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IGNITE Leaders Day for Clergy, Youth Pastors and Youth Leaders 

Looking to start a youth program? Want to jump-start your confirmation classes? Trying to figure out how to IGNITE your youth before the next IGNITE Conference? Registration is now open for IGNITE Leaders Day on Feb. 11 at Calvary Korean UMC in East Brunswick. Cost is just $15 and includes lunch and resource materials. Click here for more info and to register. 
Unique Workshops Include: 
Hip Hope Ministry, Student Mission Trips, Starting a Youth Program, Thinking Theologically about Youth and more. Click here to see the full schedule. 

Original Music 
Worship will be led by Jinnie Rhee and Yoom Kim of Greenhouse Music, the house worship band at Greenhouse, a new GNJ faith community. Click here for details. 

Preston Centuolo, Kenda Creasy Dean and Youth Experts Leading Workshops and Answering Questions 

This is your chance to work closely with leading experts on youth ministry from around the conference and around the country. Noted author and Princeton Theological School Professor Kenda Creasy Dean and IGNITE sensation Preston Centuolo will be among those on hand to work with you to ignite your youth programs. Click here to see the full list of speakers and presenters. 

Calvary Korean 5th Fastest Growing UMC in U.S. 

Calvary Korean UMC in East Brunswick is listed 5th in the top 25 fastest growing large United Methodist Churches in the U.S. They are the only church in the Northeastern Jurisdiction to make the list and have grown by 126% in the past 5 years. Click here to find out more and see the list. 

UM Judicial Council to Meet in Newark in April 

The Judicial Council will hold its spring meeting April 25-28 at the Hilton Newark Penn Station Hotel. Their semiannual meetings are scheduled on a rotating basis throughout the denomination. Council meetings are not open to the public except for scheduled oral hearings. Bishop John Schol has been invited to lead a service of Holy Communion prior to the oral hearing on Tuesday, April 25. Click here to see docket.

Bishop Praying by District 

Bishop Schol has begun a new ministry of praying for clergy, laity and churches in a different district each week. Last week Bishop Schol prayed for the Delaware Bay District and this week he will be praying for the Skylands District. As part of this ministry he is inviting leaders of each district to share prayer concerns, joys and stories of how God is making a difference in GNJ congregations. 

Starting a Youth Ministry in 2017? 

Do you have a goal for starting or growing a youth ministry at your church this year? Come hear from Rev. Blair Goold of Island Heights UMC at a workshop on starting youth ministry from scratch at IGNITE Leaders Day on Feb. 11 at Calvary Korean UMC. Click here for more info and to register. 

Register Now for A Day on Evangelism 

Learn best practices in social media and video, explore new ministry expressions and reaching millennials, find out how to turn around a conflicted church or start a multi-cultural ministry. OUTBOUND, A Day on Evangelism will feature keynote speaker. Paul Nixon, author of "Weird Church." This conference focusing on making disciples, is being sponsored by the Northern Regional Team and will feature workshops by prominent evangelists using innovative new ways to reach into the community. OUTBOUND will be held at Bethany Wayne UMC from 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Click here for more info and to register, 


Pray Our Way Forward Jan. 29 - Feb. 4

Bishop Schol invites all United Methodists in GNJ to join him in Phase 2 of 'Praying our Way Forward' - the Council of Bishops' prayer initiative which is taking place now through Spring, 2018. Each conference is registered for a week of prayer and GNJ has been assigned the week of Jan. 29. Click here to register your commitment to prayer as an individual or a congregation.

Graceful Controversies Registration Open

All laity and clergy from GNJ are invited into a deeper conversation to develop hopes and aspirations for the future of The United Methodist Church and send them to the Commission on the Way Forward. The gathering called Graceful Controversies will be held on March 4 for GNJ members to identify how to see the church move forward. All church members and clergy are welcome to participate. For more info and resources, click here.  Registration closes Feb. 10. 


2017 Annual Conference Legislation Information 

Click here to read an important announcement regarding 2017 Annual Conference Legislation information from Conference Secretary, Rev. Dave Wiley. Anyone interested in bringing legislation to Annual Conference and all committees submitting reports should email them to Cari Cruz, Regional Services Manager, no later than Feb. 15. 

2017 Annual Conference Award Information 

Click here to view the 2017 Annual Conference Award nomination information, deadlines, and application forms. Find out more about the Robert B. Steelman Methodist History, Christian Unity, Harry Denman Evangelism, and Helenor Alter Davisson awards as well as the Harry A. Seese Memorial Scholarship. 
GNJ Announcements


Mandatory Make-Up Clergy Gathering 

A mandatory make-up clergy gathering will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Mission and Resource Center. This meeting is mandatory for all clergy in or expecting to be appointed to a congregation, both part and full-time who were unable to attend the Jan. 11 gathering. Click here for details and registration. 

March 2, 2017 - Pre-Retirement Seminar

The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits is presenting a Pre-retirement Seminar for pastors and their spouses. A Benefits Educator from the Wespath Benefits and Investments will speak on retirement planning on Thursday, March 2nd for those planning to retire in the next five years. This session will also feature a speaker from the Social Security Administration on Social Security and Medicare. Click here for more information

2016 Statistical Reports 

2016 Statistical Reports opened Jan. 1. The deadline is Jan. 31 and the report can be accessed here. Please use username 3360_ _ _ _ (4-digit church number). Password: gnjchurch16. You will be asked to change your password when you log in for the first time. Please keep the username and password available for all users. If you have questions or need help, call your Regional Administrative Assistant or Accounting Supervisor, Danielle Andrews at the Mission and Resource Center at 732-359-1000


2017 Lay Ministry Recognition Applications 

To nominate a person or group in your church for Lay Ministry Recognition to honor their creativity and innovation in transforming lives and making disciples, please complete the nomination form here by March 4. Laity will be recognized on April 22 at the Mission and Resource Center. 

Local Pastor Licensing School 

The 2017 Local Pastors Licensing School will take place four different weekends at The Mission and Resource Center. The registration deadline is Jan. 26. Click here for more info on daily schedules, module dates, cost, requirements, and to register. 

Educational Society Scholarships 

Are you pursuing an education in ministry? The Educational Society of The United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey offers scholarships and loans for those agreeing to serve at least five years as a member of GNJ. For more info, email Jo D. Malessa or call 856-786-0293. 

Deadline Extended for Local Church History Contest 

The date for submitting a local church history has been extended to Jan. 25. Early submissions are encouraged. Click here for more info or email Rev. Donald DeGroat. 

The United Methodist Stewardship Foundation of Greater Mew Jersey serves the financial and investment needs of Greater New Jersey, its local churches and its agencies

Planned Giving Brochure for Download 

Click here to download a printable brochure on A Guide to Planned Giving created by The United Methodist Stewardship Foundation of Greater New Jersey. Gifts to local churches will help build on and extend the congregation's ministry for generations to come. 

Wespath December Investment Report 

During 2016, positive economic news led to strong results from equity markets across the world, led by the U.S. While fixed income/bond returns were positive for the full year, they were negative in the 4th quarter due to anticipated rising interest rates, which are expected with increased borrowing to fund spending for infrastructure and deficits associated with the new administration's proposed tax cuts. For the year, Wespath's Balanced Multiple Asset Fund returned 8.41% which is gross of The Stewardship Fund's 0.36% administrative fee. Click here for the December report. 

Wespath Joins Effort on Climate Concerns 

Wespath has joined 13 major global investors representing $2.4 trillion in assets in launching the Transition Pathway Initiative. The initiative will assess how individual companies are positioning themselves for the transition to a low-carbon economy. Read the press release here. 
This Week Ahead
Jan. 18-19: Board of Ordained Ministry Training 
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Learning Center A, B, C, Mission and Resource Center, Neptune, NJ. Click here for details. 

Jan. 21: Skyland District Foundational Leadership Training 
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Butler UMC, Butler, NJ. Click here for details. 

Jan. 23-25: Bishop's Clergy Convocation
Ocean Place Resort, Long Branch, NJ. Click here for details. 

Jan. 25: CONAM Conference Call
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Contact Cynthia Kent for more info.

Jan. 25: Deadline for submitting a local church history
Click here for more info or email Rev. DeGroat. 

Jan. 26: Deadline to register for the 2017 Local Pastor Licensing School
Click here for more info, dates, cost, requirements, and to register. 

CUMAC is dedicated to feeding people and changing lives, working to alleviate hunger and its root causes in Paterson, NJ 


Employment Opportunities 

CUMAC seeks a dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization through a critical transition, deepening and expanding its commitment to Paterson, NJ. The Executive Director will provide leadership and direction for all aspects of the organization. To view the full position description and find information on how to apply, please click here. Additionally, CUMAC seeks a full-time Driver and Warehouse Assistant. Click here to learn more and apply.

UMC News

Youth and Young Adult Mission Opportunities  

Looking for a great mission experience for your youth or young adults group? United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission offers high quality week-long mission programs for youth and young adults that serve people in need and build leadership skills. Spring and Summer opportunities are available throughout the Northeast. Click here for more info or email Jennifer Vastardis

What Would You Do With a 20K Grant?

The Zoe Project, sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary and supported by the Lilly Endowment Inc. is dedicated to building life-supporting relationships between young adults and Christian congregations. The project wants to know what you would do with $20,000 to re-imagine ministry with young adults and is seeking 12 congregations within 100 miles of Princeton to participate in a three-year pilgrimage. Click here to learn more. Applications are due Jan. 31. 


40 United Methodists in New U.S. Congress 

The overall number of United Methodists in U.S. Congress has dipped to 40, but at least two appointees to President-elect Trump's Cabinet are United Methodists. Read the story here. 

6 Tips on Crowdfunding for Churches 

The United Methodist Church's finance agency has published a guide for U.S. churches considering fundraising on crowdfunding sites. The General Council on Finance and Administration's overall message: User Beware. Click here to read the story. 

Agency Report: Church and Society 

The United Methodist Board of Church and Society's ongoing goals are to advocate for issues of peace, justice and equality with both church and national leaders. A highlight for 2016 was hosting a conference on gun violence prevention. Part of a series of reporting on the work each general agency accomplished in 2016. Read the story here. 

New Course of Study Options for Part-Time Pastors 

Three new Course of Study options for part-time licensed local pastors are available, reports the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. One is at United Theological School in Dayton, Ohio, and another is a satellite program, offered in Hays, Kansas, with Saint Paul School of Theology. The third is a pilot Spanish language program in Denver. Read the press release here. 

Wesley Studies Lay Certification Available 

The Wesley Theological Seminary Lay Academy offers 11 online courses. The program is in partnership with The Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship, based at United Methodist-related Southwestern College. Click here to read the press release or here to learn more and register. 

Aldersgate Renewal Ministries Staff Opening 

Aldersgate Renewal Ministries is seeking resumes for a full-time Director of Programming. This individual will oversee and coordinate Aldersgate's various ministry program. Applicants must be willing to move to Nashville, TN in order to fulfill the job requirements. Email resumes to Mark Barrow before Jan. 27. Click here for more info. 


How to Get in The Relay and Digest

Do you have vital information that pertains to all of GNJ for The Digest? Email gnjdigest@gnjumc.org. Do you have a good story idea for The Relay? Contact Josh Kinney at: jkinney@gnjumc.org. 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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