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

Keep Listening, God is Still Speaking

Keep Listening, God is Still Speaking

By Rev. Jessie Waddell Teegarden

General Conference Clergy Delegate

Growing up in the church, Scripture has been an important voice in my life from my earliest memories. It first began with listening to stories from my storybook Bible, singing the words of songs, and exploring the Bible in Sunday school. These experiences ingrained important messages in my heart about God, the one who made me and loves me. As a baby in the nursery, I was taught through the songs of E.C.A. (Early Christian Awareness) that the Bible is God’s book and it says that God loves me. In Sunday school, I heard stories of people who were called by God to do amazing things, times God helped people who were suffering, and words of guidance for how to live as a disciple of Christ. The Biblical truths I was hearing and singing were an important foundation for my love of God, Scripture, and the Church. 

The knowledge of these Biblical truths about the love of God and God’s presence with us came alive through experiences in my life. One time I remember God speaking through Scripture was my senior year of high school. I was struggling with friendships and dreaded going to school each day. It was during this difficult time that the words on the pages of the Bible came alive. The words of Matthew 28:20, “And remember, I am with you always,” and the Romans 8:39 reminder that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God,” provided strength and comfort in a powerful way. I found myself more invested in the messages I heard at church and wanting to spend more time there. In youth choir, I was introduced to the anthem “Psalm 139” by Allen Pote which became a source of healing as I sang these words. “Where can I flee from your spirit, where can I go to run away? If I go to heaven or live in hell, you are there.” I heard God speaking these words over me in a new way. The words became ingrained in my mind and heart providing me with the strength and comfort to carry on amidst a dark time.

While that time in my life was difficult, it awakened my soul to the power of God’s word and the Biblical truths I had heard as a child. This awakening to God’s voice lead me to continue to explore God’s word in a new way. I was able to better live into my identity as a child of God and a few years later hear a call to ordained ministry. Through these sacred words, I found that God was speaking to me then and continues to speak through the words of Scripture. At times Scripture provides comfort and strength. At other times we hear words of instruction and guidance and, yes, at times they are a wake-up call. The important thing to remember is that we must keep listening because God is still speaking. 

I have reflected on the importance of scripture a lot lately in this difficult time in our church and world. I’ve also been listening to God’s voice as a new mother. I’m considering what rituals I want to begin with Georgia to help her discover the power of God’s word in her life. Will we read from a storybook Bible each night? What songs and prayers will we teach her? As I embark on this new journey, I am reminded of God’s voice throughout my life and have found that the words of Scripture have been at the forefront of my mind as I rock my sweet baby. I sing the words of the anthem “God you are there, you are there” and remember to listen and follow where God leads. 

God, you are speaking. May we open our minds and hearts to hear your Word.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Prepares For Possible Surge In COVID-19 CasesTurns to innovative resources to protect Associates, providers and patients

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Prepares For Possible Surge In COVID-19 Cases
Turns to innovative resources to protect Associates, providers and patients

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare received a donation of N95 masks from the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church in preparation of an anticipated increase in COVID-19 activity. Credit: Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – In the face of a public health crisis that is taxing the healthcare infrastructure across the country, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) is implementing creative new solutions to protect both caregivers and patients. For weeks, the Supply Chain team at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has relentlessly pursued supplies that meet our high performance standards. As supplies from traditional sources become more difficult to acquire, Methodist Le Bonheur is turning to alternate sources to obtain the personal protection equipment needed for Associates, providers and patients as they continue to provide optimal care for patients.

MLH is collaborating with the local and state health departments to receive distributions from the Strategic National Stockpile allocated by the State of Tennessee and Shelby County Health Department. MLH has received separate distributions which included thousands of N95 masks, as well as gowns, surgical masks and face shields. MLH has also turned to its established internal disaster reserve inventory for personal protection equipment. MLH partnered with local companies outside of the healthcare industry to secure PPE, including those that have converted factories that typically produce carpet or other household goods and are instead producing the PPE needed for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle.

The hospital system is also using innovative methods to make sure our Associates are protected. The MLH clinical engineering team created a face shield prototype. It met the exacting standards of our infection prevention experts, and they are now producing 1,000 face shields a week. At Methodist Olive Branch, Associate and Registered Dietitian Mary Karen Dixon adapted a pattern to manufacture isolation gowns in-house out of plastic sheeting. Team members now create 150-250 personal isolation gowns per day. Upon learning of the initiative, Home Depot in Horn Lake donated all the plastic sheeting in the store to Methodist Olive Branch to make the gowns. At Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital, a team from the operating room is sewing an alternative to the N95 mask. This idea originated from the University of Florida Health’s Department of Anesthesiology. The masks are made by using Halyard 600 instrument wrap, which blocks 99% of particulates. The material is typically used to wrap and protect surgical instruments and can withstand hydrogen peroxide sterilization. This supply of masks will be stored for use in the event that our standard supply is not sufficient.

MLH has leveraged our relationships with United Methodist Church conferences to accept donations of personal protective equipment. The Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church donated N95 masks from their emergency flood kits. Revered Doctor Albert Mosley, MLH Senior V.P. & Chief Mission Integration Officer, drove more than 120 miles to Winona, MS to pick up that donation. He also drove to Little Rock to pick up N95 masks donated by the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. In addition, United Methodist Church volunteers sewed and donated 1,000 facemasks to be worn by MLH Associates in non-patient care positions so the supply of surgical masks could be used exclusively by Associates in patient-facing roles.

Over the past few weeks, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has received thousands of N95 masks, surgical masks and gloves through donations from businesses and individuals. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from our neighbors in the Mid-South,” said Mosley.

“Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is doing everything in its power to apply the most up to date science to our clinical protocols and our PPE conservation practices in preparation for a patient surge. Our Supply Chain team has been working around the clock for weeks, employing ingenuity and persistence to secure the supplies and equipment we need to face the task at hand,” Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

How to Help –

  • While MLH greatly appreciates the outpouring of kindness, some hospitals are being surprised with donations or are receiving donations that violate COVID-19 visitation policies.
  • If you would like to inquire about donating, please complete the online form: www.methodisthealth.org/communitygiving.

A member from the MLH team will be in touch with donors as soon as possible, patience is appreciated as responses may be delayed due to a high volume in donations. “With sincere gratitude, we would like to thank all of those who have already supported our work by making a generous donation of PPE, food or funds. Please know how much we deeply appreciate your support of our mission now more than ever,” said Ugwueke.

For an extensive list of donors please visit: www.methodisthealth.org/communitygiving.

About Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) has been caring for patients and families regardless of ability to pay for more than 100 years. Guided by roots in the United Methodist Church and founded in 1918 to help meet the growing need for quality healthcare in the great Memphis area, MLH has grown from one hospital into a comprehensive healthcare system with 13,000 Associates supporting six hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient facilities, hospice residence and physician practices serving communities across the Mid-South. From transplants and advanced heart procedures to expert neurology services and compassionate cancer care, MLH offers clinical expertise with a focus on improving every life we touch.

Transformed by the Bible

Transformed by the Bible

By Elizabeth Fink

General Conference Lay Delegate

“The Bible is just a book.” “The Bible is a historical document.” “The Bible is just a self-help guide and a collection of nice moral teachings.” Have you ever heard someone use those descriptions?  In contrast, I have seen pictures and videos of believers in countries where it is illegal or very difficult to find a Bible (China, North Korea, Somalia, etc.) who are weeping and shouting because they have just received their first Bible in their own language! Would they be weeping if the Bible was just a book or moral code? In their eyes, that Bible is beautiful, powerful, and alive! 

I remembered thinking to myself, “I want to love the Word of God like that!” I began to question what I truly believed about the Bible. I had grown up reading the Bible, memorizing verses, and trying to glean some lesson or nugget of wisdom from the stories. What I realized was that I had all the wrong motivations. I was self-seeking in my reading and studying of scripture. Without even realizing it, my Bible reading had become all about what Elizabeth could get out of it.

When I was a senior in high school, I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a Holy Land tour in Israel. The geography, history, and fascination of being able to stand where Jesus stood brought me to a whole new level of joy in reading the Bible. It brought it all to life as I have never felt before. Upon returning to the States, I could not stop reading my Bible. I even took it to school with me and read it every break I got. It was no longer a chore or obligation, but a hunger and yearning.

I was now reading and hungering, not for the Bible itself, but for Jesus. I had experienced Jesus in new ways through His Word. I knew that if I wanted to know God, the best way for me to do that is through the Bible. The Bible isn’t just a book about God, but it leads us to the very heart of God. It shows us His faithfulness, love, grace, mercy, etc. When we read it, we should not just read it for information, but for transformation. It is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). If the Bible is living and active, that means you can interact with it. It has power and can speak to you. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to come across any other book that can transform lives as the Bible can.

Without the Bible we can learn some things about God by just observing our world, but not the salvation story. How else are we to know about the detailed working of God throughout history to redeem His people?

 I read just the other day a Facebook status of a friend who said she no longer finds inspiration in the Bible and just doesn’t get anything out of it. I know there are lots of individuals who find themselves in the same spot I once did and my friend now does. If we go into it thinking about how much we can get out of it for ourselves, then we won’t get much. God is the central story. We read it and study it to find God, not for the purpose of self-help. People are reading the Bible, but completely missing the point: Jesus. Can the Bible alone give us salvation? No. We read the Bible to know Jesus more, and how to be like Him.

The Bible can be complicated, it can be confusing, it can also be beautiful. It makes me laugh and cry, but best of all it allows me to see into the heart of God. How has the Bible shaped my life? By giving me a foundation on which I build my life, a vision in which to see the greatness of the God I serve, and the courage to become a woman of one Book.

I pray that our love for the Word of God would increase to the point of weeping every time we hold it in our hands or hear it and that it would transform us in ways that this world cannot explain!

Arkansas United Methodist Bishop Gary Mueller Named to Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Amy Ezell
amy.ezell@arumc.org
501-324-8030, 870-761-1580

(APRIL 18, 2020: LITTLE ROCK, AR) – Today, Governor Asa Hutchinson named Bishop Gary Mueller to the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force that will provide guidance for opening the state of Arkansas following the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The state task force is made up of 27 individuals that represent industry, small businesses, outdoor recreation and sports, agriculture and other groups. Stuart Walton will serve as the Task Force’s Chair.

Bishop Gary Mueller has served in the Arkansas office of episcopacy since July of 2012. He is a graduate from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology and has served churches since 1978.

As an elected United Methodist bishop, Mueller is responsible for guarding the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine and discipline of the Church. He is to lead all persons entrusted to their oversight in worship, in the celebration of the sacraments, and in their mission of witness and service to the world. As a Bishop, Mueller is called to be a prophetic voice and courageous leader in the cause of justice for all people.

There are currently 630 United Methodist Churches in Arkansas.

Mueller is a trustee for Hendrix College and Philander Smith College; serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops, is Vice-President of the General Commission of United Methodist Men; is on the Board of Directors for Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare and the Methodist Foundation of Arkansas; and is a member of the South Central Jurisdiction Mission Council.

“I am grateful for Governor Hutchinson’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am honored to serve the state of Arkansas in creating a plan that helps Arkansas recover economically and safely, to benefit our people as a whole. As always, all who are affected by the coronavirus will continue to be in my prayers.” Bishop Mueller shared.

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The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church is one of the 54 annual conferences that make up the United Methodist Church in the United States. Founded in 2003, the Conference, as part of the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, is responsible for coordinating more than 600 United Methodist churches and over 300 clergy throughout Arkansas to fulfill its trajectory “to make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped and sent to transform lives, communities and the world.” The Conference also supports a number of United Methodist-affiliated ministries in the state of Arkansas. For more information, visit arumc.org.