Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - January 12, 2018


Top viewed stories from Jan. 5-11 See all United Methodist News Service stories at


'Black Archives Matter' campaign catches on 

DALLAS (UMNS) — Timothy Binkley started a Black Archives Matter campaign for Bridwell Library at Perkins School of Theology. His effort to highlight and expand African-American holdings has spread to other libraries at Southern Methodist University and taken the name Black Archives Matter at SMU. Sam Hodges reports.
Read story    

World Council of Churches
Speaking out for all women

LOS ANGELES (WCC) — As bishop-in-residence at the Hollywood United Methodist Church, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson ministers to church members who were involved in the Golden Globes, where women wore black and highlighted a campaign to fight sexual misconduct. As vice moderator of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, she is pleased to see the “Time’s Up” campaign expand to women across the globe. The WCC is part of a “Thursdays in Black” campaign. Susan Kim reports.
Read story  
WCC and the "Thursdays in Black" campaign  

Way Forward Commission tops 2017 news stories

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The work of the commission addressing the denomination’s debate over homosexuality topped a news poll for the second consecutive year. United Methodists’ response to a wave of natural disasters, the church’s witness against racism and its focus on global migration issues were also noted. Joey Butler reports. 
Read story

2017: The year in UMNS photos

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service staff traveled the globe last year to cover important events for the church. Take a look at some of the images they shot to sum up the year 2017 in the life of the denomination.
View slideshow   

Lay minister writes 'turnaround story' of small churches

CALHOUN, Mo. (UMNS) — Lay minister Margie Briggs writes about her 10 years of ministry with Calhoun and Drake’s Chapel United Methodist churches. She offers insight into how small congregation churches can make big differences in their communities. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
Read story  

What does it mean to 'resist evil, injustice and oppression'?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — In their baptismal vows, United Methodists commit to "renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world" and "resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves." InfoServ looks at the biblical and baptismal history behind the renunciation of evil, in the latest installment of Ask the UMC.
Read story  
Ask the UMC    

Congo churches react to cholera epidemic

BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — Five months after a cholera epidemic was declared in the South Kivu Province, United Methodists there continue to help with prevention efforts. The church is distributing water purification tablets in areas with unsafe drinking water and talking with members about safety precautions. Philippe Kituka Lolonga reports.
Read story   

Mountain Sky Area
Church offers help for fallen sheriff's deputies

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Each Sunday, St. Andrew United Methodist Church relies on Douglas County sheriff’s deputies to direct traffic and provide security. So when the church learned five local law enforcement officers had been shot in responding to a domestic disturbance, clergy and members felt the need to care for a suffering part of its family. The church is helping with funeral expenses for Deputy Zack Parrish and medical expenses of the four other hospitalized officers. 
Read pastoral letter   
To help with fund    

Greater New Jersey Conference
Sharing recovery experiences in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — At the invitation of Bishop Hector Ortiz, Bishop John Schol led a team from the Greater New Jersey Conference here to share ideas from the Hurricane Sandy recovery ministry. United Methodists in New Jersey raised more than $400,000 for hurricane relief in 2017. Josh Kinney reports. 
Read story 

Kentucky Conference
Bed or breakfast, and Bible

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Wesley United Methodist Church isn’t unusual in featuring a Saturday morning Bible study. But its reach is far from usual: People in Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland and other areas distant from Lexington, participate via Facebook Live. Alan Wild has the story on using the “Disciple Fast Track” Bible study in the social media age. 
Read story    

South Georgia Conference
Conference partners with Asbury

MACON, Ga. — The South Georgia Conference’s new partnership with Asbury Theological Seminary lets students have a full-time job and pursue theological education. Students take classes online and spend three days together at a church campus in Brunswick, Georgia, and another three at Asbury’s Orlando campus. Kara Witherow reports.
Read story 

South Carolina Conference
Pastor’s weight loss provides walking example

COLUMBIA, S.C. — What the Rev. Robert Walker considered an unflattering but accurate photo led him to get on his feet. His long walks not only helped him lose 40 pounds but also boosted his spirituality. Jessica Brodie has the story.
Read story  

Virginia Conference 
Virginia church still serving as sanctuary

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — First United Methodist Church plans to continue to open its doors to those seeking a safe space as court cases stemming from a white supremacist rally turned deadly are heard. “Our witness and justice ministries will continue to respond to the needs of our community as they arise,” said the Rev. Phil Woodson. The church served as a safe space on Dec. 14 when a handful of cases from August went to court. Forrest White has the story. 
Read story   


Council of Bishops 
Young adult scholarships for unity, ecumenical events

WASHINGTON — The Council of Bishops is offering scholarships for young adults (ages 21-35) to attend the 2018 United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training and the National Workshop on Christian Unity in April. 
Read press release   

Higher Education and Ministry
New scholarship fund for deacons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry announced the newest addition to its more than 70 scholarship funds. The Rubie Plant Butterworth Scholarship Fund will assist individuals attending one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries and pursuing ordination as a deacon. 
Read press release     
To apply for scholarships and loans   

Commission on Religion and Race
2018-2020 grants awarded

WASHINGTON — The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will award $463,025 to projects developed by local churches, annual conferences and seminaries in all five U.S. jurisdictions. 
Read press release   

Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Grants support racial-ethnic training programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Applications are open for grants that support innovative racial-ethnic training programs. Applications for the Ethnic In-Service Training Grant awards are open now through March 7.
Read press release   



United Methodist Communications
Survey on Human Relations Day 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist Communications is looking for interesting personal stories that illustrate the benefits of Human Relations Day. Please take this short survey about being a helping hand to those in crisis so they can overcome formidable obstacles. Human Relations Day is Jan. 14.
Complete survey   
Get resources for Human Relations Day 

UM Disability Blog
Preparing Deaf-friendly worship

BALTIMORE — As many congregations and annual conferences prepare to observe Disability Awareness Sunday, the Rev. Leo Yates Jr. offers tips and resources for Deaf-friendly worship services.
Read blog   



Shifting Margins blog
The power of the Wesley Covenant Prayer

CHAPIN, S.C. — Retired Bishop Kenneth L. Carder reflects on how the Wesley Covenant Prayer helped him cope with two major challenges in his life and took him to a deeper commitment in Christian faith.
Read blog post   

Faith & Leadership
Brave new world for Christian formation 

DURHAM, N.C. — David L. Odom, executive director of leadership education at Duke Divinity School, writes about the challenges congregations and church leaders face in nurturing Christian faith in “an increasingly digital and networked world.”
Read essay   



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.

Sunday, Jan. 14 

Human Relations Day

Monday, Jan. 15

Discipleship Ministries worship resources for the observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday


See more United Methodist events