GBOD Communications Office
Steve Horswill-Johnston, Executive Director
(615) 340-1726 (O) (615) 429-3431 (C)

Grants Available to Churches for Creative Older Adult Ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. May 23, 2014 /GBOD/ – Local churches with ideas for creative ministries involving older adults can apply for a limited number of special Aging in Poverty Ministry grants from the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries (OAM).

The grants from OAM and the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) will be made for the fourth consecutive quadrennium to help churches develop new ministries for older adults, especially programs for seniors who are facing poverty issues, said William Randolph, director of the Office on Aging and Older Adult Ministries at GBOD

“These grants allow clergy and lay leaders to address issues that ordinarily could not be addressed through the church’s current budget,” Randolph said.

Grants totaling $75,000 will be awarded to churches later this fall.

“We are directing the money to go to churches this time because we feel that is where discipling is done,” Randolph said. “This is seed money. It’s not going to pay for the whole program, but it is money that encourages them to think about an issue and to try to do something in addition to their regular ministries.”

Marvin Cropsey, who chairs the Committee on Older Adult Ministries, said at least 10 percent of the funds will go to churches in the Central Conferences.

“These grants are an important part of the committee’s entire ministry to the church, not only in the U.S., but also in our Central Conferences outside the U.S.,” said Cropsey, who is Managing Editor for Quadrennial Resources for the United Methodist Publishing House.

“The grants are immensely important because churches have creative ideas about ministering by, with and for mature adults, but they are often stymied by the inability to fund a new idea. Sometimes it’s difficult to get funding to try something new,” Cropsey said. “So making these grants, even though they are rather small, allows local churches to try some things that they might not otherwise do.

“It’s our great hope that we can identify those programs (initiated by grants) that have been tried and have been very successful so that we can promote those and encourage other churches to do them as well,” Cropsey said.

All grant applications must be sent to the Office on Aging and Older Adult Ministries, postmarked no later than Aug. 18. To be considered, the applications must meet the grant criteria and include the required signatures. For more information and to obtain an application, go to

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 for more information or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.

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Disclaimer: If you do not wish to receive further news/releases from General Board of Discipleship, please click the following link: [Remove Me]. Requests will take a maximum of 2 business days to process.

Contact information: Steve Horswill-Johnston, General Board of Discipleship, P.O. BOX 340003, Nashville, TN 37

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Deadline to apply for Ethnic Local Church Grants

Deadline to apply for Ethnic Local Church Grants


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Aug. 10 is the deadline to apply for an Ethnic Local Church Grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). The grants are to strengthen ethnic minority local churches through education, advocacy or leadership development as they engage in social justice.

GBCS has distributed nearly $800,000 to ethnic minority ministries in the past four years.

To qualify for grant consideration, applicants must be either:
• a United Methodist local church, district, annual conference, racial/ethnic caucus, or other affiliated ethnic group/organization; or
• an ecumenical group/organization working with and through at least one United Methodist agency or organization whose program has an impact on at least one United Methodist ethnic minority local church.

Two funding periods are available for consideration: Jan. 10 is the deadline for the spring cycle; Aug. 10 is the deadline for the fall.
The Grants Committee of GBCS’s Board of Directors makes grant recommendations to the full board for approval.
Chronic social problems

Grant recipients must be programs initiated by or developed in partnership with one or more United Methodist ethnic minority local churches. Racial/ethnic persons shall be the majority of those served by the program.

The program must focus on needs identified by ethnic local churches as they address one or more chronic social problems or concerns, such as housing, employment, health care, human rights, education, the environment and racism. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church contained in its Book of Discipline, (¶¶s 160-165) can provide more information on the denomination’s social-justice positions.

All applicants must have a supervisory board consisting of a majority of ethnic-minority persons that shall make all policy decisions.
Each funding request will be considered on its own merits with no required minimum or maximum amount. All funding from GBCS must be used for programmatic components and not for salaries, purchase of equipment, purely administrative costs, and direct delivery of services or building construction.

Start-up money Intent of the grants program is to provide start-up money. Therefore, priority goes to first-time applicants.
Priority consideration shall be given to programs that are part of a Comprehensive Plan of an Annual Conference.

For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie (, GBCS assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Formation, at (202) 488-5611 or download the application at Ethnic Local Church Grants.

The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.


Contact Info
Wayne Rhodes
Director of Communications
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church
(202) 488-5630 /


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American Rushes to Sudan to Save Pregnant Wife From Hanging
ABC News By COLLEEN CURRY May 19, 2014 2:24 PM
Published: Yahoo News

A Sudanese immigrant living in New Hampshire has returned to Sudan to try to save his wife, who is eight months pregnant and facing the death penalty there for marrying a Christian.

Daniel Wani is a Sudanese man with U.S. citizenship who has been living in Manchester, N.H.
His wife, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, became the focus of worldwide news reports last week after the Sudanese government sentenced her to death. She is eight months pregnant.

The Islamic court considered Ishag a Muslim and did not recognize her marriage to Wani, a Christian. That constituted a crime of adultery and she was sentenced to receive 100 lashes.

The court also found her guilty of apostasy by converting to Christianity and sentencing her to be hanged.
The flogging and the death penalty were to be delayed until after she gave birth.

Ishag is considered Muslim by Sudan’s courts because her father was Muslim, though she raised by her Christian mother.
Wani and his brother, Gabriel Wani, grew up in Sudan but moved to New Hampshire. Gabriel told ABC News affiliate WMUR that Daniel has returned to Sudan to try and save his wife’s life.

“I’m just praying for God. He can do a miracle,” he said. “Everyone is depressed. You don’t believe it. It’s shock.”
“You cannot believe that’s going to happen,” Gabriel said. “It’s a good family, a happy family.”
Neither Gabriel nor Daniel could be reached for comment today by ABC News.

The U.S. condemned Sudan’s court ruling last week, with both the State Department and the White House calling on Sudan to uphold its human rights commitments.

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who represents New Hampshire, has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to grant Ishag political asylum.
The Sudan Tribune reported over the weekend that the country’s parliament speaker, al-Fatih Izz Al-Din, downplayed the death sentence and said it was only preliminary and could be appealed in the future


Sudan order to hang Christian woman for apostasy ‘outrageous': UN
May 19, 2014 1:05 PM

Geneva (AFP) – UN rights experts voiced outrage Monday at a Sudanese court order to hang a heavily pregnant Christian woman for marrying a Christian man and refusing to renounce her faith.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old who is eight months pregnant with her second child, was convicted last week under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and makes conversions of faith punishable by death.

“This outrageous conviction must be overturned and Ms. Ibrahim must be immediately released,” insisted the UN experts on a range of issues, including on the human rights situation in Sudan, violence against women, minorities and the freedom of religion or belief.

They stressed in a statement that under international law, “the death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes, if at all.”

“Choosing and/or changing one’s religion is not a crime at all. On the contrary, it is a basic human right,” they said.

The young mother was found guilty of apostasy, or publicly renouncing Islam — a faith she never professed — and sentenced to hang after she refused to “return” to the Muslim religion.

Ishag, who was born to a Christian mother and Muslim father, was also sentenced to 100 lashes for “adultery”, for living with the Christian man she has been married to since 2012.

Under Sudan’s interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man and any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.

The UN experts said that the right to marry and found a family was a fundamental human right, and voiced particular concern that the heavily pregnant Ishag was being held with her 20-month-old son in “harsh conditions” at the Omdurman’s Women Prison near Khartoum.”

The imposition and enforcement of the death penalty on pregnant women or recent mothers is inherently cruel and leads to a violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” they warned.

They called on Sudan to repeal all discriminatory laws, adding there was a “pressing need to address the pattern of discrimination, abuse and torture as well as the subjugation and denigration of women in the country.”

Sudan has an Islamist government but, other than floggings, extreme sharia law punishments have been rare.

If the death sentence is carried out, Ishag will be the first person executed for apostasy under the 1991 penal code, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British-based campaign group, said last week.

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AGING IN POVERTY Ministry Grant Availability



AGING IN POVERTY Ministry Grant Availability


The United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries and The General Board of Discipleship are pleased to offer

grants to assist in creative Aging in Poverty ministries in local congregations in jurisdictional and central conferences. Application forms, including criteria for applying are available on line at or by contacting Teri Kline at tkline@gbod.or or by phone 877.899.2780 ext. 7177.

The deadline for submission is postmarked by august 18, 2014..

