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UMNS Weekly Digest - December 20, 2016


Top viewed stories from Dec. 16 - Dec. 19. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


The Rev. Samuel Quire elected Liberia bishop

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS) — The Rev. Samuel J. Quire Jr., administrative assistant to the bishop in Liberia, has been elected a bishop by the delegates of the West Africa Central Conference. He will lead the Liberia Conference. Phileas Jusu and Julu Swen have the story.
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Liberian divorce ban overturned

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS) — Delegates at the West Africa Central Conference overturned the Liberia Conference ban on divorced clergy running for bishop. Phileas Jusu and Julu Swen report.
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Church's homosexuality debate tops 2016 news

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The election of the denomination’s first openly lesbian bishop and the creation of a special commission to examine church law on homosexuality were considered the top news of the year by church communicators. Joey Butler reports.
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When Christmas comes on Sunday…

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCom) — Planning Christmas Day worship can be tricky since many families have traditions that do not include going to church. Kathy Noble, editor of Interpreter magazine, shares ideas about how churches make this service special.
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Ubuntu journey takes women into community

KABALA, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Carrying large plastic bags filled with Christmas gifts, the United Methodist Women of Sierra Leone went on an Ubuntu journey that led them through rural communities to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Phileas Jusu has the story.

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United Methodist's dogs bring Christmas joy

MARION, Va. (UMNS) — On Christmas morning, Andy Overbay will get up early and put Santa hats on his furry friends, whose names are Bo and Ty. Then the three of them will drive over to Smyth County Community Hospital to visit the patients who didn’t make it home for the holidays. Annette Spence of the Holston Conference reports on this United Methodist’s “PAWS for Christ” ministry.
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Video: Christmas care for prisoners

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. ( — In 2016, 8,000 Christmas cards will make their way to 10 correctional facilities thanks to the work of hundreds of United Methodist members who wrote greetings for people they will probably never meet. This video presents the work of this Eastern Pennsylvania Conference ministry.
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United Methodists offer gloves, hot cocoa

BALTIMORE (UMNS) — On Dec. 15, United Methodist Ambassadors of Cheer were offering hot cocoa and gloves to strangers at Penn Station hoping to warm their stomachs and their hearts. The hot cocoa is part of a campaign by Rethink Church to welcome and invite people to church. Erik Alsgaard has the story.

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A very British Nativity

LONDON (UMNS) — British Methodists, with other Protestants, have created a video re-imagining what the nativity would look like if Mary and Joseph were asylum seekers in Britain today. Further details about the issues raised are available online.

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Agency report: United Methodist Publishing House

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Publishing House published almost 2,000 new books, Bibles and church resources in the past year and finished over $1 million in the black in 2016. Part of a series of reports on the work each general agency accomplished this year.
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Hymns we love, and hymns we don't

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists are asked to name their favorite and least favorite hymns as part of the early research for the first new United Methodist Hymnal in almost three decades. Discipleship Ministries is doing the online survey through Jan. 9.

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3 emerging ministries get grants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Three projects started by deacons — an after-school youth club, a music experience for immigrant and refugee children and their parents, and a Christian community center — have received 2016 Emerging Ministry Grants from the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
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Commentary: Standing Rock's legacy

NEAR STANDING ROCK RESERVATION, N.D. (UMNS) — Thanks to social media, the world has been able to watch the rise of Standing Rock. Strategic communications has been the game changer in this historic battle, writes Ginny Underwood, a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.

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This is the last UMNS Weekly Digest of 2016. It will return Friday, Jan. 6. We wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas and happy 2017.


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.


Saturday, Dec. 24

Christmas Eve — United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers ideas for a service of lessons and carols as well as ways to welcome Christmas guests. Resources


More upcoming United Methodist events