We have expanded this issue of Together to accommodate both highlights from the successful Indiana Annual Conference session in Muncie in June and news stories from across the state, many of which contain good ideas that can be replicated in other congregations. Most stories end in contact information for those who wish to borrow an idea for their own ministry.
I decided not to write a RETHINK CHURCH opinion piece, since this issue takes on several opinions. Two include a voice for young adults in relation to General Conference delegate elections plus benefits of the new tobacco prevention and cessation alignment with the State Department of Health written by one of our State Senators. Two other viewpoints include a Wesleyan view of an “altogether Christian” by our conference’s Wesleyan Theologian Andy Kinsey and reflections on annual conference in the Body, Mind and Spirit column by Todd Outcalt.
When I began to compile this issue, I didn’t intentionally seek out stories about young adults, but news, driven by time and events, caused me to include a story about the national United Methodist Student Forum hosted during the Memorial Day weekend by our own University of Evansville. This forum was under the guidance of the Rev. Meg Lassiat, General Board of High Education and Ministry’s director of Candidacy, Mentoring and Conference Relations and a member of the Indiana Conference.
A group of volunteers from the Wesley Foundation at Purdue University was one of the first groups to arrive in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after deadly tornados hit the city. Jake Ohlemiller, a recent Purdue grad and incoming Wesley Foundation intern, shares a story about the students’ experiences helping hurting residents and being thanked personally by Bishop and Mrs. Will Willimon, resident bishop of North Alabama.
Our own Ben Boruff, a student at Indiana University and young adult representative on the denomination’s global Call to Action team, informs Hoosiers what the Call to Action means. He ends his article with a challenge of how we can put action to this call in our own congregation. He says, “As a denomination, we must learn more effective ways to actively love God and others.”
The Indiana Annual Conference session in Muncie wasn’t really over when the session was adjourned. There were still three items of business on the table for discussion. Those issues were referred to the conference’s Leadership Table chaired by Bishop Mike Coyner. Leadership Table members gathered July 6 at the Indiana Conference Center in Indianapolis or attended by phone in a teleconference.
And finally, read about how an Indianapolis church takes a very innovative approach to community outreach this summer by sending 20 teenagers into their neighborhood to listen to neighbors and connect those who need assistance with those who can help supply that assistance. It’s a unique neighbor-to-neighbor outreach ministry based on the need of good health provided from within the community. Read more about this approach to better health.
These are just highlights. There are more stories and information in this 16-page extended issue of Together.
Daniel R. Gangler