News

GBPHB Implements Human Rights and Climate Change Investment Guidelines

published 1/22/2015
by Colette Nies* The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church (GBPHB), and its Wespath investment management division, today announced the implementation of two new investment guidelines. These guidelines provide direction for identifying and managing the excessive sustainability risk that could potentially affect the value of assets held on behalf of benefit plans and institutional investment clients. One guideline relates to climate change (focused on the ...

United Methodists Urged to Join Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

published 1/13/2015
Christians are reminded often during their faith journey of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they will be one…so that the world will believe…” John 17.21. To make sure that message gets through at least once each year, a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated. Traditionally this special week of prayer is observed between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul, Jan. 18 – 25. The Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) of the Council of Bishops is encouraging ...

Remembering Bishop Rueben Job as a Servant Who Helped Many to Live Fully and Die Well

published 1/5/2015
by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS   “I have no anxiety about my own death. … I don’t know what that’s going to be like, but I have some idea that it will be good because this life is good,” said retired Bishop Rueben P. Job after the publication of his book, “Living Fully, Dying Well,’’ in 2006. Bishop Job died at home on Jan. 3 after a long struggle with heart disease – he was 86.   Rueben Job was a bishop, pastor, author and friend who was not afraid of death and wanted the church to be better ...

United Methodists in Africa Distributing Ebola Resource

published 12/22/2014
Africans plagued by the deadly Ebola virus are receiving in-depth information about the outbreak in a brochure produced by medical experts at Vanderbilt University and printed by United Methodists in Liberia. The brochure, which was prepared for the Liberia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, is the result of a partnership between the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, the General Board of Higher Education (GBHEM) and Discipleship Ministries. “In the African United Methodist ...

National Survey Show Strong Support for Scouting in UMC

published 12/12/2014
by Vance Morton* and umm.org**   The national office of Boy Scouts of America recently released the results of its survey of leaders of the top 10 faith-based charter organizations. The national survey found 64.9 percent of United Methodist congregations would actively encourage other churches and organizations to charter scouting units; 20.5 percent were passive supporters and 14.6 percent said they would not recommend charting a unit of the Boy Scouts.   The nearly 65 percent Net Promoter ...

#GivingTuesday Shows the Strength of a United Denomination

published 12/5/2014
United Methodists once again responded with extravagant generosity on UMC #GivingTuesday. On December 2, 2014, more than $2.5 million was donated online through The Advance to support mission and ministries around the world. The denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries matched the first $1 million in gifts to help build excitement and leverage donations. More than 770 projects and missionaries received more 8,700 gifts through UMC #GivingTuesday. The response was global with donors ...

2014 SCI Workshop Applications Available

published 12/2/2014
In January, the Center for Evangelism and Church Growth will launch the next round of Small Church Initiative Workshops. Feedback about this proven process of transformation for small churches has been very positive. Applications are now being accepted. The Small Church Initiative (SCI) is a component of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) designed with the specific needs of churches with an average of 80 or less in worship each week. Through a combination of continuous learning, coaching and ...

GCFA and Vanco Develop Easy2Give – a giving app for The United Methodist Church

published 12/2/2014
Vanco Services, a leading provider of electronic payment solutions, has announced an expansion of its strategic sponsorship with the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). The multi-year sponsorship marks a significant increase in the electronic giving program that has been in place since 2002 when GCFA first approved Vanco as the administrator for the United Methodist Electronic Funds Transfer (UM EFT) program. The program, which began as a way for churches to receive regular ...

Harry Denman Evangelism Award

published 12/1/2014
Nominations for The 2014 Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Lay, and Youth are now closed. However, its never too early to start keeping your eyes and ears open for your 2015 nominee. The Harry Denman Evangelism Award recognizes a person whose life and ministry exemplifies the teaching of Christ and the Great Commission. Recipients of these awards, nominated by individuals, churches, or districts, and selected by the Annual Conference, live their call to “Offer Them Christ” daily as ...

New IRS Regulations Requiring Clergy & Church Leader Response

published 12/1/2014
Pastors, Church Treasurers, Business Administrators and other Leaders:  The IRS has a new regulation that requires any organization with an EIN (Employer Identification Number) to notify the IRS when the “Responsible Party” changes.  As many of you know, any organization with its own bank account and payroll has an Employer Identification Number (also referred to as EIN or Tax Id." The EIN works like an identifying Social Security number for organizations and businesses.    To obtain an EIN, an ...

2013 Giving Remittance Submission Deadlines

published 11/30/2014
2013 Giving Remittances need to be to the CTCSC by Jan. 8 Please see the schedule below as you plan your church’s year-end remittances to the Conference Service Center. These dates apply to both Connectional Mission Giving and all remittance giving, including Special Day offerings and Advance Specials.  Christmas Week –       Service Center closed Dec. 24-27 Monday, Dec. 30 –        Last Day to mail (Priority Mail) Tuesday, Dec. 31 –      Service Center closed Wednesday, Jan. 1 –   Service ...

HCI Fall Applications Now Being Accepted

published 11/30/2014
Pastors in the Central Texas Conference can now apply for the next group of HCI Pastoral Leadership Development (PLD) classes for the HCI Larger Church Initiative. For the first time, the HCI offerings will also include a PLD 2 class for pastors who have completed the first PLD class. These classes will begin in September.  In the fall, applications for our next set of Small Church Initiative workshops will be available for classes to begin in January 2014. These Pastoral Leadership Development ...

GCFA Statement on Tax-Favored Housing for Clergy Case

published 11/29/2014
For more than two years, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) has been tracking a federal court challenge brought by Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to declare the tax-favored housing benefits for clergy portion of Section 107 of the tax code unconstitutional. On Nov. 21, a federal district court judge in Madison, Wisconsin held that portion of Section107 ofthe tax code to indeed be unconstitutional.   Specifically,the court held that Section 107(2), which permits ...

Keller UMC Launches Satellite Campus

published 11/29/2014
In Tarrant County, the population of the western portion of Keller is poised to double to 40,000 people in the next ten years, with most of those residents being young families identifying themselves as having weak or no religious affiliation.   This prime mission field will be served through a partnership between the Center for Evangelism and Church growth and Keller UMC to start a satellite campus to serve this growing area. This effort will focus on bringing the church to the people, ...

Lance Marshall Appointed to 7th First New Church Start

published 11/28/2014
Fort Worth, Texas is mirroring many national trends with both young families and new retirees rapidly re-populating urban centers. Much of this activity in Fort Worth is centered in the West 7th Street/Cultural District neighborhood Demographic projections forecast the West 7th area to develop into a truly diverse city center community, with a broad diversity of income, educational, and cultural backgrounds living in close proximity.   In partnership with FUMC Fort Worth, we have launched ...

Louis Carr Appointed to Thompson Chapel

published 11/27/2014
This year our new church start efforts include a courageous transformation by the people of Thompson Chapel UMC. The church has seen its neighborhood undergo significant change over the years and they now believe God is calling them to ministry in another context. This brave and visionary step will lead them to now operate as a new church reaching out to new people in a new neighborhood. Louis Carr has been appointed the pastor to shepherd Thompson Chapel UMC through this exciting period, all in...

New Churches Are On the Rise While Overall Church Vitality Dips

published 11/26/2014
by Heather Hahn* and Vance Morton** The 2014 Congregational Vitality Report, which was presented to the Council of Bishops earlier this month, reveals some reason for encouragement, though the overall news on the church vitality front is decidedly mixed.   The report showed U.S. church starts are on the rise — from 116 in 2012, to 145 last year. During the past two years, 688 new faith communities have started in the denomination’s central conferences — church regions in Africa, Asia and ...

Shea Reyenga, Church Planting Intern

published 11/25/2014
The Center for Evangelism and Church Growth is joining with Path One, the church planting movement of the United Methodist Church, to provide a church planting internship. This opportunity places a high-potential church planting pastor with a thriving host church, strengthening the skills and experience needed to start a new church.   This year’s host church is White’s Chapel UMC, and the church planting intern is Shea Reyenga. Following his year at White’s Chapel, Shea will be even better ...

HCI Consultation Phase Launched

published 11/23/2014
by Jeff Jones* Seven churches have made the important step to move into the second phase of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) by requesting a consultation for their congregation. This in-depth look into the life of a congregation helps it identify five key steps it can take to move toward becoming a healthier, growing congregation. The first consultation was at Central UMC in Waco from March 8-10 and with a team led by Rev. Bob Farr, Director of the Center for Congregational Excellence at the ...

Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center Launches New Website

published 11/18/2014
div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal;text-autospace:none">Now celebrating its 75th anniversary in Glen Rose, Texas, Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center has officially launched its new website. The new site will allow users to access up to date information on camps, retreats, applications for staff employment, announcements from the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, and news from our partnering churches. div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-b...

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