Welcome to the GNJ Digest!
View this email in your browser

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.

More Hope to Give After 4 Years 

Homeowner Jen and her children have spent the last four years displaced. When Superstorm Sandy ravaged the coast of New Jersey in October 2012, the family’s Union Beach home was left in ruins. On October 29, 2016, Jen and her family joined Union Beach Mayor Paul Smith, U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone and United Methodist volunteers from A Future With Hope to mark the anniversary and highlight the work that remains four years after the storm. Click the video above to watch footage from the event or here to read more and view photos. 

Press for A Future With Hope 

The Asbury Park Press - Sandy Recovery: Volunteer Role Hailed in Union Beach
NBC10 Philadelphia - Sandy Victims Still Struggling Years Later
NJ.com - Sandy Victims Soldier On


Work Remains 

As one of the last organizations on the ground helping with Sandy recovery, A Future With Hope remains committed to the more than 4,000 people still struggling to get home 4 years after the storm. Click here to volunteer or here to donate. Your work and funds are rebuilding homes and lives.


One Month Left to Register for Team Vital 2017 

Churches are seeing progress and possibilities working with Team Vital. You too can join forces and team up this Spring by taking part. Click here to read about firsthand experiences. Interested in seeing Team Vital's current participants? Click here to find out. With only one month left, you won't want to miss out on this opportunity to grow. Fill out an application here and register by December 1, 2016. 



Registration Open for 2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation 

Registration is now open for the 2017 Bishop's Clergy Convocation. Featuring plenary and small group sessions led by author, coach and consultant Susan Beaumont and a special event presented by The Music Paradigm, the event will be held January 23-25, 2017, at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch, NJ. Come for renewal, learning, and fellowship. Cost includes registration fee, workbook, two night stay, and 5 meals. Click here to register today. 

The Connection 

Fact: Racism is real, rampant, and sneaky. Have you ever had someone criticize the way you speak about, interact with, or generally think about people of other races? Check out the new Connectional Ministries blog post featuring Trey Wince, Director of New Disciples, and find out more. Click here to read.

Two GNJ Award Opportunities 

The Commission on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relationships is seeking nominations for an individual and a congregation that work in the areas of Christian Unity and Interfaith Relationships. Nominations must be received by Feb. 1, 2017. More info can be found on the nomination forms and questions may be directed to Rev. Jessica Campbell or by calling (845)893-9267

Nominations Sought for Helenor Alter Davisson Award 

The Commission on the Status and Role of Women is seeking nominations for the Helenor Alter Davisson Award for outstanding women leadership and influence in GNJ. The deadline for receipt of nominations is Feb. 1, 2017. Click here for more info. Please send completed application and supporting documents to Rev. Michelle Ryoo, 60 Cedar St., Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660 or through email.

Change The World: Join a UMVIM Trip to Haiti 

Do you want to help change the world this winter? Be a part of a UMVIM team mission to Haiti, Jan. 7-14, 2017, join the GNJ Walter Filtration Team or donate to the GNJ Clean Water for Haiti fund. Click here for more info, call (732)865-3730 or email Kathy Ahmad to find out more.

2016 Fall Advanced Lay Servant Registration 

A local church Lay Servant serves the community through ministries of leading, caring and communicating. There is still time to register for fall classes. You may attend classes in any district. Click here for 2016 Fall Lay Servant ministry certification and re-certification. 

Bishop's Days

Southern Region:
Laity: Wed. 12/14 - 7:00 p.m. at UMC of Mantua 
Northern Region:
Laity: Wed. 11/09 - 7:00 p.m. at Little Falls UMC
Clergy: Thurs. 11/10 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Little Falls UMC
Central Region:
Clergy: Thurs. 12/08 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Aldersgate UMC
Laity: Thurs. 12/08 - 7:00 p.m. at  Aldersgate UMC 

United Methodists throughout the conference 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.


Giving Tuesday 2016

Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Your congregation, community, family and friends can join us in supporting The Mission Fund for #GivingTuesdayGNJ. Click here to find out how you can join the movement. 

Malaria, Other Illnesses Up Since Ebola 

Staff at United Methodist hospitals in Sierra Leone report increases in the number of patients with malaria since the end of the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak. Doctors cite a number of reasons for higher infection rates, including the interruption of some prevention efforts during Ebola. Cases of typhoid fever, hepatitis and high blood pressure also are on the rise. Read the story here.


Save the Date: IGNITE Leaders Day  

Youth Leaders, be sure to save the date for February 11, 2017 for an IGNITE Leaders Day. Preston Centuolo, Kenda Creasy Dean, and GNJ local church leaders will be presenting. Stay tuned for more information soon!


Mural Contest 

The Pinelands Center at Mount Misery is looking for talented children, youth, adults or groups to paint a mural on the camp's shower house. Click here to send a picture and join the contest to win the opportunity to paint. Contest ends Dec. 1. You can also send your picture by mail to 801 Mt. Misery Rd., Browns Mills, NJ 08015 
Health Insurance News

Open Enrollment for 2017 Health Insurance Plans 

Open enrollment for the Active and Retiree Health Plan is scheduled for Nov. 2-17. Watch for the Notice of Open Enrollment being mailed to all churches. Click here for the 2016 Health Insurance Guidelines.

Active Employees 

Federal Law requires that the opportunity to enroll be offered to every eligible employee, including church controlled nursery school employees. Eligible employees (30 or more house/week) - clergy and lay staff, this is the time to enroll or waive coverage for yourself, add or remove an eligible child or spouse, waive coverage for eligible dependents from your HealthFlex plan for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Click here for open enrollment info for HealthFlex for Active employees.

Retirees over 65 

Eligible retirees may enroll in the United HealthCare Medicare Advantage National PPO Plan if they meet the eligibility requirements in the Health Insurance Guidelines. Retirees who previously waived coverage in retirement may enroll at this time. Click here for open enrollment info for United Healthcare for Retirees over 65.

2017 FSA Salary Reduction Increase 

The IRS announced late last week that the 2017 maximum salary reduction has been increased to $2,600. GNJ does not offer an FSA for clergy. Entering an amount in Line 10 does not constitute an FSA plan - see Line 10 instructions below. FSA payroll deductions must be held in a qualified FSA plan offered by your local church. Detailed receipts are required for reimbursement of IRS qualified expenses. 
  • Line 10 - Flexible Spending Account – Reporting an amount on this form does not constitute a Flexible Spending Plan. This is an amount withheld from the pastor’s salary and used by the church to reimburse medical or childcare expenses on a tax-exempt basis. The maximum allowable amount is $2,600. Do not use this line to report medical expenses that are not reimbursed under a qualified Section 125 plan - use line 15. The church’s plan must have a written Plan Document and an Enrollment Form. A Plan Form is required to change the amount withheld per IRS rules. Professional assistance is recommended to set up Section 125 Flexible Spending Plans.
Finance News 

New GNJ Financial Management Training Video 

To ensure that you have the resources for accurate and complete financial records, a new training video has been created by the Greater New Jersey Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A) designed for laity involved in financial management of our churches. Click here to watch or download the transcript. If you have questions contact Conference Treasurer, John Cardillo or CF&A Chair of Shared Services, Jack Scharf



Videos Encourage Faithful to Vote 

United Methodist leaders and others explain in shareable videos why it is important for people of faith to vote. The initiative was inspired by MARCHA and supported by the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry of the UMC. Click here to watch. 

Mass Incarceration a Civil Rights Issue 

Ndume Olatushani is an artist, teacher and internationally known speaker - success he achieved after spending 28 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Olatushani was one of the speakers at a national Prison Summit on Mass Incarceration sponsored by the United Methodist Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century. Click here to read the story. 


Academy for Spiritual Formation 

Clergy and laity who are hungry for a deeper relationship with God and looking for spiritually disciplined community are welcome to be a part of the Academy for Spiritual Formation. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, the Academy is open to lay and clergy who want to rediscover Christianity's rich spiritual heritage through worship, learning and fellowship. Click here for more info.

How to Use your Church's History for Good

Church leaders can use the history of their congregation, community or denomination in multiple ways, including as a tool to build community awareness. Click here for tips.

Plans Underway for Young People's Gathering 

A planning team is being assembled for the 2018 Global Young People's Convocation, which brings together the voices and ideas of United Methodist young people from around the world every four years. The convocation is scheduled for July 18-22, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Read the press release here.

Communication News and Tips


Tech Assistant and Other Career Opportunities 

GNJ is seeking a Technical Assistant to support the Communications Dept. Click here for more info. Job opportunities in Greater New Jersey are available to browse on the web. From youth directors, Sunday School teachers, musicians and custodians, you can click here to see the latest postings. 

Let the Mission and Resource Center Serve You 

Don't miss out on the available resources the Mission and Resource Center has to offer. Click here to fill out the Conference Meeting Room request form and reserve space for your congregation, agency, or committee. 

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.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp