This newsletter was sent on: 4/29/2009

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Kansas East Conference
4201 SW 15th Street
Topeka KS 66604

Communique 283 - April 29, 2009


2009 Annual Conference registration
Register online for the 2009 Kansas East Annual Conference at or download the forms for registration at

Early-bird registration for Annual Conference ends May 15.

Annual Conference workbook available
In preparation for pre-conference briefing and Annual Conference, order or download the workbook and read through it in advance. Business sessions can move quickly, and there may not be enough time to digest the information on the spot.

This will be even more relevant this year because there will not be legislative committees due to the limited number of items requiring a vote. Everything will be addressed on the floor of the conference.

The Annual Conference Workbook is available for purchase as a hard copy with your registration and also is available to download at

There will be a limited number of workbooks available for purchase ($9) at the pre-conference briefings if you did not order one with your registration or if you were unable to print it from online.

Child care registration for Annual Conference
Child care will be offered at the 2009 Annual Conference for children up to age 12 and will be provided only for those who pre-register by May 15.

Registration for child care is available by downloading the form

For other information or to have the form mailed to you, contact Marve Ralston at 785-760-3254 or

Deadline reminders for Annual Conference
Media presentations
and/or promotional information for upcoming events to be shown on the screen during Annual Conference must be sent to Dave Pullin at by May 1.

Download presentation guidelines HERE.

Printed materials to promote upcoming events or other materials for the registration packet must be sent by May 15 to Kay Inman at the conference office, P.O. Box 4187, Topeka, KS 66604.

Sign up for Health Walk
Sign up for the second annual Kansas East Conference “Bishop’s Body-Mind-Spirit Walk” when registering for Annual Conference.

Participants will gather with the bishop on Thursday morning, June 4, for devotions at 6 a.m. at the arbor south of Harter Dining Hall. The walk will begin at 6:15.

There is a $5 fee for the walk.

Food donation collection at Annual conference
Each church is invited to collect non-perishable food items throughout the month of May to send to Annual Conference with their pastor or lay member to annual conference. This special collection is being sponsored by the Kansas Area United Methodist Rural Fellowship (KAUMRF) as a way to help the many who continue to be affected by the difficult financial times.

Collection will occur only on Wednesday in the parking lot across from Collins, and only food items will be accepted.

To complete a form with the church and district name, church phone number and approximate value of the food, download the form HERE.

Agencies benefiting from the donations will be Amistad y Fe in Topeka, Ogden Friendship House and Wesley House in Pittsburg.

For additional information, contact Rev. Ronald Williams at 785-587-4122 or at

Protecting local church’s exemption from property taxes
State law provides property tax exemption to church property (buildings, grounds and vehicles) provided such property is used exclusively for the exempt religious purposes.

To qualify for property tax exemption your church property must meet both of these requirements:

1. the property must be actively used;

2. such use must be exclusively for religious purposes.

If a church has purchased land for eventual church expansion, and the land is allowed to set idle and is not used by the church, then that land is not exempt from property taxes. The land must be “actively and exclusively used” for the exempt religious purposes. However, if the church lays out sports fields, picnic areas, etc. that are used by the church in its on-going religious programs and activities, then the land is exempt from property taxes.

The church parsonage is exempt from property taxes so long as it is used to provide housing to the clergy or church staff. However, should the church rent the parsonage to the general public, the parsonage is no longer exempt from property taxes. Or, if the current pastor does not live in the parsonage, and the church does not otherwise use the parsonage in its programs and ministry, then the parsonage is no longer exempt from property taxes.

The same applies to the church when space is rented out for use by for-profit groups or non-religious groups. For example, a church rents out an activities room to a for-profit business that holds exercise or dance classes. The church building is not being used “exclusively” for its religious purposes and might lose its property-tax exemption on the building.

The church might provide a vehicle to their clergy. If the clergy are permitted to drive the vehicle for personal trips, then the vehicle is not exempt from property taxes. This is true even if the church requires the clergy to “reimburse” the church the cost of such personal use. Because the vehicle is not “exclusively” used for the church’s religious purposes, the vehicles are not exempt from property taxes.

PSU campus ministry gets kitchen make-over with Bridges funds
The United Methodist campus ministry house at Pittsburg State University has received a kitchen make-over from Bridges to the Future funds. The 1960s-era building has been well used with limited maintenance and no updates. Students and volunteers to the program have contended with declining conditions in the kitchen that included collapsing cabinets and counters, a sink that was propped up by a makeshift brace, a worn out floor and limited work space.


Court OKs lease for Bush library
The United Methodist Church’s top court has ruled Southern Methodist University can lease campus property for the George W. Bush presidential library, museum and public policy institute.

The Judicial Council in its spring meeting said the agreement between the United Methodist-related school and the George W. Bush Foundation does not violate church law. Critics opposed to many policies of the Bush administration, including the war in Iraq, argued placing the institute on SMU property would be inconsistent with church teaching.

Rev. Jeannie Trevino-Teddlie, director of the Mexican-American program at SMU's Perkins School of Theology, made the original request for a legal decision, contending the lease would subsidize “a specific political and ideological point of view.”

Learn more at

Don’t fuel genocide in Darfur
Few people realize that when they invest in mutual funds, many times those funds are in turn investing their savings in the companies that are helping to fund the genocide in Darfur. When they realize this, they are usually upset and anxious to take action.

Investors Against Genocide was formed to provide an opportunity for individual investors to collectively take significant action through shareholder proposals. These are free, easy, confidential and have tremendous leverage.

Find out more at

DVD, new books provide help with ordained ministry
A new DVD provides moving accounts by elders, deacons, chaplains and pastoral counselors about what it means to be called to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church.

“Ordained Ministry in The United Methodist Church,” a DVD and accompanying brochure, is one of several new and revised resources available from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. New and revised books are “The Christian as Minister,” updated for the 2009-2012 quadrennium; “Understanding God’s Call: A Ministry Inquiry Process;” and “Fulfilling God’s Call: Guidelines for Candidacy.” A booklet, “Preparing for God’s Call: United Methodist Schools of Theology,” provides descriptions of the 13 United Methodist schools of theology and their programs.

Find out more at

Resources available for congregations in challenging times
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has a new set of resources to help congregations with ministry in challenging times. The 2009 “Funding Your Congregations' Vision Resource Package” covers topics from moving from a “pay the bills” to a “live the vision” mentality to preparing a spiritual foundation for giving. The package also includes presentations by Lewis Center Director Lovett H. Weems, Jr. and Wesley Seminary President David McAllister-Wilson, as well as a series of PowerPoint presentations, templates, handouts and other resources useful in congregational settings. The presentations are available in audio or video format, with other documents on a CD.

Ordering information is available

Featured resources from Abingdon Press
In “Upside Living in a Downside Economy,” pastor and author Mike Slaughter offers insight into seeking God's perspective in our daily money concerns. With clarity and a servant's heart, Slaughter addresses vital topics such as financial and spiritual investments, personal motivation and God's will, money and marriage, and determining priorities.

In “The Balancing Act,” a collection of thirty short and insightful devotional readings originally written for his blog at, Bishop Robert Schnase invites readers to take a daily look at how to watch for and include God in their lives. Topics include spiritual attentiveness, life goals and prayer. Readings will be grouped under weekly themes and include group discussion questions with each of the 30 readings.

The “Enough Stewardship Program Guide,” based on "Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity" by Rev. Adam Hamilton, is designed for church-wide and small-group studies. Leaders will be equipped with a campaign timeline, sample communication pieces, sermon series notes and artwork for PowerPoint and signage.

Get prices and order at

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

  • Accompanist, Bristol Hill UMC in Kansas City

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

Featured events

‘Songwriters Showcase,’ May 1
Musician Lee Domann and friends will perform May 1 at 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s UMC, 6422 Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park. There will be a free-will offering.

Pre-Conference Briefings
Clergy, lay members and alternate lay members to Annual Conference are invited and encouraged to attend a pre-conference briefing. The briefings are an opportunity to discuss legislative items, ask questions and share different perspectives on issues that affect the Kansas East Conference.

Five Rivers District: May 2, 10 a.m.-noon, First UMC, 203 East 4th, Ottawa

Flint Hills District: May 2, 1-4 p.m., Council Grove UMC, 21 N. Mission, Council Grove

Kansas City District: May 17, 3 p.m., Monticello UMC, 23860 W. 75th St., Shawnee

Parsons District: May 3, 2 p.m., Faith UMC, 3035 Crawford, Parsons

Topeka District: May 17, 3 p.m., Evangel UMC, 227 Pennsylvania, Holton

‘Smart Marriages’ conference, July 8-11
The “Smart Marriages” conference will be July 8-11 in Orlando, Fla. The early-bird deadline is May 15.

Information about the event is available at

Visit the conference calendar at for additional events.

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