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News In Brief - May 18, 2012

News in Brief May 18, 2012
Brief items for use in local church newsletters
Prepared by United Methodist News Service

With General Conference 2012 in the rearview mirror, the focus moves to a virtual traffic jam of regional and jurisdictional meetings ranging from consolidating three annual conferences to electing more than a dozen new bishops. In the U.S., Annual (regional) Conferences began May 17 in Detroit and continue through June 24 in Roanoke, Va. In July, jurisdictional conferences will meet to elect and assign new bishops. Meanwhile, reports from annual conference sessions around the globe are being posted on The United Methodist Church website. You can access these reports via umns.umc.org.

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The third annual Change the World weekend is May 19-20, when United Methodist congregations are urged to reach out both locally and globally. Locally, the churches are being urged to get do a community project, from planting a garden to cleaning a park. Globally, congregations are being asked to hold walkathons and other fundraisers to help eradicate malaria. Change the World is sponsored byRethink Church (www.rethinkchurch.org). In the Philippines, Baguio City First United Methodist Church is having 3K, 5K and 10K runs this weekend as part of Change the World.

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For the past four years, Florida Area Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker has served as co-chair of dialogue between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and The United Methodist Church. Together, Whitaker and Catholic Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., have drafted a paper on Holy Communion and ecological stewardship. "When we celebrate the Eucharist we join with the rest of creation in acknowledging our dependence on the Father," says the paper. Eleven other Catholic and United Methodist scholars assisted the two bishops in authoring the joint statement.

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United Methodist congregational resources are available to celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday, traditionally observed the first Sunday after Pentecost (May 27 this year), which this year will be June 3. Half of the special offering helps to provide a denominational in advocating for peace around the world and the other half supports justice ministries in annual (regional) conferences. More about this is at www.umc-gbcs.org.

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About 30 truckloads of sweet potatoes donated by a North Carolina grower have been delivered to points around the country, but more donations are needed to roll out the 36-plus additional truckloads that have been scheduled. Each truck carries 42,000 pounds of food to its destination for $1,000 to $2,500, depending on distance. That translates to only 2.5 cents to 6 cents per pound. To help, go to www.endhunger.org.

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The boys ranged in age from 5 to 11. There were 35,000 when they left the Sudan on foot, in search of a life free from violence. By the time they reached Kenya, more than half had died. James Makuac is one of the survivors. Now living in the United States, Makuac uses his artwork to tell about the painful journey of the Lost Boys of Sudan. A video of his work can be accessed through www.umc.org.

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When she was a teenager, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner was the only one in her confirmation class in the United Methodist church she attended in Germany. When she began considering going into ministry, there was only one female United Methodist pastor in her country. And, when she was elected bishop of Germany, she became the first woman outside the United States tapped for a United Methodist episcopacy. Now Wenner has taken on another role: She is the new president of the denomination's Council of Bishops.

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In a sanctuary so overflowing that a video link had to be set up in the fellowship hall, 40 men and women were commissioned April 24 to serve as missionaries, deaconesses and home missioners for The United Methodist Church. The service took place at a United Methodist church in Tampa, Fla., during General Conference, the denomination's top legislative assembly. The missionaries are being assigned throughout the global denomination. The deaconesses and home missionaries will serve in the United States.

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David Trickett is stepping down as president of the United Methodist-related Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo. Trickett has led Iliff since 2006. Albert Hernandez, chief operating officer, dean of the faculty, senior vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of the history of Christianity, will fulfill the duties of the presidency on an interim basis.

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The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is seeking a director and organizer for women's advocacy. The opening is part of the board's Louise and Hugh Moore Population Project, whose mission is to work with and on behalf of women around the globe, particularly those most marginalized, by advocating for the passage of just policies by the U.S. Congress and the United Nations. The director reports to the agency's chief executive and will work at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. More about the job opening can be accessed through umc-gbcs.org.

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The Rev. Gary A. Shockley, executive officer of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship's New Church Starts (Path 1), has been appointed senior pastor at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Denver Area Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky made the appointment, which will be effective Oct. 15. Under Shockley's leadership, New Church Starts (Path 1) has assisted episcopal and conference leaders as they planted more than 600 new churches in the United States since 2009. This figure is on pace to surpass the goal of 650 new church starts set during the 2008 General Conference.

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Politeness and respect are just as important as food and shelter for refugees being resettled into U.S. communities, Alistair Ager, Columbia University professor of clinical population and family health, told those gathered May 8-10 at Church World Service's annual national refugee resettlement conference. The importance of social networks - including simple neighborliness - for the successful integration of refugees was emphasized repeatedly during the event.

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