ENews 4-7-10 PDF Print E-mail

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UPDATES POSTED AT www.wisconsinumc.org
The 2008 Flood Recovery Program has just launched a 4 1/2 minute DVD that tells the story of what is being done to help homeowners across the 30 Wisconsin counties where homes were damaged in the 2008 floods and storms. The DVD can be shared with your congregation before or after services, at a meeting, or at any other event at your church. If you would like to view the DVD before ordering a free copy, visit the FRP website. We hope you will share the good news about the Program to your parishioners as soon as possible, because the Program will end on September 30, 2010. Please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it for a free copy of the DVD. In addition, you may start seeing a short Public Service Announcement in your communities on various TV stations. The Flood Recovery Program has asked TV stations in the affected counties to help us 'tell the story' over the next few months.


Byron Pegram, Byron Center Site Director, ended his employment with the Wisconsin Conference March 31st. Byron began work with the Conference camps at Asbury Acres Camp in September of 1980. He transferred to Camp Byron in April of 1985. The Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries extends their thanks and gratefulness for Byron's faithful service to the Conference camps for nearly 30 years. Byron Center ceased operations at the end of December 2009 and was sold to Ronald E. Boda on March 30, 2010. Conference Trustees President, Rev. Steve Zekoff, shared these thoughts with the Trustees: "The sale of Byron Center completed 162 years of our denomination's ministry at that location dating to the first camp meetings of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1848. Our gratefulness goes out for the heritage of all who have been touched by the Byron Camp Meetings, Epworth League Institutes, small group rustic camps, retreats, conference meetings, and 21st Century camps. The gatherings on the Byron camp grounds over the past 16 decades were an important part of the faith development of those who were served, as well as those who made the various programs and experiences possible. Their legacy will live on through the use of the sale proceeds from both Whispering Pines and Byron Center to underwrite continuing Christian Education Outdoors experiences at Lake Lucerne and Pine Lake Camp."

United Methodists everywhere are encouraged to begin planning now to join in Change the World, a church-wide event April 24th - 25th that prompts church members to join with others in the community to make a difference locally and globally. During that weekend, United Methodist churches are encouraged to create and participate in a service or fundraising event that helps effect positive and long-lasting change, whether it's revitalizing a food-pantry program, creating a new ministry to help the homeless, or increasing awareness of global health issues like malaria. Churches can utilize existing ministries or initiate a new outreach event. Read full article.


The Peace with Justice offering is usually taken the first Sunday after Pentecost and falls on May 30th this year. The only funds available for projects in 2011 will be the money generated from local church offerings. The Peace with Justice Fund awarded the following grants for 2010:
  • Harbor House Crisis Shelters: A ministry of Faith UMC in Superior, Wisconsin, Harbor House received $1,200 to provide resources and curriculum for life-skill training for the shelter's new homeless children's program.
  • Wide is Our Welcome: A gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender initiative within the River Falls United Methodist Church received $950 to provide a catalyst for justice in River Falls and create a faith community that values uniqueness in all people.
  • Wisconsin Council of Churches Justice Program: This ministry was awarded $2,850 to educate and invigorate congregations and individuals in the various aspects of justice ministries.
The Congregational Leaders Institute 2010 will take place August 1st - 5th at Garrett Evangelical at Bay View. The second annual institute is a renewal and study opportunity for pastors and church leaders to spend a week in a gorgeous lakeside setting reflecting, learning and interacting with inspirational and provocative educational and faith leaders. Dr. Tex Sample, the Robert B. and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, will be the keynote speaker. CEUs are available upon arrangement with one of the sponsoring seminaries. Registration for the week is $275, plus housing. Discount rates for spouses and children are available. Enrollment is limited. For more information or to register, visit the website or contact David Ahn at 847-866-3942 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Elected Board members and staff of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry spent much of their spring meeting held March 18-20 in Nashville brainstorming and crafting plans for closer collaboration in the work of developing principled Christian leaders. "We can't be effective leaders if we think we are going to do it ourselves. That doesn't work at the local church level, and it doesn't work at the general church level," said the Rev. Laurie Haller. "We're hoping this Board will lead the way to create a collaborative model for leadership for the whole church." Read full article.

In the face of the current worldwide economic downturn, United Methodist congregations preserved their worship life despite shrinking financial resources, according to the General Board of Discipleship. The recession's impact on local congregation finances was assessed as moderate or serious, but the actual effects on the worship life were generally zero to mild in well over half of the congregations contacted by the General Board of Discipleship. Read full article.
The distinctive worship styles and practices of 2,370 black United Methodist Churches in the United States are being identified in a study underway to determine if an official hymnal is needed to serve the more than 400,000 United Methodists of African descent in North America. Lay members and clergy of black churches are being asked to complete an online survey as part of the broader Africana Hymnal Study, which is the joint work of the General Board of Discipleship, led by Reverend Karen Greenwaldt, and the United Methodist Publishing House, led by Neil Alexander. Read full article.

  • UMCOR Update: Since the January 12th earthquake, UMCOR has been responding to the needs of the people in Haiti via strategic partnerships with the United Nations, NGOs, and the Methodist Church in Haiti. United Methodists have responded with donations and volunteer work, which have helped UMCOR deliver necessary relief. However, the United Methodist Church in Haiti will need our support to continue serving the Haitian people for years to come. Checks for the Haiti relief effort can be mailed to the Wisconsin Conference Treasurer for Fund #6010. One hundred percent of your gift will help the people of Haiti. 
  • New Multi-Media Resources for UMCOR Haiti Promotion: New resources are available for download from the General Board of Global Ministries website. They include a touching and inspiring video that shows how gifts to UMCOR's Haiti ministry have turned into practical acts of compassion, ads for bulletins and church newsletters, audio recordings of hymns from Haiti, and suggestions on how to use these new resources.
  • Resources Available for Native American Ministries Sunday: Native American Ministries Sunday is April 18th. Several resources are available to help you plan for this Special Sunday, including music resources, 21st century Native American worship resources, and worship and support materials.
  • Golden Cross Offering Envelopes Sent to Churches: In April, each congregation will receive a package of special offering envelopes for use on Golden Cross Sunday, May 9th. Accompanying the envelopes will be a letter of support from Bishop Linda Lee for reproduction in your church newsletter. Additional Golden Cross promotional resources are available on the Wisconsin Conference website. Each congregation is strongly encouraged to take a Golden Cross Offering on May 9th or another Sunday during 2010 to support our 13 Health & Welfare Ministries, which are an important expression of our social outreach as a Conference.
  • Study Examines Reasons Why People Give (from online resource Leading Ideas): In a U.S. Congregational Life Survey, worshipers rated the extent to which ten factors influence their decision to give to their congregation. Read full article.
  • New Online Resources from the General Board of Discipleship Website: New online resources are available from the GBOD website. They include hymns and worship music, resources for lectionary planning, an article on worship language, and many other resources.
  • Free Copy of Care for Returning Veterans DVD Available to Local Churches: Often churches do not know how to help when veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan return home. To help churches provide support to returning soldiers, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America produced a DVD entitled Care for Returning Veterans. The DVD provides background information on the issues of serving in combat and suggestions for ways individuals and/or congregations can reach out in love and support. Request a free copy of the DVD by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Video clips are available here. For more information, visit the GBHEM website.
Individual Volunteer Training: If you ever wanted to spend longer than 1-2 weeks on a mission venture, but didn't think you were ready to become a full-time General Board of Global Ministries missionary, becoming an Individual Volunteer might be for you. This year, Individual Volunteer training will take place April 15th-18th at Camp Kingswood in Mound, Minnesota. Cost is $150. For more information, visit the Individual Volunteer website.

  • Quilters at Osceola United Methodist Church "Cover Them with Love": On February 20th, quilters gathered to sew quilts from a pattern titled, "Cover Them with Love." Thirty-one quilts will be sent via the Midwest Mission Distribution Center to the United Methodist Women Assembly in St. Louis for babies in need. The quilters will continue to sew quilts until fabric runs out. They also make plain muslin dolls and gowns for children that come into the Osceola Medical Center. The hospital staff draws stitches and casts on the dolls that correspond to those on the children receiving them so that the children can relate to the dolls and not feel so scared.
  • Midwest Mission Distribution Center Provides Relief for People Around the World: The Midwest Mission Distribution Center, located four miles south of Springfield, Illinois, is dedicated to compassionately helping God's people in need locally, nationally, and around the world. Volunteers are kept busy preparing flood buckets and health kits, sewing school bags and children's hospital gowns, filling school bags, and preparing mailings. From January 1st to February 28th, 507 volunteers served 4,295 volunteer hours at the MMDC this year, and the center received 33,682 pounds of in-kind donations. Disaster relief materials have been sent to people in Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Liberia, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, the United States, and Zimbabwe. In the nine years that the MMDC has been open, over 1,800 shipments/disbursements have been made. For more information, visit the MMDC website.
If you have a conference-related event, a hallelujah moment, or a newsworthy story that you want included in ENEWS, or if you have a suggestion for ENEWS, please contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Note that ENEWS is also posted weekly on the home page under Newsletters at www.wisconsinumc.org

Best regards, Michele Virnig
Director of Communications
Wisconsin Conference
The United Methodist Church
750 Windsor Street; PO Box 620
Sun Prairie, WI 53590-0620
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