it is expressed in visits to our campus. Last summer we hosted the 40th anniversary of MARCHA who returned to celebrate in the place where the organization was born. We were also honored by the visit of the College of Bishops who undoubtedly committed their total support. Work teams, mission groups, individuals, and everyone coming to share a meal with our students, is a new spark of hope for them.
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We will soon be celebrating our Centennial Anniversary. Among the numerous events planned for the year 2013, is the publishing of the Lydia Patterson history. As a guiding light and beacon among the missions of the United Methodist Church, it is only right that its past be properly recorded. Plans are also in place to launch a capital campaign to rebuild our campus and place Lydia Patterson among those ministries of the United Methodist Church that will continue God’s work for another 100 years. As we approach this memorable date, we offer our words of gratitude and ask for your continued prayers for the safety of our students and continued success of our ministry.
Perkins School of Theoloy
Southern Methodist University by William B. Lawrence Dean and Professor of American Church History Perkins marked centennial celebrations of the University’s 1911 founding and 1915 opening with the publication in 2011 of Perkins School of Theology: A Centennial History by Joseph L. Allen, professor emeritus of Ethics. In addition to celebrating a distinguished past, Perkins is moving toward a bright future. Effective student recruitment coupled with the lowest attrition rate in more than a decade led to double-digit annual growth in enrollment. United Methodists comprise 77% of our M.Div. cohort. Ten annual conferences in the South Central Jurisdiction provided funds which were matched by the Perkins Prothro Foundation to create endowments for students from their annual conferences. Resulting Perkins Annual Conference Endowment (PACE) grants from earnings on those endowments continue to provide financial aid annually. Twenty-seven United Methodist Annual Conferences are represented in our student body, plus five UMC-related conferences: Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. Dr. Brad Braxton was appointed Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics and is the first African American to hold an endowed chair at SMU, effective June 2012. Dr. Heidi Anne Miller, assistant professor of Christian Worship, and Dr. Linn Marie Tonstad, assistant professor of Christian Theology, joined Perkins in 2011. Dr. Pablo Andiñach, professor of Old Testament at ISEDET in Buenos Aires and a distinguished Methodist leader in Argentina, is a visiting professor. Alyce M. McKenzie was promoted to the George W. and Nell Ayers LeVan Endowed Chair of Preaching and Worship, named a recipient of SMU’s 2011 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, and elected 2012 President of the Academy of Homiletics. Bruce D. Marshall was appointed to the Edward and Emma Lehman Chair in Christian Doctrine. Marshall also became director of the Graduate Program in Religious Studies, combining the resources of Perkins and the department of religious studies in SMU’s Dedman College for students who pursue the Ph.D. Dr. Hugo Magallanes was appointed director of Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religion at Perkins.
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Perkins recognized retirements of David Maldonado, Jr., Marjorie ProcterSmith, and Charles M. Wood. Wood, who serves on the UMC Committee on Faith and Order, was elected 2012-2013 president of the American Theological Society. Perkins established the Center for Religious Leadership to provide training in the theology of leadership and practical skills for leadership. Perkins sponsored “Listening For Our Common Mission: The Church and Theological Education at Perkins,” a significant event attended by bishops, Board of Ministry chairpersons, and other conference leaders relating to leadership development and clergy recruitment from across the South Central Jurisdiction.
Southern Methodist University R. Gerald Turner, President
As SMU celebrates the centennial of its founding in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and its opening in 1915, the University continues to rise in national prominence. Highlights of the past year follow: •
SMU’s total fall 2011 enrollment was 10,982, including 6,221 undergraduates and 4,761 graduate students. The ethnic minority enrollment made up 22.9 percent of the student body. The fall enrollment included a record number of 1,119 international students from 89 countries. Perkins School of Theology experienced an 11 percent enrollment increase, including students from 14 Annual Conferences.
SMU’s external awards for research and sponsored projects have increased significantly. During 2010-11, SMU received $21.6 million for research and sponsored projects, up from $16.5 million in 2008-09. In 2011 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching raised SMU’s classification to a research university with “high research activity.”
SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, launched in 2008, is the largest fund-raising effort in the University’s history, with a goal of $750 million. At campaign midpoint in 2012, gifts totaling $574 million are providing funds for 231 scholarships; 22 endowed academic positions; 15 academic program endowments, including support for two schools and one academic department; and 16 new or renovated facilities.
SMU will break ground in April 2012 for a new Residential Commons complex of five buildings to house an additional 1,250 students on campus. This will enable SMU to implement a sophomore residency requirement.
A new Ph.D. program in art history, established in 2011, brings to 26 the fields offering doctorates at SMU. Among new academic programs, the Embrey Human Rights Program offers one of only five human rights majors in the nation.
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A new general education curriculum for undergraduates, to be implemented in fall 2012, is designed to prepare students for the demands of an increasingly interconnected global society, with renewed emphasis on ethics and courses with service-earning components.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center, scheduled for completion in 2013, consists of a library, museum and independent institute. The Bush Institute has already begun programming with symposia on subjects including education, energy, literacy and economic opportunity for Afghan women. In 2011 the Institute was instrumental in bringing to the campus His Holiness the Dalai Lama to receive an honorary degree, present a public lecture and interact with SMU and high school students.
SMU’s centennial events in 2011 included a symposium on “The University and the City: Higher Education and the Common Good,” at which Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence presented a concluding summary. Centennial publications include The Perkins School of Theology: A Centennial History by Professor Emeritus Joseph L. Allen.
SMU treasures its Methodist heritage, and we ask for your continued prayers and support.
United Theology Seminary
By Wendy J. Deichmann, President Is God calling you or someone you know to the ministry of Jesus Christ? If so, we invite you to explore how United can assist you in fulfilling God’s purposes for your life and how you can help others in this journey. Come and check us out in person or online at www.united.edu. United is one of the fastest growing, accredited seminaries in North America. Why are Christian disciples and leaders signing up for our traditional and online programs? They do so because United is committed to teaching the Bible and the historic Christian faith, cultivating spiritual formation for personal and social holiness, and renewing the Church for the mission of Jesus Christ in the world. What could be more important or exciting? In addition to expanding our service in the Midwestern US, United will continue to enhance its use of technology to deliver theological education in underserved regions in North America and beyond. United’s hybrid/online UMC FLEX Master of Divinity degree was designed specifically to meet the requirements of the UMC for ordination and it is accessible anywhere with good Internet service. Three new professors will join our excellent team of faculty in 2012. Additionally, United’s doctoral program will add new mentors and focus groups around the ministries of renewal, mission, preaching, healing and Christian education. United’s hybrid/online UM Course of Study is expanding each semester, along with UM Certification offerings.
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Please let us know if you have questions about how we can best assist you or, if you would like to help make it possible for an American or international student to study at United. Enrollment at United is growing steadily and we invite you to call or visit soon! For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your prayers, partnership and service in the ministry of Jesus Christ!
Nebraska Methodist Health System, Inc. by John Fraser, President & CEO
Created in 1982, Nebraska Methodist Health System (MHS) is the oldest health care system in the region. Today, MHS consists of the following affiliates: Methodist Hospital, Omaha, Neb.; Methodist Women’s Hospital, Omaha, Neb.; Jennie Edmundson Hospital, Council Bluffs, Iowa; Methodist Physicians Clinic, Inc., eastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa; Nebraska Methodist College -The Josie Harper Campus, Omaha, Neb.; Methodist Hospital Foundation, Omaha, Neb.; Jennie Edmundson Hospital Foundation, Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Shared Service Systems, Omaha, Neb. Central to all of the affiliates of Methodist Health System is a mission of service to others. System successes in 2011 were tied to numerous growth initiatives, all focused on expanding both the quality and quantity of health care offerings available to the communities served by MHS. Methodist Health System was recognized with numerous awards for its online communication by two prestigious national competitions: eHealhcare Leadership Awards and Greystone’s Best-in-Class Annual Awards. Methodist-affiliated neurologist Harris A. Frankel, M.D., received the eHealth Physician Advocate of the Year Award. Another major construction project was completed with the opening of the 42,000-square-foot The Pathology Center – Schenken Pavilion at Methodist Hospital. The new laboratory has more than double the space of its previous location in a stand-alone facility adjacent to the Hospital’s visitor parking structure. The move will allow for the expansion and renovation of the hospital’s surgery department, which houses the busiest operating rooms in Omaha. Methodist Hospital was also selected as one of six pilot sites for a multigenerational nurse residency program in geropalliative care called AgeWISE. Methodist Hospital President and CEO Stephen L. Goeser, FACHE, served as chairman of the 2011 Nebraska Hospital Association Board of Directors and was named to the American Hospital Association Metropolitan Hospitals Governing Council In its first year of operation, Methodist Women’s Hospital quickly took over as the place to have a baby in Omaha, welcoming more newborns than any other hospital in the city. It rounded out its first year in record-setting fashion by
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delivering 26 babies in a 24-hour period on May 27. In all, Methodist Women’s Hospital delivered 3,521 babies in 2011. Methodist Women’s Hospital also took over as the city’s busiest neonatal intensive care unit with 508 admissions in 2011. Methodist Physicians Clinic (MPC) welcomed 18 new physicians to the organization in 2011. MPC Council Bluffs Rison Son location was recognized with a quality award for its participation in the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Collaboration on Quality® Primary Care Program. The Jennie Edmundson Hospital (JEH) celebrated its 125th anniversary in December. Despite Missouri River flooding that limited access to facilities, additional support was provided to local cancer patients through the Jennie Edmundson Hospital Foundation’s 2011 Spirit of Courage fundraiser, which raised $100,000 for the Cancer Center’s Charitable Patient Care Fund. Enrollment at Nebraska Methodist College -- The Josie Harper Campus (NMC) continued to set records with a Fall 2011 census of more than 800 students. NMC’s Center for Health Partnerships entered into a new collaborative with the Cosmopolitan Cornbelt Diabetes Connection to operate The Mobile Diabetes Center, a 36-foot motor home designed to provide diabetes-related health screenings to people in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. For the second year in a row, NMC received funding to award 10 scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. NMC was also awarded $600,000 by the Health Resources and Services Administration for the Nurse Faculty Loan Program. NMC was the only college in Nebraska to receive funding this year. Shared Service Systems processed more than 10.2 million pounds of laundry. The distribution center received 1,085,069 cases and filled 522,492 order lines in 2011. Shared Service’s drivers made 23,596 customer deliveries, traveling more than 493,000 miles. Methodist Hospital Foundation generated contributions totaling more than $5 million in 2011. Some of that success can be attributed to the gifts made by 67 percent of Methodist Health System employees during their annual giving campaign. The Foundation assisted nearly 27,000 individuals by distributing over $3 million to cancer care, charitable care, community service and education programs. Both Foundations join all affiliates of Methodist Health System in thanking the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church for providing ongoing guidance and support in helping to meet the health care needs of our communities.
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Achievements at BryanLGH Medical Center 2011 • In June, BryanLGH celebrated 85 years of providing excellence in health care with many events: a community celebration; the Kids’ Health & Safety Fair; College of Health Sciences Alumni Day; sponsoring a country concert at Celebrate Lincoln; and a 55PLUS ice cream social. • BryanLGH Medical Center was recognized by numerous accrediting agencies, culminating in this summer’s successful survey by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations – which sets the highest standards for quality and safety in the delivery of health care. The Joint Commission gave BryanLGH its Gold Seal of Approval. • The first BryanLGH RUN to OVERCOME on Oct. 9 was a resounding success. Roughly 775 people came out to LifePointe on a beautiful fall day to participate in a 5K, 10K & Kids’ Fun Run and raised more than $5,000 for continued education on mental health and depression. The Run to Overcome will be an annual event to shed light on mental health issues and raise money to fund education programs on depression and mental health. • The Lincoln Firefighter Benefit Association selected BryanLGH Heart Institute as its 2011 Business of the Year. Accepting the award on behalf of BryanLGH Heart Institute was Steven Krueger, MD. The award recognizes BryanLGH Heart Institute’s work to reduce firefighters’ risk for heart attacks. • In June, during the Independence Center’s anniversary celebration, we announced publicly our capital campaign to build a new facility for the Center. The $2.5 million “It’s a Fine Line” campaign is on track to reach its goal. The Independence Center provides a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse program that is uncommon in Nebraska and beyond. Countless lives have been touched and changed for the better thanks to the care we provide. But some of this care is delivered in antiquated, inefficient facilities. The time is long past for a new, state-of-the-art home for these vital services. Among the many things the new facility will provide: • Larger, private family rooms for intake process; • Private, soundproof counselors’ offices; • Both public and private waiting areas; • Sickest patients (those in detox) will be in rooms in view of the nurses’ station for their safety and access to quick care; • Classrooms that allow adolescent inpatients to keep up with studies; • Soundproof and private group therapy rooms; • Privacy-fenced outdoor patio that allows clients to get fresh air while respecting their need for anonymity. For more information on how to support this campaign, call the BryanLGH Foundation at 402-481-8605. • The Crete Area Medical Center, part of the BryanLGH Health System, was recognized in November by the City of Crete for the Community Cornerstone Award. The Crete Community Cornerstone Award is awarded to an individual, business, or organization that makes Crete a better place to live. • Hub Doll, an “80-something,” 14-year member of the BryanLGH lobby
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services team, was recently honored with the Nebraska Hospital Association’s Caring Kind Award. Hub has, for 14 years without fail, been at our East site front entrance early each morning to begin the BryanLGH experience for our surgery patients. With a reassuring “Good Morning” and a tip of his hat, he welcomes our guests, many of whom have traveled from communities across our state, to their BryanLGH home away from home. • The Infant Apnea Center at BryanLGH celebrated 30 years of serving babies at risk for respiratory, cardiac or sleep problems as a result of apnea. Established in 1981 by the late Patricia Cole Stivrins, MD, the center is under the medical direction of Akhtar Niazi, MD, who, with a highly trained staff of nurses, therapists and social workers, provides evaluation, diagnostic testing and treatment.
Crowell Home/Crowell Health Services Bill Williard, Executive Director
Christopher Columbus and Polly Crowell would be astounded at the transformation of their large acreage on the hillside at the west edge of Blair, Nebraska. The Crowell’s generously donated their mansion and land to the Methodist Church in 1905 with the intention that it be used as a retirement home for Methodist ministers and their wives. Needs soon mandated, however, that it become a nursing home. Later, when even more space was required, the mansion was replaced by a new brick nursing home, modern in form and function. Eventually, an independent building was built with eight independent living apartments west of the nursing home. Recently, the main building was again expanded to include assisted living apartments. A beautiful new Chapel with gorgeous stained glass windows was created in an east wing overlooking a welllandscaped courtyard. Through the years, Crowell Home/Crowell Health Services has been considered a leader in quality care for the elderly. State of the art equipment, highly qualified personnel, and the strong desire of our staff to provide loving, Christian care to our residents - these qualities keep us faithful to our Mission Statement. This year, we have embarked on a major refurbishing and redecorating project to make our Home even more appealing. In the public areas of our nursing home, we are replacing carpeting, painting the walls with beautiful, soothing colors, installing attractive new window treatments and hanging pleasing wall décor. In addition, we have purchased comfortable, virtually indestructible, senior friendly chairs for our main dining room. What a joy to be able to do this for our residents! We feel humble and grateful that God has blessed us in our mission of providing loving Christian care as we serve our seniors at Crowell Home/Crowell Health Services. Our Mission Statement reads, “It is the mission of Crowell Home to be a thriving health care community in which the residents’ needs and desires direct and shape daily life, all taking place in a loving, Christian environment.” We must mention that Crowell’s Foundation is an intricate part of our
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development and progress. Through the many generous donations of our families, friends, and community, Crowell is able to provide many of the upgrades and improvements to our equipment and facility for the enjoyment of our residents. God is greatly blessing Crowell through the generosity of our donors. Since Crowell Home is a non-profit organization, we cannot stress enough that our donors help fulfill Crowellâ€™s mission â€“meeting the needs and desires of our residents. Currently, the Home is exploring adding more Independent Living to our campus. More news to follow...
Mount Sequoyah Center, Inc.
by Lamar Pettus, Interim Executive Director 2011 was a year of recovery for Mount Sequoyah Retreat and Conference Center. The future is bright due to great support from the Conferences it serves. Due to the strong support of the Nebraska Conferences, Mount Sequoyah continues to serve the United Methodist Church as a place for spiritual reflection, renewal, training, study, and growth. The support, prayers, and gifts of time and money by the Nebraska Conference are appreciated. In November 2011 Dr. John and Mrs. Sheri Altland, the Executive Directors, submitted their resignations to pursue other opportunities. The Board is grateful for their contributions to Mount Sequoyah over the past seven years. Lamar Pettus, a Trustee of Mount Sequoyah and Chair of Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Conference, is serving as Interim Executive Director. Lamar and his wife, Donna, are retired attorneys. Lamar is keenly aware of the needs and the business of Mount Sequoyah. Lamar has a 30 year history of active participation and service at the local, District, and Conference levels. With the generous financial assistance of the Arkansas Methodist Foundation, the Board employed The Alban Institute, a consulting firm, to evaluate its operations. A nationwide search for an Executive Director produced fifty applicants who will now be evaluated by the Search Committee. The Board has set a salary which allows it to be very competitive and believes it will find a committed and practicing Christian with experience in conference, retreat, and hotel/motel marketing and private sector fund raising experience and skills to lead Mount Sequoyah. Significant changes are being made. All areas of operations are being analyzed. Programs having a history of producing financial losses are either being eliminated or redesigned and are projected to generate a positive cash flow in 2012. A new caterer for food service is under contract and Food Service will return a positive cash flow to offset the costs of maintenance, insurance and utilities for the cafeteria. Facility use fees are under constant review and increases have already been initiated in some areas. Even with the increased fees, Mount Sequoyah faces scheduling problems and will begin remodeling cottages which have not been in service for five or more years. The main level of Young Lodge has been remodeled to serve one client for an additional 36 weeks this year as a training facility. Even with the additional facilities, Mount Sequoyah will not be able to accommodate all who desire to use its facilities in 2012 due to the growth in programming and the
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increased attendance at events. Local architects and general contractors have volunteered to provide assistance in determining significant maintenance required and the costs to be incurred in the renovation and restoration of old buildings which continue to serve but are in desperate need of renovation. Current registrations for 2012 indicate Mount Sequoyah will have an exciting year, financially its best in years. The way we operate and our programming focus is changing. While continuing to seek conferences and retreats primarily targeted at religious organizations and secular groups, we are building programs specifically designed to attract young families with children of all ages. Church leaders envisioned Mount Sequoyah as a retreat filled with the laughter of our youth and we want to make the Mountain a place where that can happen once again--an affordable vacation site where young families can bring their children, experience the nature of Godâ€™s creation and grow together in Christ. Mount Sequoyah will not shy away from its heritage or purpose. Mount Sequoyah emphasizes Christian hospitality and it is the goal of Mount Sequoyah and its staff that all who visit this mountain will experience the love of Jesus Christ and the spiritual renewal and growth which accompany that encounter. By our actions, our words, our deeds and our prayers Mount Sequoyahâ€™s desire is that visitors, especially any who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, leave this Mountain wondering what is different about the Mountain and the staff who serve it. We at Mount Sequoyah refer to this as Christian love and hospitality. Come share Christ with us. Our prayer is for wisdom for our new leadership and the Board in its stewardship role and that God will use Mount Sequoyah to ignite a revival within this area, this conference, this jurisdiction, and His world. Your suggestions are appreciated and your prayers are requested. Thanks for your support and come see us soon.
234 20. REPORTS
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Common Table Report by David Lux
Appreciation to our Team Leaders: Andrea Paret, Keith Johnson, and Tom Watson; and the staff who work with those teams: Carol Windrum, Nita HindsPark, and Jesse Foster. How we do our work is important in terms of the mission and ministry that we carry out, and in terms of the vision we cast. The Common Table is responsible for casting the vision as to how we as an Annual Conference can travel the road toward perfection in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The purpose of the Common Table is to cast the vision, set strategic direction for the mission and ministry of the Churches of the Conference, monitor the carrying out of our mission, and evaluate and hold accountable all missions and ministries of Nebraska United Methodist Church. We do our work as a covenant community, immersing ourselves in prayer and worship, reading and learning and challenging ourselves to know and understand the best wisdom available, to ask and discuss the big picture questions which chart our vision, and then to apply our learnings for fruitful outcomes. You have seen some of the results of our covenant work, and we give thanks to God for all the faithful disciples of Jesus in the Nebraska Conference. In terms of specifics for our work in the next year, a lot of that depends on the outcome of the votes of the 3 Conferences as to whether or not to become one Conference. As we have monitored and learned about the work of the Transition Team, we are impressed as to how the Team members from the 3 Conferences have worked through some thorny issues. We know there would still be work to do in working out many more details in becoming one Conference, but we embrace the opportunity we have to work with Kansas United Methodists to make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform our part of the world. Change of one kind or another is inevitable, and we hope to embrace the change that is coming with the best solution possible, and I think that means collaborating with Kansas East and Kansas West in serving God together. I thank Galen and Carol Roettmer Brewer in their tremendous work as part of leadership team of the Common Table. I also thank Bishop Ann Sherer-Simpson for her leadership with the Common Table. When she first came to the Nebraska Conference she formed a disciple-making team and began the process which led to a new structure in our Conference and the development of the Common Table and the ministry-priority teams. She has been involved with us all the way, and her leadership has been invaluable. We thank God for Bishop Sherer-Simpson and the work she has done with us in particular, and the gifts of her ministry to the whole Church. The Common Table and Ministry Teams have done a thorough job of evaluating ministries carried out last year through the work and sponsorship of the Ministry Teams. We continue to seek those strategies which most effectively carry out our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to transform the world. This last year we have focused on priorities and worked with a reduced spending plan to
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match the reality of Conference mission share giving, but are still able to support and add to effective and important ministries. An example of that is the work our Leadership Development Team is doing with the Abide and Pathways programs. The Abide program is a ministry development program for small and rural churches, which we are doing in conjunction with the Kansas Conferences. The Pathways program was developed by Conference Staff for the building of effectiveness and vitality in the ministries of selected churches in the Conference. We look forward to carrying forward with our mission and ministry in 2013, developing and growing leadership with clergy and lay, young and old and in between; starting new faith communities where we can and re-vitalizing existing congregations; and engaging in risk-taking mission and justice throughout the Conference and beyond our borders. Common Table Report by Galen Wray Last year at Annual Conference I reported for the Common Table that we face many paradigm shifts in culture and structure, and how we do everything from appointment making to planning and funding ministry to meet our three strategic priorities - Leadership Development, Congregational Transformation and Risk Taking Mission and Justice. I concluded by saying the Common Table must focus on being the vision casting, adaptive thinking body that can respond the shifts we face. We also had a challenge from the floor of AC last year which asked the questions: if we talk so much about change and especially adaptive deep change, how come the funding plan and how we do it doesn’t change, except in tiny increments? We took those thoughts with us over the summer and the leadership of Common Table began to meet again with Lori Smith, of Springfield UMC, to talk about what needs to be different in the Conference year. From these conversations I believe the Common Table has made considerable strides in being the vision casting, generative thinking body that asks the question ‘are we doing the right things to accomplish our goals?’ We have taken these strides in several ways: • Consistent focus on learning from Gil Rendle, utilizing Journey in the Wilderness and Back to Zero. This year we did not just read books and not have a particular connection to our work. Instead we focused on Gil Rendle’s work on the shifts the entire UMC faces and how we might consider doing radically different things, particularly as we discussed the potential changes of being one Conference with KS E and W. • Changing meeting development and feedback on meetings to include Team Leader, Staff and OS in what we called 3 on 3 meetings. We held these meetings after Common Table so we could debrief together what went well, and could design together the next meeting of the Common Table. • More directive leadership from the Common Table Leadership team was asked for in these initial 3 on 3 meetings, and I believe we accomplished that in the fall, calling for not incremental change, but deep change in the way that the
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Conference Funding plan is put together. Responding to the local church’s and CFA’s call to reduce the Funding Plan (and Mission Shares) to a more sustainable level,we worked together with the result of a 6% decrease in the Funding Plan. I believe these changes have helped the Common Table be a more effective leadership team. Our report continues with presentation from the teams.
Leadership Development Team by Tom Watson, chairperson
The Leadership Development Team had the following primary areas of focus for 2011:
Laity Link, providing a lay connection and the equivalent of a board of laity; Youth ministry and leadership development; Campus Ministries; Expansion of Lay Speaking Ministries for leadership development of laity; Supporting the Board of Ordained Ministry in the recruitment and retention of high quality clergy to the Nebraska Conference.
Laity Link Laity Link is a group, primarily made up of lay persons representing various groups or ministries within the Conference. The group includes all of the District Lay Leaders and all of the Directors of Lay Speaking Ministries, both Conference and District Directors. The purpose is to have more connection with and feedback from Laity across the Conference. District Lay Leaders have conducted training of the Lay Leaders of local churches as well as Lay Members to Annual Conference using the booklet “Lay Leader/Lay Member” as the basis. The training for Lay Leaders will be a continuing process. We strongly encourage the Lay Leader of each church and his/her pastor to get this training. Lay Speaking Ministries Lay Speaking classes, both basic and advanced, have been provided across the Conference in 2011. An effort is being made to educate lay persons about Lay Speaking Ministries and in particular to dispel the notion that it is only about “pulpit supply”. Lay Speaking Ministry is about developing skills and knowledge in a wide array of areas to better equip persons to provide leadership, first in their local church setting and then to the wider church. Youth Ministries and Leadership Development During 2011 developments in the area of youth ministry and leadership development centered around training events for those who work in the area of youth ministry. Well trained persons who conduct and/or work with youth ministries provide a solid basis for ministry with and to our youth. The 2011 year brought a middle school confirmation retreat to Comeca. Over 200 youth and adult volunteers attended
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this event. This was in addition to the Bishop’s confirmation blessing that is held annually in conjunction with Wesleyan. The end of the year training put a Sr. High retreat (conducted in February 2012). A second annual middle school retreat (April 2012), and a state wide mission trip (coming in September) into motion. Campus Ministries 2011 was a year of continuing transition for campus ministry in the United Methodist Church in Nebraska. At the UNL campus, the ministry is operated as a church based model, with participation from St. Paul, Newman, and Grace United Methodist Churches. The ministry was led or guided by a director with whom we have a contract. At the UNK campus, the ministry continues basically unchanged. A campus ministry at Wayne State College is still in its formative stage. Campus ministry at the Chadron State College campus is also a church based ministry with the pastor and United Methodist Church in Chadron providing/conducting that ministry. Young Adult Ministry During 2011 we held informal gatherings of young adults for the purpose of learning from their needs and expectations of the church. Gatherings of young adults occurred in Lincoln. However, the information that we gained from this single event gave birth to the ideas and planning for the 2012 events to be held in Kearney, Chadron, and Omaha.
The Congregational Transformation Team Report by Rev. Nita Hinds-Park Director of Congregational Development
The Congregational Transformation Team is responsible for four areas of ministry: New Faith Communities and new congregations including new mission starts; local church transformation; Hispanic new faith communities; and Native American new faith communities. New Faith Communities and Congregations Water’s Edge in Omaha was started six years ago with the encouragement and financial support of Faith Westwood United Methodist Church and the Nebraska conference. On January 8, 2012, Water’s Edge chartered as our newest congregation. They join Prairie View United Methodist Church in Lincoln who chartered May 22, 2010 as the first congregations to be chartered in 15 years. Urban Abbey is a new faith community that is the “out of the box” second site of First United Methodist Church of Omaha and seeks to live the vision of welcoming and inclusion beyond the walls of the traditional church. Urban Abbey seeks to create space for modern worship, meaningful discussion, community engagement, and service that inspires advocacy for deep social change. It’s location is currently in the Soul Desires Bookstore in the Omaha Haymarket. Urban Abbey runs its own coffee bar which creates community and welcomes persons who may be
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reluctant to “come to church in a traditional mode”. The KidZone@theMarket program has an average of 23 young people and their families gathered on Saturday mornings during the Farmers Market. Over 150 children participated in Kid’s Zone at Halloween and their parents were welcomed with pumpkin lattes. Small groups have been started, including a group on meditation, scripture, individual art creation including everything from painting and poetry. This is a new experiment for the Nebraska Conference and for First Church and so far has shown much success. Our Mission congregation, Living Hope in Omaha, continues to grow and in fact was studied by the Brown Consulting Group out of Kearney, and out of 5,500 churches studied, scored the highest rating for growth potential (93%). Reaching out to the poor, the marginalized, the forgotten, societies’ “throwaways” is Living Hope’s mission. Their food pantry last year served over 14,000 persons and the community center continues to be a safe place for children and youth to come for tutoring, mentoring, and fun. The children are also fed nutritious meals. Living Hope is planning to expand the food program to where every child up to the age of 18 in the neighborhood, (whether they come to the community center or not), are given a healthy meal for free each evening. This past year there were 32 professions of faith and the membership is now 151 plus 59 associate members. Local Church Transformation Pathways to the Six Signs: Last spring the appointive cabinet mandated that the four program directors, Director of Communications, Peace with Justice, Leadership, and Congregational Development, design a transformative process for churches to assist them to be the followers of Jesus Christ by living out the Six Signs of Discipleship. The goal of the Pathways process is to help create dynamic churches that exhibit the Six Signs of Discipleship in their own communities in their own unique ways to help make disciples of Jesus Christ. Pathways to the Six Signs brings together the best of the L3 Leadership Development, MissionInsite, Rethink Church, Robert Schnase’s Five Practices, HorizonsStewardship, and many other programs and resources. The Pathways process integrates the best practices from various resources and how to use them. Realizing that “one size does not fit all”, Pathways is an assessment-based approach to addressing the true needs of each congregation. The process has nine dimensions and assesses each church on those dimensions from multiple perspectives (inside and outside the church,) in an effort to obtain a clear and accurate picture. Our inaugural group of churches were selected based on their potential for reaching another level of discipleship in their communities Each of the conference program directors is working with the churches and trained facilitators will be used in the process shortly. The Leadership Team shares the responsibility for funding Pathways with the Transformation Team. ABIDE is a revitalization process for smaller membership churches. It’s a 15-month process designed to help smaller membership churches rediscover what it means to be abiding in Christ, alive in God’s glory and advancing God’s mission. It is designed specifically for churches that have around 50 or even fewer
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in Sunday morning worship; no paid staff other than the pastor; an awareness that God wants to use the church in powerful ways; and a concern about the future of the mission of the church. A team of 4-12 lay people who care about the church and want to grow as spiritual leaders are involved from each church. Currently there 4 teams from Nebraska in a pilot project with Kansas West, and the Nebraska conference will be launching the ABIDE process in early September. Hispanic/Latino Ministry A Hispanic new faith community ( Nuevo Pacto) was started July 1, 2012 with the appointment of Rev. Cesar Duran to the Lexington area. The ministry works in cooperation with the Lexington United Methodist Church with the sharing of space and resources. The Hispanic/Latino congregation hopes soon to get a building of their own where they can create a community center. There are fifty members/ attenders of the faith community and on January 29, 2012, eighteen more people were received as members of Nuevo Pacto, four of them by profession of faith. One of the highlights of the year was World Communion Sunday when the Hispanic congregation and Anglo congregation joined in worship led by Rev. Tess Hufford and Rev. Cesar Duran. As the Lexington Hispanic population grows, so does the potential of this ministry. Another Hispanic Ministry is being supported by the Hastings Grace United Methodist Church, the Prairie Rivers District, and the conference. Cristo Poder de Dios has two worship services; Saturday with an attendance of 52 and Sunday with an attendance of 70. Members and friends come presently from Hastings, Harvard, Sutton, Grand Island, and St. Paul. There are 7 cell groups that meet weekly with trained leaders. Oscar Perez (LM), the leader of Cristo Poder de Dios, is currently conducting leadership class with an attendance of thirty including youth. The Hispanic ministry has purchased broadcast equipment through a grant from the General Board of Missions and the conference. They now are able to air their services and events to other Hispanic/Latino communities as far away as Sweden. Their broadcast equipment is also available to law enforcement agencies and other groups to help the Hispanic/Latino congregation become more aware of services and opportunities in the community; offer educational classes, and other information. Grace United Methodist Church members are committed to the Hispanic/Latino ministry and are working to develop closer relationships, serving as a model of how Anglo congregations can work with different ethnic groups and be enriched by the experience. Native American Ministry and New Visions Community The Native American congregation of Sacred Winds in Lincoln is actually a part of a larger ministry named The New Visions Community. New Visions is involved in Native American ministry by hosting Sacred Winds Native American Mission congregation and sharing resources and activities in addition to sanctuary space. The New Visions Community was created to provide a strong and effective United Methodist presence in the southwest area of Lincoln. It is a blend of the Calvary, St. James, and Southminster congregations with the focus being the changing of lives through the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. The core
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ministries are inspiring worship, holistic small groups and matching peoplesâ€™ strengths with actual needs of people. The mission field of New Visions contains much of the poorest, most ethnically diverse people in the city. This collaborative partnership of churches has outreach in many forms, including FoodNet, thrift shop clothing, and also includes ministries in alcohol and drug recovery, prison release, senior adults and the developmentally disabled. The Congregational Transformation Team continues to adapt to new conditions to remain on the cutting edge of being in ministry with its four areas of ministry.
Risk-Taking Mission and Justice Team Report Andrea Paret, chairperson by Carol Windrum
â€Śfaith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2: 17b The focus of the Team* is to provide Conference resources and support to empower local churches to engage in risk-taking mission that challenges people to take risks leading to faithful action and to engage in justice ministries that strive to eliminate systems of oppression within our communities and the world. During this past year, the team did this by: Connecting with over forty churches (selected by District Superintendents) throughout the conference to affirm their mission and justice efforts, share resources and encourage next steps. Supporting local church initiatives for social justice through mini-grants to FUMC Omaha (Box City), NWU (Give Me Your Hand Seminar), FUMC Lincoln (Peace Workshop), Valley UMC (Project Loaves and Fishes and Hunger Advocacy). Sharing stories of risk-taking mission and justice efforts through UMConnect, the Nebraska Messenger and the RTMJ webpage on a regular basis; Monitoring and encouraging ministries under the auspices of RTMJ through quarterly accountability reports including Sunrise Community Services/Chadron, Released and Restored, Nigeria/Nebraska Partnership, United Methodist Ministries, Volunteers in Mission, Global Ministries Task Force, Disaster Relief, Rural Network and Action Team, Justice for our Neighbors, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries, Center for Immigration Assistance, Spirit Quest, Elkhorn Valley District Church & Community Ministry, and Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska. Nurturing young leaders through the Micah Corps internship. Barbara Karel from Lincoln, Caryn Vincent from York, Philip Rohde from Columbus and Rachel Lee from Hastings College were the 2011 interns (to see some of their activities go to www.micahcorps.blogspot.com). Part of their intern work centered around children in poverty in Nebraska and immigration. Supporting Zach Anderson as he continued to serve as the conference Assistant Peace with Justice Coordinator and was responsible for keeping the RTMJ webpage fresh and promoting UMNAction.
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Adam Davenport attended the Young Clergy Forum at the General Board of Church & Society in February, 2012. Marcia Huff was one of the leaders at Ecumenical Advocacy Days, February 11, 2012 and provided significant research around God’s Renewed Creation to the Conference Board of Trustees, encouraging them to explore more environmentally responsible practices for buildings and properties owned by the conference. Katie Lamb, a sophomore at UNK, continued to sharpen her leadership and organizational skills as the long-term RTMJ intern. A video of about Rachel Corrie by Katie was produced for use in youth and adult groups to encourage more knowledge and faithful action regarding violence and nonviolence in the Middle East. Justice-seeking including using our voices in the halls of power. Ways RTMJ did this was through UMNAction which (grounded in the UM Social Principles) alerted Nebraska United Methodist subscribers to legislative bills in the Unicameral. One such bill had a significant impact on the youth and families served at Epworth Village. RTMJ was a co-sponsor of a vigil to support legislation to restore prenatal care for all expectant mothers in the state. And RTMJ participated in the Faith Day in the Legislature and supported the Immigration Task Force efforts against the anti-immigrant bill, LB48 in March, 2011. The team also collaborated with and provided support to the following organizations in our state: Nebraskans for Peace, Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty, Nebraska Appleseed, Voices for Children in Nebraska, and the Center for Rural Affairs. Hosting a Ministry Gathering Feb. 2011 which gave all the ministries and organizations under the auspices of RTMJ a chance to learn about what others are doing and find ways to collaborate. Working closely with the Global AIDS Task Force to promote the Special Offering and raise awareness about issues surrounding HIV/AIDS as well as recruit AIDS ambassadors across the Conference. Helping shape the Church Has Left the Building experience at Annual Conference, 2011. Assisting in the development of the Panama/NE Partnership For more information about RTMJ and helpful resources, go to: http:// umcneb.org/pages/detail/46 *The team is comprised of laity and clergy from local congregations across the conference including Hastings Grace, Norfolk, Falls City, Shelton, Trumbull, Holdrege, Omaha, Grand Island, Lincoln, and Auburn.
Released and Restored
2011 Ministry Report by Ruth Karlsson Each year more that 2,100 inmates are released from Nebraska’s 10 state prisons. Preparing these, our neighbors, to live moral, ethical and legal lives in our neighborhoods and communities after their release is the mission of Released and Restored. During 2011 we continued to serve prison and jail inmates through the following:
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Continued to conduct our 20-week, Planning With Purpose program on a semi-annual basis at the Nebraska State Penitentiary; Began offering this program at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution on a semi-annual basis; Conducted our Jobs Readiness/Life Skills program six times at the Lancaster Correctional Facility; Conducted the Jobs Readiness/Life Skills program as a pilot project at the Nebraska State Penitentiary; Preached at 11 UMCs about the mission and ministry of Released and Restored; Conducted our “Prison Ministry – Is It For You?”, and our Volunteer Training workshops at two UMC’s for the purpose of recruiting volunteers to facilitate our programs and mentor inmates post-release, and to establish UMC congregations who are wise in their welcome of these individuals; Executive Director, Pastor Ruth Karlsson, provided visitation and pastoral counseling with inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, and the Community Corrections Center-Lincoln; Met with pastors from First Baptist Church and First Plymouth Church, both in Lincoln, to establish connection and relationships with both congregations for the purpose of recruiting volunteers to facilitate our programs and mentor inmates post-release, and to establish other congregations who are wise in their welcome of these individuals; Spoke at local unit UMW meetings, Great Plains District UMW meeting, and Annual UMW meeting about the mission and ministry of Released and Restored.
Nigeria/Nebraska Partnershp Report by Dottie Halvorson
The Nigeria/Nebraska Partnership was created in 1999 in response to the Bishop’s Initiative, Hope for the Children of Africa. The partnership between the Nigeria and Nebraska Churches has resulted in the building of an orphanage in Jalingo, Taraba State, Nigeria. In 2011 the Partnership continued to develop in the following ways: The Partnership Chairperson, Dorothy Halvorsen, visited Nigeria in February and March. She made a connection by working with the children teaching some
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art and technology classes. Other activities included attending church services, revivals, and visiting villages throughout the area. The orphanage in Jalingo became a VIM site in 2011. It is the wish of the staff to have volunteers stay at the orphanage when they visit. Five orphans completed the sixth grade in 2011 and began boarding school at a Junior Seminary for further education. Classrooms and dormitories were completed in preparation for the addition of fifty new orphans in 2012. A computer lab has been donated by a local businessman who wished to give back to the Methodists who helped him with his education. Plans are also being made to offer practical vocational training for the children. Throughout the year, the committee visited church services, United Methodist Women’s meetings, and School of Christian Mission to promote the Nigeria/ Nebraska Partnership. At Annual Conference there were displays with both Creations for Orphans, a ministry of jewelry sales with proceeds for the orphanage, and Nigeria/Nebraska Partnership. At the Nigerian Luncheon a challenge was made to collect school and health kits to be sent to Nigeria. One hundred school kits, twenty teacher kits, health kits, and shoes were collected then sent to the orphanage. The Nigeria/Nebraska Partnership Committee would like to thank the United Methodists of Nebraska for their gifts, prayers and concerns for the people of Nigeria. It is our hope and prayer that this partnership can continue for many years to come.
Jalingo UMCN Orphanage, Jalingo, Nigeria by Simon Benjamin, Coordinator
Bishop and delegates of the Annual Conference and other protocol duly observed and respected. Greetings: On behalf of the Nigeria Annual Conference and the entire staff and students of the orphanage, I bring you greetings. The Jalingo UMCN Orphanage, Jalingo, Nigeria was founded in 1999 by the first Bishop elected of the United Methodist Church Nigeria Conference, the late Rev. Dr. Done Peter Dabale. It was not officially commissioned until 2007. This came into being as a result of the Council of Bishops’ Initiative on the Children of Africa. The unchangeable effort brought about partnership between the then Nigeria Annual Conference and the Conferences in the United States of America, namely California-Pacific Annual Conference, Iowa, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Nebraska. They entered into mutual agreement based on General Board of Global Ministries’ holistic community development program aimed at addressing poverty and violence against children. This was one of the late Bishop Dabale’s main concern projects: a befitting brainchild of the UMC Council of Bishops. As time flew by, other conferences who ratified a memo of understanding were not be able to fulfill their obligations, partly, due to past disappointment. In order to prove its own mettle, however, Nebraska Annual Conference took the center stage to address the many needs of hurting people in this ministry, spear heading holistically, with the efficiency and economy of one historic and undivided curative agency.
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Its mission then expanded to take in hand not only education but also the material and spiritual needs of both children and staff. This became evident in its focused and credible involvement in settling the home’s staff salaries, feeding and overhead costs, among others. Most of the children now arrive the progeny of hope from caregivers. To this end, there is also a wide growth of more interest from people of Nigeria especially non UMC denominations. Individual groups and the like are now sending in their contributions in both cash and kind to enhance livelihood of this home courtesy of the timely media advocacy the child support center is gaining among other ways. Fostering: Twelve boys and girls of age 0 to 4 years old were given out for fostering and adoption. These caregivers are allowed to stay with the kids. When children who hurt are given a fostering sense of well-being, especially as their holistic prospectus is improved, they feel stimulated by a concerned environment. Nestled by the entrance of the UMCN headquarters in Jalingo, Taraba State is home for the children of hope. It began with fifteen students. Like other less privileged abode, it’s a place for children to learn, participate and vocation together. The entire interior curriculum for each class is designed, to provide fun and engaging activities that keep the learning process active the whole time. To keep kids interested in reading and writing, a reading program includes reading ease and reading comprehension. There is also creative designing; an art course that gives children the opportunity to express themselves through such middling as portrayal painting, and sand art. A temporary computer lab has improved over-time with internet connection, providing the children and even the outside Community who have drawn closer to learn, explore cyber space. Special programs such as power point for outward show, Microsoft word for word production to mention but a few are taught to enable them to learn and acquire more skills, as each child is seen blooming into a rowan - a move to equipping tomorrow’s leaders. That’s a stable foundation for personal growth. A Place to Amend There is a playing field, and outside schools do come to enjoy the well mown grassland. During game time, children of the orphanage bring the environment alive every day with their cheerful shouts and bouncy frolic - benefiting from a childhood that, in many instances, had been deprived of them. There are eight teaching staff and seventeen academic staff, including three Matrons, four cleaners, four cooks (one male), two security men, clinic staff, and a father care. Fifty orphans are on the school’s current enrollment out of which eleven are in secondary schools. Every teacher is agile and willing to support the children in making their experiences so rewarding. To buttress this, group/individual counseling assistance, spiritual developments among others are offered in a supportive environment which showcases that they are in a mission with a vision. During session, the children are encouraged by their tutors to take an active part in determining the goals they would want to accomplish.
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Unceasing three square meals are nevertheless shared on a daily basis, with special preference for impartial diets. Moreover, as part of healthy growth, the children are told to take siesta by p.m. day by day. New Atmosphere While many service organizations having fewer resources are being forced to do less, this home is challenged to do more with less. Take for example, in 2011 alone the incumbent administration has had several projects going on in the yard. There are two newly completed and commissioned corrugated aluminum sheet classroom blocks adjacent to the football field. There are also male and female hostels expecting completion. That is not allthere is again a modern computer lab awaiting conclusion. Apart from the commissioned classroom blocks, the rest of the projects are at rooming levels crying and begging to be finished. By the end of July, these new rooms will be ready for use by the newly enrolled students. The paces of â€œpresent projects have defied all past predictions, and what a success story,â€? comments a regular visitor. Usually the brood range from infants to four-year-olds. In spite of the circumstances they may find at home, all the children appear happy to see a parent or caregiver surface for them. In rotation, all loved ones and caregivers of the needy habitat are indebted to the United Methodist Church in Nigeria. As a result, other non UMC denominations have begun to participate by bringing their own, in that this gives them the opening and self-assurance to go to labor or school in order to make life more enjoyable for their families. People come from all walks of life with a great variation of ethnic diversity, age and denominational affiliation. The assortment of this community of cheering and highly acclaimed godly people is by no little means a source of its strength. For right of absorption into the home, a Seven Man Board Committee is asked for an application form as special interview is scheduled prior to admittance. Fifty (50) new intakes enrolled into the orphanage for continued training. It is no doubt true that the great men of every age who have had the arduous task to shape human destiny have been men of one idea, impelled by resolute energy. They are men of extra sensory perception, whose moving concentration of purpose never scatters its forces. One of the homeâ€™s efforts aimed at revitalizing the lives of hurting children is the timely visits of the incumbent coordinator, Simon Benjamin who, so stern in a loving way, travels to villages within and around the State scouting for such kids of circumstance. As end result and one day, a boy found in Makong Danburam under a tree in a UMC community, lying beneath its dead mother. Danburam is in the far north and about fifty unfriendly kilometers from Jalingo the Capital of Taraba State. Majority of the community are women. Many of the young females who put to birth here are unable to read a book or sign their names. Most of them exist without adequate shelter; no hospital; neither is there access to safe water and children die before they reach the age of five. Six months ago (June) a young mad woman put to birth a baby boy under a Baobab tree which she used as her residence. Since there are no health services and good roads, before any action was taken,
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the mentally retarded girl feel into a deep coma and bled to death. The child was rushed to the UMC orphanage by Deacon Solomon Jediel for emergency attention. Even though the mother could not live to see her son, the boy survived and now responds to care somewhere in Abuja, capital of Nigeria. Barely seven weeks ago again, one of the many abused youths in Makong Danburam Village gave birth to a bouncing baby boy whose father, the mother did not know either. Two days later she breathed her last. The child is now in Ganye, several hundreds of kilometers away from Yola, with a new parent. “There are several cases of gender molestation here, partly because the parents live from hand to mouth, and that’s why the people are indebtely poor,” said Deacon Solomon when he and the deceased family brought the child to the Jalingo UMC Orphanage. Needs for the orphanage: 1. Education materials 2. Sponsorship of the students to college and university 3. Health care delivery 4. Mobility to ease the work 5. Continuing education of the staff 6. 18% increase in salaries of staff 7. Expansion of the orphanage/games and materials Appreciation On behalf of the Nigeria Annual Conference, I stand on my feet to express our deep appreciation to the Nebraska Annual Conference and all members of the United Methodist Church in America for: • Saving the life of the orphans who were hopeless • Putting a smile on our faces • Making us feel a sense of belonging • Giving hope for education and hope for survival and life. Thank you and God bless.
Peace with Justice Ministries (PJM)
Seek peace, and pursue it. Proverbs 34:14 Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953 Using the strength of our connectional United Methodist family across the state, Peace with Justice Ministries (PJM) continued to help disciples of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, use their voices in the halls of power and witness to these words of President Eisenhower spoken more than five decades ago. There are more than 400 Voices to the Capitol participants from local churches including Scottsbluff, Lincoln, David City, Auburn, Gothenburg, Ain-
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sworth, Seward, Broken Bow, Hastings, and Wauneta. Voices to the Capitol has a faithful witness of 26 years of advocacy, and remained an ongoing vehicle in 2011 to stand for the most vulnerable by advocating for such programs as maintaining the SNAP program as well as other federal child nutrition programs, supporting school breakfast and lunch programs, funding for preventing war through investing in diplomacy and making foreign aid more efficient through USAID. Note: povertyfocused foreign assistance is less than 1% of the federal budget. The other conference-wide program of PJM was recruiting and resourcing Peace Advocates. The Nebraska Conference has the largest network of Peace Advocates across our denomination with over 450 individuals who have pledged to seek peace through prayer, study, and action. PJM publishes The Mustard Seed ten times a year which gives ideas for peacemaking in optional time frames. Ideas take as little as 5-10 minutes to complete while others require a longer investment. Some ideas and resources shared in 2011 included: support of the DREAM ACT and opposition to anti-immigrant legislative bill 48; promotion of the model of Holy Conferencing to discuss potentially controversial issues in the church; sharing of the testimony of a young Nebraska United Methodist leader who participated in Occupy Wall Street; and encouraging missions committees to participate in the 2011 Bread for the World Offering of Letters. Peace Advocates come from many local congregations in all six districts, including: Valentine, Donavan, Falls City, McCook, Papillion, Wahoo, and Omaha, Lincoln and Holdrege. Through the Voices to the Capitol network and the Peace Advocate network, faithful Nebraska United Methodists are manifesting Christ, the peacemaker in our churches and world. Submitted by Carol Windrum, Coordinator of Peace with Justice Ministries
United Methodist Ministries â€“ Missouri River District by Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, Executive Director
UMMinistries utilizes special events, Volunteers in Mission, the Big Garden and the Blue Flamingo thrift store as starting points for teaching leadership skills, providing resources to local congregations, and engaging in risk-taking mission and justice. In this way we are responsive to the work of all three teams of the Common Table. While our offices are located in the Missouri River District, we now have program sites in all six Districts, as well as sites in both Kansas Conferences. Highlights from 2011 include: Completion of our first three years of the Big Rural Garden, a project funded in large part by a grant from the USDAâ€™s Community Food Project, with matching funds contributed through volunteer hours, in-kind gifts, and existing program support from the Nebraska Annual Conference. The Big Rural Garden includes approximately 30 sites in rural Nebraska and Kansas, and has seen rapid growth in terms of the number of sites, volunteer support, and the amount of food produced and consumed in local communities. We are pleased to announce a matching
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grant from the Peter Kiewit Foundation that will allow us to continue adding rural garden sites in Nebraska for another two years. Volunteers in Mission – United Methodist Ministries hosted nearly 600 volunteers through the VIM program. Participants included visiting mission teams, single-day mission immersion groups, and participants in our annual Days of Service. VIM teams come from across our Conference, as well as Conferences in three different Jurisdictions. The Advance – the Big Garden is listed as an Advance Special with the United Methodist Church. Our fundraising goal through the Advance for 2012 is $15,000. Our Advance number is #3021107 and we welcome participation by our friends in the Nebraska Annual Conference. Missionary staff – 2011 marked our first year as an approved Church and Community Worker site, with Lisa Maupin serving in this position. We were also approved to receive a young adult missionary, Erin Eidenshink, who came to UMMinistries for the second half of her placement in the young adult program. University of What Works – a workshop launched in fall 2011 with a goal of providing both framing theology and specific tools and best practices for immediate use in the local Church by both laity and clergy. Future events will likely be planned around specific themes, with a winter version planned in conjunction with the District office’s annual training event. New initiatives in 2012 include an application to become a UMW National Mission Institution, approval for a second Church and Community Worker, and continued outreach to the two other Conferences in the new Episcopal area. We look forward to our future together in ministry, and are grateful for the continued financial and spiritual support of the Nebraska Annual Conference.
Justice For Our Neighbors of Nebraska 2414 “E” Street, Omaha, NE 68107 402-898-1349 www.jfon-ne.org by Emiliano Lerda, Esq.
Justice For Our Neighbors of Nebraska (JFON-NE) is a faith driven ministry, welcoming immigrants into our churches and communities by providing free, high quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy. JFON-NE was started by and is affiliated with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). In 2011, JFON-NE served more than 500 families with their immigration legal problems. Our clients are often victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or other crimes. We also have clients that are
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seeking help to reunite their families. Additionally, in 2011 we were able to reach out to more than 5,000 people through various educational outreach projects and presentations throughout the State of Nebraska. JFON-NE is under the auspices of the Nebraska Annual Conference RiskTaking Mission and Justice Ministries Team, and is supported through Mission Share dollars. Without this support we would not be able to fulfill our biblical mission as directed by Matthew 25:35 in the following passage “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” JFON-NE continues to hold monthly immigration legal clinics at Grace United Methodist Church of Omaha and at the First United Methodist Church of Columbus. Our monthly clinics are an opportunity for our volunteers to come together with our clients. Our program gives volunteers an opportunity to learn more about the immigration legal system and get to know and welcome the wonderful people who are our new neighbors. In addition, this year at the Omaha monthly immigration legal clinics, we partnered up with the Omaha Family Literacy Partnership from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as well as Together Inc. Our partnership with the Omaha Family Literacy Program has allowed us to give children’s books to our clients to share with their families. Our partnership with Together Inc. allows our clients to receive a box or bag of food to take home following their consultation with our attorney. We look forward to continuing to grow our program in 2012 to welcome more neighbors to our churches and communities.
Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska by Marilyn P. Mecham, IMN Executive
“Encourage each other and strengthen one another.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12 You can hear them say, “It’s been 40 years!” Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska Partners in Ministry proclaim with pride and celebration that 40 years ago IMN evolved from the Nebraska Council of Churches. Forty years of realizing God’s desire and longing for the Church to live out the vision of Christ’s prayer “that they may all be one.” Forty years of IMN being actively engaged in living out Christ’s ministry, what is commonly known as the Life and Work dimensions of ecumenism. This is truly something to celebrate! During the past 40 years the member denominations of IMN have faithfully joined together to serve people through ecumenical ministries. In 2011 more than 4,000 calls were received through the Rural Response Hotline, a Hotline that has been strongly supported by the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church; over 1,000,000 suicide prevention information resources were shared throughout the state; and hundreds of people received training on advocacy; identifying and preventing bullying, and meeting the needs of returning military personnel and their families. The floods presented disaster response challenges and long-term recovery needs and the immigration issue before the Legislature united congregations, communities, and denominations together in dialogue and
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strong witness. Environmental stewardship was brought to the IMN table as a concern to be lifted up by all member denominations. In 2011 Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska was honored to receive the Niagara Foundation Peace and Dialogue Award for continuing to build interfaith relationships by sharing the same passion for service through cooperation, thus bearing witness of our support of human dignity and the common good. The People of Faith Wall of Honor was established to honor those who have been a faith inspiration to an individual, in their church, or in their community. Among those honored in 2011 were Bishop Sherer-Simpson, Herold and Ruth (Schroeder) Luetchens, Mel Luetchens, and Carol Windrum. If you would like more information about naming someone to the People of Faith Wall of Honor and supporting ecumenical ministries, contact the IMN office. All IMN ministries and the impact they have on the lives of Nebraskans of all ages are because of the commitment, leadership, and financial support of the member denominations. Special appreciation to Bishop Ann Sherer-Simpson, for serving as President of the Board of Directors, and to all within the Nebraska Conference who have served on the Board, on committees, JSATs, and task forces. Thank you! IMN Ministries The Farm Crisis Response Council and the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline Ministry to Returning Military Faith Community Response to Domestic Violence Ecumenical Legislative Briefing Day Health Ministry Angel Connection Ecumenical Disaster Response Environmental Stewardship Ecumenical Lending Library Peace with Justice Joint Strategy and Action Team Grants to American Indians in Nebraska Anti-Bullying Circles of Accountability and Support IMN Partners American Baptist Churches of Nebraska Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Nebraska Church of the Brethren, Western Plains District Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska Evangelical Covenant Church, Midwest Conf. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, NE Synod Mennonite Conference, Central Plains Presbytery of Central Nebraska Homestead Presbytery Presbytery of Missouri River Valley United Church of Christ, Nebraska Conference United Methodist Church, Nebraska Conference
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In 2011 we again learned that by being One at God’s Table, by meeting face-toface and working hand-in-hand, we are able to address the challenges of our time. Thanks be to God! For more information about these ministries and resources or to schedule a presentation in your church, contact IMN.
Nebraska Conference United Methodist Women, Walking in the light for mission.....
by Louise Niemann, Conference President
Nebraska United Methodist Women continue to be challenged as we seek social justice for all God’s children. Nearly 100 officers participated in study groups highlighting the conference focus areas of Immigration, Human Trafficking and Health Care, at district officer training in January. An additional feature of this training was the “officer in a box”. This take home, officer specific, study packet was developed by each Conference Officer for her district counterpart. Nebraska Conference United Methodist Women and Risk Taking Mission with Justice sponsored an Immigration Seminar in New York City. Eight men and women from Nebraska attended this week-long event facilitated by Women’s Division staff. While in New York, the Prince of Peace Statue at the Church Center of the United Nations was rededicated. (The statue was donated and dedicated in 1967 in honor of Bishop Copeland by Nebraska United Methodist Women.) During the year, United Methodist Women were engaged in: • Ecumenical Legislative Day, Feb. 12. • Risk-taking Mission with Justice Gathering-mission organizations shared stories and encouraged each another, Feb. 12 • Bishop’s Roast, attended and presented a monetary gift to St. Paul School of Theology. • Cooperative School of Christian Mission United Methodist Women were active at Annual Conference as lay leaders, preparing the meditation area, United Methodist Women’s report, and the United Methodist Women’s luncheon. The presentation of the Eunice Harrington Award was made at the awards gala. Nominees and award winners were: Joyce Solomon-Gateway District, award winner Lori Miller-Blue River District Louise Boyd-Elkhorn Valley District Cindy Berndt-Great West District Joyce Jacobson, Missouri River District Debra Swartz-Prairie Rivers District Nebraska Conference United Methodist Women Conference Officers attended a June retreat at Salina, KS, with the officers of Kansas East and Kansas West.
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During the weekend, officers celebrated the mission work of each conference and dreamed of the future of our organization. The three teams developed a steering committee plan in preparation of a possible merger of the three conferences. The tri-conference event was lead by Julia Tulloch, Women’s Division and guest presenter Bishop Ann Sherer-Simpson. Finishing the year, Nebraska Conference United Methodist Women’s Annual Meeting was a spectacular celebration! Over 275 women gathered from across the state as volunteers in mission, rolling up our sleeves at Epworth Village, York. The keynote speaker was Deputy General Secretary, Harriett Jane Olson of Women’s Division. Other highlights included presentations by Epworth Staff and Bishop Ann Sherer-Simpson. Special memorial tributes were given in honor of Yvonne Ferris, former Conference president and Betty Lind, unit president of York.
....working for justice and peace, sharing God’s love.
Nebraska United Methodist Historical Center/Archives Report by Karrie Dvorak, Director/Curator
In 2011, Nebraska United Methodist Historical Center/Archives (“NUMHC”) volunteers worked diligently to respond to research requests, keep church and clergy files updated, process conference records that arrived at the Archives between directors, and catalog an additional 160 volumes of books and upload that information to the on-line card catalog located on the web at: http://www. librarything.com/catalog/neumc/. Some of the recently processed additions include records and memorabilia from former Bishop Monk Bryan and his wife, Corneille; the Association of Retired Ministers; Camps Comeca, Fontanelle and Norwesca; the Epworth League; Riverside Park; and, Wesley Foundation/ Cornerstone/UMHE. Collectively, NUMHC volunteers worked approximately 550 hours at the Archives this past year. Since being hired in December 2011, archivist Karrie Dvorak has worked to respond to research requests and accession the backlog of closed church records and other historical items relating to Nebraska Methodism that NUMHC received in 2011. The Historical Center/Archives continues to offer research support for all persons interested in the rich heritage of the Nebraska United Methodist Conference. Some examples of research requests that staff and volunteers answered this past year are: information on former clergy and their Nebraska appointments, general historical information for existing United Methodist church anniversary celebrations, and baptism and marriage record requests from discontinued church membership records (including former EUB, UB, Evangelical and Methodist churches in Nebraska), etc. In addition, NUMHC staff strive to connect with local churches by offering resource services to clergy and lay people in planning anniversary celebrations, and in establishing and maintaining church archives. I would like to recognize the efforts and dedicated commitment of NUMHC volunteers: Bernice Boilesen, Bob Craig, Gail Devore, and Barb Schmidt, as well as the members of the Nebraska Commission on Archives and History.
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2012 Camping Report
I bring greetings to each of you today- our many friends of Nebraska United Methodist Camping from Camp Norwesca of the Great West District. We have been greatly blessed in many ways over the past year in many ways. Today, I would like share some of our many blessings. Over the past year we have renewed our commitment to an effort of strengthen old friendships and igniting new friendships throughout our district. In this effort, we are continuing to visit as many our district church families as possible before and after our summer camping season. In addition to visiting our district church families, we also have been able to welcome many returning adult and young adult groups from previous years as well as begin exciting new relationships with four groups that will be coming to Camp Norwesca this year. During our 2011 summer camping season, we welcomed 205 campers to Camp Norwesca. During our 2011 camping season we were overjoyed to completely fill two camps to maximum capacity. These two camps were Pine Ridge Riders and Mission Possible. As wonderful as 2011 was, we are looking forward and very excited for our 2012 camping season and are geared up for another thrilling season. Through a combined count of our adult groups and youth programs over the past year, we had 3,783 individuals call Camp Norwesca home throughout the 2011 year. Another blessing and answer to many prayers is the remarkable support that we have received from our church families. Since last fall to today, we have been able to successfully check off some major goals in our Master Plan because of their support. These major projects include completely replacing the lodge roof, painting the menâ€™s bathroom of the lodge, painting the dining hall of the lodge, and renovating the Dorm area into an area for staff in the summer and a pastorâ€™s retreat area during the fall, winter, and spring. Through the combined efforts of the church families of the Great West, individuals across the state of Nebraska, and the current site board, we would not have been able to have such an amazing year. In the coming year we hope to continue to strengthen our relationships and welcome back many individuals and families. Through this hope, we will move forward with our Master Plan as well as re-establishing relations with the church families that are represented through our ten cabins that are home to so many during the year. Thank you for your support and helping us to strive for excellence and truly become a Place to Grow with God in All Seasons. Peace be with you, Valerie Rahrs Camp Comeca has nine team members returning this summer, three of whom are on their fourth year with the camp! All the deans have been lined up and registrations continue to arrive. Staff and Site Board members have been out and
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about recruiting in the churches, and we encourage you to check out the new web site we’re building – it’s looking great! As always, we are focusing on building community with our area churches, promoting camp and use of our facilities and exploring ways we can help the churches in their ministry to youth and adults. We will be adding two tent camping sites and a labyrinth to enhance the many Mountain-Top and very open experiences we have to offer. We hope the labyrinth will enhance the opportunities for individual, personal faith-building experiences. Camp Fontanelle has enjoyed many blessings this past year. More and more people from churches and the local community are visiting the camp and enjoying God’s beauty in nature and renewing their spirits. Relationships are reinforced between friends, family, the community, and with God. In 2011 Camp Fontanelle had 482 campers. Over 400 are signed up thus far in 2012 on pace to reach the 600 camper number through your prayers and advocacy. Last week Camp Fontanelle hosted a record 81 people for Guardian Angel camp. Over 6,000 people visited our pumpkin patch and corn maze, up from 4,000 in 2011. Restrooms in the Main Lodge have been remodeled and a new storm shelter and restroom facility near the petting barn and corn maze will be finished by BBQ with a Picnic/community shelter for reunions and potlucks to follow. Join us at our annual BBQ on Sunday September 16th. Support us by your presence. Send or bid on a quilt at the quilt auction. There is something for everyone sandwiched in between worship at 11 am with Galen Wray and 5 pm with Harold Backus. Summer camping ministry is one of the many tools in your arsenal to make disciples. In the baptismal covenant the pastor states, “Members of the household of God, I commend these persons to your love and care. Do ALL in your power to increase their faith, confirm their hope, and perfect them in love.” The congregation responds “We give thanks for all that God has already given you and we welcome you in Christian love. As members together with you in the body of Christ and in this congregation of the United Methodist Church, we renew our covenant faithfully to participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” Summer church camp is a ministry of the church. Many clergy and laity recall a specific moment at camp where a crucial decision was made in their faith lives. At Camp Fontanelle, both Derek and I are products of church camp and know the impact of such experiences. The camps were created in the 1950’s because the church embraced the realization that God works in mighty ways when people are in fellowship and retreat for longer periods of time. This is true more so today than any time in history due to the distractions of our technological world. Our kids NEED to go to camp. We are made to worship and praise God and to bring God glory. It only takes a spark to get that fire going so that soon all those around can warm up in its glowing. An experience at camp often is that extra energy or catalyst to create that spark which can then be fanned to flames through the fellowship and ministries that are already in place in your churches. Let’s renew our baptismal covenant faithfully as a part of the body of Christ to participate in the ministries of the church which includes camping. By your
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prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service God will be glorified through summer camping ministries. All camp sessions for all ages at all 3 camps still have room for more campers. Children ages 4-18 can attend and all adults can attend the preschool through 2nd grade camps if you can find a kid that age to go with you. Every pastor and every UMW in the entire Nebraska Conference was mailed a brochure with a certificate to send a NEW FIRST TIME CAMPER at ½ price. Only 10 such certificates have been redeemed at Camp Fontanelle. Encourage your pastor and UMW to send a FIRST TIME CAMPER at ½ price. If every church did so we’d have at least 500 NEW FIRST TIME CAMPERS this summer. Visit the camping booth to pick up registration forms, an Annual Conference special $50 off coupon good for all 3 sites, and send the children of your family, church, and neighborhood. Go now in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit and make disciples of Christ. Humbly, Trent Meyer
Campus Ministries at Nebraska Wesleyan University by Rev. Mara Bailey University Minister Nebraska Wesleyan University 5000 Saint Paul Ave Lincoln, NE 68504 Office: 402.465.2398
Here is the report from Campus Ministries at Nebraska Wesleyan University given at Annual Conference on 6/7/12: Campus Ministries Report 6/7/12 Greetings from the campus of Nebraska Wesleyan University! I am Rev. Mara Bailey, and I serve as the University Minister on campus. I wanted to share with the conference some of our celebrations over this past school year. We had a lively time in our office with 10 student interns this year. Three of those interns were supported by funds from the Risk-Taking Mission and Justice team of the conference. Our other interns serve as ministry leaders for our campus ministry programming on campus, engaging students, faculty, and staff in faith exploration and support. I’d like to share with you a few of our ministry highlights the students and I experienced this year: In November our office worked with the Board of Ordained Ministry to take 5 students to Exploration, an event sponsored by the GBHEM designed for young adults to explore a call into the ministries of the United Methodist Church. Each student came away with a greater understanding of where God might be calling them into the ministries of the United Methodist Church. Two are now actively engaged in the candidacy process. We may have seen a few of you working with our students at Confirmation Day in March. This year, our theme was SPARK: Stay in Love With God. Our students along with members of the conference staff planned a day designed to engage our confirmands in learning how it is that our Wesleyan tradition encourages us to have a strong and lively relationship with God. Over Spring Break, 5 of the students at NWU chose to use their break serving others. Working with Denver
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Urban Ministries, these students learned about the issues of homelessness, poverty, and hunger in the Denver area. and a new Favorite time of year for me: the end of every semester when I am in the ministry of hundreds of cups of coffee at our revival stations. we encourage students to take a break during their studying with some healthy nourishment, caffeine, and spiritual support. In the midst of our campus programming, we continue to live out an active partnership with First UMC Lincoln. We hosted two Peace Meals, helping the students and the congregation to explore peacemaking within our communities over a shared meal. Our weekly Taize prayer services have brought together a diverse group of students seeking silence, rest, and reflection in the midst of their busy lives. we welcome your prayers as a conference for this campus ministry. be assured that as we minister to students of all religious backgrounds, students are engaging faithfully in this ministry of the United Methodist Church. Thank you.
Equitable Compensation Report Rev Bev Lanzendorf
Greetings Annual Conference members and Bishop Sherer-Simpson. I would like to thank the cabinet for working diligently and closely with the churches involved in this process. Budgets are always being stretched but currently each church is doing its part. Despite the difficult economic times people still are being faithful to God and the church. We are happy to report most of the business at hand was taken care of by teleconference phone meetings as needed. From July 1, 2011 through December 31 2011 there was no awards given, and from January 1 through June 30, 2012 no awards were given. Another accomplishment from the group was the revision of the form found on pages 47 & 48 in the conference resource book. These guidelines require action on the part. The Equitable Compensation Committee recommends approval of the guidelines as printed in the resource bookâ€?. I wish to thank all of the United Methodist churches in Nebraska for supporting Conference mission shares and ask you to continue supporting this ministry with your financial stewardship. I also wish to thank the committee members for their diligent and conscientious work this past year.
Conference Treasurer Report by Robin Kilgore
Good afternoon. I am Robin Kilgore, Conference Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services. I wish to thank you for your faithful stewardship in 2011 and I am grateful that you have experienced Godâ€™s grace and blessings through your financial support of the United Methodist Church in Nebraska. Simply stated, our work in the financial arena of the Nebraska Annual Conference is to collect, track, protect, and forward your financial gifts for mission and ministry. I am happy to report that Nebraska United Methodist Churches are very generous when it comes to giving to others.
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Nebraska Mission share receipts during 2011 totaled $6,161,230 representing 85.38% of the approved funding plan. Please note that all mission shares received are used for various types of mission and ministry. In 2010, the percentage was 86.78% and in 2009 it was 85.56% showing consistency over the last 3 years. There were 261 churches which reached the 100% Mission Share goal in 2011 and posters produced by the United Methodist Communications and the General Council on Finance & Administration will be available for you to take home this week. District Superintendents will distribute these at the district breakfasts. This example from the Benkleman UMC reads â€œMaking a Difference Togetherâ€?. This is truly how our connectional church blesses people around the globe each and every day. In addition to Mission Share support, Nebraska United Methodist Churches contributed nearly $695,555 toward other mission outreach opportunities through General Advances, Conference Advances, Special Sunday Offerings, and other askings during the 2011 year. This bar graph represents our collective gifts and the emphasis areas from all Nebraska United Methodist Churches. This pie chart shows how our connectional resources have been used to fund ministry with our Mission Share dollars. You will note that 23% fund our Nebraska Conference Ministries, 19% fund the General Church responsibilities, 30% funds the deployment of pastoral leaders to local churches, and 27% supports the administrative tasks to track and forward resources for advances, clergy health insurance, clergy pension, and the maintenance of our Conference-owned property. Another exciting statistic is the fact that 17 local congregations have met the 2012 mission share goal in full as of May 31. At this time, Iâ€™d like to recognize the members present from these congregations and their District Superintendents. Please stand and remain standing until all names are read. A listing of these congregations is on the screen as well Arcadia, Atlanta, Brownville, Burr, Clinton, Crawford Valley, Davenport, Falls City Bethel, Gibbon Bethel, Hazard, Looking Glass, Melbeta, Ragan, Roca, Trumbull, Valparaiso, and Lincoln Newman. Please join me in thanking them with a round of applause for this accomplishment. I wish to thank the administrative staff persons who diligently care for your financial contributions so that ministries are funded according to your wishes. Please take some time this week to thank Lorie Lindenmuth, Tina Watteyne, and Carole Otto. Likewise, there are many individuals with leadership gifts of those serving on many of our Conference boards, committees, and task forces and I wish to thank those individuals as well. The 2013 proposed funding plan of $6,933,064 is before you for discernment and can be found on pages 33-38. This reflects a reduction of 6.1% from the current year thanks to the work of many groups, boards, and committees. You will note that there is one small change due to the action taken by the General Conference a few weeks ago. In section II: General Church Ministries found on page 33 in the resource book, change the amount from $1,356,330 to a request of $1,355,053. This represents a reduction of $1,277. Likewise turn to page 38 and change the last line Total Apportioned Funding Plan from $6,933,064 to $6,931,787, again a reduction of $1,277. My prayer is to determine together that this is the best way to fund missions and ministry in creating more joyful givers.
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Thank you for your continued support for our connectional church and its ministries. This scripture verse found in 2 Corinthians 9-12 is most appropriate for today “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” Lastly, thank you for allowing me to serve you in our shared ministry work.
Laity Address by Tom Watson
Greetings Church, my name is Tom Watson and by the Grace of God I am and am also becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ. Your agenda says this is the Lay Leader’s Report, I have a slight change to your agenda, this is really the Lay Leader’s Questions for consideration. I would like for us to examine ourselves a bit. Remember with me the encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus as related in the Gospel of John. Jesus message to Nicodemus, and to us, was and is that we must be born anew. He said, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, it is not possible to enter the Kingdom of God. Bear with me now, I don’t intend this to be a woesome address, or as Lisa Maupin calls it, “A Darth Vader Speech”. You remember the verse “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together”? The church is an entity, sort of, but it is made up of all of us as the parts. So, as I see it, every day, every year we are a new church, a different church made up of different individuals. My first question is - Can a Church be born again? If the answer to that is “yes”, Does our Church need a new birth? Actually I believe that we are in the midst of, or in the process of being born anew as the Church. Part of that, or evidence of that new birth is what I perceive as a changing attitude about the church and what it means to be a disciple. In John Wesley’s General Rules, the third rule of evidence of a desire for salvation is “by attending upon the ordinances of God”. Bishop Reuben Job has simplified that to “Staying In Love with God”. However, Wesley understood “the ordinances of God” to be spiritual disciplines that all disciples should practice. These “means of grace” enable us to grow in the Christian faith. Wesley included six ordinances in his list. The first ordinance/discipline in his list is “the public worship of God”. Followed by - Ministry of the Word, either read or expounded; the Supper of the Lord; Family and private prayer; Searching the Scriptures; and Fasting or abstinence. Why do I refer to Mr. Wesley’s General Rules? Our Conference theme this year addresses Worship. The theme is displayed all around us and written on the cover
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of your Resource Book. Now I have another question for you. How do you read our theme? Where do you put the emphasis? Have you ever noticed when reading a passage of the Scriptures that the meaning of a statement or its “flavor” changes depending on where you place the emphasis. Sometimes I am accused of putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. So, how do you read our theme? Are we to WORSHIP in the reign of God, or Are we to Worship IN the reign of God? As I mentioned earlier, worship, “heart warming worship”, is the sign of discipleship we have raised up as our area of focus during this time together. Our worship experience should have a profound effect on our attitude. I believe that worship, like breathing, has two segments, a giving out and a taking in. One of our contemporary worship songs says “Come, now is the time to worship. Come, now is the time to give your heart”. The heart given to God is a giving out, but the heart given to God is also most prepared to receive from God. In worship, the music and the word preached, we are re-formed, renewed with each experience. In some sense our worship experiences should have an effect like the pep talk to the team before the game. We are encouraged, motivated and on fire to actually “play the game”. In the past I fear that for many of us Laity, our view of what it is to be a disciple was limited to participation in church activities. Attending worship may even have been viewed as sort of satisfying the requirements of discipleship. “Eau Contraire”. Our mission is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World”. I believe that far more transformative work is and will be done by disciples changing their world than by our institutional efforts. Life as a disciple really does start when we leave the church building. So the sign I have observed in one of our churches is absolutely correct. On the inside of the door as you are leaving the church, it says “You are now entering the mission field”. You see, your life in your community, at your work or school, or at home is where your discipleship is observed, measured, even judged. Do the people in your community, not just your congregation, see Christ when they observe your work and participation in the community. So, depending upon your view of us as the Church, we are either invited to WORSHIP in the reign of God; or we are invited to Worship IN the reign of God. In any event, we say Come Holy Spirit, Come. Transform us that we might be transformers.
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Now Nicodemus heard from Christ A hard word, can we hear it? About the need for second birth Both Water and the Spirit
When Wesley listed disciplines Public worship was on top So if you don’t participate As Disciple, you’re a flop
As the church we say we’ve struggled Seems the people just aren’t there We hope someone has a program That they’ll be so glad to share
To worship’s an experience We come to give our heart Receiving from our Lord and God Now that’s the second part
Now Church what could the matter be? Is there something we have lost? Does this Jesus discipleship Also come with too much cost?
It can build a fire within us That’s not just some platitude When we let God speak to our heart It can shape our attitude
Have we lost the fire within us Has church just become routine? If you think that is a problem Then we need a change of scene
The attitude within the Church Is changing by the minute No longer is discipleship Just membership within it
D’you think the Church could use rebirth? A new birth of the Spirit We may not yet be at that point I think tho that we’re near it
We have a new church every day As people are a changing The chances for a transformed world Are good and are far ranging
Transition Team Report by Tom Watson
Team Members: Nebraska Clergy: Charlotte Abram, Wayne Alloway, Matthew Fowler, Brian Kottas, Debra McKnight Nebraska Lay: Sheran Cramer Staff Person: Carol Roettmer Brewer Bishops: Ann Brookshire Sherer-Simpson and Scott Jones Kansas West with us: Corey Daniel Godbey I want to emphasize first and foremost that all that we talk about and consider has accomplishment of the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world as the focus. I know that the details of our conversation here seems to be about organization and structure, but that is a necessity. Many people spread over a lot of territory require a certain amount of organization to enable, empower and enhance the Churches ability to pursue and accomplish the mission. The Transition Team’s Recommendation - The creation of one, new conference to be named the Great Plains Annual Conference. Please turn to the center of your Resource Book, pages 41 thru 44. These pages contain a brief history and rationale for our recommendation.
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Let me walk through this material with you, briefly. P. 42 Vision, values & priorities Leadership - particularly deployment and matching of gifts with needs Connection - not only enables but requires reinventing our connectional structures Vision - In addition, the role of the Bishop can be quite different if he/she has to oversee three separate and different structures, with different rules and procedures. Technical Assets - It is going to be necessary to advance our use of technology, regardless of the form we take. This gives the ability to combine, leverage and perhaps better utilize the technologies available to enhance ministry in the Great Plains Area. The Motion states that: “the Kansas East, Kansas West and Nebraska annual conferences will join together to form the Great Plains Annual Conference beginning Jan. 1, 2014. This will take place in accordance with the principles and guidelines outlined in the 2012 Annual Conference Session Voting Information.” The motion refers to principles and guidelines, please turn to pages 43 and 44 If there is a positive vote in all three of our Annual Conferences there will be a motion that will go to the Jurisdictional Conference which meets next month in Oklahoma City. That motion is set out on page 42 and states: In addition, if there is a positive vote in all three conferences there is a preliminary proposed time line on page 43. During the past year or so, there have been several groups or as we have termed them, “Dream Teams” that have met to brainstorm about various areas of ministry. The Dream Team with perhaps the largest number of people participating has been one focusing on the Small Membership Church. I have asked Harold Backus, who has been a part of that Team to tell you a bit about their work. Technical teams have also been at work as well, dealing with questions and issues around things such as the assets held by each of the conferences and with issues around benefits. Brian Kottas has provided you with a Joint Distributing Team Report and I would invite him to speak with you briefly about that Team and their report. This is our recommendation. As is stated on page 41, The new ministry that emerges must be created, designed and implemented by the body of the new annual conference and not solely by the Transition Team. The proposed time line addresses the beginning of that process with the goal of having the essentials in place to begin operating as a new conference on January 1, 2014. One last item. There is no recommendation to change districts. Bishop, I move that the Kansas East, Kansas West and Nebraska annual conferences will join together to form the Great Plains Annual Conference beginning January 1, 2014. This will take place in accordance with the principles and guidelines outlined in the 2012 Annual Conference Session Voting Information.
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Transition Team Report supplement by Harold D. Backus
You will find a comment of the Dream Teams on page 44 in your Conference Workbook. I was asked to chair the Dream Team for Small Membership Church. Great concern had been expressed about whether the small membership Churches will lose what voice they have when we become one area, because they already feel they have been forgotten. Actually, 85% of the churches in the combined three Conferences are small membership churches. Therefore, greater attention will be given to these churches. The strength of the new Conference will be dependent on the growing vitality of the small membership churches. The Small Membership Church Dream Team met in Red Cloud, Nebraska with 70 persons present and the two Bishops. It was an exciting and creative day of conversation and dreaming. During the discussions five work areas emerged: (1) Leadership (clergy and lay); (2) Collaboration (working together instead of being competitive); (3) Vitality (goal of Making Disciples of Jesus Christ); Hospitality and Outreach (engaging those outside of our walls); and (5) Connection with Conference and each other (especially communication and face-to-face opportunities). There were two questions behind the Transition Teams work that were put into practice with the Dream Teams and both were answered with a resounding “yes.” The first question was, “Can we work together?” and the second was, “Will it help us to do so?” The Dream Teams were not asked to produce fruit out of our conversations, only seeds for planting when we are ready. The Dream Teams will continue conversations if we become one Conference. The work we did will begin to be considered and used even if we continue as three separate Conferences. We are already doing some things together. Rev. Pat Ault-Duel from Kansas was my resource person and co-partner from the Transition Team.
United Methodist Men’s Report by Dave Mendyk
The General Commission on United Methodist Men is still a part of Our Denomination and has the same name but will have a Board of Directors that’s reduced from 25 to 20. I learned this at www.gcumm.org. Where you can get any question about Men’s Ministry answered. The Question, ‘How long will we have a General Commission?’ was Answered with, ‘As long as you are willing to pay for one through Charters, Legacy, and EMS giving.’ The National Association of Conference Presidents meets Annually at the Harry Denman Building in Nashville. During this time of Fellowship And training We voted to begin fund-raising for a United Methodist Bible Bus for Vietnam. The Nebraska Conference United Methodist Men were Honored, along with Western North Carolina Conference, for our support Of the Upper Room Prayer Line.
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We answer that Prayer Line in Nebraska at our Conference-wide Rallies. August of 2011 Rally found us at Camp Fontanelle where we enjoyed the Leadership of the Missouri River District, and Dr. Dan Flanagan. February of this year we met at Camp Comeca. Some say, ‘ One of the Best Rallies you Guys have had in recent years ! Our thanks to Dr. Joe Scahill, delegate to the World Methodist Council, Dr. Jeff Thurman, Author of ‘Jesus Through the Eyes of Peter’, and the VIM Team from Lexington, Doug and Ellen Cunningham. Comeca Director, Ron Gans and family, were amazing, serving three separate camper groups who were spread though out the camp. God bless Peg and Scott, Comeca board members who helped out. This Summer you are invited to Camp Norwesca on August 10-12. A new Conference President will be elected there so let the nominations pour in ! Currently we have a district president in only half of our six districts, Stacy Swinney in the Great West, Willy Lucht in the Missouri River, and Ed Dexter in the Prairie Rivers District, yet great things were accomplished for Christ. The Prairie Rivers District and the Missouri River District both had an Annual Banquet which featured the support of their District Superintendents. I am excited by the Hispanic Mission work included by Missouri River District. The Cowboy Bike Ride/Walk near Norfolk raised about $ 6500 for Missions on May 26th. Special thanks to the Plettners and Rohdes Families of Columbus and Genoa for organizing the ride and to Curt Copple, of Scottsbluff’. Thank You for risking that first Cowboy Bike Ride eleven years ago. Imagine the risk of that first 100 Club Auction! What? An Auction at Annual Conference? Randy Fleming of Springfield, and Cody Vance of Crete, took that risk and this year thirteen Scholarships blessed folks going into full-time ministry. With $9500! Thank you to Ben Baldwin and the 100 Club Board of Directors. Last Fall some of us took a risk and met with United Methodist Men’s Leaders of Kansas West and Kansas East. We learned about our mutual desire to serve and share Christ with our fellow man. They learned of our strength in church camp and new clergy support. We learned of Potato Drops, Annual Golf Tournaments, and D-Bom, that’s Disciple Bible Study designed for those in Prison. We all know that communication technology will be a key to our future success. That’s why we appreciate Ken (Website) Walker! Ken along With Doug Kallesen, our Conference Communicator, and Scott Avery of Elkhorn, are committed to sharing Christ in every media. Find our page on the Conference website at www. umcneb.orglMinistrieslUMMen. David Murrow, the Author who wrote ‘Why Men Hate Going To Church’ was the big hit at this year’s NACP meeting. He was mobbed afterward and guys stood in line just to shake his hand because he was sold out ! Gil Hanke was overheard saying, ‘ The last time we had such a long line of excited guys, was the day we had the BAD CHILI!’ Mr. Murrow has found a demographic connection between the number of men in a church and a vital church. He shared how Men look at Discipleship; Pray, Read the Bible, Give, Attend Church. They begin to rationalize; I must pray in my closet and not the street comer - I can do that alone. I can read the Bible alone - then I won’t have to read
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in public. The Bible says to give privately - don’t let your right hand know what the left is giving. Unless your church has the Gift of Radical Hospitality, a guy can sit in the back and not speak or be spoken to. He’ll say I can worship God alone on the golf course or the lake. Friends, this man attempting one-man Religion is vulnerable to Satan’s attack. He’s like a weak calf cut out of the herd, waiting for the coyotes. He has no second opinion. He begins to tell himself, ‘ I’m all right but they are all hypocrites.’ Christians, that man needs a Spiritual Father, a Band Of Brothers! Our purpose is; to build Men in Christ so they can share Christ. If the United Methodist Men of your district believe in that purpose, they are already winners. When they go to Heaven to claim their reward, this may be one of the trophies they lay down before the Throne of God. The inscription reads; most improved district, chartered United Methodist Men. I hope your district wins !
UMM Activities 1.
District Reports: Missouri River District holds quarterly board meetings, has a website www.ummenmoriver.com.and does work projects at Camp Fontanelle. Prairie Rivers is chartered with GCUMM and held an annual meeting March 28, with presentations by District Superintendent Rev. Harold Backus and Rev. Matt Fowler on “Nebraska-Kansas Transition and Small Churches”. Current district presidents are: Blue River-vacant, Elkhorn Valley- vacant, Gateway-vacant, Great West-Stacy Swinney, Missouri River-Willy Lucht, Prairie Rivers-Ed Dexter.
A tenth annual fund-raising bike ride I walk sponsored by the Nebraska UMMen was held at Norfolk going west 22 miles on the Cowboy Trail and back (or whatever distance the biker/walker desired). Twenty-eight riders, walkers, and helpers raised $8,464 for support of mission work on Saturday, May 28, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Rocky Plettner of Norfolk was the event organizer.
The BikelWalk proceeds together with other donations amounting to a total of approximately $18,435.00 were disbursed by the Nebraska UMMen throughout 2011 to Nigeria-Nebraska Partnership, Society of St Andrew, Nebraska disaster response, Heifer International, camping, 100 Club and Barnabas-funded scholarships to seminarians and youth, Hispanic ministry, emergency relief, rural response, prison ministry, scouting, Hope of HearingHaiti, Strength for Service military devotionals, Epworth Village for kids, Upper Room prayer line, and miscellaneous Nebraska UMMen ministries. This mission and ministry support was composed of $9,000 for missions, $5,000 for 100 Club and Fleming Family scholarships to seminarians, and $4,435 for Barnabas encouragement scholarships to camp counselors, and college/seminary students.
Nebraska UMMen have an important project called the 100 Club that is described at its website of www.umcneb.org/pages/detail/106to raise donations to endow scholarships for men and women to enter full-time Christian ministry. This project has served over twenty-two years and, along
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with the Fleming Endowment funds, awarded $4,000 in scholarships in 2011, included as noted above. Endowment money of $3989.00 was raised at the Auction/Banquet during Annual Conference and additional donations were received throughout the year. Randy Fleming of Springfield and the 100 Club Board of Directors organize this event. Fleming and Cody Vance of Crete served as co-auctioneers. Approximately 200 people attended, including about 100 from Youth Annual Conference. 5.
Nebraska UMMen hosted conference-wide rallies in February at Camp NORWESCA near Chadron and in August at Camp Fontanelle near Fremont. Both rallies were very inspirational with attendance being 20 and 23, respectively. Many thanks to the Chadron and Omaha men for doing the bulk of the organization of the rallies. A remote Upper Room prayer line was scheduled into each of the Nebraska UMMen rallies, as well as Annual Conference.
Nebraska UMMen leadership met with the Kansas East and Kansas West UMMen leadership teams September 14th to explore the future under a single episcopal region. Discussions about the common vision and missions of each conference and highlighted some of the programs working well in each conference. Important information is up to date on the Nebraska UMMen website at www.umcneb.org/pages/detaiIl87, including stories, pictures, upcoming events and leadership contact information.
Current conference officers are: President Dave Mendyk of West Point, Vice President Craig Nordaker of Bellevue, Secretary Mike Wilson of Bellevue, and Treasurer Curt Copple of Scottsbluff. As appointments, Gary Spivey of Bellevue is Prayer Advocate, Duane Daake of Utica is Scouting/Youth Coordinator, Ken Walker of Omaha is Website Coordinator, Doug Kallesen of Columbus is Communicator and Jack Sorensen of Grand Island is the historian. Randy Fleming of Springfield serves as Executive Director of the 100 Club Scholarship ministry and is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of UM Scouters.
Conference Council on Finance and Administration Report Pat Duncan, Chairperson
Greetings Bishop Ann and Annual Conference members, My name is Pat Duncan and I have served as Chair of CCFA since the mid 2000â€™s. I want to assure you that this group of dedicated lay and clergy members have worked diligently to find resources that meet our needs as an Annual Conference and to implement ways of using our resources as wisely as possible. We understand that local church finances can be challenging at times and our board has been and continues to be supportive of all ministry endeavors at the local level, Conference level, and beyond. CCFA, Common Table, the Transition Team and other groups have worked this past year to commit to reductions in
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funding in several areas to help the goal of an overall reduced funding plan. We know that we are dealing with changes in ministry, whether it be in geography, population shifts, demographics, or age related shifts. We also understand that change can be difficult. With General Conference completing its work a few weeks ago, we received the final apportionment asking from the General Church ministries in mid-May after the resource book was printed. I would direct you to refer to page 33 in your resource book and I will describe 1 minor change for you. The amount requested from Nebraska will be changed from $1,356,330.00 in Section” General Church Ministries to $1,355,053.00. This reduction of $1,277.00 results in an overall funding plan request change, so please change the amount on page 38 to $6,931,787.00. This minor change still reflects a 6.1% reduction from the 2012 funding plan. It is the goal of this funding plan to continue the good works and ministries of the Nebraska Conference of the United Methodist Church, but there is also what I believe to be an unprecedented challenge to local churches resulting from this funding plan. That challenge is what will individual churches do when mission shares are reduced? It is our hope that those churches that are able, use this reduction as an opportunity to undertake outreach and mission programs on their own initiative or in conjunction with other churches to address whatever issues they believe need to be addressed, whether locally, regionally, or globally. 1st Timothy, Chapter 6, Verses 18-19 states” They are to be good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share so that they may take hold of life that really is life.”We now offer this opportunity- both in the Conference Funding Plan and to each local church. I stand before you and submit this funding plan recommendation to you for your consideration. Yes, we know that change is ahead, but let’s lead the change rather than fighting the change. Take hold of life that really is life. Embrace change, live courageously, live generously. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in this role.
Board of Trustees Report by Steven Flader
The Nebraska Conference Board of Trustees has had another busy and exciting year since our last Annual Conference session. We have occupied the new Conference headquarters for nearly two years. Thank you again to the many persons who have supported this endeavor. Nearly $ 227,000 has been received of the $243,000 pledged. We are deeply grateful to you for your support. Maintaining the district parsonages is one task given to the board according to the Book of Discipline. We purchased a new parsonage in the Prairie Rivers District and sold the former one. Several minor repairs and utility payments have been made to the six district parsonages. Major updates to district parsonages this year include driveway replacement, carpeting, furnace repair, and a new water softener at the Papillion parsonage, a new washer/dryer for the Grand Island parsonage, interior paint and kitchen countertop in the Kearney parsonage and a new gas range at the Lincoln parsonage.
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For the first time in two years, the Board of Trustees showed a profit. Our Mission Share giving for operations was greater than any year since 2007, and our Interest/Dividend income was the greatest ever. We went over budget in purchasing automobiles for Superintendents and Conference staff. This is partially due to an aging fleet and fewer purchases in previous years. For all other activities in caring for properties and insurance coverage, we used the resources available to us as wisely as possible. The Conference Board of Trustees has primary responsibility for the property of our three camps. These are Conference camps and we should support all three of our camps. We need to spread the word that we have three unique camps serving our Conference. We are working closely with Nebraska United Methodist Camps Inc. (NUMC) as we create an exciting variety of camping experiences for the people of Nebraska. The cost of maintaining district parsonages, the Episcopal residence, the Conference office and the camps is an ever growing concern of the Trustees. The need for mission share dollars will increase as there is a need to care for these properties. One of the unfortunate realities is that the number of church closings continues. Since the last time we met, four churches have closed. These include Cotesfield, Westerville, Sutton Salem, and Pilger. The following church buildings have been sold or disposed of within this past year: the former Dawson parsonage, the North Bend church building, the Falls City church building, the Comstock church building, a small tract in Clay County, and the Sutton Salem church building. For all these properties, we are responsible for insurance and legal fees following their closing. In some cases, the expenses exceed the proceeds from the sale of the property. As we look forward to our new relationship with the Kansas Annual Conferences, your Board of Trustees will cooperate fully with the Asset Allocation Team and other leadership bodies as it gathers and prepares information for the Transition Team. We know that there will be much work involved during this transition. These recommendations will seek to strengthen the United Methodist presence on the Great Plains. Because there will be only one Bishop in our future and that Bishop will reside at least for the foreseeable future in Wichita, the Board of Trustees were faced with the task of selling the Episcopal residence in Lincoln. Early on, Bishop Ann and her husband Wayne expressed an interest in purchasing the Episcopal residence and that purchase, at a fair market value is in process. We rejoice that the Bishop and Wayne will continue to be our neighbors. The Board of Trustees has established a sub-committee to search out possible temporary housing for our new resident Bishop. Funding will come from the sale of the Episcopal residence and from a portion of general church mission shares. This new arrangement will be evaluated during this next year and change is always possible. The Conference Board of Trustees is blessed to have the support and hard work of Bishop Sherer-Simpson, the Cabinet, and our Director of Connectional Ministries, the Rev. Dr. Carol Roettmer-Brewer. A special thank you to the Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, Robin Kilgore for all her work as our staff liaison in handling a ton of detail work connected to
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financial and property issues for the Conference. I would also like to thank those who have served this past year on your Conference Board of Trustees. They have been a great team to work with.
Episcopacy Committee Report by Jim Keyser
My name is Jim Keyser, I’m a clergy member of the Annual Conference, and I chair the Episcopacy Committee ... a committee, at the Annual Conference level, which functions somewhat like a local church Staff or Pastor Parish Relations Committee. We meet two times a year at the Episcopal residence where the Bishop and her husband, Wayne are always gracious hosts. Thankyou Bishop for opening your home and for your kind hospitality to all of us on those Saturday morning meetings through the years. We’ll miss these meetings at her house because, as you all know, Bishop Sherer-Simpson is retiring this year and so there will be no more Episcopacy meetings for her. Of course, Bishop, we all might just show up unexpectedly at your house some Saturday morning to make sure your retirement is going well! We’ll be sure to call ahead though ... at least 10 minutes before we’re ringing your doorbell...! We give thanks for Bishop Sherer-Simpson’s time among us here in the NE Conference and I want to remind you of the Bishop’s retirement dinner tonight (that is, if you have a ticket for the dinner) but everyone is certainly invited to the celebration event following the dinner here in the sanctuary, no ticket necessary. Ann came to NE following a 12 year Episcopal appointment in Missouri and she’s been with us here for 8 years ... since 2004. So she’s been a Bishop in the United Methodist Church for 20 years! Wow ... that seems like a long time ... a lot of Cabinet meetings, clergy appointments, annual conference sessions, church anniversary dinners, and endless miles traveled on winding two-lane highways and interstates. It’s amazing that you still have your wits about Bishop! Recently, over lunch, I asked the Bishop to tell me about her 8 years in NE ... and one of the first things she said was how much she enjoyed the face-toface meetings with people in all the churches, and especially in those smaller congregations throughout the state. She told me that she and Wayne were good at finding great restaurants in little towns like Melbeta and Lewellen. She remarked about the inspiring NE landscape as you drive this scenic farm state. The Bishop then commented about some of the concerns and issues we’ve all faced as United Methodists in NE during these past 8 years. She talked about the “restructuring” and the Cabinet and conference work with Gil Rendel and how learning and leadership are such vitally important ministry skills. She appreciated the way the Cabinet learned to work closely together. Obviously part of the restructuring has to do with the reorganization of an Episcopal area ... Great Plans for the Great Plains in NE and Kansas. The Bishop’s previous experience in Missouri where conferences came together has been valuable for our conversations here in Kansas and Nebraska.
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She sees a clear and present need to respond to the growing ethnic diversity we experience all around us in NE ... and which will only increase in the future. The Bishop knows the United Methodist Church must reflect the ethnic diversity of the public schools, at least, to really have a faith-filled future in NE. Another emphasis of hers has been to affirm a vigorous learning community among clergy and laity in NE ... we all know it’s true because of the piles of books she’s made us read and discuss! But she reminds us that everything is changing in new and remarkable (sometimes scary) ways in both church and society and so we must be equipped to meet the challenges ahead with faith and wisdom which is part of our United Methodist tradition from John Wesley on. I think she has concern for the United Methodist Church in the short term ... because of widespread membership losses, church closings, and the retreat of young people from the church all across the country ... but, in the long-term, she’s quite hopeful because, as she says, people are hungry for spiritual depth, meaning, and purpose .... and yearning to make a difference in the world. And for her, the United Methodist church will always offer opportunities for spiritual connection and social outreach. One of the memories of the Bishop which I’ll carry with me is that bitterly cold day in January, a number of years ago, when some of us Nebraskans gathered on the state capitol steps to protest the war in Iraq. The Bishop had recently undergone foot surgery and her sock covered foot strapped into a wooden shoe must have been freezing; yet, she stood in biting wind and numbing cold to speak out against the war in Iraq with eloquent United Methodist words of faith and prophetic concern for all who would suffer in this war. And I know she was criticized for her stand ... because I saw the letter she received ... yet, in all the compromises you make as a church leader, the Bishop was willing to take risks and share her opinion ... even with a frozen foot. The Bishop in our conversation was very appreciative of the Conference Staff and all they do. Always high praise for them and especially for Elaine Michaud, the Bishop’s secretary, who will also be retiring along with the Bishop. We’ll miss Elaine’s familiar face and I don’t know what I would have done without her help as I chaired the Episcopacy Committee. I suppose though there are some things the Bishop won’t miss about leaving this job. Let me see if I can name a few. She won’t miss the angry, hostile letters complaining about yet another UM pastor who has done something ... well ... stupid ... again! She won’t miss waking from a sound sleep at 3am after a very disturbing dream in which she had appointed all the goat pastors to the sheep churches and all the sheep pastors to the goat churches. She won’t miss eating tuna casserole and lime jello with cottage cheese at another church potluck ... actually I like both of those! Bishop, whatever you have planned for your retirement, we wish you the very best. The Bishop and Wayne will live in Lincoln and so we hope to keep seeing them out and about. At one point in our conversation I remember the Bishop said to me, “Wayne thinks that when I retire ... I’m staying home ... and then she laughed that hearty laugh of hers! GOOD LUCK, Wayne!!
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I can’t help but think of another Bishop. He was born on November 14th, 354 AD in North Africa as the end of the once mighty Roman Empire was clearly in sight. Change was happening all around/ Augustine served as the Bishop of Hippo for 35 years where he had, then and now, many supporters and many detractors. There were good reasons for both! But I’ve always appreciated that line in the 1st chapter of his “CONFESSIONS” where Augustine says, “You have made us for yourself, 0 God, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Bishop Ann Sherer-Simpson--- Thank-you for your faithful, hard-working presence among us over these past 8 years as our Bishop ... and whatever else your heart may find in these coming restful, and fruitful years of retirement ... may your heart always find rest in God. The Episcopacy Committees in NE and Kansas (East and West) have all affirmed this important resolution to keep the Episcopal residence for our new shared Bishop in Wichita for the next four years as we discern together a best permanent location. For now, our Episcopacy Committees will work in each Annual Conference, and then, if the merger passes ... we’ll form one Episcopacy Committee. We are currently planning together a welcome celebration event for the new Bishop on September 29th at 10:30 am here at St. Marks in Lincoln .... all Kansas and NE clergy and laity are invited and we hope to see you there. Thank-You.
Personnel Committee Report by Charlene C. Adden, Chair
The Personnel Committee met quarterly during the year to consider and take action on the business related to the Conference staff. A significant project that was completed is the review of all job descriptions to determine the appropriateness and accuracy of the work being performed by the staff. A thorough review of the job descriptions for the four positions hired within the past two years was conducted to compare job description expectations to actual work performed. Changes were made as deemed appropriate. Sara Boatman was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Personnel Committee. Karri Dvorak, Director/Curator of the Historical Center and Dana Reinhardt, Administrative Assistant to the Director of Connectional Ministries/Staff Leader were hired to fill open positions. Sherrie Brown, Administrative Assistant to the Conference TreasurerlDirector of Administrative Services resigned and the Rev. Nita Hinds-Park, Director of Congregational Development is leaving the Conference staff to return to the local church. Recognition of Elaine Michaud’s retirement (video and plaque) Recognition of Rev. Nita Hinds-Park service (plaque). Introduction of Staff
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I will now introduce the other members of the Conference staff. The Conference is blessed with a group of committed employees who are skilled in their positions and dedicated to supporting the mission and vision of the local church. They are the best! It is my privilege to introduce these talented and dedicated individuals. Director Staff includes: The following directors are members of the extended Cabinet and will be introduced with the Cabinet : Rev. Dr. Carol Roettmer Brewer, Director of Connectional Ministries/Staff Leader Robin Kilgore, Conference Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services Rev. Dr. Jesse Foster, Director of Christian Leadership Development Rev. Carol Windrum, Director of Risk-Taking Mission and Justice Ministries Kathryn Witte, Director of Communications, Marketing and Technology Other Directors are: Karri Dvorak, Director/Curator of the Historical Center Diane Dunkerson, Director of Resource Center for Churches Support Staff includes: Dana Reinhardt, Administrative Assistant to Director of Connectional Ministries/ Staff Leader Roxie Delisi, Data Services Coordinator Trisha Johnson, Communications Coordinator Lorie Lindenmuth, Comptroller Tina Watteyne, Senior Accounting Clerk Carole Otto, Assistant Benefits Officer District Staff includes the following Administrative Assistants: Joyce Leif , Blue River District Susan Jensen, Elkhorn Valley District Peg Vavricek, Gateway District Christy Baltzell, Great West District Catherine McGowan, Missouri River District Linda Neville, Prairie Rivers District Bishop, I present these persons to be affirmed in these positions. In closing I want to thank the Committee members for their efforts and time commitment in completing the task required. This concludes the report of the Personnel Committee. Thank you.
Board of Pensions Report by Nancy Lambert
The Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits continues to care for the Pensions and Health Insurance of the active and retired clergy and lay employees of the Nebraska Conference. We take our work very seriously and recognize that we need to balance the concerns of the local church to keep costs
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down and the need of the clergy to be able to afford to retire and have adequate, affordable health coverage while actively serving a church and in retirement. So let me begin with Health Insurance: Keeping the cost of health insurance down is not always something we can control at the Conference Board level. The cost of our insurance is determined in part by our claims ratio â€“ the dollar amount of claims paid versus the total dollars of premium received. When claims are higher than premiums paid to the insurance company, the cost of insurance will go up for future years. In other words, clergy, your health determines your cost as well as the cost to the church. In 2013 we will continue to have our health insurance through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois. ACTIVES: the Uniform Rate for 2013 will be the same as for 2012: $17,556, with the clergy responsible for 15% of the premium, and the local church will pay 85%. Clergy: your health matters! The General Board continues to encourage healthy life choices through the Virgin Health Miles program. After four years of the VHM program, it is clear that participating in VHM leads to lower health costs and reduction of risk. This year, cash rewards are given not only for steps taken, but also for actions such as participating in health coaching calls. I would remind you that Quest diagnostics is here at AC so that you can complete your Blueprint for Wellness Health Screening. This earns you $100 in your Virgin Health Miles account. For those, especially spouses, not attending AC, you need to get the appropriate form from Carole Otto in order to submit screening completed at a local Quest center or through your Doctor. Needs to be completed by July 1. Active clergy and spouses will both need to complete the Health Quotient in August or September to receive the lowest deductible on Health Insurance for 2013. The biggest costs in health insurance claims continue to be related to heart disease and diabetes treatment. The identified risk factors of these two diseases are: weight, stress, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and poor diet, all of which are revalent in the lives of clergypersons. National health care is still unsettled so we are not sure yet how our health plan will be affected. This will continue to evolve as legislation is more defined. It is possible that as many as 50% of the clergy will qualify for some subsidy for health insurance through State-established Exchanges, but we are still not sure how church-sponsored plans will fit into the health care legislation. A change for 2013 will be a cap of $2500 on Flexible Spending Accounts for health care, so clergy who utilitze this reduction in income will need to plan accordingly. Did you know that, in addition to medical and pharmacy coverage, the health plan includes VSP, which is a Vision plan -- co-pay for the exam and a 20% savings on frames and lenses and 15% savings on contacts. Counseling --- eight visits per year at no cost
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Chiropractic and massage therapy Nurse hot-line Health coaching Disease management Hearing Benefits And the Virgin HealthMiles walking plan and incentives There are other services available through the General Board, which while not directly related to medical issues, do have a bearing on overall health and wellness of individuals. These include: *Financial consultations with Ernst & Young *Legal assistance *Pastoral Consultation hot-line which gives clergy the opportunity to talk with a ministry professional regarding such things as counseling situations, conflict resolution, or other ministry concerns. *Weight Watchers: we are suggesting slight changes to the Weight Watchers program for 2013, which you will find on page 52 in the Conference book. Those participating will need to attend 13 out of 16 weeks, or 18 out of 22 weeks in order for the Conference to reimburse you for ½ the cost of your membership. *Health team at General Board is available to help with insurance related issues Retirees: For 2013, there will be a .5% increase in the cost to you for the Medicare Companion plan. For 2013, the Board has approved a reduction in the requested amount from Mission Shares to cover the cost of retiree health care. While recognizing that the Nebraska Conference has a long tradition of providing the funding for health care for retirees, the reality is that the cost of this health care continues to increase. We continue to struggle with finding the right balance of cost to the local church, cost to the retirees, and the draw on the reserves. For 2013, retiree health care will continue to be provided by the same Medicare Companion Plan we currently offer. No decision has been made beyond 2013, pending the decision about the new Conference. Pensions All pension plans of the NE conference continue to be fully funded. This includes the Pre-82, the MPP, and the CRSP. Changes approved by General Conference: the current Pension plan – CRSP (Clergy Retirement Security Program) will be modified beginning January 1, 2014. This means some changes to pensions, both in the cost to the local church and the pension payment for those who retire after 2013. The modified Clergy Retirement Security Program (Restated CRSP), approved by General Conference, now includes an amendment allowing each annual conference to elect whether or not to permit clergy appointed ½-time and ¾-time to participate in the plan. Currently, ½ time and ¾ time clergy are included in the pension plan. This will need to be discussed by the Board of Pensions as well as the Cabinet and Board
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of Ordained Ministry to determine the best options for the Nebraska Conference, and by the Joint Distribution team if our conference will be united with the Kansas Conferences. The CRSP includes a defined benefit and a defined contribution portion. The Defined Benefit (or DB) is paid for life, regardless of how long an individual lives after retirement. The defined contribution (DC) provides an account balance that the retiree may access as needed, and ends when the balance runs out. The Defined Benefit ends at the death of the clergy person and surviving spouse, with no benefit paid to the estate. If there is a balance remaining in the Defined Contribution account after the death of the clergy person and surviving spouse, that balance is paid to the estate. The revised CRSP will mean a reduction in the amount paid to the retired clergy through Defined Benefit portion of the plan for those who retire after the change, and therefore a reduction in the amount paid by the local church for pensions beginning in 2014. The DB portion of the retirement plan is computed based on years of service and the DAC (denominational average compensation). The change reduces the amount paid to future retirees through the Defined Benefit portion of CRSP. It does not affect pay out for those already retired or for the pension from 2007-2013. This change reduces the long-term liability and risk to the Annual Conference. It shifts some of the risk associated with a lifetime benefit from the Conference to the individual. In addition, because we are a connectional system, we have a shared liability for pensions for all Conferences. This is a concern when Conferences do not have their Defined Benefit responsibility fully funded. This change in the Defined Benefit will reduce the exposure of individual Conferences to this liability of other Conferences. The Defined Contribution portion of the modified CRSP plan will include a contribution match by the participant. The clergyperson would be required to make a payment into UMPIP (Personal Investment Plan) in order to receive the full contribution from the church. This part of the plan is a move toward the participant making decisions regarding oneâ€™s own well-being and future comfort as well as for the financial well-being of the local church. We recognize this places a greater responsibility on the clergy to plan adequately for their retirement, and the corresponding responsibility of the CBoPHB to help educate people. This change also means that the retiree bears a greater risk in retirement of having adequate funds for their life-time. CPP â€“ comprehensive protection plan Provides for a death benefit and disability payments for clergy. There are several changes that will be implemented January 1, 2013. These include new limitations on length of time certain individuals on disability can continue receiving disability payments. There will be a renewed emphasis on helping clergy return to work outside of an appointment. There will be an increase in the years of service required to be eligible for death benefits in retirement.
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CCPI The Central Conference Pension Initiative is designed to become a long-term solution and a foundation for retirement security for dedicated church leaders of the Central Conferences who would otherwise have little or nothing to support them when their careers in ministry end. The central Conferences include conferences in Asia, Africa and Europe. CCPI now has pension programs—in operation and funded—covering 1137 retirees and surviving spouses in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Russia and Nigeria. Additional programs are currently in development in the remaining areas of the central conferences. As key fundraising benchmarks are achieved, CCPI hopes to be fully operational by 2012 in all the central conferences that currently need support. The goal is for the pension plans to become self-sustaining so that future needs are cared for. NE conference has contributed $341, 982 so far. This includes contributions from local churches, ARMS, and the Board of Pensions. We have a short video that will share a personal story with you of how this pension has made a difference. CCPI video Joint Distribution Team Jim Brewer, Carole Otto and myself from the Board of Pensions, and Pete Peterson, a lay person, serve on the Joint Distributing Team along with representatives from the two Kansas Conferences. So far, our work has been comparing our similarities and identifying our differences so that we are aware of the decisions before us if there is a “yes” vote from all three conferences for the new, united Great Plains Conference. Because we cannot actually make decisions until we are making the move to one Conference, I can only share with you our recommendations and the things that need to be worked out. 1. First: the recommendation to the Transition Team is that the new conference would select Extend Health for retirees beginning January, 2014, the date the new conference would be formed. Note: this is the suggestion for the new, united conference and has not yet been made as a recommendation for the Nebraska Conference if the unification does not occur. Currently, each conference has a different program for retirees, and different funding methods. Extend Health is not an insurance plan but it is a vendor service to help retirees select the best Medicare Supplement plan for their individual needs. Extend Health provides dedicated consultants, much like the current Health Team at the General Board, to serve as the go-between between the Medicare Supplement provider and the retiree. 2. These are the areas the Joint Distributing Team will have to reach consensus on, and make recommendations to the Transition Team. You will have the opportunity to approve or disapprove these recommendations by the vote by
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all three conferences at Annual Conference 2013. 3. Past service rate for those who had years of service under the Pre-82 Pension Plan. Currently Kansas West has the highest PSR and Nebraska has the lowest. However, Kansas West conference does not provide any funding for retiree health care. General Conference legislation just passed will now allow Conferences that are merging to create a new one to each maintain their own PSR. However, we will then need to determine what that would mean for future annual increases. Minimum and Equitable Compensation: rules and computation vary for each Conference. Minimum salaries vary between the conferences and different components are used to compute minimum salary. Health Insurance for Active Clergy: each conference currently has different choices for health insurance. There would need to be one plan for the new Conference. Disability – need to determine how much to pay for health insurance for those on disablilty. General Conference legislation will have some impact on future disability claims. CPP – will it include half- and three-quarter-time clergy of the new conference, or just full-time clergy? Currently, there is variance on the eligibility of half and three-quarter time clergy for CPP. Pensions -- a decision will need to be made for the uniting conference as to whether or not less-than –full-time clergy will be included in the CRSP plan. As you can see, there is much work to be done in order to actually become one conference, if that is the vote of this body and the two Kansas Conferences. You may have questions, and we want to make sure you have opportunity to have them answered. Please write your question out on paper, include your name and your cell phone number in case we need clarification. Give these to Carole Otto or Robin Kilgore, at the front table, or myself, before we dismiss for lunch on Thursday. There is time on the agenda tomorrow afternoon for us to respond to your questions.. Since your questions might also relate to items of the board report found in your conference book, I would like to wait until tomorrow, Bishop SchererSimpson, for the vote on accepting the Board report. I encourage you to take time to read through this report before tomorrow afternoon as well as that of the Transition Team “Principles and Guidelines” on pages 43-44 as your questions might be answered in one or the other documents.
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Response to Questions for Board of Pensions and Health Benefits 1. Regarding the change to CRSP beginning January 1, 2014. Are there circumstances in which retirement payments already earned might be reduced? The change only affects pensions earned after January 1, 2014. Pension contributions earned through 2013 will be paid out on the current formula. The proposed merger of the 3 conferences will not affect pension payments that retired clergy are receiving or will receive. It is a denominational plan, not a conference plan. Pension payment is the same whether we remain the NE conference or merge to create a new conference. 2. Is it just coincidence that the changes to CRSP is happening at the same time as the proposed conference realignment? Pure coincidence! The changes are denomination wide. 3. What is influencing so many people to consider retirement in 2013? A reflection of the age of many of our clergy. There 60+ clergy over the age of 62 in our Conference. Some have concerns about the creation of the new conference. Not knowing what is going to happen with the conference subsidy for health insurance in the years ahead. Sometimes people consider retirement when the pension plan changes because of the confusion of the new plan. We are committed to providing ongoing communication and education as we transition to the new program. The General Board will be also be helping with the transition. 4. What does the change in CRSP mean for me as a V4 time appointment? Since this change won’t take effect until 2014, the Board of Pensions, Cabinet, Equitable Compensation Commission, and Board of Ordained Ministry will need to be in dialogue about whether or not to include all less than full time appointments, including V4 time. Possibility for less-than full time appointments would be a requirement of contributions by the local church into the Defined Contribution portion of the pension plan or into PIP. 5. Is it just the healthier people who sign up for Virgin Health Miles? Is that why they have a lower average claim costs? Not necessarily. Health care claims for VHM participants has remained fairly steady, while those not on VHM have experienced higher average claims over several years. Those in VHM are taking care of their health, and it isn’t just because they were healthy when they joined VHM. Any additional questions: please give to us, and we will address on UM Connect and on the Conference website.
Nebraska United Methodist Foundation by Anita B. Crisp, Executive Director
Our work at the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation is surrounded by generous and gracious people who have a vision. With this vision comes a sense of renewal in spirit and a desire to share their lives and financial resources so that others may have the opportunity to experience God’s grace and blessings today and in the future.
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Through numerous endowments, we have seen the building of a solid foundation on which the churches and ministries stand and through careful investments, these endowments produce streams of income to the ministries of our churches that can last for perpetuity. Through our scholarship funds established at the Foundation, we have been able to help those individuals who have answered God’s call by going into the ministry. We are so thankful to those donors who had the vision of knowing that an investment in the education of students would be a legacy that would continue beyond their lifetime. I am pleased to report that for the year 2011, the Foundation awarded 14 seminary scholarships. In 2011, the Foundation received two requests for congregational development grants. Those requests resulted in a $45,000 grant for Living Hope UMC, a “mission” church in Omaha, NE, and $7,000 to the Sacred Winds Native UMC, a “mission” church in Lincoln, NE. The Foundation also awarded $6,000 to Released and Restored, a ministry that provides inmates and ex-offenders access to the tools and support systems they need to learn how to live moral, ethical and legal lives in our communities. The Foundation awarded $7,500 to the United Methodist Ministries for the Urban Big Garden Project and $700 to Elkhorn Valley District for pastoral training. During 2011, distributions to church and Conference ministries were $491,568, with distributions for all purposes totaling $852,233. In addition to the number of distributions made, total assets held by the Foundation for the support of ministry in the Conference and the churches that you oversee, grew to $25,240,473. The Foundation continues to operate as a self-supporting organization due to the generosity of so many individuals. The Foundation board takes great pride in letting our church family know that “The Foundation remains financially strong and focused on a positive future.” We are fortunate to have an excellent, experienced staff and a very dedicated board of directors who oversee the operations of the Foundation and who understand our purpose and possess a record of accomplishment, moral integrity and diverse skills, as well as a deep commitment of service to the church. The Foundation remains fully invested in the same Funds available to investor churches and agencies, and remains committed to providing the highest possible returns with the lowest possible risk for the benefit of those whom we serve. Along with the investment and accounting services provided, we pledge our continued commitment to serving the ongoing needs of our churches, our individual members, and our Conference, in all areas of financial stewardship.
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Considering all of the aspects of sound fund management, along with the limitations and expectations we place on our managers in the areas of Social Responsibility and Safety, we hope that you feel as though your stewardship responsibilities to your constituency, and the Foundation’s stewardship responsibilities to you, were well served through the Foundation’s investment services in 2011. THANK YOU for allowing the Foundation to serve you and we are eager to be of service to you in 2012!
General Conference Report by Tom Watson
Pension Plan. The Financial Administration legislative committee initially dealt with the proposals for changing the pension plan for clergy. There were two plans submitted by the Board of Pension and Health Benefits for consideration. One was a defined contribution plan. Under this kind ofplan the plan owner, the clergy person, owns the funds in the plan, however there is no guaranteed amount that will be paid out at and after retirement, nor a guarantee as to how longthe funds will last. That depends entirely upon the investment market and the rate at which the clergy person chooses to withdraw. Those risks are borne by the clergy person. The second plan presented was a combination, part defined contribution and part defined benefit, a modified CRSP. Nancy Lambert has already provided an excellent description of this plan in her report. There was much discussion between the groups most interested in these plans, on the one hand there were the Conference Treasurers who were most concerned about the liabilities for the Conference and they supported the defined contribution plan. On the other hand were those representing the clergy and they supported the combined plan, which was the plan recommended by the legislative committee and adopted by the General Conference. Divestment. An issue that many people were very passionate about and the one I received the most email and phone calls about prior to the Conference were a set of petitions that asked to require the Board of Pensions to “divest” or sell off their stock in certain corporations. This was related to Palestinian-Israeli situation and was directed at the stock in certain companies who were identified with clearing areas for new settlements. There were one or two persons on the legislative committee who also served on the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits and they argued against setting a precedent of the General Conference identifying specific stocks that the Board of Pensions could or could not invest in. The petitions were amended and eliminated the divestment requirement and left it to the Board of Pensions to make their own determination.
2012 JOURNAL Reports
Set Aside Bishop. There was a request from the Council of Bishops for one Bishop to be “set aside” to be the full time president of the Council of Bishops. Those who argued against this proposal seemed to view this as establishing a “Pope” and they were very opposed. The request was not granted and there will not be a “set aside Bishop” for the Council of Bishops. Structure. There was a great deal of discussion about changing the structure of the General Agencies. There were several plans presented prior to General Conference. The legislative committee could not agree on any of the plans to forward to the floor of the General Conference and a group of people put together a combination plan and brought it to the floor of the conference. Ultimately the conference passed that plan. Then at about 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the conference we received a ruling from the Judicial Council that what we had passed was not constitutional. Nothing could be agreed upon and no change to structure was made. This item seemed to really display the mistrust that existed among the delegates.