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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 29, 2016


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 25-29. 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


Bishops approve plan for sexuality panel

CHICAGO (UMNS) — Amid growing concerns for the denomination’s future, United Methodist bishops approved a plan for establishing a commission dealing with church teachings and homosexuality. The bishops’ executive committee also took a step toward a special session of General Conference in early 2018. Heather Hahn reports.
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Closing with prayer in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) — The Rev. William Shillady, a New York United Methodist minister and “pastoral friend” to Hillary Rodham Clinton — the 2016 Democratic nominee for U.S. president — gave the closing prayer July 28 at the Democratic National Convention. Linda Bloom reports.

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Making a difference in Dallas

DALLAS (UMNS) — A diverse crowd of about 100 United Methodists gathered July 24 at First United Methodist Church of Dallas to discuss how the denomination can promote dialogue and social action after the fatal shooting of five police officers here earlier this month. Sam Hodges reports.
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Munich church becomes sanctuary during shooting

MUNICH (UMNS) — When a gunman opened fire at a shopping mall, a nearby United Methodist church offered shelter to fleeing shoppers, as well as weary police officers and paramedics. Volker Kiemle reports.
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WCC condemns attack in Munich
Statement condemning attack in Kabul


Church supports ‘genuine change’ in Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — Hundreds of people from all walks of life held peaceful rallies before and during the first State of the Nation Address July 25 by President Rodrigo R. Duterte of the Philippines. Three United Methodist bishops led an ecumenical prayer and communion service during the rallies. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.
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Church brings food relief to drought‑stricken areas

RUSHINGA, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — About 300 people received maize distributed by The United Methodist Church in a region where drought has devastated harvests. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo reports.
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Bishops share thoughts on racial violence

CHICAGO (UMNS) — Bishops from areas that have faced mass shootings, shootings of African-American men by police or killings of police, talk about the role of the church in addressing such violence. The bishops shared their thoughts with Anne Marie Gerhardt of the Northern Illinois Conference and Todd Rossnagal of the Louisiana Conference.
Watch the video


Litigation continues in Illinois trust case

MOUND CITY, Ill. (UMNS) — A decision is expected in September from a judge on whether the Illinois Great Rivers Conference’s case against a breakaway congregation can proceed. Paul Black, the conference’s director of communication ministries, reports on a recent hearing. He is also a witness in the trust clause case.

Read story on hearing
Read earlier UMNS coverage


Living through a church renovation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (UMNS) — Any large-scale renovation requires a congregation to tolerate disruption and change. The Rev. Daniel Hilty of First United Methodist Church in Jefferson City suggests ways for getting through the sawdust and noise. “Probably the most important task was reminding the congregation of the ‘why’ behind all of the changes,” he writes for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.

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Homeless choir members sing ‘side‑by‑side’

INDIANAPOLIS — A special choir, "Matthew's Voices Side-by-Side," made up of homeless and severely disadvantaged people, is meeting at Roberts Park United Methodist Church. WTHR-TV has the video.
See video


Learning to pray in the school cafeteria

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) — Mike Howington, as a youngster, prayed often in front of his church family and before every meal — except those in his school cafeteria. Eventually, he found the courage to bow his head over lunch. Howington, the Mississippi Conference youth and families coordinator, shares how his experience helps him work with youth today. Tamica Smith Jeuitt of the Mississippi Conference reports.

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Faith groups connect at AIDS Conference

DURBAN, South Africa (WCC) — Faith groups and the World Council of Churches were active participants at the 21st International AIDS Conference, July 18-22, and related events.
See full coverage


United Methodists in Central African Republic

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The beginnings of The United Methodist Church in the Central African Republic can be traced back to 2001, when Lucien Dockpa, a native of the country, tuned into Radio Afrique Internationale, a French-language radio show produced by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Christie House, editor of New World Outlook, reports on what happened next.  

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AME: Climate change hurts blacks

PHILADELPHIA (RNS) — African Methodist Episcopal Church members have joined the call of other religious leaders for action on climate change, citing its disproportionate effect on the health of black people. Adelle M. Banks reports for Religion News Service.
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Northeastern delegates vow to fight racism

LANCASTER, Pa. (UMNS) — Delegates to the 2016 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference have pledged to work together as United Methodists to fight the scourge of racism. The pledge was made after the conference unanimously approved a resolution that called for the church to do more to fight discrimination, to confront racism, and to affirm that all lives matter in God's eyes. Maidstone Mulenga reports.
Story and resolution on pages 9-11


United Methodist Women help youth stay strong in faith

SUMTER, S.C. (UMNS) — Samoria Jacquel Session, 18, knows how important it is to stay strong in the Lord and stay connected to her church. The rising college freshman credits Limitless, a United Methodist Women’s initiative for young women, with strengthening her Christian walk. Jessica Brodie of the South Carolina Conference reports on how Limitless works.

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2016 annual conference reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service is posting reports from annual conference sessions. New reports this week include New Mexico, Rocky Mountain and West Virginia.
Read reports


Church start exec heads to Florida Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Candace Lewis, an executive at Discipleship Ministries and executive director of New Church Starts (Path 1), has been named district superintendent for the Gulf Central District of the Florida Conference. She will start her new role Sept. 1.

Read press release


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.


Sunday, July 31

Early bird registration for “The All People Conference: Welcoming the Stranger” on Saturday-Monday, Oct. 22-24 — This event for leaders who wish to foster racially and economically diverse congregations will be at Church for All People/Community Development for All People, a United Methodist ministry at 946 Parsons Avenue; Columbus, Ohio. Speakers include Bishops Minerva Carcaño and Gregory V. Palmer. $195. Details


Monday-Thursday, Aug. 1-4  

Festival of Wisdom and Grace Conference — Tony Campolo and Mickey Efird will speak at the 2016 Festival of Wisdom and Grace Conference at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. The gathering, sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association of Older Adults, has the theme “Come to the Water.” Details



More upcoming United Methodist events