UMC to launch redesigned website
On Dec. 15, The United Methodist Church will launch a redesigned website for young adult spiritual seekers, RethinkChurch.org, which invites visitors to question, discuss, get involved and make a difference. Throughout December, advertising on cable networks (ABC Family, Comedy Central, Discovery and MTV) and multiple digital channels will direct viewers to the new site. The initial advertising emphasizes the importance of giving of one’s self at Christmas, with the message “What does the world really need for Christmas this year? Hope, peace, joy and love. Find out how you can give of yourself. Rethink Church this Christmas.”
Beginning Dec. 26, new spots emphasize living more simply, asking the question, “Should we live more simply, so others can simply live?” The new website offers visitors an opportunity to read, watch, comment, and interact on topics that are important both to them and to The United Methodist Church – the environment, global health, disaster relief, and others. The site asks seekers to consider that spirituality – and church – can be “an everyday connection, present and available anywhere, anytime. It exists in global issues, communities, and it is a part of your personal life.”
Free training webinars available for local church leaders
There will be a live, one-hour webinar on Thursday, Jan. 20 beginning at 7:30 p.m. for pastors and staff relation committee members and one on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. for finance chairs, treasurers and financial secretaries. Betsey Heavner of Leadership Ministries at GBOD will host both. Encourage persons serving in these positions to sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employment Practices Liability Basics to be discussed
The Rev. Joy Melton, Chief Resource Officer for The United Methodist Property and Casualty Trust will present an overview of federal laws that apply to employment procedures and give practical advice for how churches fit into federal requirements and how churches can protect themselves with adequate employment practices and procedures. This presentation will be Thursday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the NC Methodist Conference Building in Garner. Rev. Melton will cover the basic application of the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and several other federal regulations with which church leaders should be familiar. The registration fee for the event is $10 per person to cover the cost of lunch and workshop materials. Seats are limited so please email email@example.com to reserve a spot.
YSF Grant Application deadline extended to Jan. 4
Ministries and programs that benefit young people and would not be considered typical local church youth ministry activities may apply for a Youth Service Fund grant. The YSF grant application deadline has been extended to Jan. 4. The application is available at YSF grant. A limited number of in-conference grants are awarded. A reasonable grant request range is $100 to $2000. Applications for typical youth ministry activities such as mission trips will not be considered. Grants will be awarded in early 2011.
IRS standard business mileage rate to change
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the business mileage rate will be increased to 51 cents per mile. The new rate for computing deductible medical or moving expenses will be reduced to 19 cents per mile. The rate for providing services for charitable organizations is set by statute, not the IRS, and remains at 14 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. See news release R-2010-119 for more details.
Unity Dialogue to meet Jan. 13
The Unity Dialogue is scheduled to meet on Jan. 13 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Methodist Building, in Garner. The Unity Dialogue aims to preserve and advance the unity of the NC Conference, and help persons grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, even around the matters of homosexual orientation and practice. The conversation is open to all and will be facilitated by Bishop Gwinn.
UMNS publishes rural church series
United Methodist News Service will publish a multimedia series on the struggles and triumphs of the denomination’s rural churches in the U.S. The package will be posted to www.umc.org during the week of Dec. 13-17. It will include multiple articles, videos, photos and a slide show. The United Methodist Church has an estimated 20,000 rural churches today, representing more than six in 10 of the denomination’s U.S. congregations. This series will show how the decline of rural America is affecting some of the denomination’s most faithful members.
CBS to broadcast Christmas Eve service from a UM Church
A holiday special, “A Christmas for Everyone,” a service of lessons and carols from New York City’s United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, will be broadcast Friday, Dec. 24 (11:35 p.m. – 12:35 a.m.) on the CBS Television Network. The broadcast will open with the church’s pastor, the Rev. K. Karpen, briefly describing how the church reaches out to the homeless, the poor and the marginalized, as well as to the Jewish and Muslim communities. It also explores the Christmas story and how it can have meaning for everyone during these trying times. read more
The Conference Building will be closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 27 in observance of Christmas. The Conference Building will be closed on Jan. 3 for the New Year’s holiday.
News Briefs will not be sent the week of Dec. 27-31. It will return on Jan. 4.