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UMNS Weekly Digest - June 14, 2013

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UMNS Weekly Digest

June 14, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for June 11 - June 17.It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories andadditional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

The Church in China

The Church in China: A growth in size, faith

SHANGHAI (UMNS) - A delegation of United Methodist bishops and mission staff visited China in April to strengthen existing ties with the Protestant church there. Throughout this week, United Methodist News Service will look at Christianity in China today. This first part is about the growth and growing pains in recent decades.
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The Church in China: One pastor's journey

NANJING, China (UMNS) - At 69, the Rev. Bao Jiayuan looks back on a Christian lifetime nurtured by his father and grandfather - and the Bible verses that sustained him during the Cultural Revolution when the practice of religion was forbidden.
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The Church in China: Pews are full

SHANGHAI (UMNS) - Many of the country's historic churches now filled with thousands as young people turn to Christianity. Learn about the people filling the pews.
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The Church in China: To serve God, society

NANJING, China (UMNS) - A bakery that trains people with mental challenges and aid for migrant workers are just some ways the Amity Foundation is working to assist those on the margins of Chinese society. Now, as one of China's first nongovernmental organizations, the Christian ministry is helping expand the capability of civil society to address social problems.
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The Church in China: A Bible printing press

NANJING, China (UMNS) - In November 2012, Amity Printing Press produced its 100th million copy of the Bible. Of that number, 60 million Bibles are being read in China and 40 million in different languages around the world. The presses haven't stopped running. A slideshow offers an overview of the ministry.
Read story and watch slideshow

The Church in China: Focus on disaster relief

NANJING, China (UMNS) - When disaster strikes in China, the Amity Foundation - a United Methodist Committee on Relief partner - goes to the front lines. That dedication is helping to grow support for Christianity.
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United Methodism's Chinese connections

BEIJING (UMNS) - United Methodists have both historic and contemporary ties to Christianity in China. Here is an overview of that history and the connections today.
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The Church in China

News around the connection

Door open to Southern Baptist Scout groups

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Leaders of United Methodist Men responded to Baptist action to support churches and families that want to cut ties to the Boy Scouts of America after the group lifted its ban on gay members.
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Statement from United Methodist Men

Path1 hits the road to visit new church plants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The folks at Path1 New Church Starts have hit the road to visit the new plants of the last year in the United States. They will report from the road on what they find. Follow and talk with them as they travel.
Blog reports from the road
Snapshots of Hope


Wesley's diet, exercise tips promote health

CHICAGO (UMNS) - "Nothing conduces more to health than abstinence and food with due labor," John Wesley wrote in his 1747 book, "Primitive Physick: or An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Disease, " which was a best-seller of its time. Read how United Methodists are practicing and teaching Wesley's words.
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UMCOR aids landmine survivors in Myanmar

NEW YORK (UMNS) - In Myanmar, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has been lending support for Burmese survivors of violence, primarily in partnership with Clear Path International, since 2009. Part of that support is focusing on aid to survivors of the country's many landmines.
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Pension board to hold listening session

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS)-The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits invites interested plan participants and other constituents to address the board of directors during a listening session on July 12 in Glenview. To place your name and topic on the agenda and for specific presentation requirements, contact Colette Nies by June 24 at 1-800-269-2244, extension 4296, or email
Read news release

News around conferences

Furor over block to gay clergy candidate

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (UMNS) - Members of the Southwest Texas Annual Conference, who met June 6-9, faced the question of whether a lesbian can be a certified candidate for ordained United Methodist ministry. More than 200 United Methodists and others took to Twitter on the afternoon of Friday, June 7, to protest Mary Ann Kaiser's removal from the ordination process to become a deacon.
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After Oklahoma twisters, Son-powered worship

MOORE, Okla.(UMNS) - "It's more important than ever that churches like ours rise up" in the crisis, the Rev. Tish Malloy preached June 2 to the congregation of the First United Methodist Church in a sanctuary without electricity or water. "We've got to be community for people who (now) don't have one. We must light the darkness for others." Holly McCray, editor of the Oklahoma United Methodist Contact, explains what the church is doing and reports that Oklahomans have given almost $600,000 in disaster relief.
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'Why are we still doing church like it was done in the 1950s?'

