UMNS Weekly Digest - August 30, 2013
United Methodists remember and look ahead
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "It was not an African-American event; it was a broader experience," said the Rev. Larry Pickens, pastor of Southlawn United Methodist Church in Chicago, who participated in the Aug. 24 events marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
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The March on Washington, then and now
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - President Obama headlined a long list of speakers for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, urging Americans of today to capture the spirit of those who marched for freedom and justice. "In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it," he said. The Rev. Kristin Stoneking, a California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference elder and recently appointed leader of the interfaith group Fellowship of Reconciliation, was among those who preceded Obama in addressing the crowd from the steps of Washington's Lincoln Memorial. Elsewhere, United Methodists shared their memories of the 1963 March and hopes for social change going forward.
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Two testimonies from the 1963 march
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Civil rights icon the Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. and the Rev. George McClain, both retired United Methodist clergy who still are active in human rights advocacy, each attended the 1963 March on Washington. Garlinda Burton shares their experiences then and now on the site of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race.
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'Today, our demands are the same'
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Jim Winkler, the top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, reminded Saturday's marchers that there is much work left to be done. "Today, our demands are the same: jobs and freedom. Those pillars of the 1963 march are reiterated by us at a time when climate change threatens God's very Creation, when governments lie and spy with impunity, when many in Congress want to deny food stamps to those who are hungry, when war rages across the earth, and untold millions go to bed hungry each night," he said.
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Lawson persuaded students to risk lives for civil rights
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - For the Rev. James Lawson, whose training in nonviolent resistance led to early success in desegregating Nashville's lunch encounters, the battle for freedom and equality isn't even close to ended. The Tennessean profiles the 84-year-old United Methodist pastor who still feels Jesus' call to take action.
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The time is still now: 50th anniversary of the march
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - "Martin Luther King at the March on Washington, and the Civil Rights Movement in so many ways, helped the USA acknowledge the gap between our national creeds and our national deeds," observes the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell as he reflects on why there never again will be anything like the 1963 march.
News around the connection
Church agency urges against military strikes on Syria
WASHINGTON (UMNS) -The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has joined other religious and nongovernmental groups in signing a letter to President Obama urging him not to approve U.S. military strikes against Syria. "While we unequivocally condemn any use of chemical weapons along with continued indiscriminate killing of civilians and other violations of international humanitarian law, military strikes are not the answer," the letter says.
Hispanics share dream for future
BOSTON (UMNS) - The Hispanic/Latino community has eager young people, growing numbers of new constituents and passion and energy for the work of Christ in the world. Tim Tanton reports on the recent gathering of the Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans.
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Bringing 'promises' of stability to homeless
NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodists comprise 20 percent of all volunteers and congregations among the 182 Family Promise affiliates, known as Interfaith Hospitality Networks, in 41 states and the District of Columbia. UMNS reporter Linda Bloom explains how the ministry works.
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Gloria Holt, prominent lay leader, dies
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UMNS) - Gloria E. Holt, a longtime lay leader at every level of The United Methodist Church, died Aug. 28. Among her many church roles, she was a current member of the Commission on General Conference, former president of the United Methodist Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders and presenter of the Laity Address at the 2004 General Conference.
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Ind. pastor named distinguished evangelist
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The Foundation for Evangelism announces the selection of the Rev. R. Mark Beeson, senior/founding pastor of Granger Community Church, a United Methodist church in Granger, Ind., as the 2013 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church. "Beeson motivates and encourages church planters and leaders with new vision and purpose in fulfilling the Great Commission," the foundation said.
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Finding the 'rare opportunity to do good'
DENVER (UMNS) - Building on John Wesley's three simple rules, Bishop Elaine J. W. Stanovsky's welcoming message to the 2013 School of Congregational Development encouraged those in ministry to "enter relationships without doing harm" so that we "may have the rare opportunity to do good."
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Social media conversation
Exploring the role of district superintendents
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The job of a district superintendent in The United Methodist Church has changed dramatically - changes dictated by social, cultural and economic shifts. Nevertheless, most DSes say it's a worthwhile appointment. That's one of the findings in a study of district superintendents released by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, reports Vicki Brown.
Higher Ed considers state of theological education
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Plans for the Young Clergy Initiative, the Central Conference Theological Education Fund, a report on a coming shortage of elders in The United Methodist Church and the state of theological education were considered Aug. 7-9 by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Board of Directors.
GCFA board begins budgeting process for 2017-20
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - During the quarterly meeting of the General Council on Finance and Administration board, members and staff met with agency executives, treasurers and members of the Connectional Table to discuss the budgeting process for the 2017-2020 quadrennium. The budget for the next quadrennium must be completed by August 2015 in time to be printed and ready for distribution to General Conference delegates.
Supporting learning opportunities that change lives
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - At a time when public education has become a political battleground, the church is called to remember, first and foremost, the well-being of all God's children of every age. The new "That's Church" campaign notes that history is filled with stories about how The United Methodist Church has put beliefs into action to ensure everyone experiences the blessing of knowledge.
History of Hymns: 'God of the Sparrow'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - C. Michael Hawn offers insights into "God of the Sparrow," No. 122 in the United Methodist Hymnal, and its author Jaroslav J. Vajda, arguably the preeminent Lutheran hymn writer of the 20th century.
What does the church say about labor unions?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - From its start with John Wesley, the Methodist movement has focused particular attention on the concerns of workers. Justice, dignity and equality for workers are an integral part of the church's social teachings and heritage.
News around conferences
Conference withdraws clergy age guidelines
HOUSTON (UMNS) - The Texas Annual (regional) Conference has withdrawn a controversial proposal to discourage those older than 45 from becoming candidates for ordained ministry. However, the conference's board of ordained ministry still is trying tackle the challenge of recruiting effective young clergy.
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Organization plan OK'd for new Great Plains Conference
SALINA, Kan. (UMNS) - More than 1,700 United Methodists from the Kansas East, Kansas West and Nebraska annual (regional) conferences met in simultaneous sessions Aug. 22-23 to begin the final preparations for the unification of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference. Lisa Elliott Diehl, Kansas communications director, has the story.
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Trail chaplain struggles with pain but still persists
MICHAUX FOREST, Pa. (UMNS) - Josh Lindamood is struggling with blisters and rash on his back, causing him pain beneath his backpack "every step of the way" on the Appalachian Trail. Still, Annette Spence reports in "The Call," Lindawood perseveres in his role as a chaplain representing the Holston Annual (regional) Conference.
On Katrina anniversary, Miss. recovery group still working
GULFPORT, Miss. (UMNS) - Mississippi United Methodist Disaster Recovery Inc., an affiliate of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, was born out of Hurricane Katrina with a vision to "help heal hearts and homes." Beth Dean of the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference reflects on the work the ministry continues to do in the aftermath of Katrina and other storms.
Camp Joy gladdens special-needs adults
EVA, Tenn. (UMNS) - Camp Joy at United Methodist-related Lakeshore Camp and Retreat Centeroffers many of the usual summer camp activities (swimming, crafts, hayrides, skits, singing, dancing, worship, awards, evening vespers and more), but with distinctive care and attention for adult campers with special needs. Lane Gardner Camp of theMemphis Annual (regional) Conference has the story.
United Methodists in the news
Congo bishop receives peace award
KAMINA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) - United Methodist Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda of the North Katanga Episcopal Area received a peace award Aug. 18 from the National Chancellor office of the Democratic Republic of Congo led by Gen. Chilungu Nembeso Otoko.
Institute honors Bishop Sano
PASADENA, Calif. (UMNS) - The Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity plans to honor retired United Methodist Bishop Roy Sano for his pioneering leadership. Sano in 1984 became the first Japanese-American elected a United Methodist bishop.
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Historic Methodist church revived
FREDERICA, Del. (UMNS) - For the first time in more than 50 years, historic Barratt's Chapel, known as "The Cradle of American Methodism," opened its doors for regular worship services this summer. Delaware Online reports that the 233-year-old church also is considered to be the oldest standing Methodist church.
100-year-old pipe organ restored to grandeur
COLUMBIA, Tenn. (UMNS) - After a silence of more than 40 years, when church organist Debbie Evenson strikes the first chord on the newly refurbished pipe organ at Spring Hill United Methodist Church, its majestic music will resonate throughout the sanctuary and beyond. The Daily Herald tells the story of the restoration of this instrument installed before the turn of the 19th century.
United Methodist Children's Home looks for alumni
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. (UMNS) - Planning is under way for the Friends and Family Centennial Celebration, which is part of the yearlong 100th anniversary of the United Methodist Children's Home. The Southern Illinoisan reports that the home is looking for former residents to help form an alumni club.
University and seminary news
Adrian students to present at anti-trafficking gathering
ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) - Students from United Methodist-related Adrian College will be among presenters at "Crossing Boundaries, Making Connections: American Slavery and Anti-Slavery Now and Then Conference" in Cincinnati Sept. 19-21. Among other activities, they will be presenting at a workshop on the undergraduate voice in the anti-trafficking movement.
See conference schedule
Why United Methodist-related schools matter
Fledgling Wesley Foundation visits Africa University
FORT MYERS, Fla. (UMNS) - The Rev. Christy Holden, pastor of the campus ministry startup at Florida Gulf Coast University, wanted students to feel the connection of a mission trip outside the country. With the help of other campus ministries, four Florida university students built relationships with students at United Methodist-related Africa University in Zimbabwe. Susan Green of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference has the story.
Congregation reaches college students
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (UMNS) - SuncrestUnited Methodist Church has committed to providing West Virginia University students a place to develop their faith. The university's campus paper, the Daily Athenaeum, shares how the church ministers with young adults.
Science and religion course offered
CLAREMONT, Calif. (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Claremont School of Theology will offer an introduction to science and religion online and in class for laypeople, working clergy and students. The 90-minute lectures will be offered 11:30 a.m. PT Mondays, Sept. 9-Oct. 14. Theologian Philip Clayton, an international leader in the dialogue between science and religion, and Tripp Fuller, youth minister and co-founder of HomebrewedChristianity.com, are instructors. Course costs $30.
Blogs and commentaries
Fifty - and 229 - yearslater
HOUSTON (UMNS) - "It may come as a surprise to some folks, but we at least began our social involvement on the right foot," writes the Rev. C. Chappell Temple, senior pastor of Lakewood United Methodist Church in Houston. He talks about how the early Methodist Church in the U.S. eventually backslid from its initial strong stand against slavery - and lessons that failure of resolve offers for today.
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On Miley - a youth ministry response
INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Many U.S. teens by now have seen Miley Cyrus' suggestive performance on the MTV Video Music Awards. Helene Foust, associate director of student ministry in the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference, offers youth ministers some ways to help youth "sift through the junk this world has to offer with Christ-like lenses." She also includes suggested Bible verses.
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9 questions church visitors are not asking
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - So how soon can I get involved in your committees? Matt Rosine, a congregational consultant for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), offers this and other questions church visitors aren't asking but churches are still trying to answer. His blog appeared on the United Methodist Publishing House's Ministry Matters site.
Bishop Cho: Stop predatory lending
RICHMOND, Va. (UMNS) - In a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bishop Young Jin Cho of the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference calls on the state's two leading candidates for governor to return campaign contributions from predatory lenders. The bishop also offers an overview of how the conference's United Methodists are helping low-income borrowers.
Our place in the universe
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The discovery of 4,437 planets where life could develop by Kepler, NASA's doomed space observatory, puts perspective on our place in the universe, writes Rich Peck in a blog for United Methodist Men.
Are we prepared to make a place at the table?
NEW YORK (UMNS) - The challenge posed for United Methodists by "A Place at the Table" rings especially true, observes mission intern Kara Crawford, as she examined the new documentary. "We practice open communion, inviting all to Christ's table. But we don't always ensure that they'll always have a place at their own dinner tables or food at the table once they sit down," she said.
Showers of blessings
TONDO, Philippines (UMNS) - Albert Otshudi Longe, a United Methodist mission intern from the Democratic Republic of Congo, "finds blessings in rain even after experiencing the recent flooding in the Philippines."
Donate to Philippines flood relief
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share with others, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put Digest in the subject line.
Free webinar "Children's Sabbath: Resources and activities," Sept. 5 - 10 a.m. CT, Sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, U.S. observances on Oct. 18-20 are a way for faith communities to celebrate children as gifts from God. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers ideas for the weekend. To register.
Free webinar "Developing your Ministry Plan: Plan 1," Sept. 5 - 6:30 p.m. CT, Church ministry teams can learn key principles for congregational development and focus on key areas of congregational ministry, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.
Science and religion course, Mondays, Sept. 9-Oct. 14 - 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT, Claremont School of Theology will offer an introduction to science and religion online and in class for laypeople, working clergy and students. $30. Details
Deadline to register for online course "Moodle 200: Advanced Training," Sept. 11 - Sept. 18-Oct. 30, training from United Methodist Communications, Moodle 100 is a prerequisite. Seating limited. $119.99. Details
Free webinar "What Happened to the Offering?" Sept. 12 - 6:30 p.m. CT, Suggestions from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship for helping the time of offering adapt to the new realities as plastic becomes the currency of U.S. culture. To register.
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
Free webinar "The Pastors Book Club: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business," Sept. 18 - 10 a.m. CT, a summary of the book and timeto engage in small-group discussions with people across the country. To register
"Communicating Faith in the 21st Century" online course, Sept. 18-Oct. 30 - Based on the book "We Must Speak: Rethinking How We Communicate Faith in the 21st Century," by the Rev. Larry Hollon. Explores the importance of telling stories of faith, as well as how to create and share personal stories of faith via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and blogs. $29.99. To register.
Free webinar "Building a Health Ministry in your Congregation" Sept. 19 - 6:30 p.m. CT, UMCOR Health, Parish Nurses and the Center for Health provide resources. Learn what one congregation has done. To register.
"Deborah's Daughters: Women's Ways of Leadership and Ministry," Sept. 23-25 - A conference in Dayton, Ohio, co-sponsored by United Theological Seminary and Harriet L. Miller Women's Center and the Center for Urban Ministry. Details.
Free webinar "Church Council: Incorporating Younger, Diverse Leaders" Sept. 24 - 6:30 p.m. CT, Healthy vital congregations bring together leaders who have different generational values and work styles. To register.
Downtown Church Network, Oct. 16-18 - First United Methodist Church in Peoria, Ill., annual gathering for pastors and staff of United Methodist churches in cities with at least 100,000 people. Details
Wesleyan Leadership Conference, Oct. 17-19 - Fourth annual conference, with a focus on evangelism, at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville. Open to all lay and clergy leaders. To register.