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UMNS Weekly Digest - December 19, 2017


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2017: Remembering notable church members

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists this past year marked the passing of a champion of deacons, a Mississippian born of conviction and a bishop who survived an attempt on his life. Heather Hahn has this collection of 27 remembrances.
Read story 

Attack on Methodist church in Pakistan condemned

QUETTA, Pakistan — The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, World Methodist Council and World Council of Churches are among those condemning a Dec. 16 attack on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in western Pakistan that killed at least nine people and injured more than 50 attending a worship service. Thomas Kemper of Global Ministries called upon authorities in Pakistan “to increase security for Christian churches and community in the face of threats from the self-declared Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorists.” Bethel Memorial Methodist Church is a congregation of the Church of Pakistan.
Read Global Ministries statement 
World Methodist Council statement 
Read WCC story

Churches unite in support of migrants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — As United Methodist congregations prepared on the first Sunday of Advent for the coming of the Christ child, many also recognized the importance of welcoming the stranger. Churches around the world celebrated Global Migration Sunday with a day of prayer and a special offering to aid migrants and refugees. Julie Dwyer has the story.
Read story  

Filipino church offers sanctuary during typhoon

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — A Philippines church resurrected after a major typhoon in 2013 provided sanctuary to others during floods brought by a recent storm. On Dec. 16, Light and Life United Methodist Church served as an evacuation place during flooding from Typhoon Urduja, also known as Kai-Tak. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.
Read story   

Church donates school toilets in Liberia

PAYNESVILLE, Liberia (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church is building toilets in schools across Liberia to improve the health of students. For World Toilet Day, the church dedicated new toilets at the Love, Caring and Sharing Community Institute in Paynesville, Liberia. Julu Swen reports. 
Read story

South Carolina Advocate
Church spreads Christmas cheer to storm victims

MULLINS, S.C. — Imagine losing almost everything and having to start over with just the essentials. Now imagine it’s Christmas, and the cheerful tree and festive decorations are absent, lost to mold and muck and other flood-related devastation. Jessica Brodie tells how one United Methodist church in South Carolina responded.
Read story  

Arkansas Conference
Cowboys, coffee and breakfast

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Cowboy Church. Holy Grounds Community Coffeehouse. Morning Manna. What these ministries have in common is a commitment to reach new people and create community. The Rev. Martha Taylor has the story.
Read story 

Archives and History
When missions and war collide

MADISON, N.J. — Gertrude Feely was a Methodist missionary in Japan and the Philippines who was interned by the Japanese during World War II. Dale Patterson, archivist and records administrator for the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, tells the story of a woman so dedicated to her missionary work that she returned to Japan after the war.
Read story 

And so this is Christmas …

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Learn about five “lesser known” facts on Christmas from the Rev. Joe Iovino. Then take a new Christmas quiz.
Five things about Christmas 
Christmas Quiz 2017

Slideshow: Christmas around the world

We are grateful to the United Methodist churches and photographers who contributed their photos to our first "Christmas Around the World" slideshow. Share your photos from this year's Christmas and Advent celebrations for inclusion in next year's slideshow. Send photos to and write CHRISTMAS SLIDESHOW in the subject line. 
View slideshow


Perkins School of Theology
Perkins collaborates with Wesley House, Cambridge

DALLAS — United Methodist Perkins School of Theology has formed an international study partnership with Wesley House, Cambridge, in England. Two recent Perkins graduates are spending an academic year studying at the University of Cambridge through Wesley House. They’re also living at Wesley House, an international community of Methodist scholars.
Read press release

Council of Bishops
Bishops offer Christmas message

WASHINGTON — In a Christmas message to the people of The United Methodist Church on behalf of the Council of Bishops, Council president Bishop Bruce Ough encourages us to re-ignite the longing for the birth of Christ in our lives. 
Read message




Jesus before Christmas

CASPER, Wyo. — Jesus likely wasn’t born in winter. But Dec. 25 happens to fall around a Jewish festival Jesus did celebrate. The Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter writes about what Christians owe to the Feast of Dedication, which we know today as Hanukkah.
Read commentary 

Michigan Area
Looking at Mary through a 2017 lens

LANSING, Mich. — The Rev. Jack Harnish offers a Christmas commentary on Mary, the mother of Jesus. And he ties it to events of 2017. “Maybe this year we need to see her as the model of a strong, determined woman who knows who she is and holds her ground,” Harnish writes.
Read full commentary 

UMNS is publishing this Weekly Digest early and will not have another until Jan. 5, due to Christmas and New Year’s. Grace and peace to all.



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.

Thursday, Jan. 4

Webinar: Stewardship and Finance — Getting It Right at the Starting Line

Monday, Jan. 8-Friday, Jan. 12

Online course: Intensive Five-Day Safe Sanctuary Policy Workshop


See more United Methodist events