Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - August 12, 2016


Top viewed stories from Aug. 8 - Aug. 13. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


New group aims to boost evangelical voice

CHICAGO (UMNS) — A new evangelical United Methodist group is taking shape just as the denomination’s longtime homosexuality debate appears to be reaching a turning point. While some worry this marks the start of a new denomination, association organizers say that is not the group’s purpose. Heather Hahn reports.

Read story


Shared DNA: Moravians and United Methodists

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Throughout the Rt. Rev. J. Christian Giesler’s life, there has always been a United Methodist church — and a community partner — close by. So it made perfect sense to Giesler, a bishop in the Moravian Church, that the two denominations follow a closer path to unity. Linda Bloom has the story.
Read story


Lawson: Black Lives Matter shows need for change

CLINTON, Tenn. (UMNS) — A great social awakening that started with the civil rights movement is gaining strength today with the Black Lives Matter movement, said the Rev. James Lawson, a United Methodist pastor called by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.” Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
Read story


Central conferences to elect bishops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Over the coming months and into next spring, the United Methodist central conferences — church regions in Africa, Asia and Europe — will meet to elect new bishops. Joey Butler offers an overview.
Read story


Ebola’s departure brings back children’s camp

MOYAMBA, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The Sierra Leone Conference has wrapped up its first post-Ebola children’s camp at Harford School for Girls. The one-week camp of mainly United Methodist children was suspended in 2014 and 2015 amid the world’s worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which caused more than 11,000 deaths worldwide. Phileas Jusu reports.
Read story


United Methodists affected by unrest in Zimbabwe

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Violent, almost daily protests in Zimbabwe against President Robert Mugabe’s handling of the country’s economic crisis have caused some United Methodist churches to cancel some services and even lock their doors. The protests also prompted a letter of assurance from Africa University to students and supporters. Eveline Chikwanah reports.
Read story


Prayer walk for racial peace unites community

WILDWOOD, Fla. (UMNS) — A prayer walk for racial peace was a “kingdom” moment in efforts to unite a community, writes the Rev. Michael Beck in a commentary about ecumenical efforts in the city.
Read commentary


Africans express concern about ‘disobedience’

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — The United Methodist Africa Initiative, a group of African delegates to General Conference 2016, has issued a letter expressing its “serious concerns about the future of our beloved church.” The letter says acts of disobedience to church law undercut unity as well as the Council of Bishops as it is convening a special commission to consider how to work through denominational tensions over homosexuality.
Read the letter


Pastor’s daughter wins national cooking prize

SELLERSVILLE, Pa. (UMNS) — The 9-year-old daughter of a United Methodist clergyman won first place on a nationally televised children’s cooking competition show. Lucy Chelton, whose parents are on the ministry staff of Christ United Methodist Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, is sharing part of her $10,000 prize with FISH, a program that provides food, clothing, school supplies and other needs to low-income families with children. John Coleman reports for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
Read story


Why we need evangelicals

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) — Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church takes on the word “evangelical” and what it really means. He says now, more than ever, “We are in desperate need — in the culture and in the church — of an evangelical movement that does not suffer conformity or captivity to the way it is so often perceived, stereotyped and yes, even lived.”
Read commentary


Camping administrator on leave after arrest

PORTLAND, Ore. — A United Methodist camping and retreat administrator facing a federal child pornography charge has been placed on leave after his arrest. Jim Ryan of The Oregonian has the story.
Read story
Read Oregon-Idaho Conference statement


Survey: Politics from the pulpit common

WASHINGTON — Nearly two-thirds of recent churchgoers in the United States report their clergy have spoken out about at least one social or political issue, a new Pew Research Center survey finds. Religious liberty and homosexuality were chief among the issues they were hearing about, with four in 10 saying they heard from clergy on each of these topics during the spring and early summer.
Read more about the survey


New study finds rising wages for clergy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The wages of battling sin are getting better for men and women of the cloth. Non-Catholic clergy have experienced significant increases in income even as their workweeks declined by more than 15 percent in recent decades, according to a major new study of clergy compensation. Former UMNS editor David Briggs reports for the Association of Religion Data Archives.
Read story


Why the best days are ordinary days

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Many Christians label the season after Pentecost and before Advent as ordinary time. Chris Fenoglio writes in a commentary about how this time in the church year can be an important reminder to lead a Christian life not just on Sundays or special occasions.
Read commentary


Caring for children in your church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCom) — Ministering to the needs of children in a congregation means praying for them, acknowledging them and including them, writes Tricia Brown for United Methodist Communications. She offers tips on how to make sure children are welcomed by the church.
Read story


New depot aids West Virginia flood response

NEW YORK (UMNS) — A new relief-supply depot established last spring by the West Virginia Conference, together with training for disaster response coordinators and volunteers by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, resulted in a more effective response when flooding occurred in June. Susan Kim reports for UMCOR.
Read story


Flood recovery wrapup needs volunteers

DETROIT (UMNS) — Two years ago the rain fell in Detroit, and fell, and fell. The result was the largest federally declared disaster of the year. Kay DeMoss of the Michigan Area reports that The United Methodist Church has stayed the course in recovery, and now the Northwest Detroit Flood Recovery Project is seeking help in finishing 25 rebuilds and wrapping up its flood recovery.
Read story


Young clergy gather in Washington

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Rev. Carolyn Gillette, a hymn writer who was recently interviewed on PBS after writing a hymn expressing grief for the shooting deaths of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, was a featured speaker at the Summer Young Clergy Leadership Forum. Gillette is co-pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Del. The Rev. Clayton Childers reports for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, which sponsored the event.

Read story


Young people work for change in racial justice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Young black and white leaders in The United Methodist Church are organizing resources and support to help the church bring about sustainable change so people of color can live and lead in a more just and viable culture. The effort grew out of a meeting in Dallas with young people from each U.S. jurisdiction. The meeting was organized by Young People’s Ministries, a division of Discipleship Ministries.
Read press release


What churches do young adults attend?

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Rev. Lovett H. Weems Jr. examines the findings of a new report on engaging young adults and shares clues about the types of churches those ages 18–34 are most likely to attend. “The characteristics of churches with thriving young adult engagement are virtually the same as any thriving congregation,” he writes for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.

Read commentary


New Global Mission Fellows ready to serve

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Bishop Woodie White laid hands on 43 new young adult missionaries, symbolizing that the church has designated them for special responsibility. The new missionaries were commissioned by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries on Aug. 3 at Grace Church, Atlanta, which now houses the denomination’s new world mission center.
Read story


Resources for back-to-school season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — As many families know, a new year doesn’t really begin with “Auld Lang Syne” but the first ring of the school bell. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers worship and devotional resources for churches to celebrate the start of the new school year and reach out to kids in their areas.
See resources


How to save money with technology

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCom) — Penny pinching isn’t fun for most of us, but thriftiness can be good stewardship and using technology wisely can help cut costs for your church. United Methodist Communications offers several tips on utilizing free or inexpensive tech tools to help your church's budget go further. Tricia Brown reports.
Read story


Lutherans approve document on Catholics

NEW ORLEANS (ELCA) —The 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly overwhelmingly accepted a unique ecumenical document on Aug. 10, marking 32 “Statements of Agreement” between Lutherans and Catholics. The ELCA also has a full communion agreement with The United Methodist Church.

Read story


Looking ahead

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


Wednesday, Aug. 17-Saturday, Aug. 20

School of Congregational Development 2016 — The workshops for United Methodist clergy and lay leaders will be in Evanston, Illinois, outside Chicago. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and Global Ministries sponsor the gathering. $475. Details


Monday, Aug. 22-Friday, Sept. 2

Online course "Teach Adults” from — This two-week, interactive course is approved by Discipleship Ministries for lay servants. It aims to help participants improve their ability to guide adult learners through their faith development. Topics include multiple intelligences and adult faith development. $65. Details


More upcoming United Methodist events