News

Talking to young people: How to help not hurt

published 11/13/2014
by Joe Iovino* and Vance Morton**  The following is adaped from Joe Iovino's original United Methodist News Service article posted on Nov. 10. You can read that article here. Do you recall the old saying that goes “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” What a wonderfully brave outlook on life. It’s too bad that it just isn’t true for many of us. In the New Testament Book of James, we learn that the tongue is “a flame of fire, a word of evil at work in us…a ...

Free Office and Ministry Software Downloads Are Good Alternatives to Budget Busting Mainstream Options

published 10/1/2014
Software, graphic design tools and music licenses can cost churches thousands of dollars. However, many programs have a free and open source equivalent. If you are wanting to up your graphic, web design or office productivity game, you might want to check out the following resources offered up by United Methodist Communications and the CTC Communications team. The following is in no way an exhaustive list of options. So please, if you use and enjoy other cost-effective alternatives (which doesn’...

Symposium to Explore Future of Worship in The United Methodist Church

published 9/17/2014
United Methodist clergy and laity will join seminary worship professors and doctoral students for a symposium on the Future of Worship later this month to explore what is likely to affect worship for congregations and ministries in The United Methodist Church. The invitation-only symposium, sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, will be hosted by United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, on Sept. 24-25. “Our purpose is to bring together voices from both the academy and churches who have been...

Five Ways to Take Your Fall Festival to the Next Level

published 8/14/2014
One of the most-anticipated yearly events for many churches is opening its doors to the surrounding community for the Fall Festival/Lord’s Acre Celebration. However, if you seem to be doing the same thing year after year and have hit the idea wall on how to spice up this year’s festival, you’re not alone. Read on to see the five most popular Fall Festival ideas we found via a quick web search for you to try.   1. The Pumpkin Trebuchet  You may have seen the “Punkin Chunkin” throwing competitions...

Council of Bishops Call for Compassion, Prayer for Border Crisis

published 7/17/2014
In response to the rise in unaccompanied migrant children crossing the U.S. border, the executive committee of the Council of Bishops has called on United Methodists across the connection to “pray, reflect and engage in acts of compassion.” According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have been traveling through Mexico and arriving at the Southwest U.S. border in recent months, specifically in the Rio Grande Valley. About 75 percent of the migrant ...

Texas Bishops Respond to Border Crisis in Letter to All Texas Methodists

published 7/17/2014
The bishops of the five Texas Annual Conferences have issued the letter below to all United Methodists in Texas in response to the humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border. You can read the letter below or download a version in English by clicking on the images below. To access a Spanish translation of the letter, click here.   The Bishops' prayer is that the letter be shared with local churches throughout the state in myriad ways - such as: included in local church newsletters and on ...

UMC Responds to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

published 7/11/2014
The United Methodist Church has launched an Ebola Emergency Response Plan in the face of an outbreak of the deadly disease in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The ongoing Ebola outbreak continues to create problems and put strains on the medical systems in that region. At the last report, there have been at least 600 cases and 390 deaths since March 2014 attributed to the Ebola virus. Ebola, for which there is no cure, is a virus that causes internal bleeding and...

New GBOD Website Makes Accessing Resources Easier

published 7/5/2014
by Steve Horswill-Johnston* and Vance Morton**   A completely redesigned website is now available from the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). The refreshed gbod.org was designed to provide church leaders with access to GBOD resources, training events, webinars, best practices and networking opportunities more efficiently than ever before. “The goal of our new GBOD.org website is to provide another way to more effectively equip leaders of local churches, districts and annual conferences with...

Laity Poll Results Show That Making Disciples Tops Human Sexuality Issues as UMC Priorities

published 6/23/2014
by Heather Hahn* and Vance Morton**   When it comes to issues facing The United Methodist Church today, same-sex marriage ranks far down the list according to a new survey of church members across the United States. Nearly 4 in 10 United Methodists said the first or second most important issue facing the church is “creating disciples of Christ.”   The other most important issues, according to members, are youth involvement (27 percent); members’ spiritual growth (24 percent); decline in ...

Running With God - One Man's Journey To and With the Boston Marathon

published 5/9/2014
by David Ball* and Vance Morton**   David Ball is a runner. Scratch that. David Ball is a marathoner. To say that running has changed his life would akin to saying the Mona Lisa is a painting of an Italian woman. Being led by the Holy Spirit to the sport of running didn’t just improve his life, it transformed him – mind, body and soul. But as David eagerly shares as often as possible, running is not the source of the transformation. That credit belongs to God and God alone. Running was/is just...

United Methodists Respond to Deadly Tornadoes Throughout the U.S.

published 4/30/2014
After a series of deadly tornadoes tore through seven Southern and Midwest states this week, The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in contact with the United Methodist annual conferences affected by the series of deadly tornadoes that swept through seven Southern and Midwestern states this week. They are working with the conferences to ascertain local needs and the best next steps for each area. “I’ve been in touch with conference disaster response coordinators in Arkansas, Oklahoma, ...

Putting All Your Trust in the Lord and Answering the Call

published 4/25/2014
div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">Rev. Samuel Macias and Family raise the bar when it comes to putting their trust in God as they make the move to the CTC from Mexico to serve the congregation of La Trinidad and help better equip the conference to minister to and with our Hispanic brothers and sisters in our communities. div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">  div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: ...

Prayers for Fort Hood Following the Second Deadly Shooting on Post in Five Years

published 4/3/2014
div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">The thoughts and prayers of the people and churches of the Central Texas Conference are with the victims and families of those who are injured and those who lost their lives in Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood. At this time, it is not known if any of the casualties or their families are members or active in one of the many United Methodist congregations in the Fort Hood/Killeen area. What is certain is that for the second ...

General Church Funds, Shared Services and Clergy Pensions Discussed in 2014 Q1 GCFA Meeting

published 3/31/2014
span style="font-size:10.0pt;Arial","sans-serif"; color:#333333">Central Texas Conference One of Twenty Conferences (one of two in SCJ) to Pay 100% General Church Apportioned Funds in 2013 At its first quarter of the year board of directors meeting, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) reported that 20 annual conferences paid 100% of their general Church apportioned funds for 2013. The Central Texas Conference was one of two South Central Jurisdiction conferences to meet this...

United Methodists to "Change the World" for the Fifth Year in a Row

published 3/31/2014
Register now for free resources   On May 17-18, United Methodists from across the country and around the world will pull together for an event to help Change the World in both large and small ways. For the fifth year, local churches will take on service projects that improve the circumstances of others and spark public interest in volunteer activities.   On Change the World Weekend, hundreds of United Methodist churches and thousands of church and community volunteers will deploy to parks, ...

FUMC Ennis Defeats the Thundersleet and Helps Stranded Motorists with a Healthy Dose of Radical Hospitality

published 3/7/2014
div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal;text-autospace:none">span style="font-size: 10.0pt;Arial","sans-serif"">by Vance Morton* & Ennis Daily News Reports div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal;text-autospace:none">  div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal;text-autospace:none">span style="font-size: 10.0pt;Arial","sans-serif"">To say that this winter has been brutally cold at times (at least for us ...

CTC Youth Answer the Call to "Be the Church" During Mid-Winter 2014

published 2/25/2014
by Leanne Johnston* and Vance Morton** div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">More than 400 youth and adults from 37 Central Texas churches, representing every district in the conference, came together over the course of two weekends and made Mid-Winter 2014 an incredible time of worship, learning, fun and action. Glen Lake Camp and Central UMC in Waco hosted the three retreats during the two weekends, and the participants were led by a remarkable team of student...

Bliss Dodd to Receive 2014 Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award from Perkins School of Theology

published 2/13/2014
The Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has announced that Bliss Dodd has been selected as the 2014 Woodrow B. Seals Laity Award recipient. Bliss is a member of First United Methodist Church, Fort Worth. She will receive the Seals Award at a noon luncheon Saturday, March 8, during the three-day Perkins Theological School for the Laity.   div style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: normal">When asked how she felt about being named the 2014 Seals Laity ...

Brothers of Taize Pilgrimage of Trust Comes to DFW in April 2014

published 2/12/2014
The Brothers of Taize are coming to Texas in April as part of their on-going Pilgrimage of Trust outreach to young adults everywhere. They will visit the Austin, DFW and Houston areas during the Texas leg of the pilgrimage. The Dallas–Fort Worth gathering will be at White's Chapel UMC April 4-6.   The Pilgrimage of Trust is designed specifically for young adults age 18 – 35, as well as those who lead young adult groups. Registration for all of the sessions, including three meals is $45. There ...

A Precious Part of History, Spirituals Continue to Heal

published 2/5/2014
by Pamela Crosby*   African-American spirituals are a familiar, precious part of American history. Today their melodies are an integral part of worship services. Often sung as part of Martin Luther King Jr. birthday and Black History Month celebrations, oppressed people worldwide continue to use them as protest and liberation songs.   While these songs have strong connections to historical and personal experiences, the entire function of the spirituals may not be obvious. Songs originating ...

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