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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 19, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

July 19, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 16 - July 22.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

Reactions to Zimmerman's acquittal

Perspectives about the Trayvon Martin case

SANFORD, Fla. (UMNS) - On Feb. 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a member of a neighborhood watch in Sanford, Fla. Last week, the shooter, George Zimmerman, was found not guilty, in a verdict that has stirred debate and emotions nationwide. You are invited to share your comments here and be part of the conversation

Bishop Carter: 'Seize teachable moment'

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference says after George Zimmerman's acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin that it's time to return to Jesus' core teachings about peace-making and reconciliation. Read commentary

Finding peace and seeking answers in shooting case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) Many took to the streets to protest the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, but many also went to their houses of worship to find peace and seek answers.Kathy Gilbert provides a look at what United Methodists are saying. Read story and post a comment

Time to have the difficult conversations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In light of the George Zimmerman trial, the Rev. Kwasi Kena offers some tips on starting difficult conversations. If we really are "our brother's keeper" and if we truly believe you should "love your neighbor as yourself" then it is time to talk - even if it means starting a difficult conversation, he writes for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Read story and post a comment

Bishop Carcao's call to prayer

PASADENA, Calif. (UMNS) - Bishop Minerva G. Carcao, president of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race as well as leader of the California-Pacific Conference, issued a call for prayer for both the Martin and Zimmerman families following the verdict of not guilty in the trial of George Zimmerman. Read her full statement

'Not guilty but not innocent'

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - "It helps to remember that being found 'not guilty' is not the same thing as being found 'innocent.' George Zimmerman is not innocent of the death of Trayvon. Moreover, our whole culture is not innocent of this sad situation," writes Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner in an E-pistle. He offers suggestions for how Christians should respond. Read commentary

Reactions to Trayvon Martin's death in context

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell writes: "Before any people ignore the gravity of the response of black individuals like myself to the killing of Trayvon Martin and the trial of his killer, I suggest they turn in the United Methodist Hymnal to No. 519, 'Lift Every Voice and Sing.'" Read story and post a comment

Sound the alarm: Bronx pastor responds to Zimmerman verdict

NEW YORK (UMNS) "This is not the time for usual pastoral letters indicating support for the aggrieved while being careful not to offend the white majority," writes the Rev. Doug Cunningham, pastor of New Day United Methodist Church in the Bronx. "The killing of black teenagers is rampant nation-wide, and is now legal in Florida." Read story and post a comment

Bishop Palmer: Who is my neighbor?

WORTHINGTON, Ohio (UMNS) - Bishop Gregory V. Palmer of the West Ohio Annual (regional) Conference finds a Gospel lesson in the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Read commentary

Bishop Swanson: God can redeem tragedy

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) - Bishop James Swanson of the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference shares his 23-year-old son's reaction to the verdict. Read commentary

Bishop Bickerton: White privilege and Trayvon Martin

PITTSBURGH (UMNS) - "Today I simply want to remind those of us who benefit greatly from 'white privilege' that we should be very careful to think before we speak any word of judgment and condemnation in this or any other case that involves potential racism," writes Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton of the Western Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference. Read commentary

Bishop Lee: A spiritual issue

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Retired Bishop Linda Lee, interim top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, invokes the biblical story of Esther. Read commentary

Agency on religion and race responds

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race also has released a statement that speaks out on the issues of violence and incarceration. Read commission statement

Methodism in the News

Methodists salute Mandela

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Nelson Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday July 18. His deep spiritual roots and lifelong Methodist ties helped make the South African icon a symbol for justice. Read story and post a comment

Bloombytes: Seeing Mandela in New York

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The religious folk who greeted Nelson Mandela at Riverside Church in 1990 were overwhelmed to be in the presence of a man who had become, as the Rev. Gardner C. Taylor described him that day, "the drum major in the music of freedom," writes UMNS reporter Linda Bloom in her Bloombytes blog. The South African leader marked his 95th birthday on July 18. Read blog and post a comment

United Methodists take heart in labor agreement

CHICAGO (UMNS) - After supporting a worker boycott and offering their prayers and presence, United Methodists in Chicago and California were pleased about a recent tentative agreement between hotel workers and the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Read story and post a comment

Camp meeting 'tents' are prime real estate

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) - The spruced-up shacks called "tents" at historic Rock Creek Springs Camp Meeting Ground in North Carolina are worth a lot to some, and are priceless to others. Read story by Charlotte Observer

News around the connection

Clergy feel work as a 'pressure-cooker'

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - Stress represents an occupational hazard for ordained United Methodist clergy, with nearly half of those responding to a recent survey saying that they are stressed out by their work. They report high rates of hypertension and other physical problems. Read story and post a comment

Ethnic minority internship program underway

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Ethnic Minority Young Adult Summer Internship program of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society arranges internships in nonprofit and non-governmental social-justice organizations in Washington. This year's group consists of eight interns from U.S. annual (regional) conferences and four from central conferences in Africa. Read news release

After explosion, Texas town stays strong

WEST, Texas (UMNS) - Residents of the Texas town rocked by a massive fertilizer plant explosion in April are just beginning to recover and United Methodists have been there to help. Susan Kim reports for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Read story

Some young people have 'HadEnough'

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A new microsite from the United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence offers young people tools for substance abuse prevention. It is on the denomination's Board of Global Ministries site.

Read story
Visit HadEnough

Worship and music director sought for 2016 General Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Commission on the General Conference is seeking a worship and music director for The United Methodist Church's 2016 General Conference. The deadline for applying is August 19, 2013. The top legislative body for the 12 million-member denomination will meet May 10-20, 2016, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore. The worship and music director is responsible for the overall worship and music program management at General Conference.

Read newsrelease
See application

Youthful planning team for YOUTH 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Eleven young people, ranging in ages from 12 to 18, are part of the design team for YOUTH 2015. The spiritual formation event for United Methodist youth and their congregations is set for June 24-28 in Orlando, Fla.
Read news release

News around conferences

Army chaplain's ordination a rare event

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Ordaining a minister outside of an annual conference session is a rare event in the corporate life of The United Methodist Church. Such an ordination Tuesday night, July 16, was unique and so is Chaplain Anthony Hunley of the United States Army. Daniel R. Gangler of the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference shares the story.

Read story
See photos from ordination
Ministry with Those Who Serve

Churches train young entrepreneurs

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) - In parts of the Zimbabwe West Annual (regional) Conference, half of the United Methodists are youth. The church is finding new ways to reach individuals who are 22 and younger. Read story and post a comment

Ye Olde VBS draws crowd

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (UMNS) - Embrace Church nearly tripled vacation Bible school attendance this year. Volunteers at the United Methodist congregation in Sioux Falls knocked themselves out, decorating the church as a medieval castle and putting on a medieval carnival. Read story

'Stock' in mission teams help others invest in trips

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UMNS) - Members of St. Luke's United Methodist Church can buy 'stocks' in the church's mission trips. Stock owners receive letters before the trip and postcards during. "It's a good opportunity for our whole congregation to be involved in our trip," Beth Ryan, director of youth and young adult ministries, told Casey Northcutt of the Memphis Annual (regional) Conference. Read story

United Methodist Men's gathering

United Methodist Men urged to become 'mighty'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) A United Methodist pastor urged some 800 attendees at the National Gathering of United Methodist Men to become like the mighty men of David. Read about the Rev. Shane Bishop's advice and other speakers at the July 12-14 quadrennial meeting at Belmont University.
Read story and post a comment

Bishop Swanson: Transformation is possible

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) Mississippi Area Bishop James Swanson reminded people attending at the July 12-14 National Gathering of United Methodist Men that with God's help, they have the power to transform their lives. "I believe men have a deep yearning to become different fromwho they currently are," said Swanson, the president of the Commission on United Methodist Men. Read story

Men take sponges home

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) Some men are like dry sponges. Others are saturated with the water of the Gospel, and they provide water to anyone who touches them. That was the message of David Delk, president of Man in the Mirror ministries, at the National Gathering of United Methodist Men. Read story

Resources for churches

Want to attract young adults to church?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "It can be never about saving a church. It is always about reaching people for Jesus," says one pastor. Here are six tips for congregations to be more welcoming to young people. Read story

15 low-cost or free Web-based tools for ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - With all the resources available online, it is difficult to know which ones will be most helpful. United Methodist Communications has some suggestions. Read list

Chuck Knows Church: Worship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Give your Christian faith a workout this week as the United Methodist Board of Discipleship series Chuck Knows Church shows the actions of worship. Watch video

University and seminary news

Seminary student lives Year of Modesty

ATLANTA (UMNS) - While living and working in New York City, Lauren Shields grew tired of wearing her "grown-up suit" just to conform to the ideal of how "professionals" look and dress. As a student at United Methodist Candler School of Theology, she heard a lecture on modesty requirements in the Middle East and decided to try it out for herself, going nine months without makeup, and covering her hair, arms and legs. Now she's written a book on her Modesty Experiment. has the story.

Read story
Read Shields' blog

Blogs and commentaries

No one said malaria fight would be easy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, writes that a BBC report raising questions about the effectiveness of the fight against malaria should be a spur to redouble efforts. Read commentary

The Xs and Os of leading when young

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - The move by wunderkind basketball coach Brad Stevens, a United Methodist, from Butler University to the Boston Celtics raises issues about how young leaders in and out of the church can be effective, writes Nathan Kirkpatrick for the Faith & Leadership website. Read commentary

Blog: Ramadan redux

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - The Rev. Wes Magruder, a United Methodist pastor in Plano, is fasting again for Ramadan. "I want to try again to live in the constant presence of God," he writes. He also wants to show solidarity with Muslims in his community.

Read commentary
Read daily posts

'Bad choices' analysis doesn't cut it

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Rev. Stephen Rankin, chaplain at Southern Methodist University, says campus student life policies tend to operate from a flawed understanding of human nature, allowing a too easy analysis of mere "bad choices" when it comes to student misconduct.
Read commentary

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 "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.

"The Gospel for Muslims: Understanding Our Muslim Neighbors," July 24 - 6-8 p.m. CT, Christ United Methodist Church, Memphis, Tenn. 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.

Deadline to register for online Moodle Course, July 31 - Course Aug. 7-Oct. 2 on how to set up online Bible studies, discussion forums and polls, offered by United Methodist Communications. Limited seating. Costs $119. Syllabus. To register.

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

Light of the Lake, Aug. 3 - 7:30 p.m. ET, The Light of the Lake, Lake Junaluska's Centennial Celebration theatrical production, will highlight the lake's history. At Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C. Tickets $17.50-20. Details.

Black Clergy Women of The United Methodist Church 25th Anniversary Conference, Aug. 5-8 - Westin Hotel Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Details.

Global Leadership Summit, Aug. 8-9 - 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET each day, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C., will be host site of a telecast from Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. Details.

Free webinar "How to Develop Policies for Children's Ministries," Aug. 8 - 10 a.m. CT, webinar from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship looks at the development process, recommends who needs to be in on the conversation and offers samples of policies that have served congregations well. To register.

Day 1, Aug. 11 - The Rev.W. Mark Ralls, senior minister, Centenary United Methodist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., will be the featured speaker on the nationally syndicated radio program "Day 1." To listen.

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 "Safe Sanctuaries: Children, Teachers and Media" Aug. 22 - 10 a.m. CT, webinar from United Methodist Board of Discipleship looks at ways to address the rapidly evolving media world that will properly inform leaders and protect children from abuse. To register.

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.

Free webinar "Charting a Course for Discipleship," Aug. 27 - 6:30 p.m. CT, how to develop a pathway to help adults deepen their Christian discipleship, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute, Sept. 25-27 - Registration open now for this event aimed at helping leaders revive churches. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries