First Discovery Event Is This Weekend: Sign up Today!
This Saturday (Feb. 25), Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. and other Conference leaders will be among 80-some people gathered at First United Methodist Church in Oroville for a day of "being, seeing, and doing what matters to God."
It is the first in a series of Discovery Events – one in each of the districts in the California-Nevada Annual Conference – intended to reconnect us with our passion for Jesus Christ and our compassion for all.
In January, each district superintendent sent out a letter, referencing the changes that have been underway in the Conference over the last several years.
"We have devised a plan to encourage, equip, and position servant leaders – both lay and clergy – to join with God's mission in the world," they wrote. "We are setting measurable goals and implementing tools [the Vital Signs dashboard] to help us focus on our faithfulness.
"We have dedicated ourselves not only to revitalizing existing congregations, but also to creating new places for new people. To that end, we have hired a new Conference superintendent, Bener Agtarap, to lead us in this effort.
"We have sought to rethink, renew, and re-form our churches around a network of circuits … [and] we partnered with Path 1.
"A new Conference structure is emerging. But all the ways we have been changing together are meant simply to focus us on reaching those who are close to the heart of Jesus."
Before we can understand how the Conference's emphases align, and what our new structure and plan have to do with church vitality, the letter said, we must ask ourselves: "Who is on my heart?" "For whom do I have compassion, because of my passion for Jesus Christ?" "Who are the people Jesus misses most in his church family?" And "Whom do I miss the most?"
In Oroville on Saturday, we will:
- learn from one another about starting movements that grow disciples,
- and about creating places for new people;
- explore how the decisions made as an Annual Conference are designed to provide churches and leaders with resources and support to fulfill God's mission in their own unique contexts; and
- discover how we as a Church can be effective in reaching those whom God has placed on our hearts.
Lunch will be provided.
If you're a part of the Great Northern District and have not yet done so, please register to attend now.
You also may go to www.cnumc.org/register to sign up – not only for this Saturday's event, but also for a Discovery Event in another district. (You may attend any of the four events, but please be aware that each is being customized to the hosting district.)
Additional dates and locations are:
Bridges District: Sunday, March 25, 2-6 p.m., at Fairfield UMC
El Camino Real District: Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Korean UMC of Santa Clara Valley, in San Jose (includes lunch)
Central Valley District: Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Madera UMC (includes lunch)
Join us in the process of discovery! We hope to see you in Oroville on Saturday, or at one of the other Discovery Events.
First UMC of Oroville is located at 45 Acacia, Ave., Oroville, CA 95966. Check-in will open at 9:30 a.m.
To plan your trip using Google Maps, visit the FUMC Oroville page on the Conference website and type in your starting address.
Registration Deadline Nears for Gathering of Clergy
March 7 is the last day to register for the Wednesday, March 14 Gathering of Clergy – a day of worship, renewal, and learning with Mark Miller and Marcia McFee. Advance registration is required: register here now, or go to www.cnumc.org/register. $15 per person registration fee includes lunch.
The event is for all clergy and candidates – in all orders of ministry, active and retired, appointed and not-currently-appointed. It has been approved for .5 CEU credits in professional development.
Download flyer for more information.
Looking for a place to stay in the Alamo area on March 13 or 14? A few local church members have offered to host clergy in their homes. Contact Fel Cao (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more.
San Damiano Retreat Center has openings for a private retreat at $95 per night with meals included. To make your reservation, contact Kateri at 925.837.9141, Ext. 315.
If you gather a group of 12-30 colleagues, you might want to reserve lodging at Westminster Retreat Center for $58.50 per person. Meals may be added for an additional cost. Make your reservation by calling 1.800.678.5102.
Capital Public Radio Feature on Cal-Nev Japan Team Airs Friday
Capital Public Radio will air an interview with a California-Nevada Volunteers in Mission (VIM) team, this Friday (Feb. 24, 2012).
The six-member team from Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church (SJUMC) leaves this weekend for Japan, where it will assist with the earthquake- and tsunami-relief effort.
The Tohoku Disaster Center in Japan sent a formal request to SJUMC for mission volunteers – a rare request, according to the church's pastor, the Rev. Motoe Yamada, who says the team was greatly honored by it.
Steve Milne of Capital Public Radio interviewed team members on Feb. 12. Listen to the broadcast Friday, Feb. 24 at 6:33 and 8:33 a.m. and 4:44 p.m. (times approximate).
Tune to KXJZ 90.9 and KXPR 88.9 in Sacramento, KKTO 90.5 in Tahoe/Reno, KUOP 91.3 in Stockton, KQNC 88.1 in Quincy, KXSR 91.7 in Groveland/Sonora, and KXJS 88.7 in Sutter/Yuba City.
You may hear the audio archive of the interview now at http://www.capradio.org/169845.
Consisting of both English- and Japanese-speaking volunteers, the VIM team is scheduled to return to Sacramento on March 9. That Sunday (March 11), team members will share stories and photos from the trip, during a special event in the SJUMC Sanctuary, "Sharing Hope: Japan One Year Later."
Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 1 p.m.
The public is invited to attend.
For team information and to read the team's blog, visit http://sacjumcjapanumvim.shutterfly.com/.
To donate, visit SJUMC's Japan relief website at http://www.sacjumc.com/japanrelief.html or send checks, payable to "SJUMC," to Sacramento Japanese UMC, 6929 Franklin Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95823. SJUMC is a qualified Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and will provide tax-deductible receipts for all donations.
Vital Information About Vital Signs
Since fall of 2011, a box containing the Vital Signs logo has been located on the Home Page of the Conference website (www.cnumc.org), sandwiched between Areas of Interest and Faith in Action. That logo has contained a "Learn more" link, redirecting users to the main Vital Signs site (www.vitalsignsumc.org).
The "Learn more" link has been removed. Now, when you click on the Vital Signs logo, you'll be taken to an internal information page (see photo below).
The new Vital Signs information page gives an overview of the Vital Signs program, tells how churches can sign up, and includes links to informational videos and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
View Vital Signs Reports
At the very top of the page, you'll find links to Vital Signs Reports.
Click on "Vital Signs | OTHER REPORTS" on the right, and you'll be able to view reports by church, district, Conference, or jurisdiction. A summary section shows totals and averages; it is followed by graphs and a "leader board" showing rankings, for each of the six categories of measurement.
Click on "Vital Signs | CIRCUIT REPORTS" on the left, and you'll be able to view reports by circuit. A summary section shows data for the current week, but you also may choose to view data according to a different time period of your choosing (for example, 01/01/12 - 02/15/12).
Graphs for each category follow the summary section, and below that is a "leader board," showing how circuits rank in the six categories being tracked, for the current week or the selected time period.
In the CIRCUIT REPORTS module, you may export raw data to an Excel spreadsheet – a feature not available yet in the OTHER REPORTS module.
Google Chrome is the web browser we recommend for this application. Please do not open CIRCUIT REPORTS in Internet Explorer 8 (though it should work properly in IE versions higher than 8).
Add Data Weekly
Experimenting with the reports functions will make apparent, quickly, the importance of inputting data to Vital Signs on a weekly basis. In fact, it is crucial to the value of the system! If a church compiles its statistics every week but only enters the information once a month, for example, that means that for the other three weeks, any report will show an inaccurate picture of the church – which skews data for the circuit, district, Conference, and beyond.
In other words, if the information isn't entered, no one will be able to pull it out – which negates the purpose of the tool.
By the way, please note that churches have just a four-week window to input and perfect their data. There always will be four dates visible (and editable) on the reporting screen – the current (Sunday) date and the three previous Sunday dates. As a new week is added, the oldest date will drop off and become inaccessible.
Watsonville UMC Art Exhibit Is Aimed at Young People, Those Outside the Church: A New Faith in Action Story
In a new Faith in Action story, Hilary Orzel writes about a Lenten art exhibit at First United Methodist Church of Watsonville, aimed at connecting the church with the community – and especially with younger people.
The exhibit features works by young Bay Area artist Drew McSherry, who has just recently begun sharing his paintings with churches.
"In history, churches have always been a haven for the arts," he notes. "Artists who laid the foundation for the development of Western art, like Michelangelo, Titian, and Caravaggio, were all patroned by the churches."
McSherry points out that while music arts have continued to be a big part of church, fine art seems to have lost importance. Bringing fine art back into churches, he argues, will make church more accessible – that more people would be drawn to church and that it would create "a broader audience."
He also sees painting as a way to make religious stories more personal and meaningful for individuals. "Art teaches people to appreciate different visions and ideas. Art does not judge people," he says.
Orzel, herself a young adult member of the FUMC Watsonville congregation, agrees.
"It's such a wonderful opportunity for us to incorporate spirituality into artwork. I believe the exhibit will be something that helps many people have inspired Lent journeys," she says.
"I think this exhibit is important for a number of reasons," adds the church's pastor, the Rev. Robin Mathews-Johnson. "First off, we all need to prepare spiritually for Easter, and artwork during Lent can help us enter into that reflective process. Plus, we are inspired by artistic expression such as Drew's.
"We also hope to share this art show with our congregation and our neighbors, because artwork such as this, in our view, crosses barriers of language, culture, and class. In a way, art speaks all languages.
"Lastly, as a congregation we see this exhibit as a way to model new connections with folks from the broader community with whom we do not usually get to interact – including, specifically, young adults such as Hilary and Drew. This age group is a target demographic now for The United Methodist Church and our Conference, and we are excited about working with them both."
Read Hilary Orzel's Faith in Action story here or by clicking on "Faith in Action," found under news.
Highlights of Faith in Action stories are shown on a rotating basis, in the lower right corner of the Conference website (www.cnumc.org).
Immediately beneath those highlights is a "Share your story" link: Use it to enter information about what your own church is doing to make a difference!
Download GBOD's 'Five Ways' for February
Each month, the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) generates a list of five new ideas to help promote congregational vitality.
Click here to download Five New Ideas from GBOD for February 2012.
Side-by-Side's Journey Ends
The Steering Committee for Side-by-Side Ministry with the Homeless has announced "a very sad but necessary step … done with a lot of prayer and discernment." Effective March 30, Side-by-Side will cease operation after having faithfully served the homeless in Friendship Park for more than 10 years.
"As the economy continues to be tight, many non-profit organizations are struggling. Side-by-Side is not immune," reads a letter signed by the Rev. Linda Kelly-Baker on behalf of the committee. "Just at the time we were hoping to move to an independent 501(c)3 organization, we are finding it impossible to attract committed board members to make it work, and secure the funding needed to keep Side-by-Side afloat."
The letter continues, "Though many donors have been very faithful over the years, as well as significant support from Loaves & Fishes and the Board of Missions of the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church, and many local churches, we now realize we just can't make it work."
Kelly-Baker writes that there will be a special goodbye celebration for the ministry in Friendship Park on March 30. All volunteers past and present, steering committee members, and donors are invited.
Afterward, Loaves & Fishes will continue to use the Side-by-Side name,
with the ministry's permission, Kelly-Baker says – but it will be a different program, under the management and control of Loaves & Fishes.
Linda Kelly-Baker was appointed to extension ministry with Side-by-Side in 1999. In July 2011, she ceased to be involved on a day-to-day basis, after being appointed to serve Hope UMC in Sacramento.
"I pray for all of you and I hope your prayers are with me," Kelly-Baker concludes. "I am sure that God will provide whatever is needed next – not only in Friendship Park, but in all our lives as well."
Palestinian Christians to Speak at Upcoming Friends of Sabeel Conferences
Rev. Naim Ateek, the founder of Sabeel, an ecumenical Palestinian Christian organization based in Jerusalem, will shed light on current realities for Palestinians in the Holy Land at two Friends of Sabeel Conferences next month – at First United Methodist Church of Sacramento, March 16 and 17, and at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, March 23 and 24.
Other presenters include Huwaida Arraf, also a Palestinian Christian and a lawyer and human rights activist, along with other international and regional scholars, theologians, and activists.
Arraf has just returned from Bahrain, where she was invited to witness
pro-democracy demonstrations. This past November, she was one of the Palestine Free Riders, who, inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Freedom Riders of the 1960s, attempted to ride segregated Israeli settler public buses.
Rev. Ateek's personal story includes displacement from his family home as a boy, during the creation of the state of Israel. An "internal refugee," he is a Palestinian Citizen of Israel, an experience about which most Americans know little. Ateek is the author of numerous books and articles, including Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, and A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.
"The two-day conferences provide a unique opportunity for United Methodists to hear perspectives and insights into the realities of Palestinians who live in the Holy Land," according to a Friends of Sabeel news release. "Conference attendees also will learn about the inspiring work being done by the United Methodist Church to address this seemingly intractable issue, through United Methodist Kairos Response and morally responsible investment efforts."
Both Friends of Sabeel Conferences have been listed on the California-Nevada Annual Conference web calendar.
Support UMCOR Through One Great Hour of Sharing, March 18
This year One Great Hour of Sharing will be celebrated on March 18. Order your free offering resources to use on this special Sunday, today!
Plan to promote this special offering, which supports the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), so that UMCOR may respond immediately and effectively to emergencies around the world.
UMCOR Armenia's Prevention and Control program
"Oh my poor children, they will become orphans soon!" This was the painful response from Dalita, a mother of three children who learned she was HIV positive during a voluntary HIV testing event in Armenia. She now is living a healthier life, thanks to the UMCOR office in Armenia, which provided Dalita with counseling, support, and antiretroviral medication.
UMCOR Armenia's Prevention and Control of HIV, STIs, and TB program is providing comprehensive testing and counseling services through mobile medical teams, helping people like Dalita to live healthy lives as they gain a new perspective about their HIV status. In the past year, UMCOR Armenia served 16 villages through 146 trained health volunteers and mobile medical teams.
Make life-changing programs like this possible
When you give to One Great Hour of Sharing, you help build the strong foundation on which all other UMCOR ministries are built. Because One Great Hour of Sharing covers UMCOR's administrative costs, 100 percent of gifts designated for specific projects is used for those programs.
Watch videos and find other free resources about One Great Hour of Sharing on line.
Order and download offering resources today
Order your free One Great Hour of Sharing resources today. Bulletin inserts, posters, worship resources, stories, and videos all are available to download or order at www.umcgiving.org/OGHS and www.umcor.org.
If you cannot celebrate One Great Hour of Sharing and receive the offering on March 18, you may observe this special Sunday on any other day of the year.
Give on line anytime
You may give on line to One Great Hour of Sharing at any time. Give Now!
October Pilgrimage Scheduled to Immerse UM Leaders in Wesleyan Theology
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A 10-day Wesleyan Pilgrimage in England planned for October will help United Methodist clergy and lay leaders understand more clearly the missional nature of Methodism practiced by John and Charles Wesley.
Early registration discounts are available for the Oct. 4-14 pilgrimage, which will immerse the leaders in the practical theology of the Wesley brothers. Scholarships are available for 20 provisional elders and deacons.
"Every United Methodist leader, clergy and lay, at least once in his or her life needs to make pilgrimage to two places: the Holy Land of Israel, to walk the land Jesus and his apostles walked – and England, the land where John and Charles Wesley founded and nurtured the Methodists societies," says Steve Manskar, Director of Wesleyan Leadership at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD).
Manskar, who will co-lead the third annual pilgrimage, says that during the Wesleyan Pilgrimage, pilgrims will learn about "and experience the method of Methodism, which is living, learning, praying, and worshiping in intentional Christian community.
"Many pilgrims have shared how their hearts were changed by participating with other pilgrims in the daily rituals of Holy Communion in the morning and Compline at night," Manskar adds.
Prominent Wesley scholar Dr. Paul Chilcote, Professor of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio, will lead the pilgrimage with Manskar.
During the pilgrimage, which is being sponsored by GBOD and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), pilgrims will learn and pray where the Wesleys prayed and served. In addition, they will reflect, pray, make new friends in small groups, worship daily, and make connections between the Wesleyan heritage and missional leadership for today.
Participants will explore Epworth, the Wesleys' birthplace; Oxford, where John and Charles Wesley received theological education and led the Holy Club; Bristol, the home of the Methodist societies and class meeting; and London, where both Wesley brothers experienced assurance of salvation and John Wesley built the center of British Methodism.
"To have walked in the footsteps of the leaders of our heritage gave me a deeper connection not only to our past, but I was also forced to consider where we are going with our Church today," said the Rev. Curtis Bray from the Mississippi Conference, who made the pilgrimage in 2011.
Rev. JoAnne Amaral of the Minnesota Conference, who also took the journey last year, said the pilgrimage is "a wonderful way to give our heritage as United Methodist legs and feet."
"Too often, working in the church we tend to focus on the 'what' we have to do, rather than the 'why' we do it," Amaral said following her experience. "The Wesley Pilgrimage reminded me why I am a United Methodist clergy, and more importantly, why I am a Christian – because as Wesley would say, 'best of all, God is with us.' I am grateful for the experience and would recommend it highly if, like me, you need to be reminded why we do what we do."
An early registration discount of $600 is available for everyone until April 29, and a discount of $300 will be available from April 30 through June 30. After Aug. 1, the cost will be $2,595. GBHEM is making $1,000 scholarships available for 20 provisional elders and deacons, lowering their cost to $995 until the April 29 early registration deadline.
The cost includes 10 nights' lodging, most meals, and all admission fees. The pilgrims will be responsible for their own round-trip airfare to London and ground transportation to Sarum College in Salisbury.
For details and registration information, go to www.gbod.org/wesleypilgrimage. Contact Manskar at GBOD at email@example.com, or toll free at 877.899.2780, Ext. 1765 if you have questions. Registration must be completed no later than Sept. 7.
GBOD's mission is to support Annual Conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. Visit www.gbod.org for more information or call the Communications Office at 877.899.2780, Ext. 1726.
Events Added This Week:
Active Registrations (to register for any of these events, go to cnumc.org/register):
- Gathering of Clergy for Worship, Renewal and Learning (Mar. 14)
- Western Jurisdictional Conference (July 18-20)
- BE-SEE-DO What Matters to God: A Series of Discovery Events (Feb. 25, Mar. 25, Mar. 31, & Apr.14)
VOLUNTEER IN MISSIONS TRAINING REGISTRATIONS:
- Team Leader Training, Los Gatos UMC, (Mar. 17)
- Children's Disaster Services Volunteers Workshop (Mar. 23-24)
- Team Leader Training, South Reno UMC (June 16)
YOUTH EVENT REGISTRATIONS:
- 2012 Bishop's Confirmation (Mar. 9-10 & May 18-19)
- 5th Annual Youth Worker's Retreat (Mar. 23-24)
- Hip-Hop Artist 'AGAPE' Comes to Manteca (Mar. 3)
- 2012 Child and Youth Summer Camp
BRIDGES DISTRICT, LAY SPEAKING COURSES FOR 2012
- Bridges District: Central
- Grow Spiritually Through Daily Discipline (Feb. 25)
- Bridges District: East
- Preaching-Part 1 (Mar. 31)
- Preaching-Part 2 (Apr. 14)
- UM History (Apr. 21)
- Lead Bible Study-Part 1 (May 12)
- Lead Bible Study-Part 2 (May 19)
- Hermeneutics (Sept. 22)
- Basic Course-Part 1 (Oct. 20)
- Basic Course-Part 2 (Oct. 27)
- Discover Spiritual Gifts (Nov. 17)
- Bridges District: West
- Becoming Accountable Disciples (Mar. 10)
- Preaching-Part 1 (Mar. 10)
- Leading in Lay Pastoral Care (Mar. 24)
- Preaching-Part 2 (Mar. 24)
- Discover Your Spiritual Gifts (Apr. 28)