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From all of us at the Mission and Resource Center, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. We're thankful for the opportunity to serve you and your ministries. May God bless you and your friends and families with a joyful spirit of gratitude and love. 

A Future With Hope is the mission arm of the United Methodist Church of Greater NJ dedicated to helping families with Sandy recovery and developing Communities of Hope resourcing for our congregations.

Thankful Hearts, Take Part in Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is next week, Nov. 29. On a day dedicated to giving back, your congregation, community, family and friends can join us in supporting the rebuilding of homes and lives. Through A Future With Hope, United Methodists remain committed to the estimated 3,000 families still struggling to get home 4 years after Sandy. This Thanksgiving season, you can help us continue our work through 2017 by giving out of a thankful heart. Click here to find out how you can join the movement on #GivingTuesdayGNJ. And don't forget to hashtag your giving. 

"Team Vital saved us nine months of work in our church's ministry" - Team Vital participant, Summer 2015

Last Chance to Register for Spring Team Vital 2017 

Collaboration, accountability, and a teamwork pursuit of ministry planning. That's what Team Vital is all about. Leaders are invited to create, expand, share and implement a strategic ministry plan using the 5 markers of vitality. Don't go it alone! Click here for more info and 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 miss out! Click here to register now! 

United Methodists throughout GNJ 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.

What's Next for Imagine No Malaria?  

Wondering what's happening next with Imagine No Malaria? Want to ask what The United Methodist Church is doing to end malaria deaths in Africa? Questions will be answered LIVE on Facebook at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28. Click here to bookmark the page and watch live next week. 

Soul Tend at the 2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation 

This winter, GNJ clergy are invited to a special time of renewal, learning and fellowship at the 2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch. From January 23-25, 2017, attendees will hear from author, coach and consultant Susan Beaumont and enjoy a special event presented by The Music Paradigm. Cost includes registration fee, workbook, two night stay, and 5 meals. Click here to register today.
  • About The Music Paradigm 

    The Music Paradigm is an engaging and unforgettable learning experience where you're a participant, not just an audience member. You will be seated within a live professional orchestra where you observe highly trained musicians as they perform. You won't want to miss this unscripted and authentic experience. Find out more here. 


The Connection 

As a ministry leader today there are certain crises you can count on. However, crisis can be used as God's opportunity. This week's Connection Blog Post features a post by Director of Mission, Nicole Caldwell-Gross. Click here to read more about strategies you can count on to lead your congregation forward in times of crisis. 

Graceful Controversies 

All laity and clergy from GNJ are invited 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. We will hold a gathering on March 4, 2017, for GNJ members to identify how best we would like to see the church move forward and all church members and clergy are welcome to participate. For more info and resources, click here. 

MARCHA Releases Post Election Statement 

MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic/Latino Americans) calls on the denomination to serve as an instrument of peace with justice and unity in a climate of violence and hatred. Click here to read MARCHA's post election statement titled "One Pueblo Building Bridges." 

Important Overtime Pay Ruling 

On Dec. 1, the Dept. of Labor will enact changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption rules. The rule states that any employee who has a salary under $913 per week ($47,476 per year) is entitled to overtime pay for hours worked exceeding 40 hours per week. Click here for critical information about this new ruling.

Year-End Statistical Report Training for Clergy and Laity 

Year-end statistical reports training is open to clergy and laity. Pastors, finance committees, stewardship teams, treasurers, financial secretaries, and auditing committees are encouraged to attend. There will be two sessions for each region so you can sign up for the date and time that is most convenient for you. Click here for more information and to registerPlease register by Friday, Dec. 2

Can Shared Services Help Your Church? 

GNJ's Committee on Finance and Administration is exploring shared services for local churches. Click here to fill out their brief survey to help them set priorities. 

Bishop's Days

Southern Region:
Laity: Wednesday, December 14 | 7:00 p.m. at UMC of Mantua

Central Region:
Clergy: Thursday, December 8 | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Aldersgate UMC
Laity: Thursday, December 8 | 7:00 p.m. at Aldersgate UMC


Career Opportunities: Executive Director of the United Methodist Stewardship Foundation + More 

Now accepting applications for the senior leadership position of the United Methodist Stewardship Foundation of GNJ to raise funds to expand our vision and our reach to transform lives, communities and the world. Find out more and apply here. GNJ is also seeking to fill the following positions: Administrative Assistant for the Regional Manager and Technical Assistant. Find out more and apply here.


UM Communities Annual Report

United Methodist Communities has released its fiscal year 2016 annual report here. The new name, logo and re-branding includes a visual identification design system which will build consistency, recognition and trust as the organization continues to serve seniors throughout New Jersey. 

Being Mortal Film Screening and Discussion 

Join United Methodists Communities at The Shores in Ocean City in partnership with Holy Redeemer Home Care & Hospice for a free screening and discussion of the PBS Frontline documentary, Being Mortal. Thurs. Dec. 1, 11:00 a.m. RSVP to Ryan Champion at (609)365-3063

UM Communities Survey 

Take a few moments to respond to a brief survey from the United Methodist Communities as they look for input to continually strengthen their relationships with GNJ leaders and local churches. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help United Methodist Communities collaborate with and serve you and your communities more effectively. Click here to take part in the brief survey. 

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

Donation Information From the Foundation 

After Thanksgiving, people look toward Christmas with thoughts of giving. Do you know the benefits of donating appreciated securities (stocks, bonds and most mutual funds) to your church and other charities? If you've held them over a year, you can deduct the full value of the security without having to sell it and recognize capital gains. As a nonprofit, the church can sell the security with no tax impact. Wespath can accept donated securities on behalf of Stewardship Foundation member churches, sell them and reinvest the proceeds in the church's investment account. Click here to read 5 ways to rethink Christmas gifts.

Wespath Investment Management 

Wespath Investment Management is the asset manager for the Stewardship Foundation. Its mission is to enable clients to meet their investment objectives while honoring the value of the United Methodist Church. Wespath is a division of Wespath Benefits and Investments, which was formerly known as the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits. This is the same group that manages the pensions for our clergy. Click here to read Wespath's latest monthly investment report. Are you interested in seeing the 2016 Presidential Election impact on investments? Click here to find out. 


Calling All Young Adults and Youth Leaders

Be sure to save the date for February 11, 2017 for an IGNITE Leaders Day at Calvary Korean UMC in East Brunswick, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.. Preston Centuolo, Kenda Creasy Dean, and GNJ local church leaders will be presenting. $15 includes lunch and resource materials. Click here for more information. 

Employment Opportunities


Program Director 

CUMAC seeks a  Program Director to join their staff to critically analyze and evaluate programs to ensure success in achieving objectives and goals. Click here for more information, a complete position description, and application instructions. 


Hispanic Groups Challenge Church 

Hispanic groups in The United Methodist Church have issued a flurry of statements since U.S. Election Day, calling on the denomination to strengthen support for immigrants, and insisting denomination leaders denounce discriminatory rhetoric and actions. Read the story here. 

Way Forward Progress Reported 

The moderators of the special commission that will look at the church's teachings on homosexuality and issues of church unity met Nov. 17-18 to plan for the commission's work. Click here to read a press release about the progress on the Commission on a Way Forward. 


Resource: Tense Times Call for Vital Conversations 

At a time when society seems divided along lines of ideology, race, culture, and ethnicity, the new Vital Conversations Study Guide can help small groups face fears, misunderstandings and tensions. Click here to order a copy of Vital Conversations Videos and Study Guide. 

Resource: Advent Home Worship 

Advent, which starts Sunday, Nov. 27, is when Christians prepare themselves to receive God's gift of Jesus. Writing for United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton offers ideas that go beyond the Advent wreath. Click here to see resources.

Plan to Observe United Methodist Student Day 

Offerings on United Methodist Student Day support scholarships for United Methodist students in college and seminary. Student Day is usually observed on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27 this year). Churches can choose another Sunday to celebrate, too. Click here for resources. 

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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