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Soul Tend at the 2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation 

Are you looking for a special time of renewal, learning, and fellowship? Then you won't want to miss the 2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch on January 23-25, 2017. This year's event will feature plenary and small group sessions led by author, coach and consultant Susan Beaumont and a special event presented by The Music Paradigm. Cost includes registration fee, workbook, two night stay, and 5 meals. Click here to register today.


Message from the Bishop: Council of Bishops Meeting 

Last week, GNJ was a role model for a gathering where bishops brought together their conference staffs and leadership to focus on continued growth of vital congregations and aligning the ministry of the church. Click here to read an update from Bishop Schol. A report was shared at the gathering detailing GNJ's vision, direction and work. Click here to view the report and please share it with your congregations. 

The Connection: Small Groups and Politics 

Really? Talk about politics in small groups this week? In an era of change it is time for the Church to stop avoiding controversial topics and instead lead by modeling grace and humility. Read the latest Connection blog post written by Director of Small Groups Rev. Beth Caulfield and find out more.

Serve The World in Such a Time as This: Join a UMVIM Trip 

What better way to show God's love at this critical time than to be a part of a UMVIM team mission to Haiti, Jan. 7-14, 2017. You can also join the GNJ Walter Filtration Team or donate to the GNJ Clean Water for Haiti fund. Click here for more info, call (732)865-3730 or email Kathy Ahmad to find out more.

Curious about the Stewardship Foundation? 

Interested in learning more about The United Methodist Stewardship Foundation of Greater New Jersey? Check out this brief video with our Interim Executive Director, Sue Ryan Goodman. Click here for more information on the Foundation. 

Bishop's Days

Southern Region:
Laity: Wed. 12/14 - 7:00 p.m. at UMC of Mantua 
Central Region:
Clergy: Thurs. 12/08 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Aldersgate UMC
Laity: Thurs. 12/08 - 7:00 p.m. at  Aldersgate UMC 


Local Church History Award 

The GNJ Commission on Archives and History welcomes you to present your church history via written, audio or visual media. All submissions need to follow the Robert B. Steelman Methodist History Award for content as found here. For any needed help from the archives, please contact Walt Jones. All submissions should be sent to Mark Shenise, GCAH, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ 07940 

2016 GBHEM Scholarship Recipient Report 

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry recently released its list of 2016 scholarship winners. Click here for a list of winners and to see the churches they attend from the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey.


2016 Fall Advanced Lay Servant Registration 

A local church Lay Servant serves the community through ministries of leading, caring and communicating. There is still time to register for fall classes. You may attend classes in any district. Click here for 2016 Fall Lay Servant ministry certification and re-certification. 

Tech Assistant and Other Career Opportunities 

GNJ is seeking a Technical Assistant to support the Communications Dept. Click here for more info. Job opportunities in Greater New Jersey are available to browse on the web. From youth directors, Sunday School teachers, musicians and custodians, you can click here to see the latest postings. 

Let the Mission and Resource Center Serve You 

Don't miss out on the available resources the Mission and Resource Center has to offer. Click here to fill out the Conference Meeting Room request form and reserve space for your congregation, agency, or committee. 

"It's better to have a partner than to go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth, And if one falls down, the other helps" - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (MSG)

One Month Left to Register for Team Vital 2017 

Team Vital helps leaders create, expand, share, and implement a strategic ministry plan using the 5 markers of vitality. Churches have the opportunity to learn from each other through collaboration, accountability and by pursuing ministry plans as a team. Click here for more info.

What's Missing? You! 

Renovate your congregation's vitality. Sign up today and be a part of a movement that's empowering, equipping, and connecting GNJ. Click here to see a full list of churches that have benefited from joining the team. Register by Dec. 1 to be a part of Team Vital in Spring 2017! The next application will not be until Spring so don't delay! Click here to register now! 

Recovery Work Continues 

As one of the last organizations on the ground helping with Sandy recovery, A Future With Hope remains committed to the more than 4,000 people still struggling to get home 4 years after the storm. Click here to see a letter from the Governor acknowledging our work. You too can be a part of renewing lives and spreading hope. Click here to volunteer or here to donate. Your work and funds are rebuilding homes and lives.

United Methodists throughout the conference are working toward the goal of $12 million to help rebuild homes, save lives and inspire local church mission. Learn how you and your congregation can join the campaign.


Giving Tuesday 2016

Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Your congregation, community, family and friends can join us in supporting The Mission Fund for #GivingTuesdayGNJ. Click here to find out how you can join the movement.


Save the Date: IGNITE Leaders Day 

Youth Leaders, be sure to save the date for February 11, 2017 for an IGNITE Leaders Day at Calvary Korean UMC in East Brunswick. Preston Centuolo, Kenda Creasy Dean, and GNJ local church leaders will be presenting. Stay tuned for more information! 


GNJ Podcast Episode III: Church Planters' Stories 

New episode explores the stories of two actual church planters: Mike Bill of Sharptown Church in Pilesgrove and Yoon Kim, worship pastor of Greenhouse Church in Fort Lee. Click here to listen. These 30 minute podcasts are easy to listen to, download, and share with others. Catch up on all of GNJ's Ministry Podcast episodes here.



2017 FSA Salary Reduction Increase 

The IRS announced late last week that the 2017 maximum salary reduction has been increased to $2,600. GNJ does not offer an FSA for clergy. Entering an amount in Line 10 does not constitute an FSA plan - see Line 10 instructions below. FSA payroll deductions must be held in a qualified FSA plan offered by your local church. Detailed receipts are required for reimbursement of IRS qualified expenses. 
  • Line 10 - Flexible Spending Account – Reporting an amount on this form does not constitute a Flexible Spending Plan. This is an amount withheld from the pastor’s salary and used by the church to reimburse medical or childcare expenses on a tax-exempt basis. The maximum allowable amount is $2,600. Do not use this line to report medical expenses that are not reimbursed under a qualified Section 125 plan - use line 15. The church’s plan must have a written Plan Document and an Enrollment Form. A Plan Form is required to change the amount withheld per IRS rules. Professional assistance is recommended to set up Section 125 Flexible Spending Plans.


Mural Contest 

The Pinelands Center at Mount Misery is looking for talented children, youth, adults or groups to paint a mural on the camp's shower house. Click here to send a picture and join the contest to win the opportunity to paint. Contest ends Dec. 1. You can also send your picture by mail to 801 Mt. Misery Rd., Browns Mills, NJ 08015



Bishops Planning for 2019 General Conference 

The United Methodist Council of Bishops said it intends to call for a General Conference in 2019, but stopped short of making the actual call. That is expected after the Commission on a Way Forward begins its work of looking at the church's teachings on homosexuality and issues of church unity. Read story here.

Clergy Gather for Standing Rock Protest 

Some United Methodist pastors are heading to North Dakota. They'll be part of an interfaith clergy gathering in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Meanwhile, The United Methodist Church's response to the protest is picking up on other fronts. Read story here.

Church Leaders Challenged to Lead with Courage 

More than 750 United Methodist leaders gathered for a summit to focus on cultivating vital congregations. California-Pacific Conference Bishop Grant Haglya, the keynote speaker, urged those attending to lead with courage for the sake of the church's future. Read story here.

Support United Methodist Student Day 

Generous gifts given through the United Methodist Student Day offering provide scholarship funds, often for young people who are the first in their family to pursue higher education. Download the United Methodist Student Day pastor's kit here.

How to Get in The Relay and Digest

Have a good story idea for The Relay? Contact Josh Kinney at: jkinney@gnjumc.org. Do you have information for The Digest? Contact: gnjdigest@gnjumc.org. The deadline to send news for the following month's Relay is the 15th of each month. The deadline to send news to the Digest is noon every Tuesday.
Copyright © 2016 United Methodists of Greater New Jersey, All rights reserved.

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