Rethink Church well worth the effort to reach across county

 

Members of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg spruce up a flower bed in nearby Williams Park as part of their Rethink Church outreach to their community.

BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Engaging more than 400 members and guests in a Rethink Church community outreach was the biggest single event for this suburban Indianapolis congregation’s members since they moved into their new building a few short years ago.

The outreach was well worth the time the 800-member Calvary United Methodist Church put into the venture, according to Associate Pastor Michelle Knight, who played a key role in the day-long activity that occurred both at the church building and across Hendricks County.

“The whole church, every age group was engaged. People here loved it and met more people than usual (on a Sunday),” said Knight.

A core group of ten members worked on a task force for several months to bring the May 16 community impact into being. Everyone was engaged in an intergenerational way from pre-school children to 90-year olds. There were projects for everyone. The congregation worshipped together on Saturday night and did the Rethink Church emphasis on Sunday morning.

Rethink Church included a prayer bus led by Knight, which made 11 stops across the county to offer intercessory prayers at Kroger and Kmart parking lots, a food pantry, the school corporation office, Clarian West Medical Center in Avon, a mobile home park, city hall, the fire station, a women’s and children’s safe house, Hendricks Regional Hospital in Danville, the county jail and at home base – Calvary Church.

Senior Pastor Todd Outcalt told Together, “We sent cards and letters to more than 300 clergy, district and conference staff throughout Indiana,” The cards were made by the church’s children.

An Eagle Scout project planted perennials at the scouting shelter house.

Volunteers immediately outside the church mulched the entire daycare playground and placed flowers and plants in beds surrounding the building.

Music Director Mark Herris took two chartered buses with the praise team, bell ringers plus the children’s and youth choirs to two nursing homes for spring caroling.

Youth Director Andrew Attwood led the church youth, who picked up trash along Main Street and received many honks of appreciation for their work.

Other volunteers planted flowers in two city parks.

For more information about Calvary’s Rethink Church outreach, call 317-852-2541 or e-mail Michelle Knight at mknight@calvaryunited.org.

Hoosiers learn practices of faith then put faith into practice during conference session at Ball State

MUNCIE, Ind. – Practice Faith was the theme of the second Indiana Annual Conference session held on the campus of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. More than 2,000 conference members and guests spent equal amounts of time on learning, volunteer mission service, worship and the business of the conference.

Clergy and laity heard Missouri Bishop Robert Schnase set the pace of the conference teaching more than 3.5 hours during the two opening days about the content of his two books: Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations and its sequel Five Practices of Fruitful Living.

Conference members put Schnase’s teachings into action on Saturday afternoon during the second annual Day of Outreach to Muncie. More than 630 members and guests dressed in bright-orange “Practice Faith” lettered t-shirts, joined 150 volunteer hosts serving Muncie residents in 30 locations across town with projects that included prayer walking, gathering and sorting food, picking up trash off city streets, visiting seniors in ten nursing homes, sprucing up neighborhood parks, repairing homes and community mission sites, assisting in the Habitat for Humanity RE-store and assembling health kits for use in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

During a Saturday evening outreach celebration, Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner challenged members to multiply this community outreach by replicating it in their own communities.

During Sunday morning worship, Bishop Coyner commissioned 14 provisional members and ordained 19 elders and three deacons. Clergy congratulated five Local Pastor Course of Study graduates. The conference also retired 58 clergy who gave a total of 1,540 years of service and remembered 77 clergy and clergy spouses who died during the past 12 months. Four of the five services were led by a conference-wide Praise Team consisting of vocal and instrumental musicians.

Laity learn of opportunities, thank those who are fruitful

By Matthew Oates

MUNCIE, Ind. – Ike Williams and Kayc Mykrantz, conference co-lay leaders, welcomed the laity into session Thursday evening, June 10, of the Indiana Annual Conference session. During the evening, the laity received updates on a variety of issues. Highlights include:

  • Rev. Doug Anderson provided an update on cluster training and some of the outcomes from the clusters. Outcomes include praying for each church and their ministries, joint worship services, joint mission projects, joint youth groups and more.
  • The laity were informed that next year will be an election year for lay delegates to the 2012 General Conference. Williams shared that one of the items coming up will be ways to restructure the general church level of the UMC.
  • Information was given about the United Methodist Youth 2011 event coming to Purdue University in West Lafayette, July 13-17, 2011. For more information, visit www.youth2011.org.
  • Bread and Basin Award recipients were David Ashmore of First UMC in Pendleton for local missions, Helen Aylsworth of Springs Valley UMC in French Lick for national missions, and Carolyn Olivier of Chapel Hill UMC in Indianapolis for international missions.
  • This year’s laity manuscript contest had 19 entries. Jane Heustis of Irvington UMC in Indianapolis was this year’s winner. Her entry, titled “The Taste of Spiritual Strawberries,” is based on John 15:16. A complete version of her manuscript is available online at www.inumc.org, click on 2010 Annual Conference. First runner up was Jennifer Kintner of First UMC in Mishawaka; the second runner up was Mildred Ferro of St. Paul’s UMC in Elkhart.
  • Shane Bennett of Union Chapel UMC in Muncie shared “Three Things We Need to Know About the World.” They included – the world is a scary, mixed-up place; the world really is our parish; and the world exists for Jesus. Bennett also talked about working and living with Muslims and ways to interact with those of different faiths and beliefs. “We lived in a crazy mixed-up world that is different from the ones our grandparents grew up in. The world is no longer way out there. It has come right here into our midst,” he said.
  • Music at the Laity Session was provided by the University United Methodist Men’s Choir which sings both spirituals and gospel songs. The group started in 1984 under the leadership of the Rev. Rosa Harris.

Day of Outreach sends more than 600 United Methodists across Muncie

 

A United Methodist volunteer cleans out a flower bed during the Day of Outreach on June 12.

Volunteers pickup trash in a Muncie neighborhood during the Day of Outreach.

Numbers

Parts of the Indiana Annual Conference session were about the numbers. Here is a list of numbers that complete the story of the session June 10-13 in Muncie.

  • 3,296 – members eligible to attend conference
  • 1,604 – actual number of members who attended
  • 383 – guests who registered

Operation Classroom In Gathering received:

  • 557 health kits, 173 layettes, 38 sewing kits, 72 boxes sewing supplies, 234 Bibles, 54 elementary kits, 343 yes kits, 111 boxes of dried milk and 61 boxes of other supplies

Special Conference Appeals in 2010

  • $791,564 – amount received for UMCOR Haiti earthquake relief
  • $11,269 – amount received for Conference Campus Ministries appeal

Membership

  • 194,495 – lay membership in Indiana UMCs at close of 2009
  • 116,722 – average worship attendance in 2009
  • 39,329 – average Sunday school attendance in 2009
  • 1,200 – number of congregations
  • 2 – number of new congregations chartered
  • 8 – number of congregations discontinued and abandoned

Offerings

  • $3,560 – amount received for local missions offering
  • $6,964 – amount received for Cabinet’s pastors emergency fund offering

Conference charters two new congregations

MUNCIE, Ind. – The 2010 Indiana Annual Conference session chartered the Movie Theater Church, a ministry of Old Bethel UMC in Indianapolis, and the New Song Fellowship of First United Methodist Church of Valparaiso with 230 members.

“Get wet, get dirty, connect with people the good news of Jesus Christ,” said Kurt Nichols, pastor of New Song, during the chartering of his church.

The conference does have grants for your congregations to create a new congregation. Church Development grants from the Indiana Conference can provide Indiana United Methodist congregations partial funding for certain outreach efforts. These efforts all involve the development of a strong new faith community designed to reach unreached population groups. Congregations are encouraged to contact the Indiana Conference Church Development team if interested in applying. Here are the five grants being offered:

  • New Campus/Off-site Congregation Grant,
  • New Church Grant,
  • New Worship Service Grant,
  • Relocation Grant/Loan, and the
  • Vital Merger Grant.

For more information, visit www.inumc.org and click on Church Development.

Special music, honoring seniors all part of conference

 
Music at the Laity Session was provided by the University United Methodist Men’s Choir of Indianapolis, which sings both spirituals and gospel songs. The Rev. Rosa Harris started the group in 1984.

The praise and worship team led the annual conference in song during the Outreach Celebration Service on Saturday evening and during worship service that opened each plenary session. The team is composed of musicians and singers from across Indiana and was directed by Chuck Scott, director of music at St. Joseph United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne.

 

Laity’s Bread and Basin Award recipient was 99-year-old Helen Aylsworth of Springs Valley UMC in French Lick, honored for her service to missions.

