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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 18, 2017


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At Sunday worship, pastors decry racism

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (UMNS) — After witnessing the white supremacy that led to violence in Charlottesville, United Methodist pastors scrambled to rewrite sermons and find other ways to bear witness against racism. Heather Hahn reports on the denomination’s response to the violence.
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Ough: 'Shock, dismay and grief' over Charlottesville  
More than 20 bishops issue statements 
MARCHA calls for resistance to racism, hate   
Open letter to U.S. attorney general   
United Methodist resources about racial justice 
Church, race focus of special seminary course  

Church shelters protesters amid deadly turmoil

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (UMNS) — First United Methodist Church provided a safe space for demonstrators after turmoil around a white nationalist rally turned deadly. And United Methodists were among demonstrators from 14 states who protested the white supremacists. Richard Lord reports.
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Hundreds dead, missing in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — United Methodists, including entire families, are among the hundreds killed after torrential rains caused deadly mudslides and flooding near Freetown. The number of dead is expected to rise as recovery efforts continue. Phileas Jusu reports. 
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Bishop, other church leaders visit disaster area 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — United Methodist Bishop John K. Yambasu and leaders of other churches visited the area where hundreds died in a mudslide and flooding. They prayed for the dead and survivors as the country entered a week of mourning. Phileas Jusu reports. 
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Plenty of prophetic speaking at MARCHA

DALLAS (UMNS) — The 46th assembly of MARCHA, the Hispanic/Latino caucus of The United Methodist Church, offered lots of prophetic speaking on a range of topics, including protecting immigrants and reforming the denomination. The meeting also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry. Sam Hodges has the story.
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Guam church prays for restraint on nuclear threat

MANGILAO, Guam (UMNS) — Blustery talk from North Korea about missile attacks on Guam is not new, says the Rev. Johann M. Osias, senior pastor of Guam United Methodist Church, part of the denomination’s California-Pacific Conference. At Sunday worship, his congregation’s pastoral prayer called for “wisdom and restraint” at a time of greater danger. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Read statement from Bishop Grant Hagiya 

Kentucky churches at epicenter of solar eclipse 

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. — United Methodist churches in the Hopkinsville area, which is the epicenter for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, are using the rare celestial event to celebrate God’s wonder and promote their churches. The region expects an influx of 100,000 to 200,000 visitors over the weekend. Alan Wild reports for the Kentucky Conference. 
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Returning Arapaho children's remains 

CARLISLE, Pa. — The remains of three Arapaho children who died over 130 years ago while students of the infamous Carlisle Indian Industrial School are being taken home to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Two leaders of the United Methodist Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Committee on Native American Ministries were involved in the efforts to repatriate the remains. John W. Coleman reports for the conference. 
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Clergywomen celebrate 4 black female bishops

CINCINNATI — At the 28th annual gathering of Black Clergy Women of The United Methodist Church, members celebrated the historic elections of four black women as bishops. The goal of the organization is to "identify, develop, support and enhance opportunities" for the empowerment of black clergywomen. Rick Wolcott reports. 
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Update on book of Clinton's devotions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Abingdon Press learned this week that one of the devotions in the recently published “Strong for a Moment Like This: The Daily Devotions of Hillary Rodham Clinton” was not properly attributed. “This is an important omission by the author but represents one error in attribution in a volume that includes over 200 original source citations and dozens of other attributions,” the United Methodist Publishing House said in a statement.
Read full statement 
Read CNN story by Daniel Burke 

Leading in Transformation conference set Sept. 21

ATLANTA — The first National Historical Black Colleges and Universities Leading in Transformation Conference will be Sept. 21 on the campus of United Methodist-related Clark Atlanta University. The United Methodist Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century and Board of Higher Education and Ministry are among the organizers of the gathering.
Learn more  

A year of recovery in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. — In a video marking the first anniversary of devastating floods in her state, Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey talks about the United Methodist response and the continuing need. “Friends, I said from the beginning that we are in this for the long haul,” she points out.
Watch video 
Louisiana needs flood-recovery volunteers 

Called to fight human trafficking

TAMPA, Fla. — United Methodist Dotti Groover-Skipper felt a special call to protect children against sex trafficking. She’s now anti-trafficking coordinator for the Salvation Army in Florida. D’Ann Lawrence White features Groover-Skipper in part one of a series on anti-trafficking efforts by people and churches of the Florida Conference.
Read first story in series  
Read part two  
Read part three   

Remembering the Reformation

WASHINGTON — United Methodists are encouraged to observe the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, including through Sunday school studies and offering special Reformation Day prayers in worship. Bishop B. Michael Watson, ecumenical officer of the Council of Bishops, shares these and other ideas in a letter to the church.
Read letter   

Lawson reflects on dignity of mankind 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In the documentary “Love and Solidarity,” the Rev. James Lawson reflects on what he learned from the 1960s civil rights movement and why he believes nonviolence still is important. The retired United Methodist pastor, a supporter and friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., also explains how work enables the dignity of mankind. Individuals, community groups and educational institutions can purchase the rights to show “Love and Solidarity.” 
Watch video clip 

Grant supports interreligious publication 

BOSTON — The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a two-year grant to support the Journal of Interreligious Studies, which is published by United Methodist Boston University School of Theology and Hebrew College’s Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership. 
Read press release  

Wesley offers online training for health ministers

WASHINGTON — United Methodist Wesley Theological Seminary is offering an online course for people to earn a Health Minister Certificate. The course is Sept. 10-Nov. 18, with online orientation Sept. 3-10. Scholarships for United Methodists are made possible by a grant from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Registration closes Aug. 18.
To learn more and register 

Teamwork, ingenuity help hard-of-hearing

NAPLES, Fla. — A system of wireless mikes and receivers helps hard-of-hearing members of a Sunday school class at North Naples United Methodist Church. Pat Smith, a member of the class, says there is an urgent need for churches to address how to reach the Deaf and hard-of-hearing.  Ed Scott reports for the Florida Conference. 
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10th anniversary of prison church celebrated

COVINGTON, Tenn. — A former inmate spoke at the 10th anniversary celebration of Grace Place United Methodist Church about what the church meant to her while she was in prison and after her release. Grace Place is one of two United Methodist churches in the U.S. that are actually located inside prisons. Bessie "Doll" Dodd said that when she was released after 35 years, “the hardest thing was to walk out of those gates and leave my church behind.” Lane Gardner Camp reports for the Memphis Conference. 
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Commentary: Urgent call for prayer for Korea

NEW YORK — A just and lasting peace in Korea and the reunification of South and North are long-standing priorities for The United Methodist Church and United Methodist Global Ministries, Thomas Kemper writes. Kemper and Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, president of Global Ministries, also talked about Korea in a video.
Read story and watch video

Commentary: Cal-Pac offering transforming experiences

PASADENA, Calif. — The California-Pacific Conference is offering workshops on transforming congregations, Christian leaders, lives and the world. "Transforming the world sometimes means re-arranging things in our church so that we no longer feel foreign to strangers; switching roles so that their acceptance is primary," writes James Kang. 
Read commentary  

What school did John Wesley found in 1748?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — What school was founded by John Wesley in 1748? The answer to this question and others about United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities can be found in a short quiz.
Take the quiz  



Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.

Monday, Aug. 21-Monday, Sept. 11

The Changing 21st-Century Sunday School  This online workshop explores ways to handle the challenges of the 21st-century Sunday school such as declining enrollment, erratic attendance, competition with other activities, lack of volunteers and budget cuts. The workshop from United Methodist will examine doing Sunday school a different way or at a different time, as well as intergenerational ministry and worship. A minimum of four to five hours per week is necessary to benefit from the course content. This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU. Price: $45. Details

Monday, Aug. 28-Saturday, Sept. 9

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Come to the Waters — This online workshop can deepen your congregation’s experience of baptism, confirmation and reaffirmation of baptism. The wide-ranging study of church history, United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament considers preparation of adults for baptism and the unique challenges of the digital age. The workshop from United Methodist includes daily reading, reflection and online discussion. This course has been approved by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course with 10 contact hours in Lay Servant Ministries. This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU. Price: $65.00. Details

See more United Methodist events