Bishops offer scholarships for 2019 UMEIT-USA and NWCU events

WASHINGTON – The Council of Bishops is offering partial scholarships for young adults (age 21-35) to attend the 2019 United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training (UMEIT:USA) and the National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) next spring.

The COB is encouraging all ecumenical representatives in all US annual conferences to participate, as it is an excellent time of ecumenical worship, networking and formation.  This year the United Methodist network (UMEIT) will be joining the Episcopal network (EDEIO) for an ecumenical training on the Monday of the NWCU.  As we work toward full communion between our two denominations, this will an opportunity to get to know our Episcopalian colleagues and be formed ecumenically with them.

UMEIT is the annual training in the United States for United Methodists engaged in ecumenical and inter-religious ministry through the church. The NWCU is an opportunity for Christians who care about ecumenical and inter-religious ministry to learn and network.

The NWCU and UMEIT occur parallel to each other once a year in a different area of the United States. The 2018 sessions will be from April 1-4, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Council of Bishops will offer up to six scholarships at $300 each to assist seminary students and other young adults (aged 21-35) who will be attending UMEIT and NWCU for the first time.

To receive a scholarship application, email Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst, Ecumenical Staff Officer, The Council of Bishops, at or click here to download the UMEIT Scholarship application.

The scholarship application is due to no later than February 15, 2019.


Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Delivering Christmas invitations and cheer by the truckload

Photo courtesy United Methodist Communications.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – What makes for the perfect Christmas gift this season? According to statistics, it’s sharing experiences with family and friends. To fulfill that Christmas wish, The United Methodist Church is presenting The True Meaning of Christmas Tour.

Representatives will be traveling to 11 cities across the nation in a gift-wrapped truck offering family-friendly fun, while connecting visitors with a reminder of what Christmas is all about.

“Christmas is a joyful time for many, but can bring about depression, stress and loneliness for others,” shares Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, which created the tour in partnership with local churches. “We want to help people remember that celebrating Christmas is not about to-do lists and shopping. If you’re feeling stressed or alone, we want to invite you to connect with a local United Methodist church to experience fellowship and explore the true meaning of Christmas.”

Pew Research found that the things people least liked about Christmas were related to commercialism and materialism. They would rather spend their time with family and friends. Eventbrite revealed that millennials place a higher value on experiences over possessions. United Methodist Communications’ recent Barna Group survey, noted that people seeking a spiritual home spend the majority of their free time at restaurants and coffee houses with many engaging in volunteer activities.

Given these findings, The True Meaning of Christmas Tour fits the bill for what people are looking for in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

In each city, local United Methodist churches will join the truck team to host festivities that include free hot chocolate and an interactive photo booth for capturing memories. A craft station will also be on site for decorating greeting cards for those who might be in need of cheer, such as hospital patients and nursing home residents. Attendees are also invited to share prayer requests, engage in conversations about the reason behind the season and to join local congregations for Christmas services and events.

Follow the tour online at and #UnwrapChristmas as it travels through:

Nov. 25: Fairview Heights, Illinois
Nov. 26: Columbus, Ohio
Nov. 28: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nov. 29: Baltimore, Maryland
Dec. 2: Atlanta, Georgia
Dec. 4: Columbus, Mississippi
Dec. 6: Shreveport, Louisiana
Dec. 10: Phoenix, Arizona
Dec. 12: Los Angeles, California
Dec. 14: Salt Lake City, Utah
Dec. 17: Kansas City, Missouri

In addition to tour stops where the truck will be on-hand, United Methodist congregations in additional locations across the U.S. will host hot cocoa fellowship events at their churches.

To reach even more people with a message of hope this Christmas, The United Methodist Church will also be running complementary national advertisements created to inspire people throughout the holiday season.


About United Methodist Communications
As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Communications seeks to increase awareness and visibility of the denomination in communities and nations around the globe. United Methodist Communications also offers services, tools, products and resources for communications ministry.

Media contact:
Brenda Smotherman
615.742.5488 (o) 615.400.5063 (c)

Methodist Family Health team members honored with awards at 41st annual Teaching-Family Association Conference

LITTLE ROCK, AR (Nov. 13, 2018) – Three team members at Methodist Family Health were recently honored with awards at the 41st Annual Teaching-Family Association Conference in Omaha, NE. They are:

Craig Gammon, administrator of the United Methodist Children’s Home at Methodist Family Health. Craig received the 2018 Montrose Wolf Award for Distinguished Contributions, which is given to individuals for their exceptional contributions in implementing the Teaching-Family Model. This category recognizes those persons who have provided significant contributions to the Teaching-Family Association program administration, staff training, evaluation technology, or research that extends our knowledge and otherwise enhances the application of the Teaching-Family Model.

James Hess with The Call. James was honored with the 2018 Teaching-Family Association Outstanding Contribution in Human Services Award, which is given to honor an organization or individual for their community, regional, national, or international advocacy and support of children and families.

Nicholas Rucker, behavioral instructor at Methodist Family Health’s day treatment program in Benton, AR. Nick received the 2018 Teaching-Family Association Distinguished Practitioner Award, which provides national recognition and honor to outstanding Teaching-Family practitioners from each of TFA’s accredited sponsor agencies. The name of the award provides an important reminder of TFA’s high regard for practitioners and emphasizes the common commitment to excellence that characterizes all honored recipients.


The Teaching-Family Association (TFA) was founded in 1975 to ensure the quality of care provided by professionals who actively pursue the goals of humane, effective, individualized treatment for children, families, and dependent adults using the common framework of the Teaching-Family Model for treatment and support. What is learned in one agency can be shared with other agencies within the Association and incorporated into the standards of quality assurance processes within the Association. TFA’s goals are to certify members, recognize programs, standardize useful training and evaluation procedures, supervise program replication, and provide yearly conferences for sharing new material and program development. The Teaching-Family Association is the only entity in North America that defines and implements standards and review procedures related to the actual performance and quality of treatment and service delivery systems at all organizational levels.

For more information, contact KD Reep at 501-906-4210 or or visit


Founded in 1899 as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health has expanded into a continuum of care to serve thousands of Arkansas children with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues and their families each year. Methodist Family Health has locations throughout the state, including the Methodist Behavioral Hospital, two residential treatment centers, eight therapeutic group homes, an emergency shelter, a day treatment program, eight counseling clinics, nine school-based counseling clinics, the state’s only grief center for children and their families, and the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES). Our mission is to give the best possible care to those who may need our help and to treat the whole person: behaviorally, emotionally and spiritually.

Nancy McDonald Wood Scholarship now accepting applications

The Nancy McDonald Wood Scholarship is now accepting applications for its 2019 scholarship award.

The scholarship, named for Nancy McDonald Wood, was established and funded fall of 2015 through the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas. Wood, a lifelong Methodist and former high school teacher, hopes scholarship winners will become strong lay leaders in United Methodist churches after completing their college education.

Any young woman who has been a member of an Arkansas United Methodist Church and has demonstrated a commitment to historic Methodist values is a candidate for the scholarship.

She must also have shown sound academic ability, leadership qualities and exceptional character. She should have been accepted by an accredited college and plan to begin classes the following fall semester.

To apply for the Nancy McDonald Wood Scholarship, print out the application form and mail the completed application to Nancy M. Wood, P.O. Box 7404, Little Rock, AR 72217. All applications must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2019.

Download Scholarship Form

How Julie got her daughter back and her life

On Jan. 11, 2013, Julie Johnson’s daughter, Anna, didn’t come home from daycare. At first, Julie didn’t know where Anna was, but at least she knew who had taken her: the state of Arkansas.

Before long, she began to appreciate why. She and her estranged husband were meth addicts, and their homes were no longer safe.

Eight months later, Julie (whose name and Anna’s were changed for this story) was getting the help she needed, and Anna was back in her custody. On June 6, 2014, their case closed for good.

How did Julie get her daughter back and her life? With help from people who cared.

Before losing Anna, Julie and her husband had been traveling a downward path. She’d immigrated from Australia, married, and settled in Mountain Home. They started using methamphetamine. Eventually, they separated, and Anna split time between their homes. There were sessions involving the Department of Human Services. One day, Julie’s husband was doing a drug deal and didn’t pick up Anna from daycare. The owner took her home, DHS was called, and Anna was placed in foster care.

From that point, Julie’s downward path became a spiral. Heartbroken and guilt-ridden, she began using more drugs to ease the pain. Her husband moved away. She slept at his office with other drug addicts, but no one was paying the bills and they couldn’t stay. Eventually, they divorced, and she became involved in an abusive relationship, allowing herself to be beaten almost daily because she thought she deserved it.

Eventually, she sought shelter in Gamma House, which serves homeless women and children in Mountain Home. She was given a voucher to rent a one-bedroom place. Her DHS caseworker, Chuck Hurley, would drive her eight hours round trip to see Anna, who was staying with her foster parents, Nanny and Pop.

They were, she said, “the sweetest people.”

“I was just so thankful, because that’s where Anna began to really shine and feel like she was in a family again, and I just thank them for being the people that they were and for looking after my child when I couldn’t,” she said.

She eventually spent five months at Arkansas CARES, a rehab facility in Little Rock operated by Methodist Family Health for women with small children and for pregnant women. It was a tough program that emphasized accountability. While there, Anna was returned to her on Sept. 19, 2013, a moment that felt “like a part of me was back.” She and the other residents’ children were bused to a nearby school.

Editor’s note: Arkansas Centers for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES) is one of the programs within Methodist Family Health’s statewide continuum of care helping Arkansas children and families rebuild their lives. Next month, learn how Julie reassembled her family and began a new life because of the gifts and prayers of Arkansas’s United Methodists. You can share your light this season by making a financial gift to Methodist Family Health.