Collierville UMC throws Christmas party for FirstWorks children

published 12/16/2010
Children in the FirstWorks After School Program in Memphis were treated to a Christmas party on Thursday, Dec. 9, compliments of Collierville UMC in Collierville, TN. Church members served as "Kitchen Angels" for the evening. They prepared dinner and spent time with the children and staff. There was music, storytelling and crafts. FirstWorks enrolls at-risk children and youth from downtown Memphis. It meets twice a week for dinner, tutoring, guest speakers, career counseling and crafts. Every ...

Register for Spiritual Life Retreat in March

published 12/16/2010
“Vocational Renewal - Take Thou Authority” is the theme for the 2011 Memphis Conference Spiritual Life Retreat set for March 1-3 at KenLake State Park in Hardin, KY. The event is for clergy and interested laity. Presenters include Rev. Stephen Long, Professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette University, and Rev. Brent Laytham, Professor of Theology and Ethics at North Park Theological Seminary. “Attempts are being made this year to weave together seamlessly the practical and the theological,...

SACS Disclosure Statement - Lambuth University, Dec. 16, 2010

published 12/16/2010
Click HERE to read the Dec. 16, 2010 Disclosure Statement regarding the status of Lambuth University (Jackson, TN) from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Lambuth set to appeal decision by SACS to revoke accreditation

published 12/15/2010
Lambuth University in Jackson, TN, is appealing a decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges to revoke the school’s accreditation. The United Methodist institution learned about the decision Dec. 6. following the SACS annual conference in Louisville, KY. The Commission on Colleges visited Lambuth’s campus in October. At a press conference on Dec. 7, Lambuth President Dr. Bill Seymour explained that the school will retain its accreditation during ...

WIN event dramatizes problems of wage theft

published 12/15/2010
A November event in downtown Memphis was one of 30 across the U.S. designed to call attention to wage theft. Memphis faith leaders, workers and activists, including Rev. Rebekah Jordan Gienapp, Executive Director of Workers Interfaith Network (WIN) and a United Methodist deacon, participated in National Day of Action Against Wage Theft. WIN is a coalition of members of the faith and labor communities who seek justice in the workplace by addressing the root causes of poverty that force people to ...

Allen available to speak at area churches

published 12/14/2010
Joel Allen, Assistant Professor of Religion and Bible at Methodist-affiliated Lambuth University in Jackson, TN, is available to speak at Memphis Conference UM churches for “spiritual renewal” weekends and other events in 2011. One speaking series Allen offers is The Three Questions. The series seeks to answer the questions: Why do I believe in God?  Why am I a Christian?  Why am I a Methodist? Allen also is available to talk to parents and youth about the new Religion and Christian Ministry ...

Holiday cards for sale from FirstWorks

published 12/13/2010
Holiday cards - featuring artwork by FirstWorks children - are available to purchase.   FirstWorks is an academic, faith-based program for at-risk children in downtown Memphis. It was founded in 1988 at Memphis First UMC and now meets at Highland Heights UMC in Memphis.   A packet of six cards with envelopes costs $10.  All proceeds benefit FirstWorks. To purchase the cards, call 901-274-8412 or email      

Kirchoff's Perceptions, Vol. II, available to purchase

published 12/10/2010
For most of his tenure at Germantown UMC in Germantown, TN, Rev. Rick Kirchoff has had what the calls "the privilege" of reaching the Memphis area radio audience through a regular 60-second radio broadcast called Perceptions®. Kirchoff said he continues to receive emails and letters about how these programs have brought encouragement and hope to listeners. With Kirchoff's retirement in February, 2011, he will no longer be doing Perceptions, but he has compiled some of his favorite messages in ...

Accreditation maintained while Lambuth appeals denial

published 12/8/2010
Methodist-affiliated Lambuth University in Jackson, TN, learned this week that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has denied renewal of the school's accreditation.   Lambuth President Bill Seymour announced at a press conference Dec. 7 that Lambuth will appeal the decision.  Click HERE to read letter from Lambuth President Bill Seymour posted on the Lambuth Facebook page. Read more HERE at the Lambuth University Web site. Read two articles at the The Jackson Sun Web ...

Art for Life's Sake enhances education, enriches experience through exposure to arts

published 12/8/2010
This article, by Stephanie Wilson Nichols, appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN. The Art for Life's Sake program is based at Aldersgate UMC in Memphis. Click HERE to read the full story at the Memphis Commercial Appeal Web site.

Memphis Theological Seminary announces January classes

published 12/7/2010
Classes are open to non-degree seeking students and persons looking to earn continuing education units (CEUs). Click HERE for full information about the classes. Click HERE for link to Memphis Theological Seminary Web site.

Northside UMC has collection of more than 275 Nativities

published 12/6/2010
Click HERE to see more pictures.Scroll through!  Northside UMC has more than 275 reasons to celebrate the Christmas season - thanks to a collection of that many Nativities on display at the church through Jan. 2. The Nativities, each one depicting the holy family of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, belong to the north Jackson church.   The collection was started in 1999 when member Bill Walker donated the Nativities he had acquired for many years.   Over the years members and friends of the church ...

McCracken: 'Connectionalism is one of Methodism's greatest assets'

published 12/5/2010
Editor’s Note: Sky McCracken will become Superintendent of the Paducah District in the Memphis Conference on March 1. Click HERE for story about midyear appointment changes. By Sky McCracken I was born and raised in Martin, TN, son of a college professor and a member of Martin First UMC. In 1983 I graduated from Westview High School, and in 1988 I received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Tennessee-Martin. During my last year at UT-Martin, ...

Memphis Conference Web site has virtual bookstore

published 12/5/2010
The Memphis Conference now has a Cokesbury Virtual Bookstore button on the home page of this Web site. The button, located on the left side of the home page, links directly to the Virtual Bookstore which has many of the same discounts offered at Cokesbury is the retail division of The United Methodist Publishing House. Using the Memphis Conference Virtual Bookstore for Cokesbury purchases makes it possible for the Memphis Conference to receive a five percent rebate on all ...

Midyear appointments bring changes to two churches and Paducah District

published 12/5/2010
Midyear appointments in the Memphis Conference will result in a new superintendent for the Paducah District and two pulpit changes in early 2011. The changes were announced in November by Memphis Conference Bishop Richard J. Wills and the Conference Cabinet. Rev. Richard Smith, currently serving Murray First UMC in Murray, KY, will replace the retiring Rev. Rick Kirchoff at Germantown UMC in Germantown, TN, effective Feb. 14. Rev. Dr. Rick Dye, superintendent of the Paducah District, will ...

UMNC Key Women help pack, deliver hundreds of food baskets

published 12/4/2010
Almost 400 Thanksgiving food baskets were packed and delivered to families served by United Methodist Neighborhood Centers in Memphis in the week before Thanksgiving, thanks to UMNC’s Key Women volunteers like the two at right from the Asbury and McKendree Districts. UMNC Executive Director Elvernice “Sonny” Davis said volunteers were able to pack more baskets than planned. That made it possible for more families to be served and for some baskets to be saved for delivery at Christmas. ...

Heartsong UMC hosts interfaith Thanksgiving meal

published 11/29/2010
Click HERE to see more photos.   As Christians and Muslims came together at Heartsong United Methodist Church in Cordova, TN for an interfaith Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 23, it seemed “only appropriate” that a Jew say the blessing.   That’s how Heartsong Pastor Steve Stone introduced Aviva Frye to say grace for more than 350 diners in Heartsong’s Celebration Center.   As executive director of the World Prayer Foundation (WPF), an interfaith organization that works to unite people to pray together...

Society of St. Andrew offers alternative Spring Break

published 11/28/2010
The Society of St. Andrew offers an Alternative Spring Break for college students.   Join several hundred students from schools all over the country March 6-12, 2011 for a ‘Harvest of Hope’ week in Orlando, FL, harvesting thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables to feed hungry people. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about hunger and to make a difference. Cost is $150, including lodging and meals.   Since 1979, the Society of St. Andrew has been serving up a simple, no-nonsense ...

Children at Emmanuel UMC learn charity this Thanksgiving

published 11/24/2010
Young children at Emmanuel UMC in Memphis learned to help others this Thanksgiving by organizing a food drive for 35 inner city families enrolled in the FirstWorks After School program. FirstWorks is an academic, faith-based program for inner city children and youth. It meets twice a week for dinner and tutoring by Memphis City Schools teachers. Emmanual UMC children filled large sacks with groceries and purchased turkeys for the families.  “I have to give all the credit to the kids and our ...

Pastor William Vaughan reflects on a lifetime of service

published 11/23/2010
His father was a circuit rider in west Tennessee during the Great Depression. Despite having few worldly possessions, his parents modeled a strong faith and a generous spirit. That early introduction to what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ helped to mold William Vaughan’s life. The son and grandson of a pastor, Vaughan grew up The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Click HERE for the full story.

Memphis Conference Methodists bring in truckloads of potatoes for hunger relief

published 11/22/2010
Before it all got started, Lang and Cathy Unger, members of Martin First UMC in Martin, TN, said they had no idea what they would be doing as volunteers at a Potato Drop. They guessed they would be “throwing sacks of potatoes.” After 42,000 pounds of bagged potatoes arrived in their church’s parking lot the morning of Nov. 6 and were unloaded and reloaded by more than 100 volunteers, the Ungers reported the work was pretty much as they expected.   Volunteers of all ages worked to transfer the ...

Thanksgiving service special for two churches near Trenton

published 11/22/2010
By Tajuana Cheshier, The Jackson Sun, Nov. 22, 2010 TRENTON, TN - Celebrating Thanksgiving together for more than 40 years, members of Salem Baptist and Union UMC churches near Trenton believe in focusing on their commonalities rather than their differences. "There is one cross, one savior -- that's our common bond," said Joel Pigg, pastor of Salem Baptist Church. About 130 people representing membership from both congregations gathered Sunday night in the basement of Union UMC for a traditional...

SASHA's Rev. Pat Whaley available to speak through end of 2010

published 11/19/2010
Rev. Pat Whaley is in the Memphis Conference until the end of 2010 and is available to speak to churches and groups about SASHA, a ministry of evangelism and discipleship in the former Soviet Union. Read about SASHA at Contact Whaley at 901-337-4178 or Whaley is a member of the Memphis Conference. Through special appointment, he serves in Eurasia ten months of the year as a teaching pastor with The UMC of Russia.

Monies made from making quilts are donated to church bus fund

published 11/17/2010
They quilt for a cause. They don’t have a fancy name. They just call themselves the quilting group. Frances Boren, Jan Carlton, Bettye Hudson and Ruth Ann Pratt are members at Browns UMC in Jackson, TN.   For several years the group has been meeting at the 175-year-old church once a week to share their passion for making quilts.   Sitting down together to hand stitch quilts is an extension of their collective love of sewing.   The group’s quilting projects are custom orders from paying customers...

Sunday, Dec. 5, is Memphis Conference Day of Celebration for United Methodist Neighborhood Centers in Memphis

published 11/16/2010
Sunday, Dec. 5, is a Day of Celebration of United Methodist Neighborhood Centers (UMNC) in Memphis. This day, without offering, is set aside by the Memphis Conference to recognize the work of UMNC and celebrate its 103 years of ministry to the poor.   In a recent letter to Memphis Conference clergy and congregations, UMNC Executive Director Elvernice “Sonny” Davis described UMNC as “a loyal mission.”   UMNC serves families through its six food pantries, two thrift stores, refugee program, ...

Laura Bush: Psalm offers comfort after 9/11

published 11/15/2010
By Heather Hahn, multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UMNS) – The weekend after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush, his family and many of his cabinet members gathered for Sunday worship at Camp David’s Evergreen Chapel. There, the Rev. Robert Williams, a United Methodist chaplain, offered the national leaders words of comfort based on Psalm 27:13 -- “I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” ...

FirstWorks kids have Halloween fun

published 11/14/2010
Volunteer Cindy King, third from left, helps three children carve a pumpkin on a recent afternoon at FirstWorks After School Program at Highland Heights UMC in Memphis. FirstWorks is an academic, faith-based, after school program for at-risk children and youth from downtown Memphis. The children in this photo, from left, are Derrick Rice, Justin Moore and Ja'keriah Watkins. In addition to carving pumpkins at the Halloween-themed event, the children wore costumes, made crafts and enjoyed a dinner...

First Generation Singers spread joy

published 11/11/2010
The First Generation Singers, a mixed vocal ensemble of senior adults from Christ UMC in Memphis, performed at the Page Robbins Adult Day Care Center in Collierville, TN, on Veterans’ Day, Thursday, Nov. 11. They sang a medley of “hits” by George M. Cohan. The ensemble sings weekly at nursing and assisted living homes with a repertoire of popular, inspirational and patriotic songs. The First Generation Singers perform in more than 20 venues each season and seek to lift the spirits of those in ...

Experience a French Christmas at Lakeshore UMA on Dec. 4

published 11/10/2010
Adults and children are invited to spend a day at Lakeshore United Methodist Assembly celebrating Christmas the way it is celebrated in France. France is the focus of this year’s “Christmas and Culture Day,” set for Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.   Visitors are free to come and go throughout the day, according to Troy Taylor, Program Director at Lakeshore, the summer camp and retreat center of the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church.   Lakeshore is located on Kentucky ... to launch Nov. 12

published 11/10/2010
Young-adult hub offers enhanced engagement features  Nashville, Tenn. – The denomination’s revamped website for young-adult spiritual seekers,, will debut Friday, Nov. 12. This marks the website’s beta launch, a period when the website is fine-tuned amid real-world exposure.   “Research shows that young adults tend to embrace their digital and physical worlds as one,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “This age group favors ...

Team members needed for April mission trip to Haiti

published 11/10/2010
A United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team from the Memphis Conference has openings for six members for an April 7-14, 2011 trip to Haiti. To learn more, contact team leader Holly Mitchener at or 901-388-2957.   The cost per person is approximately. $1,400, depending upon the cost of airline tickets. There also is a project fee of $350 per person which might be covered by one's home church. The team will be working through United Methodist Committee on Relief ...

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) team from Memphis Conference travels to Haiti in September

published 11/10/2010
By Elyse Bell Co-Leader, VIM Team Lay Resource Leader, Paris District As the American Airlines plane approached the Port au Prince Airport, the first view we saw was one of beautiful green mountains rising from the sea. As the plane continued its descent, there began to appear a vast array of blue tarps and white tents, thousands of them across a devastated city.  As we made our way from the airport through the crowded city streets still filled with rubble from the Jan. 12 earthquake, we began ...

Lambuth University opens campus to United Methodist Church youth on Dec. 4

published 11/9/2010
POSTPONED  Effective Nov. 29, this event has been postponed to a future (unknown) date. Lambuth University is opening its doors to the youth of United Methodist Churches on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The day provides an opportunity for youth in United Methodist Churches in the Memphis Conference to experience life at Methodist-affiliated Lambuth.   The day will begin with a 10 a.m. concert. Breakout sessions at 11:30 a.m. will provide information about Lambuth.   Following lunch ...

Memphis Conference students get $51,000 in scholarships and loans

published 11/9/2010
By next month, $51,000 in scholarships and loans will have been awarded this year to United Methodist undergraduate and graduate students in the Memphis Conference by the Office of Loans and Scholarships of the General Board of Education & Ministry (GBHEM). This is according to an October, 2010, report from the Office of Loans and Scholarships. The total includes $24,500 in scholarships and $26,500 in loans.   Below is the list of scholarship recipients from the Memphis Conference, as provided ...

Nov. 28 is Special Sunday: United Methodist Student Day

published 11/9/2010
What is United Methodist Student Day? It is one of six churchwide Special Sundays of The United Methodist Church. United Methodist (UM) Student Day furnishes scholarships and loans for students attending United Methodist-related and other accredited colleges and universities. This Special Sunday asks United Methodists to support students as they prepare for life by uniting faith with knowledge. Can our church celebrate UM Student Day on a different date? Yes. If your church needs to celebrate ...

Rev. John Kilzer on WKNO Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.

published 11/8/2010
Sports Files with Geoff Calkins airs Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. on WKNO-Memphis (WKNO2 at 11 p.m.). Calkins, veteran sports columnist for The Commercial Appeal, interviews players and personalities to go behind the action in Mid-South sports for the big-picture stories.   This week, on Nov. 9, Geoff talks to John Kilzer, former University of Memphis basketball player who became a recording artist and, ultimately, an addict.   Today Kilzer is an elder in the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist ...

Paying it forward - Jackson First UMC members find joy in 'Living a Better Story'

published 11/6/2010
BY TRACIE SIMER, The Jackson Sun, Nov. 6, 2010   On Oct. 1,  members of First United Methodist Church each walked out the church doors holding an envelope with money inside. The command was to take the enclosed cash, increase the amount and give it to the community. On Sunday, members began sharing their experiences. "Living a Better Story" was a five-week program at the church in which members were given different amounts of money and told to help the community in some way, said Phyllis ...

Five Memphis Conference churches are drop-off points for shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child

published 11/4/2010
Five United Methodist churches in the Memphis Conference are drop-off points for shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) during OCC’s National Collection Week, Nov. 15-22. Operation Christmas Child, a project of the international relief and evangelism organization, Samaritan's Purse, encourages volunteers to fill simple shoe boxes with toys, necessity items, school supplies, candy and hand-written notes of encouragement.    The shoe box gifts are shared with children worldwide who are...

Former Memphis Conference Bishop Kenneth L. Carder co-authors guide for effective contemporary leadership

published 11/2/2010
New Book Is Guide for Effective Contemporary Leadership   By Vicki Brown*   Grace to Lead: Practicing Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition, by Bishop Kenneth L. Carder and the Rev. Laceye C. Warner, delves deep into Wesleyan scholarship to guide readers into effective contemporary leadership, from a solidly Wesleyan perspective.   “Carder and Warner firmly establish grace upon grace as the wellspring of principled Christian leadership,” says Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Annual ...

Alamo First UMC shows quick response to local disaster

published 10/26/2010
  Editor’s Note: Memphis Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator Bill Carr praised the quick action of members of Alamo First UMC when they responded to a residential fire in their town on Oct. 11. “Alamo First UMC demonstrated what it is to be the hands and feet of Christ. It may not have been a disaster on a regional or national scale, but it was a disaster to those seven families," said Carr. "Before the flames were put out, Alamo First stepped up and stepped out,” he said.  Any time local ...

Bearing Fruit: A gift for organization leads to unique prayer ministry for youth

published 10/25/2010
  ‘Bearing Fruit’ is a feature for sharing stories about spiritual transformation -- stories of hope and help for those pressing on to “take hold of that which Christ has taken hold for us.” Email your stories and photos on any subject to Sue Engle, leader of the Memphis Conference Intentional Discipleship Action Team, at Past stories are archived on the Memphis Conference Web site at Search in the “News” section of the Web site with the words “Bearing ...

Jacob's Well celebrates diversity and creativity

published 10/25/2010
  Editor’s Note: This story appears on the community blog, It is reprinted with permission from the author.   By Beth Sanders      What happens when a young pastor’s dream comes to life? The answer: a new church called Jacob’s Well, which (launched) Saturday, Oct. 9.    Rev. Jamey Lee has a vision and passion for racial reconciliation and justice. Lee and his family moved to Memphis five years ago when he became an associate pastor at Christ UMC. The ...

New worship services launch at two churches

published 10/25/2010
     Two churches in the Memphis Conference have recently launched new services as part of their worship offerings: McKenzie First UMC in McKenzie, TN in the Paris District and St. John’s UMC in Memphis in the McKendree District. Sunday Night Lights    “Sunday Night Lights” (SNL) is the name of the 7 p.m. Sunday night service (second and fourth Sunday of the month) at McKenzie First UMC that started in September.    This new service is designed to attract and meet the needs of people wanting a ...

Potatoes are dropping in Memphis Conference Nov. 6 and 13

published 10/25/2010
     Two Potato Drops benefitting numerous area food pantries are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, in Martin, TN, and Saturday, Nov. 13, in Collierville, TN.    The Nov. 6 Potato Drop is sponsored by Martin First UMC and will take place at the church, located at 225 Main St., starting at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast and devotional.    The Nov. 13 Potato Drop is sponsored by McKendree District United Methodist Men and will take place at Collierville UMC, located at 454 W. Poplar Ave., starting at ...

Brothers earn Eagle Scout awards together

published 10/24/2010
  Editor’s Note: This news article is reprinted (in part) with permission from the Milan Mirror-Exchange, Milan, TN. Adam and Michael Coultis are members of Milan First UMC.       By Steve Short Milan Mirror-Exchange, Aug. 3, 2010      A rare achievement was celebrated by Milan Boy Scouts this year when two brothers won Eagle awards together.    Adam and Michael Coultis were presented Eagle status in a Scout Court of Honor at Milan First UMC on July 24.    Adding to the uniqueness of the event ...

'Youth Uprising' at Middleton UMC

published 10/22/2010
  The youth of Middleton UMC in Middleton, TN joined with friends from area churches of other Christian denominations to present and host “The Uprising: A New Generation” on Saturday, Sept. 18. Approximately 100 people listened to music, had their faces painted (right photo), ate hotdogs and talked about life experiences. Activities began outside and then moved inside to fill the sanctuary. Bands (left photo) and drama groups from throughout the area performed. Rev. Lowell Gibbs delivered the ...

Lambuth University Homecoming: Oct. 29-31

published 10/22/2010
    “Don’t Stop Believin’… Hold Onto That LU Feelin’” is the motto for this year’s Homecoming weekend at Lambuth University. The weekend’s events will begin Friday, October 29, 2010 and conclude on Sunday, October 31, 2010. “Fall is always a beautiful and exciting time on campus.  Alumni look forward to visiting the campus and spending time with former classmates and professors.  There is just an air of excitement on campus Homecoming weekend that is contagious and keeps alumni coming back year...

Memphis First UMC blesses pets of members, neighbors and friends

published 10/22/2010
  By Sandra Mathias Memphis First UMC    On Saturday morning, Oct. 2, the sun shown brightly through the towering steel of the Memphis First UMC sanctuary frame as the congregation welcomed furry, four-legged friends to a “Blessing of the Animals” service.    In downtown Memphis, at the corner of Second and Poplar, church members, neighbors, friends and animal lovers from all parts of Shelby County led their beloved pets to this joyous event, conducted by Senior Pastor Scott Alford.     Several...

'The Way' is new Friday night worship service at St. John's UMC in Memphis

published 10/14/2010
Beginning Friday, Oct. 16, St. John's UMC in Memphis (corner of Peabody and Bellevue) launches a new worship service that will take place on Friday nights at 6 p.m. The Way will be  a service of recovery (from drugs, alcohol, divorce and grief, for example), but is designed to nurture anyone at the end of a hectic week. Promotional materials say the message at The Way will be one of "encouragement and hope" and that "compassion is key." Music will be a important part of the Friday night service ...

Food drive underway for Carpenter's Table Food Pantry at Memphis First UMC

published 10/14/2010
  The bare shelves of the "Carpenter's Table" Food Pantry at Memphis First UMC are a testament to the ever growing needs of those who live hungry in downtown Memphis.   A new mission, led by member Larry Chitwood, assists citizens who are employed in low paying jobs, "the working poor," but struggle to put food on the table for their families. The goal is to be an encouraging link to keep citizens in the workforce.   The pantry is open Saturdays by appointment to prescreened clients. Clients ...

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