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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 10, 2012


NOTE:This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Aug. 6-10. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:



Church agencies respond to need for change

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A plan for an overall church restructure failed at the 2012 General Conference, but United Methodist agencies are responding to the need for change by streamlining, setting new priorities and renewing commitments to work together on shared services and common mission goals. United Methodist execs seek creative change»

Church agencies look forward, not back»

Program funds halted to East Africa

NEW YORK (UMNS) - After three audits in 16 months, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has suspended all funding to the denomination's East Africa Annual (regional) Conference. Auditors recommended the suspension of funds until the East Africa conference agrees "to be accountable and all internal controls have been put in place." Read full story and post a comment»

Africans applaud Claremont's multifaith plan

CLAREMONT, Calif. (UMNS) - The multifaith partnership to help train Christian, Jewish and Muslim spiritual leaders has had its ups and downs drawing United Methodist fans domestically, but Claremont Lincoln University got a thumbs-up by a group of African General Conference delegates. The reason? They know the necessity of understanding other faiths because they live side by side, and interact daily with them. Read full story and post a comment»

Fifty educators honored

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A music professor so popular that students flock to his classes and a nursing professor who'll throw herself into a wall to illustrate her point are among 50 faculty members from United Methodist-related colleges and universities who received Exemplary Teacher Awards from the Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Division of Higher Education. Read full storyand post a comment»

Church reaches out after Sikh temple attack

OAK CREEK, Wis. (UMNS) - United Methodists are reaching out in support of their Sikh neighbors after a gunman's attack at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee that left seven people dead, including the shooter. Bishop Linda Lee is calling for Aug. 12 to be a day of prayer for those affected by the tragedy. She also hopes it can be an occasion for Christians to learn more about the Sikh religion. Read full story and post a comment»

Spotlight on vacation Bible school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - For many children, vacation Bible school becomes a treasured memory of summer. A special package of stories looks at VBS programs across the United States, from a traveling VBS outreach for small churches to using the aftermath of a tornado for a theme about rebuilding with God. Traveling VBS programs»

'Construction Junction'» VBS programs keep up with times»

Resources for next year»

Making memories, one camp at a time

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Barbara Dunlap-Berg, internal content editor for United Methodist Communications, went to church camp for five consecutive summers. She remembers the songs, the friends made in the dining hall and the saints who watched over them as campers slept in rustic cabins and swam in the lake. Read her commentary»

United Methodists offer large network of camps

LYLES, Tenn. (UMNS) - A visit to several United Methodist camps showed that when it comes to eating s'mores under starry skies and singing songs around a campfire, there's still no place like summer camp. It's a good thing, since the church offers one of the largest camp and retreat networks of any denomination. Read story»

Church gives her a hand up

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Maria Jimenez wanted desperately to go to college. But she had two obstacles: She didn't have any money, and she wasn't a U.S. citizen. She contacted her pastor, the Rev. Jerry Russell of Fairview United Methodist Church. "We can make this happen," he told her. Read her story»

Election Day dos and don'ts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Can churches endorse a candidate? Can your congregation raise money for a favorite candidate? You might want to take a look at Interpreter magazine's "Dos and Don'ts in an election season." See list»

Church and Society announces directors

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The 2013-16 Board of Directors for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society has been announced. Read more»

Forrester named Vanderbilt's top chaplain

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Mark Forrester, an 18-year veteran of Vanderbilt University and a United Methodist pastor, is the new university chaplain and director of the Office of Religious Life. He will begin serving in this top post on Sept. 1. Read announcement»

New director of women's advocacy

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Rev. Amee Paparella, a provisional elder in the West Michigan Annual (regional) Conference, will take over Aug. 27 as the director and organizer for Women's Advocacy at the Board of Church and Society. Read full story»

Wespath investment managers embrace UN principles

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - Two additional United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits' Wespath investment managers have signed on to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. All the investment managers follow the pension board's policies for avoiding investments in six areas that go against church teachings. Now these signatories also will follow international principles that recognize the importance of environmental, social and governance factors in corporate decision-making. Twenty of the pension board's 47 investment managers have become signatories to the U.N. principles, collectively overseeing 70 percent of the board's $17 billion in assets under management. Read the full story»

Get in the 'spirit'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Got spirit? No, not that one; the back-to-school spirit. It's that time of year to bless backpacks, fashion a sermon around them. Throw a back-to-school bash. The United Methodist Church offers a chalkboard full of ways churches can support their students and their schools. Check out resources»

Finance agency board organizes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The board of directors of the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, convened its organizing meeting July 11-12. The meeting was the board's first gathering since the 2012 General Conference approved its reduction in size from 40 to 21 members. Indiana Area Bishop Michael Coyner is the board's chair. Read full story»

Fire destroys Oregon church

NORTH BEND, Ore. (UMNS) First United Methodist Church is a "complete loss" after a fire ripped through the building Tuesday, Aug. 7. The church secretary was alone when she saw flames shooting up along the back wall of the sanctuary. She called 911 and got out, uninjured. Read Associated Press story»

Pastor joins Ramadan fast

ROWLETT, Texas (UMNS) - The Rev. Wes Magruder, senior associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Rowlett, is abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours in solidarity with Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. "I have no doubt that Muslims and Christians worship the same God," says Magruder. See WFAA-TV report»

Read pastor's blog»

Ecumenical agency responds to shooting

OAK CREEK, Wis. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, the denomination's ecumenical agency, issued a statement Aug. 7 in response to the Aug. 5 shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. "May nonviolence, compassion, and love prevail; and may we all live into the great truth that all people are brothers and sisters of one another," said the Rev. Steve Sidorak Jr., the agency's top executive.The Rev. Deborah Thompson, a district superintendent in Wisconsin, and five United Methodist clergy who are natives of India plan to visit the temple in a show of support on Friday, Aug. 10. Read full statement»

Read UMNS story and post a comment»

Sikh attack inspires community vigil

OAK CREEK, Wis. (UMNS) - People of faith shed tears and sang at a special worship service Aug. 6 at Oak Creek Community United Methodist Church in the aftermath of the fatal attack on the local Sikh temple. "They joined in prayer and hope that a stronger community would emerge from this," the Rev. Paul Armstrong told the Journal Sentinel. Read story»

UMCOR assists in Philippines flooding

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) - A call for help from a fishing community struck by a storm surge was answered by United Methodist Committee on Relief staff and volunteers in the Philippines. Read story»

See photos on Facebook»

Missionaries commissioned

ARLINGTON, Va. (UMNS) - More than 200 people gathered at Aldersgate United Methodist Church on Aug. 3 for the commissioning of 34 Young Adults in Mission. It was the most diverse group ever, representing seven countries, according to the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Read more and see photographs»

Paint the town - literally

PITTSBURGH (UMNS) Volunteers from The United Methodist Church are among those teaming up with national radio personality Delilah and Glidden Paint on Sept. 8 to help transform the exterior of several buildings in the Lawrenceville community of Pittsburgh. Before that, volunteers also will paint a mural and build a dog park. Details»

Preparing for hunger month

BIG ISLAND, Va. (UMNS) - In preparation for National Hunger Action Month in September, the Society of St. Andrew is offering a wealth of resources. Among them: bulletin inserts, suggested prayers and a children's sermon. Check out the resources»

World Methodist website for young people

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Youth and young adults involved with the World Methodist Council now have a dedicated website to share information and conversation. View website»

UMTV: Surgeon on a mission

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (UMNS) - Operation Walk uses volunteer surgeons like Dr. Steve Herbst to give their patients the gift of mobility. "This trip that I make to Central America yearly is a direct result of my faith and what I feel is my calling in my life," says Herbst, a United Methodist from Selma, Ind. Watch the video and post a comment»

BLOG: UK churches go for 'more than gold'

NEW YORK (UMNS) - British churches have found some creative ways to connect with the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, says UMNS writer Linda Bloom in her Bloombytes blog. Read blog and post a comment»

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries