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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 20, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 16 20. It includes summaries of stories and additional briefs from United Methodist News Service. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:

Jurisdiction affirms Bledsoe's removal

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - South Central Jurisdictional Conference delegates on Thursday afternoon, July 19, overwhelmingly affirmed their episcopacy committee's decision to compel Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe's early retirement as bishop. After an emotional discussion that included pointed questions for the committee, the final tally was 208 to 45. Earlier in the week, by a vote of 24 to 4 with two abstentions, the South Central Jurisdiction's episcopacy committee reached the necessary two-thirds margin to place Bledsoe in involuntary retirement. Read story and post a comment»

NEJ elects McLee, Webb as bishop

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (UMNS) - The Rev. Martin McLee became the second bishop elected by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference this week. McLee, 56, is superintendent of the Metro Boston Hope District of The United Methodist Church. He was elected July 19 on the 21st ballot, joining the Rev. Sandra Steiner Ball, who was elected on July 18 on the fifth ballot. On a record 35th ballot, the Rev. Mark Webb was elected for the third and last bishop vacancy in the jurisdiction. Webb, 47, is superintendent of the York District of the Susquehanna Conference. Read post and follow the voting»

SEJ picks Cho as 5th bishop

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - After casting 29 ballots over two days, the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference on July 19 elected the Rev Young Jin Cho as its fifth and final bishop. Cho, who was born in South Korea, is the superintendent of the Arlington District. He joins the Rev. L. Jonathan Holston, the Rev. Kenneth H. Carter Jr., the Rev. William T. McAlilly and the Rev. Debra Wallace-Padgett, as bishops-elect. A consecration service for the five new bishops will be at 10 a.m. July 20. Read post»

SCJ elects 2 bishops

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - The Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey was elected bishop July 19 on the fifth ballot by delegates to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. Harvey, 53, heads the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the denomination's relief agency. The Rev. Gary E. Mueller, 58 and senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas, was elected on the 11th ballot. They are two of three or four bishops to be elected by the conference, depending on the status of North Texas Bishop Earl Bledsoe, who was put on involuntary retirement this week. Read more»

Four bishops elected by SEJ

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The Rev. L. Jonathan Holston, senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Atlanta, was elected bishop July 18 on the first ballot of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church. The election of Holston, 53, was quickly followed by the elections of the Rev. Kenneth H. Carter Jr. on the third ballot and the Rev. William T. McAlilly on the fifth ballot. Carter, 54, is superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District in the Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference and McAlilly, 56, is superintendent of the Seashore District in the Mississippi Conference. The Rev. Debra Wallace-Padgett, 46, pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church, Lexington, Ky., was elected on the 11th ballot.

In all, five bishops will be elected by the Southeastern Jurisdiction. A consecration service for the new bishops will be at 10 a.m. July 20. Read full story and join the conversation»

Ball first bishop elected by NEJ

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (UMNS) - The Rev. Sandra Steiner Ball, 50, was elected bishop on the fifth ballot July 18 by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church. She now serves as the director of connectional ministries for the Peninsula-Delaware Annual (regional) Conference and is a former superintendent of the Dover District in Delaware. Follow elections and post a comment»

Annual conferences side with gay inclusion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Despite General Conference's decision not to change the Book of Discipline's stance on homosexuality, more than a dozen annual conferences meeting across the United States this summer signed covenants and approved resolutions to be more welcoming to gays and same-gender marriage. The Rev. Sandy Brown, pastor at Seattle First United Methodist Church, said the church's stance is "wrong, stupid and evil." The General Conference, which is The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking body, decided earlier this year to keep language that said homosexuality is incompatible with biblical teachings. Read full story and post a comment»

Bishops get report cards, too

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - The report cards no longer stop when you become a bishop in The United Methodist Church. Since 2008, the Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book, began requiring each episcopacy committee "to establish and implement" a procedure to evaluate its bishop at least every four years. The process includes self-evaluations, as well as feedback from other bishops and church leaders in the annual conference where the bishop serves. To learn more»

'Give Back' aids United Methodist Church

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) - North United Methodist Church, which is known for its community service programs, is getting a facelift courtesy of a commercial real estate company's Give Back program. Cushman and Wakefield / NorthMarq is donating $10,000 in repairs. Read full story and post a comment»

A look back at annual conferences

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The annual conference meeting season is over in the United States, and the meetings juggled the ordination of elders, nomination of candidates for bishop openings, and a variety of projects both locally and globally. To learn more»

Episcopal elections this week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Eleven new United Methodist bishops will be elected this week at three jurisdictional conferences in the United States. The Southeastern Jurisdiction will elect five bishops to replace five retiring bishops, and the Northeastern and South Central jurisdictions will elect three each. The conferences begin Wednesday, July 18. Read story and post a comment»

Missionaries 'put a lot on the line'

L'VIV, Ukraine (UMNS) - "This incident reminds us that Christian missionaries put a lot on the line to follow their calling," writes Jan Snider, a producer with United Methodist Communications. On July 10, David Nevotti, a volunteer from First United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas, and Illya Onoprienko, a member of the Ukrainian student ministry, were killed while repairing a church-related facility. Youth ministry leader David Goran was seriously injured. Read story and post a comment»

Tweets, posts and streaming live

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - If you're not a delegate to one of the five United Methodist jurisdictional conferences going on in the United States, you can follow the action on Twitter (where tweets range from confessions of fatigue to campaigns for episcopal candidates), read breaking news about the men and women being elected bishops, and, in some cases, even watch live streaming of the sessions. Where to start»

Church burns in Edgerton, Ohio

EDGERTON, Ohio (UMNS) - The community is rallying around members of the Edgerton United Methodist Church after their church building burned July 17, according to a report on Firefighters believe lightning was the cause of the massive blaze. "The only thing you could see through the whole smoke, I mean you couldn't see nothing except for the cross - the cross that was lit on the front of the church," said church member Jaenice Hill. Read more»

Missionary recovering from Ukraine accident

MUNICH (UMNS) - Shannon Goran, the wife of the United Methodist missionary injured in a ceiling collapse during a church-related work project in L'viv, Ukraine, reports that her husband's recovery is progressing after a second surgery July 18 and the family has found a temporary place to live. The Rev. David Goran was seriously injured in the July 10 accident. Two other persons, David Nevotti, a volunteer with a Texas work team, and a Ukrainian student, Illya Onoprienko, were killed. A memorial service for Nevotti was July 18 at First United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas. Read the blog post»

Pastor, fire chaplain killed

BLOXOM, Va. (UMNS) - The Rev. David Chew Jr., a United Methodist pastor and chaplain of the Bloxom Volunteer Fire Company, was killed July 16 when a fire truck crashed while responding to an accident, according to The Daily Times in Eastern Shore, Va. The 30-year-old minister leaves behind a wife and 3-year-old son. He had just become pastor of Hallwood United Methodist Church. When news of his death reached the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in North Carolina, the Rev. Tammy Estep, Chew's district superintendent, returned to Virginia to be with the family. Read Daily Times story»

Tips and resources for pastoral care

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - It's one of the most important parts of being a pastor - visiting the sick, praying with those who have lost a job, and just plain being there when needed. But how do you make sure someone doesn't "fall through the cracks?" A church could learn a lot from air traffic controllers - creating a constant communication system that manages and monitors information. To learn more and post a comment»

Pastor, son casualties of Nigerian violence

GENEVA (UMNS) - A United Methodist pastor, the Rev. Shuayibu B. Mamman, and his son, Josiah Shuayibu, are among those killed in recent Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria. He served UMCN Unguwan Yoro at Kaduna, under the Abuja District, according to church officials. While the wave of violence continues, two organizations representing Christians and Muslims are working together to address the conflict. The World Council of Churches and the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought issued a report on that commitment July 12, following a joint visit to Nigeria in May. Read more about interfaith report»

Read about recent attacks»

United Methodist Women elects new board

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodist Women has elected its 25-member board of directors for 2013-16, which will be responsible for managing the organization's program policies, finances, property and its top executive staff person. UMW became an independent agency after the 2012 United Methodist General Conference this spring. Read full release»

Mission staff offers prayer after Ukraine tragedy

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Reminding staff "we cannot explain or preach away" suffering, Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, addressed staff last week who gathered to lift up those affected by the tragedy in L'viv, Ukraine. A collapsed ceiling killed two volunteers and seriously injured the Rev. David Goran, who is recovering from pelvic surgery in Munich. Read more and post a comment»

NFL lineman takes God and gridiron to youth

NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas (UMNS) - New York Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty went on the offense for God at a two-day football camp for more than 50 young Bahamians. Besides introducing them to the workout regimen of a professional football player, he also emphasized the importance of having a spiritual presence in their lives. The camp was a partnership between Canty's foundation and The United Methodist Church's Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference. Read more»

Argentine Methodist theologian remembered

GENEVA (UMNS) - Renowned liberation theologian José Míguez Bonino, a United Methodist pastor from Argentina, has been hailed by the World Council of Churches for his tireless work on ecumenism, human rights and social change. Míguez, 88, who died July 1 in Buenos Aires, served as president of the World Council of Churches from 1975 to 1983, and was an editor of the Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement. Read more»

Baton Rouge pastor to be on 'Day 1'

ATLANTA, Ga. (UMNS) - The Rev. Juan Huertas, senior pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, La., will be the featured speaker Aug. 12 on the online ecumenical program, Day 1. To learn more about Day 1»

Leadership fellowships to young pastors

WASHINGTON, DC (UMNS) - Twenty pastors, 35 and younger, have been selected to participate in the 2012-2013 Lewis Fellows Program. The program selects those it considers outstanding young pastors for intensive leadership development at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. For a list of recipients»

UMC website, e-newsletter win awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist Communications has received two goldHermes Creative Awards for the agency's e-newsletter MyCom and the redesign of its official website Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for those involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. was redesigned last year. MyCom was created in response to the needs of local churches for marketing and communication support.

Category: Weekly Digest
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