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District News

2024 Fall Church Conference Hub + SPRC Meeting Schedule

The 2024 Fall Church Conference Hub schedule and the SPRC Zoom Meeting schedule are complete!

  • Please email your completed SPRC forms to Liz, 1 week before your scheduled Zoom meeting with DS Jodie.
  • Please email your completed Church Conference forms to Liz, 1 week before your scheduled Hub.

Click HERE to view the Church Conference Hub schedule

Click HERE to view the SPRC Zoom Meeting schedule

Click HERE to view the Church Conference Forms Checklist to keep track 

*All Church Conference Forms are HERE

*The Forms page is not yet updated but will be soon!

God Nudges Blog Post

It has been suggested I write a blog for the WW District Lay Leader web page.  My reaction was, “what do I have to say that would be meaningful to others?”  After some thought, the same theme kept recurring.  I call it “God Nudges”.  From time to time, I will share my “God Nudges” (in no particular order) and personal reflections on how these nudges have impacted my spiritual journey.  It is my hope that sharing these stories, will encourage others to be more aware of the “God Nudges” in their lives because they are there, all the time, and the key is to respond. 

The hard part is deciding where to begin.  How about Good Friday 1989?  The date is forever etched in my mind and carved in my heart.  Our best friend’s little girl had been ill for a few days.  She quickly got worse and our friends decided they needed to get her to the ER.  But while doing that she collapsed.  9-1-1 was called.  She died.  She had celebrated her 13th birthday a week earlier.  What does Good Friday have to do with it…she died on Good Friday, March 24, 1989. 

For weeks I asked myself what can I do in her memory.  More than flowers, more than a donation.  You see, I wanted/needed to DO something.  Something that required my time.  I thought of a few things…like volunteering in a library (she loved to read) but never acted on any of things that popped into my head.  I hadn’t talked with anyone about this.

One night I woke up with a start and heard the words, “go to camp”.  I looked at my husband…he was sound asleep.  I looked around the room…no one was there (thank goodness).  Was it God?  OK…I will go to camp.  For about five years I had been asked by my pastor, Rev. Bill Johnson, to be one of the camp nurses at Christian Athletic Camp (CAC) where he was one of the Leaders.  It was one of our Conference Camps.  I always found an excuse to say, no I can’t.  The truth is, it was out of my comfort zone.  Well, the next morning was Sunday.  The first person I saw was my pastor.  I asked him if he needed a camp nurse this year.  “YES.  We do.”  OK, I am in.  I will be a camp nurse.  I hadn’t even told my husband yet or our children.  When I told my family they thought I was crazy…me going to an athletic camp.  You see my family are all athletes and love sports…I don’t have an athletic bone in my body, let alone muscle. 

I volunteered at CAC for 28 years.  I went in memory of my young friend. I think she would have gone to CAC.  I saw her in the faces of so many of the campers.  Serving at CAC had a profound effect on my spiritual journey.  I grew in my relationship with God…I learned to trust God and not be so afraid to step out of my comfort zone.  I learned He will hold me up.  You see, a church camp not only touches the lives of the campers but also the staff.  I will be forever thankful I heard that God Nudge in the middle of the night…and responded. 

Listen for the God Nudges in your life…they are there…trust…step out of your comfort zone.  Good things always happen.  Volunteer to serve at one of our Conference Camps.  It will be life changing for you and the campers.              

Blessings, Wendy

Visit Wendy’s Lay Leader page HERE

God Nudges Blog Post 6-5-24

Greetings Everyone:

I am still thinking about all the good things that happened at Annual Conference and the wonderful worship as I write this blog.  And yes, getting my energy back…slow but surely.  How about you?  I said I would blog every other month and began thinking this was going to be late.  But hey, I still have the rest of June.  I am right on time. 

I had intended to blog about another “God Nudge” that happened in my life for this installment but I became distracted by a violet.  It will happen another time.

You see, I get so many “God Nudges” from nature.  They are there.  All around us.  Everyday.  But we go right on by without a second look.  I believe in caring for body, mind, spirit, and relationships.  One way I do this is going for walks.  I usually walk twice a day to achieve 10,000 steps a day.  I am not always successful for one reason or another (like meetings or quilting).

A few weeks ago, on a walk around the neighborhood I noticed a little green leaf in the sidewalk.  I walked on by without giving it much thought.  But on subsequent walks the green leaf got bigger.  Strange it was still in the same spot and had not blown away.  Last week there was a bud.  This week it fully caught my attention…a beautiful violet growing in the middle of a crack in the sidewalk.  “God Nudge”.… such perseverance, such strength in this little violet.  How did it continue to grow?  It must have gotten stepped on?  How did that little seed fall into just the right spot in the middle of the sidewalk?  Did it get trampled on?  By me?  I hope not…if I did, I am sorry.  Yet it popped right back up in all its beauty.  I wonder.   If this little violet can grow in the middle of a sidewalk, get walked on.  I can too.  Well, maybe not in the middle of a sidewalk.  But I will continue to be aware of ways I can serve God with the gifts and talents I have been given by God.  I will carry on…no matter how old I am/feel.  Even on those days that I am tired, or feeling like I have been trampled on.  I will persevere like this little violet.  I will grow in my faith.   Oh, one more thing about this pretty little violet.  It was in the middle of two cracks in the shape of a cross.

Friends, look around you, be aware of nature, listen to the birds, feel the sunshine on your face.  Be Blessed.  See and hear the “God Nudges.” They are there all the time…even in the middle of a sidewalk.

Blessings, Wendy

A message of hope from General Conference in Charlotte NC

May 4, 2024

Dear Friends in Christ in The United Methodist Church in Michigan,

Many of you have heard about what happened at the postponed 2020 General Conference. Delegates made three historic major changes in the United Methodist Church, referred to by those in attendance as “The Three R’s” – Regionalization, Revision of The United Methodist Social Principles, and Removal of language that limited the participation of LBGTQ+ people in the church and was considered harmful by many.  I have outlined key actions taken at the General Conference below.

 While there are moments when things move slowly during plenary sessions, the news from the General Conference these past two weeks came in torrents. For many, it might have felt like drinking from a fire hose.  There were legislative petitions to track, not to mention the commentary offered by different groups with different perspectives or agendas.  I encourage us all to take time to breathe, pray, and digest all that has happened.

As you know, I have long favored widening the table in The United Methodist Church, expanding our tent.  Pastors can now officiate at the weddings of parishioners without worrying if those parishioners are in a same-sex relationship, or if they might face ecclesial charges. Persons can respond to the call of God on their lives, and Boards of Ordained Ministry can discern those calls, regardless of the sexual orientation of the person being called.  

For those troubled by these developments, I would say we are now genuinely agreeing to disagree without fear of church penalties and punitive processes.  Appointments will continue to be made taking account of church and community context.  Churches and pastors will make decisions about weddings.

While I will write more about the General Conference next week in my blog, I would like to conclude by sharing my hope that our United Methodist Church will be able to focus more freely on staying centered in the risen Christ and staying grounded in our Scriptures.  I hope we will focus on engaging, in Spirit-filled ways, in the mission to which we are called, making disciples of Jesus Christ so that people can experience the healing and freeing grace of God in their lives and so that the world may be made more just, loving, and compassionate.

I look forward to sharing this journey in ministry with you all.

Grace and Peace,

David Alan Bard
Michigan Conference

Versiti Blood Center of MI Needs Local Churches!

Faith Community Church of Coopersville has asked for the message below to be shared:

Our Church, Faith Community Church of Coopersville (formerly Coopersville UMC) is proud to offer our surrounding communities the opportunity to SAVE A LIFE right where we live. Versiti Blood Center of Michigan supplies our local hospitals with blood daily needing 600 units a day. We all can be heroes and give the gift of life.

Offering blood drives at your Church is a great way to get people in your doors and a great Outreach for your Church. You can keep a list of donors to contact and notify them of upcoming blood drives. Through our drives here in Coopersville, I have compiled a list of 800 names over the last 10 years.

I am Kris Brandt, the coordinator for our drives and I would love to help you get started. Please contact me and I will get you in touch with a Versiti representative in your area. The opportunities are endless for your church to serve your neighbors in life changing ways! Get in touch with me!

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 616.997.9225
Website: faithccc.com/versiti-blood-drives
Facebook: CoopersvilleBloodDrives
Location: Faith Community Church, 105 68th Ave. N, Coopersville

Michigan Delegation Attends General Conference: April 23-May 3

The 2024 United Methodist General Conference will be held April 23 – May 3, 2024, at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The last General Conference was set to happen in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2020, until the pandemic made it necessary to postpone the quadrennial legislative event until 2024. 

Michigan delegates, along with delegates from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the U.S. will attend the 11-day gathering, which is expected to attract about 5,500-7,500 people.

Michigan Conference Communications will provide complete daily coverage.  Sign up for the daily update and watch the evening live Facebook coverage during plenary sessions HERE.

As the highest legislative body of The United Methodist Church, General Conference revises The Book of Discipline and The Book of Resolutions while also initiating amendments to the denomination’s constitution. Proposed legislation is in the Advance Daily Christian Advocate and available for review and download.

Approved 2024 Budget + 2024 Local Church Ministry Shares

The 2024 Western Waters District Budget and Ministry Shares are available in the links below. The district’s local churches have approved the 2024 district budget and ministry shares.

“With over 40 churches reporting votes, the 2024 Western Waters District Budget passed unanimously.  Thanks everyone for your input and support!” ~ DS Jodie Flessner

Letter to Churches

2024 Budget Narrative

2024 Budget 

2024 Ministry Shares by Church

Western Waters District Conference: May 13, 2023

The first Western Waters District Conference took place via Zoom on Saturday, May 13.
The purpose of this conference was to vote on the proposed 6-month budget and leadership roster for the new Western Waters District.
The recording and minutes are below along with all the voting items.

Minutes 

  • View the recorded Western Waters District Conference  ⇒ HERE
  • Passcode: ^it&JR3E

Agenda

Budget

Leadership Roster

Mission & Ministry Grant History – Midwest District

Mission & Ministry Grant History – Northern Waters District

Fall Church Conferences

This page contains critical information for Pastors and SPRC leaders about:
1 on 1 Meetings, SPRC Meetings, and Fall Church Conferences

1 on 1 meetings will be held via Zoom. Former Midwest District pastors have in-person 1 on 1’s as part of the summer DS church visits (DS church tour and 1 on 1 schedule is below).

SPRC meetings will be via Zoom and pastors are invited to attend the SPRC meeting. Reminder emails will be sent with Zoom links for both the 1 on 1 and SPRC meetings.

Fall Church Conferences as HUB Gatherings

The plan for 2023 is to hold geographical gatherings of 6 to 12 churches on Sunday afternoons for Church Conferences (2016 Book of Discipline, paragraph 248, “Church Conferences” encourage broader participation). Offerings at the Church Conference Gatherings will be taken at each HUB for a local Ministry decided upon by consensus.

Hub timing: 2pm is the first round of church conferences; 3-4:30pm Gathering time; 4:30pm second round of church conferences

Please come to the HUB gatherings (3-4:30pm) prepared to dialogue with other leaders in your HUB about the following:
⇒ What evidence of the power of partnerships do you observe already at work in your area/community?
⇒ What action might you take to increase the power of partnerships: to increase support of each other; to augment current ministries; to start or renew ministries?  In other words – what could we do better (or even do at all) by forming partnerships with area churches?

Submitting Church Conference Forms

Please scan and email all completed/signed church conference forms as pdf documents at least 1 week prior to your 1 on 1 meeting, SPRC meeting, and church conference to Liz —scanning forms in bulk is fine, individual forms will be sorted and saved.

Church Conference forms are here: https://michiganumc.org/resources/forms/

Former Midwest District DS Church Tour + 1 on 1 Meeting Schedule

Fall Church Conference Hub schedule 

1 on 1 Meeting and SPRC Meeting Schedule

1 on 1 Questions (due 1 week prior to DS meeting)

Agenda + Instructions for guest elders conducting church conferences

2024 Nominations Form for Simplified Accountability System is on the Forms page or HERE

Church Conference Forms Checklist

Please contact Liz in the Western Waters District Office with any questions or concerns about anything on this page!
District Office: (616) 459-4503
Email: [email protected]

 

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Western Waters District