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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 03, 2013


Editor's Note: The Weekly Digest is coming out a bit early this week and will return on Friday, July 12. To our U.S. readers, we wish you a happy and safe Independence Day.

UMNS Weekly Digest

July 3, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 2 - July 8.It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News around conferences

Arizona firefighter families receive devotional

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Responding to the recent loss of 19 members of the Arizona Granite Mountain Hotshots, killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, the Commission on United Methodist Men is sending 100 copies of the Strength for Service devotional booklets to the grieving community. Family members of the fallen firefighters and Prescott Fire Department personnel will receive the devotionals, according to Larry Coppock, who heads civic youth-serving ministries for the men's organization.

Bagging world record, feeding hungry kids

ATLANTA (UMNS) - North Georgia United Methodists - in partnership with United Methodist Communications' Rethink Church and Action Ministries - packed more than 18,500 sandwiches in five cities on June 29 for hungry kids. You can see the day's highlights in Tweets and images. The volunteers even had John Wesley to cheer them on. Read Storify page

Ruling issued in gay clergy candidate's case

SAN ANTONIO (UMNS) - United Methodists in Southwest Texas faced the question of whether a lesbian's clergy candidacy process had been mishandled. That question remains after San Antonio Bishop James E. Dorff - who leads the Southwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference - issued a ruling of church law on Tuesday, July 2.

Read story and post a comment
Here is a link to the ruling

Journey from Ecuador to the U.S. to serve God

GALVESTON, Texas (UMNS) - "I came to Houston from Ecuador in 1996, fresh out of high school, knowing I couldn't stay in Ecuador because God had called me to be a pastor, and women were not allowed be pastors in my home country," the Rev. Geovanna Chavez Huffman told the Texas Annual Conference. Since ordination, the United Methodist has planted two campus ministries, two Anglo churches and three multicultural churches. Read story

Conference launches news show

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) - To try to be responsible stewards of conference resources and tell news differently, the Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference has launched a video digest. Watch examples

N.Y. small-group ministry 'moves mountains'

SALEM, N.Y. (UMNS) - If Donna Alexander had her way, she would have fought side by side with U.S. forces against the North Vietnamese. But she was only 12. So she started sending packages to the soldiers. Decades later, she still serves active and retired military personnel through a small-group ministry at the Salem United Methodist Church. Christian Vischi, communications associate for the Upper New York Annual (regional) Conference, tells the story. Read story

News around the connection

Happy 100th birthday, Lake Junaluska

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center is celebrating its centennial this week. "It was a life-changing place," says one fan of the United Methodist ministry.

Read history of the center
See schedule of events
Share favorite memories on the UMNS Facebook page

New UMCOR leader nominated

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A former missionary and director for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has been nominated as a top staff executive for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The Rev. Denise Honeycutt, a Virginia pastor who has served on UMCOR's board of directors for the past eight years, will serve on an interim basis, effective Sept. 16, until the nomination is considered by the mission agency's full board in October. Read story

9/11 memorial garners Good Samaritan Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In 2009, Jeff Cox was looking for an Eagle project when the idea of a 9/11 memorial was mentioned at a summer Boy Scout camp. With a tenacious spirit, 2,000 volunteer hours and the support of the Windermere, Fla., Town Council, his plans unfolded into the first official World Trade Center memorial in Florida. Now he is the recipient of a Good Samaritan Award, the highest youth award presented by United Methodist Men. Read story

130-year-old urban ministry closes its doors

CHICAGO (UMNS) - After 130 years of providing crucial social services to the Chicago Near West, North Lawndale and Austin communities, United Methodist-related Marcy-Newberry Association, Inc. has announced it is shutting down. The decision came after an unsuccessful effort to raise much-needed funds to offset a growing deficit, the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference reports.

Read story
Read how the ministry helped a mom go from welfare to grad school

Church vitality: Crossing boundaries for ministry

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Until recently, Kazembe Balagun was not much for reading the Bible or attending worship regularly. Then he discovered New Day United Methodist Church, a multi-ethnic congregation in the Bronx. This is the first in a series of stories by Garlinda Burton about congregations around the world that are deliberate in their mission to cross boundaries - racial, cultural, class, generational - to be a place of Christian welcoming and transformation. Read story

UMTV: Beekeeping benefits Liberia

TUNUKUK PUYE, Liberia (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief is empowering farmers through sustainable agriculture projects which supplement nutrition and income in rural communities. Projects include crop management and raising livestock. See how farmers in Liberia are turning beekeeping into a successful business.

Watch video and post a comment
Bees, snails, Moringa trees boost Liberians

How technology connects the church in Congo

LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) - Betty Musau of The United Methodist Church talks about how cellphone technology is strengthening communications and transforming communities in the Democratic Republic ofCongo, where she is a United Methodist conference communicator. Watch interview

VBS programs keep up with times

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - For decades, vacation Bible school has been a staple of summer programming for local churches. Not only does it keep the church bustling at a time when attendance traditionally decreases, it also fills a niche in the community by providing God-centered fun for children who might never set a foot inside a Sunday school door. Read story

United Methodists in the news

N.J. United Methodists get $1.5 million grant for Sandy work

TINTON FALLS, N.J. (UMNS) - The American Red Cross has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the United Methodist Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference for Sandy recovery work with the elderly, disabled and low-income families.

Read story
Dealing with disaster

Church devotes fifth Sunday to service

FARGO, N.D. (UMNS) -Fargo Faith United Methodist Church put the service in church service on June 30, forgoing conventional worship for a day devoted to ministry outside the church walls. Church members volunteered at the YWCA, Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and Churches United for the Homeless. Some also assembled mission kits. "Instead of doing church, we went to be the church," the Rev. Kevin Kloster, lead pastor, told the local Fox affiliate. The church plans to do it again every fifth Sunday of the month. Read story

University and seminary news

Ohio Wesleyan receives biggest gift in its history

DELAWARE, Ohio (UMNS) - Ohio Wesleyan University has received an $8 million gift from an alumni couple to fund the restoration of Merrick Hall, an academic building closed more than 25 years ago. The contribution represents the largest single outright gift in the United Methodist-related university's 171-year history. The restored building, expected to reopen in 2015, will house elements of the OWU Connection curricular initiative as well as classroom and event space. The donors have asked to remain anonymous.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan's Merrick Hall and see historic photographs
Read news release

Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share with others, email

Free webinar on "Ambassador Advocacy" training, July 9 - 8 p.m. ET, the informational webinar is in advance of the Healthy Families, Healthy Planet Ambassador Advocacy Training on Oct. 27-30, aimed at reducing maternal mortality. Sponsored by United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Details.

"Inside Out for the Glory of God," July 12-14 - 11th national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details.

Lunch and lecture "Has the Dream Been Fulfilled? Race, Freedom and Economic Empowerment," July 18 - 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. CT, Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. Speakers are Kate Savage of the Worker's Dignity Project and Keith Caldwell of the Urban Epicenter, $12. To register.

Deadline for World Methodist Conference logo submissions, July 22 -The World Methodist Council is accepting submissions for the official logo for the 21st World Methodist Conference, which will be in September 2016 in Houston. The conference theme is "One." Details.

Free webinar "Spiritual, But Not Religious - Adult Faith in a Post-Christendom World," July 23 - 6:30 p.m. CT, tips on ministering in the current U.S. social context from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.To register.

United Methodist Conference on Ministry with Children, July 23-26 - The conference, "Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord," at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville, S.C., for church leaders and workers engaged in children's ministry, focuses on helping children grow in faith. United Methodist Board of Discipleship is the sponsor. Details.

Free webinar "Is Your Church Ready for a Capital Funds Campaign?" July 25 - 6:30 p.m. CT, indicators of whether churches can make fundraising work, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Festival of Wisdom and Grace Conference, July 29-Aug.1 - Includes Bible study and workshops at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C, sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Older Adults. Details

SHIFTS: Guiding the Congregation toward Health, Effectiveness and Vitality, July 30-Aug. 1 - Seminar sponsored by the Intentional Growth Center at the Foundation for Evangelism, Lake Junaluska, N.C. Details

From Membership to Discipleship, Aug. 1-3 - Seminar sponsored by the Intentional Growth Center at the Foundation for Evangelism, Lake Junaluska, N.C. Details.

School of Congregational Development, Aug. 15-18 - Hosted at Denver Marriott Tech Center, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Path1 and Board of Global Ministries. Theme is "Encountering God at the Edge." Details.

School of Congregational Development, Satellite Experience, Aug. 17 - Offsite participation is available from satellite congregations within the five U.S. jurisdictions. Registrants will participate remotely through live and tape-delayed interactive streaming. Details.

Free webinar "Generosity in Emerging Generations," Aug. 22 - 6:30 p.m. CT, examining how emerging generations make decisions about generosity, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries