Grieve Today

Living with hope in the future is essential in this season of COVID-19. But living with hope does not mean living in denial about your grief that is arising out of the coronavirus. You grieve because you know someone who has died from the virus. You grieve because you can’t visit loved ones in retirement centers. You grieve because your children are missing out on key transitions in life, like high school graduation, dance recitals and weddings. You grieve because you face a grim financial future for the rest of your life. So what do you do with all this grief? Accept that it’s essential to grieve. Understand that Scripture is filled with exactly this sort of lamentation. And take time today to embrace your grief, trust God and linger in the words of the psalmist: Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love. (Psalm 44:24-26 NIV)

A Sunday Prayer

Lord God,

Sometimes I get so caught up in who I am that I forget who You are. I forget that You have created all that is – from the vastness of the cosmos to every single hair of a newborn child. I conveniently overlook how Your love involves all of creation – from the well-being of our planet to a child born in poverty, ignored by the world. And I fail to recognize that You long for Your will to encompass everything – as it already is in heaven to its realization one day on earth.

Forgive me, Lord, and allow me to truly see You with the eyes of my heart.

Too often I am so absorbed in myself I forget to remember that You have sent Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to live with us as one of us so that we can experience Your salvation, healing, abundant life, transformation and hope.

Forgive me, Lord, and allow me to truly see You with the eyes of my heart.

Frequently I am so absorbed with myself and my struggles that I forget that my Lord and Savior, Jesus, has come to give me abundant and eternal life; help me love You and my neighbor with everything I’ve got; and to discover Whose I am and who I am.

Forgive me, Lord, and allow me to truly see You with the eyes of my heart.

And even as I confess and seek Your forgiveness, I have the confidence that comes from the fact that You are still God, Jesus is still Lord and the Holy Spirit is still at work. And for this – and so much more – I give you all honor, glory and praise in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Really Listening to God

Will it ever get better? Will my life gain some sense of normalcy? Will I be devastated financially? Will I ever be able to make sense of what is happening? These are all important questions that you have every right in the world to ask God. However, just because you ask them doesn’t mean you’ll get answers as quickly or clearly as you would like. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you’ll get the answers you want – especially if you ask them in a way that challenges God, puts God into a corner, gives God the answer you want to hear or expects God to treat you as more important than anyone else in the world. That’s why really listening to God with your mind, spirit and heart is so important. Because when you do, you’ll hear God saying, For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

ARUMC Reschedules District, Annual Conferences to Online Zoom Meetings

ARUMC Reschedules District, Annual Conferences to Online Zoom Meetings

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (April 24, 2020) – In an effort to ensure the health and safety of voting members and visitors to the 2020 Arkansas Annual Conference amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference has made the decision to reschedule the May 27 – 30 gathering in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and move the business of the conference to an online Zoom meeting.

Bishop Gary Mueller commented, “Although Annual Conference has always been about being together, I am grateful for technology and our conference staff that are enabling us to adapt in a difficult season so we can still connect and carry out the essential business of the Arkansas Conference.”

In accordance with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’sExecutive Order #20-15, meetings such as Annual Conference via remote communication are allowed.

The rescheduled date for the Annual Conference business session will be Saturday, June 13 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. All clergy and lay voting members will be provided information to join the Zoom call, and guests will be able to view the meeting through a YouTube livestream.

This session will consist only of items deemed essential.

The Clergy Session will be held on Wednesday, May 27 beginning at 1:30 – 2 p.m. on Zoom. Participants who will need to participate in this meeting include all who would normally attend the clergy session.

Additionally, on May 27 from 2:15 – 4 p.m., clergy voting members will participate in the clergy voting session via Zoom. clergy in full connection, clergy with voting rights, those presented for commissioning and ordination, and Board of Ministry lay members.

All District Conferences have been rescheduled to Zoom meetings, which will take place between May 16 – 19 and will last approximately one hour each. The new District Conference dates are as follows:

  • Southeast District – Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m.
  • Southwest District – Sunday, May 17, 2 p.m.
  • Northeast District – Sunday, May 17, 4 p.m.
  • Northwest District – Monday, May 18, 6:30 p.m.
  • Central District – Tuesday, May 19, 6:30 p.m.

Participants for the District Conferences will include all district clergy; district laity who are members of Annual Conference by charge conference vote; district laity who are members re: Conference Standing Rules; and those selected to serve as lay-clergy equalization at-large members. The meetings will also be open to all guests for viewing through YouTube live stream.

In district sessions, the agenda will consist only of items that have been considered essential. For Lay equalization, due to the unique nature of circumstances, we will continue to use our current standing rules.

Those who may have trouble being part of the online sessions because of internet connectivity issues will be provided a place to participate in a safe manner consistent with current guidelines. Specific locations and safety precautions are being identified and will be announced soon.

To allow for in-person ordination, the Ordination Service has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 30 beginning at 4:00 pm. A location has not yet been set, but plans are still in the works for the service to take place in a church setting.

For updated Annual Conference information, visit arumc.org/ac2020/.

Summer Event Cancellations in the ARUMC

Summer Event Cancellations in the ARUMC

As uncertainty about when the COVID-19 pandemic will subside persists, organizations and ministries from around the Arkansas Conference have made announcements that their summer activities have been canceled or postponed.

You can find a list of cancellations, along with official announcements from each organization, in the list below.

ACCYM Choir Tour, Jr & Sr High Assemblies

The ACCYM Choir Tour and Assembly task force’s met this past week and decided, based on recommendations from the local and national government and for the health of our participants. In the interest of keeping everyone safe and healthy, and loving one another the best we can, we sadly announce that Choir Tour and both Junior High and Senior High Assembly is canceled for the summer of 2020. This decision was made by the ARUMC with the health of all of our students and churches in mind.

A big shout to our task forces as they are still looking into options of providing an alternative virtual experience that would be free of charge for all participants. Please continue to watch your e-mail for updates on this virtual offering. Stay safe and healthy as we are all in this together!

Camp Tanako

Dear Tanako Family,

The Camp Tanako Board of Trustees has decided to cancel Overnight summer camp for the 2020 season. At this time, we are also canceling Day Camp in June. The Board will announce June 1 if Day Camp will open in July.

The decision to cancel came after prayerful consideration and in an effort to follow recommendations from the Governor and state health officials. Ultimately the safety of our campers and staff are what is most important. We will work with parents to refund deposits made for summer camp.

We hope to offer some type of programming in late summer. We are looking at hosting retreats for churches, children’s ministries, and youth groups as we feel community will be needed when we can gather again.

In May, we will begin Tanako Tales, a program that will bring all who love Tanako together once a week to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to reminisce on fond memories of camp.

Due to the camps being canceled, Tanako needs your support more than ever. We ask that all who are able, consider donating a onetime gift or becoming a sustaining donor. You may do so by visiting tanako.org/donate.

Until we meet again,

Kayla Hardage,
Executive Director

Mission U

From the Mission u National Office:

We are sorry to inform you that, due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our virtual Mission u training (planned for April 30-May 3 and May 27-30) and we are urging that every conference also cancel their own Mission u events.

After much prayer and discussion, the Mission u team and United Methodist Women senior leadership team agreed that it is too great a risk to gather in person this summer.

Ozark Mission Project

To the OMP family of volunteers and supporters,

We pray you and yours are safe and are successfully coping in these trying times.

(OMP) has been in mission for over 33 years in Arkansas transforming lives through worship, fellowship, and hands-on mission. It is more important than ever for OMP to serve our youth, college students, and neighbors during this time.

The COVID-19 crisis is continuing to evolve quickly, and we are making decisions that prioritize the health and safety of all our participants.

At this time, based on recommendations from local and national health officials and in consideration of the population we serve, the OMP Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 in-person summer camps.

We will be refunding all summer 2020 camper fees in full back to the participating churches and individual families as part of this decision.

We are heartbroken that we will not be working together side-by-side this summer, but we won’t let this virus stand in our way of spiritual growth. In efforts to continue supporting our youth at this time, a task force has been formed to reimagine how OMP can still be involved in transforming lives with our neighbors, campers, and volunteers this summer – just in a new way.

The task force and OMP staff are planning to provide a virtual alternative camp option during the normal weeks OMP would have taken place during the summer of 2020. The experience will be free of charge to all Y.OUth who have completed 4th through 12th grades. The weeks that will be offered are as follows:

Week 1: June 8-12

Week 2: June 22-26

Week 3: July 13-17

We will be putting an agenda and activities together between now and May 15, 2020 and will have more information to share with you soon. If you would like to be a part of this new vision for this summer, please contact Hanna French, Director of Programs and Communications, at hfrench@ozarkmissionproject.org.

We, as a ministry, are leading by faith and not by fear. This faith is what has led us to offer an alternative camp for free this summer, because we believe so strongly in the need for connection.

At this point our plan is to seek grants and use our existing reserves to pay for these camps. However, if you or your church would like to help by donating to the camps, that would be much appreciated. Please visit our website to make your contribution.

OMP is known for building wheelchair ramps-but the relationships that we build with one another is what keeps this ministry strong. Our organization has a history of demonstrating our flexibility and adaptability in implementing large changes for the benefit of all involved. We are confident, with God’s hands on this ministry, that we will continue to transform lives this summer.

We are grateful for what you have done and will do to make OMP thrive. While we cannot be in hands-on ministry this summer, we look forward to continuing to build relationships and can’t wait to work side-by­side with you to transform lives once again.

Peace in Christ,

Bailey Faulkner