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Recruitment to the Ordained Ministry Through Bible Study

You Are Here: Locating Your Call Through Bible Study

This article is featured in the Wade Deep: Bible Study as a Remedy for Shallow Faith (May/June/July 2014) issue of Circuit Rider

I’ve been asked many times how I arrived “here” at this place in my life. How did I start serving as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church? Through many twists and turns, God kept nudging, prodding, pleading. One of the twists took me down the path of Disciple Bible Study. During this life-transforming study, my experience with the Bible opened my eyes to God’s work through the messiness of human lives. The messiness of scripture spoke to me in true, life-giving ways. If God used David after all that David said and did and experienced, God can and will use my messiness.

The fellowship of the men and women gathered in that experience week after week woke in me a new vision for who God created me to be. During one of our discussions, another participant said that she saw the gift of prophecy in me. She went on to say that I had the ability to talk about God and God’s word in ways that could influence people. “Me? Really, me?” This seed of God’s call to proclaim the word began in an in-depth Bible study group, and with it, a new identity began to grow. My childhood church nurtured the call within me, and an in-depth Bible study gave me the confidence to speak out loud this internal compulsion toward ministry. We spoke of many things during those evenings in the church lounge, especially about God, faith, and our human condition. Most of all, we spoke of our connection and response to God’s living word that has the power to transform lives if only we dare to dig in. Fifteen years later, this same Disciple Bible Study group still studies God’s living word—minus me, as I am now serving “here” as an elder in The United Methodist Church.

Bible study offers opportunities for folks to dig in to the messiness of scripture to connect with God’s transforming Spirit, which is alive within the stories of ordinary people called by God. In the pages of the Bible we find good news that God is active in the lives of those who “get it” and those who are still seeking. When we share this journey in fellowship with each other, each at a different place on the journey, we learn and grow in new life-giving ways. We have the opportunity to find aid on our journey, and we give aid to others. Who knows? The woman sitting next to you during an in-depth study might be another pastor in the making.

Lives are transformed and forever changed when God’s word enters in, claiming space in our hearts. It reminds us of God’s good news, alive in Jesus Christ, that calls each of us to uncover the image of the holy one within us.

Where are you going? Where have you been? How will you and those you serve get to the call that awaits your unique gifts and graces—to your “here”? In the deep study of God’s word, there’s a place to find the answers we are seeking. There’s a time to dream about who God is calling us to be.

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UMC Bishops Suggest Ways of Addressing Same-Gender Relationships Debates

United Methodist bishops suggest ways forward

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Eight United Methodist bishops have authored a book aimed at enunciating and clarifying pathways that represent faithful, responsible, and constructive ways forward amidst the denomination’s questions and conflict about same-gender relationships.

The new book, Finding Our Way: Love & Law in The United Methodist Church, is published by Abingdon Press, publishing imprint for The United Methodist Publishing House.

Finding Our Way

Eight United Methodist bishops — Reuben Job, Gregory Palmer, Hope Morgan Ward, Melvin Talbert, Kenneth Carter Jr., J. Michael Lowry, John Yambasu, and Rosemarie Wenner — each articulate a view to move readers through tensions related to views about homosexual practice, same-gender unions, qualifications for ordination, and related issues of church teaching and governance.

Finding Our Way encourages frank, constructive dialogue and prayer to help United Methodists conference together and open themselves to God’s guidance in seeking faithful, fair, just, and loving resolution to issues that challenge the faith community.

“We submit that the thoughtful, honest, and respectful airing of views and claims about authority and what to teach and do are in the best tradition of the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren founders whose heirs have come together to form the people called United Methodist,” states Job, a retired United Methodist bishop, and Neil Alexander, chief executive of United Methodist Publishing House (and Abingdon Press). “We see this discussion as a part of a process, not as the summation or conclusion of the continuing debates.”

Readers are encouraged to engage in this conversation at

Contents of Finding Our Way is organized in the following order:

Frame: An introduction about the guiding vision and theological framework as we seek together to be faithful to God and to our covenants (by Job, retired from the Iowa Area, and Alexander).

Part 1: Options

Enforce (follow the Book of Discipline):The Discipline interprets scripture and contains the rule of law for United Methodist congregations and elders. When sacred promises are violated, leaders must uphold the spirit and letter of the law and follow the process defined by it (by Palmer, who serves the Ohio West Area).

