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UMNS Weekly Digest - April 13, 2012


UMNS Weekly Digest

April 13, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for April 9-13. It includes summaries of stories, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from United Methodist News Service. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

Stories this week:

General Conference 2012 activity

The United Methodist News Service continues its coverage of activities related to General Conference 2012, the denomination's top lawmaking body, which will meet April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla. UMNS reports appear as they occur on and also can be found at the General Conference website, Commentaries are at http:// Among the stories this week:

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - Visitors to the 2012 General Conference, The United Methodist Church's top legislative assembly, may now preregister online. General Conference will meet April 24-May 4 at the convention center in Tampa, Fla. Registration is $10 per person and may be paid online by credit card or by cash in person at General Conference. Visitor registration is not required to attend General Conference sessions. However, registered visitors will receive a name badge and program book. To register»

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A petition before the 2012 United Methodist General Conference would require the denomination to back its opposition to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories by dropping investments in selected companies whose products are used in the occupation. Read full story and post a comment»

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Will small, rural churches have a voice in a reconfigured United Methodist Church? In its "values" statement for General Conference, the United Methodist Rural Fellowship declares that "the health, vitality, and sustainability of each local congregation should be held as the primary value of the denominational structure." Read full story and post a comment»

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - Reflecting on the upcoming work at General Conference 2012, the Rev. Francisco Cañas, national coordinator of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, writes that the church "must redefine basic concepts such as 'community,' 'neighbor,' 'mission' and 'redemption.'" Read commentary and post a comment»

PHOENIX (UMNS) - On behalf of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops, Phoenix Area Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño sent a memo relaying the bishops' concerns and suggested changes for the proposed consolidation of general agencies. The Western Jurisdiction is not drafting any legislation. Read more»

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UMNS) - The Rev. Thomas E. Frank, university professor at Wake Forest University and an authority on United Methodist history, offers a framework he hopes General Conference delegates will keep in mind when considering proposed structural changes. Read more»

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - Historically, the treatment of indigenous people by Christian churches - including United Methodists - has been good, bad and ugly. As The United Methodist Church gathers here April 24-May 4 for its worldwide legislative session, it will recognize that history and take steps toward healing with Native Americans and other indigenous people around the world. An "Act of Repentance for Indigenous People" worship service will be April 27. Read full story and post a comment»

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - You don't have to be in Tampa, Fla., or anywhere near there, to watch the proceedings of General Conference 2012. There will be live streaming of worship and conference sessions - as well as news stories, photos and videos - to your mobile devices. If you're planning on being at General Conference, there will be hands-on information, including maps of the convention center, locations of restaurants and local points of interest. Read more»

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Native American International Caucus of The United Methodist Church has joined a coalition advocating for the inclusion of all people - regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. "It is time to join our brothers and sisters who continue to seek a place in The United Methodist Church and provide that space as we should for all people of God," said Anne Marshall, caucus chair. Read more»

Rx: Affordable health care

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - United Methodist leaders were among the faithful who gathered outside the Supreme Court last week to show their support for the Affordable Care Act. As supporters rallied outside, court justices were on the inside hearing arguments about whether the law passed in 2010 is constitutional. Read more»

Zimbabwe bishop offers condolences

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) - Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa of Zimbabwe has offered his "sincere condolences" to the people of Malawi over the recent death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, The 78-year-old Mutharika, who had governed Malawi for eight years, died of cardiac arrest April 5. "This is a loss to the nation of Malawi and to the whole of the continent of Africa," said Nhiwatiwa, whose Zimbabwe Episcopal Area includes the Malawi Missionary Conference. "We who have churches ministering in Malawi experienced all the support we needed from the government of Malawi and it is our hope that this cordial relationship will continue. May his soul rest in peace." Malawi Vice President Joyce Banda was sworn in April 7 as the country's first woman president.

8 ways to start a sports ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Sports and recreation ministries expand opportunities for your congregation to connect with each other and the community. Any church or cluster of congregations can consider starting an exercise class, developing a sports league or serving as a center of recreational activity. Consider these 8 ways to start a sports ministry. Read more»

Interfaith letter says no to war with Iran

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is among the 13 national interfaith organizations that sent a letter to President Obama, asking him not to go to war with Iran. The letter supports the Obama administration's efforts to employ diplomacy to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program and resulting tensions among Iran, Israel and the United States. Read more»

Spark12 seeks innovative projects

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Spark12, a young-adult justice-ministry project of The United Methodist Church, is looking for innovative projects that push the boundaries of ministry to transform the world. Spark12 is open to young adults, ages 18-35, and project ideas must be submitted by June 29. Read more»

Why did Titanic's band play on?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - When the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, it took with it the ship's famed band members - including two Methodists, band leader and violinist Wallace Hartley and cellist John Wesley Woodward. A book by music journalist Steve Turner, "The Band That Played On," suggests how the faith of the musicians may have influenced them to play until the end. Read full story and post a comment»

Laura Bush to speak at commencement

HIGH POINT, N.C. (UMNS) - Former First Lady Laura Bush will deliver the commencement address at High Point University on May 5. A champion of women's health care, education and human rights, Bush also is a longtime United Methodist. University officials said a limited number of free tickets are available to the public; call (336) 841-9209 or send an email to High Point University is a private, liberal arts school affiliated with The United Methodist Church. Read more»

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries