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Weekly Digest: December 06, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

December 6, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Dec.2 - Dec. 6. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

Honoring Nelson Mandela

Remembering Nelson Mandela: 1918-2013

JOHANNESBURG (UMNS) - Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president and an icon of resistance against oppression, had connections to Methodism throughout his life. He died Dec. 5,age of 95, in his home.

Read story and post a comment
Read Methodists salute Mandela
United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources

Tributes to Mandela pour in

JOHANNESBURG (UMNS) - As word of Nelson Mandela's passing spread, United Methodists and other faith leaders paid tribute to the South African leader who was a worldwide symbol of freedom, justice and peace.

Read tributes
When Nelson Mandela came to dinner

United Methodist giving

#GivingTuesday sets record for missions

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Thanks to the generosity of United Methodists around the world, the first-ever UMC #GivingTuesday on Dec. 3 generated a record $6.5 million over a 24-hour online giving period. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, which matched the first $500,000 received, reported that nearly 11,000 donors in 34 countries gave more than 16,300 gifts through The Advance to mission and ministries. The agency's previous one-day online giving record was $492,882 set on Jan. 14, 2010, shortly after the Haiti earthquake. A final accounting of the distribution of gifts this week will be available by Dec. 16, the mission agency said.

Read story
L.A. Times story on Giving Tuesday

With Global Fund, church fights malaria

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - With The United Methodist Church nearing its fundraising goal in the fight against malaria, the denomination on Dec. 3 committed to fulfilling its $28 million pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "Our pledge was equal to and even surpassed the pledges from smaller countries across the world," said Pittsburgh Area Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton. Read story

Ministry with Poor fosters friendships, ideas

DALLAS (UMNS) - By the end of the Ministry with the Poor Roundtable in Dallas last month, friendships had formed and ideas had been exchanged. A tone that began on a blue note had shifted to what might be called defiant optimism. Read story and post a comment

Thank you from a homeless person

SALINAS, Calif. (UMNS) - "It was truly amazing and I have not felt so loved, as if I were part of a family who loves and cares about me, in so long I can't remember. I cried that night," wrote a homeless person who got a Thanksgiving meal from First United Methodist Church here. The published the thank you from someone who calls the street home. Read thank you

HIV and saving lives in Asia, Pacific

BANGKOK (UMNS) - If countries in Asia and the Pacific provided early anti-retroviral treatment for those with HIV, says a medical professor from India and the son of a rural Methodist pastor, "lives could be saved."

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AIDS overview

Solar phone chargers: Relief for Malawi pastors

BLANTYRE, Malawi (UMNS) - Telephone communication with the Malawi United Methodist Church will no longer be a problem as partners at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., provided a set of solar chargers to every pastor, evangelist and conference staff member in Malawi in July 2013. Read about the solar chargers

About Malawi Provisional Annual Conference
Malawi Conference Facebook page

Chuck Knows Church: Potlucks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Why are potluck meals so popular in churches? Chuck explains. Learn more

Advent and Christmas

Advent meditation: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Advent, which means "coming" or "arrival," is a time of preparation for the birth of Christ, and a celebration of God's unconditional love. This meditation features the photographs of Mike DuBose, Kathleen Barry, Ronny Perry and others over the hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," dating from the 12th century. Share meditation

Share a photo a day for Advent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Rethink Church is inviting you once again to enter this season of Advent with intention and awareness. Will you join the photo-a-day practice and share with the community how you perceive each word or phrase for the day? Details

Have questions about Advent?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Advent is the season when we prepare ourselves to receive God's gift of Jesus. It is a time of "getting ready" for the celebration of Christmas. The United Methodist Church offers a wealth of resources for the season.

Advent home worship
Advent devotions
Advent and Christmas

Finding the true meaning of Christmas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Is it time for you to simplify your Christmas holidays and focus on what's really important about this festive time of year? Rethink Church offers some ways to help. Learn more

History of Hymns: 'People, Look East'

DALLAS (UMNS) - "People, Look East," a joyful Advent hymn, has the spirit of a Christmas carol, but with an imaginative Advent text. Eleanor Farjeon is also the author of the favorite hymn "Morning Has Broken." History of Hymns, a weekly feature made available by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, is written by C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology. Read story

News from around conferences

Saving a slowly dying church

WICHITA, Kan. (UMNS) - An "Elijah/Elisha" merger has given new life to one struggling congregation and a new mission to another with resources to help. Susan Cooper, associate communications director for the Kansas West Annual (regional) Conference, reports what happened when United Methodists searched for a way to solve a challenge. Read story

MichiganHispanic Plan is "Spirit-powered"

DETROIT (UMNS) - The Detroit and the West Michigan annual conferences are well on their way in planting Hispanic ministries. Kay DeMoss, MIConnect editor-writer, recaps what has happened and what's ahead. Read story

Learning to find, nurture the next church leaders

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (UMNS) - Stories of callings, challenges and the Virginia Conference's vision for the future servant leaders of The United Methodist Church were the foundation of the Mary & Paul Seminar, which was designed to equip clergy and laity to recognize and cultivate the next generation of African-American and Hispanic congregational leaders. Heather Johnson, a member of the conference communications board, has the story. Read story

Nashville pastor reaches national audience

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Davis Chappell, senior pastor of Brentwood United Methodist Church near Nashville, is the featured speaker Dec. 8, the second Sunday of Advent, on "Day1" with host Peter Wallace. The nationally syndicated ecumenical radio program also is accessible online at

New Jersey church reaches out to working poor

LINWOOD, N.J. (UMNS) - Most of the recipients of bags of food assembled at Linwood's Central United Methodist Church are the working poor, a growing segment of the population gainfully employed but feeling the crunch of inflation and slashed wages. The explains how the church is serving this population.

Read story
Pinellas food pantry struggling to keep shelves stocked

Arrest in West Texas church fire

MORTON, Texas (UMNS) - One person is in custody after the fire Dec. 1 that destroyed the First United Methodist Church, reports FOX34News in Lubbock.

Read story
Church fires: Damage, recovery, prevention

United Methodists open doors to Catholics after fire

MOUNT GILEAD, Ohio (UMNS) - Trinity United Methodist Church has opened its doors to welcome the congregation of Sacred Hearts Parish after a Thanksgiving Day fire destroyed the only Catholic church in the county. "Extreme sadness for the congregation of Sacred Hearts - but also what if it had been us - and how would we have wanted someone to respond?" the Rev. Lori Burdette-Steele, Trinity United Methodist Church head pastor, told ABC6. Read story

University and seminary news

7 United Methodist theology schools share in Lilly funds

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Seven United Methodist schools of theology are among 51 U.S. theological schools that will share in a $12.3 million award from the Lilly Endowment Inc. The money is part of the second round of Lilly's Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers.

Read news release
Church fires: Damage, recovery, prevention

Emory seeks new "Dean of Chapel and Spiritual Life"

ATLANTA (UMNS) - Emory University, home to the United Methodist Candler School of Theology, has posted a search for a new "Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life." The Rev. Susan T. Henry-Crowe is leaving the post to become the top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Read job posting

Blogs and commentaries

Letter from Philippines: Communications vital

TACLOBAN, Philippines (UMNS) - "Relief operations are not limited to food, water and shelter. ...A stable communications system that will work even when all else fails is a real need in the church, especially during and after every disaster," writes April Grace G. Mercado, a United Methodist Communications field representative in the Philippines and part of a team that has been on the ground in the storm-ravaged islands assessing how to help reconnect the nation's communications. Read story

Typhoon Haiyan and the need for climate justice

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (UMNS) - In the wake of the disaster in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan, it is important for us to go beyond simple relief efforts, writes the Rev. Sharon Delgado, a United Methodist clergywoman and executive director of Earth Justice Ministries. "We must heed the warnings of climate scientists who point to present disasters and future dangers, including sea level rise and increasingly deadly storms linked to climate change." Read commentary

Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email and put Digest in the subject line.

Advent, through Tuesday, Dec. 24 - Resources for Advent wreath lighting and sermons from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and resources for drawing and welcoming visitors to Advent and Christmas services from United Methodist Communications. Ministry Matters, part of the United Methodist Publishing House, also offers the free Advent series "Follow the Star."

Broadway benefit for church, Monday, Dec. 9 - 7 p.m. ET United Methodist and Tony winner Victoria Clark joins other Broadway performers for a Bless This House concert to benefit the historic Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, which houses a United Methodist congregation in Manhattan. Tickets cost $20 to $250, Details.

Free Christmas concerts, Tuesday-Thursday, Dec. 10-12 -1 to 1:30 p.m. CT at Wightman Chapel at Scarritt-Bennett in Nashville, Tenn. Performers are WooHoo Quartet, an a cappella quartet; Kelli Cox, jazz pianist; and Connye Florance, vocalist. Details.

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Christmas, Wednesday, Dec. 25 - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources to celebrate Christ's birth.. Ministry Matters, part of the United Methodist Publishing House, offers advice on the lectionary for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.

New Year's Eve and Watch Night, Tuesday, Dec. 31 - Whether you are at home or at church, the United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers devotions and worship resources to start 2014 with a focus on God.

Epiphany, Monday, Jan. 6 - Celebrate the magi and Christ's revelation to the world with resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Deadline to register for Young Clergy Leadership Forum, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is accepting applications from people 35 and younger for gathering Sunday to Wednesday, Jan. 26-29, 2014, at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Event is $175. Details.

Certified Lay Ministers Academy, Friday-Monday, Jan. 10-12, 2014 -Lake Junaluska Program Ministries, in partnership with the Cal Turner Jr. Center for Church Leadership at Martin Methodist College, will present the academy at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Details.

Deadline to apply for local church racial/ethnic ministries grants, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 - Applications for grants up to $10,000 to help local United Methodist churches build ministries that strengthen and support racial and ethnic church concerns are available from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Details.

Early bird deadline for 2014 Large Church Initiative, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 - April 28-30 at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Ga., for United Methodist churches with 1,000 or more members and/or with an average attendance of 350 or more in worship. Details.

Shift Happens: Hope in the Midst of Transition, A gathering of Urban and Rural Practitioners, Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 16-18, 2014 - Workshop in Houston sponsored by iRUN (The International Rural and Urban Network of the United Methodist Church), Church and Community Workers, and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Registration is $185. Details

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries