Lent has been noted as a time of preparation and reflection. The March issue of Together has many stories to reflect upon as we move through this time of preparation.

For more than 590 confirmands and their leaders from across the state, the Connect Bishop’s Confirmation Rally was a meaningful time for youth to connect with Bishop Mike Coyner and the church beyond their own congregations. These young people will soon become the newest members of our United Methodist family across Indiana. They will be joined with more than 200,000 other Hoosier United Methodists who also will renew their affirmation of Christian faith and our vows of prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Read about the rally in Bishop Coyner’s column and in a story.

Many seminary graduates both current and past, struggle with a debt load as they minister. Many of them are now receiving assistance through the Rejuvenate project to first teach them how to manage their financial resources and then to assist them financially to reduce their debt and free themselves of future debt. Read a journal from debt to financial freedom by one parsonage family.

The Leadership Table blessed the new Indiana Conference Center during their most recent day-long session at the center on Feb. 27. To the sounds of bells and liturgy, the center was blessed in preparation for its future service to Indiana’s 1,200 congregations and more than 1,000 clergy. Read about the blessing. Also, learn that Indiana Conference giving to the General Church through its apportionments was near the bottom of the 62 United States conferences in 2009. This story deals with how this decrease in giving might have happened, as well as what the conference is doing to increase its General Church apportionment giving as faithful Hoosiers.

Read about a global perspective of the church and how thousands of United Methodists are helping fellow United Methodist-related schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone through Operation Classroom on page 7 and in assisting earthquake survivors in Chile and Haiti on page 8. For those who have never been involved in volunteer-in-mission projects during a disaster response and want to volunteer, important training workshops are coming this month and next to Indiana. (See page 10.)

Other events coming to the conference in the near future, including a stewardship-philanthropy event in April, a workshop for congregation-based health ministry and a program for young clergy at Wabash College. Three new books about United Methodists are featured.

The Viewpoints highlight open finance campaign, John Wesley’s loan scheme and Todd Outcalt’s perspective of “Dining with Jesus.”

Annual Conference is three months away and preparations are underway. Those preparations include the annual Indiana Conference Laity Manuscript Contest. 

These are only a few of the highlights featured in this issue of Hoosier United Methodists Together, with a reminder that this publication comes to you as a result of your faithful conference tithes.

Daniel R. Gangler