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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 13, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 9 13. It includes summaries of stories, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from United Methodist News Service. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:


Two die in Ukraine roof collapse

L'VIV, Ukraine (UMNS) - A United Methodist volunteer from Texas and a Ukrainian student were killed after a building's roof collapsed on July 10. A mission team from First United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas, and Lakewood United Methodist Church in Houston were repairing a church-related facility when the accident occurred. David Nevotti, a member of the Sugar Land church, and Illya Onoprienko, a member of the student ministry at the University of L'viv, were killed. The Rev. David Goran, a United Methodist missionary, was seriously injured. Read full story and post a comment»

Celebrating the life of a 107-year-old evangelist

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) - He lived a simple life. But there was nothing simple about his faith. The Rev. Isaac Momoh Ndanema, who died this month at the age of 107, was Sierra Leone's oldest evangelist and church builder in his United Methodist conference. Read full story and post a comment»

Colleges make room for religious diversity

GRANTHAM, Pa. (UMNS) - Douglas "Jake" Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen spent four years visiting 50 universities and colleges, in search of how these campuses dealt with America's increasingly diverse landscape of the religions. Among their findings: A prayer room for Muslims at the Mormon-run Brigham Young University and a newly hired chaplain for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The couple's book about their findings, "No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education," is due out Aug. 1. Read full story and post a comment»

Who will be the next bishops?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Three jurisdictional conferences in the United States will elect at least 11 new bishops next week and, by July 21, all active U.S. bishops will know where they will serve for the next four years. Voting to elect the new bishops will begin July 18 in the Northeastern, South Central and Southeastern jurisdictions. United Methodist News Service will provide continuous coverage of the elections. To receive up-to-the-minute ballot reports, text "Elections" to (615) 482-1777 and receive results as they come in. For more coverage»

Africa University grads become mission trainees

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) - Four graduates of the Africa University class of 2012 who went to school with the help of United Methodist scholarships are now in the United Methodist Young Adult Missionary program. One of those graduates, Christian Zigbuo, summed it up in a thank-you letter to the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference: "I don't know if I'd be here without you." See full story and post a comment»

Women's commission leader to step down

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - M. Garlinda Burton, who since 2004 has led the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women, is stepping down as its top staff executive at year's end. Read full story and post a comment»

Churches offer relief from summer of 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - This summer's hellish fires, floods and blistering heat are bringing out the better angels of United Methodists, who are pitching in to provide everything from meals to air-conditioned refuges for stranded campers and displaced evacuees. Read a roundup»

Tips for welcoming visitors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - You want to reach out to the woman who's been visiting your church. You decide to take her some of your yummy homemade bread. But when you get there, she tells you she has a gluten allergy. The guy in the back pew didn't come forward for Communion. Did you forget to explain The United Methodist Church invites all to partake? Learn some dos and don'ts for welcoming visitors»

Senate endorses fight against malaria

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The U.S. Senate approved a resolution July 11 supporting World Malaria Day and efforts to end malaria deaths by 2015. The resolution also commended "the recent progress made toward reducing global malaria deaths and prevalence." The United Methodist Church's Imagine No Malaria campaign has distributed almost a million bed nets to ward against malaria-carrying mosquitos and has raised more than $20 million to fight the disease. To learn more»

Cash donations best for wildfire aid

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has issued $10,000 in emergency grants to three annual conferences hardest hit by the "profound disaster" of this summer's horrific wildfires. "After a fire, people have a very small chance of finding anything that is not destroyed," says UMCOR consultant Gordon Knuckey. He and other experts say cash donations are best, because they enable responders and survivors to purchase locally as needs change. UMCOR has set up a special Disaster Response relief account (Advance #901670) to aid in recovery efforts. Read details»

United Methodist churches going for the gold

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Google "United Methodist" and "Olympics" and you'll see plenty of examples of the Cross and Flame cozying up to the five Olympic rings. In Thornton, Pa., Bethlehem United Methodist Church's website touts an eight-week summer series on building an "Olympic faith." The series ends Aug. 12, the same date as the Closing Ceremony for the Summer Olympics in London. In San Diego, First United Methodist Church of San Diego is advertising a picnic and "Olympic Games for all" as a way to kick off a new worship service. The event is July 15; the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony is July 27. And, in Fairway, Kan., Old Mission United Methodist Church is one of many congregations who have used or are going to use the Olympics as the theme for Vacation Bible School.

Has your church caught the Olympic spirit? If so, let us know how you're celebrating by emailing and putting Olympics in the subject line.

Helping refugees become neighbors

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Across America, thousands of refugees are getting help on immigration issues, child care and integration into their new communities through Justice for Our Neighbors, which was begun 13 years ago by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Michael Mann, who works in the Northern Illinois Conference, cites the prophet Isaiah for his motivation to help. "Our welcome is judged not by those we like or who are like us, but by the left out, the looked over, and the left behind," Mann told Interpreter Magazine. To learn more»

5 new places for new people online

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Newer, more sophisticated online tools are giving greater substance to the time we spend online. All of this is good news for doing ministry online. Learn about five sites where people of faith can reach out to others in their community. Read more»

Pinterest-ing churches

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The number of U.S. adults using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008, according to the Pew Research Center. Of those surveyed in late 2010 through the center's Internet and American Life Project, 79 percent said they use the Internet and nearly half said they use at least one social networking site. Interpreter magazine reports that some United Methodist churches now are adding Pinterest to their lists. Read more»

LEAD 2013 seeks presenters

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) - LEAD 2013 and Relevance X 2013 will return to Las Vegas Feb. 14-17, 2013. The joint conferences seek to energize young adult Christians and those who minister to them. In a change from the 2012 event, about half of the presenters will be "creatives," including artists and musicians. Young United Methodist clergy, leaders of young adult ministries and United Methodist-related musicians and artists who produce their own, original work are encouraged to apply to be presenters. Submissions for presenters are being accepted now. Registration to attend both events begins Aug. 1. For more information»

Haitian farmers get boost from quake survivor

DELMAS, Haiti (UMNS) - Two years ago, Gontran Delgrace's world shook so violently that he thought he would die. All around him was ruin and despair. But Gontran hung on, and with the help of the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, he attended an agricultural training program in Japan. Now he's back in his homeland, introducing new techniques to farmers. Read full story and learn how you can help»

From the ashes, comes solace and support

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (UMNS) - In the shadow of charred mountains and the pall of burned-out homes, the congregation of Wilson United Methodist Church came together Sunday morning to pray, hug and find solace in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire. While the church building was spared, members lost five houses in the June 26 firestorm, reports the Colorado Springs Gazette. As with other churches in the area, Wilson is already at work in the recovery, offering meals and childcare to neighbors digging out of the ashes. Read full story and see photos»

Reconciling Ministries announces staff changes

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Two prominent staff leaders are stepping down from Reconciling Ministries Network, an unofficial caucus of United Methodists who support full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians. After nine years as executive director, the Rev. Troy Plummer announced that he will be departing on Jan. 1, 2013. The network's board plans to do strategic planning before launching a search for his successor in November. Along with filling the top spot, Reconciling Ministries also plans to hire several regional organizers and a new communications coordinator.

UMTV: Nine languages, 150 interpreters, one message

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - General Conference 2012 saw the largest-ever number of delegates from outside the United States. Putting them on a level playing field, language-wise, was a daunting challenge that required a team of 150 interpreters juggling nine languages. See how it was done»

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries