Youths Fired Up After First Ignite Weekend in Wildwood

By Jeff Wolfe WILDWOOD – They came from far and near and in large groups and small groups. But a large majority of the 750 youths and their leaders that attended the Ignite Youth Conference last weekend left with a sense that they were all one in spirit. “The programs were really great, but what was really cool was having a bunch of other kids our age to worship with,” said Josh Bae, who attends the youth group at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in...

GNJ Lights It Up

  You are the light of the world. –Matthew 5:14   Sisters and Brothers in Christ,   This past weekend the Greater New Jersey Conference shined the...

Special Session 2014

By Jeff Wolfe It took a lot of time, a lot of planning, and a lot of challenges along the way, but the Board of Trustees is finally realizing its vision for a new conference center. At a special session of the Annual Conference at the Ocean Grove Great Auditorium on Sept. 27, legislation was passed to expand the budget for the new center. The new estimate has the conference center costing about $4.7 million, though members of the Board of Trustees believe that to be a...

Simpson Celebrates Groundbreaking for New Addition

Nancy McGaw recalls the day when someone from Simpson church knocked on her grandmother’s door. Now, she will also remember the day when the church in Old Bridge broke ground for construction of a new educational and fellowship addition to its building. McGaw told a moving story of when a neighbor knocked on her grandmother’s door more than 50 years ago and asked the family to join them in worship. That one act by a faithful disciple resulted in four generations of her family...

Join Parkside UMC As It Celebrates It's Centennial

“100 Years Walking in Faith, and the Journey Continues…” Parkside United Methodist Church celebrates 100 years of service in the City of Camden, NJ. One hundred years of dedication to the Lord in ministry spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. Parkside United Methodist Church had its very humble beginning in July 1914. In response to the desire of Camden City’s Parkside area residents a Methodist Sunday School was formed in a rented room of the...

Caulfield follows call to lead conference small group ministry

By Jeff Wolfe Beth Caulfield’s first career was in human resources for some of the top corporations in the world. The next step in her professional journey involves human resources, too, but maybe in a way that is not measured in dollars and cents. Caulfield was named the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference’s Director of Small Groups earlier this year and it seems like a natural fit for someone whose heart has been heavily influenced by her involvement in...

Installation celebrations highlight diversity of conference

By Jeff Wolfe A time of transition in six of the nine Greater New Jersey United Methodist Conference districts was finalized with an exclamation point during three Sundays in September. New superintendents Myrna Bethke in Gateway South, Drew Dyson in Raritan Valley, Gina Hendrickson in Northern Shore, Brian Roberts in Cape Atlantic, Manuel Sardinas in Gateway North and Jisun Kwak, who is transferring from the same position in Gateway North, to Delaware Bay, each had their...

Chalkboard questions bring about variety of answers at Summit

By Jeff Wolfe Summit United Methodist Church Pastor Shawn Hogan knew that the hundreds of people who walk past the church each week must have concerns and questions about God and the world we live in. Her challenge was to find a way to engage them in a meaningful way. She got an idea after reading a story about people being asked to post their bucket lists on the side of a building. She created what became known as “chalkboard conversations” in Summit. ...

Laity leaders leave academy weekend with new hope

By Jeff Wolfe Participants in the Laity Leadership Academy last month might not have been sure what they were getting into when they walked through the doors of Haddonfield United Methodist Church last month. But they walked out of those doors knowing what they got out of the two-day conference, which discussed ways for churches to improve their worship, evangelism and small group experiences. They had a plan for taking their churches forward. “What was so cool...

Small group ministry helps keep Hackettstown Trinity on track

By Jeff Wolfe Trinity United Methodist Church in Hackettstown may look big from the outside. But for the last 18 years, Rev. Dr. Frank Fowler III has had a goal of making it smaller on the inside. That may sound like a difficult task when you have four services, one on Saturday and three on Sunday, and have about 800 people in all attend. But that goal has been made possible through the advent of small groups. “We like to think of ourselves as a large church with...

Cape Atlantic churches make plans to help unemployed

By Jeff Wolfe The casinos leave behind more than empty buildings when they close their doors in Atlantic City. There are also empty hearts, empty souls, and when it gets right down to it, empty stomachs among the thousands who have been left unemployed. Leaders of the Cape Atlantic District of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey and other advocates, also known as the Atlantic City Economic Recovery Team (ACERT), met last month in an effort to fill at least...

Small steps lead to big leap for Jackson UMC's preschool

By Jeff Wolfe Stepping out in faith can involve a lot of little hops and skips before a big leap takes place. And that’s what it took for Sunbeam Christian Preschool, located in Jackson United Methodist Church, to become a reality. The preschool opened in early September with 18 students from ages 2 1/2 through 5 and is the only Christian preschool in Jackson Township. “When I came to the church in 2010, they had been leasing this space to a secular...

Hamilton Memorial's vacant lot now a community garden

By Jeff Wolfe Sometimes a plan can not only come together, it can turn out better than anyone expected. The combined efforts of the Hamilton Memorial United Methodist Church and several other organizations and businesses made that possible in Atlantic City. A combination of circumstances and people have turned a once vacant lot into Hamilton Memorial Garden, a community garden that grows vegetables and has a playground for children that sits adjacent to the church. The...

Bishop Middleton Named Interim Leader in New York

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Retired Bishop Jane Allen Middleton will be the interim bishop for the New York Annual (regional) Conference, from Jan. 1, 2015, through Aug. 31, 2016. Bishop Warner Brown, president of the Council of Bishops, announced that the Executive Committee of the council has approved the assignment, recommended by the Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops. Retired Bishop Neil Irons will continue to serve as interim until Dec. 31. Irons has been interim bishop since Bishop...

Bishop Schol Featured in

By Suzette Parmley, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: August 27, 2014 ATLANTIC CITY - When gambling was being proposed for Atlantic City 38 years ago, most religious denominations opposed casinos. They viewed gambling as a vice that could destroy families and communities. Now, many of the same churches are standing firmly by the casino workers, a number of whom fill their pews on Sundays, who are expected to lose their jobs in massive numbers, starting Labor Day weekend with the closure of the...

Special Session Will Consider Additional Conference Center Costs

By Jeff Wolfe The United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey has scheduled a special session of the annual conference from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 27 at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove to help decide the next step for its plans to build a new conference center in Neptune. The estimated cost for the new building is approximately $700,000 more than originally projected. At a meeting with the Board of Trustees in August, the leaders of the conference decided to request a special session...

Installations for Sunday September 7th 2014

Gina Hendrickson and Brian Roberts will be the first two of six new GNJUMC District Superintendents officially installed at special services, beginning this weekend. The new district superintendents were appointed earlier this year and started in those positions on July 1. Hendrickson took over as the DS in the Northern Shore District and Roberts in the Cape-Atlantic District. Roberts’ installation service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Central United Methodist Church in Linwood....

A Message from Bishop Schol about the Passing of Bishop McLee.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, It is with deep sadness that I share with you that Bishop Martin McLee died after a period of illness on September 6, 2014. Bishop McLee was a faithful pastor, district superintendent...

Atlantic City Prayer Room

Rev. William Williams, of Asbury UMC, and Rev. Cliff Still, of Hamilton Memorial UMC, have shared an invitation from The Fellowship of Churches for pastors to help with a prayer room at a seminar for unemployed casino workers in Atlantic City. About 6,000 workers have lost, or will be losing, their jobs in the wake of the Revel and Showboat casinos shutting down over Labor Day weekend and Trump Plaza scheduled to close in mid-September. The seminar, taking place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through...

Communications Chief Exec to Retire Next Year

Communications Chief Exec to Retire Next Year - Commission to lead search and transition process Nashville, Tenn.: The Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, announced today his plans to retire in the next 9-10 months. Rev. Hollon will reach the mandatory retirement age for elective and appointive staff of United Methodist general agencies. Although the mandatory retirement age for clergy is not until age 72, there is a provision for mandatory retirement at 70,...
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