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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 8, 2016

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 5-8. 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

July conferences to elect 15 U.S. bishops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The five U.S. jurisdictional conferences, starting July 13, will elect a total of 15 bishops. The new class of episcopal leaders will have at least some influence on the bishops’ planned commission on human sexuality. Heather Hahn reports.
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What draws people to church? Poll has insights

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Opportunities for spiritual growth and authentic community are top motivators for young adults to attend church, says a survey conducted by Barna Group on behalf of United Methodist Communications. Barna’s findings resonate, say some newly baptized United Methodists. Heather Hahn reports.
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Mission agency continues transition to Atlanta

NEW YORK (UMNS) — As the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries finishes renovation work on its new headquarters in Atlanta, its offices in New York will remain open until the end of October. The transition of staff is increasing as the summer progresses. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Bishop Ntambo attends World Humanitarian Summit

ISTANBUL (UMNS) — Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, the North Katanga Episcopal Area, attended the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 23-24. Mariellyn Dunlap Grace reports.
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A letter to new clergy

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) — The Rev. A.W. “Bill” Martin Jr., emeritus professor of religion at United Methodist-related Oklahoma City University, offers some timely advice in a letter to newly ordained clergy about applying what they learned in seminary.
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Communion and Welch’s grape juice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Substituting grape juice for wine at Holy Communion might seem an obvious choice for modern United Methodists, but during the temperance movement in the 1800s, that was not so easy. Joe Iovino writes about the connections between Welch’s grape juice and the Methodist Church.
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Global summits motivate young leaders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The fifth Young Leaders Summit — the primary leadership development program of Young People's Ministries — was held earlier this year in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the first event was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2012, 159 young leaders from 23 countries in Africa and Southeast Asia have gone through the program.
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Church pals seal generation gap

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ( — Here is a ministry idea. The Special Pals ministry at First United Methodist Church in Grand Junction connects senior adult church members and students as pen pals.
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4 conferences join reproductive choice coalition

MANCHESTER, N.H. (UMNS) — Four conferences — New England, New York, Pacific Northwest and Oregon-Idaho — have now voted to join the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. A fourth conference, California-Nevada, passed a resolution to join the California coalition, and the Rocky Mountain Conference passed a resolution affirming its membership in the Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

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Learning how to evangelize baby boomers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist church leaders are invited to gather in September to learn new ways to evangelize baby boomers. Boomerstock, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, is hosted by the Office on Aging and Older Adult Ministries at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

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Church closes; new start planned

NORFOLK, Va. — Thousands once worshiped at Park Place United Methodist Church, which was at one time the largest Methodist church in Virginia. Now, the church is closing its doors. But, as Joanne Kimberlin reports for The Virginian-Pilot, plans are in the works for the building to serve a new United Methodist flock.

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How a Washington church reaches kids, parents

ROCHESTER, Wash. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church in Rochester makes discipleship a priority through its various ministries that serve the deepest needs in the community. Jesse Love of the Pacific Northwest Conference has a video profile of the church that received the conference’s One Matters Award.
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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 East Ohio, Eastern Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, Memphis, New England, North Georgia, Oklahoma, Pacific Northwest, California-Nevada and West Ohio.

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‘Old rocker’ leads church in new growth

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When veteran bluesman and rocker Delbert McClinton performed here in early June, a certain United Methodist pastor showed up — as lead guitarist for the warmup band. “I’m just an old rocker like everyone else,” the Rev. Larry Trotter, senior minister at Concord United Methodist Church, explained later. Bill Dockery has the story for the Knoxville News Sentinel.
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Caring for the desperate when the desperate is you

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UMNS) — Sometimes Christians like a clean cross with no sign of a struggle at all. Patricia S. Taylor of Seedbed shares what kind of cross Christians need to encounter when times are dark.
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Preparing for new U.S. employment regulations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — New U.S. labor regulations set to go into effect Dec. 1 will affect which employees qualify for overtime pay. The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, is working with church leaders to make sure United Methodist entities are prepared.
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Treat people like they’re ‘somebody’

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (UMNS) — “Everybody is somebody, but the problem in a lot of our churches is that we act like we have to be one of us to be somebody,” said the Rev. Bob Farr. The Missouri Conference director of congregational excellence spoke about the importance of church greetings. The conference’s Fred Koenig reports.
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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.


Sundays, July 10- Aug. 7

Summer Worship Series at Lake Junaluska — Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center has invited distinguished Christian leaders to preach each Sunday. Services start at 10:45 a.m. in Stuart Auditorium. Speakers include the Rev. Robert E. Long, pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City; Harry J. Lyness, distinguished evangelist for the Foundation for Evangelism; Tony Campolo, internationally known evangelist; and United Methodist Bishop Larry Goodpaster. Details


Friday, July 15

Deadline for School of Congregational Development 2016Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 17-20. The workshops for United Methodist clergy and lay leaders will be in Evanston, Illinois, outside Chicago. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and Global Ministries sponsor the gathering. $425. Details


More upcoming United Methodist events