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Laity Convocation began with a dinner served by Christ UMC, followed by a conversation between Lay Leader Deanna Shimko and Bishop Jung about Imagine Wisconsin Anew. During the conversation, Bishop Jung and Deanna spoke about what it means to Imagine Wisconsin Anew, and about Bishop Jung's recent travels and pilgrimages. Bishop Jung explained that it's not necessary to take a trip to a different country to embark on a spiritual pilgrimage; there are many opportunities available closer to home, including the 5-Day Academy for Spiritual for Spiritual Formation being held in Racine this October.
On Monday morning, the day began with opening worship led by South East district Lay Leader Steve Mayeshiba, and a Bible study led by Bishop Jung. He talked about Paul in I Thessalonians 5:1-28, and explained that we are all called and equipped by God. "You are the light," he said. "That means you have a power and a calling do do something holy. When you wake up with that reality, you are passionate and energized. That's why Paul invites you and me to understand clearly who we are. When you know who you are and whose you are, you know you are not in darkness, in manipulation, or in fear."
The Board of the General Council on Finance and Administration met March 4-8 in Cambodia. During the trip, board members, including North West District Superintendent Kate Croskery Jones, visited with staff and missionaries working with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Read press release. See photos on GCFA's Flickr page.
United Methodist Children’s Services (UMCS) is excited to announce the appointment of Rev. Tina Itson as its new Director of Fund Development. Rev. Itson comes to UMCS with experience in fundraising, volunteer management, grant writing, and event planning, as well as a deep passion for the ministry of UMCS. As a member of the Board of Directors, she has been vital to the agency through the support of a number of key development projects and initiatives. Rev. Itson will be starting on May 1st, 2017, and will be available to connect with and speak at congregations across Wisconsin about the mission and ministry that UMCS is doing in Milwaukee.
The deadline for sending in Rainbow Covenant Reports is March 31. Be sure to complete the form, which was distributed at the 2016 Annual Conference, and is available on our website under Board of Global Ministries - Resources, and then send it in as soon as possible! In order to qualify as a Rainbow Covenant Church, you must support missions of the Church in a variety of ways. First, all Rainbow Covenant churches must pay 100% of their apportionments. Next, they must support a "rainbow" of missions that include 1) Local Projects (e.g. a Food Bank or warming shelter), 2) at least one of the seven Special Sundays, 3) a Conference Advance, 4) a National Advance, 5) an International Advance (Information on these can be found in A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY: 2016-2010 Guide for Mission Giving in Wisconsin, which was sent to all local churches in the summer of 2016 and is also available on the website under Board of Global Ministries - Resources), 6) UMCOR, 7) In Mission Together, and 8) Missionary Support. In 2015, only three churches were recognized as Rainbow Covenant churches, and in 2016, we nearly tripled the number when 8 churches were recognized. It would be great to again triple the number! Take a close look at your mission giving and see if you qualify. If you do, fill out the report and send it in before March 31. And if you don't, use the report as a guide for planning your 2017 Mission Giving!
UMCOM has prepared the UMCOR Sunday Pastor and Leader’s Kit — complete with images, videos, e-books and other great tools — for you and your leadership team to promote and celebrate UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) on March 26. Access your Pastor and Leader’s Kit now! This resource should save you much time, while doing great good. Remember to order your UMCOR Sunday envelopes and posters!
- Changes to Registration in 2017: This year, we will be taking advantage of technology already in place with two changes to make registration more efficient for both attendees and Conference staff! First, payment will only be accepted by credit card along with your online registration. This will save many staff hours and physical resources that would otherwise be spent processing registrations by hand. Second, instead of handing out physical meal tickets, we will be printing a scannable (QR) code on your name tag. This will streamline the meal check-in process, and you won’t have to worry about keeping track of your tickets!
- Submit Award Nominations by May 1: Nominations for our annual clergy, laity, and youth awards are now being accepted. These awards will be presented during Annual Conference. Click here for information on the Harry Denman, Love in Action, Perry Saito, Thelma Gregg, and Francis Asbury Awards and nominate yourself or someone you think deserves the recognition by May 1, 2017.
- Adam Hamilton to be Featured Speaker: One of our many highlights at Annual Conference will be presentations by Adam Hamilton entitled “Leading Beyond the Walls.” He is well known for launching The Church of the Resurrection in 1990, which today is the largest United Methodist Church in the United States with an average weekend attendance of 8,600.
- Register for Blueprint for Wellness Screening: Registration is open for the Blueprint for Wellness screenings being offered to active HealthFlex participants during Wisconsin Annual Conference. Deadline to register is June 3. The screenings will be in the mornings on Saturday, June 17, and Sunday, June 18. The screenings are not available in 2017 for retired participants enrolled in the Conference group Medicare supplement plan, which is not part of HealthFlex. There is no charge for the Annual Conference screening and appointments are strongly recommended. Very limited walk-in appointments will be available at the Madison Marriott West, and those who are not pre-registered may not be served. Active plan participants and spouses who complete the Blueprint for Wellness screening and who are enrolled in the VirginPulse walking program at the time of their screening will be awarded $100 Pulse Cash if they complete the screening between April 1 and July 31. To schedule an appointment, active participants should click here and log in via Single Sign On, then use the Quest Diagnostics link. Alternatively, call Quest Diagnostics at 855-623-9355. Note that the Unique ID for enrolled participants is the Insurance ID for Employees; add an S at the end for spouses.
United Methodists are called to love our neighbors by welcoming all people, including refugees and immigrants, into our congregations and communities. Immigration policies recently developed and implemented in our nation are antithetical to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the gospel of radical hospitality. On Saturday, February 25, 2017, Director of Connectional Ministries Sam Royappa met with a number of ethnic clergy and laypersons to discuss immigration issues that are causing stress within our congregations and ethnic populations. The group decided to plan a Rally-Prayer Vigil on April 1st from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waukesha: First United Methodist Church, 121 Wisconsin Avenue, Waukesha, WI 53186. This event is sponsored by The Ethnic Local Church Concerns Committee, the Hispanic/Latino Caucus, and the Committee on Hispanic/Latino Ministries, Board of Church and Society, and coordinated by The Director of Connectional Ministries. All are invited to actively participate. More details will be communicated soon. Read Resolutions #3281 and #3284, and Social Principles #162H and #163F to educate yourself on this subject. Let us renew our commitment to love and care for all people in the name of Jesus Christ, the One who has called us to be faithful witnesses of the gospel of love, justice and mercy.
Dr. Olusimbo Ige has been named the interim executive director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, effective March 31. She will continue to serve as executive director of the mission agency’s Global Health unit. See announcement. Read February 2017 New World Outlook article by Ige.
More than 400 members of The United Methodist Church’s African-American membership caucus celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first meeting, even as many speakers addressed work that still needs to be done in fighting racism. John W. Coleman has the story. Read story.
Bishop Jung spent time with more than 330 clergy throughout the state during his annual Clergy Days Apart in each district. Each Day Apart began with worship and a message from each District Superintendent, followed by a Bible Study and guided discussion led by Bishop Jung. Clergy sat at round tables in assigned seats that allowed for conversations with people they may not normally see or talk with. In the South East district, D.S. Scott Carlson talked about how he hoped the conversations during the Day Apart would shape the Church in Wisconsin. “My hope is that we can come to this place and dare to set aside convictions that allow us to fear each other,” he said. “We are good at talking to each other, but poor at listening to each other and the heart of God... it’s not just us and the church members, or the Cabinet, or the Conference staff; there is only us as United Methodist followers of Christ. May we claim that today.” In the North Central District, D.S. Forrest Wells celebrated 100% participation from clergy. “Thank you for your dedication and commitment,” he said. “I hope that times together can be opportunities for fellowship, developing relationships, as well as growth.” Final attendance numbers for each district were 80 in the South East, 73 in the South West, 55 in the North West, 64 in the North Central, and 61 in the North East. Click here to see pictures from the South West and South East districts.
The deadline for sending in Rainbow Covenant Reports is March 31. Be sure to complete the form, which was distributed at the 2016 Annual Conference, and is available on our website under Board of Global Ministries - Resources, and then send it in as soon as possible! In order to qualify as a Rainbow Covenant Church, you must support missions of the Church in a variety of ways. First, all Rainbow Covenant churches must pay 100% of their apportionments. Next, they must support a "rainbow" of missions that include 1) Local Projects (e.g. a Food Bank or warming shelter), 2) at least one of the seven Special Sundays, 3) a Conference Advance, 4) a National Advance, 5) an International Advance (Information on these can be found in A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY: 2016-2010 Guide for Mission Giving in Wisconsin, which was sent to all local churches in the summer of 2016 and is also available on the website under Board of Global Ministries - Resources), 6)UMCOR, 7) In Mission Together, and 8) Missionary Support. In 2015, only three churches were recognized as Rainbow Covenant churches, and in 2016, we nearly tripled the number when 8 churches were recognized. It would be great to again triple the number! Take a close look at your mission giving and see if you qualify. If you do, fill out the report and send it in before March 31. And if you don't, use the report as a guide for planning your 2017 Mission Giving!