News for the week of December 4, 2017
New Format
Our new Conference eNewsletter format offers a cleaner, mobile-device friendly design with content that better aligns with the Vision2020 six areas of focus: Engaged Disciples, Effective Leaders, Sharing our Stories/Connecting our People, New Places for New People, Assessing & Refining Conference Structure & Vital Congregations.  We will also continue to provide news and events.
In this Newsletter:
  • Emergency Response Team Training
  • Developing Coaching Skills Training in Odessa
  • Beware Online Fraud Attempts
  • Rev. Doug Mills Thwarts Thief
  • 5 Tips for Better Smartphone Photos
  • Refugee US Mayor-Elect is United Methodist
Emergency Response Team Training
Basic Course - Saturday, January 13th
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Christ UMC, 6200 Gibson SE, ABQ
The basic certification qualifies you as a "Badge Carrying" ERT member and enables you to deploy as part of a team in response to a disaster.  Without training and certification, you cannot be part of a disaster early response team.  Certification doesn't mean that you have to respond when called, but you cannot participate unless certified. Participant cost is $40.  Bagels and coffee at breakfast will be provided.  Lunch will be provided as well.  Please let Dru Ann Kuntz at 505-255-8786, ext. 102,  if you are planning to attend.

Click to get more info about Conference Disaster Response Efforts
New Direction - New Year 
Developing Coaching Skills
January 9, 2018 from 5:30 - 8:30 pm
Highland UMC - Odessa
Instructors: Rev. Cheri Lyon & Rev. Doug Mills
$10 by Dec. 27th. Cost increases thereafter.
Workshop Goals:
  • Basic building blocks of coaching
  • Participate in group coaching
  • Use coach approach to ministry 

There will be coaching opportunities offered in other areas of the Conference.  Stay tuned!
Beware Online Fraud Attempts
Brothers and Sisters in Christ's holy ministry, Our congregation was just hit with a unique fraud attempt. A person sent an email to our business administrator from me!  It literally said it was from Russ Nebhut.  In the email I was asking her to wire or transfer $2980.00 to an account number in Baltimore MD. The email exchanged went on for several responses, and my BA was convinced it was actually from me. The final email listed the individuals name, address, bank name, address, account number, and routing number. I just happened to walk into the office as she was about to send it. Please Beware.  The thieves are getting smarter and our churches are not immune!  From Rev. Russ Nebhut, Asbury UMC, Odessa

Rev. Doug Mills Thwarts Thief   
Our own, Rev. W. Doug Mills who pastors Mountainside UMC kept a cool head and was able to stop a thief from taking valuable church equipment.  He even provided officers with a photo of the robber.  The whole story is remarkable.  The link to the KRQE news report.

There are quite a few lessons to take from this experience.  We share it so that you can do some introspection about your own church and what you might do in a similar situation.  It is an excellent case study.  Some suggestions:
  • Even though thieves are savvy enough to work around many security systems, Churches need to review and update their security systems and protocol periodically. 
  • Most churches have already done so, but if not, they need to meet with local law enforcement officials to draft a plan that dictates policies around most eventualities and strengthen relationships with officers. 
  • Churches need to have a crisis communication plan on file.  Doug had been through crisis communication training and knew to graciously answer questions, reinforce the fact that safety of our congregations and church security is of the utmost importance, and not be drawn into the news reporter's potentially inflammatory gun use questions. 
More info from UMCOM
5 Tips for Taking Better Photos on your Smartphone
By Natalie Bannon

Check out Facebook, Twitter or any website, and it's pretty clear that photos have never been more popular. You can brighten a cloudy day by pairing your favorite Scripture with a serene photo. Or you can share the spirit of the action at a church event by capturing a candid moment. Even some professional photographers are skipping the equipment and using their smartphones. Since you usually have it with you, the accessibility allows you to take advantage of even more photo opportunities. Aside from finding the best lighting, planning shots and experimenting with perspective, how do you take snapshots to the next level? Here are five quick tips.
1. Get a grip
We all know that shaky cameras lead to blurry photos. Phones are especially difficult to keep still because they're so lightweight. Steady your grip. Use both hands or brace one arm by holding your elbow like this.

Click for all 5 Tips
photo Ron Guse
Refugee U.S. Mayor-Elect is United Methodist
By Sam Hodges
Wilmot Collins recently made big news by getting elected mayor of a small city. Media outlets across the U.S. and even internationally shared how a refugee from Liberia, in West Africa, was chosen last month to lead overwhelmingly white Helena, Montana.  Overlooked in the coverage was Collins' United Methodist background. But he's happy to talk about it, including his membership at Helena's Covenant United Methodist Church.
"That church is family," the 54-year-old Collins said by phone. "The warmth in that church is unmeasurable."

Wilmot Collins has been active at Covenant United Methodist Church in Helena, Montana, since arriving in the city 23 years ago. The Liberian refugee made big news recently by getting elected mayor of Helena. Collins arrived in Helena, Montana's capital city, 23 years ago, having fled a   Liberian civil war  that claimed the lives of his two younger brothers.  His wife, Maddie, came first. She'd been an exchange student in Helena, and the family she'd lived with helped her get back there. She arrived pregnant, and gave birth to her and Collin's daughter, Jaymie, before Collins could immigrate.
Montana's population is almost 90 percent white, and black people make up under one percent.

Soon after Collins landed in Helena and established a home with Maddie and Jaymie, it was vandalized by the painted words "KKK" and "go back to Africa."  "I don't dwell on that," Collins said. "What I dwell on is the reaction to what happened. My neighbors got together and washed my walls down."
Upcoming Events
Dec 22 - 26 - Conference Office Closed for Christmas
Dec 29 - Jan 2 - Conference Office Closed for New Year's
January 13 - ABQ Emergency Response Team Training - Christ UMC
Feb. 9-11 - CCYM - Sacramento
April 5-7 - TX UM Historical Society Meeting - Trinity-First UMC, El Paso 
Annual Conference - June 13 - 15, 2018 - ABQ Marriott
NM Conference | 505-255-8786 ||