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UMNS Weekly Digest - June 15, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for June 11-15. 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:

Reflections on Father's Day, past and present

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Did you know you could thank the United Methodists for the celebration of all things paternal? So perhaps it's fitting that, as Father's Day approaches, two United Methodist pastors, a bishop and a Michigan family shared their joys and concerns this week about their own fathers and themselves. The Rev. Richard Peck tells us that how we choose to remember our not-so-saintly fathers is up to us not them. Bishop Melvin G. Talbert's father, a "simple, kind, gentle" man, led by example. The Rev. DJ del Rosario speaks of a "rich complexity" of the joys and sadness of the day. And a Michigan family recalls the dramatic circumstances that saved one baby's life and changed their future.

Learn more about the roots of Father's Day
Read Peck's commentary»
Read Talbert's essay»
See del Rosario's video blog»
Watch UMTV's adoption story»

Bishop's retirement fight takes new turn

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - The difficulties between Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe and the episcopacy committee to which he reports took a second unexpected turn late June 8, when the committee chairperson released a statement explaining why the panel asked Bledsoe to retire early. Meanwhile, the agency in charge of monitoring racial matters in The United Methodist Church expressed concern over Bledsoe, who is African-American, saying he is being pressured to retire.
Read full story and post a comment»
Read race commission response

New wrinkles in guaranteed appointments

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The action by the General Conference on May 1 to end guaranteed appointments for elders is coming up against contradicting interpretations. While one part of the Book of Discipline was changed to eliminate guaranteed appointments, another paragraph allowing for this guarantee was left intact. The result, according to the General Conference secretary, is that the 2012 Book of Discipline "does not eliminate the security of appointments for elders."
Read full story»

Willy Loman and guaranteed appointments

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - What does the iconic play "Death of a Salesman" have to do with guaranteeing jobs for clergy? Edgar Moore, the Duke Clergy Health Initiative's director of theological education and conference relations, sees a kind of "serendipity" between an op-ed piece about the revival of the 1949 play and an email he received from his bishop about General Conference 2012.
Read his blog

Wildfires force camp evacuations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (UMNS) - As wildfires rage in Colorado and New Mexico, campers and staff were evacuated from Buckhorn Camp, a Rocky Mountain Annual (regional) Conference facility. "The camp support staff made temporary housing arrangements," said the Rev. Skip Strickland, conference director of mission and ministry. "We are working with Nancy Boswell, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Fort Collins, to find a temporary housing location for Gregg Kernes, camp manager, and his family." To support UMCOR's relief efforts, give to Disaster Response, United States, Advance No. 901670.
Learn more about the wildfires»
How to help»

Haiti programs need medical volunteers

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodist volunteer medical teams are now welcome to schedule mission service to the denomination's existing partner health programs in the Port-au-Prince area, including King's Hospital, Partners in Development, Grace Children's Hospital and the TB clinic at Hospital General. Volunteers also can work at one of the nine Methodist Church of Haiti clinics or participate in the church's mobile clinic pilot project.
More information»

Foot washing by bishop inspires

TULSA, Okla. (UMNS) - Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. removed his vestments, knelt and washed the feet of 12 people in the Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference who were being ordained in The United Methodist Church.The Rev. James Hunt, associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Broken Arrow, was one of the 12 being ordained. "It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life," he told the Tulsa World.
Read more»

Religious leaders oppose amendment

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) - About 120 religious leaders of different faiths announced on June 7 the formation of Clergy United for All Families, which will work to defeat a marriage amendment on the November ballot, KARE 11 reports. The proposed amendment would write Minnesota's current law defining marriage as one man and one woman into the state constitution. Members of the Minnesota Annual Conference, meeting May 30-June 1, voted to send a resolution opposing a proposed amendment.
Read more»

From burn victim to pastor

MEADOWVIEW, Va. (UMNS) - Nineteen years ago, Scott Spence was burned so badly that he was given a 5 percent chance of living. He spent three months in the hospital and 18 months in physical therapy. Now, the former welder is a United Methodist pastor of two churches in Virginia, turning his scars into strength.
Read full story»

Great Plains conferences to merge

WICHITA, Kan. (UMNS) - Three United Methodist annual (regional) conferences in the Great Plains area have approved a proposal to merge on Jan. 1, 2014. On June 9, Kansas Area Bishop Scott Jones and Nebraska Bishop Ann Sherer-Simpson simultaneously announced the vote results by the Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska conferences. A uniting conference is set for August 2013 to approve the final plan for the new conference.
Read more»

IRS webinar for religious groups

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - How does the IRS define a church? What are the rules for compensating your pastors? And, what happens if your congregation is audited? The IRS promises to answer these questions and more at a free webinar, scheduled for July 25 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.
To register»

Supports for ban on workplace bias

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church's Board of Church and Society is among 37 religious groups to sign a letter in support of legislation banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. "We urge Congress to swiftly pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 811) and ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have an equal opportunity to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families," the letter says.

Radical hospitality retreat set

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Scarritt-Bennett Center, a United Methodist Women-owned retreat center, will offer a retreat on "Radical Hospitality," one of the five fruitful congregational practices identified by Missouri Area Bishop Robert Schnase. The retreat, July 23-26, will be led by the Rev. Judi Hoffman, co-pastor of Edgehill United Methodist Church in Nashville. Costs are $215 for commuters and $444 for those who stay overnight.
Learn more»

Church restructure: I'm glad it failed

CLARKDALE, Ariz. (UMNS) - Paul McCleary, a staff member for the Structure Study Commission that proposed the restructuring to the 1972 General Conference, is relieved the Judicial Council found the restructuring plan unconstitutional. "The universal recognition of the need for action by almost all the delegates was co-opted by plans that were not well thought out and did not take into account the reality of The United Methodist Church being composed of minorities and cultures from other continents."
Read more and post a comment»

GC reflections: Moving beyond the trauma and dysfunction

DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) - Retired Bishop Jack M. Tuell identifies a twofold challenge facing The United Methodist Church that he says helps to explain some of the trauma and dysfunction evident at General Conference 2012.
Read more and post a comment»

Sowing seeds of self-reliance

KAMINA, Democratic Republicof Congo (UMNS) - Faustine Monga Wa Llunga no longer worries whether his family will have enough to eat. He's even been able to sell some of his surplus crops and use the money to send his children to school. He's not the only success story from the United Methodist Committee on Relief's Ministry With the Poor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Check out the multimedia report»

Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share with others, and put Digest in the subject line.

Annual conference meeting time

United Methodist News Service is providing complete coverageof the annual conferences as they occur. Here are this week's gatherings:

  • June 18-21: East Ohio
  • June 19-20: Estonia
  • June 20-23: California-Nevada
  • June 20-24: Desert Southwest, Western North Carolina
  • June 21-23: Central Russia
  • June 21-24: Pacific Northwest
  • June 22-24: Western North Carolina, Virginia
  • June 22-25: Zambia Provisional
  • June 24-27: North-West Katanga

CBS to air AIDS special

NEW YORK (UMNS) - CBS will air a special documentary about HIV/AIDS on Sunday, June 17. Among the religious leaders featured on the program is the Rev. Donald E. Messer, director of the Center for the Church and Global AIDS. Messer and Linda Bales Todd, executive with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society were recently elected to co-chair the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee.
List of stations scheduled to run program "HIV & AIDS" stations
After June 17, the program may be viewed at CBS News Religion and Culture

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries