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UMNS Weekly Digest - January 27, 2017


Top viewed stories from Jan. 20 - Jan. 26. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


United Methodist churches offer sanctuary

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — More than 800 places of worship — including some 60 United Methodist churches — vow to shelter and protect immigrants fearing deportation under the administration of President Donald Trump. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
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New York Conference immigration forum and vigil


Pastor among Dreamers waiting for citizenship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Orlando Gallardo has a master of divinity degree from Saint Paul School of Theology and is an associate pastor in a United Methodist church, but not yet a U.S. citizen. Gallardo is one among thousands of young people waiting to see what changes the Trump administration will make to immigration laws. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Women's edition of Bible offers new light

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The CEB (Common English Bible) Women’s Bible offers an index of all the female characters in Scripture. It provides biographical sketches of many of them, and brief, Scripture-based articles on such topics as fertility, miscarriage, menopause and God as mother. All editors of and contributors to the new edition are women, and many are United Methodists. Sam Hodges reports.

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Strengthen peacemaking, new UN head urged

UNITED NATIONS (UMNS) — United Methodists are among the dozens of heads of non-governmental organizations welcoming the new leader of the United Nations through a letter organized by InterAction, with an appeal for a stepped-up U.N. role in negotiating peace around the world. Elliott Wright and Linda Bloom report.
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Read full letter


Standing Rock Sioux to fight Trump's order

CANNON BALL, N.D. (UMNS) — The Rev. David Wilson, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference superintendent, said there is “great disappointment” over President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order advancing the Dakota Access Pipeline. In a press release, the Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman said the executive order violates the law and the tribe will take legal action to fight it. Ginny Underwood reports.

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Commentary: Conferences need final say on gay issues

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (UMNS) — Bishop William B. Lewis writes that the annual conference, not General Conference, has the responsibility for addressing behavioral issues involving clergy. Perhaps, the retired bishop suggests, that means the annual conference is the right place for questions regarding homosexuality.
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Commentary: A student's viewpoint of the inauguration

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Tennessee Wesleyan University student Todd Cox traveled with a group from the school to attend the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump. He shared his thoughts on the experience with United Methodist News Service.
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Church offers inauguration, women's march hospitality

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Capitol Hill United Methodist Church opened its doors to offer hospitality during both the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the Women’s March on Washington. “We want to be a visible witness to the world that the church is open as folks struggle with the issues going on in our world,” the pastor said. Erik Alsgaard reports for the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
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Praying for the president

Agency Report: Finance and Administration

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — In 2016, the General Council on Finance and Administration placed a priority on professional development for staff while increasing the services they offer to the rest of the denomination. Part of a series of reports on the work each general agency accomplished last year.
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Georgia church, community hit hard by storms

BAXLEY, Ga. (UMNS) — Zoar United Methodist Church suffered major damage to its sanctuary in deadly storms that swept through the southeast on Jan. 20-21. At least 19 people died and damages were reported in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. The community around the El Faro United Methodist Hispanic congregation in Albany, Georgia, also was hit hard. The South Georgia Conference has a report.
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Church returns help received after storm
Conference responds to storms

United Methodists 'blitz' hurricane-stricken town

SELLERS, S.C. (UMNS) — The tiny town of Sellers, already a poverty-stricken area before October’s Hurricane Matthew, was badly affected after two storm-swamped rivers overflowed and flooded the region. However, after a Jan. 13-14 hurricane blitz organized by the South Carolina Conference, many of those homeowners are on the road to recovery. Jessica Brodie of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate reports.
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Earl is new UMCOR disaster response director

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Catherine G. Earl, an experienced professional in disaster readiness, response and recovery, is the new director of U.S. operations and partner relations of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Elliott Wright reports for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, UMCOR’s parent agency. 
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Ruth Thomas, bishop's widow, has died

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Ruth Naomi Wilson Thomas, wife of the late Bishop James Samuel Thomas, died Jan. 17. She was 95. In 1964, her husband made history when he was elected bishop and assigned to the previously all-white Iowa Conference. As the wife and partner of the bishop, Thomas also helped break racial barriers.
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United Methodist scouting is up

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The number of youth involved in Boy Scout packs, troops and crews chartered by United Methodist churches is up, reports the Commission on United Methodist Men. At the end of 2016, 327,405 were involved in Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops and Venturing crews. That’s an increase of about 2,700 youth.
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Registration open for national men’s gathering

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) — Registration is open for the United Methodist Men’s 12th National Gathering, set for July 7-8 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Speakers include Bishops James Swanson Sr. and Jonathan Holston, as well as the Rev. Kevin Watson, Candler School of Theology professor, and Shan Foster, national director of the YWCA program combating domestic violence. 
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Scholarships available for ecumenical event

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops is offering scholarships for young adults, ages 21-35, to attend the National Workshop on Christian Unity and United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training. The gatherings will be May 1-4 in Minneapolis. The deadline for scholarships is Feb. 28.
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Desert Southwest welcoming immigrants

PHOENIX (UMNS) — The Desert Southwest Conference is working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to provide housing and transportation for more than 45 immigrant families. Most are refugees or people with asylum from Central America. The conference offers ways people from across the connection can help.
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Needs list

New resource to aid dialogue on campus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry designed a new online resource to help leaders on college campuses to engage effectively with students about serving as faithful public witnesses in the current social and political climate.
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Higher Education and Ministry staff changes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has announced four new staff appointments. Charles Ray Bailey is deputy general secretary, Karen Ward is associate general secretary of finance and administration, Crystal Banks is director of development of the Black College Fund, and Marcie Bigord is assistant director for the Office of Loans and Scholarships.
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Monday, Jan. 30

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Life Together in the United Methodist Connection — This United Methodist polity course can help both newcomers and longtime members. The course addresses questions such as why the church does things the way it does, why pastors are moved and what General Conference actions might affect churches. Details

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 3-4

Executing Grace in Georgia: A Faithful Discussion About the Death Penalty — 7 p.m. EST, Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, 1660 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, Georgia. Author and activist Shane Claiborne will explore how people of faith and conscience can change the conversation about justice, mercy, and forgiveness in Georgia. Georgia executed nine inmates in 2016, more than any other state in the nation. Claiborne will speak at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 4 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1065 Gaines School Road, Athens, Georgia, and at 6 p.m. at Centenary Church, 1290 College Street, Macon, Georgia. The three-city tour is sponsored by Candler School of Theology’s James T. and Berta R. Laney Legacy in Moral Leadership and the seminary’s Social Concerns Network. Details

More upcoming United Methodist events