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April 2011 Together

Cover Story

Church offers relief in Japan's new reality

“March’s violent earthquake has shaken Japan into a new reality,” says the Rev. Paul Tsuchido Shew, a United Methodist serving as a chaplain and associate professor at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. “The earthquake and the tsunami and then the meltdown of the nuclear power plant have permanently changed Japan,” he said during a live April 4 webcast that was part of “Encounter Faith: Fearless,” a online study for Lent. “This... -- more --

Giving to the UMCOR Japan Emergency

If your congregation receives an offering or funds for the Japan Emergency (Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster Relief), please make a check payable to the Indiana Conference UMC with a memo note “Japan Emergency” and send that check directly to: INUMC, DEPT 6089, Carol Stream, IL 60122. Please do not send the check directly to the Indiana Conference Center. That will delay the movement of funds. In this way, each congregation will be credited for disaster relief giving. Individual United... -- more --

From the Bishop

Sharing our witness

Some people seem not to have noticed that the 2008 General Conference changed the membership vows of our United Methodist Church. Now, when new members join any of our 1,200 congregations of the Indiana Conference (or any of our 40,000 congregations around the world), they should be asked to pledge their support to the church by their Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service and Witness. What does that new word “Witness” mean, and why was it added? The actual decision to add... -- more --

Rethink Church

Rethinking church food pantries, community hunger

One of the most pressing problems of our communities is increasing hunger, especially with high unemployment and a continuing recession. The way churches respond to the needs of those who can least afford food needs rethinking to not only meet the needs of those who are hungry, but also do this in a way that is both nutritious and educational while maintaining dignity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA) reports that 12.3 percent of Hoosier households... -- more --

United Methodist Women rally for victims of human trafficking

Many women dressed in red gathered at the Indiana Statehouse on March 8 to take a stand against human trafficking. Sponsored jointly by United Methodist Women of Indiana and Church Women United, the Legislative Day provided education, time with legislators and a plan of action. I became passionate about this issue because my friend, Derek Loux, was passionate. He helped me realize that children are bought and sold not only in far off lands, but also right here in our own communities. Derek... -- more --

Annual Conference

2010 State of the Church Report now available

DALLAS, Texas – The median age of United Methodists, the number of professing members around the world and our current giving trends are among the topics found in the newly released 2010 State of The Church report. The report is now available online at The report is an annual look at where The United Methodist Church stands statistically in membership, giving and church growth. This year’s report also offers key findings from the United... -- more --

Annual Conference briefings to be held across the state

In order to assist members of the annual conference with their preparation for this year’s session and allow time for the discussion of issues, 10 two-hour annual conference briefings will be held across the state. The date, time and location of each of these briefing is listed below. The agenda for each of these important briefings will include: Reviewing the election process for delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences; Providing fresh insights into the role of... -- more --

Archives, History Commission seeks nominations for Indiana Conference Historian of the Year

The Indiana Conference Commission on Archives and History is now accepting nominations for Church Historian of the Year. One award will be given per district, with selection of winners being chosen from among nominees who meet the following criteria: 1) winners of the similar award given by the former South Indiana Conference are not eligible, and 2) nominees must be on record with the Indiana Conference as the recognized historian of their local church. The nominees should exhibit evidence... -- more --

Conference to elect General, Jurisdictional delegates

Part of the agenda of the 2011 Indiana Annual Conference, June 8-11, in Muncie will be the election of delegates to the General and North Central Jurisdictional Conferences of The United Methodist Church. Indiana will elect nine clergy and nine laity to the 2012 General Conference and an additional nine clergy and nine laity to the 2012 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, plus three clergy and three laity as reserve delegates. General Conference is composed of nearly 1,000 delegates from... -- more --

Hoosiers meet for third annual conference session

More firsts coming June 8-11 in Muncie
As the new Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church, this year’s Annual Conference Session at Ball State University in Muncie, June 8-11, will continue with more firsts. This year will be the first time the new Indiana Conference will be electing delegates to the General and North Central Jurisdictional Conferences of the church. Those conferences will be held respectively next year at Tampa, Fla., April 24-May 4, and at Akron, Ohio, July 17-21. Beginning on Wednesday evening... -- more --

Laity Manuscript Contest now open for submissions

Each year the Indiana Conference Board of Laity offers the opportunity to all laity of the Indiana Conference to express their thanks and praise God by submitting an original sermon manuscript. The theme this year is “What Passionate Worship Means to Me.” Due to the full agenda of the Laity Session, the sermon must be no more than 15 minutes in length. Entries will be judged on creativity and original development of the theme, but may be eliminated due to length. The author will... -- more --


Bishop praises pastor, members for helping to bring peace to streets

INDIANAPOLIS – Bishop Mike Coyner presented a prayer and gave words of appreciation to Pastor Charles Harrison and the members and friends of Barnes United Methodist Church Sunday, March 13. He prayed for Harrison and church members for their role in advocating peace on the streets of Indianapolis, especially during a very violent January. Harrison leads The Ten Point Coalition, a group of ten churches and their pastors struggling to end gun violence in inner-city neighborhoods through... -- more --

Conference Youth Ministry Team recruiting new members

The Indiana Conference Youth Ministry Team is expanding, and we’re looking for qualified youth to be part of the expanded team. The focus of the expanded team is two-fold: first, to develop the gifts and talents of youth, who as leaders will impact their local churches and local communities. Second, to provide youth leadership and voice throughout the Indiana Annual Conference, particularly for youth ministry resourcing and connectional events. The team is looking for young leaders who... -- more --

Former Central Ave. UMC building opens as new Indiana Landmarks Center

INDIANAPOLIS – A landmark of Indiana music opened Indiana Landmarks’ new home. Taking a quick break from a concert tour, Hoosier John Mellencamp returned to Indiana to perform at the grand opening of the Indiana Landmarks Center on April 16. Dubbed the Wondrous Opening Weekend (WOW), the festivities on April 16 and 17 celebrated Indiana Landmarks’ restoration and adaptation of the 120-year-old building most recently known as Central Avenue United Methodist Church at 12th... -- more --

Franklin UM Community ranked among 'Best Nursing Homes in 2011'

The U.S. News and World Report has recognized the nursing facility component of the Franklin United Methodist Community in the magazine’s comprehensive report “Best Nursing Homes in 2011.” The Community has been named for its overall Five-Star Rating, which is the highest rating from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A facility’s overall grade is geared to its performance in health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality... -- more --

Help needed to assist in Japan disaster relief with health kits

CHATHAM, Ill. – The United Methodist-related Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham is collecting 17,000 health kits for distribution in Japan to assist relief efforts. Here is what goes into a health kit: 1 hand towel (15” x 25” up to 17” x 27”, no kitchen towels) 1 washcloth 1 comb (large & sturdy, not pocket size or pic) 1 nail file or fingernail clipper (no emery boards or toenail clippers) 1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz.... -- more --

Hoosier UMs join 18 faith groups to lower energy use

INDIANAPOLIS – In stunning robes, turbans and a yarmulke, members of 19 Indiana faith traditions processed into the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis to convey a single message: It is our sacred obligation to care for this fragile Earth. More than 200 Hoosiers of faith from across Indiana responded in unison, “All creation is a song of praise to God.” Participating in the launch event was the Rev. David V.W. Owen, executive assistant to Indiana United... -- more --

May 8 Native American offering resources available for order

Native American Ministries Sunday is just weeks away. There’s still time to order free offering resources for this May 8 offering. Your gifts on Native American Ministries Sunday fund ministries that pave the way for those who aspire to serve Christ’s church by making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Because of your generosity, seminarians prepare to serve, congregations become stronger and communities transform. Call 888-346-3862 today to order... -- more --

School of Christian Study Leader correction

The Communication Coordinator for United Methodist Women of Indiana regrets inaccuracy in previous reporting of study leaders. Stacia Carwell will not teach Joy to the World. Rev. Bob Epps will teach Joy to the World, not Haiti as previously reported through e-VENTS and in the March Together. Each year, the School of Christian Mission offers three mission studies. Each participant takes the Spiritual Growth study and chooses one other mission study – either the geographical study or the... -- more --

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit and how it relates to UM churches

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the Federal Government is allowing Small Employers to take a credit against certain payroll taxes for 2011-2014. Your church may be able to take this credit. The announcement from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits describes those church employers that can take the credit. This document is available online as a PDF document at, click on Finances. The Administrative and Financial Services departments... -- more --

UIndy names new psychology dean

INDIANAPOLIS – Rick Holigrocki, a clinical psychologist specializing in psychological assessment, parent-child relationships, and domestic violence, has been named dean of the School of Psychological Sciences at the U.M.-related University of Indianapolis. He has been serving as acting dean since last August. Holigrocki came to Indianapolis in 1999 from the Topeka-based Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and The Menninger Clinic to teach and conduct research in UIndy’s growing... -- more --


Africa University needs our gifts in sustaining its mission

MUTARE, Zimbabwe – Africa University is a shining light of ministry, education and service – an answer to prayer for The United Methodist Church. Since Africa University’s first class graduated in 1994, more than 3,500 persons have earned degrees related to theology; agriculture; business administration; health sciences; humanities; peace, leadership and governance; and intellectual property. Most importantly, graduates embody the university’s mission to prepare leaders... -- more --

UM-related school in Liberia takes steps to self-sufficiency

GANTA, Liberia (Operation Classroom) – The United Methodist-related Ganta School has entered into a seven-year plan to become self-sufficient. The first step in the program is to clear land for a rubber plantation before the 2011 rainy season. The goal is to have $5,700 in funds to purchase and plant 5,000 rubber seedlings in 2011. Individuals, Sunday school classes, organizations, and churches can purchase one or more seedlings for $1.15 each. In 2012-2013 the goal is to plant an... -- more --

UMCOR needs for help in Japan disaster response

Dear Friends, I join you in lifting up the people of Japan in prayer during this time of crisis. We grieve with them and stand with them in solidarity. Once again, I am struck by the extravagant generosity of United Methodists who are supporting United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR) efforts to bring healing and hope to Japan. We have received thousands of phone calls, e-mails, Facebook posts, and donations from people whose hearts are aching for the people of Japan and who are... -- more --


Bishop writes weekly E-pistle for you

Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner writes a weekly online E-pistle. His comments vary from topic to topic. All speak to the now with spiritual reflection. If you don’t receive Bishop Mike’s E-pistle, sign up today by visiting, click on “Subscribe to e-HUM,” check “E-pistle” and enter your name and e-mail address as requested then hit the Submit button.... -- more --

Connectionalism at its best

We, United Methodists, pride ourselves on being a connectional church. In simplest terms, that means that each United Methodist Church is connected to every other United Methodist Church, and together we can do more for the Kingdom of God than we could do individually. It also means we can do ministry in very personal ways across a great distance. One Monday, after my weekly lunch with fellow pastors, I noticed a “missed call” on my cell phone with a North Carolina area code. I... -- more --

Defining investment for the future

invest-vt. def. – to spend (time, effort, etc.) with the expectation of some satisfaction. What would be a good return for you on the investment of your time? The Rejuvenate project is committed to assisting clergy and laity to grow in the areas of financial management, planning and stewardship education. In addition to offering educational classes for clergy and congregations and laity, Rejuvenate provides grants to clergy. To receive a Rejuvenate grant, clergy must meet the... -- more --

Spiritual Tsunami

Body, Mind & Spirit
It didn’t take long. Even before the waves had subsided and the stark images of devastation and death had been transmitted around the world, some people far removed from the epicenter of the earthquake and the tsunami had made pronouncements of God’s judgment and punishment. This is why it happened, some announced. God visited destruction on them, said others. These ideas are not new, however. People have always found condemnation in natural disasters and asked “Why?”... -- more --


'Making a Good Move Seminar' for pastors coming May 20-21

Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner and the Rev. Dr. Doug Anderson will lead the “Making a Good Move Seminar” for all clergy moving to new appointments this year. The seminar is for clergy and clergy spouses and is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (ET) Friday, May 20, and continue into the evening. Dinner will be included on Friday evening. The seminar will continue on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. for clergy, spouses and the chairperson, or other representative, from the... -- more --

Change the World again this year

Thank you for participating in Change the World 2010. Through your efforts, 1,000 sites offered opportunities for volunteers to make a difference in the world. More than 100,000 people participated, and their work continues to reap results. Start preparing now for Change the World 2011: May 14-15. Identify a project that makes a difference in the local or global community – or both! Register at and download the free flier. Invite your community to... -- more --

East Jay Cluster offers meals Monday nights at Portland

The East Jay Cluster serves a free community meal on Monday nights at Portland UMC. The churches of the East Jay cluster gather together each Monday night in the basement of Portland Asbury UMC to offer a free community meal. Three churches – Portland Trinity, Portland Asbury and Westchester take turns serving meals. Attendance has grown from less than a dozen to more than 70. Each church provides its own menu, which ranges from Portland Asbury’s soup and sandwich to... -- more --

Frankfort retirement community offers pastors retreat space

FRANKFORT, Ind. – United Methodist-related Wesley Manor Retirement Community values its role as a ministry with a mission to serve older adults through love, benevolence and service. It is also a special privilege to be a resource for respite and renewal for pastors. Retreat center The community encourages pastors to allow them to provide a special setting for ones next pastor’s retreat. Retreat time extends from 12 noon on the first day to 5 p.m. on the second day. ... -- more --

Free online webinars available to help churches

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (GBOD) – The General Board of Discipleship’s series of free online training sessions for local church leaders continues with a webinar about issues that face church council members. The live event: Easter Living for Church Leaders: Prayer and Faith will be on Thursday, April 28 – church leaders care deeply about their faith community so that sometimes the “doing” church work overwhelms “being” the church. Several church leaders will... -- more --

Indiana Conference Advance Special Application available

The Indiana Conference Advance Applications are available online at The requirements for becoming a Conference or District Advance Special, an application, a covenant agreement and other requirements that need to accompany the completed application are online. Please submit all applications no later than May 9, 2011.... -- more --

NBC special to focus on efforts against malaria

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – On both sides of the ocean, people are working to end a disease that takes the life of a child every 45 seconds. An NBC special TV program, “A Killer in the Dark: An Extraordinary Effort to Combat Malaria,” discusses efforts being undertaken by United Methodists and others to achieve this goal. Presented by the National Council of Churches and produced by United Methodist Communications, the program will be available to local NBC affiliates starting... -- more --