How do we grow in Christian maturity? Bishop Bard notes that growth is difficult in the social media age. He encourages intellectual curiosity, complex thinking, and a generous spirit.
COVID-19 continues to present opportunities for new and different ways of ministry. The discipleship grant team is pleased to offer up to 50 grants for local United Methodist Churches in Michigan. This grant is intended to provide support to local churches as they re-imagine faith formation with children, youth, and adults. Churches who received the grant in 2020 are eligible to apply. Each church may receive one grant of up to $300. Grants may be used for supplies, postage to send faith formation materials home, digital curriculum, Lent/Easter/Summer programming, etc. that support or enhance creative faith formation. Grants will be reviewed twice a month. The discipleship grants are provided from the Christian Education Sunday asking from local churches in Michigan. Churches who receive a grant will be asked to share a short summary of how the grant money was used. Questions may be directed to Rev. Kathy Pittenger.
CDC offers the following general considerations to help communities of faith discern how best to practice their beliefs while keeping their staff and congregations safe.
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Information on 2021 conference ministry shares calculations, benefits ministry shares invoices and worker’s compensation can be found here: https://mailchi.mp/michiganumc.org/treasury-e-newsletter-2021mscalculations?e=8ef80c1496
The Anti-Bias Anti-Racism Working Group of The Michigan Conference stands in solidarity with Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, following the vandalism of their “Black Lives Matter” sign.
On December 12, 2020, Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, had its “Black Lives Matter” sign and display vandalized after a day of demonstrations. This sign was taken from the property of Asbury United Methodist Church. Similar signs were also taken from two other congregations in Washington, DC: Luther Place Lutheran Church and Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. We lament this horrific assault on the people of Asbury as well as the entire faith community.
Below is a collective list of ideas activities for Heritage District churches/families to celebrate Advent and Christmas
Ideas and Activities
- Centerpiece or ornament that each person in the congregation receives as a visual connection to the theme for the season (“home for the holidays” “angels among us” “hope is born”)
- Delivering candy canes with messages of hope/ love/ peace/ joy
- Decorating the outside of the church instead of the inside
- “Living Nativity” with different scenes in the driveways of church members – a sort of road rally or scavenger hunt
- Hand-delivered front porch drop boxes with craft items to assemble, or pre-packaged food items
- Drive-in Christmas Eve candlelight service (using battery operated candles)
- Families / individuals video record themselves singing carols and uploaded to Facebook page
- Send Christmas Cards
- Use Sermon by Phone app to record sermons or worship services for those who cannot connect online
- Encourage youth / young adults to host Netflix watch parties
- Provide open Zoom “coffee hour” or “office hour” for people to drop in and have conversation
- Prepare devotional guides for use at home or in small groups
- Purchase Faithful Families for Advent & Christmas by Traci Smith. To purchase use link below:
If purchasing multiple books check bulk discounts available at Chalice Press.
*Suggestions from the Faithful Families Christmas Book
- November 29 Advent Chain page 8
- December 6 Jesus’ Family Tree page 47 (cost is $3)
Luke Genealogy family tree: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Genealogy-of-Jesus-in- pictures-According-to-Matthew-1-4752935?gclid=CjwKCAjwoc_8BRAcEiwAzJevtZ5_SNhNZDLmtWjLxH71lcVn3Fixh1qpRRYGab8uy5jYIcBRk3Fb8hoCxpQQAvD_BwE
Print out and cut up cards.
- December 13 Homemade Christmas Gifts page 36
- December 20 Christmas Card Prayers page 26
- December 21 Longest Night Prayer with Candle page 72
- December 24 Christmas Eve Candle page 78
Candles available from Dollar Tree: https://www.dollartree.com/glass-jar-candles-8/167532
Use the Michigan Conference Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service
- December 25 – January 5 12 Days of Family Time page 86
Fill out the 12 Days of Family Connection, let each member of your family choose at least one activity. Click here
More resources at the Michigan Conference Website
- Free Devotional for all ages: #pictureadvent (keep checking the link above for more details)
*Resources for Faithful Families Christmas Book gathered by Rev. Mary Hagley
at Dixboro UMC. If you have questions email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uncertain times present an opportunity for “redeeming the season,” says Bishop David Bard. He adds, “Redeeming the season remembers that we are involved in a long work.”
BISHOP DAVID BARD
A favorite Bible study method for me involves comparing various English translations and renditions of a passage of Scripture. Doing so reminds me that the Scriptures we read were not originally written in English, that language is complex and translation a creative activity, and that language is rich with nuance so that exploring various shades of meaning opens these texts to me in wonderfully new ways.
The REACH Summit on Oct. 24 is the beginning of a year-long relationship of ongoing support through a REACH Network Group or coaching. Serious about change? Register now.
Computers need them. So do smartphones. Churches do, too. Updates help people and operating systems boost functionality without slowing down. That’s how the Rev. Andy Lee of Commerce United Methodist Church describes the REACH Movement, which includes the upcoming REACH Summit.
The REACH Movement was launched to help churches grow and multiply in a rapidly changing world.