connections: Bishop Ward and Erin Hawkins discuss GCORR
Bishop Ward and Erin Hawkins discuss the work of the General Commission on Religion and Race. Hawkins is the General Secretary for this UM Commission in this week’s edition of connections.
Lenten Reflections Submissions
During the 40 days of Lent, the conference will publish 40 reflections in a new Conference publication called Seeds.The Lenten reflection theme is “Sacred Stories: Because Black Lives Matter.” You are invited to share your personal stories and experiences with matters of race in 500 words or less. Reflections will be collected from now until March 25. Those that are not published in Seeds will be posted on the conference website. They may also be selected for a print publication available after Easter. Submit your stories at Lenten Reflection.
Media Center Internship Available
The NC Conference Media Center will be hiring an intern for May-August 2015. An ideal candidate would be a student interested in library science and/or Christian ministry for a unique opportunity to work with our cataloging system and the circulation of resources. The intern will also have the opportunity to attend Annual Conference. For a detailed description of the internship and information on how to apply, visit intern.
Sacred Conversations: Because Black Lives Matter
The Sacred Conversations: Because Black Lives Matter event is scheduled for Jan. 28, 6:30–8:30 p.m., at Duke Memorial UMC in Durham. Speakers will include Mary Fulkerson, Professor of Theology; Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies; and J. Kameron Carter, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Black Church Studies, all from Duke Divinity School.
The purpose of this gathering is to be in prayer and conversation with sisters and brothers around the issue of anti-Black violence in our communities and our nation. The church should be involved in discussions of race as both a prophetic voice and an instrument for change when and where needed. The goal for this holy conversation is to create paths of solidarity, integrity, honesty, respect, compassion and action.
Youth ministry training event scheduled in February
SALT is a youth ministry leadership training event for youth and the adults who work with them hosted by Well-Seasoned Youth Ministry and the Raleigh Area YOWO (Youthworkers) group. Bring your youth officers and adult volunteers for a morning of inspiration and equipping. Cost is $10 per person to cover refreshments and supplies. Payment is due at registration. The event is Saturday, Feb. 7 from 9 a.m.-noon at Millbrook UMC: Raleigh. Youth sessions will include Discipleship, Applying Theology to Everyday life and Developing Faith in and beyond Youth Group. Adult Sessions will include Counseling Skills, Social Media and Games and Crowdbreakers with a Purpose. For questions, contact Amie Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lee Barnes at email@example.com. To register, click here.
NC Preaching Festival–Academy for Leadership Excellence
The three-day festival of preaching, April 20-22 at St. Mark’s UMC: Raleigh, will celebrate the vocation and practice of excellence in preaching among a new generation of preachers.
Important to the event will be the excellence of the guest preachers recognized for their preaching gifts; diversity of presenters and preaching styles; authentic and contextual witness (preaching weekly); and an open space for participants to encounter and explore. The event will include worship with many preaching opportunities for guest preachers. It will begin on Monday at 1 p.m. and conclude on Wednesday at 1 p.m. In addition, there will be workshops (breakouts) on various topics. Early bird discounted registration ends Jan. 31. Read more or register here.
New Opportunities to Partner with Stop Hunger Now
Many United Methodists in the NC Conference have been involved with Stop Hunger Now packaging events. At these events, volunteers combine rice, vitamins, soy, and a dried vegetable mix into packages which are sealed and sent to persons in need of food throughout the world.
The Conference Missions Team wants to encourage medium and small membership churches to host Stop Hunger Now Events in their facilities. The Team has set aside matching donations for ten locations to have a 10,000 meal event in 2015. Churches selected for grants will be churches that have not ever had a packaging event. Preference will be given to churches who partner with other churches in their community. Participating churches would be responsible to recruit volunteers, provide an indoor place for the event, and provide $1450 toward the cost of the meals. The Missions Team will pay the remaining $1450 for the meals ($2900 fully funds 10,000 meals).
If interested, contact the Rev. Dr. Bill Haddock at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 910.262.3831 for an application and information about next steps before scheduling an event. The deadline for the submission of applications is March 1.
Nominations being received for Francis Asbury Award
The Francis Asbury Award recognizes and encourages support of higher education and campus ministries within The United Methodist Church. The award honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the church’s ministries in higher education at the local, district, or annual conference level of the church. Eligible recipients are all United Methodist persons of the NC Conference – clergy or lay, employed or volunteer – who:
1. Actively support, strengthen, and promote higher education ministries (schools, colleges, campus ministries, scholarships, Black College Fund, Africa University) at the annual conference, district, or local church level; and, 2. Offer outstanding leadership, above and beyond basic responsibilities, to heighten awareness to the significance of United Methodist higher education ministries. Nominations are due Friday, Jan. 30. Please email nominations, with reasons for selection, to Ed Mann, vice-chair of NC Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (email@example.com). One nominee will be selected and honored in his/her local church and during the NC Annual Conference in June.
Discovering ways to engage young adults
Many churches have tried to attract and engage young adults into the life of the congregation only to feel like failures. The statistics are alarming: 19 out of 20 people under the age of 35 do not participate in Christian worship each week. The NC Conference is offering a workshop and coaching relationship for local churches to increase their capacity to engage younger adults in a discipleship pathway leading to a growing relationship with Christ and the church. The first workshop is scheduled for Feb. 20-21, at Spring Hill UMC in Lillington. The principles and practices taught and coached in this process have been derived from hundreds of interviews and relationships with people under the age of 35 who are actively involved in United Methodist churches. For more information about participating in this on-going training, go to Engaging Young Adults.
Unity Dialogue – Feb. 25
All are invited to join The Unity Dialogue, a conversation about the Church and homosexuality in the NC Conference, on Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 2 – 4 p.m. It will take place in Dixon Chapel in The United Methodist Building in Garner. This dialogue will begin with Holy Communion, include a challenge to Christian conferencing, and conclude with honest theological discussion about United Methodism and human sexuality. If you have never attended a Unity Dialogue, please consider attending this one. If you have attended a prior Unity Dialogue, please join this one and contribute your perspective.
Extension Ministries forms due Jan. 31
All provisional or full elders and deacons that are members of the NC Conference are required to fill out the Extension Ministry Forms for the reporting period of Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2014 by Jan. 31. Forms and instructions are located at Extension Ministries. You must complete this form using your nccumc.org address. If you have problems logging into your nccumc.org address, please contact Linda Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-849-4433, Ext. 238.