Hendrix College Offers 2021 Willson Lecture, Gill Preaching Workshop Online
Author, pastor of multi-site St. Louis church to preach at Hendrix College Chapel Service via Facebook April 12, teach in Zoom sessions April 13, 20, 27

CONWAY, Ark. (January 19, 2021) — The Rev. Matt Miofsky will deliver the annual Willson Lecture, which is free and open to the public each year. This year, for the first time, the Willson Lecture will be broadcast from the “Hdx Chapel” Facebook page, www.facebook.com/hdxchapel, on Monday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Miofsky is the founding and lead pastor of The Gathering United Methodist Church, a multi-site congregation in the Saint Louis area that was recently named the third-fastest growing United Methodist congregation. Before founding The Gathering in 2006, he earned a degree in advanced mathematics and played football at Washington University, attended Candler School of Theology, and served as an associate pastor in the St. Louis area.

Passionate about church planting, connecting with new generations, and multi-site ministry, Miofsky frequently speaks and teaches on these subjects. He is the author of Let Go: Leaning Into the Future Without Fear (Abingdon, May 2019), 8 Virtues of Rapidly Growing Churches (Abingdon, 2018), Happy? What It Is and How to Find It (Abingdon, 2017), Fail: What to Do When Things Go Wrong (Abingdon, 2017); and a contributor to Disciple Fast Track: Into the Word, Into the World (Abingdon, 2017), Flipping Church: How Successful Church Planters Are Turning Conventional Wisdom Upside-Down (Discipleship Resources, 2016), and the DVD project Ask: Faith Questions in a Skeptical Age (Abingdon, 2015).


The Rev. Matt Miofsky, founding and lead pastor at The Gathering UMC in St. Louis.

Miofsky has been elected to serve as a delegate to numerous United Methodist General and Jurisdictional Conferences. He is also passionate about the Mozambique safe water ministry he began through The Gathering. To date this ministry has raised almost $2.2 million for safe water and dug more than 175 wells.

How Preaching is Changing: An Online Workshop in Three Sessions

In addition to delivering the Willson Lecture, Miofsky will lead the John and Marjem Gill Preaching Workshop, which will be offered online for the first time in its history. “How Preaching is Changing” will consist of three 75-minute sessions on Zoom, from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on three consecutive Tuesdays in April:

  • April 13 – “Crafting and Delivering a Conversational Sermon”
  • April 20 – “Preaching Hard Topics”
  • April 27 – “Preaching on Camera and Online”

The cost for participants is $35 and includes a copy of Miofsky’s latest book, which will be used in the workshop. Registration is now open through Eventbrite. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu/gillworkshop.

About the Willson Lectures

The Willson Lectures were established at Hendrix in 1956 for the purpose of bringing outstanding speakers to discuss spiritual values, sound family relations, and vital issues confronting the world today. The Willson Lectures are made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Jim Willson, who have established lectureships at 23 United Methodist colleges nationwide.

About the John and Marjem Gill Preaching Workshop

The John and Marjem Gill Preaching Workshop aims to strengthen the United Methodist Church by enhancing clergy’s ability to proclaim the gospel in ways that are relevant to the needs of our time, and to enhance dialogue and fellowship among clergy colleagues. Since 1984, Hendrix has helped facilitate this annual gathering, providing preachers throughout Arkansas with continuing education and training toward becoming more effective preachers.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.

The Paradox of Grace”

The Holy Spirit can’t fill you with just the grace you need at just the time you need it in just the way you need it if there’s no room left because you’re already full of yourself, your ideas and your opinions of what matters most in life. This may be a bit unsettling to hear – I know it is for me – because you don’t want to lose, well, you. But the paradox of God’s grace is that it doesn’t destroy your uniqueness – it makes you the best you that you can be. And in the end, you’ll be so grateful you will want to praise God for all eternity.  

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for FUMC Russellville’s Manna House Food Pantry

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for FUMC Russellville’s Manna House Food Pantry

groundbreaking ceremony

By Chris Becnel

Director of Communications, FUMC Russellville

On Jan. 20, 2021, Manna House volunteers held a Dedication and Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Russellville First United Methodist Church Manna House Food Pantry. Current Manna House workers and other leaders key to Manna House’s past history were present for the ceremony. The Rev. Tony Griffin began with a Statement of Gratitude and prayer, and the Prayer of Dedication was spoken aloud by Manna House representatives. 

Following the dedication ceremony, Manna House Director Dan Meatheany introduced the new Manna House Building Committee members, Gary McElroy, Ragena Moore, Tom Peebles, Hugh Dorminy, and Robert Holeyfield. Ex-Officio members are Dan Meatheany and Terri Kulbeth. Some of the business partners included in the project are General Contractor, Jim Woker of EWI Constructors, Inc., and John Peel of Peel Law Firm, the attorney for the team. 

The Finish Subcommittee members, who are tasked with selecting paint colors and other finishing touches, are Kim Meatheany, Danny Tucker, and Sarah Peel. In attendance representing Help Network were Executive Director Sarah Bergner and Help Network Board President Candice Underwood.

After the dedication, Manna House Director Kim Meatheany instructed team members to break ground. “Today as a show of our faith and resolve to support those in the communities of Pope and Yell County who need a helping ‘hand up,’ we perform the time-honored ritual of ground-breaking.  Also, just as symbolic, with these shovels, we honor the American Farmer who turns the soil to grow the food that feeds us.  With this action, we grow a new Manna House and Help Network facility to serve people in need.” After her words, the crew used golden shovels to toss dirt to symbolically begin the process for the new construction.

Those in attendance at the ceremony were invited for one last tour of the inside of the original Manna House building which will be torn down to make room for a new, more efficient building so Manna House can continue to provide much-needed services to residents of Pope and Yell Counties. 

God’s Not Going to Leave You Alone

Never doubt it and always remember it. God is at work in the world, the lives of others and your life. Not just some of the time, but all of the time. Sometimes it’s a God Wink that gently reminds you that you’re not alone. Other times it’s a Holy Coincidence that you know is no coincidence at all, but God bringing together the right people at the right time in the right way for the right reason. At still other times, it may be something you can only describe as a miracle. The point is not the event and how awesome it is. The point is how it takes you deeper into the arms of God who loves you more than you can ever imagine. So be on the lookout all day long. Because God’s not going to leave you alone!

Seeking and Speaking God’s Truth

Seeking God’s truth matters. Embracing God’s truth matters. Holding onto God’s truth when you think others are denying it matters. However, it’s not as simple as “This is the truth. I know it’s true. And so it is God’s truth – no ifs, ands or buts.” And the reason it’s not this simple is the reality that we call sin. I’m not talking about the sin of others. I’m talking about our sin – yours and mine. Sin can do lots of very destructive things in our dealings with truth. Mostly, however, it can turn our righteous desire to seek God’s truth into a self-righteous exercise in which we diminish others, demonize others and destroy others because – when we are the guardians of the truth – well, anything’s justified. That’s why I do my best (too often failing, of course) to use a very simple exercise. I ask myself, “What if I don’t have it right?” This doesn’t change my quest for seeking and speaking God’s truth. It does, however, usually humble me enough to help me make sure I’m focusing on God’s truth and not my truth that I’m trying to disguise as God’s truth.