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UMNS Weekly Digest - April 5, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for April 1 5. It includes summaries of stories and additional briefs from United Methodist News Service. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at Please have a sacred Good Friday and joyous Easter.

News Stories:

General Conference 2012 activity this week

The United Methodist News Service is reporting on 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 on General Conference 2012 at Among the stories this week:

SAN ANTONIO (UMNS) - The Rev. Kim Cape, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry; Jay Brim, Southwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference lay leader, and the Rev. Tim McClendon, Columbia (S.C.) district superintendent and episcopal candidate, joined March 31 in a three-hour debate on restructuring proposals before General Conference 2012. Video of a March 31 debate on church restructuring proposals is now available online. The debate was sponsored by United Methodist Men of the Southwest Texas Conference. Read full story and post a comment

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Nearly 30 church leaders went to Chicago on a mission to help The United Methodist Church reverse declining U.S. membership and revitalize its congregations. The consensus among those gathered was that no matter what happens with various proposals to change the denomination's structure, The United Methodist Church needs to change its culture to foster vitality.

LINCOLN, Neb. (UMNS) - The Nebraska Annual (regional) Conference delegation to General Conference issued a statement on the proposals for structural change in The United Methodist Church and shared a statement accepted unanimously at its November meeting, endorsing a diverse episcopacy, specifically welcoming women and clergy of diverse ethnic backgrounds as bishops. Read full statement

HARTWELL, Ga. (UMNS) - The proponents of the "UMC Plan B" restructuring plan have published the substitute motion they plan to make at the 2012 General Conference as an alternative to the restructuring proposal from the Connectional Table and Call to Action Interim Operations Team. Read legislation

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Missionary Association released a statement April 1 on Call to Action, the proposed denominational restructuring plan, echoing the need to "retain and respect the creative tension between the global and the local &ellipsis;" voiced recently by Thomas Kemper, head of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Read full statement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Delegates, bishops, and others attending General Conference 2012 are invited to join students and presidents from some of the 120 United Methodist-related schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools and 520 campus ministries for a higher education ministry fair on April 30. Read full story

Tornado damages Texas church

DALLAS (UMNS) - In a text message, Vance Morton reflected on the tornadoes that hammered the Dallas/Fort Worth area April 3. One United Methodist church - St. Barnabas, Arlington - sustained severe damage. "While the loss of property was severe in some areas," Morton wrote, "we are all celebrating the miracle that the human toll was virtually nil." Morton directs communications and IT for the Central Texas Annual (regional) Conference. Read full story

New pastor for St. Luke 'Community'

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Rev. Henry L. Masters Sr. confirmed an announcement by St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church in Dallas that he will be its new pastor. Masters and his wife, the Rev. S. Dianna Masters, will join the St. Luke staff in early July. With 5,000 members, St. Luke is one of the largest predominantly African-American churches in the denomination, but was rocked earlier this year by clergy sex abuse allegations. Read full story

Alabama clergy ad against immigration law

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) - A group of Alabama clergy, including United Methodists, have unveiled a TV commercial opposing Alabama's controversial immigration law. Watch video

Tough times lead us 'Broken To Peace'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A new DVD-based study series from United Methodist Communications focuses on Christians who faced painful circumstances that threatened their spiritual health and sanity. The study series, "Broken to Peace," is equipped with a downloadable leader's guide that also includes devotional tools and discussion starters to serve as catalysts for conversation, constructive debate and personal sharing. A Christian educator and pastor, the Rev. Mark Price, wrote the leader's guide. Order series.

Training new church leaders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "A New Generation of Church Leaders: Training & Nurturing Young People," the fourth film in the five-part series, "Dreaming of Vital Congregations," produced by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, is available to download with a free study guide. Watch video.

'Mrs. Africa U.' Nancy Mikell Carruth dies

ASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Africa University family is mourning the loss of Nancy Mikell Carruth, 84, who passed away April 1 in Bunkie, La. Carruth, an inaugural member of the United Methodist-related university's advisory development committee and planned giving council, was affectionately known to many as "Mrs. Africa University." "She worked to realize a dream which is destined to change the face of leadership in Africa from now until eternity," said Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area. Read full story and post a comment

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries