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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 1, 2016


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for June 27-July 1. 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


3 gay pastors nominated for United Methodist bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Two openly gay pastors from the Western Jurisdiction and a third from the North Central Jurisdiction have been nominated for election as United Methodist bishops. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
Read story


United Methodist leader safe after Istanbul attack

ISTANBUL (UMNS) — Thomas Kemper, a United Methodist mission leader, was waiting in a lounge at Istanbul’s international airport when a terrorist attack began on June 28. Afterward, he spoke about his fear, but also experiencing a feeling of shared humanity and a call for solidarity. Linda Bloom reports.
Read story


N.J. district superintendent suspended

OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) — A district superintendent in the Greater New Jersey Conference has been suspended while under complaint, the conference announced June 24. The conference’s cabinet filed the complaint against the Rev. Jisun Kwak in June. Heather Hahn reports.

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Mennonites reconnect with UMC founder

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (UMNS) — When Martin Boehm began preaching to a wider group of believers, he was ex-communicated. Now — more than 240 years later — Mennonites have renounced “the small-mindedness of religious thinking” used against the former Mennonite bishop who became a founder of the present-day United Methodist Church. Linda Bloom has the story.

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Retired bishop is memory care chaplain

WHITE ROCK, S.C. (UMNS) — Retired Bishop Kenneth Carder once led entire conferences of The United Methodist Church. Now, at age 75, he’s interim chaplain at Bethany, a memory care facility whose 40 residents include his wife, Linda. Carder says the experience has been rewarding and has convinced him the church must do more for dementia patients and their families. Sam Hodges reports.
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Disappointment with immigration ruling

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — President Barack Obama’s executive order to protect undocumented parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents was reversed by a deadlock 4-4 ruling. The United Methodist Church supports keeping families together and some United Methodist leaders expressed disappointment with the ruling. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.

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West Virginia churches join flood relief efforts

CLENDENIN, W.Va. (UMNS) — United Methodist churches in West Virginia are coping with flood damage to their buildings and members' homes even as they join relief efforts. The state saw some of its worst flooding in decades last week, and church leaders say the recovery will be prolonged. Sam Hodges reports.
Read story

Read conference announcement

Read special prayer by Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball

Youth mission trip turns into flood relief

View slideshow


Louise Short dies at 110

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Louise Baird Short, the widow of Bishop Roy Short, hardly ever missed General Conference. Until this year, she had attended each assembly going back to 1939. She died June 24 in Nashville at the age of 110. Heather Hahn reports.
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Lesbian pastor to face church trial

TOPEKA, Kan. (UMNS) — The case against the  Rev. Cynthia Meyer, a United Methodist  pastor, has been referred to a church trial that likely would take place later this summer, a committee on investigation for the Great Plains Conference announced June 24.

Read story

Read previous UMNS story


2 conferences pass LGBTQ legislation

PUYALLUP, Wash. (UMNS) —The Pacific-Northwest Conference passed legislation resolving not to follow church laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people. The California-Nevada Conference passed an “aspirational resolution” calling for the Book of Discipline not to be followed as it relates to items concerning LGBTQ people and ceasing judicial processes in related matters.

Read Pacific-Northwest resolution
Read California-Nevada resolution


Dallas church votes to perform same-sex marriages

DALLAS — Northaven United Methodist Church has voted 270-5 to perform same-sex marriages. “The Northaven vote empowers the church to extend pastoral care to all of its members in the important area of marriage,” representatives of the church wrote in a public statement. Announcement of the vote came a day after the death of Jack Evans, who married George Harris in a religious ceremony after a 53-year engagement at a service held at Midway Hills Christian Church. Both were active Northaven members.

Read Dallas Voice story

Read UMNS story on first same-sex marriage in Dallas County

Read church statement


Bishop talks about LGBTQ inclusion resolution

PHOENIX (UMNS) — Bishop Bob Hoshibata, who leads the Desert Southwest Conference, has issued a letter addressing questions related to the conference’s recently adopted resolution for full inclusivity. The resolution calls for nondiscrimination and says the conference will not participate in judicial procedures related to the denomination’s prohibitions against the practice of homosexuality.

Read the letter

Read UMNS coverage


Wesleyan Covenant Association announced

CHICAGO (UMNS) — A new United Methodist group is forming for congregations and members who hold the denomination’s teachings on human sexuality as orthodox Christianity. The Wesleyan Covenant Association will be a member-based network of United Methodist congregations, clergy and laity. The group will have its first conference Oct. 7 in Chicago, less than a month before the first Council of Bishops meeting of the quadrennium.
Read press release
Learn more


Court rules on N.J. church ownership

NEPTUNE, N.J. (UMNS) —  United Methodist Bishop John Schol, Greater New Jersey Area, met this week with a small group of worshipers from the Alpine Community Church to explore ways that the church can move forward in the wake of a court ruling over property rights. On June 16, Judge Robert C. Wilson, Superior Court of New Jersey, ruled that “the express language of the controlling religious and statutory texts requires that all real and personal property of the local Alpine Church must be held in trust for the United Methodist Church.”

Read press release

Read court ruling


Ohio teen dies on church trip

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) — Lauren Seitz, 18, died of a rare amoeba infection after visiting the U.S. National Whitewater Center in North Carolina, while on a church youth trip. Seitz, a member of Church of the Messiah, a United Methodist congregation in Westerville, Ohio, was on a music mission tour with the congregation. The whitewater center has suspended all whitewater activities.

Read WBTV story

Read about memorial service


Prison evangelist reflects on new freedom

DES MOINES, Iowa (UMNS) — Vano Kiboko, the United Methodist who turned wrongful imprisonment into a missionary calling, recently visited the Iowa Conference. He discussed his experiences behind bars in his native Democratic Republic of Congo and his newfound freedom. “God placed me in that prison for a specific mission,” he said. The Rev. Arthur McClanahan and Brooke Pierce of the Iowa Conference report.

Read Iowa Conference story

Listen to interview with Kiboko

Read UMNS story


2016 annual conference reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service is posting reports from all the annual conference sessions. New reports this week include Arkansas, Greater New Jersey, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Texas, Oklahoma, Peninsula-Delaware, Red Bird, South Carolina, Susquehana and Wisconsin.

Read reports


Russian church shows how to attract youth

TYUMEN, Russia (UMNS) — Members of Salvation United Methodist Church in Tyumen realized they needed more young people in church. The Rev. Katya Zubkova, the church’s pastor, shares how the church grew its youth group.
Read story


WCC meeting focuses on peace, justice issues

TRONDHEIM, Norway (WCC) — The World Council of Churches Central Committee affirmed its ecumenical witness for peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians and called for a look at religion and violence during a June 22-28 meeting in Norway. The council also asked churches to work against human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants and welcomed new member churches. United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson is the committee’s co-vice moderator.
Read WCC wrap-up story
Read full coverage from WCC Central Committee


Comments on News Service stories

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — As of July 1, readers who want to comment on United Methodist News Service stories should do so on Facebook or Twitter, as comments will no longer be monitored and posted on
UMNS Facebook page

UMNS Twitter feed


Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email and put Digest in the subject line.


Tuesday, July 5

Deadline to register for four United Methodist Communications online courses to be offered July 6 – Aug. 17 — The courses are “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century;” “Moodle: Basic Training;” “Welcoming Ministry;” and “Your Church Website: Rethinking Your New Front Door.” Costs vary. Details


Friday-Sunday, July 8-10

Upper Room’s “Journey to the Table” — The Upper Room is introducing a new ministry of spiritual formation for young adults, Journey to the Table. Registration is now open for the program, which will be held at Scarritt-Bennett Retreat Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Registration is $200 but scholarships are available. Details



More upcoming United Methodist events