Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - June 21, 2013


June 21, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for June 17 - June 24.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

News around conferences

How the church responds in Colorado

MONUMENT, Colo.(UMNS) - For a week, fire has raged in the Black Forest of Colorado, claiming two lives and destroying more than 500 homes, according to ABC-7 News in Denver. The Rev. Robert A. "Bob" Kaylor, lead pastor of Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church in Monument writes how the disaster has affected his congregation and how The United Methodist Church is responding.

Read the letter
Here's the latest from the church website

Giving to Oklahoma tornado relief continues

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - As of June 19, total donations exceeded $1,042,000 to "2013 May Tornado Relief," the Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference special fund. Learn more

Civil rights icon joins Mississippi church to remember

DUMAS, Miss. (UMNS) - Mount Zion United Methodist Church members gathered recently to recognize the 49th anniversary of the slaying of three civil right workers who went to Mississippi in 1964 to help African Americans register to vote. The three young men went to the church to talk with local community members who had been attacked by the Ku Klux Klan. The three were reported missing soon after. James Meredith, the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi, joined the anniversary gathering. Read story

Blind Scout increases passion for Scouting

MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) - Tripp Gulledge, 16, a Sea Scout, stirred up a passion for scouting among people attending a laity banquet during the2013, Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. The fact that Gulledge is blind has not stopped him from obtaining the rank of Eagle, an achievement attained by only 2 percent of Boy Scouts. Rich Peck of United Methodist Men has the story. Read story

Processional cross: Glass made to last

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (UMNS) - We often think of glass as fragile, so it may be surprising to learn that the Upper New York Annual (regional) Conference's new processional cross is made of glass. The cross is the work of the Rev. Meredith Vanderminden, a United Methodist. Beth DiCocco of Upper New York shares Vanderminden's ministry. Read story

New York Conference plans anti-bias service

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A service offering "A Faithful Response to Bias Crimes" is set for 1 p.m. June 22 at the (United Methodist) Church of the Village, 201 W. 13th St. The service is sponsored by the United Methodist New York Annual (regional) Conference in response to recent anti-gay violence.

Bishop sees parallel with sports competition

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Caught in the spirit of the competition between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins as they play for hockey's Stanley Cup, Chicago Area Bishop Sally Dyck sees similarities with the task before United Methodists as we work to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Watch video

News around the connection

Visit the United Methodist Heritage landmarks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - By action of the 2012 General Conference, The United Methodist Church now has 46 Heritage Landmarks. The conference designated five new Heritage Landmarks with three outside the United States. Read more

United Methodist student loans available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is now accepting applications for student loans for the fall 2013 semester. Discounts are available for those attending United Methodist-related colleges and universities. Learn more

'Happy Birthday' song has Methodist connection

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Just about everyone knows the song "Happy Birthday," but you rarely hear it on TV shows. That's because the song still is under copyright protection. A federal lawsuit is trying to change that, and a key piece of evidence in the case is a 1911 version of the song published by the Methodist Episcopal Church. NPR's Planet Money shares the song's history and its Methodist connection. Read story

Learn about Chinese Christians

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In the late 1980s, the "Catch the Spirit" television show, produced by United Methodist Communications, featured two special programs on Chinese Christians. Links to these videos, this month's UMNS series on China and related articles, photos and resources can be found on "The Church in China" webpage.

1989 Catch the Spirit China video
1987 Catch the Spirit China video

How pastoral appointments work

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Every local church needs a pastor. The United Methodist Church has a unique way of matching pastors and congregations. Rather than local churches hiring and firing their own pastors - as in some denominations - United Methodist bishops appoint pastors to serve in local churches and other ministry settings. Learn more

Sports help warriors on path to healing

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Deep in the heart of the Pentagon, warriors are warming up for several rounds of fierce volleyball competition. This is the second annual Wounded Warriors seated volleyball tournament, and it includes all branches of the military pitted against each other - and each team is in it to win. Read story

Call for logo submissions

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Calling all people with an artistic bent. The World Methodist Council is accepting submissions for the official logo for the 21st World Methodist Conference, which will be in September 2016 in Houston. The winning entry will receive $500. The conference theme is "One." All entries must be received by July 22 this year. Learn more

Insurance for VIMS transitioning

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Mission Volunteers and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries strongly urge that no UMVIM group or individual, regardless of the type of volunteer work they do, engage in any domestic or international mission volunteer work without securing insurance coverage. The board's Mission Volunteers Office has offered accident insurance for many years but, effective January 2014, the office will transition all insurance to three jurisdictional offices. Read more

Korean Americans helping to guide church in Central Asia

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (UMNS) - The first second-generation Korean Americans commissioned as missionaries by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries are assigned to help the denomination grow and stabilize in Central Asia, Sandra Brands reports. Read story

Heifer offers United Methodist resources

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - Heifer International, a global nonprofit leader of sustainable agricultural development, is strengthening its connection with United Methodist congregations. New online resources include church bulletins, posters, program curriculum, ideas for alternative mission trips and contact information for Heifer's regional staff. See Heifer resources

Methodist schools group to meet in Hiroshima

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities will meet at Hiroshima University in Japan May 24-28, 2014. "Peace, Justice and Human Rights" will be the conference theme, says Young Min Paik, general education director, Asian Office, Methodist Global Education Fund for Leadership Development. Read more

Do you know what IHS means?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Have you seen the letters "IHS" around your sanctuary and wondered what they mean? Chuck hunts down the answers ... and delivers a few chuckles along the way. Watch Video

United Methodists in the news

'Moral Mondays' in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (UMNS) - Both United Methodist bishops in North Carolina have signed a joint statement with Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic leaders urging the state legislature not to make drastic cuts in programs, such as Medicaid, that help the most vulnerable in society. People have been gathering on Monday evenings in the state's capital to offer witness. Wayne Rhodes of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society explains what has come to be known as "Moral Mondays." Read more

Indiana Scouts find new home

DAYTON, Ind. (UMNS) - Less than a week after Dayton United Methodist Church announced it was severing ties with Cub Scout Pack 3316, the Scouts found a new charter home, jconline reports. The ruling board at Memorial Presbyterian voted unanimously June 18 to become the pack's new charter organization. Larry Coppock, director of the Scouting ministry for United Methodist Men, said in an email to United Methodist Scout leaders that his organization and Indiana Area Bishop Michael Coyner both were searching for a new home for the group with a United Methodist church, but the Presbyterian Church stepped in first. Coppock emphasized that his group is there to help any Scout organization that needs a home, regardless of the denomination the group has been part of.

Read story
Door open to Scout groups

Father's grief turns to ministry for others

ALTOONA, Pa. (UMNS) - Leroy Rucker was a "wild child," until his firstborn son overdosed and died at a methadone clinic a year ago, the Altoona Mirror reports. Rucker's son's death sent him in a new direction - immersed in ministry with the Second Avenue United Methodist Church to help those less fortunate. Read story

Flower thefts plague rural cemeteries

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (UMNS) - Some residents in north Tuscaloosa County say that thieves are targeting expensive flower arrangements placed in rural cemeteries, reports. Members of Campground United Methodist Church estimated that at least 100 arrangements have been stolen from graves at the church cemetery this year. A funeral spray was stolen from the grave of a woman less than two hours after her funeral, church members said. Thefts also have been reported from graves at nearby cemeteries. Read story

United Methodists and immigration

UMTV: Feeding bodies, souls at the border

U.S.-MEXICO BORDER (UMNS) - Growing up against what he calls "a background of struggle," Sal Montiel vowed to make social justice an integral part of his life and work. As a United Methodist missionary at the U.S.-Mexico border, he now serves those struggling to survive along the Tijuana River. Watch video

UMTV: Joining families at the border

FRIENDSHIP PARK, U.S.-Mexico border (UMNS) - It was on a mission trip to Central America that the Rev. John Fanestil felt called to ministry. That call continues today as the United Methodist serves those suffering separation at the U.S.-Mexico border. For nearly 20 years, Fanestil has worked to remove the barriers - physical, political and social - that divide families and loved ones. Watch video

More than 1,000 actions on immigration reform noted

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - In the past few years, United Methodists have taken more than 1,000 actions in 47 states and the District of Columbia to reform U.S. immigration law, a 91-page journal compiled by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society shows. Read story

Faith leaders to lobby for immigration reform

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Pastors, nuns, rabbis and lay leaders from 16 states gathered for an interfaith prayer service at 9 a.m. June 18 on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to call on the Senate to pass immigration reform bill S.744. "We are here in Washington, D.C., to ensure the final bill is consistent with the American values of freedom, opportunity and compassion for all," said the Rev. Dean Reed of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Arlington, Texas. Reed, executive director of Justice For Our Neighbors in Dallas, spoke at the event.

United Methodists' fight against malaria

Holston raises $1.3 million to fight malaria

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N. C. (UMNS) - Officials of the Holston Annual (regional) Conference of the United Methodist Church have announced that more than $1.13 million has been raised in the fight against malaria in Africa. The conference had committed to raising $1 million a year ago, and when the announcement was made at the annual conference gathering last week that the goal had been surpassed, a deafening roar filled the auditorium, the reported. Read story

Knoxville church raises $10,000 to fight malaria

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - When the Rev. Catherine Nance of Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church suggested the church host the Skeeter 5K to raise money for Imagine No Malaria, The United Methodist Church's mission to eradicate malaria in Africa by 2015, she didn't know what she would find, reports. The event raised about $10,000 for Imagine No Malaria.

Read story
Learn about Imagine No Malaria

University and seminary news

Alternative breaks focus on service

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (UMNS) - For college students like Erin Vick and Caryn Shebowich who attend United Methodist-related Cornell College, the time they spent helping others on their "alternative" spring break inspired how they are spending their summer ... and perhaps how they will spend their future. Read story and post a comment

UMTV: Seminarian supports military kids

BOSTON (UMNS) - Nico Romeijn-Stout has spent years as a camper and employee of Lazy F Camp. This United Methodist program supports military families through a partnership with Operation Purple. Watch video

Ferrum College gets challenge grant toward chaplaincy

FERRUM, Va. (UMNS) - Ferrum College's goal to establish a $1 million endowed chaplaincy got a boost from philanthropist Guy Beatty with a $200,000 challenge grant. The endowed chaplaincy will support a college pastor in perpetuity and ensure ongoing support for the United Methodist-related Ferrum College campus ministries program including on- and off-campus projects such as student mission efforts. The match must be met by Dec. 25. For more information or to make a gift, please contact Kim Blair, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, by calling 540-365-4210 or emailing

Personnel news

Global Ministries names new executive

NEW YORK (UMNS) - As the new staff executive for justice and relationships for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the Rev. Regina Henderson will work with church partners in the United States and internationally. She is a member of the North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference. