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Church Leadership Gathering on Aug. 9
GNJ’s leaders are getting excited to launch Miracles Everywhere Campaigns this fall in churches across the conference. New sermon series, new videos and everything needed to run the campaign are available. Join one of our leadership gatherings on August 9 to learn about the campaign and how to use the resources available to launch in your congregation. Click here to download the Miracles Everywhere Church Guide.
Miracle Update 
Clergy and lay leadership have been gathering to share miracle stories, learn about the campaign and commit to leadership giving. There is strong enthusiasm for the campaign and 43 people on Monday made pledges totaling $84,165. We now have pledges from conference leadership totaling more than $450,000 toward our goal of $500,000 in leadership gifts by the end of August. God is performing a miracle. If you want to be a part of the leadership giving but can’t make one of our gatherings, click here to make your pledge online. 
Guidebook Resources 
Campaign Guidebooks are available for planning your 2019 Miracles Everywhere campaign to raise funds for Next Gen ministries, Hope Centers, partnerships with Tanzania and Puerto Rico, and hurricane recovery. Click here to download a copy of the guidebook and access graphics and materials for your fall campaign planning. 

Pictured above: A GNJ-led prayer rally held outside the Immigration Detention Center in Elizabeth on July 28. Photo by Rev. Samuel Arroyo 

Rally Supports Separated Immigrant Families 

GNJ's Board of Church and Society and Hispanic/Latino Committee hosted a prayer rally at the U.S. Immigration Detention Center in Elizabeth on Saturday in support of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. Harriett J. Olson, General Secretary of UMW, Dean Javier Viera of Drew Theological School, and Bishop John Schol were among the speakers. Click here for coverage from News 12. 


Ocean Grove Files Lawsuit Against N.J. Church 

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey United Methodist Church which would require the church to vacate the property immediately and claims the Camp Meeting Association’s right to the property citing deeds going back as far as 1885. The church, First United Methodist Church of Bradley Beach, was one of the congregations that suffered after Superstorm Sandy. Since then, they hosted Mosaic Ministries and initiated a feeding program for the poor in the community until concerns about building maintenance and safety arose. The trustees were surprised and alarmed by the filing, and sent a letter of response asking to meet with the Camp Meeting Association to discuss and resolve their concerns and avoid a costly and hurtful legal proceeding. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association ignored the letter and instead filed another document with the court advising the Bradley Beach Board of Trustees that the church would be liable for any continued renovations to the property. The Camp Meeting Association claims the deeds indicate that the property is to revert to the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting if it is no longer going to be used as a worship space. The Bradley Beach Board of Trustees plan to continue to use the building for worship and develop other portions of the property. Click here to read the letter from First United Methodist Church of Bradley Beach. 

Generosity vs. Funding at the Laity Academy 

This year's Laity Leadership Academy on Oct. 6 at the Mission and Resource Center in Neptune will feature a track on the ways to help your church better understand the importance of generosity and not just fundraising. Click here to learn more and register for the academy. 
2018 PaCE Group Registration 
Build relationships and unlock your imagination with clergy who meet monthly for 8-10 months to explore ideas, expand horizons and create synergy. Grants of up to $2,500 annually will allow PaCE groups to engage in extended learning in a retreat format or intensive learning with outside expertise. Click here to register today. 

Are You Ready for the Team Vital Journey? 

Will you take the 18-month journey toward vitality? Enable your church to evaluate its current position and identify a way to develop relevant, practical plans that will achieve a God-given vision for the future. Click here to learn more. If your congregation is ready to hit the road with Team Vital, click here and sign up before Aug. 31. 

Developing Leaders: The Connection Blog 

As congregational leaders, there are many things we must invest our time in, but none might reap as much benefit as leadership development. Juel Nelson, Director of Leadership Development, offers some ideas to take the next step in developing new leaders in the latest Connection blog post. Click here to read.

Order Annual Conference Journals by Aug. 15

2018 Annual Conference Journals will be available for download on the GNJ website  this Fall. All retired clergy may receive a hard copy for free upon request. Click here. Hard copies are available for a fee of $20. Click here to buy. 

Moving Expenses 
The December 2017 tax law changed the way clergy moving expenses are recorded and taxed. Moving expense payments are now considered plan compensation for certain Wespath Benefit Plans. A moving expense submission form is required for local churches to complete to advise GNJ of the moving expense payment made out to clergy. Click here for further details of the tax law change, Q&A’s for clergy and plan sponsors, and obtain the moving expense form. 

Church Conference Season Begins 

As GNJ enters into the next season of church conferences, you will find many redesigned resources and instructions available to help you complete your reports and improve overall user experience. To view your district's conference schedule, a checklist of required reports, and detailed info, click here. Arena login info was emailed July 2 to church leadership. Contact your Regional Administrator with any questions. 

HealthQuotient (HealthFlex Participants) 

Take the HealthQuotient (HQ) to avoid paying extra on next year’s Healthflex deductible. The online health assessment is open Aug. 1 – Sept. 30. Click here to begin completing your online health assessment. Click here for details or here for a How-To guide. 

Church Health Insurance Rates for 2019 

The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits (CBOPHB) has set the health insurance premium rates for local churches, effective Jan. 1, 2019Click here for more info.


Seeking Church Histories 

GNJ Commission on Archives and History seeks church histories for the annual Local Church History Contest. All church histories must be submitted by Jan. 16, 2019. Church Histories may be submitted under one of three categories. For further info contact vice-chair Don DeGroat or call 570-646-9298.
Director of Development 
Applications for the position of Director of Development for the United Methodist Stewardship Foundation of Greater New Jersey are being sought. The position will further the mission and ministry of GNJ by organizing and leading fundraising campaigns, cultivating and raising large gifts, and planning, and encouraging congregational investment in the Stewardship Foundation. See the position description and application here
School Supply Drive 
This year, the CUMAC food pantry Hope Center in Paterson needs backpacks more than any other item. The MGear 16.5" backpacks are a good quality product and size for children and bulk packs of 24 can be purchased on Amazon Smile here. Churches interested in supporting the drive should send or deliver their supplies to CUMAC before Aug. 16. Click here for more info. 
Fundraiser to Feature N.J.'s Top Chefs
CUMAC is thrilled to debut a new fundraiser this year called FLAMES! Join them on Thursday, Sept.13 at Factory 220 for a night of food and fun with some of N.J.'s top chefs, gourmet bites, great music, and auctions full of exclusive prizes and experiences. Tickets are on sale now and all proceeds will help CUMAC feed people and change lives. Click here to learn more. 


Sept. 28-30, Wildwood, NJ
Youth to Spread Hope Across GNJ in Mission Project
This year at IGNITE, donations will be accepted for 3 Hope Centers in GNJ. One from the Northern, Central and Southern regions. Youth will join together at IGNITE to pack requested items packing requested and help spread hope across GNJ. Check the IGNITE website here for upcoming details. 
Discounted Registration Ends Aug. 31 
Did you know you can register for IGNITE without knowing who will sign up? Reserve spaces for your youth ahead of time and save. The last price break ends on Aug. 31. Don't miss out on the best possible deal! Click to register.
Can't Go to IGNITE? Change a Life Anyway 
You, your church or organization can be a part of changing the life of a young person. Donate to the IGNITE scholarship fund and invest in the spiritual growth and formation of the Next Generation. Click here to learn more and donate. 

GNJ's strategic partnership of youth, camping and campus ministries

Pictured above: VBS kids from Good Shepherd UMC in Bergenfield show off their artwork.
We Want to See Your VBS Photos!  
Submit your VBS photos for publication in The Relay and GNJ social media. Be sure to include your church's name and a brief description. All pictures need to have signed parental consent forms. Click here for more info on VBS safety planning and here to learn more about safe sanctuaries. Click here to send photos before Aug. 25. 
Sunday School Conference Call Aug. 15 
Are you seeking new ideas for your Sunday school or VBS? Join a conference call on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 7:00 p.m. and join Children's Ministry leaders from across GNJ who will be sharing their fall kick-off ideas. Contact Gina Yeske, Director of Small Groups, for more info. 

NJVOAD Seeks Program Coordinator 

The New Jersey Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NJVOAD) is hiring a half-time Program Coordinator (one-year position) to develop an AmeriCorps Service project. For more info about the organization, click here. To learn more about the job, contact Kelly Higgs

Job Opportunities for Puerto Rico Evacuees 

United Methodist Communities are looking for candidates with experience in caregiving and/or health care. Training and support are available to qualified candidates. Interested? Contact John Callanan 732-922-9802 x2184.  

UMC News, Updates, Info 
Way Forward Report Released in 4 Languages 
The final report of the Commission on a Way Forward has been released in all four official languages of the General Conference: English, French, Portuguese and Swahili. The report will be presented to the 2019 special General Conference. Subject to final copy editing, the report will be printed in the Advance Daily Christian Advocate in November. Click here to read the press release. 
5 Great Family-Night Events for Your Church 
Be the church that helps families form priceless memories. These 5 great outreach ideas are a great place to start for your Fall planning. Click here to read. 
United to Love: Rally for Love, Peace & Justice 
On Sunday, August 12, United Methodists, along with other faith leaders, activists, entertainers, politicians, and organizations across lines of difference, will unite to love and condemn all manifestations and acts of hate at a rally in Washington, D.C. Click here to learn more and register.
Church Racial/Ethnic Ministries Grant 
Applications for Discipleship Ministries grants up to $10,000 to help local United Methodist churches build ministries that strengthen and support racial and ethnic church concerns are due on Sept. 1. Click here to learn more and apply.



How to Get in The Relay and Digest

Do you have vital information that pertains to all of GNJ for The Digest? Click here to send an email. Do you have a good story idea for The Relay? Contact Josh Kinney. The deadline to send news for the following month's Relay is the 20th of each month. The deadline to send news to the Digest is noon every Tuesday.
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