Ben: ‘They had me at privyet!’

published 11/28/2009
Four members of Germantown United Methodist Church joined the Rev. Patrick Whaley in the northeast corner of Ukraine, very close to the Russian border. The Rev. Deborah Smith, Ben and Mary Ellen Kemker and Barbara Faust went to the city of Lugansk to meet Whaley, Director of SASHA Ministry (Shepherding A Servant’s Heart, Amen). United Methodist pastors and lay leaders from eastern and southern Ukraine and Russia gathered for four days as we shared relationships, worship, stories of faith, ...

'First Church' executes Mission Possible Outreach in Uptown

published 11/11/2009
By Sandra Mathias  Members of Memphis First United Methodist Church gathered downtown a few blocks from their church campus on a chilly Saturday morning to execute “Mission Possible Community Outreach” in the Uptown Community.   Members and Senior Pastor Rev. Scott Alford and Associate Pastor Rev. John Kilzer met at the corner of Auction Avenue and 5th Street to fill bright blue recyclable grocery bags with light bulbs and energy-saving kits, a variety of emergency preparedness brochures, and an...

All in One Bible Fun: 13 Lessons for Busy Teachers

published 11/11/2009
All-in-One Bible Fun was created to respond to the needs of churches:   • feeling the budget pinch in their children’s ministry • unsure of the number of children in Sunday school each week • working with a Sunday school program that doesn’t meet each week.   At just $10 each, this low-cost children’s program is available for preschool and elementary age children and features: • Thirteen complete lessons in each book • No additional components to buy • Includes a plan with opening, story, ...

Beyond the Burning Bush

published 11/11/2009
A collection of personal stories about the call to ordained ministry, Beyond the Burning Bush: Hearing and Answering God’s Call, is meant to help young people who are exploring God’s call to discern their own response and vocation. “The idea for a book that collected the personal stories of elders, deacons, seminarians, chaplains, campus ministers, and college students grew out of EXPLORATION 2006, when many young people at the event talked about how important hearing the personal stories of the...

January conference to discuss Civil Rights issues

published 11/11/2009
The first annual Elders for Today conference will be held in Nashville, January 5-8, 2010. The conference, to be held on Scarritt-Bennett’s historic campus in the heart of Nashville, will bring together people who experienced the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and those interested in learning about the era, and engage them in an interactive conversation about social justice issues past and present.   The happenings of the 1960s changed the lives of many people, and the conference will lead ...

Lifesaving Technique quickly put to use

published 11/11/2009
Skills learned during educational course offered by Methodist and MERI Donna Hunn, a nurse practitioner on the medical response team at Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital, was one of about 45 medical professionals who recently attended a Difficult Airway Management course presented jointly by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and the Medical Education and Research Institute (MERI). Hunn found the training invaluable.   A couple of days after she completed the course, she was first on the ...

Operation Christmas Child needs help to send millions of gift-filled shoeboxes to kids

published 11/11/2009
In the midst of challenging economic times for many individuals and families, a number of not-for-profit organizations experienced an increase in donations, and this was certainly true for the Mid-South arm of Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. Last year, churches, businesses, civic organizations, schools and individuals located in western Tennessee and eastern Arkansas donated 20,400 gift-filled shoeboxes for a child in need. Officials this year expect donations to meet...

Price family endows music scholarship at Lambuth

published 11/11/2009
By Cathy Farmer  Demonstrating her conviction that Lambuth University will be around a “long, long time,” on November 5, Mrs. Susan Price handed over to the university a check for $22,000. The money will establish a scholarship at the school as the most appropriate way to honor the life and legacy of her late husband Tom Price.   “That may not be a lot of money to some people,” Mrs. Price said, “but it’s a lot of money to me...and it demonstrates my conviction that Lambuth will emerge stronger ...

Saint John's 'Operation: Swaddling Clothes'

published 11/11/2009
It all started with a simple question. Jaime Winton, a member of Saint John’s United Methodist Church in Memphis, was going about her weekly routine of volunteering at the church’s Food Pantry when she was approached by a young mother pushing her toddler in a well-worn stroller.  As Jaime handed the mother a three day supply of food, the young woman asked whether there were any diapers available for her little girl.   Jaime checked the shelves. The only diapers available were much too small to ...

Sharing resources valuable for campus ministers

published 11/11/2009
By Rick Pinkston Campus Minister, Wesley Foundation  I had a conversation with the Rev. Bridgett Young, Assistant General Secretary for Campus Ministry. She expressed a desire to meet with all of the campus ministers in the Memphis Conference. Connectional Ministries Director John Bonson offered us space at the conference office.   During the meeting, we spent time talking to Rev. Young about our own contexts for ministry. She speaks the language, having directed a Wesley Foundation for nine ...

Your gift may be the only Christmas gift seniors receive

published 11/11/2009
By Selena H. Henson, President Wesley Senior Ministries Foundation  During the year, I have talked with many of our senior residents who have thanked me for the beautiful warm blankets they received last Christmas.    “Miss C” was telling me how much she loved her blanket. She said, “I am 90 years old and I stay cold all year – so a blanket was just perfect.”    The part of the story that remains with me is when she said, “I wrap it around me when I am really cold but I always keep it near so ...

Conference youth spend Saturday helping others

published 10/27/2009
By Rev. Judd A. Mowery Adult representative MAC Youth Connection  The Connectional church is at work again. Youth of the Memphis Conference from three church youth groups, Greenfield, Calvert City, and Kenton, arrived on a Friday night at Reelfoot Rural Ministries to work at a mission retreat.    The next morning we had a big breakfast, then we loaded up the Calvert City United Methodist Church bus with painting equipment for 16 youths and six adults. We had our lunch and soft drinks and water ...

December 15 deadline to apply, Ethnic Young Adult summer internships

published 10/27/2009
 The deadline to apply for a 2010 Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) Summer Internship in Washington, D.C., is Dec. 15. The EYA program is for young adults, ages 18-22, who have an interest in exploring issues of public policy, social justice advocacy and social change.  Sponsored by the United Methodist Inter-Ethnic Strategy Development Group and administered by the General Board of Church & Society, interns will work in social justice placements in the U.S. capital from May 30 to July 31, 2010.   The ...

Lake Junaluska undergoing renovations

published 10/27/2009
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – Two lodging facilities at Lake Junaluska, Sunnyside Lodge and Mountain View Lodge, are undergoing major renovations this fall. Built in the late 1950s, both facilities have only been open seasonally because they did not have heating or air conditioning. Renovations to both facilities began October 1.   Sunnyside Lodge and Mountain View Lodge are both undergoing major improvements. New heating and cooling units, as well as new circuits for hair dryers and other utilities ...

Musical instruments of the Bible on display

published 10/27/2009
By Cathy Farmer  Music has always been central to worship. Bible research by Henry Harrison has turned up at least 15 instruments used by the Israelites to praise God.   When the Israelites successfully crossed the Red Sea, the tribes paused to thank the Lord in song and dance. Miriam, Aaron’s sister, is recorded in the Bible as taking a tambourine and dancing as she and the women she led sang, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” ...

Three districts prepare churches for conflict, stewardship

published 10/27/2009
By Stan Waldon Dyersburg District Superintendent  The Dyersburg, Paris and Paducah Districts have been addressing the concerns of the Small Membership Church.   Recently, the three districts came together at Martin, TN’s First United Methodist Church to spend a day talking about two important concerns in ministry today: Leading Amid Conflict Within the Church and Stewardship in the Small Membership Church. Sixty laity and pastors were present.   This was the third such gathering of the three ...

Lambuth offers Religion & Christian Ministry major

published 10/13/2009
   The Lambuth Religion Department will unveil a new Religion major beginning in the fall of 2010: a B.A. degree in Religion and Christian Ministry.    The new Religion and Christian Ministry major provides students with a foundation in the academic study of Religion, especially the biblical, historical and theological dimensions of Christianity. The major is also designed to help students develop skills for the practice of ministry in the student’s choice from three areas: Evangelism and ...

Metro Adult Choir Festival, October 18, 5pm

published 10/13/2009
Metro Area United Methodist Churches will come together at Collierville UMC for The Metro Adult Choir Festival where they will make some beautiful music and support the mission and ministry of Hannah’s Hope – an agency of the Memphis Conference. Hannah’s Hope Adoption and Pregnancy Counseling provide services for families who are hoping to adopt and for persons who find themselves in crisis pregnancy situations.  A love offering supporting Hannah’s Hope will be taken during the Festival. Choirs ...

Briefly for October 2, 2009

published 9/29/2009
McKendree District Lay Speaking Ministries at Emmanuel UMC in November and December These courses will be held at Emmanuel UMC, 2404 Kirby Rd. in Memphis. Basic Lay Speaking: On Thursday, November 5, 6:30-9:30 p.m. and on Saturday, November 7, 9:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m. Cost: $25, includes lunch Sat. Advanced Lay Speaking: On Thursday, November 5, 6:30– 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov 7, 9:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m. Cost: $25, includes lunch Saturday. NEW! Youth Lay Speaking: On Thursday, December 3, 6:30–9:30 ...

Let's plan an event to celebrate The Lambuth Connection

published 9/29/2009
By Steven Fonville Chaplain, Lambuth University  Dear Friends,   I take great pleasure in sending you my warmest greetings from Lambuth University.   As you are well aware, this past year has presented the faculty, staff, and student body with unprecedented challenges. Yet, today I look across the quad from my office and see long-time faculty strolling to the dining hall. Students chat at the Eickoff Plaza. The sound of the Concert Choir rehearsing adds the refrain of youth to the chorus of ...

October 15 Small Membership Church Rally

published 9/29/2009
Tri-District Event–Dyersburg, Paducah, Paris Location: Martin First United Methodist Church Date: Thursday,October 15 Time: 8:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Leadership: The Turner Center for Church Leadership, Vanderbilt Divinity School • First Topic: “Stewardship in the Small Membership Church” This presentation will highlight ways to help the church to move from a “theology of scarcity” to a “theology of abundance” even in difficult economic times. • Second Topic: “Leading Amid Conflict Within the Church...

Paducah District Older Adult Rally

published 9/29/2009
An Older Adult Rally, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., designed especially for persons 55+ who live in the Paducah District will be held Thursday, October 8, at Benton First UMC. Our purpose is to help congregations understand the important of older adults in our churches – the importance of Intentional Ministry with, for, and by, older adults. In addition, there will be fun in the form of learning how to create “A Better You” through yoga. (Guaranteed to be more fun than work!) Then entertainment “...

'night Light' worship service in Jackson for college age and young adults

published 9/28/2009
By David Brent Hollis Associate pastor, Jackson First UMC Several people at Jackson, Tenn.’s First United Methodist Church have been praying about a service that would seek to meet what they saw as a deep need in Jackson – something offered for all college age and young adults.   We’ve all heard the statistics about United Methodism being a dying denomination and the lack of young people in our pews – but it’s certainly not only United Methodism. All churches are losing young people.   “night ...

Primetimers: Educational & Mission Service Experiences for Older Adults

published 9/28/2009
•Justice on the Border February 11-20, 2010 McAllen, Texas Event cost - $950 •A Methodist Primer–Latin America   May 8-15. 2010 San Jose, Costa Rica Event Cost $950   •Alaska: The Last North American Frontier   August 20-28, 2010 Auke Bay, Alaska Event Cost - $975   •All Creatures Great and Small   Epworth by the Sea–Georgia November 7-12, 2010 Event Cost - $850   •Making Music – Jamaican Style   Brownstown, Jamaica January 8-15, 2011 Event Cost - $900   Event Cost does not include ...

Briefly for September 18, 2009

published 9/15/2009
Kathy Bates: Academy Award-winning actress and native Memphian to speak at Methodist Healthcare Foundation’s Cancer Center Luncheon  Academy-Award winning actress and director Kathy Bates will visit Memphis to reflect on her career and her own battle with cancer at the 8th annual Methodist Cancer Center Luncheon on Friday, November 20, 11:45 a.m., at the Peabody Hotel. A native Memphian, Bates has been honored numerous times for her work on stage, screen and television, including a 1991 Academy ...

Methodism 101 reintroduces John Wesley to Purchase Area

published 9/15/2009
 I have been a Methodist for 72 years and I never knew why we believe what we believe.”    This is one of the many positive comments overheard during the Paducah District’s Methodism 101 workshop.     It was a wonderful day filled with great information, great fellowship and a great opportunity to discover anew that we have an excellent message to share with the world.   District Superintendent Rick Dye opened the day with a reintroduction to John Wesley. All the presenters who followed filled...

Brief notes about people and events, August 7, 2009

published 8/7/2009
In Memoriam Mrs. Mary Lucille Jackson Ross, 94, widow of the late Rev. R. C. Ross, died July 21, 2009 at her home in Union City, TN. She is survived by her daughters, Joyce R. Cooper of Chattanooga; Dolores R. Davis, and Wanda S. Callison, of Union City; and Gloria R. McMillen of New Albany, MS. Sons, Boyce D. Ross of Paducah, KY, and Art Ross of Union City. She also leaves 17 grandchildren, 28 great children, and seven great, great grandchildren. Services were held Thursday, July 23, 2009 at ...

Gibson Wells UMC draws 95 to Crocodile Dock VBS

published 8/7/2009
95 children, teens, and adults had an incredible week at Gibson Wells United Methodist Church during their Crocodile Dock Vacation Bible School. The kids had exciting Bible-learning experiences through crafts, games, songs, and videos. They even visited Pharaoh in his palace. They also participated in a hands-on missions project called Operation Kid to Kid. They made comfort critters for other children who’ve been through disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or fires.   Gibson Wells ...

New book available that features photos of Africa University

published 8/7/2009
The Africa University Development Office is delighted to announce the publication of Thy Wonders Displayed: Africa University, a campus viewbook. The book describes the geological, biological, and human landscapes of Africa University, a church-related university that spans 1500 acres in eastern Zimbabwe.   In this unique campus viewbook, you will find almost 200 color photographs of mountains, croplands, wildlife, sunrises, plants and people. It is the Africa University campus that is rarely ...

School supplies needed at Reelfoot Rural Ministries

published 8/7/2009
Struggling families in Northwest Tennessee need help getting school supplies for their children. Last year, Reelfoot Rural Ministries helped outfit 189 children with new school supplies such as pencils, paper, glue and crayons. This year, RRM is asking for donations of the following:   1 inch notebook binders 1 1/2 inch notebook binders 2 inch notebook binders 3 inch notebook binders 1/2 inch binders with pocket assignment notebook baby wipes back pack (clear) back pack (without wheels) ...

Children in Crisis--Mexico: Esperanza Viva!

published 8/6/2009
By Dr. Joseph A. Geary  A delegation from the Memphis Conference recently visited the Matamoros, Mexico area. The intent was to develop a covenant relationship with the people of the Eastern Mexico Annual Conference.    Visiting with our clergy and lay counterparts in the Timiteo (Timothy) District were myself, team leader, David Lewis, Daphne Moses, Elyse Bell and Robert Craig.   Our delegation observed the presence of Christ as palpable amongst the Methodist people of Matamoros who, despite ...

Church-in-a-box appeals to unchurched

published 8/6/2009
By Grace Phelps  The historic court square in Covington, TN is pretty quiet early on Sunday mornings. The courthouse, antique shops and boutiques, law offices and banks are closed. So when the MorningSong Worship set-up team arrives, there are plenty of parking spaces available.   But by 8:30 a.m., the sounds of praise music can be heard coming from the one of the buildings and the square is lined with cars.   It all began with the desire of the congregation of Covington First United Methodist ...

God leads Raleigh UMC in Job Search Support Ministry

published 8/6/2009
By Rita Jones Outreach Chair, Raleigh UMC  In the midst of this time of economic turmoil, Raleigh United Methodist Church found itself questioning how to help those who are unemployed, underemployed, or in transition.   The answer presented itself in the form of bi-monthly meetings open to the community and congregation to help with Job Support.   During Raleigh UMC’s own economic suffering, depending on God’s direction for what best could be done to help those searching for work, the Outreach ...

Starting or energizing your Older Adult Ministry

published 8/6/2009
By Luci Cromer Coordinator, Older Adult Council  If you’re interested in older adult programming, missions, and group leadership, you won’t want to miss “Starting or Energizing Your Older Adult Ministry.”   The Rev. Vida McClure, Liaison to the Paducah District and member of the Memphis Conference Older Adult Council, will discuss “Designing a Ministry with Older Adults.”   This nuts-and-bolts presentation will teach people how to work with an older adult council, how to design, implement, and ...

Following in the footsteps of St. James

published 7/28/2009
By Sandra Mathias  As the Rev. Birgitte French approached her 50th birthday, she decided to commemorate her half-century mark by traveling to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.    The “Camino” is a large network of ancient routes stretching across Europe that converge at the tomb of St. James the Apostle in northwest Spain.   For over 1,200 years, travelers have migrated to Spain to walk “the way of St. James.”   St. James, one of the 12 Apostles, was a fisherman. He left his ...

How do we do worship well?

published 7/28/2009
By Sky McCracken  Methodists have been designing and re-designing worship since its beginning.   John Wesley was an Anglican priest and patterned the very first Methodist worship services after the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Those services underwent revision as soon as they were used, mainly because of a shortage of ordained ministers to celebrate communion regularly. That change was born out of necessity as well as passion: people in America were hungry for spiritual nurture and for God’s ...

'Olden Days' draws community

published 7/7/2009
Palestine Church on Bruceville Slab Road in rural Dyer County had great success with its Fourth Annual Community Day. June 6th was a beautiful day and both inside and outside activities were packed with children and adults.  Since the church is rural and has an average attendance of 45-50 per Sunday, this event involved support from every member of the congregation, young and old.    Most of the activities were outside, the theme being an old fashioned church picnic. There were live pony rides, ...

Cell phones for soldiers--keeping families connected

published 7/7/2009
By Teresa Rector Cub Scout Pack 452 Committee Chaplain, Boy Scout Troop 452  Cub Scout Pack 452 has a service project the kids have been working on since last summer and the boys have proved that all young people can truly make a difference in their community.   Through the donation of cell phones by the congregation of our chartering organization, Arlington United Methodist Church, plus our Pack 452 families, registered leaders, and local businesses, we are ready to mail our second shipment for...

Positions available, July 10, 2009

published 7/7/2009
Position available Immediate job opening for Full-time Administrative Assistant to the Director of Connectional Ministries of the Memphis Annual Conference. Requirements: Excellent relational, communication, coordination, organizational, planning, computer, and database management skills. Send resumes and letters of reference to Dr. John Bonson Sr., Director of Connectional Ministries & Conference Secretary: Please send e-mails to jbonson@bellsouth.net no later than July 22, 2009.   Position ...

2009-2010 Clergy Appointments

published 6/10/2009
Asbury District District Superintendent: Kevin Conrad Alexander’s Chapel-Pleasant Grove       Billy Joe Jackson    Arlington (Journey)                                Ken Stewart            Atoka                                                      Joe E. Piercey, Jr.   Bartlett                                                    Stephen C. Shapard                Bartlett Senior Associate                                 Judy Phillips Piercey              Binghampton Memorial                   ...

Israel reports on Lambuth University

published 6/10/2009
By Cathy Farmer  Dr. Jerry Israel, Interim President of Lambuth University, reported to the conference: “For all the difficulties we’ve experienced this year, our mission, which is teaching and learning and spiritual formation, has never been questioned. When the accreditation team visited Lambuth, the team documented the exemplary nature of our programs. That sustains me and should sustain you!”   Israel said the school’s greatest hope for the future is the balanced budget for next year.   “Our...

Morgenthaler: ‘Worship and mission inextricably linked’

published 6/10/2009
By Cathy Farmer  Bring Jesus to the people, that’s what worship is about!” proclaimed Sally Morgenthaler, a nationally renowned leader in the worship world and the keynote speaker at the May 31-June 2, 2009 Memphis Annual Conference.   Noting that there’s a disconnect between what happens in church and what Christians do ‘out there’ in the world, Morgenthaler encouraged the approximately 1500 United Methodists present for the opening Sunday evening worship service to go home to their local ...

'I'm not a post-person at 75'

published 5/28/2009
By Luci Cromer Older Adult Coordinator We always ask the men and women who attend our Older Adult Seminar one question: What was the best part of the day for you? The answer is usually split equally between the speakers and the roundtable discussions. This time, we were overwhelmed with good comments about our speaker, Marvin Cropsey. Here are a few of the remarks:   “Marvin was responsible for changing this day and the future for me.”   “Marvin caused us to face reality in our seniority and ...

A dream takes shape in downtown Jackson

published 5/28/2009
By Tharon Kirk Member, Jackson First UMC The vision for community gardens in Jackson, Tenn. began in our Christian Transformation Group at First United Methodist Church as we were sharing and holding each other accountable as disciples of Christ.    Our church has been developing a relationship with the Hatton Street Neighborhood just west of Lambuth University over the past year. We’ve been looking for ways to be in ministry with that neighborhood. Grady Neely, whose college major was agronomy,...

Brief notes: May 29, 2009

published 5/28/2009
Paris District office relocates to 810 East Wood street in June The Paris District Office will close and relocate to 810 East Wood Street in Paris in early June. The offices will be closed at the current 215 Wynn Street location in order to prepare for the move and transfer services and utilities. Dr. Joe Geary, Paris District Superintendent, says they will be moving on Thursday, June 4, and will re-open in the new location Monday, June 8, at 8:30 A.M. The office is presently closed for visits ...

FirstWorks Director to walk 'The Camino' for 50th birthday

published 5/28/2009
By Sandra Mathias For most of her life, the Rev. Birgitte French, known as “Pastor Bee,” has been on a journey.   She has lived on three continents and has set up housekeeping in 24 different homes ...so far.   Born on the sandy shores of Denmark, she grew up as the daughter of a United Methodist minister. Her sojourner life began at age 23 as she ventured out as a young medical missionary serving in Algeria, Kenya and Zaire.   To say she has a brave and adventurous spirit would be to seriously ...

Inner city garden sprouts in Uptown Memphis

published 5/28/2009
By Sandra Mathias  An inner city garden is taking root in downtown Memphis this summer.     On April 21, the day before “Earth Day 2009”, a joyous ribbon cutting event was held to celebrate the ground-breaking for the “Uptown Community Garden.”   City leaders, developers, and contributors, joined Downtown and Uptown residents taking shovel in hand to plant their seeds in the raised beds of this unique communal garden.    First Church Pastor Martha Wagley attended the event to honor her ...

Positions Available

published 5/28/2009
Position Available Local United Methodist church seeks a Church Music Director. Position entails orchestrating the musical gifts of the laity & responsibility for music at all worship services; coordination and direction of choral groups & praise teams; direction of children’s music ministry and use of integrated audio/visual sound system. REPLY: Grace UMC, c/o SPRC, 142 McClellan Rd., Jackson, TN 38305   Position Available   Musician/Praise and Worship Leader needed for new worship service. ...

Benefactor leaves $100,000 to Lambuth University

published 5/13/2009
Lambuth University recently received a donation of $100,000 from a private donor. The benefactor, Fred Wells, passed away in 2007, at age 83, and left money in his will to support higher education.   Alan Wells, son of the benefactor and father of two Lambuth graduates, visited campus to present the check to Dr. Jerry Israel, President of the University. With him were his two daughters, Rebecca, 22, who graduated from Lambuth in 2008, and Rachael, 20, who is a student at Freed-Hardeman ...

Brief notes May 13, 2009

published 5/13/2009
ONE ROOM SUNDAY SCHOOL WORKSHOP, MAY 17, AT HARRIS GROVE UMC The Jackson District is hosting a workshop on “The One Room Sunday School” curriculum at Harris Grove UMC on May 17 at 2pm. The Brownsville and Dyersburg Districts will also participate in the event.   CHURCH OF THE WEEK @ GBOD   The General Board of Discipleship features a Church of the Week on its worship-preaching-music website. The agency is soliciting digital photos and information for churches that would like to be included. You ...

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