This newsletter was sent on: 2/11/2009

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Communique 272 - Feb. 11, 2009


In Step with Bishop Jones: Enough really is enough
Everyone in the United States is aware that we are in a financial crisis. Unemployment is going up, salaries are being frozen, businesses are going bankrupt, churches are under financial pressure, homes are being foreclosed, and endowments and pension funds have dropped significantly. How should Christians respond?


Hunger grant applications due April 1
The Kansas East Conference Board of Global Ministries awards grants for agencies in the conference area doing ministry to alleviate hunger. Each year, monies come in for the Bishop's Round-Up for Hunger. Out of those funds, 40 percent goes to ministries in Haiti, 40 percent to ministries in Mexico and the remaining 20 percent to agencies related to the Kansas East Conference. In 2008, the board distributed $8,000 in grants to 14 agencies.

If you are associated with an agency doing work with the hungry in Kansas East, go to for information about the grants and to download a grant application. Applications are due April 1.

Bridges to the Future funds Abide Program for churches
Thanks to funding through the Bridges to the Future, churches have an opportunity for revitalization through the “Abide” program. This program allows funding for churches to send their pastor and several lay people to attend overnight retreats encouraging faith and stirring vision, a year involved in the Incubator process to develop leadership, learning and transformation through a Ministry Action Plan, and on-going coaching by Abide and Incubator facilitators.

Presently there are seven churches registered in the Kansas East Conference to participate in the 2009 Abide Program. Those United Methodist Churches are: Big Springs, Blue Mound, Stull, Richter, Harveyville, New Hope, and Powhattan. There is so much interest in this program from these churches that many churches are sending up to ten people to this program!

To find out additional information about the Abide program or how your church can benefit from this revitalization opportunity, contact Lonnie Bailey at 785-272-9111 or or ask your district superintendent.

Read more about what’s happening because of the Bridges campaign at

Women’s History Month bulletin inserts available online
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women is again providing bulletin covers, liturgies and inserts for March’s Women’s History Month celebration. These are available online at no cost and can be downloaded and copied for March worship services.

Also available online is a free six-session study, “Women Called to Ministry,” that’s suitable for local churches during Women’s History Month.

Download the bulletin inserts and/or study session at

Iola Wesley returns to church building
Wesley UMC in Iola is officially moving back into the church building 14 months after a fire in November 2007.

The fire was primarily contained to the northeast corner and roof of the church, but heat, smoke and water damage forced extensive renovation throughout the building.

Read more about the congregation’s experiences at

Some local-church stats reports still need to be submitted
District offices in the Kansas East Conference have reported the following status of local-church statistical report submissions:

Flint Hills: No report
Kansas City: No report
Five Rivers
a. 78 percent of all churches have completed all three tables
b. 16 churches remaining
a. 57 churches have reported, with 54 verified by the district secretary
b. 14 churches have not completed Table 1
c. 15 churches have not completed Table 2
d. 16 churches have not completed Table 3
a. 56 churches have completed all tables, with five verified
b. 10 churches have started but not completed their reports
c. 6 churches have not started their reports will be available through Feb. 13, after which the online site will no longer be available.

Please go to to submit your statistical report if you have not completed it.

If you are not able to complete your 2008 Statistical Reports by that time, you will need to send paper copies to your District Office for direct entry to Mission Base.

If you have questions about your local church Statistical Report please call your District Office.

Children of ministers wanted for informal survey
Amy Atkins, a seminary intern for the United Methodist General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, is requesting information about faith development from college-aged (18-24 years old) children of ministers.

Ms. Atkins is conducting an informal survey during the last week of February to see how growing up as the child of a minister has affected their personal relationship with God. This an informal survey will be conducted either by phone or by email, depending on the preference of the participant. It will be a short time commitment and should require no more than 30 minutes.

Those interested in participating in the survey can email Ms. Atkins at

Online course focuses on four areas of ministry
A free online course is available on the United Methodist Church’s four key areas of ministry. The self-directed course, “Four Areas of Focus,” is offered by United Methodist Communications from now to Dec. 31.

The four areas are developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world; creating new places for new people and revitalizing existing congregations; engaging in ministry with the poor; and combating the diseases of poverty by improving health globally.

To register, go to the Online Learning Center at and select “Four Areas of Focus” from the United Methodist Basics category.

If you are a returning online learner, enter your user name and password on the left side of the log-in page. If you are a new online learner, complete the brief registration form on the right side of the log-in page, and click “register.”

UMCOR promotes Eco-Palm Project for Palm Sunday
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is partnering with the University of Minnesota to build support from local churches for the Eco-Palm Project, which helps harvesters in Guatemala and Mexico receive fair wages for their labor, provides opportunities for leadership and incorporates environmentally sound harvesting techniques.

Last year, 582,900 palm stems were purchased from 2,123 congregations nationwide, including more than 36,800 orders from United Methodists.

The deadline for ordering palms is March 2. Visit or call the University of Minnesota at 612-624-7418 to order.

Additional information is available at

United Methodists join forces to ‘turn worlds upside down’
The four areas of focus adopted by the 2008 United Methodist General Conference were rolled out in earnest at the quadrennial training event for annual conference leaders Jan. 29-Feb. 1. More than 1,200 leaders gathered for the “Living the United Methodist Way: Turning Worlds Upside Down” event to learn how their respective places of ministry can connect with others to transform themselves and the world. The four areas – leadership development, church growth, ministry with the poor and global health – were introduced in plenary sessions, followed by workshops on each topic.


Theology of worship
Rev. Dan R. Dick, a United Methodist pastor and author of the internet blog “United Methodeviations” has written a new blog entry on the theology of worship. In this entry, he writes about the importance of the underlying beliefs and motivations about God and worship that shape what the church offers.

Read the blog at

Hymns and Songs in Lead Sheets
Dean McIntyre, Director of Music Resources at GBOD, offers some valuable resources for those interested in lead sheets for hymns and other songs used in worship.

Many lead sheets of hymns and songs are available for guitar players and others who use chord symbols from the General Board on Discipleship and Abingdon Press.

Over one hundred free downloadable lead sheet hymns and songs may be found on the GBOD website at,897,899&act=nav_loc

How Sweet the Sound, an excellent collection of lead sheets from Abingdon, may be found at

Other lead sheets and chords may be found through Google, publishers’ websites, and most music retailers.

Featured events

Listening event on the reduction of episcopal areas, Feb. 21
The second Kansas Area listening event on the reduction of episcopal areas will be Feb. 21 at First UMC in Topeka. The events provide opportunities to give input about how the College of Bishops should reduce the number of episcopal areas in 2012.

For more information, view the event on the conference calendar at

Festival of Living Faith, Feb. 28
Becky Stebbins writes, “Many of us do well at caring for our existing church membership, but do not do well at being open to strangers and sharing our faith journey, even with those we those we trust. We are good at being in mission and social ministry to our local communities, but we fail to invite those we serve to worship and to share why we are in mission. We know we are all called to make disciples for Christ, but somehow we find ourselves at a loss when it comes to opening up about what Christ means in our lives, or at simply inviting someone to come to church with us.

“The ‘Festival of Living Faith,’ February 28 at Lowman UMC in Topeka, is about how we as 21st Century Christians share our faith in meaningful ways in relationships that we have already developed. It is designed to help us confront our reluctance to share our faith with others, to awaken within us the desire and possibility of sharing our faith and giving us some tools and methods for actually doing it. Until we are able to share what Christ's living presence in our lives means to us and what it can mean to others, we are not fulfilling our mission.”

Each church or pastoral charge is asked to send a team of 3 to 4 people, including youth, evangelism members, pastor and key lay people.

View more information about the event, including links to a brochure registration on the conference calendar at

Communications Staff

Lisa Elliott Diehl
Area Director

Susan Cooper
Associate Director
Beverly Fanestil
Britt Bradley
Electronic Media Specialist

Area Communications Office, 9440 E Boston, Suite 110, Wichita KS 67207
866-915-3638 or 316-684-3638; Fax: 316-684-0044