The Rev. George Dinwiddie, 98, was honored by the Indiana Conference as the oldest living clergy member of the conference. He was ordained in 1949. Bishop Coyner presented him with the “conference cane” in recognition of this honor.

Former South Dakota U.S. Senator speaks to world hunger needs

INDIANAPOLIS – Lifelong advocate to relieve hunger in the world and 1972 Democratic candidate for U.S. President, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, spoke June 6 to all three worship services at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

McGovern was introduced by Jim Morris, former director of the World Food Program based in Rome, Italy. Morris, a Presbyterian and “moderate Republican” called McGovern a remarkable man, one of the great humanitarians of our time, especially on the issue of world hunger. McGovern has worked with the Food for Peace program for 50 years, which has fed millions of people.

He said his change in attitude about hunger in America came while watching a CBS-TV special titled “Hunger in America.” He said he saw in that report migrant labor camps, people living in shacks and hungry children in the slums of our great cities.

In the 1990s, President Clinton appointed him to Rome with the World Food Program. He discovered that we weren’t reducing the number of hungry people in the world as the population continues to increase. He urged the United Nations in Rome to provide a universal lunch program worldwide. He was appointed United Nations Ambassador on World Hunger in 2001.

New Indiana United Methodist Foundation board elects officers

The new Indiana United Methodist Foundation in one of its first items of business on Wednesday, June 30, elected officers. They are: Rick Childs, chairperson of the board; Mary Miller of Indianapolis, vice-chairperson; Forrest Bowers, secretary; and David V.W. Owen, treasurer.

The foundation was created by action of the members of the Indiana Conference during its annual session last month in Muncie. About the new officers:

  • Childs of Cicero in the North Central District is the former president of the United Methodist Foundation of South Indiana, Inc.
  • Miller of Indianapolis in the Central District is the former vice-chairperson of the former Indiana Area Foundation and a retired pastor of the conference who has served the church at all levels including General Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
  • Bowers of Muncie in the East District is a retired local pastor serving the Losantville UMC and a member of the former North Indiana United Methodist Foundation.
  • Owen is executive assistant to Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner.

Community garden unites Hammond neighborhood

HAMMOND, Ind. (Northwest Indiana Times) – Woodmar United Methodist volunteers, residents from Hammond Housing, and community residents planted a Community Garden this spring near the corner of Columbia Avenue and 173rd Street.

The garden is on 8,000 square feet of land owned by the Hammond Housing Authority. It will provide low-income residents with free, healthy food.

The event was organized by Woodmar United Methodist Church and called Change the World Day, with the message that people everywhere should take more active roles in their own communities. Sandwiches and water for volunteers were donated by Food 4 Less, which also made a monetary donation, and hot dogs were provided by youth and young adult groups from the church.

For more information on how to get involved, contact Woodmar United Methodist Church at 219-844-3030 or woodmarumc@att.net or the Hammond Housing Authority at 219-989-3265.

Central Indiana United Methodists prepare for Habitat build

 

Pictured here is a typical Habitat for Humanity house for this area of the country.

Central Indiana United Methodists are coming together for the Second Annual United Methodist Church Home Build with Habitat for Humanity. United Methodists have long partnered with Habitat and were strong supporters of the first Indianapolis Habitat home built in 1987.

The goal for the participating Central Indiana United Methodist churches is to unite enough support and volunteers to fully fund and build a home for The Ghebremedhin/Wurota Family, refugees from Ethiopia. The build, located at 849 River Avenue in Indianapolis, will begin on Oct. 12 and end Nov. 20 with a dedication on Dec. 4.

To date, 85 percent of the $70,000 building goal has been raised. However, United Methodist Habitat volunteer builders still need funds and other support, according to Ted Mosey, development consultant for Habitat. The support and contributions of members and their congregation are needed. Organizers ask United Methodist for prayful consideration of this project with Habitat for Humanity and fellow United Methodist congregations.The construction of a house brings together large and small pieces to make a home.

Planners say they need as much participation from United Methodists congregations as they can to ensure a complete project. So far, 20 congregations are committed to this ministry outreach.

Hoosier missionary returns to Mitwaba, DRC, Africa

By Bob Walters

 

This spring Walters finished a 1,000 kilometer (600 mile) bicycle tour of remote districts of the North Katanga Conference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo evaluating the state of The United Methodist Church with an eye toward two concerns: communities struggling to recover from the war, and communities who once had resident missionaries and now are struggling to keep those mission stations alive.

It was in late 1998 when the General Board of Global Ministries in New York City decided to evacuate all United Methodist missionaries from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was in the mountains in the Mitwaba District when the call came on the district superintendent’s ham radio. I left in this ordered retreat.

Now in early 2010, I arrived at the border of the Mitwaba District at the village of Kyubo, greeted by a wave of United Methodists. Those who have visited communities in Africa know what these greetings can look like. Scouts met us several kilometers outside of town to relieve us of our bicycles. District and local lay leaders brought water and walked with us. United Methodist Women led the singing and dancing. An official delegation met us at the district border with gifts of flowers and doves. Hundreds of children were underfoot. This was all that and something much, much deeper personally. These were my people. I was their missionary. And even after a 12-year absence, they still thought of me as their missionary. And beyond that, my arrival represented the return of the greater United Methodist Church. Their long wait was over.

The task before us is daunting. A visit like this is a promise, a promise to return with real help. Friendly Planet Missiology is all about delivering the kind of help that moves a community toward self-sufficiency and our ultimate goal is to leverage local resources, but right now we United Methodists have a lot of churches, schools, and clinics to rebuild; wells to be dug; bicycles, farming tools, and mosquito nets to be delivered; and future leaders to be trained.

For more information, visit www.friendlyplanetmissiology.org.

Brooks graduates three dental technicians in Kentucky

BEVERLY, Ky. – The song “The Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman perfectly describes the journey of Susan and Harry Brooks during the past five years. They blazed a new trail at United Methodist Red Bird Mission in the Appalachian area of eastern Kentucky, complete with abundant evidence of God’s amazing grace.

The first ever dental laboratory at Red Bird Mission became a reality in fall 2008, supplying dental patients of Red Bird clinic with prescribed dental appliances that were fiancially beyond their reach, as well as providing free laboratory fees in both dentures, crowns and bridges.

But the adventure didn’t stop there. It was Harry’s dream and intention to establish a program to train local residents in dental laboratory technology to give them a road to financial stability.

This spring, Harry, in conjunction with the Eastern Kentucky Consolidated Employment Program, graduated three local women with a new vocation and a bright future. All three have been placed in local jobs and have started their new vocation.

A second class will begin in the fall with six local participants already enrolled. Although more funds will be necessary to accommodate the additional students, Harry remains committed to creating skilled workers and unlimited hope in the economically depressed Appalachian area.

Finance group explores clergy job guarantees

A UMNS Report
By Heather Hahn

Add another voice to a growing number of church officials calling for reconsideration of clergy job guarantees. The Sustainability Advisory Group, a body examining church finances, estimates there are 784 more U.S. clergy than there are positions needed to meet church needs today, and that some conferences are trying to fill jobs the denomination does not have.

The group is recommending church bodies review and, if necessary, change church policy that states elders in good standing “shall be continued under appointment by the bishop,” according to The Book of Discipline.

“The current UMC clergy appointment structure and compensation system are unaffordable and unsustainable, and too often do not achieve the desired results of placing competent and qualified leadership in local churches,” the group’s report said. “It simply does not make sense to maintain a larger work force than local churches can afford.”

The study group was formed in the wake of the economic recession that put pressure on conferences and brought greater attention to the financial challenges already facing the church.

In its report, the Sustainability Advisory Group said the church must confront a hard financial reality: The denomination now has fewer people responsible for supporting more clergy.

The United Methodist Church in the United States has seen its membership decline by 25 percent to fewer than 7.8 million members since its peak in 1968, the report said. More than 80 percent of congregations now have fewer than 125 members. Yet in the past 25 years, the number of active clergy has held relatively steady, and the number of retirees has grown by 250 percent.

The group suggests following the examples of the Indiana and Missouri annual conferences. The Indiana Conference helps clergy who might do better in another profession with the “Called Anew” program, which includes three to six months of severance. The Missouri Conference provides intervention and training for struggling clergy. But if no improvement happens, the conference counsels ineffective clergy out of pastoral ministry.

Lebanon children’s home auxiliary officers confirmed

 

IUMCH Auxiliary Executive Committee members, officers and guests were in attendance at the annual meeting. Pictured from left to right are: Pat Grubb of Covington; Delores Brown of Covington; Jack Enos of Covington; Mildred Rogers of Greensburg; Peggy Enos of Covington; Esther Hurley of Covington; Ersel Rogers of Greensburg; Ruth Ann Horstman of North Vernon; Denise Horstman of North Vernon; Bill Horstman, of North Vernon; Marty Moll of Lafayette and Ann and O.L. Hamilton of Brownsburg.

HealthFlex Dependent Children Coverage coming Jan. 1

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the “Health Reform Acts”) require health plans that cover participants’ dependent children to offer that coverage to those children up to age 26, if the children are not eligible for employer-provided coverage.

This requirement goes into effect the first plan year after Sept. 23; for HealthFlex, our Indiana Conference-wide healthcare insurance, this plan year begins Jan. 1, 2011. On Jan.1, HealthFlex will begin offering coverage to participants’ children who are under age 26 years, regardless of their student or dependent status – if the children are not eligible for their own employer-provided coverage.

Participants whose children are not currently covered in HealthFlex, but who would be eligible for this coverage, may enroll the child or children during the HealthFlex Annual Election period in November 2010 for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2011.

Some of the details surrounding that coverage will be determined in part by forthcoming regulations and guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

For more information on this coverage and how it will work, visit www.inumc.org and click on Benefits.

Redkey-Dunkirk pastor officiates at first wedding in Lucas Oil Stadium


Photo and story courtesy of Pastor Randy Davis.

Pastor Randy Davis of Redkey and Dunkirk Mt. Tabor United Methodist churches recently officiated the first known wedding at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The vows were received Saturday afternoon, June 26.  The bride, Brittany VanSkyock, of Dunkirk, carried a blue bouquet in the shape of a horseshoe. The groom, Justin Smitley of Dunkirk, wore a Colts tie. The colors were blue and white. The wedding was followed by a reception in the Quarterback’s Suite on the stadium’s upper-deck.

Conference human resources duties shifted July 1 from Hansen to Williams

INDIANAPOLIS – The Rev. Adolf Hansen completed his term June 30 as the Indiana Conference Interim Director of Human Resources. Yesterday, July 1, Brent Williams, conference director of administrative service, assumed the duties of HR. Hansen was hired primarily to establish HR policies and procedures for the new conference, create a common conference employee handbook, and assist Bishop Mike Coyner and the conference directors in hiring the new conference staff. Human resources will now be administered by Williams.

Hansen was instrumental in the uniting of the two conferences prior to his HR appointment. He retired from being vice president of administration at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., after 21 years of service. He and his wife, Naomi, then moved back to Indianapolis. In relationship to Indiana’s two conference now united, this is the role he played in helping to establish the new Indiana Conference.

Hoosier reflects on life, times in personal daily memoir

The Rev. Dr. Donald Lacy, a retired member of the Indiana Conference living in Muncie, has written another book, his 15th, about spirituality and life.

This one, titled With an Attitude of Gratitude: A Personal/Professional Memoir, was written from Jan. 1, through Dec. 31, 2008. In this year-long day-by-day accounting of his life and life’s work, Lacy regularly greets the morning with gratefulness and a heart of remembrance and receptivity.

With daily entries, he meditates upon the faithfulness of God, reflecting upon those people who have related with him during each day, always pressing forward with his life’s vision and mission with gratitude.

With an Attitude of Gratitude was published by Providence House Publishers of Franklin, Tenn., a familiar publisher to United Methodists.

The 187-page book can be ordered online at www.Cokesbury.com.

Two wind storms destroy church building in Yeoman

YEOMAN, Ind. – The Yeoman United Methodist Church, which was hit by a tornado storm early Sunday morning, June 6, resulting in the destruction of its education wing, was hit again by high winds on Friday night, June 18, that ripped the roof off of the church building and scattered it to the surrounding area. The church had just renovated the building within the past year.

Upon hearing about the first storm, the Indiana Conference Disaster Response Team gave $2,000 to the congregations to assist in their clean-up efforts.

The congregation of the church continues to remain positive despite their situation and the likelihood that they will need to re-build their church.

The church plans to rebuild its building and remain in the community it has been a part of for more than a century.

All donations to help the Yeoman United Methodist Church can be sent to the church at P.O. Box 656, Monticello, IN 47960.