North Little Rock FUMC Hosts Summer Social Justice Lunch and Learn Series

nlrfumc

The United Methodist Church has a long and rich history of concern for social justice, and North Little Rock First United Methodist Church is no different.  This summer, NLRFUMC is proud to offer its First Annual Social Justice Summer Lunch and Learn Series.  This series will begin on June 15 and will conclude on July 27.  Each Tuesday will offer a different speaker and a different topic relating to social justice.

“I am so pleased to be able to offer this social justice series at NLRFUMC.” says Rev. Lynn Kilbourne, Senior Pastor of North Little Rock First United Methodist Church.  “The topics are timely and important for all of us, regardless of our individual beliefs, in order to continue to live in loving community with one another.”

Each Lunch and Learn will begin at noon and conclude by 12:45, in order to accommodate lunch breaks.  The schedule is as follows:

June 15: Racial Reconciliation with Rev. Betsy Singleton Snyder

June 22: The School to Prison Pipeline with Former Senator Brenda Gullett

June 29: Climate Change with Dr. Steven Strode

July 6: Asian American Pacific Islander Issues in Arkansas with Joshua Ang Price, Founder of Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus of Arkansas.

July 13: Social Justice During the Time of Modern Immigration with Vince Insalaco

July 20: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church with Rev. Lynn Kilbourne

July 27: Pay Inequality with Sen. Joyce Elliott

“The range of topics and the expert speakers represent the best of the best to facilitate the discussion of these important subjects in today’s world.” Says Rev. Annie Lankford, Associate Pastor and facilitator of the series.  “Our hope is to attract individuals from around the community to be able to continue discussions on hard and sensitive topics, speaking truth in love.”

Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch.  Bottled water will be provided.  Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling the church office at (501) 835-2201 or by emailing pastorannie@nlrfumc.org.

First United Methodist Church had its origin in a brush arbor on the North Little Rock banks of the Arkansas River in 1877. In 1886, with fewer than a hundred members, the first building was constructed for that Methodist congregation at Third and Main Streets and was named the Argenta Mission, later the Dye Memorial Chapel, in memory of the first pastor, Reverend John H. Dye.

In 1913, the growing membership built a much larger church just a block away on the corner of Third and Maple Streets. By the late 1940’s, the building had become inadequate for the growing Sunday School and insufficient parking space was presenting a problem.  In 1951, under the leadership of Rev. James Workman, the congregation completed the construction of a new church at 22nd and Poplar Streets. But the quiet hill upon which the Poplar Street church had been built became very noisy and busy when the freeway intersection of I-40 and I-30 was built nearby, and the congregation began to look again for another location.

As the Indian Hills community of North Little Rock developed, a new Methodist congregation was established in 1964, meeting first in the homes of church members, and later in a building on John F. Kennedy Blvd. In October 1977, in an effort to strengthen both church families, Indian Hills United Methodist and First United Methodist merged to form the “new” First United Methodist Church. To accommodate growth a new sanctuary, office wing, and fellowship hall were added in 1980. A two-story classroom/daycare building was constructed in 1994. Our church family now totals about 1,500 members.

For more information about North Little Rock United Methodist Church or the Social Justice Summer Lunch and Learn Series, please call Rev. Annie Lankford at 501-920-2778. You can also email her at pastorannie@nlrfumc.org.

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Southwest District Hires New District Administrator

jodie meyers

The Southwest District of the Arkansas Conference announced today that Jodie Meyers has been hired as the new District Administrator, starting at the end of June.

Meyers will take over the position from Cindy Parker, who has served as the Southwest District Administrator since 2012. Parker plans to retire as District Administrator at the end of June.

Meyers is a graduate of Henderson State University and has worked as an office manager at Arkadelphia Physical Therapy Center since 2012. She and her husband, Brandon, have been married for 20 years, and have a 10-year-old son named Blake.

In her free time, Meyers enjoys watching Blake play baseball, working in her yard, and going fishing with her family.

She will begin working in the District Office with Cindy on June 21. 

Two New Chairs Highlight Perkins’ Wesleyan Connections

Two New Chairs Highlight Perkins’ Wesleyan Connections

DALLAS (SMU) – Perkins School of Theology announces the appointment of two new holders of two endowed chairs: Dr. Rebekah Miles as the Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology and Dr. Ted Campbell as the Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies. Both appointments begin on June 1, 2021. The recommendations were made by Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill and supported by the unanimous vote of those holding chairs at the Perkins School of Theology.

“We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Miles and Dr. Campbell to continue the legacy of these two prestigious endowed chairs,” said Dean Craig Hill. “These two professors have been leaders in the Perkins community as well as outstanding scholars and teachers, and their appointments underscore Perkins’ abiding commitment to Methodist and Wesleyan studies.”

Dr. Rebekah “Beka” Miles, Professor of Ethics and Practical Theology, was appointed Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology, a chair recently vacated by Dr. Evelyn Parker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who retires this semester, and who was named inaugural holder of the chair in 2015. The chair was established in 2014 by a $2.5 million gift made by an anonymous donor through the Texas Methodist Foundation. It honors Susanna Wesley, frequently referred to as “the mother of Methodism.” Her sons, John and Charles Wesley, led a revival within the 18th century Anglican Church that sparked the emergence of global Methodism generally and the Methodist Episcopal Church in the American colonies. Historians point to the “practical divinity” embraced by Susanna and her sons John and Charles after her.

Miles is an ordained elder in the Arkansas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and has served five times as a clergy delegate to the United Methodist General Conference. A recipient of Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology, Miles’ writes in the areas of Christian ethics, practical theology, and Wesley studies, including an edited collection of the works of Methodist practical theologian Georgia Harkness. She is now co-editing Volume 15: Domestic, Moral, Political, and Economic Writings in The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley.

Dr. Ted Campbell, Professor of Church History, was appointed Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies. Rev. Dr. William J. Abraham, who has held the chair since 1995, retires this semester. The chair was established in 1982 in honor of Albert Cook Outler (1908 – 1989), a longtime faculty member at Perkins as well as a distinguished Methodist theologian and philosopher. Outler made crucial contributions to the scholarship of John Wesley including a critical selection of John Wesley’s work published in the Library of Protestant Thought which led to his leadership in the Wesley Works editorial project, now The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley. Funding for the chair was provided by the Texas Annual Conference. The chair is designated to promoting the study of John Wesley, as well as his brother Charles Wesley and other leading Methodist thinkers.

Campbell is an ordained elder of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; a former president of the Charles Wesley Society (1999-2003); and a delegate to the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches in the USA (1992-2002).  Campbell served as the American Convenor for the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies in 2013 and as co-convenor of the Wesleyan and Methodist Studies Unit of the American Academy of Religion. His writings in Wesley Studies include having edited the third volume of John Wesley’s letters, and he is now editing the fourth volume for The Bicentennial Edition of the Works of John Wesley.

Miles and Campbell have also worked closely together, including their co-authorship of Wesley and the Quadrilateral with Scott Jones, Randy Maddox, and Stephen Gunter.  They are also both John Wesley Fellows of A Foundation for Theological Education (AFTE).

Perkins is also saying farewell to Parker and Abraham, who are retiring after long and distinguished careers at Perkins.

Parker spent one of the last years of her Perkins career in South Africa as a 2019-2020 U.S. Fulbright Scholar, based at the Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice and the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Western Cape in Cape Town. Her academic focus included religious identity and spiritual formation in African American adolescents, adolescents in sociopolitical movements and their understanding of vocation, adolescent resiliency and vocation. Parker helped spearhead the move of Perkins’s Houston/Galveston Program to the Houston Medical Center, where the program is now affiliated with the Houston Methodist Hospital (HMH), St. John’s UMC, and St. Paul UMC.  An active member of Kirkwood Temple CME Church in Dallas, Parker serves as a representative of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) denomination to the World Council of Churches. She has served in many roles throughout the CME connection.

Abraham has been a prolific author and sought-after lecturer. An ordained elder in the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, he served on the General Commission on Unity and Interreligious Concerns of the United Methodist Church (1992-present). He was the recipient of Pew Evangelical Scholars Program Grant, Pew Charitable Trusts (1993-1996) and Joint Book of the Year Award from the Institute of Christian Studies for Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology (1999). In 2018, he was the recipient of the SMU Faculty Career Achievement Award for his remarkable career in teaching and scholarship with many contributions to Wesley studies, including a new edition of John Wesley’s Standard Sermons released in the last month by Wesley’s Foundery Books.

Following Bridwell Library’s acquisition of the massive resources of the World Methodist Historical Museum, and building on the existing Wesleyana and Methodistica collections at the Library, these appointments will make clear the commitment of Perkins School of Theology to leadership in Wesleyan and Methodist studies.

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Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Original story published at https://blog.smu.edu/perkins/two-new-chairs/

Bishops Reconsider May 8 Special Session of General Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C.  –  The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church met on Monday, March 22, 2021 in an additional meeting to consider pressing matters  related to the Council’s work.  After much conversation, the bishops reached a decision that in the best interest of the church at this time, they would cancel the Special Session of the General Conference which was set for May 8, 2021.

The bishops announced that they will dedicate their regularly scheduled April meeting to conversation based on results of listening sessions that are occurring and discern a possible need for a new timeline toward General Conference 2020 set for August 29 to September 6, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

At the April meeting, the bishops will also discuss ways to empower the work at the Jurisdictional and Central Conferences. 

“Much has been learned over the past few weeks and the extended timeline will allow for even deeper listening by the bishops at the general church level but also in our residential settings,” said Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the Council.  “We are thankful for the collaboration fostered with the Commission on General Conference and especially grateful for the work that had already begun in the planning for the Special Session,” Bishop Harvey added.

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
mmulenga@umc-cob.org
202-748-5172
www.unitedmethodistbishops.org

Bishop Mueller Updates COVID-19 Guidelines, Announces New FAQ Tab on Website

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (March 19, 2021) – Since March 2020, when the first reported case of COVID-19 appeared in Arkansas, Bishop Gary Mueller of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church has worked with health care professionals, conference leaders and staff to provide clear and concise guidelines for safe gatherings for Arkansas United Methodist Churches. 

The ARUMC “Stages” worked well for our local churches and were very helpful to their Boards of Trustees as they navigated safely during the pandemic. However, because of new data that has recently been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the coronavirus and vaccines, as well as the increasing number of vaccines administered and declining COVID cases and deaths, Bishop Mueller is updating guidelines. 

“Our pastors and laity have demonstrated outstanding leadership in ‘doing no harm’ and keeping people safe. I am removing the “Stages” guidelines that were applicable to the entire conference in order to better allow local churches to determine, based upon their individual contexts, what is best for the safety of their congregations.” Bishop Mueller stated.

“I will continue to insist that persons attending in-person church events wear masks, safely distance, and keep hands and surfaces clean, even if Governor Hutchinson lifts the statewide mask mandate,” shared Mueller. “Although more people are receiving vaccines, we still do not fully understand the consequences of ignoring these basic precautions or the possible impact of variants of the virus. When Arkansas has reached herd immunity as defined by the CDC, we will take appropriate actions. Likewise, if the situation worsens again, we will respond as needed.”

The webpage for the ARUMC COVID-19 Guidance has been updated to reflect the most recent guidelines and recommendations, as it will continue to be on a regular basis.  A “Frequently Asked Questions” tab has been added for convenience.

If you have any questions regarding the guidelines, please contact Amy Ezell, Center for Communication.

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