Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

District News

2024 Clergy Retreat

February 5-7, 2024

CranHill Ranch
14444 17 Mile Rd.
Rodney, MI  49342

“Healing & Restoration”

 Everyone has been hurt in their lifetime.  Hurts have come from family, friends, co-workers, even the church.  Those hurts can cause division, broken relationships and deep wounds.  During this clergy retreat, each of you will be introduced to a Biblical tool that will help along the journey to healing and restoration.

Join us for a time away with fellow clergy members as we share and fellowship together.  The retreat also gives you the opportunity to rest, relax and renew yourself spiritually.

Download the flyer and registration>>>



Join the Admin Connection!

Administrative Assistants….Let’s Connect!

Calling all admins (full/part time, paid/volunteer, overworked/under-utilized) we want to connect.

Please join us for a monthly Zoom gathering the second Wednesday of each month. 11:30-Noon.

October 10, 2023, Promoting Events
November 14, 2023
December 12, 2023

Join us every single month, or just when you can – this is going to be informal gathering to support each other in the ministry of the church office.

We are REALLY looking forward to seeing you on Zoom.

Zoom Link

*This zoom link will be the same for each Let’s Connect gathering we do – the second Wednesday of each month from 11:30 – Noon.

We are looking forward to connecting with you.

Teri Rice
Partnering with You to bring People to Jesus

Executive Assistant
Central Bay District
Michigan Conference UMC
PO Box 5386
Saginaw, MI 48603


Ministry Shares

2024 Ministry Shares >>>

Checks payable to: Central Bay District
Mail to: Central Bay District
PO Box 5386
Saginaw, MI 48603
First half due May first
Second half due October first
Total to be paid in full by October 31, 2024

989.793.8838 or [email protected]
Please call or email with any questions

Download the full list of 2023 Ministry Shares >>>

The Countdown Begins: Exploration 2024 is Almost Here!

Applicants from within the district may be eligible for a scholarship to assist with costs.

Dear Friends,

We’re excited to announce registration is officially open for Exploration 2024. We invite you to join us for three days of meaningful fellowship, passionate worship, theological reflection, and practical workshops. Exploration was created for young adults between the ages of 18-26 with the purpose of helping young adults discern God’s call in their lives.

If you…

  • have a sense God might be calling you into ministerial leadership…
  • wonder what ministry in the United Methodist Church is all about…
  • or need support discerning your next faithful step in the journey of discernment….

this event is for YOU.

With nearly a dozen workshop sessions from various leaders within The United Methodist Church, sacred spaces for discussion, and fellowship opportunities with peers, we are certain Exploration 2024 will be a life changing event for you.

For more information about Exploration 2024 email Amie Stewart, Director of Conference Relations.

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton │ 5780 Major Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
When: Feb. 16 –  Feb. 18, 2024
Who: Young adults between the ages of 18-26


Lay Equalization Members to 2024 Annual Conference

It’s that time of year again when laity have an opportunity to apply to serve as
equalization members to the Michigan Annual Conference which will be conducted during the
period May 30 through June 1, 2024. To be considered to serve as equalization members,
applicants must meet church membership requirements; apply to our District Co-Lay Leader,
Denny Wissinger; and all church lay member slots must be filled.
Below you will find links for a form and instructions for applying as an equalization
member. Please note the deadline for submitting applications is January 10, 2024.

Download the instructions >>>
Download the application >>>

Church Conference Invitation Challenge

The 2023 Church Conferences by Connexon Zone included a challenge to create an invitation to a ministry or mission event that was so enticing that we would all want to attend or participate. Of course, even the best invitation is useless if it is not sent out and shared. So, in addition to having a very attractive invitation the presentation of the invitation included the means by which the invitation would be shared.

I must say that we have awesome and creative churches in the Central Bay District. All our churches are champions at devising ministry and missional events which seek to share the love of God in a variety of ways into their communities and parishes! It was very difficult to choose the ultimate winners of the $250 prize from the District to be used to continue to reach out with actions and the message of God’s love. Here are the results from each Connexon Zone.

Zone 1 – Osceola & Mecosta Counties: Big Rapids Parish.
The Big Rapids Parish has adopted a the Seret Hall Memory Care Unit of the local assisted care facility. At Christmas they find out what each person in the unit would like for Christmas and provide personal care items and a special gift for each. They invite others to participate with them by sending out a Christmas Card to churches, agencies and individuals early in November inviting them to participate with them in providing Christmas cheer to many who are forgotten. Every Church in the Connexon Zone was then given an invitation.

Zone 2 – Clare & Isabella: Rosebush.
The Rosebush church has for a few years now engaged in Beer and the Bible. This is a gathering of people at a local bar to discuss issues of the day from a Biblical perspective. While it includes several persons from the church, it draws persons who patron the bar and has created good discussions, opportunities for relationships to be built, and lives to be changed. The invitation is made by Facebook, a weekly public blog, and soon a bill board.

Zone 3 – Midland & Gladwin. St Charles and 4 Points.
Last year, St Charles began a Make-n-Take night for adults to bring their children, grandchildren, and children they have a good relationship with to the church to create craft-gifts to be given to family members for Christmas. Last year’s gifts included dog treats, snow globes, bird feeders, and more. The evening includes a meal for all in attendance. They invite using their electronic sign, social media, and posters around town; but the best invite is a special arrangement they have made with the local school to have a flyer go home with the children the Friday before the event.
4 Points church is in the process of creating a youth center at its Swan Valley campus. Invitations were shared, but we were told that they were not for us, or any other adult for that matter. The invitations are for youth to share with youth. They will begin with a lock-in. the church electronic sign will be used as well as the all-campus hotline. But the primary means of invitation is friends inviting friends. They already have a large group of youth ready to experience their new youth center.
St Charles and 4 Points will share the prize 50-50.

Zone 4 – Arenac & Bay & Saginaw Counties: Standish Beacon of Life.
Beacon of Light already has a very active food pantry serving a plethora of families and individuals in the county. At Thanksgiving, Beacon of light will provide a free community dinner with all the trimmings. While they will use social media and flyers around the community, their intention is for those they serve with the food pantry. Therefore, every bag of food that is dispersed by the food pantry will have a flyer about the free dinner. In addition, the members of the church are committing to eating and engaging in conversation with all who come to begin building relationships with these often-forgotten members of their community.

Zone 5 – Ionia & Montcalm:
This Connexon Zone came ready to do ministry with many creative ideas, invitations, and means of getting the word out. Some examples are Pierson: Heritage, Walk with Jesus, interactive, ecumenical and even nonfaith persons engaging the wonder of Easter; Ionia: First, Community Drawers providing socks, underwear, winter coats and apparel; Belding, BUM – a thrift store with rock-bottom prices in the church service by people of the church and the community; Portland, Movie nights with popcorn and hot cocoa using proceeds for the Backpacks for Bellies program; Greenville, All Treats-no-Tricks on Halloween with warming station and restrooms available; Amble, Forward to the Past event remembering the past to envision the future for the church’s 150th anniversary and for the little community as well.
With so many good ministries and missions and all using and variety of means to get the word out, by mutual consent the connexon zone voted to give their prize to Delbert and Sandy Groves, missionaries in Zambia who had, prior to the church conference, presented to the folks from the zone. Great Hearts for God’s ministry.

Zone 6 – Clinton & Gratiot: Breckenridge
With the school just a short distance away, Breckenridge is opening its building for a 5th Quarter after home football and basketball games, providing a safe and secure place for highschoolers to gather after the game, enjoy and nacho bar and other snacks, games, and a place to hang and talk. As the wish to target the students, the invitations go out to the students at school and at the game. It continues to be very well attended.

CONGRATULATIONS to all our “winners.” Some of our winners received a prize to assist promoting their events. But all are winners burning the love of God to the lives and hearts of their communities.

Adult Leaders Needed!

Your Central Bay Youth Leadership Team has an awesome plan for the 2024 Summer Youth Mission Trip! We’ll be bringing hope to our District’s backyard in Big Rapids, Michigan. The trip will take place between June 23 and 29, 2024. Depending on the group size, we may even stay on the Ferris State Campus and eat our meals in one of the dining halls. We’ll be working alongside our friends at Ferris State Wesley House, and doing work in the Big Rapids area. While all of this is very exciting, none of it can happen without the commitment and support of at least seven adults who are willing and able to be leaders on this trip. While the leadership team would love to have a full week mission trip, we understand that some adults can’t be away that long. Please reach out to Jennifer Lane if you could participate for the whole week, four days or any time in between. The District will cover all travel and lodging cost for any adult willing to attend. All leaders must be over 22 years of age, willing to undergo protection training, and will have a background check preformed. Student registration WILL NOT OPEN until we have a team of adults willing to commit to attending the trip. Thank you for prayerfully considering this opportunity. Adult commitments need be received to Jennifer by 5:50 pm on December 31, 2023.

Employee Assistance Program

Our EAP program is for clergy and their families to deal with a number of personal, job or family related problems. They provide limited free counseling and then will provide a referral for longer term counseling. They provide legal assistance and financial services as well.

I’m attaching the Fact Sheet for our EAP. We often refer people to the website because they have tons of material there including health recipes and webinars on a range of topics. However, for a crisis situation, they should call 1-800-847-7240. That number is available 24/7/365. Our EAP provider says they’d like people to hear a voice first in the midst of a crisis, rather than seeing a website.

This service is free and completely confidential. The Benefits Office has no idea who uses this system. We simply get a quarterly report of how much it has been used, but never any identifying information.

The website is a great place to check out resources when not in the midst of a crisis. Please note that the website, username and password are on the attached flier. I will say that the website sometimes doesn’t load correctly due to the nature of http vs https. So, I let people know that redirects to in case there is ever an issue.

If you have further questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

We are aware that people often don’t know of this benefit and so we will be communicating more about the EAP in the coming months, but we appreciate you also sharing this information as you can. We ask that you not give out the username and password in general communications to the public as it is meant to be used by our employees (clergy and their families) only.

In Christ,
Joel Walther
Director of Conference Benefits and Coordinator of Human Resources
Michigan Conference of the UMC

Central Bay District