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Daily Digest: February 11, 2014

“It’s kind of like porcupines on a cold night; we prick each other sometimes. But still the grace is there, the warmth of God’s spirit, so I am hopeful. I really am.” — Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson on the denomination’s human sexuality debate.

Scars and hope emerging from Schaefer trial

IONA, Penn. (UMNS) — Frank Schaefer, former pastor of Zion Iona United Methodist Church was found guilty of violating the United Methodist Book of Discipline in a church trial and lost his ministerial credentials. Those involved — from the Schaefer family to church members supporting and opposing his actions to Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson — talk with Kathy Gilbert of United Methodist News Service about the pain and about hope for what may happen next.

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A way forward in human sexuality debate

DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) — Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya talks about the tough times ahead as the church's longtime debate on same-gender unions intensifies. He adds that "... I believe that there is a way forward for our church."

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Trial postponed for theologian who officiated at son’s wedding

NEW YORK (UMNS) — In a pre-trial meeting  on Monday, Feb. 10, retired Bishop S. Clifton Ives —  the presiding officer or the equivalent of a judge — postponed the trial date of the Rev. Thomas Ogletree, who officiated at the same-sex wedding of his son in 2012. No new date has been given.

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Liberia United Methodists address violence

GBARNGA CITY, Liberia (UMNS) — The church must find its prophetic voice in addressing the issue of violence, a United Methodist pastor and scholar told participants in a seminar that also focused on forgiveness and reconciliation. The Rev. Yatta Young, dean of the Gbarnga School of Theology at United Methodist University, challenged the church to become proactive in advocating against violence and human rights violations.

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Evangelism award nomination forms available

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — The Foundation for Evangelism plans again to work with United Methodist annual conferences in celebrating outstanding personal evangelism by sponsoring the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. The Harry Denman Evangelism Awards nomination packets may be downloaded from The Foundation for Evangelism website or you may receive a packet in the mail by calling 800-737-8333.

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Pastor made history as applicant to Birmingham police in 1956

MOODY, Ala. (UMNS) — The Rev. Clyde M. Jones is retired after nearly 40 years as a United Methodist pastor and proudly wears a cap that denotes his service as a Korean War veteran. But he is in the history books for risking his job and his life to become one of the first black applicants for the job of a Birmingham, Ala., police officer. Greg Garrison of Al.com shares Jones’ story.

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Lawson to speak at equality breakfast

LONG BEACH, Calif. (UMNS) — The Rev. James Lawson Jr., a civil rights leader and retired United Methodist pastor known especially for training young people in the ways of nonviolent protest, plans to speak at the annual breakfast hosted by the California Conference for Equality and Justice. The breakfast is scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Press-Telegram reports.

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Lowery to speak at Clark Atlanta University

ATLANTA (UMNS) — United Methodist-related Clark Atlanta University will celebrate African-American History Month with a historic forum at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday.  Feb. 12, with the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a retired United Methodist pastor and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Carl Ware, former Coca-Cola executive, and former Ambassador Andrew Young. The forum will discuss the relationship between America’s civil rights movement and the struggle against South African apartheid. It is scheduled in Davage Auditorium in Haven-Warren Hall on campus, 223 James P. Brawley Drive S.W.

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History of Hymns: ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’

DALLAS (UMNS) — What began as a hastily-written composition for an unassuming school assembly in 1900 has become known as the African-American national anthem. C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology shares the story of American civil rights pioneer James Weldon Johnson, his brother J. Rosamund Johnson and their most famous composition, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

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