Emend (work to change the Discipline): The General Conference legislative process must be engaged to emend the Book of Discipline or not. This is the responsible and thoroughly United Methodist way of moving through disputes and reaching consensus (by Ward, who serves the Raleigh Area).

Disobey (biblical obedience): Scripture and the sanctity of love are a higher authority than the Book of Discipline. Therefore, the current impasse must be broken by loving acts of conscientious fidelity to higher principles (by Talbert, retired, from the San Francisco Area).

Disarm (suspending conflict between personal and social holiness): In many conflicts, in marriage and in war, the conflicted parties drop their weapons or grievances, agree to a cease fire, and search for a peaceful way to resolve their disagreement (by Carter, who serves the Florida Area).

Part 2: Responses

Order (supporting our covenant): Our sacred trust depends on keeping our promises (by Lowry, who serves the Forth Worth Area).

Unity (dwelling in God’s church as a family of Christ followers): When two elephants fight, the grass suffers (by Yambasu, who serves the Sierra Leone Area).

Diversity (coexisting with differences): (by Wenner, who serves the Germany Area and is current president of the Council of Bishops).

Part 3: Steps

Trust God (discernment): Immerse ourselves in an intense process of prayerful discernment. This approach pleads for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and asks all to open themselves without condition or pre-judgment to the insight and inspiration that comes through deep prayer and listening (by Job).

The book is available through Cokesbury at Finding Our Way.

Editor’s note: Abingdon Press is the publishing imprint for The United Methodist Publishing House. It has a long tradition of publishing to resource robust conversations about matters of theology, church practices and the Christian life . It has a commitment to providing the best, most effective religious publications available which include a wide array of quality Christian living, fiction, devotional, academic, professional, and reference titles published each year to enrich church communities across the globe. Visit online at

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The Case For Infant Baptism


The Case for Infant Baptism
• By Jessica Miller Kelley
• Posted on April 20th, 2011

Ministry Matters



Ten years ago, I never would have thought I would baptize my children as infants. In the Disciples of Christ tradition in which I was raised, a voluntary confession of faith was very important. People came forward (often in their older elementary or early teen years, if they were raised in the church), answered affirmatively the question “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God, and do you accept him as your Lord and Savior?”, and were baptized a few weeks later.
When I started attending an Episcopal church during my junior year of college, infant baptism was one of the harder things for me to get on board with (and not just because the congregation had to stand for such a long time during the baptismal liturgy that I nearly fainted!). The decision to follow Christ should be made by each person themselves, when they are of an age to cognitively do so, I thought. The decision to start a journey of faith was a personal one that should not be made on someone else’s behalf, I thought.
Over time, however, I realized that–for those raised in the church–the journey of faith did not begin at the time of that voluntary, public confession. Childrens’ Christian life begins so much earlier, when parents read them Bible stories and pray before bedtime, and when Sunday school teachers and others nurture them as part of the faith community. Cognitive belief in certain doctrines, such as Jesus’ messiahship, takes one’s faith to a new level, beginning a significant new leg of the lifelong Christian journey, but it is not really the beginning, nor is it a point of arrival.
After years of learning Bible stories and songs, praying, attending Vacation Bible School, etc., I made my confession of faith and was baptized at age nine. But there was no time that I remember NOT believing. Like many who grew up in the church, I did not have a “conversion experience” to speak of, but rather it just felt like time to publicly acknowledge the belief in Christ that had been nurtured in me for years. Several years after that, in the summer of 1997, I entered a new stage of my faith journey, in which my relationship with God became much more “real” to me. Fall of 2001 was another period of intense spiritual growth, and on it goes…
Few would argue that the confession of faith is the end of one’s Christian journey, but I would say it’s not really the beginning either. So, if that is the case, why not baptize at a time closer to the real beginning of one’s journey of faith–that is, the beginning of one’s life? When we baptized our daughter at three months of age, we celebrated the inauguration of her walk with God. We vowed to raise and nurture her in the faith, and inducted her into the worldwide community of Christ-followers, each seeking God and growing in relationship with him, step by step, over the course of an entire lifetime.


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General Board of Church and Society
To Me
May 12 at 11:54 PM
A prayer for the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria


Contact: Wayne Rhodes
Director of Communications
General Board of Church & Society
(202) 488-5630 /

The following prayer is offered on behalf of the more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped April 14 by Boko Haram.

Loving God, you created each of us in your image — girls and boys.
You gave us eyes to see the beauty in each other and in all of creation.
You gave us ears to hear the stories of our elders.
You gave us minds to create and heal.
You gave us arms to embrace and comfort each other.
You gave us legs to play, dance and explore new and familiar places.
You gave us imagination to see what others cannot see.

You grieve the violence and deprivation facing the missing girls in Nigeria and around the world.
Comfort them in their fear, torn away from their school and families.
Sustain the families who grieve the loss of their daughters.
Transform the hearts of those who dishonor your beloved children.

God of hope, give us strength to be vessels of peace and hope.
Give us courage to end hate and free the oppressed.
Give us wisdom to nurture the sacred worth of girls in all that we do.

In the name of Jesus the Liberator,

—Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary
—Susan Greer Burton, Director of Women’s & Children’s Advocacy
General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church

May 8, 2014





Editor’s note: The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, and United Nations & International Affairs. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.

This release is available on the GBCS website at “A prayer for the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria.”

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Bishop Han Theological Seminary Announces the Opening and Start of the Master of Ministry Degree This May 2014

       The Bishop Han Theological Seminary in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines will start offering Master of Ministry degree this month of May 2014.

The Master of Ministry (M.M.) offered by BHTS is an intensive modular two year graduate Theological study program designed to provide the Clergy and Lay Leaders of various Christian traditions an in- depth Biblical, Theological,Mission, and Church Growth studies.


1. Lay Leaders: a). Transcript of Record (TOR Original) of a Bachelor Degree; b). Certificate of Lay speaking;  C). Endorsement from Immediate Superior/ Lo0cal Church Council.

2. Clergy and Or Church Workers: a). Transcript of Record (TOR Original) and any of the two: 1. Bachelor’s Degree; 2. Bachelor of Ministry / THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION BY EXTENSION accredited by the annual conference or Church Body.  b). Endorsement from the Immediate Superior/Local Church Council.


SUMMARY OF CREDIT UNITS:   (Grand Total – 48 Units)

Biblical Studies- 6 units

Mission – 12 units

Theology- 6 unita

Christian Education- 6 units

Church Ministry- 12 units

History- 6 units


FINANCIAL OBLIGATION FOR THE FIRST SEMESTER- ( 9 days- May 19-29, 2014) Php.. 6,550.00

The financial fess covers he following: Tuition fee for 12 units- Php. 3,600.00;  Dormitory with light and water- Php.900.00;

Meals- Php. 1,350.00;; Admission Fee- Php.200.00 and Miscellaneous fee- Php. 400.00.



Arrival: & Dormitory Arrangement-  May 18

Registration and Orientation- May 19

Classes- May 19-29, 2014.


FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact: Ms. Sheryl F. Sabas, Cp#09989764145 / 09998378676; Email:

FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENT: Enrollment for the Master of Divinity Program for the First semester for the school year 2014-2015 will be on May 27-30, 2014. The enrollment process shall include submission of requirement papers, Aptitude and Psychological Assessment for the in-coming first year.


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Aging and Poverty Grants

Hi Folks and co-workers,
I am posting the notice for grant application for Aging and Poverty. Any interested church may connect to the website indicated below.
Application is on line,and any questions may also be answered in the website. I may also be able to answer any questions you may ask regarding the grant application. Deadline of submission is July 2014.
Francisco Bilog
COAM member
“Teri Kline
To ‘Barbara Bruce’‘Beverly Heasley’Bishop Looney and 17 More…

Today at 3:58 AM

Greetings COAM Members –


Attached is a letter of introduction about the Aging in Poverty grant funding and a copy of the application form. Please feel free to distribute this as you find appropriate. It has been placed on our website , and it will be part of the 5 Ideas newsletter from GBOD soon. My understanding is the GBOD communications office will advertise it through a press release as well.


Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.





Teri Kline
Coordinator, Office of Aging & Older Adult Ministries/Office of Best Practices
Leadership Ministries
GBOD | The United Methodist Church

PO Box 340003
Nashville, TN  37203-0003  

Toll-free: (877) 899-2780 Ext. 7177

Local: (615) 340-7177

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