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UMNS Weekly Digest - April 13, 2017


Top viewed stories from April 7-April 13. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Commission ponders structural changes

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The 32 members of the Commission on a Way Forward are getting down to the business of doing what their name says — finding a way for a denomination deeply divided over homosexuality to move forward together. On the table are looser ways to be in connection. Heather Hahn reports.
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Africa University farm feeds multitudes

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Happy animals, abundant crops on the Africa University farm help make the United Methodist university self-sustaining. The agricultural department was one of the first two faculties established in 1992. Kathy L. Gilbert and Mike DuBose have the story and photos. 
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United Methodists in Nigeria focus on future

LAGOS, Nigeria (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church in Nigeria held a roundtable last month to develop a strategic plan for the future of the church. Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna said the three-day discussion, organized by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, was urgent due to Nigeria’s economic struggles and population boom. The Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel reports.
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Recalling violence against Filipino farmers

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — An interfaith worship service on the one-year anniversary of a bloody attack on farmers in the Philippines was organized by the United Methodist bishop’s office in the Davao area. Gladys P. Mangiduyos has the story. 
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Hundreds benefit from medical outreach

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — A total of 355 patients with various ailments from rural districts benefited from a free medical outreach program conducted by The United Methodist Church. The outreach targeted people from disadvantaged communities who needed routine treatment. Kudzai Chingwe reports.
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Nigerian seminary educates pastors' wives

BAMBUR, Nigeria (UMNS) — The United Methodist seminary in Nigeria is now providing basic skills training for the wives of male students studying to become pastors. The school also has female students studying to be pastors, and their husbands also are encouraged to attend the school. Julu Swen reports. 
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Kid's thoughts on miracles add depth at Easter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — “Do you believe in miracles?” That simple question, which might challenge adults, elicited some remarkable replies when a United Methodist pastor asked children. Joe Iovino has the story on a question that is part of The United Methodist Church’s Easter campaign.
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Men's groups take lead from John Wesley

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — Life-changing small groups are becoming a source of rejuvenation in United Methodist Men units across the United States. “I think what men are looking for now is a place where they can be real,” says United Methodist Men’s top executive. Laura Buchanan reports.  
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Commentary: Doubter's guide to Easter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — Growing up in a family of CEOs — Christmas and Easter Onlys — Brett McArdle often “kicked the tires” on questions of religion. But, he writes in a commentary, being a doubter has carried his faith journey beyond simple belief.
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Devotion: 'Christ the Lord is Risen Today'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Many churches of all denominations begin worship on Easter Sunday by singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Charles Wesley’s lyrics wonderfully celebrate how Jesus’ resurrection is God’s victory over death, and call us to tell the world, the Rev. Joe Iovino writes. 
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What is an alternative name for Holy Week? 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — What is an alternative name for Holy Week? Test your knowledge with this and other questions about the seasons of Lent and Easter. The quiz has a new question each weekday.
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Commentary: Invoking the Holy Spirit

HOUSTON — The Rev. Walter Fenton, an analyst for Good News, responds to the United Methodists who invoke the Holy Spirit to explain the election and ministry of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop. Good News is an unofficial advocacy group that urges the denomination to maintain its restrictions against the practice of homosexuality.
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Resources for Native American Ministries Sunday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Native American Ministries Sunday is observed on April 30 this year. The offering from this Special Sunday supports Native American outreach within annual conferences, provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans and strengthens, develops and equips Native American rural, urban and reservation congregations, ministries and communities. 
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Stained-glass window is survivor 

COPEVILLE, Texas — A 107-year-old stained-glass window depicting Christ has survived four moves, a tornado and a fire and now occupies a prominent place at Copeville’s Community United Methodist Church. The Rev. Katie Shockley reports for the North Texas Conference.
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Bishop: Lessons learned from men in Zimbabwe

MUTARE, Zimbabwe — Mississippi Area Bishop James Swanson reflects on the lessons he learned from a group of men in Zimbabwe, including living well on very little. 
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Slaughter speaks at Leadership Institute

FAYETTE, Mo. — When the Rev. Mike Slaughter was appointed to Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, the Ohio congregation had 90 people with a $27,000 annual budget — including Slaughter’s salary. Today, Ginghamsburg is one of the denomination’s best-attended churches. Slaughter will be the keynote speaker at the Leadership Institute on April 27 at Central Methodist University.
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Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.

Sunday, April 16

Easter Sunday — esources to help observe the Easter season are available from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. United Methodist Communications has gathered a collection of seasonal resources, too.
Get Discipleship Ministry resources
United Methodist Communications resources

Friday, April 28

Tenth Annual United Methodist Caretakers of God's Creation Conference — 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, 1500 North Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia. Participants also can take part in the National People's Climate Movement March in Washington the following day, April 29. Details

See more United Methodist events