Communications and News

An Update from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

An Update from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
May 26, 2020

Ever since the COVID-19 began spreading throughout Louisiana, United Methodist churches have been asked to not hold in-person worship until May 31. In the meantime, United Methodists in the Louisiana Conference have done and continue to do amazing work during this crisis period. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey has consistently praised the efforts of Louisiana Methodists. "I am reminded ...

Todd Rossnagel, Communicator of the Year

Todd Rossnagel, Communicator of the Year
May 22, 2020

TODD ROSSNAGEL United Methodist Association of Communicators Communicator of the Year 2019   The United Methodist Association of Communicators named Todd Rossnagel, director of communications for the Louisiana Conference, as Communicator of the Year during their annual gathering. The traditional in-person gala had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and was streamed online ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Transformation with Rev. Sam Hubbard

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Transformation with Rev. Sam Hubbard
May 21, 2020

Rev. Sam Hubbard has been appointed as the next Associate Director of Congregational Development and Transformation for the Louisiana Conference. Hubbard currently serves as the campus minister of the Wesley Foundation at Southeastern Louisiana University. We’ve heard from Hubbard before on the Louisiana NOW podcast when we focused on serving meals in the midst of a pandemic. In this ...

Do Hard Things

Do Hard Things
May 20, 2020

We are living in unprecedented times and have experienced a complete shift in ministry methods. Now, as plans for the first phases of reopening are developed, we are faced with new obstacles to overcome and new opportunities to leverage.  The following webinar videos and corresponding questions are not meant to be comprehensive in nature. Rather, we hope they, in addition to Government ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Launching in the Midst of a Pandemic

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Launching in the Midst of a Pandemic
May 19, 2020

Can you imagine launching a church? It doesn’t happen every day and it’s often an intimidating endeavor. Now imagine launching in the midst of a pandemic. Two Louisiana pastors find themselves in that very situation. Rev. Fernie Rivera and Rev. Klay Harrison have been busy launching Mid City Church (Baton Rouge) and Embrace Church (Haughton). They’ve had to adjust, yet all the while, ...

Live-Streaming Jesus: Adapting to Preaching On Line

Live-Streaming Jesus: Adapting to Preaching On Line
May 18, 2020

DRESS WITH INTENTION Preachers everywhere are deciding to robe or not when preaching from their living rooms.  Consider this choice before you preach.  You may choose to wear only the collar, or wear street clothes rather than an alb or robe and stole to better be in concert with your preaching environment.  Or you may choose to robe with intention to visually create sacred associations....

Conference, Webinar Regarding Re-Entry Guidelines

Conference, Webinar Regarding Re-Entry Guidelines
May 17, 2020

Join us Wednesday, May 20th at 3:00 pm for a Conference-wide webinar focused on the re-entry guidelines.  While Governor John Bel Edwards announced the state will enter Phase 1 of reopening effective Friday, May 15, United Methodist churches in Louisiana have been asked to wait until May 31st for in-person worship.  There are multiple reasons for this and they are outlined in the ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: A Conversation with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

Louisiana NOW Podcast: A Conversation with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
May 15, 2020

In this episode of Louisiana NOW, Todd Rossnagel catches up with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey to discuss many things. We get an update on the re-entry guidelines, more on what to expect for Annual Conference, more on her recent installation as President of the Council of Bishops and more.   To watch Bishop Harvey’s address to the Council of Bishops, please visit: https://youtu.be/O36Pul...

Annual Conference 2020: An Update on What's Next

Annual Conference 2020: An Update on What's Next
May 14, 2020

As a result of social distancing and many of the unknowns that we are currently facing concerning COVID-19, Annual Conference 2020 has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 19 at First United Methodist Church, Baton Rouge.   An alternate date of Saturday, November 21 has also been reserved at FUMC, Baton Rouge should we not be able to gather in September.   The Clergy Session will ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Listen First: A Conversation with Dr. Graham Bodie

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Listen First: A Conversation with Dr. Graham Bodie
May 11, 2020

In this episode of Louisiana NOW, we visit with past LSU professor and current Ole Miss professor, Dr. Graham Bodie.  Bodie is with the Listen First Project,  a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which encourages conversations that prioritize understanding to bridge divides and mend our frayed social fabric, addressing the universally felt crisis of division and dehumanization across ...

Re-Entry Guidelines, Considerations and Key Questions

Re-Entry Guidelines, Considerations and Key Questions
May 07, 2020

United Methodists in the Louisiana Conference have done and continue to do amazing work during this crisis. You have held nothing sacred but the mission.  You have proclaimed and lived a resurrection hope in a dark and uncertain time. You have kept the connection alive and well like never before.    As we now begin to anticipate a return to public, in-house worship, we recognize and ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: A Conversation with Rev. Karli Pidgeon

Louisiana NOW Podcast: A Conversation with Rev. Karli Pidgeon
May 07, 2020

Rev. Karli Pidgeon is a pastor in the Louisiana Conference who will soon serve as a District Superintendent. She is currently working in the Office of Congregational Transformation and Development. Pidgeon will be the first African-American female District Superintendent - we get her thoughts on that and much more in this episode of Louisiana NOW.    You can subscribe to the Louisiana ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Listen First: A Conversation with Dr. Graham Bodie

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Listen First: A Conversation with Dr. Graham Bodie
May 06, 2020

In this episode of Louisiana NOW, we visit with past LSU professor and current Ole Miss professor, Dr. Graham Bodie.  Bodie is with the Listen First Project,  a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which encourages conversations that prioritize understanding to bridge divides and mend our frayed social fabric, addressing the universally felt crisis of division and dehumanization across ...

Bishop Harvey, President of the Council of Bishops, Gavel Passed During First Virtual COB Meeting

Bishop Harvey, President of the Council of Bishops, Gavel Passed During First Virtual COB Meeting
May 01, 2020

Bishops of the United Methodist Church gathered around computer screens Friday for the conclusion of the very first virtual Council of Bishops meeting, which was held via Zoom for the past three days. In the meeting, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, resident bishop of the Louisiana Conference, became the next President of the Council of Bishops as she "virtually" accepted the gavel from ...

The Latest From Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey; Stay Extended,

The Latest From Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey; Stay Extended, "Care for Yourself"
April 30, 2020

From Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards extended the stay at home order until May 15. The governor’s order is based on current data and in consultation with epidemiologists and other health professionals. I fully recognize that many of you want to return to in-person worship, but in the best interest of the people we serve, I ask that you not ...

Rev. Sam Hubbard to Office of Congregational Development and Transformation

Rev. Sam Hubbard to Office of Congregational Development and Transformation
April 28, 2020

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey has appointed Rev. Sam Hubbard to be the next Associate Director of Congregational Development and Transformation for the Louisiana Annual Conference. Hubbard currently serves as the campus minister of the Wesley Foundation at Southeastern Louisiana University. He has helped transform the student ministry there and has started numerous innovative ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Unleashing the Word and Seeing Pastors as People: A Conversation with Christine Parton Burkett

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Unleashing the Word and Seeing Pastors as People: A Conversation with Christine Parton Burkett
April 28, 2020

Christine Parton Burkett has worked with preachers at Duke Divinity School since 1991.  She holds degrees in theater and speech-language pathology and describes herself as a “professional pew-sitter”.  Experienced preaching coach, she is skilled at assessing the sermon and the preacher to encourage strengths and identify potential growth. Burkett was recently a guest on a webinar from ...

UMCOR Launches COVID Response

UMCOR Launches COVID Response
April 28, 2020

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is expanding its efforts in the fight against the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. UMCOR has launched a giving campaign, “Sheltering in Love,” to assist vulnerable communities in the United States and around the world. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, UMCOR has been working with health boards, medical ...

E-Panel Discussion: Coronavirus at the Crossroads of Faith and Science

E-Panel Discussion: Coronavirus at the Crossroads of Faith and Science
April 27, 2020

GBHEM E-Resources is preparing its first live e-panel discussion: “Coronavirus at the Crossroads of Faith and Science.” Moderated by GBHEM General Secretary Rev. Greg Bergquist, the panel will feature Dr. James E.K. Hildreth and Professor Randy L. Maddox. Hildreth is the president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN and is one the United States’ foremost experts on infectious ...

Houses of Worship: COVID-19 Best Practices Webinar

Houses of Worship: COVID-19 Best Practices Webinar
April 27, 2020

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy as we face the COVID-19 Pandemic. This virus has forced each faith community to prepare its own unique house of worship for uncharted territory. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome invites you to join us on Tuesday, May 5th from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM for a Houses of Worship: COVID-19 Best Practices Webinar. The purpose of this webinar is to ...

Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources
April 26, 2020

During this time of heightened stress and uncertainty, we have been working to ensure you and your employees are taken care of and have what you need to help you through this challenging time.  In addition to the EAP COVID-19 site, we’re excited to offer you pandemic resources (through June 2020) from our partner myStrength, at no cost to you. It’s easy to get started: Visit this web ...

An Announcement from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Cabinet of the Louisiana Conference

An Announcement from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Cabinet of the Louisiana Conference
April 24, 2020

Just a few weeks ago, I, along with the cabinet, announced the appointment of Rev. Katie McKay Simpson to the position of Director of Clergy Excellence and Leadership Development. Shortly after making this announcement, we received a request for retirement from Rev. Ken Carroll, and entered into a season of discernment and consultation with the SPR Committee at University United ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: The Worst Groundhog Day: A Conversation with Rev. Donnie Wilkinson

Louisiana NOW Podcast: The Worst Groundhog Day: A Conversation with Rev. Donnie Wilkinson
April 23, 2020

It was April 1st, early in the morning, right in the midst of the pandemic and the quarantine, when fire broke out at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It would be the first of two fires in one week, destroying a scout hut and the office behind the sanctuary. Todd Rossnagel visits with Senior Pastor Rev. Donnie Wilkinson to see how the church is doing, how he ...

An Update from Bishop Harvey

An Update from Bishop Harvey
April 21, 2020

As we prepare for yet another week of self-isolation, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey urges all of us to remain patient - and we check in on how she and Dean are doing.  

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Dropped Into the Deep End, Embracing Technology

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Dropped Into the Deep End, Embracing Technology
April 21, 2020

It was Thursday, March 12th - right in the heart of Lent, with four weeks until Easter when Bishop Cynthia Fierro  Harvey released a statement asking for churches, out of an abundance of caution, to cancel or postpone church events, including worship. Suddenly, without warning - pastors all across Louisiana - and for that matter- America - were scrambling to find ways to not only share ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Angels on the Front Lines

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Angels on the Front Lines
April 17, 2020

In this episode of Louisiana NOW, Todd Rossnagel visits with Rev. Tiffanie Lyon, associate pastor at First UMC in Slidell and chaplain at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans and with Dr. Chip Riggins, member of Houma United Methodist Church and Regional Medical Director for the Bayou Region of the South Central Louisiana  Office of Public Health. Rev. Lyon is busy comforting patients ...

COVID-19 DisAbility Resources and Tips

COVID-19 DisAbility Resources and Tips
April 16, 2020

Access to Worship Actions Inclusive on-line worship and group participation  Formatting, preparation, and videotaping Use an easy-to read font of a color that contrasts with a plain background for headings, song lyrics, scriptures etc.   Narrate any written headings and messages for people without visual access.  Limit flashy and busy visual effects and transitions. When on camera, ...

Bishop Harvey

Bishop Harvey "Amazed" at the Work of Louisiana Pastors
April 13, 2020

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey took time out of her Easter Sunday to share her thoughts on the amazing work of Louisiana pastors who have been self-isolating for over four weeks and forced to worship virtually through live streams.  Many pastors had never worshipped in this way and were shoved into the world of technology.  But as Bishop Harvey reflects in this video, their willingness ...

Going on a Virtual Mission

Going on a Virtual Mission
April 13, 2020

Many of us had planned for months, gathered great teams and were prepared to lead amazing missions to one of our many wonderful mission sites around the globe.  But then, the pandemic happened and our plans were put on hold.  Going on a Virtual Mission Wednesday, April 22 1:00 p.m We don’t know when we’ll be able to reschedule our missions, but we do know that the God we serve never ...

Tornadoes Impact Easter Sunday

Tornadoes Impact Easter Sunday
April 13, 2020

Rev. Chad Brooks, pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church in Sterlington, says running a live stream on Easter Sunday from his bathtub due to a tornado passing through the area is just par for the course these days.  "We were making jokes about the locusts coming next while chainsawing out the entrance to our neighborhood," says Brooks. "These sorts of disasters, and we have had a few...

Bishop Harvey's Holy Saturday Message

Bishop Harvey's Holy Saturday Message
April 12, 2020

In the midst of a pandemic and a most unusual Easter worship, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey shares a word of encouragement and reflects on Holy Saturday, the day before the Resurrection. #Easter2020  

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Special Edition: The Easter Story

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Special Edition: The Easter Story
April 08, 2020

This is a special edition of the Louisiana Now podcast, a reading of the Easter Story by host Todd Rossnagel. We will be worshipping this Easter season in many different ways - online, sheltered in place, without our worshipping communities - none of which we are really used to. However, as much as our worship is different, the Easter Story is the same. So sit back and listen to the ...

Amid Pandemic, Lydia Patterson Faces Difficulties Due to Border Closing

Amid Pandemic, Lydia Patterson Faces Difficulties Due to Border Closing
April 07, 2020

This report comes to us from David Burke, a colleague of ours in the Communications Department of the Great Plains Conference. We thank him for his work and the connection that supports Lydia Patterson.   The good news for Lydia Patterson Institute is that the school was already technologically equipped for the coronavirus-related shutdown of all schools in El Paso, Texas, that began ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Preparing for Easter, A Conversation with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Preparing for Easter, A Conversation with Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
April 05, 2020

Recently Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey carved out some time on Zoom and we discussed a wide variety of topics as we prepare for Holy Week. Bishop Harvey opens up about her morning routine, long walks, and life at home during these days of self-isolation. She also says this year’s Holy Week is an opportunity to get creative and shares some ideas. However, as different as this year’s Holy ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Online Communion, A Conversation with Rev. Juan Carlos Huertas

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Online Communion, A Conversation with Rev. Juan Carlos Huertas
April 04, 2020

The inability for churches to gather, due to sheltering-in-place orders has prompted some bishops in the United Methodist Church to allow for online communion. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, resident bishop in Louisiana, has allowed for online communion, "For such a time as this, we will allow virtual Holy Communion under the church’s theological understanding of “In Extremis” which means...

Executive Summary of Recent COVID-19 Legislation from the Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach

Executive Summary of Recent COVID-19 Legislation from the Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach
April 03, 2020

NOTE: This web page is updated constantly as new information is made available. The latest updates, found at the bottom of this page, include:   4/4: Updated UMC Support CARES Act Q&A 4/4: New UMC Support Payroll Protection Program document ​​4/6: Help Available for SBA Loans and Unemployment Insurance 4/7: Interim Final Rule addressing affiliation 4/7: Faith-Based ...

Statistical Reporting Guidelines

Statistical Reporting Guidelines
April 03, 2020

The following Statistical Reporting guidelines are offered as we make our way through this pandemic experience. Continue to track ALL statistical items as you normally would. Continue to enter your monthly/weekly data here. Please only record “In-Person” numbers on the weekly report. Online numbers will be reported at the end of the year. (See line numbers 7 and 7a on last year’s ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: An Update from New Orleans, Rev. Johnathan Richardson

Louisiana NOW Podcast: An Update from New Orleans, Rev. Johnathan Richardson
April 02, 2020

Rev. Johnathan Richardson is the pastor of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in New Orleans. He has served in ministry for 16 years but is new to the Louisiana Conference. His church has been hit hard by the coronavirus with over a dozen cases and two deaths. We catch up with Rev. Richardson for more on how he is responding to the current situation. https://www.cornerstone-nola.org/ ...

Helping the Hungry During COVID-19

Helping the Hungry During COVID-19
April 01, 2020

Food pantries in Louisiana have experienced a tripling of the number of clients. Supplies were at a critical level before COVID-19 and as the pandemic continues, numbers of meals continue to decline while the number of those needing meals increases. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey has approved a Louisiana Conference grant from the Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach in the amount ...

An Announcement from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Cabinet of the Louisiana Conference

An Announcement from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Cabinet of the Louisiana Conference
March 31, 2020

The Cabinet has continued to do its work. We are caring for the immediate response to the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Louisiana Annual Conference as well as remaining focused on the appointive process.    During this time, we have recognized the following opportunities and realities.   Changes in Structure   The Cabinet’s work has been informed by the work of the District ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Serving Those in Need

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Serving Those in Need
March 31, 2020

In this episode of Louisiana Now, we focus on the growing need of feeding those who are hungry. Food pantries in Louisiana have experienced a tripling of the number of clients. Supplies were at a critical level to begin with and as the pandemic continues, numbers continue to decline. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey has approved a Louisiana Conference grant from the Office of Missional ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: How to Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going: A Conversation with Susan Beaumont

Louisiana NOW Podcast: How to Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going: A Conversation with Susan Beaumont
March 29, 2020

How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning—when the old way of doing things no longer works but a way forward is not yet clear? That is the question Susan Beaumont’s book attempts to answer. Beaumont is a a consultant, author, and coach.  She has worked with hundreds of congregations, including several in Louisiana.  For more on Susan, please visit her ...

Louisiana's Foster Care Families Need Your Help

Louisiana's Foster Care Families Need Your Help
March 27, 2020

All three campuses of the Methodist Children's Home are still up and running during the pandemic - caring for 142 children with significant behavioral health needs.   It's nothing new for the organization as it battled something similar in the early 1900's and survived then. The Louisiana Methodist Orphanage remained open and taking children during the Spanish Flu and Yellow Fever waves...

Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Preliminary Summary and UMC Impact

Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Preliminary Summary and UMC Impact
March 26, 2020

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201 or “the Act”). President Trump signed the Act shortly thereafter, enacting it into law. The Act seeks to ease some of the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, by providing: Paid sick leave Expanded family and medical leave Food assistance Funding ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast:

Louisiana NOW Podcast: "God is in the Response”, A Conversation with Rev. Brian Mercer
March 26, 2020

Rev. Brian Mercer, pastor of First United Methodist Church, Monroe. Brian is just seven months into his new appointment. Moving your family, and getting settled in to a new appointment is tough enough in the first year, but it’s even tougher when you suddenly can’t gather due to a pandemic. Brian is doing something that seems extremely low-tech but is proving to be extremely valuable. It...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Sewing Up to Serve: Helping Those on the Front Lines

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Sewing Up to Serve: Helping Those on the Front Lines
March 24, 2020

There are so many needs in this country as a result of the coronavirus. One of them is face masks. We are literally running out of them and medical professionals have started asking for and giving permission for homemade facemarks. A group of volunteers inside Henning Memorial United Methodist Church in Sulphur have started sewing homemade masks and the group is growing by the hundreds. ...

An Update from Bishop Harvey: March 23

An Update from Bishop Harvey: March 23
March 23, 2020

A ‘stay at home’ order is now in place here in Louisiana. The order, issued Sunday by Governor John Bel Edwards, is an effort to combat the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in our state. We applaud Governor Edwards and his courage to issue this order. We as Methodists affirm efforts to strengthen the wellbeing of others.  In the order, which can be found here, “going to and from an ...

Louisiana: Stay At Home Order

Louisiana: Stay At Home Order
March 22, 2020

To further combat the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, Gov. Edwards issued a Stay at Home Order today, March 22, directing all Louisiana residents to shelter at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. Click here for the governor's official order.  For our specific context, it's important to note that the official order outlines church/worship as an ...

Holy Communion in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Holy Communion in the Midst of a Global Pandemic
March 21, 2020

We are living through a time that has not been experienced in generations. What follows is a series of tools that we hope help each of you exegete your context and provide some wisdom as you pastor in your setting.   In the end, each of us must allow our pastoral hearts and Wesleyan theological center to guide us as we seek to extend sacramental ministry to our communities. We know that ...

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Preaching to an Empty Room, A Conversation with Alyce McKenzie

Louisiana NOW Podcast: Preaching to an Empty Room, A Conversation with Alyce McKenzie
March 21, 2020

Our guest today is Rev. Dr. Alyce M. McKenzie, Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Dr. McKenzie is a Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor by SMU, SMU’s highest teaching honor and the author of ten books, including a recent blog article that has garnered a lot of social media attention: “Preaching to an Empty Room”. Todd ...

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