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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 25, 2017


Top viewed stories from Aug. 18-25. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Board raises bishops' pay, starts budget work

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The board of the denomination’s finance agency approved a 3 percent pay increase for most United Methodist bishops next year. The General Council on Finance and Administration board also reviewed plans for the 2021-2024 general church budget. Heather Hahn reports.
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Bishop's team helps churches in crisis  

Church providing emergency health services after mudslide

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The Sierra Leone Conference of The United Methodist Church is providing emergency health services for people affected by the landslide and flooding that killed nearly 500 people. Phileas Jusu has the story and photos. 
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UMCOR responds to Sierra Leone tragedy   

Death toll more than 200 in Congo landslide

TORA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — United Methodist Bishop Gabriel Unda has asked for prayers and help after a landslide in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo left more than 200 dead. Judith Yanga reports. 
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Sanctuary as more than shelter

DALLAS (UMNS) — United Methodist immigrant rights advocates say churches need a broader definition of sanctuary, one that includes sheltering those facing possible deportation, but isn’t limited to that. Sam Hodges reports.
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Native Americans gather at summer conference 

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — Several generations from 10 tribes gathered at the Native American Summer Conference to share prayers, songs, stories, fellowship and heritage. Kathleen Barry has a photo essay and story. 
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Kentucky church welcomes 200 for eclipse

PADUCAH, Ky. — When members of Lone Oak United Methodist Church realized they were going to be in the path of totality for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, they opened their doors and grounds for eclipse watchers from as far away as Chicago and Houston. Though most had no ties to the church, the event was a way to extend hospitality during the momentous occasion. 
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Higher Education and Ministry updates mission

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Directors of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry approved the agency’s plan to become a center for leadership formation and development. 
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Pastor turns town into mission field 

MARION, Va. — United Methodists provide home repair and firewood for low-income families on Marion’s east side. On the west side, there’s a United Methodist-affiliated clinic and school for health care providers. A single pastor, the Rev. Harry Howe, is the connecting force for all this work. Annette Spence reports for the Holston Conference.
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Safe water for Sierra Leone villages

BO, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The United Methodist Global Health Initiative has provided much-needed toilets and wells for primary schools in two rural communities where diarrhea and worm infestations had prevailed. Phileas Jusu reports. 
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Texas Conference braces for hurricane, flooding

HOUSTON — The Texas Conference is encouraging residents to prepare for Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to hit the upper Texas coast Aug. 25. Meteorologists are warning of catastrophic flooding if the storm lingers. The conference notes in an online message that it is standing by to receive reports of damage and preparing to deploy relief resources.
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Sports event connects church, police

DALLAS — The Rev. Junius B. Dotson, top executive of Discipleship Ministries, will join leaders of St. Paul United Methodist Church and other churches and ministries for a sporting event to help build better community relationships with residents, police and local leaders in Dallas. The third annual Together We Ball basketball game on Aug. 27 is expected to draw more than 1,000 spectators.
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Read UMNS story about St. Paul  

Is time of death predetermined? 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — Some people say that when a person is born, the day of their death is written in the book. What does that mean? In the latest installment of Ask the UMC, United Methodist Communications’ InfoServ tackles that question, with a look at several Scriptures that talk about a time to die and our days being numbered. 
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Ask the UMC 

Religion and Race meets with Filipino bishops

MANILA, Philippines — Bishops and other leaders in the Philippines met with the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race to discuss the bridge-building work of intercultural competency. A focus of discussion was ministry with indigenous people.
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Volunteers key to prison outreach ministry

INDIANA, Pa. — Marie Stumpf, 87, started teaching Disciple Bible study classes at the Pine Grove Correctional Institute after she lost her son, who was in and out of prison three times. She started volunteering because, “I always wanted to minister to some other mother’s son.” Jackie Campbell of the Western Pennsylvania Conference has the story.
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Returning Red Rock to Native Americans

NEWPORT, Minn. — For nearly 150 years, Minnesota Methodists have cared for the Red Rock, a granite boulder that is sacred to the Dakota people. Now the Minnesota Conference is in the early stages of planning the rock’s return to the Dakota. Christa Meland reports. 
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Ways United Methodists can stand against racism

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — In light of recent racial violence in the U.S., there are calls to take action. Joe Iovino writes about ways people can be agents of transformation.  
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Watch video advice from children: Embrace love

Serving UMCOR rewarding experience for couple

BALDWIN, La. — Linda and Jimmy Bence have seen firsthand how the United Methodist Committee on Relief alleviates suffering and advances hope. The United Methodist couple like UMCOR’s mission so much that they spent a month this summer serving at the agency’s Sager Brown supply depot in Baldwin, Louisiana. Kara Witherow of the South Georgia Conference reports on the couple’s ministry and UMCOR’s impact.
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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. 28-Saturday, Sept. 16

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Living Our United Methodist Beliefs  This online workshop explores the history, heritage, beliefs, mission and culture of The United Methodist Church for anyone — newcomer or longtime member — who wants to know what’s distinctive about being a United Methodist Christian. This class is one of the core Lay Servant Ministries classes, but everyone is welcome. This class has been approved by Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries and is the “heritage” class required for Lay Speaker certification. This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU. Price: $70. Details

Wednesday, Aug. 30

7 Ways to Promote Your Church Event on Facebook — 12:30 p.m. CDT. This webinar will cover how Facebook can benefit churches. It will include basic tips, creative promotion ideas, advertising best practices and livestreaming. Register here

See more United Methodist events