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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 02, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

Aug.2, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 29 - Aug. 5. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

Perspectives from United Methodist bishops

Bishops sound alarm about clergy, church trends

SOUTHLAKE, Texas (UMNS) - Meeting earlier this summer, bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction sounded the alarm about trends of aging clergy, fewer young clergy and shrinking church membership in their region. Paula Arnold and the Rev. Sheron C. Patterson, communicators in the South Central Jurisdiction, report on the discussion. Read story and post a comment

Bishop Carter urges churches to welcome everyone

ORLANDO, Fla. (UMNS) - Bishop Ken Carter is encouraging churches across the Florida Annual (regional) Conference to welcome gays and lesbians in worship and ministry. At a regularly scheduled gathering of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender cluster group July 25 at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Carter encouraged United Methodists to welcome people of all sexual orientations with a spirit of "generous orthodoxy." The full 5,000-member St. Luke's congregation and clergy from other churches were invited to hear the message. Susan Green of the Florida Annual Conference reports.

Read story
Read Bishop Carter's message

The ministry of servanthood

FRANKFURT, Germany (UMNS)- Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council of Bishops and episcopal leader of the Germany Area, writes about the challenges and joys of pastors during reappointment time in the Germany Central Conference. "We all are part of a worldwide community of servanthood," she said. Read full commentary

Trayvon Martin's death a tragedy

CHICAGO (UMNS) - "Putting faith into action sometimes requires that we rally, vote and stand for change in our systems," writes Bishop Sally Dyck of the Chicago Area. "It means that we make our neighbor's good our own, whether it literally be a neighboring community or the actual neighbor next door." Read commentary

United Methodists in the news

United Methodist pastor is 2013 CNN Hero

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) - After two experiences with gang-related violence, the Rev. Lisa Fitzpatrick co-founded a youth center in New Orleans to help shape and build lives.

Watch CNN story

Next FBI director is a United Methodist

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - James B. Comey Jr., confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has an extensive rsum in the justice system and law enforcement. He also brings experience as a United Methodist Sunday school teacher. Neill Caldwell of the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference has the story. Read story and post a comment

Church has big presence at Scouts' Jamboree

MOUNT HOPE, W.Va. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church provided vital lay and clergy leaders for the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree on July 15-24 at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Larry Coppock, United Methodist Men's national director of Scouting ministries, shares the story. Read story

United Methodist missionary recalls life journey

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. (UMNS) After experiencing three calls in her life to do mission work, Janet McCarty finally responded in 1999, serving as a United Methodist Board of Global Ministries missionary in the Philippines and Nepal. Now retiring at age 70, she is sharing her story and encouraging others to pay attention when God nudges them. Read her story in the State Journal Register

Faithful attendance brings blessings

JACKSON, Tenn. (UMNS) - Eddie Wade Workman, 71, has not missed a Sunday school class in more than 48 years. "I made a covenant with my Lord and made up my mind to worship the Lord," says the Sunday school superintendent at Salem United Methodist Church. Read Jackson Sun story

Learning makes for happy campers

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (UMNS) - At math camp at Broomfield United Methodist Church, students skipped into the chapel to sing math songs and catch a story from Spellbinders storyteller Dan Keenan. It was all part of a jump-start program to keep kids on target in reading and math. Two area churches donate space for the camps. Read the story from the Broomfield Enterprise

Resources for churches

United Methodists must 'invest in growth'

BRYAN, Texas (UMNS) - Economist and active United Methodist Donald R. House has created a plan to reverse U.S. membership and financial decline in The United Methodist Church. House says his research shows that if the churches invest the amount he recommends, they will by 2021 grow enough to reverse the denomination's downward trajectory in worship attendance in the United States. Read story and post a comment

United Methodists ready kids for school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Back-to-school season is officially here, with many students returning to class in early August. For many United Methodist congregations, it's a time to share God's love in both word and deed. Learn what is happening. Read story and post a comment

The ABCs of back-to-school outreach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Whether it's assembling backpacks with school supplies or organizing a teacher appreciation event, churches can make a difference when the school year begins. Here are a dozen ideas that are as easy as 1-2-3. Read story and post a comment

5 ideas for equipping vital congregations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Looking for advice on how to engage young people in meaningful mission work? That's one area addressed in a list of five tips for equipping vital congregations, provided by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Read newsletter

Giving time and service from spiritual gifts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Sarah Ogilby remembers struggling to identify people to serve in various church positions. "It was kind of like taking a [round] peg and putting it in a square hole," recalled the GROW coordinator at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Del. Now, as more members have taken a spiritual-gifts assessment, it has become easier to ask those equipped with particular gifts to serve. Interpreter magazine reports. Read full story

'Gather Us In' - History of Hymns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - C. Michael Hawn of Perkins School of Theology writes in his latest History of Hymns column about hymn writer Marty Haugen and his "Gather Us In," No. 2236 in The Faith We Sing. "Marty Haugen is perhaps the most prolific and influential composer of liturgical music of his generation. His hymns, psalm settings and paraphrases, services set to music and anthems are widely used in both Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations around the world," Hawn says. Learn about hymn

News around conferences

A look at the people behind Detroit headlines

DETROIT (UMNS) - As citizens wait for the next governmental step in Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings, Brandon Powell, a United Methodist young adult in mission serving in the city, notes that the "provision that God allots is not dependent on a governmental decision." The West Michigan Annual (regional) Conference looks at the people serving in Detroit. Read story

Toward a 'vital merger'

DETROIT (UMNS) - Not two, not three, but four Detroit area churches have merged into one. People involved in the creation of DownRiver United Methodist Church are committed to making it a "vital merger." Read story by the Rev. Dirk Elliott

California retired pastors pledge to perform same-sex marriages

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (UMNS) - Eighty-five retired clergy of the California-Nevada Annual (regional) Conference have declared their willingness to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in defiance of The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book. The retired clergy announced their intentions in a press conference July 24 at Saint Mark's United Methodist Church in Sacramento. Read story

Haiti captured her heart

SHREVEPORT, La. (UMNS) - Sarah Marsalis Luginbill, a youth director at Grace Community United Methodist Church in Shreveport, has returned to Louisiana after six months as the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team coordinator in Haiti. Betty Backstrom of the Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference reports on the work Luginbill did and how the experience changed her life. Read story

A week in the life of Project Transformation

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (UMNS) - Project Transformation, a new Tennessee Annual (regional) Conference ministry, collaborates with local churches to engage young adults in ministry exploration and provide summer enrichment programs for at-risk children and youth. The Tennessee Conference reports on a week in the life of one intern, Christine Lang. Read story

One hundred years of Filipino-American ministry

LOS ANGELES (UMNS) - The National Association of Filipino-American United Methodists recently celebrated 100 years of ministry in North America. The observance's theme: "Bagong Siglo, Bagong Sigla," which in English means, "New Century, New Vitality." Read story

News around the connection

Wings of the Morning takes flight in Congo

LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) - Wings of the Morning, a newer refurbished airplane that serves a medical mission in Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, flew for the first time after its long journey home from the United States.

See image
Learn about the medical mission

Judicial Council updates October docket

BALTIMORE (UMNS) - The United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination's top court, has added four items to the docket for its meeting Oct. 23-26 in Baltimore. The additional cases regard rulings of law in the Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference. View October 2013 docket

University and seminary news

Emory Youth Theological Initiative celebrates 20 years

ATLANTA (UMNS) - Each summer, 40 rising high school juniors and seniors from across the United States gather at United Methodist-related Emory University to experience Christian theological education. Alumni from the first class of 1993 and other early years of the program came together July 12-13 to reconnect, reminisce and discuss the program's impact. Read story from Emory University

Southwestern University completes fundraising campaign

GEORGETOWN, Texas (UMNS)- Two anonymous $1 million gifts have helped United Methodist-related Southwestern University complete its $150 million fundraising campaign two years ahead of schedule. An alumnus and his wife committed to one of the gifts while the parents of a Southwestern graduate provided the second $1 million gift. The funds are being used for extensive capital improvements and 18 new faculty positions. Read news release

Blogs and commentaries

Pastors have to tithe ... have to

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (UMNS) - "You simply have to tithe if you are going to lead a church," writes the Rev. Shane L. Bishop, senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Fairview Heights. "And you need to tithe to your current church. The one whose name is on your paycheck." Bishop lists 10 reasons why.
Read blog and comment

'Walk a mile in her shoes' to understand

TULSA, Okla. (UMNS) - After many years of helping women who have been victims of violence, Anne Marshall notes that "justice isn't always about getting the assailant to pay for the crime but, rather, having control of one's life and living again." Read commentary

Jackie Robinson and evangelism

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) - Evangelism is not just about sharing the Gospel; it's also about taking down roadblocks, barriers and prejudices to welcome people into life in Christ. The Rev. Frederick G. Outlaw sees an analogy in the work facing today's United Methodist Church and the story of Jackie Robinson, the Methodist who broke the modern-eracolor line of Major League Baseball. He is the director of discipleship and ethnic ministries in the Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference. Read commentary

It's not about praise bands

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The popular Christian blogger and author Rachel Held Evans, who often speaks to United Methodist audiences, gives her view of why millennials are leaving the church. Read her commentary for CNN

Raised nonreligious

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Millennials are far more likely than boomers to have been raised in a nonreligious home, and that's one likely explanation for why millennials are an elusive group for churches, says Daniel Cox, research director for the Public Religion Research Institute. Read his analysis

Looking ahead

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

Registration opens for Welcoming Ministry 100 online course, Aug. 5 - Sept. 4-Oct. 16, help for becomingwelcoming and hospitable congregations, sponsored by United Methodist Communications.$29.99. Details.

Black Clergy Women of The United Methodist Church 25th Anniversary Conference, Aug. 5-8 - Westin Hotel Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Details.

Global Leadership Summit, Aug. 8-9 - 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET each day, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C., will be host site of a telecast from Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. Details.

Free webinar "How to Develop Policies for Children's Ministries," Aug. 8 - 10 a.m. CT, webinar from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship looks at the development process, recommends who needs to be in on the conversation and offers samples of policies that have served congregations well. To register.

"Day 1," Aug. 11 - The Rev. W. Mark Ralls, senior minister, Centenary United Methodist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., will be the featured speaker on the nationally syndicated radio program "Day 1." To listen.

Registration deadline for United Methodism 101 online course, Aug. 14 - Aug. 21-Oct. 2, Designed for new church members and anyone else wanting to know more about United Methodist history, structure, beliefs, ministries and challenges, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. $9.99. Details.

The Reconciliation Story: Conflict Resolution in Small Congregations, Aug. 22-24 - Workshop led by Mary Ann Lawson and Marion Crooks at Hinton Rural Life Center, Hayesville, N.C. Details.

Free webinar "Safe Sanctuaries: Children, Teachers and Media" Aug. 22 - 10 a.m. CT, webinar from United Methodist Board of Discipleship looks at how, in a rapidly evolving media world, teachers and other adults can protect children from abuse. To register.

Free webinar "Generosity in Emerging Generations," Aug. 22 - 6:30 p.m. CT, examining how emerging generations make decisions about generosity, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Free webinar "Charting a Course for Discipleship," Aug. 27 - 6:30 p.m. CT, how to develop a pathway to help adults deepen their Christian discipleship, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

"Day 1," Sept. 1 - The Rev. Sam Matthews, senior minister, First United Methodist Church, Marietta, Ga., will be the featured speaker on the nationally syndicated radio program "Day 1." To listen.

"Day 1," Sept. 8 - The Rev. Elaine Wilder, associate minister, First United Methodist Church, Marietta, Ga., will be the featured speaker on the nationally syndicated radio program "Day 1." To listen.

Free webinar "Creative Thinking in Faith Formation: An Ancient/Future Approach," Sept. 17 - 6:30 p.m. CT, learning strategies for teaching adults using an exploration of Jesus' teaching methods, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute, Sept. 25-27 - Registration open now for event aimed at helping leaders revive churches. Details.

Reach New Disciples Conference, Nov. 2 - 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Wesley Theological Seminary's Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Washington. Details.

Revitup! Event for young clergy, Oct. 28-30 - Event for clergy ages 25-39 in Atlanta, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. Aims to help clergy manage debt and set boundaries. Details.

Workshop on Advocacy, Nov. 12-14 - Training for anyone asked to be an advocate for a pastor or lay person from preventive options to facing the Judicial Council, with the Revs. Larry Pickens and Scott Campbell as two of the speakers. To register and learn the cost and location, contact the Rev. Jerry Eckert of Associates in Advocacy at Registration limited.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries