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UMNS Weekly Digest - January 18, 2013


Jan. 18, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Jan.15 -21. 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


After 50 years, MLK dream nearer to reality

ATLANTA (UMNS) - "Martin, this past year has been on the one hand a time of accomplishment, as we watch the nation moving closer to a full realization of 'The Dream,' " writes Bishop Woodie W. White in his annual letter to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on King's birthday. "On the other hand, we have also heard ugly, mean-spirited, racist rhetoric that harkens back to days that many had believed were long since gone. Racial prejudice dies hard." Read full letter

King opposed war, not those who served

ASBURY PARK, N.J. (UMNS) - "To be against war and its destruction of human life does not require insensitivity to and disagreement with those who wore and wear the uniforms of our nation and their families," writes the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell reflecting on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s antiwar activities and his care for veterans. "The intentional acts of concern and care for those who have defended or may defend our nation in war are essential for any of us who claim to be antiwar." Read full commentary

Honoring veterans tribute to King's legacy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would be happy with the way The United Methodist Church is celebrating his legacy by honoring veterans, said retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, a friend of the civil rights giant. Read full story


Human Relations Day gifts aid recovery

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - During Easter Sunday worship in 1992, three young men were gunned down about eight blocks from Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church in Little Rock. That was the impetus for a church effort that today has helped many who were marginalized in society - including Vaughn Talley - to find productive lives.

Read about Theressa Hoover's programs
Watch Vaughn Talley tell how his life changed

Human Relations Day: Join in seeking justice

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - "God calls us to do justice wherever we are," says the Rev. I. Malik Saafir, senior pastor of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church. At Saafir's church, he says, justice comes in the form of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual healing through outreach programs, especially for individuals grappling with addiction. Read commentary


Embrace military families and give thanks

COVINGTON, Wash. (UMNS) - Encourage active and retired military to wear their uniforms to church on Jan. 20 and for Veterans Day, Memorial Day and other special events. "Get to know military families. Invite them to tell their stories," says the Rev. Douglas J. Waite, a U.S. Navy captain retired from the Chaplain Corps and pastor of Cornerstone United Methodist Church. "You will have them with you just two to three years, so don't waste time." Read commentary and post a comment

UMTV: Vets helping vets

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Troops returning from active duty can face many challenges including injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder or having a spouse still deployed. The SAFE Network, Soldiers and Families Embraced, operates at a Wesley Foundation near the Fort Campbell, Ky., Army base. For some of the vets involved, ministering to other soldiers has proven to be the best medicine. Watch video

Pastor writes guide for ministry with Iraq reservists

ORANGEBURG, S. C. (UMNS) - The Rev. Kenneth J. Walden, an elder in the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference and chaplain and professor at Claflin University, is the author of the newly published "Challenges Faced by Iraq War Reservists and Their Families." In a review of the book, Bishop Will Willimon noted, "Ken Walden, from firsthand experience with these veterans, gives solid help to pastors and congregations seeking to minister to those in pain in the aftermath of Iraq." For more information about the book


United Methodists join in Staten Island relief

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (UMNS) - When John Stonick wants to show how high the floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy were as they swept down the street of his New Dorp Beach neighborhood on Staten Island, he raises his hands far above his head. Staten Island residents are receiving assistance through the United Methodist New York Annual (regional) Conference and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Read story and post a comment

N.J. pastor finds hope after Sandy

BELMAR, N.J. (UMNS) - Despite the destruction that Hurricane Sandy wrought on her church and parsonage, the Rev. Ellen Chamberlin, First United Methodist Church of Belmar, finds hope in the small things. The United Methodist Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference continues to assist with Sandy relief efforts. Watch video

Long Islanders get Sandy relief

FREEPORT, N.Y. (UMNS) - Floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy went "all over the place" on the property of Henry Enders, 87, a member of Freeport United Methodist Church. But he finds solace in Christ and the volunteers who have helped with his house. Read story and post a comment


Alabama church tries to heal after shooting tragedy

GARDENDALE, Ala. (UMNS) -Though many feel lost in a terrible sea, members of Gardendale (Ala.)-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church were reminded on Jan. 13 that Jesus Christ is in the boat with them. Just days after their pastor was accused of shooting and killing his wife and wounding his daughter, worshippers came through the doors of their church seeking answers and healing. Read story and post a comment

Swift reaction to bishop's gay marriage stand

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Since announcing her support for same-sex marriage, Chicago Area Bishop Sally Dyck said she has received numerous emails from United Methodists across the United States who agree and disagree with her stance. Read story and post a comment

U.S. Western United Methodist group to meet

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) - A group of United Methodists in the U.S. Western Jurisdiction is gathering to follow up on the jurisdiction's statements that disapprove of the denomination's stance on homosexuality and on other issues. The first gathering of the "Western Methodist Justice Movement" is scheduled Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at University United Methodist Church near the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The group's nine "action areas" range from ministries tofully include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to immigration to the future direction of the denomination.

2 more conferences join United Methodist Insurance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Baltimore-Washington and Virginia annual (regional) conferences of The United Methodist Church have selected United Methodist Insurance as their property and casualty carrier. UMI is a wholly owned, nonprofit subsidiary of the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency. To learn more


Seminary serves those who serve

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Wesley Theological Seminary was recently featured in a Huffington Post blog exploring simple ways to reach out to those serving others in our communities. The seminary recently organized a dinner for young people working in service around the Washington metro area including participants in AmeriCorps and Teach for America. The Wesley students are part of the Community Engagement Fellows program, an effort at eight seminaries to support young adults who want to connect their passion for service with faith formation.

Read blog post
Read about how to do a similar ministry at your church

Dillard to host Brazilian students in 2013

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) - A partnership between United Methodist-related Dillard University and Brazilian higher education officials will bring 12 to 20 Brazilian students to Dillard to study for the next 18 months. The agreement is part of the Brazilian government's Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, as well as the HBCU-Brazil Alliance, a new initiative spearheaded by President Obama to deepen academic cooperation between Brazilian higher education institutions and U.S. historically black colleges and universities in the areas of science and technology.

Wesley to offer doctorate track in chaplaincy

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Wesley Theological Seminary is offering a Doctor of Ministry track in military chaplaincy designed to enhance the ability of chaplains to satisfy both the operational needs of military leaders and the religious needs of soldiers and their families. For more information

G-ETS reaches goal for spiritual formation chair

EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) - A generous gift in December 2012 enabled United Methodist-related Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary to reach its $2 million goal to fund one of the first chairs in spiritual formation among Protestant seminaries. The chair honors distinguished alumnus Rueben P. Job, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church. Read more


Young adults invited to apply for mission program

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Young adults may now apply for the 2013 class of Mission Interns and US-2s. Feb. 15 is the deadline to submit application materials for these long-term mission assignments through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Organizations interested in being a placement site are encouraged to apply before March 24. For more information

Student Movement focuses on children, poverty

ST. LOUIS (UMNS) - Children and poverty was the top choice as the 2013-14 justice priority of the United Methodist Student Movement as determined by voting at Imagine What's NEXT, a new student event sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. More than 560 college students and campus ministers attended the event, which focused on helping students consider the next faithful steps for their vocations, communities, churches and the world. Read story

Young adults in service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Through the stories of three young adults searching for their paths in life, Sophia Agtarap, minister of engagement for Rethink Church, explains how the three "realize that sometimes your plans don't always go through. And even if some parts are planned, God has something different, perhaps unexpected, for you." Read full commentary


Faith leaders demand action on gun violence

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - On the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., United Methodists joined more than 40 other religious leaders in sending a letter on gun violence to President Obama and Congress. The letter calls on political leaders to require every person who buys a gun to pass a criminal background check; remove high capacity weapons and ammunition magazines from our streets and make gun trafficking a federal crime. Read letter

Faith coalition commends Obama gun plan

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - A coalition of faith leaders formed to support policies that reduce death and injury from gun violence commended President Obama and the administration for the plan to reduce gun violence that was announced Jan. 16. "We believe Congress has a moral imperative to enact the life-saving measures proposed by the president and vice president," said the statement from Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition of more than 40 national faith denominations and groups representing tens of millions of Americans. Read story and post a comment

Shut Guantanamo, urge faith, rights groups

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - United Methodists have joined faith coalitions and human rights organizations in calling for closure of the 11-year-old Guantanamo Bay detention facility - a symbol of U.S.-sponsored torture policies and human rights violations. The Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba has held and continues to hold numerous suspected terrorists captured by the United States. Read story and post a comment

Irish Methodists urge calm amid rioting

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (UMNS) As rioting continues near their new Skainos Center, the Rev. Gary Mason and the Irish Methodist East Belfast Mission are working with others to restore calm to the community. Read full story and post a comment.


Webinar: Teach us to pray

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Join the conversation Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. CT, as the Rev. Tom Albin and other guests talk more about prayer, the power of prayer and developing an active prayer life. Melanie Gordon, director of children's ministries at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, will lead a segment on teaching children to pray. This free webinar is co-sponsored by The Upper Room and Interpreter magazine. For more information


Methodist school in Haiti to get computer lab

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A Methodist school in LeVeque, Haiti, has been chosen as one of 40 schools in rural Haiti to receive a solar-powered computer lab as part of the Haiti Connected Schools Program. The program, created by Inveneo, is one of the largest post-earthquake education-based information and communications technology deployments in rural Haiti, providing improved learning tools for teachers, students and local communities. United Methodist Communications created a partnership with Inveneo to support local church volunteer efforts to put technology tools in developing countries. Read more

4,000 expected at United Methodist Men event

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UMNS) - United Methodist leaders expect 4,000 men to attend the 11th national gathering of United Methodist Men this summer in Nashville, Tenn. The July 12-14 quadrennial meeting will be at Belmont University. The theme of the event will be "From the Inside Out." Read more

Judicial Council sets spring docket

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Judicial Council has posted the docket for its April meeting on the council's website. The meeting will take place in the denomination's U.S. Western Jurisdiction, but the exact location has yet to be determined. View docket

Letter seeks advance notice on any restructuring

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A group of United Methodists has sent an open letter to the Connectional Table requesting it publicly release a draft of any church restructuring plan by Jan. 31, 2015, more than a year before the 2016 General Conference. The Connectional Table, which coordinates the denomination's mission, ministry and resources, is meeting Jan. 15-17 in Nashville. The group that sent the letter is DreamUMC, a grassroots movement that arose out of the 2012 General Conference discussions on agency restructuring.

Read the DreamUMC letter
Learn more about DreamUMC

Winkler leaving social advocacy agency

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Jim Winkler, who sometimes has been a lightning rod for controversy in advocating the church's social positions, will depart this year as the top executive for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Winkler, who has worked for the agency for 28 years, is ending his 12-year term as the top executive. Read story and post a comment


Sandy's toll: Worse than you think

NEW YORK (UMNS) - If you live in the New York-New Jersey region, it's easy to see,more than two months later, that the recovery from Hurricane Sandy has barely begun, writes UMNS reporter Linda Bloom in her Bloombytes blog. Needed: donations to UMCOR and volunteers. Read blog and post a comment

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries