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UMNS Weekly Digest - August 4, 2017


Top viewed stories from July 28-Aug. 3. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Conference of the Deaf makes history

WAXAHACHIE, Texas (UMNS) — The Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf, underway here through Aug. 4, offers worship, talks, presentations and plenty of networking opportunities. It’s also the scene for The United Methodist Church’s first-ever certified lay servant’s course specifically for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Sam Hodges reports.
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Conferences take on immigration, sexuality

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — During annual conference sessions across the U.S., United Methodists took stands on various hot-button issues including the treatment of migrants and the status of LGBTQ individuals. Conferences also heard presentations on the Commission on a Way Forward. Heather Hahn reports.
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See annual conference reports 

Rallying against Texas 'bathroom bill'

AUSTIN, Texas (UMNS) — United Methodists headed to Austin on Aug. 1 to send a message to Texas legislators: “Y’all Means All,” encouraging lawmakers to vote against a North Carolina-style “bathroom bill.” About 200 United Methodists were among the 500 people attending the interfaith advocacy event hosted by Texas Impact. Mary Jacobs reports.
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Liberian bishop seeks to go 'back to the soil'

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Since taking office at the beginning of 2017, Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. has emphasized the need for the Liberian church to be more self-sufficient. He believes rural development is a key way to make that happen. Joey Butler reports.
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'Agriculture is life' for Liberian United Methodists

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — At the Liberia Conference’s agricultural center, hundreds of acres of overgrown land surround buildings in various stages of ruin. The Rev. Joseph Theoway doesn’t see what’s there now; he sees what will be there in the future. Joey Butler has the story, and Mike DuBose has photos.
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See video on beekeeping pastor 

Protesting a 'culture of silence' in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Expressing their frustration with a “culture of silence,” women of the Sierra Leone Conference took to the streets of central Freetown to protest the growing violence against women and girls in the country. Phileas Jusu has the story. 
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Filipinos to come home for a mission

MANILA (UMNS) — The National Association of Filipino-American United Methodists is hosting a homecoming convocation, set for Jan. 3-6, at Central United Methodist Church, in coordination with a local committee. Those invited to attend include Filipino United Methodists living in North America, the Pacific Islands, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and all over Asia. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.
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How one church became multiethnic

CLEVELAND (UMCOM) — Since 2004, Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church has grown from about 200 to 1,100 worshippers. No ethnic group comprises more than 52 percent of the congregation. Laura Buchanan of United Methodist Communications reports on how the church reached more people. 
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Oklahoma United Methodist's got talent

OKLAHOMA CITY — A marching band, color guard, cheerleaders and an excited crowd set the scene in the parking lot of United Methodist Church of the Servant for a “homecoming” video featuring young ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer. The 12-year-old and the video will be featured in this season’s first live episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” on Aug. 15. Chris Schutz reports for the Oklahoma Conference.
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Federal judge, active churchgoer, dies at 91

LINCOLN, Neb. — A retired federal judge, who was a United Methodist Sunday school teacher and delegate to six General Conferences, died July 28. Judge Warren Keith Urbom, who was 91, also oversaw more than 100 cases involving Native American activists during his judicial career. David Burke of the Great Plains Conference has this obituary.
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Pastor leads devotions on the water

ROANOKE, Va. — The Rev. Gary Heaton paddles his canoe each Wednesday to lead devotions for summer boaters and joggers near the Roanoke Greenway. “It’s taking the gospel into a setting where people can happen by it,” he said. The Virginia Conference’s Madeline Pillow writes about this ministry, and Nick Ruxton has video.
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Vietnamese church celebrates in global style

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — History was made in 1987 when a Grand Rapids congregation became the first Vietnamese United Methodist church chartered anywhere in the world. On July 30, 280 Vietnamese clergy and their families from around the world joined in celebrating the congregation’s 30th anniversary. Kay DeMoss of the Michigan Area reports. 
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Kids + soccer + school + church = home

CLARKSTON, Ga. — The Fugees Family is a soccer team of refugee kids coming from some of the world’s most troubled spots. Their coach, Luma Mufleh, an immigrant from Jordan, also created a school, housed at First United Methodist Church in Clarkston. National Justice for Our Neighbors, a United Methodist immigration ministry, reports on the successful collaboration.
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New book on becoming a 'Great Commission Church'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has released “GO! How to Become a Great Commission Church,” by Mark R. Teasdale. He is the E. Stanley Jones Associate Professor in Evangelism at United Methodist Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
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Scholarships help relieve clergy debt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Office of Loans and Scholarships at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has awarded more than $1.66 million to 206 recipients of the Excellence in Clergy Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship was created to help United Methodist clergy avoid excessive educational loan debt, minimize financial stress and build financial acumen.
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Interfaith effort on North Carolina rebuild

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Islamic Relief USA and the United Methodist North Carolina Conference are working together on an extensive recovery project for volunteers to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew last year in the Tarboro, North Carolina, area. 
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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.

Sunday, Aug. 13

Room at the Table: Celebrating People of All Abilities  This gathering, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT at United Methodist Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, offers workshops on ways to be in ministry with people with mental health, sensory, intellectual and other disabilities. Sponsors include the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, North Georgia Conference and the DisAbility Ministries Committee. $10. Details

See more United Methodist events