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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 28, 2017


Top viewed stories from July 21-July 28. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

United Methodists embrace TED Talks

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) — TED Talks, shared via the internet and featuring renowned figures from various professions discussing ideas, are having an influence on preaching and other aspects of United Methodist life. Sam Hodges reports.
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United Methodists decry Mindanao martial law

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — Bishops and other United Methodists have joined in demonstrations and calls to end martial law in Mindanao. Gladys Mangiduyos has the story. 
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Top court agenda: Use of 'incompatible' language

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The 12-item fall docket for the United Methodist Judicial Council will include two petitions arguing that the issue of homosexuality does not fall under the denomination’s doctrinal standards. The council meets Oct. 24-27 in Los Angeles. Linda Bloom reports.
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Way Forward Commission update

CHICAGO (UMNS) — The Commission on a Way Forward at its July meeting sketched plans for moving the denomination beyond its impasse around homosexuality. However, commission members are waiting to get preliminary approval from bishops before unveiling those plans. Heather Hahn reports. 
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Read press release and status report
Way Forward gets input on church future

Scout Jamboree has big United Methodist presence

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. (UMNS) — Chaplains, volunteers and 3,500 United Methodist Scouts make the denomination the second-largest faith group at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree. West Virginia Area Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball presided over the United Methodist Holy Communion service on July 23. Joey Butler reports. 
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United Methodist teenager facing deportation

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) — A 19-year-old who is part of an intentional community at a United Methodist church has been in custody for more than a month since his arrest by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a traffic violation. Michelle Maldonado has the story.
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Bikes boost church growth in Sierra Leone

BO, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Since the Bikes & Bibles program began three years ago in Sierra Leone, churches have been planted in communities that previously were Muslim or practiced traditional African religions. Phileas Jusu has the story.
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Science Mike brings religion, science together

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UMNS) — Science Mike is not a preacher or theologian, but he answers questions about faith and science in ways that seekers and searchers can understand. Science Mike, aka Mike McHargue, a member of Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, has a podcast that receives upward of 6,500 downloads a day. Suzanne McGovern reports. 
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Longtime Asbury professor dies at 87

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kenneth Kinghorn, who taught church history at Asbury Theological Seminary for more than 50 years, died July 23, at age 87. Kinghorn also taught in The United Methodist Church’s Appalachian Lay Pastors School, raised funds to support graduate students in academic and theological vocations and was a prolific author.
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Bishops offer prayers at protest 

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. — Bishop Peggy Johnson and retired Bishop Violet Fisher offered prayers at a July 18 protest against proposed Medicaid cuts. About a dozen Eastern Pennsylvania Conference pastors joined in the interfaith event, held outside a congressman’s office. John W. Coleman reports.
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Conferences promote sports for health

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — United Methodists from the two conferences in Zimbabwe competed in a sports event aimed at promoting exercise for women to improve health. Kudzai Chingwe has the story. 
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2017 annual conference reports 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service is posting all annual conference reports. New reports posted: Arkansas, Northwest Texas, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Wisconsin and Yellowstone.
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Church wants to share new choral anthem

NEW YORK — The Church of the Village, a United Methodist congregation in New York, commissioned a choral anthem for Pentecost and the season following. Now, the church is hoping to share with others the anthem, “O Great Spirit” by Nehemiah Luckett. Luckett is the church’s worship associate. To get sheet music for the hymn, contact Luckett at
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West Africa liaison officer named

ATLANTA — Nyamah E. Dunbar, originally from Liberia, is the new West Africa liaison officer for the mission work of The United Methodist Church, the Board of Global Ministries has announced.
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What is grace? 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — United Methodists understand grace as a gift from God. In the latest installment of Ask the UMC, InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, explores the three kinds of grace, and how grace relates to peace.
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Ask the UMC 

Social Principles revision process underway

WASHINGTON — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has undertaken the first comprehensive revision of the United Methodist Social Principles since the guidelines were adopted in 1970. At the direction of the General Conference 2016, the proposed revisions will be presented to General Conference 2020. Writing teams have been named and will meet from July to October.
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5 ways to evaluate vacation Bible school

TUCKER, Ga. — The crafts and decorations may be packed away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next year’s vacation Bible school plans. The North Georgia Conference offers five ways to evaluate the success of a VBS program. 
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Commentary: Hearing a pastor's first-day sermon

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — “I saw a young pastor preach on his first Sunday at his first church, and it made me cry,” Annette Spence writes in a commentary. Spence, editor of the Holston Conference Call, found the sermon by a 27-year-old reminded her of the hope exemplified in a young person who has other options but who chooses to stand up in the church.
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Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.

Friday, Aug. 4

A Good Death: What Church Leaders Need to Know About Death Preparation for Older Adults  10-11 a.m. CDT.  This webinar addresses what a faithful death looks like. It will focus on techniques to assist older adult ministry leaders to help those they serve by imagining their own deaths and overcoming fears of the unknown. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries. Details

Monday, Aug. 7-Thursday, Aug. 10

Festival of Wisdom and Grace — 3 p.m., EDT. Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. The Festival of Wisdom and Grace, sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association of Older Adults, is geared toward ministries for adults 50 and older. The theme this year is "Forgiveness: Living in Grace." Speakers include the Revs. John Ed Mathison, Everett Worthington and Patricia Suggs. The registration deadline is Aug. 7. Details

See more United Methodist events