Bishops Called to Navigate 'Off the Map'  
By Heather Hahn, UMNS  
 
Bishop Ough presenting at the Council of Bishops Meeting
 
     United Methodist bishops find themselves "off the map" as they try to navigate a way forward through the church's impasse over homosexuality, said Bishop Bruce R. Ough.
"There is currently no larger or intractable barrier to the mission, unity and vitality of The United Methodist Church than the matter of homosexuality," the Council of Bishops president said November 6,  in his fall address  to 127 of his episcopal colleagues. Ough also leads the Dakotas-Minnesota area.

Bishops uphold values of mission, unity, space, contextuality  
in interim report on Way Forward work
from Council of Bishops Communications 
Bishops pray for Commission on a Way Forward

     Placing emphasis on the values of unity, space and contextuality - all for the sake of mission - the Council of Bishops (COB) is exploring sketches of three models as possible directions for a way forward for The United Methodist Church over LGBTQ inclusion.
     With the mission of God through the risen Christ at the core, the bishops this week received an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward that offered three sketches of models that would help ease the impasse in the church, noting that the power of the Holy Spirit trumps and guides all the church's activities. The Commission serves the COB, helping prepare the COB to fulfill its mandate to make a recommendation for a way forward to the General Conference.
     Just as the Commission did not express a preference for any of the models in its interim report to the COB in order for the bishops to fully do their work, the COB is also not now expressing a preference for any model, while engaging deeply with them and the implications for their church and their leadership. This will provide the space bishops need to teach and engage leaders in their episcopal areas.

 Refugees Find Community with United Methodists
Story by Vicki Brown, photos by Mike DuBose 
 
Note: Rev. George Miller is a Full Elder in the NM Conference, who is currently serving as a commissioned missionary in Germany.  His wife, Rev. Heike Miller is a member of the UMC in Germany. 
 
 
The Rev. Heike Miller (right)introduces Sahize, a recent immigrant from Syria at Cafe Gegenueber - a weekly gathering for coffee, cake and conversation at the United Methodist Church in Lorsbach,  Germany.

     Kuscha Alipoor took sanctuary at the United Methodist church here for three months while he fought deportation in 2013.
     Now, the Iranian is a member of the church who works as the janitor and is renovating the church-owned apartment where his family lives.
     Along the way, his marriage ended and he lost his company and his homeland. But he has no regrets.
     "I am happy because I have rights, I am in a very safe country," said Alipoor, who said he was persecuted for his Christian faith. "I can be a clean man here. I don't have to lie about anything."
     Uta Dauner Eisbrenner helps Muhammad Mshehadat (left) and Maker Araksousi with a vocabulary exercise during a German class for recent immigrants at the United Methodist Church of the Caller in Frankfurt, Germany. Helping, at right is volunteer Christa Shweitzer. 
     Alipoor is one of four people given sanctuary at Erlöserkirche Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche (United Methodist Church of the Redeemer) amid a wave of refugees and migrants fleeing war, persecution, poverty and other humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Africa. As of 2016, about   1.6 million foreign-born people  had registered in    Germany asking for protection as refugees. Most of those came in 2014 and 2015.
     Germany Area Bishop Harald Rückert said many United Methodist churches in the country work with migrants or refugees, although not all.
     "Many just open the door and say, 'Here we are, if there is help needed, we provide food, we provide a place where they can meet,'" the bishop said. "There's a much smaller group that are trying to do a little bit more, not only to help, but to try to speak to politicians, to try to force our officials not only to help, but to change policies. And that's a very huge task and a complex task."
 

  Churches and Gun Violence: 7 Practical Preparation Tips 
by Rebekah Simon-Peter
 
     Gun shots rocked yet another church over the weekend.  Sunday services in  Sutherland Springs TX turned into a blood bath, with at least 27 dead.  Before that horrifying incident, the folks of this small town felt protected by their rural setting.  But as we're discovering, even those things don't prevent gun violence from unfolding.
     What's a church to do?  I want to share with you 7 practical tips from Rev. Derrek Belase, a former certified police officer turned pastor, with two degrees in criminology.  He is now the Director of Discipleship of the Oklahoma Annual Conference.  His current portfolio includes coordinating the Safe Sanctuary Training.
     Derrek believes that you can't completely prevent gun violence from erupting.  Even with the best laid plans or the best legislation.   Then what?  How can a church adequately protect itself?  Here are 7 practical tips that can help any church prepare for the unexpected.
  1. Establish relationships with the first responders and other key people in your community.  Get to know the Sheriff, Chief of Police, Chief of the Fire Department as well as the Mayor and County Commissioners.  Let them get to know you and exchange cell phone numbers.  That way, they'll know if they get a call from you on a Sunday morning, it's a bonafide emergency.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't call 911 if violence or threats of violence break out in your sanctuary.  But also call them.

Click here to read the full article 

 
Bishop: Puerto Rico Rises with Church's Help
Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez_ UMNS.
By Heather Hahn 
 
     Puerto Rico is rising up from the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but the U.S. territory continues to need The United Methodist Church's help. Bishop Hector Ortiz shared that message Nov. 6 after dinner with the denomination's Council of Bishops.  Ortiz leads the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, which is an autonomous denomination that continues to have close ties with The United Methodist Church. Ortiz is a member of the Council of Bishops, which is meeting Nov. 5-8 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.
"The spirit of our people is not destroyed," he said. "The people of Puerto Rico are resilient. Led by the Holy Spirit, we are rising up."  But, he added, "We can't do it alone."
He pointed to the ways church members are already helping the long recovery. With the support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief and several United Methodist conferences, Ortiz said, the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico is providing essential supplies, health clinics and pastoral care to a storm-swept people.   "At the same time that our congregations are responding to immediate needs in their communities, we are drafting a comprehensive, strategic plan with the help of UMCOR that will focus our work," he said.
Ultimately, he expects his church to be "a catalyst of hope for the community in the months and years to come."
     The bishops heard updates from Ortiz as well as United Methodist bishops whose areas suffered the recent hurricanes.  One thing is certain: Recovery is just getting started in the hurricane-wrecked parts of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
     Bishop Robert Schnase, who leads the Rio Texas Conference where Hurricane Harvey made landfall, described the paradox many areas encounter in the wake of disaster.  A huge number of people are eager to help as soon as disaster strikes, but it's too soon for churches to know what they will need. By the time churches are ramping up a response, Schnase said, the interest in helping has dwindled. Nevertheless, he stressed, the need for volunteer teams is only getting bigger after this year's hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.
Emergency Response Team Training

The need for certified workers to go to areas affected by disasters remains great.  There will be an Emergency Response Team(ERT) Training on Saturday, November 18th in Farmington. Already, 19 people have RSVP'd Click for more info.

There will be an Albuquerque ERT Training on Saturday, January 13th.  More information to be announced shortly.  For more info, please contact Hap Escue: hapescue@aol.com


Important Note:  The HealthFlex Annual Election period is Nov. 1-16th.  You can enroll for dental and higher (than the provided) vision coverage but ALL family members under the plan must be signed up for the same coverage. In other words, one person cannot be signed up for the higher vision plan and not the rest of those covered. Questions?  Contact Dru Ann Kuntz, Conference Benefits Officer at 505-255-8786, ext. 102 
 
 

Get your Laity Connected!
     Currently, every pastor and every local church receives our conference eNewsletter. Laity who have self-selected to subscribe also receive it.  We recognize that we can do more to connect all of our people.  Our objective is not only to get more information to our people, but also make it easier to hear your stories.  
     To that end, we are working to widen the audience of the once-weekly email blast.  If you are so inclined, please use the graphic above in your church communications.  If you would like a different format, please contact our Conference Communications Director,  Alli Newsom at alli@nmconfum.com.  The sign up link can be accessed on the front page of the Conference website: http://www.nmconfum.com/ 
     We are working on a new, cleaner, mobile responsive newsletter design.  Stay tuned! 

#GivingTuesday - November 28th

On November 28th, you are invited to come together with thousands of United Methodists to support the work of Advance missionaries and projects on UMC #GivingTuesday. Connect your passion with God's mission as you give to a world in need through your prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

Movimiento Hispano/Latino - NWTX Conference
These forward thinking ideas, events & programs impact the NM Conference as well.   

Connections
Connections - English
  
Connections - Espanol
Connections - Espanol

Charge Conference Season is upon us!

Get your current forms!
Click here for Charge Conference Forms
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The last Itineration is Saturday, November 18th in El Paso. 
 

Upcoming Events
 
November
Nov. 10-11- CLM Training - Asbury-Odessa
Nov. 10-11 - CLM Training - University-Las Cruces  
Nov. 15 - Wonder, Love & Praise Event - Central UMC-ABQ   
Nov. 18 - ERT Training - FUMC-Farmington  
Nov. 28 - #GivingTuesday 
 
Fall Itineration Schedule
Nov 18 - El Paso, Trinity-First 2:00 pm
    
 
Annual Conference - June 13 - 15, 2018 - ABQ Marriott 
 
 
Click here for the Conference Calendar

Classifieds
Conference Calendar
UMC website
 


RELEVANT, PASSIONATE, AND LIFE-CHANGING CHURCHES

New Mexico Annual Conference  

11816 Lomas Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87112

Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Receptionist Hours: 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

(800) 678-8786 toll free; (505) 255-8786; (505) 265-6184 fax

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Please send photos, articles, events, etc. to Alli Costello, Communications Director at alli@nmconfum.com.  Send classified ads to frontdesk@nmconfum.com.