BUCKHANNON, W. Va. (UMNS) - Wearing overalls as he spoke from the pulpit, West Virginia Annual (regional) Conference lay leader Rich Shaffer recently noted how the technology of farming has changed. He urged the church to use new technologies to increase its harvest as well. Laura Allen, director of communications for the West Virginia Conference, shared Shaffer's thoughts.
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Church vitality: Rural church prepares for growth

HORNSBY, Tenn. (UMNS) - Hornsby United Methodist Church in rural southwestern Tennessee had dwindled to eight members and a regular attendance of five or six. But as its new pastor says, the congregation has put its trust in God and is starting to grow again. Recently the church reopened its Sunday school. Casey Northcutt of the Memphis Annual (regional) Conference has the story.
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Hispanic ministry reorients to reach broader base

COLUMBIA, Mo. (UMNS) - When the first Hispanic ministry effort started in the Missouri Annual (regional) Conference in the mid-1990s, the target population were recent immigrants who speak only Spanish. Hispanic pastors fitting the same description were appointed to begin several new ministries. The Missouri Conference now has a much broader approach and is working toward developing Hispanic ministries that appeal to all categories of people. Fred Koenig of the Missouri Conference has the story.
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UMTV: Care for caregiving youth

BOCA RATON, Fla. (UMNS) - More than a million U.S. children, 8-18 years old, care for sick parents, grandparents and siblings. Among them is Aereonna Defau, a 14-year-old caring for her mother with breast cancer. United Methodist Connie Siskowski has created a ministry to support Defau and other young caregivers.
Watch video

United Methodists' fight against malaria

West Ohio pledges $3.5 million to fight malaria

LAKESIDE, Ohio (UMNS) - The West Ohio Annual (regional) Conference will raise $3.5 million for the Imagine No Malaria fundraising campaign, the largest-ever commitment from any conference in The United Methodist Church. Ohio West Episcopal Area Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer made the announcement during the third day of the June 9-12 annual conference here.
Read story
Learn about Imagine No Malaria

Missouri Conference steps up for Imagine No Malaria

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (UMNS) - The offering shared for Imagine No Malaria at the Missouri Annual Conference was $34,000. Before the collection, Bishop Robert Schnase announced he is personally giving $5,000 plus another $5,000 from a discretionary fund in his office. On June 9, the Rev. Steve Cox, district superintendent of the Pony Express and Heartland North districts, pledged the districts would contribute $1,000 for every mile of the Missouri River that flows through their districts, for a total of $180,400. On June 10, the other districts joined in, bringing the total to about $1.2 million.
Learn more about the church's fight against malaria

10-city 'Skeeter Run' raises $75,000 to fight malaria

BATON ROUGE, La. (UMNS) - The Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference helped "change the world" with the 2013 Louisiana Skeeter Run, consisting of 10 events with 5K/1-mile runs held simultaneously in 10 cities throughout the state.
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Anti-malaria documentary available for NBC stations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Want to create a buzz? Contact your local NBC affiliate to encourage them to air "Killer in the Dark," the United Methodist-produced documentary about malaria narrated by Pauley Perrette from the TV show "NCIS" to air between now and Nov. 3, 2013.
Learn more

United Methodists in the news

Pastor in school funding case wants to help children

WICHITA, Kan. (UMNS) - The Rev. Jeff Gannon, pastor of Chapel Hill Fellowship, a United Methodist congregation, has his name attached to one of the most divisive public policy issues in Kansas. In Gannon v. State of Kansas, the Kansas Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of the year on whether to increase public-school funding cut by the state legislature. The Wichita Eagle profiles the pastor, highlighting his church's ministry with the poor. Read story

Evangelism award winner leads a prayer party

PENSACOLA, Fla. (UMNS) - The Rev. Jeremy Mount, Harry Denman Evangelism Award winner for the Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference, is leading an unconventional congregation in an unconventional venue. The Pensacola News Journal has the story.
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Making a home together after being homeless

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. (UMNS) - Ray Perkowski and Barbara Glander stood at the altar of East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church and took their wedding vows. The Pocono Record tells how the two, who both were homeless, decided to get married while working at the soup kitchen of the church and how their lives have changed.
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60 years after tornado, work to help poor

FLINT, Mich. (UMNS) - Sixty years after the Beecher Tornado swept across Flint, ripping homes from their foundations and killing 116 people, volunteers, organized by the Crossroads District of The United Methodist Church, fanned across the city June 8 to pick up after another kind of devastation - the disaster of poverty, joblessness, violence, blight and abandonment. tells the story.
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Sheboygan church invites doggies to service

SHEBOYGAN, Wis.(UMNS) - Some pastors will say there is no biblical support that all dogs go to heaven. But, the Rev. Ann Bullis, pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church, said she believes the faithful pets will have a future heavenly home. And, the Daily Record reports, she's invited them to join her church for Sunday services.
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University and seminary news

Africa U. celebrates 19th graduation ceremony

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) - Patience Awadhi, a Congolese woman who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, is one of 450 who graduated from United Methodist-related Africa University on June 8. Awadhi is the firstborn in a family of eight. Her father works in a store, and her mother sells vegetables at the local market. Awadhi came to Africa University without speaking a word of English, but on June 8, she received a first-class degree. She is one of many examples of African students from humble beginnings who now have a chance to be "agents of change."
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Claremont to Offer 2-Year Master of Divinity

CLAREMONT, Calif. (UMNS) - United Methodist Claremont School of Theology is restructuring its curriculum to allow students to complete an M.Div. degree in two years. Historically, the M.Div. degree could not be completed in fewer than three years. The new format also will allow students to complete the M.A. in Ministry, Leadership and Service in 18 months.
Learn more

Personnel news

UMCOR names executive for international response

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A former diplomat and staff member for the American Red Cross and U.S. Peace Corps is the United Methodist Committee on Relief's new staff executive for international disaster response. The Rev. Jack Amick of the Detroit Annual (regional) Conference joins the agency on July 1.
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Martinez takes theological education post

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. David Martinez has been appointed director of Specialized Theological Education for the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Martinez, who served as senior pastor at El Buen Samaritano United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, joined the agency June 3.
Read full story

Blogs and commentaries

Zambia pastor: Why I choose to be United Methodist

KITWE, Zambia (UMNS) - The Rev. Laishi Bwalya is the senior pastor of Living Word, a United Methodist congregation in the Southern Congo/Zambia Episcopal Area. He is also a member of the Connectional Table, which coordinates the denomination's mission, ministry and resources. In a blog, he speaks of the transforming power of God he has found in The United Methodist Church.
Read blog

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

Lake Junaluska Summer Worship Series, Sundays through Aug. 11 - The series includes Holy Communion at 8:30 a.m. ET and worship at 10:45 a.m. ET at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in North Carolina. The Africa University Choir kicks off the series on June 16. Guest preachers also will include United Methodist bishops and the general secretary of the World Methodist Council. Details

Faith and Service Unite Summit luncheon, June 19 - 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET, Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, featuring the Rev. Kirbyjohn Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. $25 for luncheon. Details about luncheon and summit. Details

Juneteenth, June 19 - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources for the oldest known African-American celebration, which recognizes the date slaves in Texas received word of the Emancipation Proclamation. Resources

Free webinar "The New Senior: Boomers," June 20 - 6:30 p.m. CT, tips on ministering to this large generation from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register

Free webinar "2013 Clergy Health Implications for the Church," June 20 - 6:30 p.m. CT, how congregations can positively influence the health of clergy and laity from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and the Center for Health. To register

Deadline to register for pension board listening session, June 24 - The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits will have a listening session on July 12 in Glenview, Ill. To place your name and topic on the agenda and for specific presentation requirements, contact Colette Nies at 1-800-269-2244, ext. 4296, or email Details

Deadline to register for online course "Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry," June 26 - July 3-Aug. 14, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. Limited seats are available. Cost is $49. Details

Deadline to register for online course "Welcoming Ministry 100," June 26 - July 3-Aug. 14, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. Limited seats are available. Cost is $29. Details

Native American Summer Conference, June 28-30 - Workshops and worship, sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association on Native American Ministries, at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C. Details

Deadline to register for SOULfeast, June 30 - The Upper Room 's spiritual retreat, July 14-18, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C. The Rev. Trevor Hudson of South Africa is the keynote speaker. Details

"Inside Out for the Glory of God," July 12-14 - 11th national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details

United Methodist Conference on Ministry with Children, July 23-26 - The conference, "Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord," at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville, S.C., for church leaders and workers engaged in children's ministry focuses on helping children grow in faith. United Methodist Board of Discipleship is the sponsor. Details

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

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

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 US jurisdictions. Registrants will participate remotely through live and tape-delayed interactive live streaming. Details

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries