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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 3, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 30 - Aug. 3. 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:


U.S. church numbers still sliding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Here's the bad news: The United Methodist Church saw a reduction of at least 71,971 U.S. members in 2011. Now the good news: Some conferences are growing, and they offer strategies that can be replicated across the United States. Read full story and post a comment»

Turning faith into a verb

CHICAGO (UMNS) - The Rev. Robert Biekman's approach to ministry is simple: "If you think about the world as our parish, then we need to begin in the neighborhood." That philosophy may help explain why Southlawn United Methodist Church takes a hands-on approach in its neighborhood. Read full story and post a comment»

Ministering to wounds of Sand Creek

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (UMNS) - The scars of the Sand Creek Massacre are not healed. The brutal nighttime attack in 1864, which took the lives of 200 men, women and children of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, was led by a Methodist pastor and cavalry officer. Now, a United Methodist is leading a ministry of listening and building relationships. Read full story and post a comment»

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

Clergy assessment project to begin

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A pilot project to assess the performance of United Methodist pastors will begin in September. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, which is overseeing the assessments, says the goal is to help churches and clergy become more effective and engaged. To learn more»

Teen's death turns cottage into GEM

ABERDEEN, Miss. (UMNS) - After the tragic death of a member of First United Methodist Church's youth group, the congregation and the community came together to remodel the aging cottage where the teenagers met. They call it GEM House, named for Gwendolyn Elise Mobley's initials, the Daily Journal in northeast Mississippi reports. Read full story»

Disaster-response training set

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (UMNS) - The South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church will hold a disaster-response training workshop on Oct. 1-4, at Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center, 150 NW Skyline Drive, Fayetteville. Basic and advanced training sessions will be offered. Details and registration»


How to deal with the media

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The 24/7 news cycle can be daunting. But what do you do when your congregation or program is becoming newsworthy? United Methodist Communications will offer a day-long media training workshop Sept. 13 to help equip you with the tools you'll need to seek publicity or handle a crisis.

More information»

Communion class survives Iraq bombs

BAGHDAD (UMNS) - A bus filled with children and teachers on their way back from a First Communion class narrowly escaped double bomb blasts, according to a July 31 post by the Anglican Communion News Service. Canon Andrew White, the vicar of St. George's Church in Baghdad, said it was a "major miracle" that no one was killed. Read post»

Haiti collaboration leads to new housing

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Humanitarian agencies work together to provide housing to families displaced by the Haiti earthquake. Chris Herlinger interviews Donna Derr of Church World Service and Patrick Bell, formerly of Christian Aid, about the project. Read Q & A interview»

Leadership training in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (UMNS) - Leadership development and multicultural ministry is the focus of the 2012 School of Congregational Development sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, Board of Discipleship and Path 1. This year's event is Aug. 16-19 in St. Louis. To register»

United Methodist schools score well

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A survey of more than 1,400 pastors in the United States gave high marks to United Methodist-related colleges in the areas of personalized learning, integrating values into the college experience, faith formation and encouraging community service.

To learn more»

UMCOR helping Cheyenne fire victims

LAME DEER, Mont. (UMNS) - The volunteer firefighters of the Northern Cheyenne Indians were no match for the raging wall of flames racing toward them. By the time the summer wildfire was quelled, it had destroyed 23 homes and consumed a quarter of the 440,000-acre reservation. Read how UMCOR is helping»

Iliff alums have key roles in fire recovery

DENVER (UMNS) - With the Colorado wildfires contained, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has drafted three alums of Iliff School of Theology to help manage and coordinate the disaster recovery efforts. Iliff is a United Methodist-affiliated graduate theological school. Read more»

UMCOR leader, now bishop, departs

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief and its parent agency, the Board of Global Ministries, said farewell July 30 to Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. Thomas Kemper, top executive for Global Ministries, will be UMCOR's interim head until her position is filled. Read more»

Back-to-school resources

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The start of the new school year isn't exactly a holy day, but United Methodist churches can still find ways to incorporate this annual rite of passage. How about putting it into your Sunday sermon? Or, you could bless students and their backpacks. Speaking of backpacks, it's not too late to offer needy young people some free school supplies. Check out these and other back-to-school ideas»

Spiritual sustenance during Olympics

LONDON (UMNS) - For those in need of spiritual sustenance while at the games, the Methodist Central Hall has lunchtime worship services from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the 2012 Olympics. Learn more»

Pole vaulter relies on preparation, prayer

JONESBORO, Ark. (UMNS) - Jeremy Scott finds a seat in the back row when he attends the contemporary worship service at First United Methodist Church. He doesn't want his 6-foot-9-inch frame to block anyone's view. But at the Summer Olympics, the pole vaulter would like to get a little taller. He wants to have the medal stand giving him a boost. Read full story»

Church Olympics openers draw crowds

LONDON (UMNS) - The number of people attending the hundreds of Olympic opening night events hosted by churches in Great Britain far exceeded expectations, according toMore Than Gold, an agency set up to help churches use the Summer Games to serve their communities. To learn more»

Church court schedules Bledsoe's appeal

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church's top court, has scheduled a special session Nov. 9-11 to consider the appeal of Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe, concerning his involuntary retirement as an active bishop. The South Central Jurisdictional Committee on the Episcopacy voted to place Bledsoe in retirement, and the delegates at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference affirmed that vote. The location of the special session is still to be confirmed. Read full story and post a comment»

UMTV: Amazing Grace House

MILLSBORO, Del. (UMNS) - Grace United Methodist Church turned an eyesore in the neighborhood into a home for families who need a second chance in life. Grace House's first occupants are a mother and daughter. "I didn't know where we were gonna sleep, where we were gonna eat, where we were gonna shower, and I was very distraught," the mother remembers. "I had no hope." Watch their story on UMTV»

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries