Extending Permission to Use UMPH Resources for Online Worship through December 31, 2020

Nashville, September 2020 – The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) is extending full permission to all churches for use of UMPH copyrighted worship materials through December 2020. UMPH recognizes the need for easy access to key worship aids as the COVID-19 crisis persists and local churches strive to serve their communities.

The copyright page in the 1992 United Methodist Book of Worship grants permission as follows:

“United Methodist congregations may reproduce for worship or educational purposes any item from The United Methodist Book of Worship for one-time use, as in a bulletin, special program, or lesson resource, provided that the copyright notice and acknowledgment is included in the reproduction.”

Each worship service is a one-time use. Therefore, churches are free to reproduce the liturgical text as needed (with the obvious exception of the copyrighted service music on pages 173-223). Further, during the COVID-19 crisis, UMPH is waiving the need to ask permission to livestream and/or record worship services which read, perform, or display liturgical text from the UM Book of Worship. UMPH encourages churches to utilize streaming licenses from OneLicense or CCLI to stream copyrighted service music.

No additional permission is required for any United Methodist congregation to reproduce the liturgical text in the context of an online or physically gathered worship service or, during the COVID-19 crisis, to livestream worship services and/or record and post them on a private site during this period.

This permission does not extend to events other than worship services or events where admission is charged or registration fees are collected or copies are duplicated in a resource for sale.

When quotations from the Common English Bible (CEB) are used in non-saleable media, such as church bulletins, orders of service, posters, transparencies, or similar media (which includes one-time use during live audio or video streaming), the initials (CEB) may be used at the end of each quotation.

The CEB text may be quoted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor account for twenty-five percent (25%) of the written text of the total work or live event in which they are quoted.

“The preface of the Book of Worship entreats, ‘May God’s grace be with all who use this book,’” said Rev. Brian Milford, President & Publisher. “As we gather online for encouragement and worship while physically separated, the Publishing House wants every congregation to know that they are authorized to use this treasure trove of resources.”

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United Methodists Set to Unveil “Dismantling Racism” Initiative

United Methodists Set to Unveil “Dismantling Racism” Initiative

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2020

Nashville, Tennessee: United Methodist Church leaders will launch a plan of action to galvanize church members and others to actively stand against racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd and protests across the U.S.

The “Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom” initiative is a multi-level effort throughout the church to initiate a sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and promote collective action to work toward racial justice. The church-wide effort will kick off on June 19, 2020, to coincide with Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. An announcement from members of the United Methodist Council of Bishops will be broadcast at 11:00 am CT on UMC.org/EndRacism and Facebook.

Participating in the event will be Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Episcopal Area, president of the Council of Bishops and the first Hispanic woman to hold that post, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Pittsburgh Episcopal Area, Bishop Bruce Ough of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area, Bishop Gregory Palmer of the Ohio West Episcopal Area, and Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the New York Episcopal Area.

“Words are great, words are important – but action is really important,” said Bishop Harvey. “Pick up your pen, pick up your voice, pick up your feet, and do something.”

A day of prayer and worship will follow on June 24, 2020, with an online service to be broadcast at noon CT on UMC.org/EndRacism and Facebook. There will also be a denominational virtual town hall event on July 1.

Regional and local worship events and town hall meetings involving community partners will subsequently take place, either online or in keeping with social distancing protocols.

United Methodist Communications has launched a national advertising campaign on social media and news websites across the U.S., as well as digital billboards in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston, and Louisville. The ads direct viewers to a website, UMC.org/EndRacism, where they can find resources to help them learn more and take action.

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has asked all United Methodists to join in prayer at 8:46 a.m. and p.m. for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time the officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck, for at least the next 30 days.

Advocacy and worship resources will seek to equip leaders, members, and the public to join in this important racial relations work. To encourage wide participation, a variety of materials will be made available in English, Korean, Spanish, French, and Portuguese translations.

The denomination has a long-standing history of advocating for justice. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church recognize racism as a sin and commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access. Additional information and resources are available online at UMC.org/EndRacism.

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About The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church has more than 13 million members globally in 45,000+ local churches and is in mission in more than 136 countries. Our mission is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our tagline “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” embraces who we are and how we seek to put our faith in action. Learn more at UMC.org.

Media contact:
Diane Degnan presscenter@umcom.org
615.742.5406 (o) 615.483.1765 (c)

Methodist Foundation, Arkansas Methodists Announce PPE Grant PartnershipNearly $60,000 Will Be Used To Keep Congregations Safe When Gathered

Methodist Foundation, Arkansas Methodists Announce PPE Grant Partnership
Nearly $60,000 Will Be Used To Keep Congregations Safe When Gathered

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (May 20, 2020) – Standing in front of a large shipment of newly purchased personal protective equipment, Bishop Gary Mueller and Methodist Foundation for Arkansas President and CEO J. Wayne Clark announced a grant that will allow all 635 churches across the Arkansas Conference to gather together safely once again.

This is the first grant that the Methodist Foundation has ever presented that affects every local church in the Conference.

Rev. J. Wayne Clark, President and CEO of the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas

Rev. Wayne Clark shared, “I am grateful the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas can help every United Methodist church in Arkansas get back to a healthy environment to worship. With the standards in place for every church to provide facemasks and hand sanitizer before they open for in-person worship, finding these supplies can be challenging,” stated Rev. WayClark.

Clark added, “A special thank you goes out to the Arkansas Conference who will purchase and distribute these supplies to all the churches. Our Methodist forefathers and foremothers who deeply loved the church, have made it possible for the Foundation to ‘pay it forward.’”

This grant will provide local churches with the necessary equipment to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and face masks will be distributed to all 635 United Methodist Churches in Arkansas over the next few weeks.

Bishop Gary Mueller of the Arkansas Conference 

Bishop Gary Mueller, who is on the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force shared how thankful he is for these grants.

“We are doing everything we can do to equip our local churches to open their doors for in-person events when the timing is right. We have provided our own guidance tools that reflect the guidelines from the CDC, Governor Hutchinson’s office and the Arkansas Department for Health. Without this grant from the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas, many of our churches would not be able to secure the appropriate supplies needed to open their doors. We are extremely grateful.”

200,000 Reasons Receives $10,000 Grant 

In addition, the Methodist Foundation for Arkansas has announced the awarding of a $10,000 grant to 200,000 Reasons, the Arkansas Conference initiative to end childhood hunger in the state.

Through this grant, 200,000 Reasons is offering grants of up to $1,000 for food and meal distribution ministries that are finding a greater demand for food during the pandemic. In addition, the grant award can be used to provide safety items to clients of a UMC feeding ministry, including masks, supplies to make masks, hand sanitizer, and/or other disinfectant items as well as print resources about COVID-19 and safety measures.

To apply for the grant, visit https://arumc.wufoo.com/forms/feeding-ministries-response-to-covid19-grants/. The deadline for grant applications is May 31. Additional questions can be sent to Mary Lewis Dassinger, Project Coordinator of 200,000 Reasons at mdassinger@arumc.org.

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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.

200K Reasons Makes Shift to Expanded Hunger MinistrySam Meadors Selected to Lead New Delta Project Initiative

200K Reasons Makes Shift to Expanded Hunger Ministry
Sam Meadors Selected to Lead New Delta Project Initiative

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

In an effort to combat the devastating effects of childhood hunger and the ripple effects it causes in other areas of a child’s wellbeing, 200,000 Reasons has announced a new initiative aimed at fighting not just hunger, but illiteracy and family instability as well.

200,000 More Reasons is the new initiative that 200K Reasons Project Coordinator Mary Lewis Dassinger will be bringing to the 2020 Annual Conference for approval. 200K More Reasons expands on the 2014 initiative to end childhood hunger in Arkansas.

In the past six years, the number of food-insecure children has dropped from 200,000 to 167,440, and 86% of churches in Arkansas are now providing food to hungry children and their families through food pantries and other ministries.

But the fight to end food insecurity continues and overlaps into other areas of a child’s wellbeing as well. The three objectives of 200,000 More Reasons will be nutrition, literacy, and stability.

“The most important predictor of high school graduation is a child’s ability to read by 3rd grade,” said Dassinger. “Additionally, food insecurity and other at-risk factors can have a traumatic effect on children. That’s why we’ve made the decision to expand the mission of 200,000 Reason to not just fighting hunger, but providing literacy programs and stability to families as well.”

Dassinger wants to see the number of feeding ministries continue to rise in Arkansas until 100% of churches are participating, but she is also hoping to see churches adopt new ways to reach out to children and families through literacy and stability programs.

Examples of literacy ministries include building personal libraries at your church for children to check out for free, hosting book clubs for all age groups, summer literacy ministries, after school programs that provide reading and homework help, and partnering with local literacy organizations to provide quality programming.

“Studies show that children who go to school hungry cannot thrive academically. The poorer your health and quality of life, the more likely you are to miss school and fall behind your peers,” Dassinger said.

Household stability is key to the initiative as well, and Dassinger is hoping to have 35% of churches offering ministries that promote a healthy and stable family life for food-insecure children.

“This would include nutrition education, mental health support, and support groups for families in need,” she said.

Rev. Sam Meadors, Delta Project Community Coordinator

Because the initiative is now more far-reaching than it has ever been before, 200,000 More Reasons is also announcing the launch of a new special project aimed at a particularly impoverished and at-risk area of the state, the Delta region.

The Delta Project is aimed at strategically fighting childhood hunger in the Arkansas Delta and will be led by the Rev. Samantha Meadors, a deacon in the Arkansas Conference.

The project is funded by The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas, and at $477,000, it is the largest grant ever awarded by the Foundation.

“The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas is committed to assisting the Annual Conference in responding to food insecurity needs within our state. As Jesus said, ‘Feed the hungry,'” said the Rev. Mackey Yokem, Director of Leadership Ministries at the Methodist Foundation.

The three-year grant will be divided up to support different needs in the area, including mobile food distributions, summer literacy programs, grants to help churches add literacy and reading support to feeding ministries, and support the hiring of the newly created Delta Project Community Coordinator, Rev. Sam Meadors.

“I am excited to work with 200,000 More Reasons expanding the tremendous work of the Arkansas Conference as we move into the next quadrennium. I am particularly looking forward to working with churches to provide literacy programs in the Delta,” Meadors said.

“My grandmother was the librarian for Cross County Schools- her love of reading and the power that it has to improve our lives is something that I hope to embody in my own work. Connecting churches to the needs of their community is a part of my call to ministry.”

Meadors recently served seven years as the Director of the Arkansas State University Wesley Foundation, as well as a deacon at Cornerstone UMC in Jonesboro.

Serving children and families in Arkansas is very close to her heart, and she praised the Conference’s initiative to step in and provide for hungry children through 200,000 Reasons.

“Our Conference stepped in when we heard that 200K children were going hungry. It’s time to step in again.

Churches can provide volunteers in schools to read with students, begin summer programs to encourage continued academic success, and partner with programs already involved in improving literacy in our communities. Arkansas United Methodists have found wonderful ways to serve the children of our state, I’m looking forward to seeing us serve together in even more ways,” Meadors said.

Pending approval of the name and mission change to 200,000 More Reasons on June 13 at Annual Conference, churches will begin receiving more information on what they can do to provide nutrition, literacy and stability to their communities, and work to eliminate childhood hunger in Arkansas for good.

For more information on 200,000 More Reasons and ways that your church can get involved, contact Mary Lewis Dassinger at mdassinger@arumc.org. Sam Meadors can be reached at samantha.meadors@arumc.org.

EF3 Tornado Hits Jonesboro, Local Churches Spring Into ActionRecovery efforts now underway amid COVID-19 pandemic

EF3 Tornado Hits Jonesboro, Local Churches Spring Into Action
Recovery efforts now underway amid COVID-19 pandemic

A bronze statue still stands despite the destruction surrounding it at the Mall at Turtle Creek Mall in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The tornado, rated an EF3 by the National Weather Service, carved a path of destruction through the city center. Although 22 injuries were reported, none were life-threatining and no fatalities have been reported. Photo by Jonesboro Police Department.

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

On Saturday, March 28, a powerful storm whipped through the Northeast Arkansas city of Jonesboro, producing a large tornado that damaged hundreds of homes and businesses and injured 22 people.

Relief efforts are now underway to help the more than 200 buildings that were damaged by the tornado, which was rated an EF-3 by the National Weather Service office in Memphis with maximum winds of 140 mph.

According to local media reports, hundreds of millions of dollars in damage were caused by the tornado, which made its way through major city streets in the middle of town and through several residential areas north of the city center.

Remarkably, in part due to the current COVID-19 social distancing efforts in place throughout the U.S., no fatalities were reported from the tornado.

Despite the destruction caused to several businesses usually packed with people, including the Mall at Turtle Creek and surrounding restaurants, many buildings were empty when the storm hit Saturday evening.

United Methodist Churches in the city also received minimal damage, although several church members’ homes were impacted.

The Rev. John Miles, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Jonesboro, said that more than 100 church members were out on Sunday morning assisting in clean-up efforts, and more would be sent out in the coming days.

“While I am grieved by the disaster I am amazed that no one was killed. The damage to many houses was enormous,” Miles said. “I feel relief that no one was killed, sadness for the people who have lost their homes, and gratitude for the many people who have flooded these neighborhoods to help.”

Janice Mann, disaster response co-coordinator for the Arkansas Conference, said that at this time, access to the city is still very limited, although their team was allowed to enter on Monday and bring donations for relief efforts.

“Right now, it looks like 20% residential damage, 80% businesses, but we don’t have official numbers yet,” Mann said. “I want to say thank you to St. Paul UMC for allowing us to use their facilities for our relief efforts and First UMC for housing our volunteers.”

At Cornerstone UMC, the Rev. Kathleen McMurray said her church has been hard at work sewing face masks to protect against the coronavirus since before the tornado hit, but after Saturday they have worked to hand out the masks to disaster response workers.

McMurray said that it’s been difficult to balance the need to help the community recover from this disaster while still remembering that physical distancing rules related to the coronavirus still have to be followed.

“It is really difficult to process such loss in the midst of the rising global pandemic of COVID-19. We want to help but we also want to help safely, and so we are doing our best to listen to the needs and procedures from our Disaster Response leaders in the community,” McMurray said.

Victor Moran, a member of First UMC Jonesboro whose home was damaged in the tornado, said the support he and his family have received from the church has made a huge impact on how he’s processing this challenging time.

“The team from First Church showed up at our house this morning like a conquering army. They completed in less than an hour what would have taken me days. Then they spread out through the neighborhood serving with grace, timeliness, and excellence.

“Please convey to the whole church Teresa’s and my deep, deep gratitude for what you all have done,” Moran said.

McMurray said that despite the tragedy of the past weekend, there is still hope that can be found in all of it.

“One of the biggest things we as people of faith can do is to offer hope. COVID-19 brings with it so much fear and anxiety already. Experiencing a disaster of this magnitude on top of it can be overwhelming. Being able to share the gospel of resurrection, in word and deed, in the midst of this is powerful for our community.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of disaster for Jonesboro on Sunday, allowing the city and state to potentially receive federal money for disaster relief as well.

The Arkansas Conference has also set up a donation hub for disaster relief in Jonesboro and the surrounding community. To donate to tornado relief efforts, visit our online donation website and select Jonesboro Disaster Relief.