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UMNS Weekly Digest - February 2, 2018


Top viewed stories from Jan. 26-Feb. 1. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


For 4th year, church sees record giving

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — If The United Methodist Church had a “Paid-in-Full” stamp, it would be getting good use around the world. The denomination’s finance agency reports the 2017 general church giving totals from the U.S. and, for the first time, from the central conferences. Heather Hahn reports.
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United Methodists among dead in Nigeria attack

LAU, Nigeria (UMNS) — A recent attack by herdsmen in Lau has left more than 55 people dead, including 38 United Methodists, according to the Rev. Irmiya Bako, superintendent of the Yugorobi district, where the incident took place. He said 3,700 United Methodists are currently displaced and need urgent help. The Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel reports.
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Denomination's membership tops 12.5 million

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s global membership exceeds 12.5 million, according to the most recent figures available to the General Council on Finance and Administration. Heather Hahn reports on numbers used to calculate General Conference delegations. 
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Read press release on General Conference delegates   

Church survey finds drop in sexual harassment 

CHICAGO (UMNS) — Incidents of sexual harassment within The United Methodist Church have decreased for clergy, laity and employees in recent years, but seminary students reported an increase. The survey by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women was concluded before allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein and others snowballed into the #MeToo movement. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Bishops, agency respond to #MeToo movement   

Bishop: Immigration plan needs care and prayers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — As the U.S. government works on immigration reform, church leaders emphasize keeping families together and caring for all God’s children. “Dreamers are not villains,” said United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
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Michigan Conference story about church offering sanctuary  
Read NPR coverage

Catalog of church plans helped spread Methodism

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Beginning in 1870, before Sears, Roebuck began offering low-cost plans for home construction, Methodists had a “church plans catalog” that made design of churches and parsonages affordable and helped add many a Methodist church to the U.S. landscape. and the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History have done a video on the historic catalog.
Watch video  

Zambia church helps with cholera prevention

KANDUNDU, Zambia (UMNS) — A United Methodist church is providing clean water to help prevent cholera, even as the government eases some restrictions aimed at containing the outbreak that began in October 2017. John Chikuta reports. 
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Great Plains Conference
Strong talk for pastors about money

KEARNEY, Neb. — Great Plains Conference pastors got strong advice on fundraising from clergy consultants during a meeting here Jan. 17-19. “Preachers don’t like to talk about money,” said the Rev. Clif Christopher, founder of Horizons Stewardship. “It’s time that we change our way of thinking, and the way we do business.” Christopher challenged the idea that pastors shouldn’t know how much individual congregation members give. 
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Missouri Conference
Pastoring in partisan times

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Preachers face a challenge during these highly polarized times in making worship a holy experience. Fred Koenig summarizes the advice shared during the conference’s webinar series, “Pastoring in Partisan Times.” 
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Missouri Conference
Dawning of The Light in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Rev. Andrew Moyer was an atheist before coming to a relationship with Christ as an adult. He believes growing up as an atheist may help him reach people outside the church. Fred Koenig reports what Moyer is doing with The Light, a new United Methodist church start.
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South Carolina Conference
Small church, big outreach

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Bethel United Methodist is a small church with a big heart, and it’s doing some bold things for its community in the name of Jesus. Jessica Brodie has the story.
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South Carolina Conference
New Lenten practice: Bible journaling

PROSPERITY, S.C. — Many people will be giving up something for Lent, but the congregation of Wightman United Methodist Church will be encouraged to take something up — Bible journaling. Jessica Brodie reports how such journals will work.
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Commission on a Way Forward
Moderators: Mission is key to Way Forward

WASHINGTON — At the conclusion of the recent Commission on a Way Forward meeting, members were asked to share three words that expressed their prayer for the church. “Mission” was the most frequently repeated word. 
Read press release  
Read UMNS story on recent meeting   

Council on Finance and Administration
Local churches to be listed on Guidestar 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Local churches and other United Methodist organizations will soon have new avenues to receive donations. The General Council on Finance and Administration has worked to get Guidestar, a respected database of nonprofits, to list these United Methodist groups. That means that United Methodist churches and organizations can be recognized as charitable organizations by Guidestar partners such as Amazon Smile, Network for Good, Facebook and Google for Nonprofits.
Read press release   
To sign up    

Desert Southwest Conference 
Immigrant legal-aid ministry opens in Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona Justice for Our Neighbors officially opened its doors on Feb. 1. Phoenix Area Bishop Robert Hoshibata took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new office of the United Methodist network, which provides affordable immigration legal services to low-income immigrants. Arizona JFON will also advocate for immigrant rights.  
Read press release   


Discipleship Ministries
Webinar on clergy taxes Feb. 12

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like social security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions and reimbursed expenses. Discipleship Ministries will offer a webinar, “Clergy Taxes: Don’t Live in Fear,” that deals with this year’s tax preparation as well as a bit on the new U.S. tax reform that will affect next year’s filings. 
To register  

Religion and Race 
Webinar planned on community development

WASHINGTON — The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race joins with the United Methodist Church for All People for a webinar titled “Divine Economy of Abundance.” The Feb. 7 webinar examines community development. 
To register   


Northern Illinois Conference
A bishop’s book reviews

CHICAGO — Chicago Area Bishop Sally Dyck got a lot of reading done during a recent renewal leave. She offers mini-reviews of such books as “Eleanor: a Spiritual Biography,” about Eleanor Roosevelt, and “Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics.”
Read blog  


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.

Monday, Feb. 12-Friday, Feb. 23

Online class: Communicating with those who are grieving

Wednesday, Feb. 14

Ash Wednesday resources


See more United Methodist events