March 18, 2021, Zoom Times

10:00 am Morning Zoom:

1:00 pm Afternoon Zoom:

I value your opinions and insight. This will be such a valuable time to share ideas. Please join us.

Feel free to copy this image and share it with families who may like cooking!
If your church does a children's message, it can be taxing to think of how to relate the scripture to children in four minutes or less! Here is the website of a Lutheran Pastor who follows the Lectionary and each week gives ideas to go with scripture for Children's Messages.

If your church doesn't follow the Lectionary, no worries because there is a search bar, and you can type in the scripture you are looking for to see past ideas for that scripture.

If you have volunteers who give the Children's Message, this would be a good link to their email reminder about their scheduled message. It sure helps to have some ideas, even if you don't use the exact message. It really gets the creative juices flowing.

Things to keep in mind when giving a children's message:
  • Practice what you will say to get to the point without many details.

  • If it is a Gospel story, let the story speak for itself as you use a picture Bible and wondering questions.

  • Not all sermons are in the subject arena for a Children's Message. So when that happens, use the message time to teach a skill. Why do we light candles? Share a unique prayer method. How to use the Hymnal? What is a benediction? What is the prelude? Where do you think the offering plate goes after it has been passed?

  • Please keep it in the 4-minute range or less.

  • Don't ever let a child answer a question you ask to become the comedy relief during the message. The child will never answer for you again. It is okay to quiet the adults by saying ahead of your question to the children for all to hear: "All our answers are our best answers, and I know no grown-up in the room will laugh, so answer what you feel."

  • Keep the treat giving at a minimum. You want them to leave with a nugget of God's love, not distracted by opening up the candy you gave them. When asked what they learned, they will recall the sweet candy, not the sweet word.

  • If one of your volunteer's theology seems off, sit down with them and share the curriculum check-list of what we believe as Methodist. It may seem like a hard conversation, but it can be a growing experience if done in a loving way instead of criticizing. A sentence that starts with I noticed during your message you said (fill in the blank) our Methodist theology teaches us (fill in the blank). I just wanted you to know for next time. You could also add that you are always available to practice a message even if it is last minute and on facetime. Everyone's spiritual journey is different, so you never want someone to feel shame.
The Annual Conference's planning committee is doing a promotional hashtag #LIVEWITHLIGHT to encourage all churches to come together as we prepare to gather. They asked me to prepare a Children's Message that a pastor, volunteer, or Children's Minister could do at each church. Church members could then tag pictures with the #LIVEWITHLIGHT, and the communications team will be able to collect them for sharing at this year's Annual Conference.

If you click on the link below, you can download the Children's Message and graphics for our website's message for free.
When the Arkansas Annual Conference gathers, it is a family reunion. We missed our time together last year when we were required to conduct the 2020 Annual Conference using an online format. 

The 2021 Arkansas Annual Conference will be held June 2-5, 2021, utilizing a hybrid format that will allow participants to gather either in-person in the Hot Springs Convention Center or online via Zoom. Both those who attend in-person and by Zoom will have the ability to fully participate in every aspect of the Conference, including voting and speaking to the entire Annual Conference. 

Of course, the Bishop and Annual Conference Planning Committee will continue to monitor appropriate COVID-19 trends and vaccine distribution data and make decisions about adopting a different format should conditions warrant.  As we draw closer to June 2, updates will be issued via email and on the Annual Conference 2021 webpage. Information regarding lodging, petitions, and resolutions (due March 15) is already available, and full registration will be open in early April. 

The 2021 Annual Conference is being planned carefully to be a safe gathering. This will include adhering to the current real-time COVID-19 guidelines recommended by the Center for Disease Control, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the Arkansas Annual Conference. It also means many of the usual meals, displays, and gatherings will not be held.   

As Arkansas United Methodists, we have been at our best as we have lived our ministry and our connectional life together in extraordinary times. This has required responding and adapting to quickly changing circumstances involving the pandemic.  At this point, the uncertainties that exist as we prepare for this year’s Annual Conference can be frustrating for everyone. Please be patient, continue to extend grace to each other and #LiveWithLight as we look forward to this year’s Arkansas Annual Conference.
Dates to remember:
  • Annual Conf. June 2021
  • Quest September 25, 2021