The Rev. Dorothy Ann Webster, pastor of Ford’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Harvest, Ala., greets member Roger Carter with a hug as he arrives for the Sunday service. Carter’s home was destroyed by the April 27 tornado.
GRIFFIN, Ga. – The Rev. Sandra Fendley makes daily trips to what’s left of Vaughan United Methodist Church after a tornado blew off its roof and punched holes in its walls, essentially destroying the 107-year-old frame structure.
She’s the church’s pastor, but at age 70, she’s not taking the lead on debris removal. Instead, she’s been cheering on the many volunteers who have arrived unbeckoned to help, learning their names and churches, providing effusive thanks and spontaneous hugs, and noticing with specificity their daily progress.
This has been a treacherously busy season for natural disasters across the Southern states, and the toll includes the destruction of a handful of UMC church buildings, with many more being damaged.
The April 27 storm cut a wide swath through seven states – Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas and Virginia – and left a million people without electrical power. Tuscaloosa, Ala., was among the hardest hit.
The series of storms is straining the resources of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the denomination’s disaster relief agency. After years of relatively mild spring storm seasons and heightened priorities provoked by “super disasters” elsewhere in the world, funds destined for UMCOR’s U.S. Disaster Response ministry were perilously low.
UMCOR has made 12 emergency grants to 10 annual conferences: North Alabama, Alabama-West Florida, Holston, Memphis, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. The agency also responded to requests from six of those conferences for immediate training in early response to disasters and the spiritual and emotional care of those affected.
UMCOR had received about $100,000 in online donations as of May 2. Donations by way of local churches have not yet been tallied.
Sam Hodges serves as managing editor and Mary Jacobs as staff writer of the United Methodist Reporter in Dallas, Texas. This story was used by permission. United Methodist Reporter © 2011
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is urgently in need of monetary donations for UMCOR Emergency Advance #3021326. To donate, visit www.umcor.org, call toll-free 800-554-8583, or mail UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Make checks payable to UMCOR and specify “Spring Storms 2011” in the memo line.
Cleaning buckets are in low supply at UMCOR’s Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, Illinois near Springfield. For details, visit www.midwestmissiondc.org. Click on KITS in the left column.
INDIANAPOLIS – Bishop Mike Coyner has announced the appointment of the Rev. Darren Cushman Wood as a part-time Associate District Superintendent of the Central District effective July 1.
His efforts will be directed at assisting, mentoring and supervising churches in the central part of Indianapolis. According to Central District Superintendent M. Bert Kite, “Darren brings a wealth of skills and resources to this work of caring for, and assisting with, the leadership of churches in downtown Indianapolis.
In addition to his duties as part-time Associate District Superintendent, Cushman Wood continues as senior pastor of Speedway UMC, where he has effectively served since 2001.
The Rev. Bob Coleman, current Central District Associate Superintendent, will continue his part-time district position as he retires from Grace UMC in Franklin.
The Indiana Conference Council on Finance and Administration will bring before the 2011 Annual Conference Session in Muncie, June 8-11, a proposed 2012 Indiana Annual Conference budget. This budget will need to be presented to and approved by the conference session. It supports not only the district and conference expenses, but also helps support the global mission of the church to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
The budget was first drafted by the Indiana Conference directors, approved by the Conference Leadership Table and brought to the Council on Finance and Administration for adjustments and approval. The budget hasn’t changed much from the current conference budget, but this budget projects the payment of the General Conference apportionments at a full 100 percent of what the General Church asked the conference to give.
The proposed 2012 Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church income budget totals $13.7 million (a $500,000 decrease compared to the current 2011 budget) supports Conference services across Indiana and shares in the support of the global United Methodist Church beyond Indiana. Added to this is $1.2 million district support, $200,000 for general fund distribution and $500,000 for insurance future claims fund distribution, bringing a total income of $15.82 million.
The conference expense budget is divided into nine segments. They include with percentages of the whole expense budget:
The Duecker Lodge
NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. – Thanks to the generous support of many donors to The Right Future Campaign, Fenstermacher Lodge construction began May 1 at Epworth Forest Conference and Retreat Center in North Webster. This second waterfront lodge is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 1.
As Duecker Lodge construction wraps up this month and Fenstermacher Lodge construction begins, the overlap in construction allows work crews and contractors to stay on site. This allows for continuity in materials and labor, which gives the campaign a savings of more than $25,000. Thank you to all of our generous donors for making these cost savings possible!
As of April 18, The Right Future Campaign has raised a total of $2.5 million with $1.5 million of that total being cash gifts. The Indiana Conference Right Future Campaign thanks all of the individuals who are committed to ensuring that youth will have a place to be transformed by Christ for generations to come. This would not be possible without them. For more details about The Right Future Campaign and to view a live video feed of the construction, please visit www.rightfuture.org.
Join with family, friends and the church on Saturday, June 4, at 10 a.m. for the Duecker Lodge Opening Ceremony here at Epworth Forest Conference and Retreat Center. Dixie boat rides will be available. Doing everything it takes to reach the future generations for Jesus Christ.
More than 50 vendors interacted with 330 visitors to the Disability Fair held at Speedway UMC.
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (e-HUM) – More than 400 volunteers, exhibitors and visitors experienced the third annual Special Needs Family Resource and Information Fair held at and sponsored by Speedway UMC on West 16th Street.
Event coordinator Beth DeHoff said more than 330 visitors took advantage of the fair’s 54 exhibitors and vendors for families with special needs children.
In addition to the exhibits, the church provided a low-cost lunch, children’s games in the parking lot and plenty of volunteers to welcome, interact with and feed fair visitors.
DeHoff advises congregations or clusters who would like to hold a disability fair to establish a small group of committed volunteers to coordinate it. Leaders also need to partner with disability service organizations in their area who will commit to attend the event and publicize the event widely.
Providing this kind of ministry requires volunteers to be very involved in the world outside of the church.
For more information and advice, feel free to contact DeHoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Engaging in Ministry with the Poor: Our Heritage” is the United Methodist theme this year for Heritage Sunday, which will be celebrated Sunday, May 22, or on another Sunday designated by individual congregations.
Since the inception of the Indiana Conference as a uniting of the former North and South conferences of The United Methodist Church in Indiana, one of the primary foci has been service to congregations by all commissions, committees and agencies of conference. Indiana’s United Methodist Commission on Archives and History has chosen to do this by virtue of a History, Heritage and Legacy Initiative.
The United Methodist Church’s General Conference has designated Sunday, May 22, as Heritage Sunday. From a historical perspective, this is the Sunday that coincides with John Wesley’s “heart-warming experience” at a religious society meeting on London, England’s Aldersgate Street in 1738.
Also, churches need to consider having a short presentation during worship by the pastor, or the church historian, about the church and its history.
The Indiana Conference Commission on History and Archives plans to take this History, Heritage and Legacy Initiative to all congregations and to be a resource for members to establish a program, elevate an existing program or to utilize strong programs as mentors for those needing assistance and guidance.
For more information about Heritage Sunday, contact Don Findlay, chairman of the commission by calling 574-293-8058 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of FreeStockPhotos.com
The Old City, seen behind the Dome of Rock resting on the Temple Mound in Jerusalem is included.
Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner invites any Elder or Deacon he has ordained, who has not been to the Holy Land to join him on the next Indiana Conference trip in February 2013 where they will visit Israel. Coyner will be working with Norm Nellis, director of Educational Opportunities Midwest Area and Indiana Conference Trip Coordinator, to help ordinands with some of the cost of the trip. He will be working on a special rate from EO, plus a first-time scholarship to help with the cost for recently ordained pastors.
Trips can also be earned by having others travel with you as their Host. For more information, or if you have questions, contact Norm Nellis firstname.lastname@example.org or call 765-491-5011.
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers sided with the tobacco industry over kids by approving a budget that abolishes the highly successful Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency (ITPC) and further cuts funding for already decimated tobacco prevention programs. Tobacco prevention and cessation will become the responsibility of the Indiana State Department of Health.
The Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition, which includes involvement of United Methodists, plans to lend its support to the new state prevention and cessation program of the ISDH and to State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin. HF&HC hopes is to regain the strength of the former ITPC in order to continue a strong prevention and cessation program across the state.
HF&HC has more than 500 congregations from various faith groups, including United Methodists, along with health care providers, including UM-related IU Health Systems, all working together to lower the use of tobacco in Indiana especially among youth and young adults. HF&HC was a strong advocate for IPTC and its programs.
ITPC’s programs have helped reduced smoking by 58 percent among middle school students and 42 percent among high school students and has provided assistance to tens of thousands of Hoosiers trying to quit smoking. It has continued to produce results even as its budget has been repeatedly slashed, from a high of $35 million to just $9.2 million in fiscal year 2011.
Tobacco kills 9,700 Hoosiers each year, and 9,900 Indiana kids become regular smokers each year, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
UPLAND, Ind. – Hoosier Methodism’s historians learn about the church’s connection with Taylor University during the 15th Annual Indiana United Methodist Historical Society meeting April 16. From left to right are: charter member Phillip Williams, who received the “Editor’s Award” for his on-going achievements in editing the Society’s highly regarded newsletters, the Rev. Douglas Davies, pastor of First UMC at Gas City and president of the Society, and Dr. John Baughman, also a charter member and past-president of the Society, who was retiring from the executive committee at this meeting. Retired pastor Riley Case, shared the historic relationship of the Indiana Conference with Taylor University, named after 1800s Methodist Episcopal Bishop William Taylor.
For the past year I’ve been blessed to be one of the members of the national YOUTH 2011 Design Team. We have been putting in place the details for an amazing ministry for youth and youth leaders this summer. For those who may not know, YOUTH 2011 is the quadrennial gathering of thousands of youth from across the country and around the world for five fantastic days of worship, learning, service and fellowship. This year there are two sites, July 13-17 at Purdue University here in Indiana at West Lafayette, and July 27-31 in Sacramento, California.
I know our churches have a lot of choices for your Summer 2011 ministries, and I know that committing to an event like YOUTH 2011 may require a move away from a traditional mission trip or other church commitments. I truly understand the challenges in those decisions, as a former congregational youth pastor. With that in mind, I share why I am so excited, and why I believe the commitment to volunteering that week at Purdue or bringing your youth to this ministry is worth the investment.
For more information and registration, visit www.youth2011.org.
Brian Durand serves as Associate Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries. He is based at the Indiana Conference Center in Indianapolis. E-mail him at email@example.com or call 317-924-1321.
Many people have asked how they can help with the event in Indiana, and we are now recruiting specific volunteers and teams. If you or your church want to volunteer, see below for ways to get involved:
Photo courtesy Evelyn Hardsaw
Pastors Stephen McAfee (left) and Ted Chalk (right) pack school supplies for local schools during a ministry cluster project.
The Indiana South District United Methodist LOGICS Cluster (Love of God in Christian Servanthood) has made helping eight area elementary schools a top priority for the past three years. Again this year, members from the four small-membership Harrison County churches of Bethany, New Middletown, Perseverance Chapel and Smith Campground UMCs are collecting pencils and paper, crayons, scissors, glue and other school necessities. The supplies will be distributed to the eight area schools in early August. This year’s drive, once completed, will mark more than 10,000 school items donated so far.
LOGICS Cluster actively supports other missions such as Harrison Count’’s Habitat for Humanity and Community Services and former Harrison County resident Pat Croley, a UM Deaconess with the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in Fort Thompson, S.D. The group meets quarterly, holds joint Lenten and other worship services and an annual picnic and pool party each summer.
Evelyn L Hardsaw, serves as the school supplies coordinator at Perseverance Chapel United Methodist Church.
NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. – Impact 2818 Outdoor Ministries received a $2,500 grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. through the 2011 Summer Youth Program Fund. The grant will help support our first-year Community Outreach Program that we are implementing to give at-risk students from the Indianapolis area the opportunity to experience Christ-centered community through camp at no cost to them.
We have partnered with the following Indianapolis organizations to give a total of 75 at-risk students the gift of camp this summer:
A total of $30,000 is still needed to fund this program. Send a child to camp this summer and Be A Life Changer. It only takes a little to make a huge difference in a child’s life.
Donate online at www.beacamper.com/support.html or call Alexis at 574-834-2212 ext. 1010.
Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster urges the Council of Bishops to take a greater role in shaping the denomination’s future.
“Today, I invite you, my sisters and brothers, not simply to lean but to lead into the future,” said Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, referring to his comment at a previous meeting that the bishops should lean forward into the future, “to seize this moment to exercise our corporate leadership to make a difference in the world – and in this denomination we care so deeply about.”
But he acknowledged church leaders face a challenge in gauging what sort of guidance United Methodists need.
Goodpaster was speaking during another challenging time, as denominational leaders seek to address the impact of the world’s economic crisis and The United Methodist Church’s decades-long membership decline in the United States. Church leaders denomination-wide are discussing implementing recommendations from a Call to Action proposal that would restructure the church and increase accountability for greater congregational vitality.
In other business, the bishops:
United Methodists volunteers of southwestern Indiana built this sanctury for a Methodist church in Fond d’ Acaque, Haiti.
In addition to the construction project, they also took a medical staff that conducted four mobile medical clinics and supported the daily operation of the Gebeau Clinic.
The most important part of the project was that the team was able to get to know the people of Fond d’ Acaque as individuals, as people of God, witness to them, be witnessed to by them and to genuinely enjoy the fellowship of God together.
Visit Rejuvenate’s website at www.rejuvenateindiana.org for the dates and locations of the workshops. You can register now!
The “Extravagant Generosity” workshops assist both clergy and lay teams in understanding the steps that are needed to become generous stewards of all the resources that God has entrusted to us, individually and corporately as the church.
Contact Michelle Cobb, project director at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Women’s Division board voted to become structurally separate from the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) while remaining “missionally connected” in staff configuration and by its board of directors at their meeting, April 7-11, in Stamford, Connecticut. The GBGM also approved the proposal at their meeting April 11-13.
Based on recommendations from the board’s policy committee, there was strong support of the proposal to be structurally separate and missionally related to GBGM. These recommendations came out of the previous fall 2010 meeting request to prepare two plans for consideration at the spring 2011 meeting, one outlining structural connection to GBGM and another outlining structural separation.
The plan will bring changes to how Women’s Division relates to GBGM. Both are based in New York City. Women’s Division deputy general secretary Harriett Olsen said the plan would “intentionally release seats at the GBGM Board of Directors in order to make it possible for GBGM to add additional representation from Central Conferences. Women’s Division would not be represented on GBGM’s Program Cabinet on a regular basis, but is recommending that the women’s chief officer be represented at the General Secretaries’ Table.”
Indiana United Methodist Conference Parish Nursing Health Ministries Committee is offering two scholarships to pay the registration fee for Parish Nurses who would like to attend the 25th Annual Westberg Symposium in St. Louis, September 16-18, 2011. Priorities will be given to active Parish Nurses in an Indiana United Methodist church.
This year’s Symposium is “Celebrating Our Past, Present & Future!” The symposium will examine the specialty of Parish Nursing in regards to its origins, intent, current practices and opportunities for the future. Interested Parish Nurses need to contact Sherry McIntyre by calling 317-370-8522 or e-mail email@example.com no later than Friday, May 20.
A bound paper copy of the 2010 Indiana Conference Journal can now be ordered from AuthorHouse by calling toll-free 888-519-5121 or online at www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000461532.
The cost is $20 plus shipping for a paper copy. 2010 Indiana Conference Journal is also available free online as a PDF document. It can be downloaded either in whole or by sections at http://inumc.org/pages/detail/596.
Photo courtesy Ron Richard, cluster leader
At the YES Home volunteers cleaned the picnic shelter and painted the serving table. They also prepared a flower bed around the picnic shelter. At the homes of four LifeTime Resources’ clients, they performed the necessary spring yard work to prepare their homes for summer.