District News

Prepare for Those First 30 Days

The first 90 days of a new appointment can help “set the stage for success or sow the seeds of trouble and potential failure,” says Michael Watkins. The first of two articles on pastoral transition.

When pastors receive a new appointment, they have 90 days to prove themselves, gain credibility and start to establish positive momentum. That’s according to organizational research by Michael Watkins, outlined in his book “The First 90 Days.” Watkins says that a leader’s success or failure is largely determined in the first few months of their tenure. This is part one of a two-part series on how to get off to a quick start at your new appointment.

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Heritage District Free Training Events

All FREE and all are welcome!

How to Implement a Single Board Governance

Seven Key Tenets for Accountable Church Finance Teams  This class has been postponed until September 2022.  Information publicizing the September event will be posted at a later date.

How to Implement a Single Board Governance

Hosted by Rev. Dirk Elliott

Both sessions contain the same information


Session #1:  Thursday, May 12 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm


Passcode: Heritage


Session #2:  Monday, May 23 10:00 am – 11:30 am


Passcode: Heritage



Seven Key Tenets for Accountable Church Finance Teams This class has been postponed until September 2022.  Information publicizing the September event will be posted at a later date.

Hosted by Rick Gorham and John Seppanen, Heritage District Finance Team members

Both sessions contain the same information.  Pre-registration is required. 

Whether you are new to your church’s finance team, have been the treasurer for 20+ years, or something in between, you will gain insights from this session and likely share a nugget that helps someone else.  All those involved in overseeing church finances are welcome to attend 1 of 2 90-minute Zoom sessions.  Some of the Seven Tenets to be discussed are:  why do we do church finance, what accountabilities do the counters, chair, finance secretary, treasurer, team member, and pastors have, and is an audit necessary.  This session offers an opportunity to share information and gain knowledge through breakout groups and a time of Q and A.   

Session #1:  Thursday May 12, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm 

Preregistration is required.  Please use this link to register for session #1



Session #2:  Saturday May 21, 9:30 am – 11:00 am

Preregistration is required.  Please use this link to register for session #2 


Connectional Grants and Financial Assistance Available

The Heritage District is happy to announce that Connectional Grants and financial assistance are once again available through the Finance Committee of the Heritage District under the leadership of District Superintendent Rev. LuAnn Rourke.  For questions or assistance with forms contact Rick Gorham at rtgorham@chartmi.net.  Submit completed forms to Rick Gorham via postal mail: Rick Gorham, 13539 S. Rainbow Drive, Gregory, MI  48137, or email rtgorham@chartmi.net.

Connectional Grant Application Form (Word) >>>
Connectional Grant Application Form (pdf) >>>
Application for Financial Assistance Form >>>

Heritage District Youth Ministry Discipleship Grants

COVID-19 continues to present opportunities for new and different ways of youth ministry. The Heritage District is pleased to offer grants for local United Methodist Churches in Michigan in the Heritage District. This grant is intended to provide support to local churches as they re-imagine faith formation with youth. 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. Contact Rev. Mary Hagley revmaryhagley@gmail.com for more information.  Apply here: https://forms.gle/yWSDBW2Qg2fg323A9

These grants are different from the Michigan Conference Discipleship Grants, which are still available here: https://michiganumc.org/resources/childrens-ministry-tool-box/

MI Conference and Heritage District Ministry Shares

Your Heritage District Ministry shares support two key areas.  The majority goes back to the local churches through grants and support of programs for youth, leadership and lay servant ministries.  The remaining portion funds expenses necessary to maintain essential items in the district:  treasurer, updating e-news and Facebook plus support for other district-wide initiatives.

2022 Heritage District Ministry Shares

Download the PDF >>>

2022 Michigan Conference Ministry Shares

Download the PDF >>>

Standing in Solidarity with Asbury UMC

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.

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Advent Resources for Churches & Families

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


*Resources for Faithful Families Christmas Book gathered by Rev. Mary Hagley

at Dixboro UMC.  If you have questions email at revmaryhagley@gmail.com.

Redeeming the Season

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.”


Michigan Area

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.

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Make Change Part of Your Church DNA

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.

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