Intersections Conference in Nashville, Tennessee – March 23-25, 2018

Register Now for Intersections Conference to Discuss Diversity on College Campuses


NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 12, 2018 – The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) will host the Intersections Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on March 23-25, 2018. Registration is available now through February 22, 2018. The event is designed for college administrators, faculty, chaplains and campus ministers, student life staff members, students, church leaders, and others interested in the impact of increased religious diversity on college campuses.  


The primary focus of Intersections centers around the concepts found in the new book, “Intersections: Faith, Church, and the Academy.” Through a variety of themed essays, the book explores the effect that engagements or intersections between individuals of diverse faith backgrounds and belief systems may have upon campuses, communities and students. As well, the volume specifically explores the ways that faith-based institutions are responding to increases in religious diversity on their campuses. The Intersections Conference brings together the authors and others to discuss these topics.


“With diversity comes enrichment and growth, as well as anxieties rooted often in misunderstandings,” shared Rev. Matthew Charlton, Ph.D., assistant general secretary, Collegiate Ministry at GBHEM. “This event brings us together to discuss the unique questions and challenges facing institutional administrators, faculty chaplains, and campus ministry leaders.”


The opening plenary session will be led by Rev. Mark Hanshaw, Ph.D., J.D., associate general secretary of the Division of Higher Education, GBHEM. A banquet will be held for guests at the Vanderbilt Divinity School Reading Room where Eboo Patel, Ph.D., founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, will give the keynote address. Patel founded Interfaith Youth Core on the idea that religion should be a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He is inspired to build this bridge by his identity as an American Muslim navigating a religiously diverse social landscape. For over 15 years he has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council and is the author of Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground, and Interfaith Leadership: A Primer. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.


The event will include four working sessions designed with the purpose of establishing a forum to consider the ideas, approaches, and questions relating to religious diversity on college campuses. The conference will include:

  • Discussions of key historical events associated with the expansion of interfaith engagement within the U.S.
  • Exploration of specific programmatic models for interfaith engagement being employed on U.S. campuses
  • Consideration of trends and future opportunities stemming from increased religious diversity upon college campuses


S. Wesley Ariarajah, Ph.D., professor emeritus of ecumenical theology, Drew University School of Theology, will present at the conference. Ariarajah served for over 10 years as director of the Department of Interfaith Dialogue Program of the World Council of Churches (WCC). From 1992, he was the deputy general secretary of the WCC. He recently published “Strangers or Co-Pilgrims?: The Impact of Interfaith Dialogue on Christian Faith and Practice.”

Closing worship will conclude with a panel and discussion on interfaith engagement, followed by closing remarks from Noah Silverman, director of Faculty Partnerships at Interfaith Youth Core.

To learn more or register to attend Intersections, click here. Registration is $300 and includes two nights at the Embassy Suites at Vanderbilt, most meals and conference materials. Commuter registrations are $100, which includes conference materials, the banquet, and lunch on Saturday.

Registration is open through February 22, 2018. The event is March 23-25, 2018 in Nashville. For more information on GBHEM and the Division of Higher Education, visit

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.


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2018 Albion District Celebration

Our afternoon will begin with gathering at 3:00 pm  followed by a final Albion District Conference at 3:30 pm. We will then enjoy a lovely dinner (a gift from the District) at 4 o’clock and then a worship celebration with guest speaker Rev. Faith Fowler at 5 o’clock. You MUST register by February 2, 2018 if you wish to attend the dinner.



The Albion District has a long history of mission involvement.  Several of our churches have been ardent supporters and participants in the V.I.M. (Volunteers in Mission) program.  Our District Mission Team and our District Leadership Team is challenging the Albion District to raise money to establish an Albion District V.I.M. Scholarship.

The Scholarship would enable a person who has the desire, but not the income, to become a part of a V.I.M. team experience.  Our goal is to raise at least $10,000 by the time we hold our Farewell Celebration.  Our District will match one dollar for every dollar contributed by our churches.  $10,000 would then become $20,000!

If we raise over $10,000 then we will still match dollar for dollar.  Donations will establish an endowment fund that will insure a long-lasting legacy in the name of the Albion District.

You may bring your gift to the Albion District V.I.M  Grant to the celebration or mail it to the Albion District Office. Please make the check out to UNITED METHODIST FOUNDATION and in the memo write ALBION DISTRICT VIM GRANT.

2017 Mission u Studies

Detroit Conference & West Michigan Conference Mission u & the Conference Board of
Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church CORDIALLY invite men & women to:
2017 Mission u Studies – A study, fellowship and worship experience at First United Methodist Church, 215 S Center Ave, Gaylord, MI  49735, on Monday & Tuesday, October 16-17, 2017.

“Learning Together for the Transformation of the World”
Mission Conferences of the UMC in the US by J. Ann Craig (Geographic Study)
This study gives an overview of the 3 missionary conferences in the UMC: The Alaska United Methodist
Conference, Red Bird Missionary Conference, and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. What does
the future look like for these conferences? Study Leader: Rev. Julie Yoder Elmore

Living as a Covenant Community by Evy McDonald (Spiritual Growth Study)
This study examines major covenants throughout the Bible and what they reveal about God’s character and
eternal love for us. It will enhance your understanding of how God works with us, in us, and through us.
Study Leader: Rev. Deborah Johnson

Climate Justice: A Call to Hope & Action edited by Pat Watkins (Social Action Study)
We live on a small blue planet in the midst of a mind-bogglingly huge universe. It is a fragile planet, and it’s
the only one we have to call home. Our responsibility is to learn how to live in right relationship with God,
each other, and with the earth itself. Study Leader: Nichea VerVeer Guy

MISSION u of the NORTH – First UMC, Gaylord, MI
Choices for studies: (Everyone attends Spiritual Growth study.)
Mark your 1st & 2nd choice: ______“UMC Missionary Conferences in the US” or _______ “Climate Justice”
Note: Classes are limited to 25 persons. Class assignment is based on order of receipt of registrations.
Check if appropriate: _____Diabetic _____Vegetarian _____1st time attendee
SEND THE REGISTRATION FORM AND $65 FEE (which includes 3 meals) TO:
Tiffany Crawford, 800 E. Hull Rd., Hope, MI 48628 (989-429-9418)
* * * * * * * * * * *
Celebrating 38 Years of Mission Learning!
EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about Mission u of the North without even asking!
(Attendance at Mission u is by pre-registration.)
WHERE: First United Methodist Church, Gaylord, MI – 215 S. Center St., Gaylord, MI, 49735
989-732-5380 – The church is handicap accessible.
TIME: Registration at 9:00 am on Monday, October 16, 2017- gathering at 9:30 in sanctuary
Conclusion at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, October 17, 2017
LODGING: The Baymont Hotel has a block of rooms reserved for us with a special price of $67.99 + tax if register before October 1st using the group ID number of 1015MN. This is the best price in the area!
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: October 9, 2017 Make checks payable to: Mission u of the North
(There are no refunds after that date, but substitutions will be accepted.)
SCHOLARSHIPS: Limited scholarships of $35.00 each are available for first time attendees. Contact the registrar for details. Please also see if your local UMW unit will help defray costs.
DEPENDENT CARE: For the fourth year, dependent care reimbursement is being offered @ $20.00/day – contact the registrar for details. (Includes children & dependent adults)
RESOURCE TABLE: UMW Reading Program & Mission u study books will be for sale during Mission u. However, it is recommended that study books be purchased (and read!) prior to Mission u, either from District Annual UMW Celebrations or from the Service Center: 1-800-305-9857 or
SPECIAL OFFERING: Divided between Alaska, Red Bird, & Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conferences.
Make checks payable to “Mission u of the North”.
WORKSHOPS: Additional learning opportunities include: Rev. Fowler – Cass Community Social Services; Randy Hildebrandt – God’s Cooperative Parish; Rose Simmons – UM Community House in Grand Rapids; Della Wilder – Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, Illinois
MONDAY NIGHT PROGRAM: Rev. Faith Fowler on “Tiny Houses”. This program will be open to anyone who wants to attend “free of charge”, and a free-will donation/offering will be taken to benefit this Cass Community Social Services UMC project.
IN-GATHERING: Baby items for the New Life Pregnancy Resource Center in Gaylord.
Items needed are: * Newborn: mittens, diapers, 1 piece sleepers (sizes up to 3 mos.); outfits * Preemies: mittens, diapers * Diapers – sizes 4-6 *Outfits – sizes up to 2T

To serve United Methodist – MEN and WOMEN – in the Michigan area;
To challenge, involve and commit us ALL in the area of global responsibility.

Uniting Against Abuse Conference


  • We are called to embrace our faith while reaching across religious and cultural divides to help the hurting.


  • We have talked directly with over 450 faith leaders in the last year and to over 1,000 people trying to understand why West Michigan has such alarming abuse statistics.  We aren’t lacking for great people who care.  After talking with insightful leaders in all areas, the solution is clear.  We need to partner and come together as a community to solve this problem.


  • The faith communities, agencies, ministries, corporations, health care and law enforcement of Southwest Michigan are uniting to watch peace to support the survivors of abuse.  This is an event where all faith communities play an equal role in coming together.
  • The conference has been endorsed by Former President and Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter.  See link:  UnitingAgainstAbuse.Love

To view Jimmy Carters TED Talk:  Why the Mistreatment of Women and Children is the Number One Human Rights Abuse


  • This is a one-day conference at Christ Memorial Church of Holland, 595 Graafschap Rd, Holland, MI 49423 from 9 am-4:45 pm.
  • This conference is unique in that it provides solutions to West Michigan’s most pervasive criminality:  Domestic Abuse.
  • There will be 16 breakout sessions led by national speakers, authors, and highly respected agencies and ministries in West Michigan.
  • Cost per ticket is $30.00.  For those in need of financial assistance, scholarship will be provided.
  • Continental breakfast and lunch are included
  • Co-ministry partnerships will be supported by the United Way of Ottawa County to give more advocacy, volunteerism and support to help the hurting.

Speakers to Include:

  • Pastor Jim Liske, Christ Memorial Church
  • Dennis Van Kampen, CEO Mel Trotter Ministries
  • Pastor Denise Kingdom Grier, Maple Avenue Church
  • Wibke Rees, Executive Director Celebrate Recovery, Central Wesleyan Church
  • Rebecca McDonald, President and Founder, Women at Risk
  • Margarita Solis-Deal, Director Dominican Center at Marywood
  • Bonnie Nichols, Safe Church Ministry Director
  • Tara Aday, Program Director, Safe Haven Ministries
  • Charisse Mitchell, CEO, YWCA of Grand Rapids
  • Nita Belles, author, speaker, and anti-human trafficking crusader
  • Darcy Komejan MA, Executive Director, Childrens Advocacy Center
  • Danielle Lucksted, MA, Prevention and Education Program Manager at Safe Haven Ministries
  • Ashley Schulte VAWA Grant Coordinator & Victim Advocate Women’s Center, Grand Valley State University, Sara Bazydlo, LMSW, Victim Advocate & Prevention Educator, Hope College
  • Bob VandePol, Executive Director, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services
  • Sarah Prout Rennie, J.D., is the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCEDSV) Interim Assistant Director and Policy Attorney
  • Holly Seymour, MS, Program Director, Center for Women in Transition
  • Cindy Westcott, BA, BS, LCSW
  • Gary Ellens, Executive Director, City on a Hill
  • Patrick Moran, President, United Way of Ottawa County
  • Pastor Nancy Boelens, Retired Methodist Pastor and author of Shame, Shame Go Away
  • Professor Linda Graham, Professor Matthew Farmer, H2 Dance Company, Hope College
  • Chanita Wells-Vance, Holy Trinity Church of God in Christ


  • Our faith community is the first place victims of abuse turn when to when seeking help.
  • Domestic Abuse as the leading criminality in West Michigan
  • Michigan ranks 2nd in Sex Trafficking, 9th in Domestic Homicides, and 9th in Child Abuse and Neglect in the nation
  • Hard for faith communities because the abuser and abused are often in the same congregation and it is uncomfortable for the church to help because they don’t want to be in a position of taking sides.
  • By providing our faith community with tools, we can walk alongside the hurting and support those who are hurting find the solution to restore life balance.


  • Tuesday, May 2, at Christ Memorial Church of Holland
  • 595 Graafschap Rd, Holland, MI  49423
  • 616.796.3370



Rooted and Grounded Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship

AMBS to host third Rooted and Grounded Conference

A third Rooted and Grounded Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship will offer participants from across North America opportunities to imagine and embody alternative ways of relating to the land that cultivate shalom between human beings, the rest of creation and God.

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), 3003 Benham Avenue, Elkhart, Indiana, will host the conference April 20–22 (noon to noon), weaving together worship, theology, biblical study and praxis. Planners see the event as building on conversations held during the prior two Rooted and Grounded conferences held in September 2014 and October 2015, also at AMBS.

“Our hope is that the conference will connect people from a wide variety of places and roles to deepen their awareness of creation care theology and practice — and strengthen their commitment to working for the restoration of God’s creation,” said Janeen Bertsche Johnson, AMBS campus pastor and admissions counselor and a planner of the event.

Keynote speakers:

  • Thursday evening, April 20: Dr. Stanley Saunders will speak on “A Dwelling Place for God: Earth, Ecology and Eschatology in the Sermon on the Mount.” He is associate professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, with research interests in early Christian understandings of “the last days,” the nature of the Church, spirituality, and how Scripture engages current issues such as creation care and the criminal justice system. An ordained member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Saunders wrote Preaching Matthew: Proclaiming God’s Presence (Westminster John Knox, 2010) and is working on a book about creation, eschatology and ecology.
  • Friday evening, April 21: Sarah Augustinewill speak on “Peoples of the Land Rise Up: The Struggle for the Land is the Struggle for Life,” exploring the struggles of Indigenous peoples in relation to texts from Amos, Isaiah, Hosea and Matthew. A member of Seattle Mennonite Church, Augustine is the executive director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Yakima and co-director of the Suriname Indigenous Health Fund. She led the team that wrote the World Council of Churches Statement on the Doctrine of Discovery (adopted in 2012) and has advocated for the rights of Indigenous peoples around the globe to the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.
  • Saturday morning, April 22: Todd Wynwardwill speak on “Come to the Waters: What Settlers Like Me Learn from Standing Rock.” He will dig into biblical examples of transformation in undomesticated space at the water’s edge, and how the rootedness demonstrated at Standing Rock can ground all people — settlers and Indigenous alike — in their own home places in interfaith watershed protector alliances today. Wynward is the co-creator of a wilderness-based public charter school and founder of the Taos Initiative for Life Together [TiLT] in New Mexico. Licensed as a minister for watershed discipleship ministry in Mountain States Mennonite Conference, Wynward is author of Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God (Herald Press, 2015).

Thirty-two workshops and paper presentations by scholars and practitioners from across North America will explore themes such as:

  • climate change
  • biblical, theological and ethical understandings of creation care
  • ways congregations and organizations are responding to ecological issues
  • agriculture, food and health issues
  • the Doctrine of Discovery
  • Potawatomi culture

Friday afternoon immersion experiences will give participants opportunities to explore conservation and restoration efforts in the region, featuring visits to:

  • Goshen (Indiana) College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, Wolf Lake, Indiana
  • Camp Friedenswald, Cassopolis, Michigan
  • Potawatomi sites near Rochester and Benton, Indiana
  • Goshen’s wastewater treatment plant
  • local farms
  • AMBS’s new solar panels

Also included in the conference are worship services, an exhibition of Potawatomi portraits by photographer Sharon Hoogstraten (Citizen Potawatomi Nation), an open mic session (poetry, music, etc. are welcome) and the dedication of AMBS’s new solar array. The AMBS campus, with areas of native grass and wildflowers, rain gardens, a prayer labyrinth and a walking path, will provide opportunities for learning, recreation and meditation.

Registration costs are $100/regular, $35/day and $25/student. If three or more undergraduate students register from the same college or university, their registration is free. Also, undergraduates receive free housing and transportation from Merry Lea Environmental Center.

AMBS demonstrates its commitment to environmental stewardship in various ways. The seminary is a member of the Seminary Stewardship Alliance, a consortium of seminaries committed to creation care initiatives. In September 2015, AMBS was recognized as 12th of more than 230 seminaries in North America for course offerings in creation care, by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. AMBS offers an Environmental Sustainability Concentration in its Master of Arts: Peace Studies program and Master of Divinity Peace Studies Concentration. The seminary’s library, built in 2007, received the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Standard.

Learn more and register at

Changing Churches: “saying goodbye & saying hello”

April 18-19, 2017

This workshop focuses on helping pastors & church leaders manage the “pastoral transition.”

The workshop is divided into parts:

  • How the departing pastor says “goodbye” to his/her existing congregation
  • How the incoming pastor says “hello” to his/her new congregation

It will address issues related to pastoral transition

  • Who to tell and when
  • Managing the emotions of five groups
  • The incoming/ departing pastor dance
  • The First 100 Days
  • Conducting a “Listening Tour”
  • Strategic Preaching in the 1st Year


  • $25.00 for Michigan residents
  • $149.00 for out of state residents

Session Schedule
April 18, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
April 19, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Location: Cornerstone Church, 1675 84th St. SE. Caledonia, MI 49316

Registration is online and payment must be made with registration.

Food & Lodging are not provided. Lite snacks & drinks will be provided during the workshop, no meals or child-care will be are available onsite.

Click here for printable flyer.

Cancellation Policies

Participant Cancellation/Transfer

If you cannot attend a Griffith Coaching workshop for which you are registered, you must cancel no later than two (2) weeks prior to the course date to receive a full refund. If you cancel less than two (2) weeks before the workshop start date, you will not receive a refund.

If you register for a Griffith Coaching workshop and need to transfer to a different course date, you can do so by contacting Griffith Coaching at least two (2) weeks prior to the course date you originally registered for. Griffith Coaching will not accept any transfer requests less than two (2) weeks before the workshop start date.

Empowered to Connect Conference

Orchard United Methodist Church, 30450 Farmington Road, Farmington Hills, MI,  is pleased to be a host location for the 2017 Empowered to Connect Conference. Empowered to Connect is a 2-day nationwide simulcast conference taking place Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8. The conference grew from a book by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross called “The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adopted Child.” The specific focus of the conference is very much on providing connected parenting and attachment strategies for families with adopted or foster children, as well as families considering adoption or foster care; however, the approaches discussed – trauma-informed methods of examining brain development and how that impacts behavior – are really applicable to kids from all sorts of family backgrounds. More and more schools and churches are utilizing a connected approach to interactions with all kids, which also makes this an excellent conference for teachers, ministry leaders, social workers, and agency professionals.

Cost to attend the conference is just $10, and includes the workbook. The doors will open at 9:30am each day, and the conference will run 9:45am – 6pm. Tickets can be purchased online at

Continuing education credits may be offered to professionals for all conference learning sessions. A separate link to register for the conference for professionals requiring credit is available at the above website.

A certificate of attendance will be given to all attendees to use for foster and adoptive parent educational hours.

If you have questions or prefer to pay by check, please contact Gretchyn Edwards, Orchard UMC Family Events Coordinator, or (248) 626-3620 and a registration form will be sent to you.

We hope you’ll join us for this opportunity to learn more about the kids we love and care for!

180 Turnaround Church Conference

180 Turnaround Church Conference

MARCH 23, 2017

Join Redeemer United Methodist Church, 13980 Shavey Road, DeWitt, Michigan on March 23, 2017 for our 9th annual ­180 Turnaround Church Conference!

This all-day, reasonably priced teaching conference is designed to help pastors and church leaders get started and continue transitioning their congregation through change.

This conference offers a variety of workshops on a multitude of topics from strategic planning, volunteers, communications, leadership, hospitality, administrative structure, outreach and much more.

For more information

Albion District Day 2017


“The Misfit Mission: How to Change the World with Surprises, Interruptions and All the Wrong People”

Location: Marshall United Methodist Church



Keynote Speaker: Rev. Scott Chrostek of Resurrection Downtown Kansas City

Special Preacher: Bishop David Bard – our new Episcopal Leader

Worship Offering that day to go to Flint Water Crisis

Lunch Served (Free-Will Offering)

Registration: Click Here

Please Register all attendees including youth before January 26 to be guaranteed a lunch!