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UMNS Weekly Digest - February 3, 2017


Top viewed stories from Jan. 27 - Feb. 2. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Cuban Methodists are packing the pews

HAVANA (UMNS) — The growing Methodist Church in Cuba has made its presence known across the island. And what was once a carbon copy of the U.S. order of worship has transformed into music-filled calls to prayer with a Pentecostal vibe. Linda Bloom and Mike DuBose report in the first of a four-part series.
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Providing a home for the elderly
Slideshow: Lively worship and glimpses of life in Cuba

Cuban worship: Music, prayer and passion

SANTA CLARA, Cuba (UMNS) — Whether gathering on wooden benches in a makeshift worship space or celebrating Christ in a historic sanctuary, Cuban Methodists are focused on fellowship and growth in Christian life, from local church to seminary settings. Linda Bloom and Mike DuBose report in the second of a four-part series.
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Going digital at Havana seminary
United Methodists help Cubans stuck at border

Coming Feb. 7: From tiny places of worship to the largest church-related camp on the island, Cuban Methodists are skilled at creating community and forming relationships. 

Faith leaders urge welcome to strangers, refugees

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Just two days after President Donald Trump issued an order banning refugees from seven Muslim countries, faith leaders countered that action in Sunday sermons that reminded people to love and welcome their neighbors. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
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Commission takes on church unity from multiple fronts

ATLANTA (UMNS) — The United Methodist commission charged with bridging division around homosexuality spent its first meeting mainly getting to know and trust each other. The group also took first steps toward possible outcomes. Heather Hahn reports on the first meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward.
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Record giving from conferences

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A record 27 of the 56 U.S. United Methodist conferences paid 100 percent of requested apportionments in 2016. Heather Hahn reports on how the church is seeing growth in giving even at a time when some worry for the denomination’s future.
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Video series offers 'all God's children' message

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Brittney Jackson Brown says she’s tired of being labeled by the unusual color of her skin when she arrives at a United Methodist church. The 28-year-old is among the young United Methodists featured in a new Vital Conversations series from the Commission on Religion and Race that debuts online on Feb. 7. Tim Ghianni reports.
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Watch past videos

Norway church honored for indigenous people work

TRONDHEIM, Norway (UMNS) — An 1881 church, the home of a secret synagogue during the Nazi occupation of Norway, has been named a United Methodist historic site for the congregation’s work with indigenous and marginalized people. Karl Anders Ellingsen has the story. 
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Online library open to global scholars

GENEVA (UMNS) — An online library of Methodist and Wesleyan resources is now available to scholars across the world through a joint project of the Methodist e-Academy and the Global Digital Library for Theology and Ecumenism. Susan Keaton has the story. 
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Lifewatch sermon: Hope amid challenges

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Rev. Stephen Rankin, chaplain at United Methodist-related Southern Methodist University, preached about “Winning Strength Out of Weakness” during the annual Lifewatch Service attended by about 40 United Methodists. Lifewatch is an unofficial denominational group that advocates against abortion. Most at the service also participated in the March for Life, the annual protest of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
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Church's stance on abortion

Commentary: Alternative facts and Christian truth

DAYTON, Ohio (UMNS) — Christians are necessarily committed to the idea of truth, writes the Rev. David Watson, academic dean of United Methodist United Theological Seminary. “As Christians, we seek truth because we believe that truth is inherently good. All truth is ultimately the product of God’s creative divine Word, who was made flesh in Jesus Christ,” Watson writes.
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Church to apologize to gay pastor it fired

KENOSHA, Wis. — Members of First United Methodist Church will offer a public apology to a former pastor during a Feb. 4-5 “Weekend of Reconciliation.” The Rev. Kevin Johnson was outed and forced out of the church when he affirmed his gay orientation in 1981. Daniel Gaitan reports for the Kenosha News.
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Watch TV report

UMW members protest North Carolina law

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — United Methodist Women staged a protest at Marshall Park in Charlotte this week to demand repeal of House Bill 2, popularly referred to as the “bathroom bill,” which mandates that people use the restroom that corresponds with the gender listed on their birth certificates. The bill also bans cities from raising minimum wage above the state minimums and eliminates state protections against racial and other forms of discrimination. Tara Barnes reports for UMW.
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Church is scene of police apology for 1940 lynching 

LAGRANGE, Ga. — The police chief of this community apologized to relatives of a black man who was abducted from a local jail and lynched in 1940. Chief Louis Dekmar spoke during an appearance at LaGrange’s Warren Temple United Methodist Church. The New York Times reports on the apology, and on the decision by United Methodist-related LaGrange College to have Congressman John Lewis — a legendary civil rights leader — speak on campus despite objections by some alumni.
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United Methodists help during church massacre trial

CHARLESTON, S.C. (UMNS) — The South Carolina Conference helped fund a team of chaplains, mental health advocates and counselors during the trial of the man convicted of killing nine people at Mother Emmanuel AME Church. The team ministered to survivors and family members of the massacre who attended the trial of Dylann Roof. Jessica Brodie reports for the Advocate.
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Make the bishop jump

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) — Bishop Bruce R. Ough has promised to jump into the frozen waters of Lake Koronis on Feb. 18 — if United Methodists pledge $10,000 for camp scholarships. More than $8,000 has been pledged so far to support scholarships for Camp Minnesota campers. 
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Tuesday, Feb. 7

Trustees: What’s my role? — 7 p.m. CST. This webinar will help provide trustees with key tools for managing current and future property. The United Methodist Discipleship Ministries webinar will also be available in the archives for those who cannot attend the live event. Details

Healthy Families Webinar Series: Setting Healthy Financial Goals — 2 p.m. CST. This interactive webinar will discuss how families can nurture healthy giving, saving and spending habits. It includes ideas for teaching children about money. Details

More upcoming United Methodist events