Taylor Property Sold

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Dear Friends: We are celebrating a significant milestone in the life of our Conference.  Many of you will recall the financial difficulty that our Taylor Church and Light and Life School ran into around ten years ago when they defaulted on a their mortgage note. Because our conference were co-signers on the note, the responsibility for paying this $2.3 million note fell to us. With the help from our friends at the White Foundation, private donors, the Free Methodist Foundation, AND the faithful partnership of many of our churches, we were able to pay off a significant portion of the debt in recent years.  

Recently, the Pardee Rd. property (former location of Journey of Hope Church and Light and Life School) was sold. Our Conference was able to pay off all of the remaining portion of the loan. This means that seven of our remaining churches are now completely free from their portion of the principle balance. In addition, 50% of the remaining net proceeds will go into our multiplication fund and will be available to every church that has a vision and approved plan to multiply new congregations. Thirty percent will go to our conference discretionary fund and 20% will go into our risk mitigation fund to give us breathing room should such an event like this happen again.

The Journey of Hope Church continues to develop their vision to multiply new churches in the down river communities of the Detroit Metro region. They have identified a new location and will be renting some great space at a nearby school. We are grateful to God that we can close this painful chapter and to open up new doors of apostolic opportunity in the days ahead.  

-Superintendent Rhodes

Lincoln Park FMC Repurposed

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The Dearborn Free Methodist Church formed Revive Network in 2017 to provide services that help meet practical, emotional and relational needs in Metro Detroit. They envisioned a network of community service initiatives that work together for the common good of Metro Detroit residents. Likewise, Revive Network will serve as a hub for missional leaders and community service initiatives by providing the platform, infrastructure and administrative services needed for these leaders and their initiatives to develop and succeed. The team envisions a day when the Revive Network becomes one of the leading community resource centers in Metro Detroit!

The Chandler Center was birthed when Revive Network leaders saw the opportunity to repurpose the building that was formally used by the Lincoln Park Free Methodist Church. The services the center will provide in the first year include exercise classes, financial counseling, a food pantry, a clothes pantry, and the rental of the facility for family events. Revive Network also agreed to lease the facility to a Hispanic Church plant (Latinos Emaus Church) on Sunday mornings and two evenings a week for their services and other activities. Latinos Emaus will partner with the Revive Network team to serve the surrounding community. Tom and Jennifer Jacobs, members and leaders at the Dearborn Free Methodist Church, are serving as Directors of the Chandler Center.

The Chandler Center hosted a Block Party and Rummage Sale on Saturday August 25th to serve as a soft opening and to build relationships with people in the community. The Jacobs, along with more than a 15 Revive Network volunteers, were able to connect with more than a 150 people (mostly neighbors) who attended the event and raised over $700 for the Center. 

Possible future initiatives for Revive Network and the Chandler Center include refugee outreach, counseling, life and leadership coaching, daycare, immigration assistance, citizenship preparation and urban farming. 

Pastor John White to Retire Early

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This communication is to inform you that Pastor John White, lead pastor at Milan Free Methodist Church who planned to retire at Annual Conference 2019, is accelerating his retirement to the end of September 2018. 

Some of you may be aware that Pastor John’s wife, Karen, has been battling cancer for some time. Recent developments with her health have led them to a decision for Karen to enter hospice care. To focus his energy and presence on Karen and the family, and in consultation with the Conference, John has decided to retire from active pastoral ministry, with his last Sunday at Milan being September 30th, 2018. 

Pastor John and Karen have served the Milan church with distinction for 8 years. As a Conference, we are grateful for their exemplary service and personal sacrifice in devoting themselves to the ministry and mission of Jesus. I invite you to warmly express your gratitude and honor them as they transition into this new and difficult season. Please join me in praying that they will experience a profound peace and the close presence of Jesus with them.    

The Ministerial Appointments Committee is working diligently to fill the lead pastor role at Milan and expects to make the announcement of a new lead pastor appointment in late September or early October.

Some of you may wonder what this means for Pastor Alex Mace and his wife Mackenzie. The Ministerial Appointments Committee appointed Pastor Alex to the church knowing a transition of lead pastor would occur this year. Pastor Alex will continue in his appointment as the Associate Pastor alongside the new lead pastor.

General Conference Submission Guidelines

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SEND YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BISHOP CANDIDATES BY AUG 29
All three of our current bishops have announced their intention to complete their serviceas bishops following General Conference 2019. Nominations for the three bishop positions are made by the General Conference Delegation to a National Search Committee.You are invited to share your suggestions with our delegates. Please send them to Dustin Weber by Aug 29. Our delegates will meet Aug 30 to begin the process.

RESOLUTIONS DUE TO SMC OFFICE OCT 1
Part of the business of the GC is to make necessary adjustments to denominational procedures and the Book of Discipline. You’re invited to participate in this process. Any member (Elder or Lay) or any church governing board (BOA) may submit a resolution.The Board of Bishops has asked that all resolutions from Churches and Individuals are submitted to the conference office by Oct 1. To receive further information regarding the format and process, please contact Dustin Weber.

10 Days of Prayer: Day 3

Day 3:  Our Mission Igniter leader Dustin Weber leads us in a time of devotion and prayer in our 10 days of prayer leading up to Annual Conference 2018.

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10 Days of Prayer: Day 2

Day 2: Pastor Heather Castle of Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church leads us in a time of devotion and prayer in our 10 days of prayer leading up to Annual Conference 2018.

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10 Days of Prayer: Day 1

Day 1: Superintendent Bruce Rhodes leads us in a devotional time of prayer as Annual Conference 2018 approaches.

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Testimony from Westland Free Methodist

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We have been supporting the Harbor financially for several years, but recently took our support to a new level. We have been sending teams to serve there and so far 24 people have went over the first two trips. We have put together hundreds of crafts for the kids at the various sites. Between 50-70 people came together to help with that initiative. This weekend our folks are bringing in 20 9x13 meals, several desserts, and a handful of gift cards to purchase fresh supplies as needed for salads. Our people have been so eager to partner with our brothers and sisters in the SMC to reach Detroit. We are even having to add more opportunities to give for people who didn’t grab a 9x13 quick enough. An increased focus outside our walls is bringing a lot of enthusiasm and passion inside. We're excited to see what God is doing as we work together to reach Detroit!

Testimony from Journey of Hope

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Because of the location we are in we have done ministry to people with addictions for years, but over the past several months we have had several reports of people who have been clean for over 60 days. These people are becoming active in our church and are following Jesus. Also, our weekly AA meeting is giving 30-50 people a place to grow in their recovery journey.

Three Oaks Votes to Close

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Some months ago, Pastor Ray Babcock accepted a position at the World Ministries Center in Indianapolis but continued to work bi-vocationally under his appointment at Three Oaks. When the Superintendent met with the Board on two occasions, it became clear to them that they no longer had the financial resources nor the community ministry that was needed to reach out to their community.

A few weeks ago, the delegate and Pastor contacted Superintendent Bruce with news that the church had convened a Society meeting and voted to close itself. The following excerpt from their Society meeting is recorded below;  

Moved to discontinue worship services. The last service to be 5/27/2018. The conference is to be notified for the next step in dissolving the society. The motion was supported by Bernie Abendshien. Voting was done through paper ballots. All 15 votes cast were in support of the motion; motion carried unanimously.

We are grateful for the rich legacy of the Three Oaks church across its 109 year history. Countless lives were changed forever, ministries across the globe were supported, children and young people were discipled and new leaders were developed and deployed. Only heaven knows the combined weight of Kingdom advancement that took place through our Three Oaks Church. The members of the congregation will be encouraged to affiliate with the closest Free Methodist Church in Niles Michigan to continue in that same Kingdom work in the days ahead.