Latest from the Bishop

Pastoral message following Judicial Council rulings


Bishop Ough urges Minnesota United Methodists to stay together and strong in this in-between time, and to be the leaders and the church God is calling us to be.

We are here for you


When Bishop Dyck announced my appointment change from Minnesota Conference’s director of congregational development to its director of ministries, more than one person inferred that preaching and leading workshops in churches would not be a part of my new job; that somehow all my time would be consumed with running the machinery we know as the Minnesota Annual Conference. Yes, I have ...

What’s our budget for blessings?


Yes, we face many challenges in funding the ministries we value. Still, we have many reasons to give thanks to God. Here are some of the things we have accomplished together: Minnesota Conference apportionment receipts through the end of August 2010 did not decline but are at a similar level as in recent years. Minnesota United Methodists contributed over $400,000 in 2010 to United ...

Detours from the familiar path


Bishop Dyck and I spent two weeks this fall traveling around Minnesota, listening to clergy, seeking to understand the key challenges and realities they face. I invite you to consider with me these questions that our experience raised. I think they merit our further exploration together. What are the fruits of a faithful church? If we were living the life of faith instead of trying to ...

How is the conference budget planned?


All Minnesota United Methodist churches have a voice and vote (through their clergy and lay members to conference) on how they will fund the mission and ministry that they share. Before that vote is taken, a number of people engage in several careful steps to propose a budget. First, the Budget Process Team meets in September, 15 months before the budget will go into effect. On the ...

How does our conference steward funds in this lean economy?


If you have a hard time remembering to write the new year on your checks each January, think about how confused I get when working on three different years’ of Minnesota Conference financial books at the same time. That is what we are doing now. We must close out 2010 and get ready for the 2010 audit. We are preparing to enter 2011 information in our accounting software. And we have ...

E-mail etiquette: The medium is part of the message


By Sheilah Kyburz Moses lifted stone tablets. Disciples drew in the sand. John Wesley rode the circuit. Bishop Clymer typed letters. And in 2010, we send e-mail messages through cyberspace. Though the media have changed, the purpose remains the same: sharing a message—sometimes the message! Crafting e-mail messages carefully can help church staff communicate clearly the content and ...

What if…


I was with a group of congregational development leaders in other annual conferences. We are responsible for new church starts. We are always considering new ways of being church and moving toward the edge of what might be possible. But even among that group of creative thinkers it happened. Someone suggested an approach to church planting that was radically new. About as soon as it was ...

How does federal healthcare reform affect the MAC Plan?


By Barbara Carroll and Jean Edin The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act was passed in Congress and signed by President Obama in March 2010. The provisions of the Healthcare Act will be implemented over a period of years. Many of the regulations that will govern these provisions are yet to be written. It is difficult to tell at this point how the conference’s self-funded ...



I have listened to hundreds of sermons and have preached even more than that. Too many of them—including my own—focus on telling me what to do: a good Christian tithes, prays, reads the Bible daily, works to eliminate poverty, recycles, forgives . . . you get the idea. These are all good things. But what is often missing is demonstrating why I should want to do these things and how I can...

Secretaries: find help at


By Carol Johanneck New to a church office—particularly a United Methodist church office? Or are you an experienced church office worker who is occasionally stumped by a request? The Minnesota Conference web site,, has answers or guidance for many of the tasks you face. Cleaning? You may discover filing cabinets full of old worship bulletins, fliers, newsletters, ...

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