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Dear Friends,

A few days ago I purchased a frozen turkey that will be one of several we buy for the Camden Neighborhood Center’s Flash Grocery Store that will be held on Tuesday, November 22 (see flyer below). As I wrestled the 18 pound bird into the shopping cart I wondered—was it enough, would it make a difference? I have been wrestling ever since with those questions, especially in light of all the divisiveness and hatred that is only escalating since the presidential election. Even the United Methodist Church is experiencing that pain. It was heartbreaking to read about the racism experienced by Latino/Latina youth in North Caroline at their Annual Conference youth gathering last weekend.

In light of all of that, what is my one frozen turkey going to do? Truth is, it is not enough and will only make a small difference for one family on one day. But my one turkey will be joined by some 300 more turkeys donated to the Flash Grocery Store, and more than 300 families will be touched by the program. Maybe in the same way my one, imperfect voice can be raised in defiance against hatred and racism and join together to form a loud chorus to bring an end to them. The overwhelming nature of the task is no reason to do nothing. I am encouraged by the different ways that congregations are raising their voice. St. Paul’s UMC in Thorofare have begun a weekly prayer service focused on ending the hate.  The Central Region pastors recently stood together at our state capitol to proclaim “Black Lives Matter.” These and other events will join together to make our voices loud and clear that racism and hatred are not tolerated. 

We’ll make mistakes along the way, we’ll find ourselves more vulnerable than we are comfortable with, and we may find ourselves a target of anger as we make others uncomfortable. Let’s not use any of that as a reason to keep silent! In that I take heart from Leonard Cohen’s song “The Anthem:” Ring the bells that still can ring.  Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

I invite you to join me as together we buy Thanksgiving turkeys and raise our voices!

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  
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.
Gateway South Poverty Task Force
Date: November 28
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: St. Andrews United Methodist Church, Cherry Hill, NJ
You are invited to come and participate in this vital ministry on the Gateway South District.
Save the Date: Graceful Controversies Event
Date: March 4, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Mission and Resource Center, 205 Jumping Brook Road, Neptune NJ 07753
Cost: $10.00
Bishop Schol invites all laity and clergy from GNJ into a deeper conversation to develop our hopes and aspirations for the future of The United Methodist Church and send them to the Commission on the Way Forward. Click here for more information and resources.
Registration will open February 10
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!
Regional Prayer Concerns:
  • The death of Josephine Theresa Lagos, mother of George Lagos, Director of Lay Servant Ministries and Plainville UMC Pastor. Prayers for him and his family during this time.
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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