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Daily Digest - May 21, 2016

“If you believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but have never asked a gay Christian how they understand the Bible, you gotta get out of that tomb.  If you believe that all African delegates are voting from somebody else’s game plan, you gotta get out of that tomb.” — Mountain Sky Episcopal Area Bishop Elaine Stanovsky in a May 20 sermon at General Conference.



Scenes from the final day of GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A final protest over full inclusion, debates and voting on the general church budget and a sermon about unity make up some of the images of the last day of General Conference.

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GC2016 passes $604 million general church budget

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — General Conference delegates voted to increase the general church budget to $604 million to boost support of United Methodist theological education in Africa, Asia and Europe. Getting to the final bottom line took time – and some laughter. Heather Hahn reports.
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Delegates choose engagement over divestment

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — After prolonged, impassioned debate, General Conference 2016 chose not to add a fossil fuels investment screen for the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The question came down to divestment vs. engagement as the better way to influence companies to address climate change. Sam Hodges reports.
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Stanovsky: ‘We will not leave divided’

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — On the last day of the 2016 General Conference, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky reminded those attending, “We will not leave divided because God is not finished with us yet!” She concluded that the real work is done once the 10-day event has finished. Charmaine Robledo, Mountain Sky Area director of communications, has the report.
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LGBTQ people gather for final demonstration

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A large group of LGBTQ people circled the floor of the 2016 General Conference May 20, singing, “I am not forgotten, you are not forgotten; God knows your name.” Participants said the respectful demonstration was the final chance for LGBTQ people to surround and support each other before everyone leaves General Conference and returns to their local churches. Kathy Gilbert reports.
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Court rules no conflict on question of authority

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In response to a request for review from General Conference 2016, the United Methodist Judicial Council has found no conflict between two of its previous decisions or between specific paragraphs in the church’s constitution. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Bid to divest from illegal settlements fails

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — An amendment offered on May 20 during a General Conference debate on socially responsible investing that sought to divest from illegal settlements on occupied lands failed 559-167. But delegates adopted a petition on behalf of a Palestinian village, Wadi Foquin. Erik Alsgaard reports.
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May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Goodnight, Portland! On the last day of General Conference 2016, voting clocks shrank from 30 seconds to 10 and more than one presiding bishop urged delegates to speak less and vote more. Delegates rolled up their sleeves and plunged into a daunting collection of remaining petitions before the closing gavel fell. They did pass a $604 million general church budget for the next four years. Joey Butler reports.
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Audio stories from GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Daily podcasts from General Conference 2016 include the experiences of a Hispanic pastor and seminary student, reflections of the host committee and Mountain Sky Area Bishop Elaine Stanovsky's closing day sermon.
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Final video wrap-up from GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. ( — Skyler Nimmons of the Indiana Conference joins Greg Nelson of the Oregon-Idaho Conference, which hosted General Conference 2016, for a look at highlights from the last day at the convention center. Learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of having 3,000 United Methodist friends drop by for two weeks.
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Spirit-filled moments at GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. ( — Worship, prayer, and celebrations surround the work of the General Conference, and lift up God’s work through the people of The United Methodist Church. Read about some of the big and small moments that have celebrated the presence of the Holy Spirit among us. Joe Iovino has the story.
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Blog: Overcoming the brink of schism

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — With the enormous issues and overwhelming debate on each that confronts The United Methodist Church today, General Conference 2016 has managed to do some holy conferencing, says Gladys Mangiduyos in her blog.
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Blog: Serving as a GC2016 page

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Pages at General Conference 2016 run notes, deliver coffee and much more. At times, the work becomes surreal. South Carolina Advocate editor Jessica Brodie blogs about the experience and perspective of the Rev. Elizabeth Murray, first-time page.
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Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email and put Digest in the subject line.


Sunday, May 22

Peace with Justice Sunday ─ Offering on this Special Sunday supports United Methodist peace with justice ministries through conferences and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. has resources for pastors and lay church leaders.


Heritage Sunday — The United Methodist Church celebrates Heritage Sunday on the Sunday before Aldersgate Day, May 24, when John Wesley had his spiritual rebirth. This year, United Methodists mark the 200th anniversaries of the death of Francis Asbury and the birth of sister denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History offers resources.

More upcoming United Methodist events