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UMNS Weekly Digest - February 01, 2013


Feb. 1, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Jan.28 -Feb. 1. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service storiesand additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at


Still there, Connectional Table starts anew

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The new Connectional Table - a United Methodist governing body that had expected to be defunct by now - met Jan. 15-17 to organize. The gathering set the tone for the denomination's leadership for the next four years and may have offered a prelude to proposals that will go before the next General Conference in 2016. Read story and post a comment

Denomination urged to trust, share leadership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Don't be surprised if you hear church leaders use the phrase "adaptive leadership" multiple times during the next four years. That phrase served as the recurring theme of the 2013 Quadrennial Training Event, which drew nearly 1,000 United Methodists to the Gaylord Opryland resort in Nashville, Tenn., from Jan. 17 to 20.

Read story and post a comment.

'Fresh winds' blowing through connection

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (UMNS) - "What I most appreciated about the first meeting of the Connectional Table was the degree to which I sensed that it is a new day," said the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, pastor of Kalamazoo Milwood United Methodist Church and a member of the Connectional Table. "It became clear that we would be dealing with central issues for The United Methodist Church but would strive to approach them in new ways. It feels like a fresh wind of the Spirit is moving through our church." Read full interview

Stop building bridges

BILLINGS, Mont. (UMNS) - The Rev. Jeremy Scott was among the participants in the Quadrennial Training Event. In his blog, Dirty Ministry, he reflects on the differences between adaptive challenges and technical challenges, and how he has seen that distinction at work in his ministry. Read blog post


Bishop Carcao at Obama immigration conference

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) - When President Barack Obama outlined his plan for immigration reform at a high school in Las Vegas Jan. 29, he made sure The United Methodist Church was represented in recognition of the "hard work" the denomination is doing for undocumented immigrants. Bishop Minerva Carcao, episcopal leader for the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference and chair of the United Methodist Interagency Taskforce on Immigration, was invited by the president to be at the conference. Read story and post comment


Church takes fresh look at Christian unity

NEW YORK (UMNS) As United Methodists reorganize efforts to promote Christian unity and interfaith relationships, they face a challenging ecumenical landscape. Read full story and post a comment

Clergy health survey in February

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - The Center for Health of the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits will conduct its annual online clergy health survey in February 2013. The survey continues to provide comparative data for the center's clergy health research. A sample of 5,000 U.S. clergy - representing a cross-section of active United Methodist clergy by jurisdiction, gender, race/ethnicity and clergy type - will receive a brief online survey. Read more

Children and prayer: Fostering a lifetime habit

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (UMNS) - It is never too early to teach children to pray. Prayer can benefit the very young and be an anchor in "life's storms." Interpreter OnLine offers ways to teach children about this calming "experience with God." Read story

Taking Ash Wednesday public

WYOMING, Mich. (UMNS) - The Rev. Marcia Elders of the West Michigan Conference recounts offering the "Imposition of Ashes" at a local YMCA on Ash Wednesday last year. "I believe Lent is a time to get healthy both spiritually and physically. I thank God for the opportunity to invite others to the same!" Read story


Iliff creates program to engage workers

DENVER (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Iliff School of Theology has launched a program to increase employee engagement in the workplace and instill trust. Through Iliff's Authentic Engagement Program, participants will attend one-, two- or three-day seminars for area employers. "Getting employees aligned for a common cause through finding meaning at work is important in increasing the productivity of any business," said Albert Hernndez, Iliff's interim president and chief executive officer. Read news release

Asbury adds church-planting programs

WILMORE, Ky. (UMNS) -Asbury Theological Seminary has announced a new Master of Arts in Church Planting and a Master of Divinity with a specialization in church planting for fall 2013. The new degree programs are key components of Asbury's 2023 Strategic Plan announced last spring. Read more

Awards given for continuing education

GEORGETOWN, Texas (UMNS) - A biology professor taking an up-close look at tumor cells and a religion instructor interpreting Christ's ministry halfway around the world are among the 28 winners of the 2012 Sam Taylor Fellowship Awards. The will of the late Sam Taylor set aside funds to be used for continuing education and development for faculty members of United Methodist-related universities in Texas. Read story and see list of recipients


Two Illinois pastors urge gun-violence action

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (UMNS) - Two Illinois Great Rivers Annual (regional) Conference retired pastors have written a letter ongun violence and are part of an effort aimed at legislative action to address recent shootings in the United States. Read what they say

Church immigration network changing

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - This year might be "the" year for U.S. immigration reform, said Rob Rutland-Brown, new director of the United Methodist National Justice for Our Neighbors. The United Methodist network of legal clinics for immigrants is taking on new leadership and a new organization just as U.S. politicians are focusing on immigration reform. Read story and post comment

Church World Service backs immigration reform plans

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) - Church World Service is praising plans for immigration reform laid out this week by President Obama and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators. "A clear pathway to citizenship and repairs to the U.S. visa system must be part of a just, realistic and workable plan, as they are essential to reuniting separated families and improving the lives of countless hardworking, aspiring Americans," said Erol Kekic, the group's immigration and refugee program director. Read full story


2 agencies agree with change in Boy Scout ban

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Leaders of two United Methodist agencies - United Methodist Men and United Methodist Board of Church and Society - welcomed news that the Boy Scouts of America is considering ending its decades-long ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. But church leaders also were hearing mixed reactions in their communities. Read story and post comment

Men's leader elaborates on scouting changes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist Men's top leader said he has faced criticism, questions and confusion since releasing a statement Jan. 29 affirming how changes proposed by the Boys Scouts of America would be implemented. He made another public statement on Jan. 31 emphasizing two points. Read full story and post a comment

New grant helps battle diseases of poverty

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church's efforts to battle malaria and HIV in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will get a boost, thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The funding will help implement a program to reduce death and suffering from malaria and HIV, two diseases that affect millions of people in the DRC and account for billions of dollars in lost productivity in Africa. Read more


MLK's words of hope 'needed more than ever'

NEWTOWN, Conn. (UMNS) - On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Rev. James Forbes told grieving residents of Newtown, Conn., that King's words of healing and nonviolence "are needed now more than ever." Read story and post a comment

Mission field awareness leads to Homework Club

FORREST CITY, Ark. (UMNS) - Marvellia Key and her husband, the Rev. Kennis Key, who serves as part-time local pastor of Kynette United Methodist Church, wanted to find new ways the church could have an impact on the surrounding community. With an average worship attendance of 15 to 20 people, the church certainly fits the definition of "small church." But size didn't stop it from reaching out into its mission field in a new way this year: through Key's Afterschool Homework Club, housed in a newly remodeled room of the building. Amy Forbus of the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference reports on the program, which is scheduled to launch Feb. 1. Read story

Church helps throw Super Bowl party for homeless

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (UMNS) - On Feb. 3, people across the nation will go to the homes of friends for Super Bowl parties, watch the big game on a big screen and eat lots of snacks. Members of Wesley United Methodist Church and Moses Montefiore Congregation are teaming up to offer the same opportunity to people without homes. reports on the combined efforts of the United Methodist and Jewish congregations to host a Super Bowl party for the homeless. Read story

Small church makes big difference in health

TENNILLE, Ga. (UMNS) - Through meeting people's physical and emotional needs, Jesus was able to minister to and meet their spiritual needs, too. Tennille United Methodist Church, a small congregation with about 40 worshippers each week, is following Jesus' example with its many health ministries. Kara Witherow of the South Georgia Annual (regional) Conference shares the story. Read story

A small church makes the most of its talents

LAKE MARY, Fla. (UMNS) - One pastor's bold idea to give parishioners money and ask them to "go forth and multiply" paid off big for Grace United Methodist Church. Susan Green of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference has the story. Read story

N.C. experiment keeps district superintendents in the field

RALEIGH, N.C. (UMNS) - The North CarolinaConference has decided to sell district offices and parsonages in order to move the district superintendents completely into the field. Vicki Brown of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry shares how the experiment is working so far. Read story


Sandy giving now at $6.1 million; teams needed

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodists are continuing to contribute both money and volunteer time to the denomination's relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Long-term recovery volunteer teams for Sandy also can now register. Read story and post comment

UMCOR Hurricane Sandy relief receives boost

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief was one of seven nonprofit organizations to be honored last month with a grant to advance recovery and rebuilding on Long Island following Hurricane Sandy. The grant was provided through the Hurricane Sandy Long Island Disaster Relief campaign of Newsday Charities, a Robert R. McCormick Foundation Fund. Read story and post comment

Young people to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist youth and young adults are invited to join a two-year effort to help rebuild areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. Restoration Generation will begin this summer, said Michael Ratliff, who leads the Young People's Ministries division of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. A team of five young adults will establish an intentional living community for the coming two years to coordinate the initiative. The team will be led by the Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, who works part time for Young People's Ministries in the Northeastern Jurisdiction. Read news release


Why I choose to be United Methodist today

CHICAGO (UMNS) - The Rev. Amy Valdez Barker, the new executive secretary of the United Methodist Connectional Table, writes that she believes The United Methodist Church "offers a compelling purpose for people of God to live transformed lives that abundantly reflect God's grace and love." She has invited other leaders on the Connectional Table, which coordinates the denomination's ministry and resources, to blog about why they choose to be United Methodist throughout the year.

Read blog post.

Journey to the inauguration: A faith-defining moment

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Sophia Agtarap, minister of online engagement for Rethink Church with United Methodist Communications, attended President Obama's second inauguration. She shares the stories of two young adults she met at the festivities - one a lifelong United Methodist and the other a spiritual seeker. For the seeker, encounters with United Methodist ministries during the festivities were eye-opening. Read blog and post a comment

'Spiritual boot camp' calls Christian disciples

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In a Jan. 30 blog on the United Methodist Board of Discipleship website, the Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards describes the biblical 40 days of Lent as "spiritual boot camp for a lifetime of discipleship to Jesus." Read blog

Stop complaining about Sunday morning sports

AMBLER, Pa. (UMNS) - Clergy types often complain that Sunday morning sports take people from worship. That common lament really is about "the loss of the privileged place that the Church - and clergy - once enjoyed in our culture," writes the Rev. Keith Anderson, pastor of Upper Duluth Lutheran Church, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation near Philadelphia. The lament, he argues, risks alienating the very young families we seek to engage. The United Methodist-related Lewis Center for Church Leadership shared his blog. Read blog

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries