This newsletter was sent on: 3/25/2009

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4201 SW 15th Street
Topeka KS 66604

Communique 278 - March 25, 2009

From Evelyn Fisher, Topeka District superintendent:

Members of the ABIDE teams will be reading “The Anatomy of Peace” by the Arbinger Institute next month. Several people have expressed interest in borrowing a copy rather than purchasing it.

If you have a copy, please get it to your district office or to the conference office. Make sure your name and address is in the book so that it can be returned to you.


Churches celebrating 150 years to be honored at Annual Conference
The Commission on Archives and History is requesting information to honor churches that will celebrate a 150th anniversary between June 1, 2009, and May 30, 2010. Send information to the commission chairperson, Rev. Phyllis Garrett, P.O. Box 65, Woodbine, KS 67492-0065 or e-mail to chairperson, so that these churches can be recognized at Annual Conference session.

For more information, contact Garrett at the e-mail address above or 785-257-3530.

Keep up with plans for 2009 Annual Conference
Members of the Kansas East Conference and others who are interested in keeping up with the plans for the 2009 Annual Conference have two new ways to receive updates as they become available. You can join the Kansas East Conference Session UMC group on Facebook,, or follow us as KECUMC on Twitter,

UMs can apply online for scholarships, loans
United Methodist students who need financial help for college costs now can apply online for United Methodist scholarships or loans. For the 2008/2009 academic year, GBHEM awarded $4.57 million in scholarships to 3,371 students, and $1.95 million in loans to 430 students.

Allyson Collinsworth, scholarships administrator, said applications are coming in much faster online than the paper applications did.

“Scholarship deadlines vary for the more than 60 programs administered by GBHEM, but the final deadline has always been May 15,” Collinsworth said.

In addition to online applications, students can now repay their loans online.

To learn more about United Methodist loans and scholarships, visit

Financial constraints on preschools in economic downturn
Melanie Gordon, Younger Children's Ministries - Discipleship Ministries Division director for the General Board of Discipleship, has posted a blog entry about declining enrollment in weekday United Methodist preschools.

Two situations seem to be fueling this decline:

  • Parents, in hopes of trimming their spending are caught between the choice of feeding their children or educating their children.
  • Parents are losing their jobs and homes due to the extraordinary economic crisis and no longer have the resources to keep children in preschool ministries.


Survey looks at United Methodist clergy spouses
Today’s clergy spouse, either male or female, often has a graduate degree and a full-time job outside the church.

That is one of the findings of a survey prepared by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women, in collaboration with the denomination’s Board of Pension and Health Benefits, Board of Discipleship and Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

“As a body, clergy spouses have changed over the years and do not fit what many of us have as a stereotype,” said M. Garlinda Burton, the commission’s top executive.

Nearly 3,100 clergy spouses completed the survey, which was distributed in several different ways. Most respondents – 78 percent were female – learned of the survey through their annual conference.

Learn more at

Mission updates
Tony Ikenberry, long-term Volunteer In Mission serving in Bangladesh, sent an updates about his work there. Read his latest newsletter from the e-newsletter archives at

Classified ads online
Classified ads are posted on the conference website, including:

  • Worship leader, LifeBridge

See all the current classifieds in the News & Events section at


Earth Hour, March 28
Churches can take part in Earth Hour this Saturday evening, March 28, from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., when people all across the globe are asked to cut the power or at least the lights.

Turning off steeple lights and other outdoor decorative lighting as well as the power to all our appliances and indoor lighting during this one hour is an opportunity to make a witness to the need to think about our energy consumption every day.

To learn more, go to

Forest Park readiness days, April 4, May 2
Forest Park and Retreat Center, near Topeka, is preparing for a busy spring and summer, and volunteers are needed April 4 to perform work indoors and again on May 2 to work outside.

Both workdays will begin at 8:30 a.m., and lunch will be provided.

If you can help or can bring a group, contact the resident managers at 785-234-8024 or

Visit the retreat center’s website at

Laity School of Theology, April 18
The final class of the 2008-09 Laity School of Theology will be April 18. The class will be "Growing Closer to God: Some Advice from John Wesley" by Dr. Henry Knight III at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo.

The cost is $35 per person, which includes lunch.

For more information and registration, go to

‘A River Deep and Wide,’ April 20-25
"A River Deep and Wide," will be April 20-25 at the Scarritt-Bennet Center in Nashville, Tenn. The conference is sponsored by The Academy for Spiritual Formation, a ministry of The Upper Room.

In an increasingly multicultural and interreligious world, some respond with fear. However, as people of faith, we know that differences can lead to discovery. Diversity is an invitation to dialogue. The conference will be an opportunity to learn, grow and relate to one another, overcoming divisions and discovering our oneness in community.

Registration for the full conference is $275 per person.

For more information, go to

‘Youth Ministry for a Technological World,’ April 24-25
“Youth Ministry for a Technological World” will be from Friday, April 24, at 3 p.m. to Saturday, April 25, at 3 p.m. at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo. This is a gathering for youth ministers and youth workers from various denominations to learn and share ideas through lectures, worship and break-out sessions.

The event will feature Dr. Peggy Kendall, author of “Rewired: Youth Ministry in an Age of IM and MySpace” and professor of Communications at Bethel University.

The registration cost is $60 per person and includes three meals. Continuation education credits are available.

To register and for more information, go to, or contact Dr. Claire Smith at 816-245-4865 or

Ecumenical Campus Ministries lectures, April 25, 26, 27
Each year, Ecumenical Campus Ministries joins with other campus ministries and congregations in Lawrence to bring the academic and faith communities together with an acclaimed speaker to address issues and questions of faith.

The 2009 Theologian in Residence is Dr. Peter Gomes. He will give lectures in Topeka and Lawrence:

  • Lecture 1: "Beyond the Bible: Recovering the Gospel," April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union, Washburn Room at Washburn University in Topeka
  • Lecture 2: "Transformation and Non-conformity: A New Christian Identity," April 26 at 2 p.m. in the Lied Center at the University of Kansas
  • “Conversation with Peter Gomes,” April 26 at 7 p.m. in the Sunflower Room of Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont Street in Lawrence
  • Lecture 3: "Being Who you Are," April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom of Kansas Memorial Union at the University of Kansas as part of the annual Awards Ceremony of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas

The lectures are open to the public without charge, but all attendees are asked to make reservations through the Religious Studies office at 785-864-4664.

For more information, go to

Tallgrass retreat center fundraiser, June 13
Tallgrass Spiritual Retreat Center is having its first fundraising event, “Tallgrass Treasures and Tennessee Tunes,” June 13 at College Hill UMC in Wichita.

The event will feature Celia Whitler, a singer, songwriter and author from Tennessee, and a silent basket auction.

Retreat center director Rev. Billie Blair would like UMW groups to donate cookbooks for a basket of cookbooks to be auctioned.

To learn more about the event, visit

‘Missional Church Convocation 2009,’ July 16-18
“Missional Church Convocation 2009” will be July 16-18 at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago. The theme will be “In Good Company: Becoming Faithful Readers and Doers of Scripture.” The featured speaker will be Dr. Stephen E. Fowl.

The basic registration cost is $245 per person by April 30, $275 after that date.

For more information, including group and student rates, go to

‘2009 School of Congregational Development,’ July 29 - Aug. 1
The 2009 School of Congregational Development will bring together hundreds of clergy and lay leaders looking to renew their congregations and create new ones. Jointly sponsored by the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship and the General Board of Global Ministries, this year’s main event will take place in the Chicago area July 29 through Aug. 2.

“… we believe that every congregation can be vital and vibrant,” said Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive for GBOD. “Every leader can lead in an excellent way in any congregation—be it new or existing. … The School of Congregational Development provides an opportunity for training and reflection on best practices for church leaders at all levels.”

The full event cost is $375 per person by May 1, $425 through June 15 and $475 after that date. The weekend-only cost is $100 per person.

For more information and online registration, go to, or call Deborah Carvin toll-free at 877-899-2780 ext. 7051 or e-mail

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