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A Call to Courage for Times like These
This is the time and we are God’s people called to serve and lead.

Guest Writer: Brian Roberts, Cape Atlantic Superintendent

We woke Wednesday morning to the start of a “new day”. A long, polarizing campaign season ended and our nation had elected a new president. Regardless of who you voted for, now is a time for healing and finding ways to come together to work for the common good. Now is the time for us, as followers of Jesus, to model strong love, healing justice and life-giving hope that flows deeply in our rooted faith in God - Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Now is a time for Spirit fused action and prayerful contemplation about how to apply the suave of God’s GOOD NEWS to our nations’ deep needs.

Last week Rev. Myrna Bethke and I joined Bishop John Schol, along with the Greater New Jersey Cabinet and Connectional Ministries Team for the Extended Cabinet Summit. The meeting was held in Jacksonville, FL and drew in over 750 participants. All of us came together to focus our efforts around leading. Bishops from around the country led most of the learning experience with the purpose "to start the new quadrennium in a focused and disciplined way on the mission of cultivating vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Bishop John Schol and Rev. Hector Burgos, GNJ's Director of Connectional Ministries, facilitated and presented during a large key note session.

Throughout the Summit, we were challenged to lead and serve with courage. In preparation for this event we all read “Be Strong and of Good Courage” by, Gil Rendle. I encourage you to read this article, perhaps share it with a team of core leaders on your Church Council or in a small group.

Rendle lifts up the number of times in the Bible that people are implored to “be strong!”, “take heart”, “have courage” as they face daunting “new days” in their lives or have to lead in uncertain times and places they never visited or experienced before.  A key reminder and foundation for the steps going forward is that courage is tied to and flows from God’s presence with them!

It does and will take courage for us, as followers of Jesus, to model and reach out to our neighbors, to those that look and act like us and those that are very different from us. What does Jesus call us to do in the Great Commandment? Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (ALL IN) and Love your neighbor as yourself (even those that voted like you AND those that had “the other” candidates’ sign in their front lawn).

I am reminded of one of my “Spiritual Survival Kit” verses Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God spoke to Joshua, just as Joshua is called to lead the people of Israel to a new place, crossing the Jordan River, into a land full of promise and much peril. As we take bold, grace-filled next steps, God is reminding us, as he reminded Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Many of you have heard me share about John Wesley’s last words. (Click here for full version). After several days of just lying in his bed, weak and silent, John Wesley rose up on his elbows and in a loud voice exclaimed “Best of all - God is with us!” And then he passed from this world into God’s eternal embrace and the wonder of life, over the horizon in God’s care.

Brothers and sisters, God is with us as we live with deep action, bold contemplation and serving our communities in this nation and God’s world! This IS THE TIME and we are God’s people! “Courage, Dear Hearts” (click here for more about this C. S. Lewis quote, "Voyage of the Dawn Treader")



Church Opportunities and Resources

Church Happenings

Click here to view all the church to church happenings on the Gateway South District! Church events and flyers are updated on a regular basis so you will never miss out. You can also visit the Southern Regional Informational page to view events that are going on throughout the region. If you would like your church event to be posted on the district events page please email  
2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation
Date: January 23-25, 2017
Location: Ocean Place Resort, Long Branch NJ
Featuring plenary and small group sessions led by author, coach and consultant Susan Beaumont and a special event presented by The Music Paradigm

Click here to register!
Pinelands Center offers a unique facility that is opened all year around to host your next event, meeting or retreat. Situated in New Jersey's Pine Barrens, Pinelands is easily accessible from all points in New Jersey and Philadelphia. Pinelands Center at Mt. Misery is available for day use, overnight trips, weekend retreats and week long camping adventures. Please visit for more information.
Free Clergy Personal Finance Resource
Managing personal finances is especially important for clergy who are expected to teach and model faithful stewardship within their congregations. Maintaining healthy personal finances is both a personal and a pastoral responsibility. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership and Wesley Theological Seminary have put together free resources to help pastors better understand and mange their personal finances. Click here to learn more.
Regional Prayer Concerns:
  • Rev. Carlton and Kathy Bodine on the death of Kathy’s mother
  • Rev. Joyce Moodey on the death of her husband James
  • Evelyn Goldy on the death of her husband Rev. Champ Goldy
Korean Cultural Night: An Understanding of the Space in Korean Culture
Date: Sunday, November 13
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Smithville Community Center, 25 N Quail Hill Blvd., Galloway, NJ 08205
Hosted by the Korean School of the Korean UMC of South Jersey
Click here for flyer.
The Neighborhood Center: Thanksgiving Food Collection
The Neighborhood Center in Camden is seeking food donations for this year's Thanksgiving meal serve which serves over 3,000 children and adults. Click here for a full list of their much needed food items that will help feed our neighbors this Thanksgiving. All donations must be dropped off by Monday, November 21 at The Neighborhood Center located at 278 Kaighns Avenue, Camden NJ. For more information on how your church congregation can get involved, please contact Val at (856) 356-1674 or email.
Thanksgiving Volunteers Needed at The Neighborhood Center
Let's give thanks and help our neighbors in Camden 
Date: Monday, November 21 - Thursday, November 24
Time: Varies
Location: The Neighborhood Center, 278 Kaighns Avenue, Camden NJ 08103
Questions or to sign-up? Email or call (856) 365-1674
Click here for flyer.
2017 Spring Team Vital: Registration Ends December 1
Leaders have the opportunity to create a strategic ministry plan using the five markers of vitality. Each church receives individual technical support, monthly consulting and other resourcing opportunities from the conference. Click here to see a list of churches who are already participating in Team Vital. Watch the new Team Vital promo video here and fill out an application today!
Southern Region: Year-End Statistical Report Training
Date: Thursday, December 8 
Session 1: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Session 2: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 
Location: Trinity United Methodist Church, 284 Cedar Road, Mullica Hill NJ 08062
Click here to register.
Southern Region: Bishop's Day Laity Session
Date: Wednesday, December 14
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: United Methodist Church of Mantua, 201 Mantua Blvd. Mantua, NJ 08051

Laity from throughout the Southern region will come together with Bishop John Schol to worship and learn how The United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey is equipping spiritual leaders to make vital congregations.
"Lone Nut to Revolutionary Leader: Unleashing generosity in your congregation"
A Clergy retreat led by Horizons Stewardship

Date: February 22-23, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. registration
Location: Congress Hall, Cape May NJ

Click here to register!
Save the Date: Congregational Stewardship Teams: Planning Year Round Stewardship
Our goal is to train a team from each congregation, willing and ready, to step up their Stewardship and stir great generosity…starting a contagious movement of God’s abundant Grace.
First Session: March 25, 2017
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Second Session: April 30, 2017
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

More information to come...
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