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Last Chance to Register for IGNITE Leaders Day 

Pastors, youth leaders and those interested in starting youth ministries or youth mission trips are invited to learn practical tools to help students grow in their faith in 2017. IGNITE Leaders Day is Feb. 11 at Calvary Korean UMC in East Brunswick. Cost is just $15 and includes lunch and resource materials. Click above to check out a video with more details. Click here for more info and to register.

Save $15 Per Person for IGNITE in Wildwood! 

When you attend the IGNITE Leaders Day on Feb. 11, you can register your youth for the 2017 IGNITE Conference in Wildwood for the super discounted rate of $45 per person. That's a savings of $15 off the early bird registration that opens in May. Click here to register for IGNITE Leaders Day. 

Hip Hop Ministry, Student Mission Trips, Starting a Youth Program, Thinking Theologically about Youth and More

Workshops Led by Youth Experts 

This is your opportunity to ask questions and hear from youth ministry experts in a more intimate environment. 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 keep your youth ignited. Click here to see the full list of speakers and presenters. 
Add Your Voice to the
Commission on the Way Forward
Graceful Controversies March 4
  • In our diverse and global existence, what is the shared mission/purpose of the Church?
  • Is there a proactive way for us to live together in our differences that doesn't presume that we will resolve our differences? What would it be?
  • What might be a form of unity that would empower us living together?
  • What is our witness and what can be our witness to the world in relation to our differences? 
All laity and clergy from GNJ are invited into 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. Click here for more info, resources and to register. Registration closes Feb. 10. 

A Future With Hope is the outbound mission arm of GNJ, meeting
needs and providing hope for communities throughout New Jersey


NJVOAD Highlights Work of A Future With Hope 

The New Jersey Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NJVOAD), which is a statewide partnership of organizations that respond to disaster, has featured the work of A Future With Hope in their latest newsletter. Click here to find out more about NJVOAD. 

Volunteers Needed for Spring and Summer as Building Continues 

A Future With Hope is seeking individual or group volunteers for the Spring and Summer as rebuilding continues and families are brought over the finish line and into their homes. Click here to volunteer.

A Future With Hope is the outbound mission arm of GNJ, meeting needs and providing hope for communities throughout New Jersey 

Thank You! 

Thank you to Centenary UMC in Lambertville, Midvale UMC in Wanaque, FUMC of Somerville, Park Ave St. John's UMC in Orange, Milton UMC, Morristown UMC, UMC of the Rockaways, Raqaupo UMC and Sicklerville UMC for making new or additional pledges to the Mission Fund in Dec. 2016. You congregation can make an additional pledge by clicking here. 


Rev. Frank Davis to Serve as Capital District Superintendent

Rev. Frank Davis, pastor of The United Methodist Church at New Brunswick, has been appointed to serve as the new Capital District Superintendent following the June 2017 retirement of Rev. Varlyna Wright. Read more about this passion-filled leader here.


The Uncovered Dish is the official Christian Leadership Podcast of GNJ 

Listen to Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean Speak on Why Every Church Should Have a Youth Ministry 

Every church should have a youth ministry - even if youth are not sitting in your pews, argues Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean, professor of youth, church and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. How has youth ministry changed in the 21st century? Are youth leaders or parents more influential in the faith formation of young people? Should youth leaders and pastors friend their students on Facebook? Find out all this and more on Episode 8 of The Uncovered Dish Podcast or register for IGNITE Leaders Day to hear from Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean in person. 

Convocation Wrap-Up and Resources 

The 2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation was held at Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch, NJ, featuring plenary sessions by Rev. Susan Beaumont and a special performance and leadership workshop by The Music Paradigm. Click the video above or here to see more. Click here to read news coverage from the inspiring 'Soul-Tending' event. 

Changing Your Sermon on Saturday? 

In this week's Connection Blog, Director of Worship, Eric Drew, talks about contextualizing sermons and worship. Check out four considerations to guide decision-making and share with GNJ how you go about worship planning. Click here to read and comment. 

Clergy Stewardship Retreat in Cape May 

All GNJ pastors are invited to attend the Clergy Retreat on Revolutionizing Stewardship, Feb. 22-23 at Congress Hall in Cape May. Guest speaker Dr. Scott McKenzie, Partner and Senior Vice President at Horizon Stewardship, is a national workshop leader and author. Click here for more info and to register. 

Bishop Praying for Raritan Valley 

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 Gateway North and this week he will be praying for Raritan Valley. 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. 

Prayers for Bishop Felton May 

Bishop Felton May has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is currently under hospice care at his home. May served as pastor of Turning Point UMC in Trenton. Bishop Schol invites you to pray for Bishop Felton and Phyllis May. 

Does your Confirmation Class Suck? 

Do you need a new way to refresh, revamp, or reinvent your confirmation classes? Plug in to IGNITE Leaders Day on Feb. 11 at Calvary Korean UMC and come away with a plethora of ideas and inspiration. Click here for more info and to register. 


Workshops by Prominent Evangelists 

Reach millennials, learn best practices in social media and video, explore new ministry expressions, 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." OUTBOUND will be held on March 25 at Bethany Wayne UMC from 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Click here for more info and to register, 

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 Christian Unity, Harry Denman Evangelism, and Helenor Alter Davisson awards as well as the Harry A. Seese Memorial Scholarship. 
GNJ Announcements


Workers' Compensation 2016 Payroll Audit 

The Workers' Compensation 2016 Payroll Audit was due Jan. 15. If your church's audit has not already been filed, please make sure it is completed and returned promptly. In the event the Customized Audit Form which was mailed to each church on 12/1/16 cannot be located, a replacement can be requested by contacting Sovereign Insurance Group or 800-222-4478. Reference UMC of GNJ and supply church name and GNJ church number, along with contact info. Completed Audits are to be submitted directly to Church Mutual. Click here for audit instructions. 

A second notice will be mailed to all churches today, Feb. 1, that did not complete the audit. Questions regarding the audit are directed to Church Mutual using the information on the audit. Questions regarding housing should be directed to Barabra Gruezke or 732-359-1037 

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 March 2. 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


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. Click here for more information on the event. 

Educational Society Scholarships 

Are you pursuing an education in ministry? The Educational Society of GNJ 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. 

Church Mutual Webinar Series Event 

Church Mutual, GNJ's new property insurer, will be hosting an exclusive webinar series on 'Protecting The Greater Good From Violence.' The series will show how to keep your congregation safe, handling intruders on church property and communicating during crisis. Click here for dates, details and to register. 

Church Mutual Scholarships 

You might be eligible to apply for a $5,000 scholarship through Church Mutual. 50 scholarships will be awarded. Click here for complete eligibility details and info. Applications will be accepted through April 15. Click here for details. 

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

Conflicts of Interest Polices 

In general, it is not a good idea for church members to provide services for payment to the church due to the possibility of disputes over the quality of the work performed. A formal conflict of interest policy with members serving on any board or committee ensures all church members are putting the church's interests before their own. Click here for more information and here for a sample. 

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.
This Week Ahead
Feb. 2 - Board of Laity Conference Call
9:00 p.m. |  Contact Rosa Williams for more info or call 201-833-0352.
Feb. 5 - Palisades Back to Basics: Korean Track
5 - 8:00 p.m. |  at Teaneck Korean UMC. Click here for details.
Feb. 7 - Church Mutual: Webinar Series Event
2:00 p.m. |  Click here for more info. 

UMC News


Center Honors Black Methodists' History 

Archivists hope churches and families will donate items to the African American Methodist Heritage Center, so the stories of those who built the church will remain alive for future generations. Click here to learn more. Have questions or need additional information or resources? Email Fran Walsh or call (615)742-5458. 

United Methodist Churches Offer Sanctuary 

More than 800 places of worship - including some 60 United Methodist churches - vow to shelter and protect immigrants fearing deportation under the Trump administration. Click here to read the story. 

Faith Leaders Urge Welcome to Strangers, Refugees 

Just two days after President Trump issued an order banning refugees from seven Muslim countries for 90 days until sophisticated vetting measures can be implemented, faith leaders countered that action in Sunday sermons that reminded people to love and welcome their neighbors. Click here to read the story. 


Four-Part Series on Methodism in Cuba 

The United Methodist News Service began a four-part series that examines the state of the Methodist Church in Cuba. The series takes a look at how Methodism is growing throughout urban as well as rural regions of the nation. Click here to read more. 

Women's Edition of Bible Offers New Light 

The CEB (Common English Bible) Women's Bible offers an index of all the female characters in Scripture. It provides biographical sketches of many of them, and brief, Scripture-based articles on such topics as fertility, miscarriage, menopause and God as mother. All editors of and contributors to the new edition are women, and many are United Methodists. Read the story here. 

Registration Open for National Men's Gathering 

Registration is open for the United Methodist Men's 12th National Gathering, set for July 7-8 at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Speakers include Bishops James Swanson Sr. and Jonathan Holston, as well as the Rev. Kevin Watson, Candler School of Theology professor, and Shan Foster, national director of the YWCA program combating domestic violence. Click here to learn more. 

Commission Takes on Church Unity From Multiple Fronts 

The United Methodist commission charged with bridging division around homosexuality spent its first meeting mainly getting to know and trust each other. The group also took first steps toward possible outcomes. Click here to read more about the first meeting of The Commission on a Way Forward. 

Young Writers Sought to Produce New Worship Resources for Black Congregations 

Discipleship Ministries/ - Young African-American United  Methodists are being sought to write liturgies, prayers and calls to worship for an updated Africana worship series that will focus on the emerging music and worship practices in black congregations from the voices of young people. Writing samples that are spiritually sound and Wesleyan-focused should be emailed to Rev. Dr. Safiyah Fousa before Feb. 21. 

UM Interpreter Magazine Asks... 

The Interpreter magazine of The United Methodist Church is asking "What is the most meaningful or most moving part of your Holy Week observance or Easter celebration and why?" Click here to send your answer in 50-75 words and be sure to include your full name, local church and city/state. 


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.
Copyright © 2017 United Methodists of Greater New Jersey, All rights reserved.

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