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UMNS Weekly Digest - January 20, 2017


Top viewed stories from Jan. 13 - Jan. 19. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Way Forward commissioners share prayers, hopes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — When the Commission on a Way Forward holds its first face-to-face meeting next week in Atlanta, members will come with some very different perspectives and experiences. Heather Hahn and Isaac Broune report on the commission’s shared prayers and potential points of agreement.
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Church bridges warring tribes in Congo

MANONO, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — United Methodists are sheltering displaced families and helping with peacebuilding after tribal conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo sent hundreds fleeing and left many dead. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Lawson: Befriending Ray after King's death

CLINTON, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, during a trip he made at the urging of the Rev. James M. Lawson. At age 88, the United Methodist pastor talks about what drove him years later to reach out to James Earl Ray, the man accused of killing his close friend. 
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5 types of church visitors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCom) — Identifying different types of visitors can help churches understand what each seeks. Darby Jones of United Methodist Communications offers an overview and tips to make people feel welcome even before worship begins. 
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Lesbian bishop case on court's April docket

NEWARK, N.J. (UMNS) — A petition regarding the standing of the denomination’s first openly lesbian bishop and several other petitions related to homosexuality and the clergy will be considered when the United Methodist Judicial Council meets April 25-28 at the Hilton Newark Penn Station Hotel. The deadline for briefs and requests for oral hearings is Feb. 13. Council meetings are not open to the public except for scheduled oral hearings.
See docket   

New dormitory in Liberia to house women in need

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — The United Methodist Women in Liberia will open a women’s dormitory later this year to provide free housing for young women attending schools in and around Monrovia. The project will help young women in need further their education. Julu Swen reports.
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United Methodist congregations to offer sanctuary

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (UMNS) — California-Nevada Conference Bishop Minerva Carcaño says many United Methodist congregations are preparing to offer sanctuary to immigrants fearing deportation. Her statement comes as President-elect Donald Trump, who campaigned for stronger enforcement of immigration laws, takes office on Jan. 20. UMNS reporter Kathy L. Gilbert will have more on United Methodists and the sanctuary movement in an upcoming article.
Read Carcaño’s statement

European United Methodist leaders focus on unity

FRANKFURT (UMNS) — United Methodist bishops and cabinet members of the European central conferences gathered Jan. 9-11 to discuss and pray about maintaining unity within The United Methodist Church, despite disagreements over church law related to homosexuality. Klaus Ulrich Ruof, communicator for the Germany Central Conference, reports.
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Wisconsin bishop hopes to open 'grace margin'

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (UMNS) — The Wisconsin Conference's Bishop Hee-Soo Jung invited leadership from the conference Board of Ordained Ministry and the Wisconsin Association of Confessing United Methodists to meet with him in hopes of opening a “grace margin." The Confessing Movement asked the bishop to replace board members after the board said it would not consider sexual orientation in determining fitness for ministry.
Read statement

Children's Home property up for sale

DECATUR, Ga. (UMNS) — Trustees of the United Methodist Children’s Home voted Jan. 17 to put up for sale its 77-acre Decatur, Georgia, campus. Proceeds will go toward expanding the home's community-based work with families and children, in partnership with churches. The home was founded in 1871 to care for children orphaned during the Civil War.
Read letter to North Georgia Conference
Read press release

Conference launches anti-trafficking campaign

HOUSTON (UMNS) — The Texas Conference has launched a yearlong campaign against human trafficking. Goals include raising awareness among church members and raising funds for anti-trafficking work.
Read conference announcement

Clergy, laity share letters to Martin Luther King Jr. 

DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) — Clergy and laity of the Pacific Northwest Conference shared letters to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the style of retired Bishop Woodie White’s annual letter to the civil rights leader. The letters address environmental racism, how King’s legacy continues and other issues.
Read the letters
Letter from Bishop Woodie White

105-year-old Eagle Scout

TYRONE, Ga. (UMNS) — Lamar Wallace is, at 105, likely the oldest living Eagle Scout. He’s also a member of Hopewell United Methodist Church.
Read North Georgia Conference story
Read Atlanta Journal-Constitution column

2 East Ohio churches close

BEALLSVILLE, Ohio (UMNS) — Two East Ohio Conference churches recently closed, causing sadness but also gratitude for their long service. “Courage and prayerful discernment” are needed in concluding that a ministry is no longer sustainable, said resident Bishop Tracy S. Malone. Rick Wolcott, conference communications director, reports.
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Ask the UMC: Where is the church present?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The latest installment of Ask the UMC tackles the question: “Is there a structure for The United Methodist Church in Canada, Australia, Latin America and Asia?” InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, offers a history lesson about the Methodist presence in these parts of the world.
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Visit Ask the UMC

Wespath surveys clergy health

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) — Wespath Benefits and Investments’ Center for Health will conduct its biennial online clergy well-being survey in February. A sample of 4,000 active U.S. clergy will receive a brief online survey, which is designed to help identify clergy well-being needs and monitor any changes over time. 
Read press release



Tuesday, Jan. 24

Who Are the Boomers? Baby boomer spirituality webinars — 7 p.m. CST. Led by Craig Kennet Miller, author of “Boomer Spirituality: Seven Values for the Second Half of Life,” each 60-minute webinar provides ideas and insights about ministry with the boomer generation. Details

Thursday, Jan. 26 to Saturday, Jan. 28

Praying Like Jesus Conference — 6 p.m. CST Jan. 26 to 1 p.m. CST Jan. 28 at Christ United Methodist Church, Memphis, Tennessee. Speakers include the Revs. Jorge Acevedo, John Ed Mathison, Maxie Dunnam, Shane Stanford, Kim Reisman and Bishop Bill McAlilly. Details 

More upcoming United Methodist events