Blogs/Columns


Latest from the Bishop

Preparing our hearts and minds for General Conference

2/14/2019

I humbly offer you several considerations for your spiritual preparations for General Conference. Let us set all our hope on the grace of Jesus Christ!


We can’t afford to lose life-changing camping ministry

4/23/2012

We have some difficult decisions to make as a church about our camp and retreat ministry. Many of us had significant experiences, perhaps even life-changing ones, at church camp. We discovered the power of Christian community. We may have heard a call to full-time Christian vocation. Perhaps we have been going to the same family camp year after year and its location is sacred ground to ...


What’s the recommended 2013 budget?

4/23/2012

The 2013 annual conference recommended budget is just over $6.2 million, $130,000 lower than the 2012 budget. The 2013 budget continues a trend of declining budgets. The 2013 budget, if approved as recommended, will be at our ceiling (maximum allowed by conference rules) and at the same level as our 2003 budget. Ten of the last fourteen budgets have been below ceiling; three have been at...


Do we believe we are an Easter church?

3/26/2012

I heard a respected church consultant say that every church could potentially have in weekly worship the number of people who attend on Easter Sunday. He was consulting with a church of about 1,100 people who attend on Easter; on a “normal” week, they have about 500 in worship. It was intriguing to consider what this church would be doing differently, what the staffing would look like, ...


How does Imagine No Malaria generosity compare to apportionments?

3/26/2012

You may have read about the Minnesota Conference apportionment receipt rate for 2011. For several years, we held steady at receiving 86 percent of the amount we apportioned, but dropped to 84.2 percent in 2011. You probably also know that the Minnesota Conference is leading the denomination with our pledges and gifts for Imagine No Malaria. You have pledged or given over $2,397,445, more...


Fly fishing or ice fishing?

3/2/2012

For me, fishing is more than recreation; it’s a time of re-creation of body, mind, and spirit. It takes me away from the normal scenes and routines of life. The activity redirects thoughts from roles and responsibilities to the pursuit of different game. The environment stirs the soul as all five senses are stimulated by ocean, river, lake and stream. I enjoy all forms of fishing, but a ...


How do we calculate the budget ceiling? Why do we apportion for uncollectibles?

3/2/2012

I often hear questions about the annual conference apportioned budget, such as, “How do we calculate this?” or “Why do we do that?” Here’s some information about one of the “hows” (our ceiling rule) and one of the “whys” (a separate line item as a contingency for uncollectible apportionments). The Minnesota Conference has a budget “ceiling” rule that prevents the annual conference budget...


Noticed, known, and cared for

3/2/2012

Most every Tuesday and Thursday morning I drag myself out of bed at 5:10 a.m. so I can torture myself for an hour on a spin bike. I do it for one really good reason: I need the exercise. But mostly what helps me get there is I have a friend who attends the same class. I know she will be there, and I tell myself that if she can make it, I can too. And I like starting my day seeing and ...


2011: How we’ve focused our ministry

2/9/2012

by Cindy Gregorson and Barbara Carroll Looking back on 2011, the word that describes the work of the Minnesota Annual Conference is focus. We have spent the past year focusing our work and resources toward our key priorities of reaching new people and cultivating spiritual vitality. 1. We launchedthe Healthy Church Initiative, an intensive process for congregations to assess their ...


Being church vs. doing church

12/28/2011

I was talking with a pastor of a new church in another denomination recently and was struck by his novel approach to ministry. What caught my attention was not just his seamless interweaving of Christian worship and interfaith dialogue. What caught my attention was not just the two-point charge he launched in two different restaurant/bars across town from one another. What caught my ...


New neighbors have arrived

12/22/2011

I noticed something was changing as I handed out candy on Halloween. By my informal observation, 80 percent of my trick-or-treaters were NOT Caucasian. I live in Rosemount. Most people, upon hearing where I live, would expect the opposite . . . that 80 percent of my neighbors are Caucasian. I knew that the block I lived on was fairly diverse in terms of age and ethnicity—which is one of ...


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