'Making ROOM' chosen as session theme in 2012

Members of the Annual Conference Session Implementation Team tour the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS – “Making ROOM” will be the theme of the 2012 Indiana Annual Conference’s Fourth Session gathering June 7-9 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis, the first annual conference session to be held somewhere besides a university campus since the late 1960s. This three-day conference is the annual event of The United Methodist Church in Indiana when more than 3,000 clergy and lay conference members, representing the church’s 1,200 congregations, come together for passionate worship, dynamic learning opportunities, the ordination of ministers, remembrance of deceased members and celebration of the ministry of retiring pastors, and outreach service to the community.

Consulting with Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner, the Conference Session Team chose the theme and Scripture, Acts 2:46-47, “Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.” (Common English Bible)

When discussing the theme, team members asked, “How will we open ourselves to make room in our hearts, minds, lives for others including those who see the world in a different way (i.e. be more inclusive)? How will we make room by removing things from our lives that get in the way of our purpose as Christ followers? How will we make more room in our lives for God?”

The Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association is managing all housing requests. In order to receive the discounted hotel rates, conference members can reserve a hotel room online at http://visitindy.com/inumc and click on “Click here for housing information” on the right side of the page or by calling 317-262-8191.

For more information, visit www.inumc.org and click on Annual Conference Session.

Bishop appoints part-time associate for Church Development with Hispanics

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner has appointed the Rev. Sergio Reyes, a part-time local pastor and co-pastor of Getsemani United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne as a part-time Associate Director of Church Development with Hispanic populations, effective Oct. 1.

Sergio and his wife, the Rev. Janie Reyes, also a part-time local pastor, were appointed to the newly chartered Cristiana Getsemani congregation in May 2007, Indiana Conference’s first chartered Hispanic church.

Reyes will work closely with the Rev. Mark Gough, director of Church Development in the Indiana Conference, to reach out to specific Hispanic populations within the state. Reyes’ task is to develop and implement the conference strategic plan for church development, with a focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Connectional Ministries selects new Associate Director of Student Ministry

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Conference has hired an experienced youth worker to head up a new student ministry program.

The Director of Connectional Ministries of the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Rev. Dr. James Bushfield, announced Oct. 10 the selection of Helene Foust as the new Associate Director of Student Ministry for the Indiana Conference effective Dec. 1.

According to Bushfield, Foust will assume the responsibilities of resourcing and networking ministry with youth in congregations across the state and working with United Methodist-related campus ministry programs and Wesley Foundation ministries in Indiana.

The Indiana Conference identifies ministry with youth and college students as a continuing priority and authorized staff to support programs across the state in its reorganization in 2008. Foust is taking over these responsibilities from the Rev. Brian Durand, who was recently named as the conference’s Associate Director of Leadership Development. He will focus on supporting a new generation of leaders in the church.

Foust is currently the Minister to Youth and Young Adults at Old Bethel United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. She also has developed youth ministry programs at the Milltown United Methodist Church and has had extensive experience as the Director of Christian Education in Terryville, Conn.

Indiana Jurisdictional delegation seeks nominations for episcopal candidates

The Indiana Conference delegation to next summer’s North Central Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church in Akron, Ohio, is in the process of discerning whether or not there is an Elder in good standing, who should be named as a candidate for the episcopal office of bishop. At the present time, we do not know whether a new bishop will need to be elected at the conference, nonetheless the delegation has decided to proceed and identify a potential candidate from the Indiana Conference.

Names of such candidates will be shared at the delegation’s next meeting Saturday, Nov. 19. Any member of an Indiana United Methodist church is welcome to submit the name of an ordained Elder in good standing that he or she feels would be an excellent bishop. Submit the name to Ed Fenstermacher by Thursday, Nov. 17 and he will share the name of that person with the delegation and briefly explain why you believe this person would make a good bishop. The delegation will then have a period of time to prayerfully discern which of the names offered – if any – is the one the delegation will endorse.

Whether or not you submit a name, please keep your Indiana Conference delegation and this process of electing a bishop in your prayers.

For more information and questions about the election of episcopal candidates, contact Ed Fenstermacher, Indiana Conference Jurisdictional Delegation chairperson, at ed.fenstermacher@inumc.org or phone 877-781-6706.

Small-membership Evansville church thinks big in outreach

Hundreds pack St. Johns UMC in Evansville for a Back to School Rally sponsored by the church and by the Evansville Chapter of Black Expo.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – More than 650 youth and their parents came to St. Johns United Methodist Church in Evansville Aug. 6 for a Back to School Rally. St. John Pastor Billy Garrett partnered with the Indiana Black Expo Evansville Chapter for the rally.

The 35-member church and Black Expo gave away free school supplies and 150 pairs of tennis shoes to any school-age child. They served lunch to each student, too.

Garrett is currently working on another program with Black Expo called Jeans for Teens. They plan to give away free jeans for youth during the upcoming holiday season.

Garrett told Together, “This program came to me from a vision from God.”

This part-time pastor says he works full-time and has a heart for the poor. He also has taken his first orientation training this past summer to become certified to start a church-based daycare.

In another program, the church has acquired a small freezer to assist in a food pantry and to assist youth and their families in having a better protein diet. The church hopes to feed the hungry and to raise funds for food collections and meat for the holiday season for low- to moderate-income families.

New Albany churches send books to Sierra Leone schools

Church cluster volunteers pack books in New Albany, Ind. for the Sierra Leone Library Project. From left to right are: Sheila Young, Juanita Schmitt, Pat Eaton, Ellen Bolin and Ruby Amburgy. The books will be distributed by a team of Hoosier educators going to Sierra Leone in January.

The New Albany cluster of churches sent somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 books to United Methodist-related schools in Sierra Leone in September. The books will be distributed to three new classroom libraries and for bookshelves in ten other schools.

The need for books was noted last year when a team of volunteers from Trinity United Methodist Church in New Albany visited Sierra Leone as part of the Health Partners project working with primary school teachers in Freetown, Kissy and upcountry in Taiama.

This coming January, a Primary Education Team with volunteers from North Manchester, Trinity, Rosedale Hills, St. Luke’s in Indianapolis and other churches will distribute the books and help train teachers in Sierra Leone to expand their skills in how to use story books to enhance learning. These churches are covering much of the cost of setting up the libraries and are covering the cost of shipping books.

For more information about the Primary Education Team trip in Jan. 27-Feb. 11, contact Amy Zent at 317-345-8712 (amyzent@yahoo.com) or Marilyn Griffith at 317-502-7444 (griffithmarilyn@aol.com).

Bishop's Christmas Offering distributed to children's ministry projects in Indiana, around world

Even during this long recession, Hoosier United Methodists continue to show their generosity toward ministries for children here in Indiana, across the United States and around the world. Because of that generosity, the Indiana Conference Bishop’s Christmas Offering Committee was recently able to distribute another $77,500 to children’s projects worldwide.

Earlier this spring, the offering committee distributed $22,500 to the Indiana Conference’s Impact 2818 Outdoor Ministries for camp scholarships, providing lower income campers the means to attend camp this past summer.

In September, the Bishop’s Christmas Offering Committee distributed the remaining $77,500 of the $100,000 received for:

  • Indiana United Methodist-related children and youth homes ($10,000 each) to Bashor Children’s Home in Goshen, the Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home in Lebanon and the United Methodist Youth Home in Evansville;
  • Operation Classroom ($10,000) – an Indiana United Methodist-based mission to support schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone;
  • Indiana Conference-related local outreach ministries ($24,500); and
  • United Methodist Advance Projects both national and international ($13,000).

Bishop Coyner thanks the churches of Indiana for their generous support to these ministries for children and youth.

Scout veteran supports Indiana churches, Scouting

Scouting ministry specialist Dan Gates, 73, has been active in scouting since age 13.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Scouting ministry specialists help churches understand that Boy Scouts and other youth-serving agencies can be important ways to reach young people.

Dan Gates, 73, one of seven scouting ministry specialists in Indiana, understands this better than most; he became a Methodist because his Scout troop met in a Methodist Church.

In 1938, at age 13, Gates joined Boy Scout Troop 59, chartered by the West Michigan Street Methodist Church in Indianapolis. “As I progressed through the ranks and positions of scouting, I became a Methodist,” said Gates. “I have been one ever since.”

In spite of an enlarged-heart condition as a youngster, Gates passed the board of review for the Eagle Award and became assistant scoutmaster of Troop 59 in 1943. He was awarded the rank of Eagle in absentia in 1944, because he was on active duty with the U.S. Army.

In 1946, he was named Skipper of Sea Scout Ship 59 and participated in a Chesapeake Bay Cruise. Since that time he has held just about every position there is in scouting. He has served as a cubmaster, scoutmaster, district commissioner, adviser to Explorer Post 599, and president of Belzer Scout Band Boosters.

Following a 2009 week-long training experience at Philmont Scout Ranch, Gates was named charter organization representative for Troop and Pack 100, sponsored by the Lawrence United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

Scouting specialists

Other volunteers certified as scouting ministry specialists in Indiana include:

Volunteers interested in becoming a scouting ministry specialist, please contact Larry Coppock, top staff executive of the scouting ministry office of the General Commission on United Methodist Men (lcoppock@gcumm.org) or call 615-620-7261.

New Scout Sunday patch available through NAUMS

The National Association of United Methodist Scouting has approved a patch design for Scouting Ministry Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. The profits from the sale of this patch will go to the NAUMS Bible Fund, which provides backpacker-sized New Testaments at Philmont Scout Ranch and Northern Tier Canoe Base.

The purchase price of each patch funds the distribution of one New Testament to a Scout trekker or paddler. The patch is ready for pre-order now, with delivery expected shortly after the first of the new year.

Cost is $3 per patch (50 or more cost is $2.50). Send name, mailing address including ZIP Code and e-mail address with number of patches and check payable to NAUMS to NAUMS c/o Art Collins, P.O. Box 548, Ellettsville, IN 47429.

UIndy's president to retire

INDIANAPOLIS (UIndy) – The University of Indianapolis President Beverley Pitts announced Oct. 3 that she will retire at the end of the 2011-12 academic year, ending seven years at the helm of Indiana’s third-largest private college, which is United Methodist-related.

Pitts informed the university’s Board of Trustees of her decision Oct. 1. Since then, she sent email messages to faculty, staff and students, calling her tenure at UIndy “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” but saying, “The timing is right for new leadership.” She looks forward to devoting more time to travel and writing.

National evangelism organization features Evansville church

The Foundation for Evangelism, a national organization of The United Methodist Church based in Lake Junaluska, N.C., has recognized Blue Grass United Methodist Church in Evansville, Ind. as a Vibrant Church.

These are congregations that experience a 20 percent growth in a five year period of time. “Celebrating Vibrant Churches” has been developed as an online resource for clergy and laity from across the connection, who are seeking creative, successful evangelism practice ideas.

Dr. Kenneth Lambert, director of church relations at the Foundation, has interviewed pastors of select churches that have displayed some of the fastest growing attendance numbers in the nation. These interviews are featured on the “Celebrating Vibrant Churches” section of our website, which continues to be the most visited area of our website.

During the past 15 years, Blue Grass has experienced tremendous change. From one traditional worship service to three contemporary and one traditional service, from 130 in worship to 430 in worship, from 250 members to more than 600 members and from four staff members to 20, including a pre-school ministry.

Visit http://foundationforevangelism.org/category/vibrant-churches to read a story about the Blue Grass UMC and other churches. The Foundation for Evangelism’s July e-newsletter fastFORWARD also features Blue Grass UMC.

Bishop celebrates 120th at Shelbyville

Bishop Coyner celebrates the 120th anniversary of the West Street United Methodist Church in Shelbyville. The celebration was held on World Communion Sunday Oct. 2. The Rev. Perry Richards is West Street’s current pastor. 

Butler coach shares his success with children's home supporters

Butler Men’s Basketball Coach Brad Stevens, keynote speaker, visits with IUMCH supporters before the Founder’s Day celebration.

CARMEL, Ind. – More than 230 supporters of the Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home in Lebanon, packed the banquet room of The Mansion at Oak Hill to celebrate the home’s first annual Founder’s Day Celebration.

Keynote speaker Brad Stevens, 34, Butler University men’s basketball coach, told the group, he has learned that success comes, the Butler way – “go out there and do what you need to do.” Stevens credited some of his inspiration as a winning coach to Basketball Hall of Famer and Indiana native John Wooden.

Stevens then outlined four characteristics he uses with his team to become what he hopes will be a winning season. Those four include:

  1. A team must be based on a foundation of character,
  2. How we prepare is early morning (6 a.m.) and evenings (after 6 p.m.). Character needs to be developed at the right pace.
  3. How you perform depends on what you do when the lights are on, meaning during the game.
  4. Coach a new group by working for potential.

Stevens went on to explain that he puts some quote, some saying on each player’s locker every day.

He said he also was inspired by the life of Steve Jobs, who died the day before his talk. He said one thing Jobs said that meant much to him was: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

He said what matters in March begins to form on October 14, “when the doors close and we get to work.”

In order to initiate this plan, the home will be building four new houses, each approximately 6,500 square feet in size and large enough to house eight children and their “house parents.” Lapinski said they would break ground on the first house later this month.

In the closing moments of the luncheon, the home awarded Cathleen Graham, executive director of IAARCA, a state association of 112 children and family services agencies, the Godwin Children’s Champion Award. The award is named after the home’s founder Angie Godwin, who establish the home for orphan children in 1914 at Greencastle, Ind. The home was relocated to Lebanon in 1924.

Liberian United Methodist Sirleaf shares Nobel Peace Prize

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and a United Methodist, is one of three women awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace prize. She addresses the United Methodist General Conference in this 2008 photo.

United Methodist Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on women’s rights.

Johnson Sirleaf, a member of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, in 2006 was the first woman to be elected a head of state in modern Africa. She is up for re-election this month.

In a statement released after she learned of her award, Johnson Sirleaf said progress has been made in the last five years of her presidency and a new foundation for Liberia has been built.

“Dear Liberians, as we look at the work that must still be done, let us not forget that we are at peace with ourselves and our neighboring countries. Liberia is no longer a place where its people are fleeing in the thousands. On the contrary, Liberia is a country that Liberians and the world are returning to.”

Bishop John Innis, who leads Liberia’s 170,000 United Methodists, has urged support for Johnson Sirleaf from the first days of her presidency.

She calls herself “Mama Ellen” and has made equality for women a top priority. In her inauguration speech, she said: “Women have endured injustices and inhumane treatment; yet, it is the women who have labored and advocated for peace.”

She thanked the women in Liberia who “had an unmatched passion” for her candidacy. She said she would work to make sure women had their proper place in the economic process.

“I can think of no one who is more deserving than Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is powerful example of the impact of women as peace builders,” said Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. “Global Ministries has a strong relationship with Liberia on issues of peace and we have been so encouraged by the bishop of Liberia who is the vice president of our board. I join United Methodists around the world in congratulating Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman on this extraordinary honor.”

United Methodist churches joined in DREAM Sunday

United Methodist churches are among the more than 350 churches nationwide, like Central UMC in Fairmont, W. Va., that held DREAM Sabbath observances from Sept. 16-Oct. 9.

When the Rev. Mary Ellen Finegan of Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont, W. Va., stood up to preach on a recent Sunday, she knew her message would be controversial with some members.

She spoke in support of the DREAM Act (S.952), a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children (under the age of 16), completed two years of college or military service and met other requirements, including passing a criminal background check.

Central’s Sept. 25 service is counted among the more than 350 DREAM Sabbath observances that took place in 45 U.S. states Sept. 16 through Oct. 9, including Meridian Street United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. A diverse array of faith communities and DREAM-eligible youth are uniting in this national effort to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act.

DREAMer Lupe was one among three immigrant speakers Sept. 25 at Meridian Street United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Brought to the United States as a small child, she spoke English fluently by the third grade and excelled in her studies through eighth grade. Then she found out that she was undocumented.

“It was heartbreaking,” Lupe said. “I started freshman year at IU. My grades were really bad. I didn’t think there was a point of trying.” She failed three classes. But during her sophomore year, she got involved with the Latino Youth Collective. When she learned about the DREAM Act, she began to have hope again.

“My goal is to become a social worker,” she said. “I love helping people. I don’t know how long it is going to take, but eventually I will get there. The DREAM Act would really help.”

Information on organizing a DREAM Sabbath observance is available at www.dreamsabbath.org.

Bishop invites Hoosiers to 2013 Holy Land pilgrimage in the land of our faith

The Old City, seen behind the Dome of Rock resting on the Temple Mound in Jerusalem, is one of many places included.

Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner invites interested individuals to join him on a 10-day February 2013 pilgrimage to Israel. This trip also has a significantly reduced price for any ordinand who has not been to Israel.

Travelers will experience the so-called “Fifth Gospel” – the land of our faith – as the biblical stories related to Jesus take on new meaning. New to this trip will be a visit to Caesarea Philippi where Peter made his confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Highlights will include: a brief worship service on the Sea of Galilee, remembering our baptism at the Jordan River, walking the Way of the Cross in Old Jerusalem and Communion in the Garden Tomb site.

Prices start at $3,000 from Indianapolis and include airfare, hotels, daily breakfast and dinner buffets, entrance fees, most gratuities and fuel surcharges at this time. Pastors who register or are registered as Tour Hosts with Educational Opportunities can earn a trip by hosting others to travel with them.

Brochures are available. For more information and information about being a Tour Host, contact Trip Coordinator Norm Nellis at normgumc@aol.com or call 765-491-5011.

University of Evansville to host Midwest Festival of Young Preachers

Neu Chapel on the campus of Evansville University will host the Midwest Festival of Young Preachers.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville and Neu Chapel Society will host the Academy of Preacher’s first regional Festival of Young Preachers Nov. 11-13 at the University’s Neu Chapel. Preaching slots are available for 25 young people.

Young preachers, between the ages of 16 and 28, participating in the Midwest Festival will be expected to give a 10-minute sermon based on the Sermon on the Mount.

Young preachers may register by completing the form below and submitting a $25 registration fee to the Academy of Preachers. For more information, visit www.academyofpreachers.net and click on Young Preachers.

For questions or assistance, please contact the Academy of Preachers at 502- 245-9793 ext. 123.

UIndy to break ground on residence hall named in honor of first president

INDIANAPOLIS (UIndy) – The United Methodist-related University of Indianapolis will break ground soon on its seventh major residential building, Roberts Hall, named for inaugural university President John Taylor Roberts.

Scheduled to open in Fall 2012, the five-story building on Hanna Avenue between Warren and Cravens Halls will feature amenities aimed at upperclassmen, with private and semi-private rooms for about 200 students.

Roberts led the institution, then known as Indiana Central University, from 1905 to 1908. At one point, his home served as a residence for students and was known as Roberts Hall.

The UIndy Board of Trustees approved the choice at a recent meeting. Construction will begin soon.

The design by Blackburn Architects features distinctive sunroom areas. The construction process will be overseen by Wilhelm Construction. The parking lot that currently occupies the site will be replaced with new lots to the east.

DePauw University donates bunk beds to conference camping ministry

NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. – Through the assistance of the Rev. P.T. Wilson, senior pastor of Gobin United Methodist Church in Greencastle, United Methodist-related DePauw University donated a generous amount of furniture to Impact 2818 Outdoor Ministries. It included 155 bunk beds with mattresses to replace metal bunks at Epworth Forest Conference Center, six restaurant-style benches with tables, a pool table, chest freezer and six closet cabinets and other smaller items. Impact 2818 Outdoor Ministries is very grateful to DePauw University for this generous gift.

Wesleyan Theological Forum: 'Preaching Christ' to be held in Franklin, Nov. 15

FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Third Annual Wesleyan Theological Forum in the Indiana Conference is set to take place Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 1300 E. Adams Drive in Franklin, Ind.

Professor Mike Pasquarello of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., will lead the Forum focusing on the theme “Preaching Christ in the Wesleyan Tradition.”

This continuing education event is open to clergy and laity. Cost is $40 and includes lunch. For more information and registration online, visit www.inumc.org, click on Resources, then click on Wesleyan ConneXion.

Following lunch, Dr. Derek Weber of Aldersgate UMC of Fort Wayne and Pasquarello will be sharing in a preaching practicum to engage participants in the tasks of preaching Christ in the Wesleyan tradition.

For more information, please contact Andy Kinsey at pastorandy@franklingrace.org.