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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 16, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

Aug.16, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Aug.13 - Aug. 19. 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

United Methodists in the news

Presidential Medal of Freedom to United Methodists

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - At least two United Methodists will be among the 16 to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, this year. The recipients include the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D.-Hawaii, and former Sen. Richard Lugar, R.-Ind. See the White House's full list

Then and now: Marching on Washington

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Edith Lee-Payne, photographed on her 12th birthday at the famed march on Aug. 28, 1963, will return to Washington for the 50th anniversary festivities. The member of Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield, Mich., said she is bringing her granddaughters so they know " their presence can make a difference." The United Methodist Board of Church and Society shares her story. Read story

Joining together to reach more disciples

HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. (UMNS) - Five United Methodist congregations joined together under the leadership of two full-time and one part-time pastor to try to reach more people in all walks of life. "Our clergy team has something for everyone. Older and younger. Male and female. We have the wisdom of experience as well as the creativity and openness of those who are new in ministry," said the Rev. David Childers, lead pastor. Read story in The Mountaineer

For 50 years, church husks, sells its corn

ZANESVILLE, Ohio (UMNS) - It has been 50 years since the Rolling Plains United Methodist Church's modest stand, which sold sandwiches, began selling the sweet corn that has made it a mainstay at the fair. The Zanesville Times Recorder tells the story of the fair's best-seller. Read story from the Zanesville Times Record

HGTV features youth pastor's tornado recovery

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (UMNS) - The new HGTV show "Catastrophe Inc." will feature the labor that helped a Mississippi United Methodist youth pastor rebuild his home following the tornado that destroyed it in February 2013. The twister devastated parts of Hattiesburg and the Petal community where Jeff West lives with his wife, Ashlie. The 30-minute episode is set to air at 9:30 a.m. CT Sunday, Aug.18. Read story

Lowery voices new call on voting rights

ATLANTA (UMNS) - The Rev. Joseph Lowery, 91, a United Methodist pastor affectionately known as the "Dean of the Civil Rights Movement," offered the keynote address during an Aug. 14 rally launching an initiative across all 50 U.S. states to force lawmakers to expand the pool of eligible voters instead of draining it.

Read story
Listen to NPR coverage

Haitian deaconess dies at age 86

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - Sister Paulette Holly, who became the first Haitian Methodist Deaconess in 1961, died June 23. Also a registered nurse, Holly offered physical and spiritual care to all. The Rev. Marco Depestre, who worked with her for many years, said, "She died in the 86th year of her life and the 52nd year of her ministry."

Read the full obituary
Read a UMNS story about Sister Paulette

News around conferences

Doctors serving HIV/AIDS clinics tour Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (UMNS) - Two Congolese physicians who work in HIV/AIDS clinics in Africa recently traveled throughout the Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference. Their visit shed light on the struggles faced in the global fight against the killer disease. Betty Backstrom of the Louisiana Conference shares the story. Read story

Conference's goal is to turn swords into plowshares

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The New York Annual (regional) Conference Board of Church and Society has begun an initiative to reduce gun violence in eastern Connecticut, southern New York and across the United States. "We are about building movements within the conference and beyond to reduce gun violence for the long haul," said Mary Ellen Kris, board chair. Read story

News around the connection

Take survey on language about God

CHICAGO (UMNS) -The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women is asking church members both supportive and opposed to the concept of "inclusive language" to participate in a survey "about language for and images of God." The deadline is Oct. 31.

Read story
Link to survey

Wrapping up details of episcopal fund audits

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - More than half of the 46 U.S. bishops' offices - 26 - still are putting the finishing touches on audits of their 2012 use of the episcopal office allowance from the Episcopal Fund. Although the deadline was July 31, Peggy Sewell, the GCFA executive of episcopal services, told board members that the offices still had time to complete their audits since the next payments of the episcopal fund are not scheduled to be disbursed until Oct. 15. David Stotts, GCFA board member and Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference treasurer, said this is the best response GCFA has received to episcopal audits in years.

29 young adults go forth in mission

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries oversees the denomination's Mission Intern and US-2 programs, which sends young adults, ages 20-30, for two years of mission service. In a joyous service , 29 young people were commissioned to go forth.

See presentation
Read story

Power of prayer fills her life

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Roela Rivera, who learned to pray as a child in the Philippines, explains how her prayer life was transformed after a near-death experience. WestBow Press recently published "Glimpses of Heaven: Lessons on Faith and Hope, Love and Joy." The book was launched at a recent meeting of the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists.

Read story and post a comment
View Profile about Roela Rivera

Social-justice agency praises U.S. attorney general

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society praised U.S. attorney general Eric Holder's promise to address racial disparities in the federal justice system. At the annual meeting of the American Bar Association, Holder called for reforms aimed at reducing incarceration, including scaling back the use of mandatory minimum sentences.

Read news release
What the church teaches about criminal and restorative justice

A church for all people: Hobson United Methodist Church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Sonnye Dixon, pastor of Hobson United Methodist Church, says the stories in the Gospel of Luke are a metaphor for his small, eccentric, eclectic congregation. This is second in a series of stories by Garlinda Burton for the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race on churches that are crossing ethnic, racial, socio-economic and generational boundaries to achieve vitality. Read story

Visit your neighborhood fire and police stations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - It's ordinary for church leaders to take for granted that firefighters, police officers and public health workers will respond to an emergency on Sunday or any other day of the week. Rich Peck of United Methodist Men shares why United Methodist clergy and laity should reach out to their community's public servants. Read story

150 young adults converge for Oasis gathering

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - More than 150 young adult leaders from the 10 annual conferences of the Northeastern Jurisdiction have gathered in the U.S. capital from Aug. 15-18 for Oasis, a gathering that focuses on the young adult ministry of The United Methodist Church. The United Methodists are brought together by Restoration Generation, a new initiative intended to "restore a sense of community and a movement of service and witness among young people."

Read news release
Learn more about Oasis

UMCOR: Cubans focus on rebuilding and preparing

NEW YORK (UMNS) - With a $500,000 grant, the United Methodist Committee on Relief will help rebuild about 150 homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in the provinces of Holguin and Santiago in Cuba. Read story

History of Hymns: 'I Stand Amazed in the Presence'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - C. Michael Hawn offers background on the gospel favorite "I Stand Amazed in the Presence" by Charles Gabriel. Gabriel also wrote the music for "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and many others. Read story from United Methodist Board of Discipleship

UMTV: Africa's miracle tree

TUNUKUK PUYE, Liberia (UMNS) - The Moringa plant offers the potential to lower cholesterol, purify the liver, and even prevent blindness. Thanks to the efforts of the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the West Africa Initiative of Liberia, farmers are learning Moringa harvesting to support themselves and their community. Learn more

Remembering Elvis' Methodist moment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Aug. 16 is a date many Elvis Presley fans mark, remembering that is the day they lost the King of Rock 'n' Roll. UMNS reporter Heather Hahn reports on the day Elvis recorded "Heartbreak Hotel" in a "building bustling with Methodists."

Read story

MARCHA calls Trayvon Martin case 'perversion of justice'

NASHVILLE (UMNS) - A United Methodist-related Hispanic-American group issued a statement Aug. 15 on the Trayvon Martin case, saying race is a factor that was ignored from the beginning. Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans, known as MARCHA, is the caucus organized to hold the concerns and issues of Hispanic American United Methodists before the denomination. Read story

University and seminary news

17 ways to welcome college students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Want to know how your church can make a big difference in the life of a college student? The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry offers some fun and easy ways to welcome college students who visit your congregation. Learn ideas

McMurry University names first woman president

ABILENE, Texas (UMNS) - Sandra Harper, president of Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, La., has been named the new president of United Methodist-related McMurry University. She becomes the first woman serving as a full-time president of an Abilene university. Read news release

'The Colbert Report' to feature Duke president

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - Richard Brodhead, president of United Methodist-related Duke University, is scheduled to appear as a guest on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" with Stephen Colbert. He was asked to be on the show and discuss a recent report on kindergarten through 12th-grade education prepared by the National Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, which Brodhead co-chaired. The episode is scheduled to air at 11:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Aug. 15. Read Duke Chronicle story

News of interest

World Christians pray for peace in Egypt

GENEVA (UMNS) -The political developments in Egypt should not "be interpreted as a conflict between Christians and Muslims," said the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, top executive, World Council of Churches, as he issued a letter to the council's member churches in Egypt, calling for prayers for healing, justice and peace for all Egyptians. Egypt's Christians increasingly are under attack.

Read story on WCC letter
Read USA Today story on Egypt's Christians

Lutherans elect female presiding bishop

PITTSBURGH (ELCA) - In its 25th anniversary year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has elected the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton as the denomination's first woman presiding bishop-elect during its Aug. 12-17 churchwide assembly. The ELCA is a full communion partner of The United Methodist Church. Read story

Blogs and commentaries

Bishop Jones: Why Willimon is wrong about small churches

WICHITA, Kan. (UMNS) - Great Plains Area Bishop Scott Jones takes issue with retired Bishop William H. Willimon's recent column "The Tough Truth about Small Churches." Jones points out what he sees as three flaws. "Vitality, not size, is the issue," Jones writes. Read commentary

Bishop Trimble: Trayvon Martin and racial profiling

DES MOINES, Iowa (UMNS) - "I have three brothers and two sons. Like thousands of African Americans in the United States of America, we all have personal stories of racial profiling," writes Iowa Area Bishop Julius C. Trimble. Read commentary

Alex Rodriguez is fighting for his life? Really?

DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) - Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya shares his reaction to the provocative statement by the baseball player - and thoughts on a child who really did fight for his life. Read blog

Why I'm United Methodist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, recounts a peripatetic childhood moving among oilfield towns as his dad searched for work. The church offered stability and hospitality. Read commentary

Creating sacred space wherever you are

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "The practice of creating a sacred space won't just provide a sense of calm throughout your college years [or any transition], but can evolve into a practice that spills into the other spaces you find yourself in, years and years from now," writes Sophia Agtarap, minister of online engagement for Rethink Church.
Read commentary

Technology's astounding impact on Africa

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Mobile technology has become a game-changer in Africa, notes the Rev. Larry Hollon in the Huffington Post in response to Nathan Myhrvold's TEDTalk,"Could this laser zap malaria?"
Read commentary

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.

Deadline for early-bird registration for "JustPeace101," Aug. 20 - Oct. 31-Nov. 2, event discussing the theory, theology, principles and practices of conflict transformation. led by JustPeace, The United Methodist Church's Center for Conflict Transformation, in Nashville, Tenn. 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.

Impact Kentucky, Aug. 24 - The Kentucky Annual (regional) Conference and United Methodist Communications' Rethink Church are organizing volunteer projects across the western part of the state. Details.

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.

50th anniversary celebrations of the March on Washington, Aug. 24 and Aug. 28 - United Methodists from across the United States will go to the National Mall in Washington to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. For Aug. 24 festivities, details.

Deadline to register for Welcoming Ministry 100 online course, Aug. 28 - Sept. 4-Oct. 16, help for becoming welcoming and hospitable congregations, sponsored by United Methodist Communications.$29.99. Details.

Deadline to register for Web Ministry 100 online course, Aug. 28 - Sept. 4-Oct. 16, help using the Web in theologically sound ways to reach new people and cultivate relationships, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. $49.99. Details.

Churchquake, Reconciling Ministries Network convocation, Aug. 30-Sept. 2 - Gathering by unofficial United Methodist caucus that advocates for greater inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the church. Details.

"Day1," 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 "Day1." To listen.

"Day1," 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 "Day1." 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 renew churches. Details.

Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee meeting, Oct. 10-12 - Drew University, Madison, N.J., discussions of ministry and concerns of Native peoples, as well as time for fellowship. Details. To learn more or register, email Sharon Schmit at

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.

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.

"A Killer in the Dark," NBC stations until Nov. 3 - If it isn't scheduled in your area, contact your local NBC station. If it has aired, order a free copy here. Download ideas and resources to plan a viewing party. 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.

Exploration 2013, Nov. 15-17 - Event for young adults, ages 18-26, considering ordained ministry, Marriott Denver Tech Center, sponsored by United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Speakers include Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, senior pastor of the multi-campus Grace Church in Southwest Florida. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries