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March/April 2014 Together

Cover Story

Hoosiers assemble 150,000+ food packets

HAGERSTOWN, Ind. – Each day, more than 14,400 children die of starvation around the world. With this reality in mind, 625 volunteers – including members and friends of 17 United Methodist churches* in East Central Indiana, the East District of the Indiana Conference, area Future Farmers of America chapters and community residents – came together Saturday, Feb. 8, to assemble 155,520 one-pound food packets that will eventually feed up to 933,000 adults and children in Indiana... -- more --

From the Bishop

Bishop appoints Columbus pastor as new Superintendent of South District

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner announced the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Gary Schaar, 56, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ind. since 2009, as the new Superintendent of the South District, effective July 1. Upon his announcement, Coyner said, “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Rev. Gary Schaar to serve as the new District Superintendent for the South District of the Indiana Conference, effective July 1. Gary will follow the current... -- more --

Bishop appoints current South District Superintendent to Plainfield church

Wilfong Blosser INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Michael J. Coyner announced Feb. 18 the appointment of the Rev. Charlie Wilfong, Superintendent of Indiana’s South District of The United Methodist Church based in Georgetown, to senior pastor of the Plainfield United Methodist Church in Plainfield, Ind., effective July 1. The Rev. Ted Blosser, current senior pastor at... -- more --

Conference Associate Director appointed to Clay Church

INDIANAPOLIS – Bishop Mike Coyner announced Jan. 22 the appointment of the Rev. Brian Durand, Indiana Conference Associate Director of Leadership Development, to lead pastor of Clay United Methodist Church in South Bend effective July 1. Durand comes to Clay as an ordained elder now serving in the Indiana Conference, where he has held roles in leadership development as well as youth, young adult and campus ministries. Prior to his Indiana Conference Center positions, he served at St.... -- more --

Springing Forth

In the midst of a long, gray, cold, snowy winter, it is good to think about spring and about the upcoming events in the Indiana Conference. I am especially eager for our Annual Conference Session this year, which comes in late May, and which will include some powerful presentations and moments of inspiration. What a list of speakers we have! Be sure to read more about Annual Conference in the rest of this issue. Even more than spring, I look forward to seeing the many ways that God’s... -- more --


Letters to the Editor

Compare apples to apples I appreciated the insert in the January-February issue of Together attempting to explain the complexity of issues surrounding clergy pensions and benefits. It is a complex and emotional issue. As the Conference Council of Finance and Administration (CFA) chairman in the former North Conference, we struggled when we discontinued the health insurance subsidy entirely for new retirees. We made that recommendation as a result of projecting costs and conference income and... -- more --

One Great Hour of Sharing coming March 30

NEW YORK (UMCOR) – For more than 50 years, United Methodist congregations have been receiving a special One Great Hour of Sharing offering, laying the foundation for the United Methodist Committee On Relief’s (UMCOR) ministry of relief and hope. UMCOR does not receive United Methodist World Service or apportionment funds, so without these offerings, UMCOR would not exist. Donations UMCOR receives through this offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year,... -- more --

Annual Conference

Denman Evangelism Awards nominations are now open for annual conference

INDIANAPOLIS – The Foundation for Evangelism plans again to work with The Indiana Annual Conference in accepting nominations for The Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Lay and Youth within the life of the conference. 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 Indiana Annual Conference, live... -- more --

Funds, volunteers needed for Kids Against Hunger project at Annual Conference Session

INDIANAPOLIS – You and your church can make a difference in people’s lives by providing nutritious, healthy food. Be part of the 2014 Annual Conference Session Outreach on Saturday, May 31, following the ordination/consecration service from noon to 2 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. The goal is 70,000 one-pound packets of food at a cost of $19,000. Around 250 volunteers are needed for the two-hour project. We’ll wrap up the Annual Conference... -- more --

Outward focus will be emphasis of Sixth Annual Conference Session

INDIANAPOLIS – “The Outwardly Focused Church” will be the theme of the 2014 Indiana Annual Conference Session to be held Thursday-Saturday, May 29-31 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. The Scripture reference for the conference is Romans 12:1-2. Speakers United Methodist Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference will be the featured preacher at the Sixth Indiana Annual Conference opening session. He will lead a service of repentance. Other... -- more --

Sermon contest opened to laity

Theme: 'The outwardly focused church'
The Indiana Conference’s Lay Leadership Team offers an opportunity to express thanks and praise God by asking laity to submit an original sermon manuscript for judging. This contest is open to all lay people in the Indiana Conference. Following the theme of Indiana’s 2014 Annual Conference Session, the theme for this year’s manuscript contest is “The Outwardly Focused Church.” Suggested Scriptures are Mark 12:28-34, Matthew 10:5-16, John 13:34-35 and Matthew... -- more --

Workshops to be held adjacent to Annual Conference Session

INDIANAPOLIS – Here is a list of workshops planned for the pre-Indiana Annual Conference Session at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. These workshops are open to everyone. If no dollar figure is listed, the workshop has no charge. Details about each workshop are available now. Registration will be online beginning April 2. Wednesday workshops, May 28 “Connecting Neighbors – Local Church Disaster Plan” - $15, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. ... -- more --


AU development committee hears Indiana campaign story

Indiana campaign heads to local church phase
INDIANAPOLIS – “We have been set apart by the whole church for this special ministry,” proclaimed Bishop Marcus Matthews, of the Washington-Baltimore Area and president of the Africa University (AU) Advisory Development Committee, as he opened the committee’s six-hour meeting at the Crown Plaza Hotel near the Indianapolis International Airport. The Indiana Conference hosted the 50-member committee during its March 1 meeting, which met here specifically to hear about the... -- more --

Faith leaders challenge Indiana clergy to engage the world

INDIANAPOLIS – More than 400 United Methodist pastors and other clergy from across Indiana spent Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 24-25, listening to two celebrated author/faith leaders and worshiping together. The Rev. Mary van Wijk, was chairperson of the retreat’s planning team. The theme of the retreat was “Engaging the World” and was based on John 17:20-23. Bishop Mike Coyner preached during the opening Communion service about pastors holding the keys to unlocking the... -- more --

Financial assistance available from UMW of Indiana

United Methodist Women of Indiana Conference offers the following scholarships for Hoosier Methodists to participate in hands-on mission projects and mission education events: Youth and Young Adult Service Scholarship Fund – youth and young adults (age 13-25 years) may apply for a scholarship to participate in work, study or travel experiences; preference is given to projects supported by UMW National Office and General Board of Global Ministries and Conference Advance Specials;... -- more --

Gleaning ministry grants Indiana United Methodist Men its Meals for Millions Award

BIG ISLAND, Va. – The Society of St. Andrew, a gleaning ministry based in Big Island, Va., has given its 2013 Meals for Millions Award to the Indiana Conference United Methodist Men for total giving in 2013 of $29,300. In the past three years, Indiana has almost tripled its giving. Meals for Millions giving in 2013 by all United Methodist Men’s groups totaled $191,238. This was the fourth year in a row this program’s giving has increased. This money resulted in 8.9 million... -- more --

Indiana Hospital Association launches coverage expansion campaign

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Hospital Association announced Feb. 25 the launch of Expand Indiana, a statewide campaign to help citizens, legislators and business leaders understand the importance of expanding health care coverage in Indiana. Expand Indiana will focus on coverage expansion throughout the remainder of the 2014 legislative session and beyond, at a time when Governor Mike Pence and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hold discussions regarding an expansion... -- more --

Indiana pastors pray over stoles given to newly ordained pastors in Sierra Leone

INDIANAPOLIS – As part of the closing worship service during the Our Life Together Clergy Retreat Tuesday, Feb. 25, at St. Luke’s UMC, Bishop Mike Coyner asked pastors to bless and pray over Hoosier-made stoles that he gave the next week to newly ordained pastors during the ordination service at the Sierra Leone Annual Conference session in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Coyner preached during the session. On the back of each stole is the logo of the Indiana Conference. The stoles... -- more --

Indianapolis area churches begin Lawrence Habitat build

INDIANAPOLIS – Sixteen representatives from 11 Greater Indianapolis United Methodist churches and Metro Ministries began plans for the sixth annual build with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis Feb. 19 at the new headquarters for Indy’s Habitat in the 3100 block of North Meridian Street. Habitat’s Ted Mosley proposed a mid-August through mid-October build in Lawrence on the northeast side of Indianapolis. Arie Hombeak, a single mother of four children (ages 3... -- more --

Making a Good Move seminar to be held for pastors moving this year

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Conference will be holding a Making a Good Move seminar, required for all pastors who will be moving to a new appointment in 2014. The seminar will be held Friday, May 16 at 2 p.m. EDT,/1 p.m. CDT, at the Plainfield United Methodist Church, 600 Simmons Street in Plainfield, Ind., just west of the Indianapolis International Airport. Pastors are expected, spouses are invited and seminar concludes with dinner. Then Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT/9... -- more --

Seasoned writer to hold seminar May 8 at Indiana Conference Center

INDIANAPOLIS – Writing is a task all pastors and laity in ministry do constantly from sermons to letters to newsletter articles. However, as a church professional, pastors may have had a yearning for something bigger – like publications. Love to… but. The Rev. Todd Outcalt, senior pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, felt the same way until he took the plunge more than 20 published books and countless commentaries ago. You may have read his commentary... -- more --

The Lion & Lamb Festival coming to Fort Wayne, Aug. 8-10

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Festival planners are excited to see the Spirit moving in the Lion & Lamb Festival community as they make plans to gather in Fort Wayne during the weekend of August 8-10. The festival is thrilled to welcome speakers Alexia Salvatierra and Roger Wolsey and musical guests Rend Collective Experiment and Amy Cox. This year, festival planners are working hard to make this event affordable and accessible to all people. Festival early bird tickets are only $15. Children... -- more --

Trustees to distribute nearly $200,000 to retirees, missions

INDIANAPOLIS – The Shera Farm Fund is a bequest from Myrtie Shera for the benefit of retired clergy families and foreign missions connected with the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. Each year the Indiana Conference Board of Trustees makes a determination of recipients based upon the directions of the bequest. According to Brent Williams, director of Indiana Conference Administrative Services, the earnings for 2013 were rather significant and the conference trustees have... -- more --

UE Libraries hosts traveling exhibition about Lincoln

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville has been selected to host the national traveling exhibition, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” which opened Feb. 6 and runs through March 21 in the University Libraries. The traveling exhibition is composed of informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Thirteenth Amendment. It will... -- more --

UIndy announces five-year, $50 million development

INDIANAPOLIS (UIndy) – The University of Indianapolis Board of Trustees has approved a five-year plan of capital projects and educational enhancements that comprise a $50 million investment in the university and the neighboring community. “This action arises from a strategic planning process that involved students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners over the past 18 months,” UIndy President Robert Manuel said. “We took that input and identified priorities... -- more --


Evansville students learn to engage other religions

Evansville, Ind. (UMNS) – Rachael McGill admits she “knew pretty much next to nothing” about other religions before enrolling at the United Methodist-related University of Evansville. Raised in a Roman Catholic family and educated at a Catholic high school in nearby Newburgh, Ind., she had little exposure to other major faith groups, including Protestants. But an introductory class on world religion at Evansville changed her perspective and life. “I’m really big... -- more --

Remembering baptism

I remember my baptism. I was 10 years old. I remember my parents standing behind me as the pastor led us through the baptismal ritual. When I knelt at the altar, hands fell on my shoulders and the pastor’s hand dripped water over my head and proclaimed the words of baptism: “ I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” In my 10-year-old mind, I thought the act was complete. Although I was not baptized in The Methodist or Evangelical United Brethren... -- more --

The power of a letter

Body, Mind & Spirit
If memory serves, I learned how to write a letter when I was in the fourth grade. Back then, letters consisted of a return address, the name and address of the recipient, a salutation, body and a signature. Many of the books of the New Testament are written in similar style – at least Paul’s letters are – thus creating a strong epistolary tradition in the church that has carried forward to this day. Nevertheless, we have lost much of the art of letter-writing in our culture.... -- more --


Aldersgate 2014 conference to be held in Illinois, July 17-20

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Aldersgate 2014 with a theme of FREEDOM will be held in Springfield, Ill., July 17-20. Aldersgate 2013 was attended by more than 1,200 people. The Aldersgate conference is the largest family-oriented United Methodist conference. Aldersgate planners’ passion is to provide learning experiences where people of all ages can encounter God and be equipped to live consistently in the power of the Holy Spirit. Sessions are designed with the belief that the Holy Spirit... -- more --

Evansville Blue Grass Church to hold "The Why" Conference about church vitality, April 5

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Blue Grass United Methodist Church in Evansville will be sponsoring The Why Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT, 9:30 to 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 5. Why Are We Doing What We’re Doing? In order to accomplish the great mission of the Church, your church’s vision has to connect with God’s passion. Church growth and revitalization begin when you ask “Why are we doing what we’re doing?” A Conference Designed for ALL of Your... -- more --

Heaven Is for Real movie coming Holy Week

Heaven Is For Real is the true story of a four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who experienced heaven during emergency surgery. He talked about looking down to see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn’t know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear. In heaven, Colton met his miscarried sister whom no one ever had told him about and his great-grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. He shared impossible-to-know... -- more --

Indiana UM Loan & Savings Ministry makes record number of loans

FISHERS, Ind. – The Indiana United Methodist Loan & Savings Ministry was truly blessed in 2013. It was able to serve more churches than in any other year of its existence. 29 loans, totaling more than $8 million were made this past year. The Loan Fund has now served 168 Indiana United Methodist churches and agencies, with total loans made of just over $45 million. Because of the large loan demand last year, the Loan Fund now needs more deposits. Indiana UM Loan & Savings Ministry... -- more --

Oldest Indiana Conference Elder dies at age 102

LAGRANGE, Ind. – The oldest known living Elder of the Indiana Conference, the Rev. Charles W. Dinwiddie, 102, died early Thursday morning, Feb. 27, 2014, in LaGrange. He was “the keeper of the Conference (walking) Cane” a tradition of the former South Conference bestowed upon the oldest living Elder of the conference. The tradition continues in the new Indiana Conference. He lived with a son in LaGrange and, according to the Rev. Chris Danielson of First UMC in LaGrange, still... -- more --

Plan now to celebrate Older Adult Month in May

Older Adult Recognition Sunday, May 4
As we read Acts 2:17, we can see God’s plan for the Family of God: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young will see visions. Your elders will dream dreams.” May is Older Adult Month in The United Methodist Church. It is a time to celebrate the gifts of God. In April 2008, the General Conference adopted legislation to celebrate Older Adult Sunday. It is a Sunday, May 4 this year, to show... -- more --

Sweet writes book about play

Tyndale House Publishers has just released another book by prolific author Leonard Sweet titled, The Well-Played Life: Why pleasing God doesn’t have to be such hard work. Do you secretly think that the harder you work, the more God is pleased with you? You can live like that – for a while. But imagine what it might mean instead to unclench your teeth, loosen your grip, and actually experience God’s pleasure in you – not just in everything you are doing for Him? The... -- more --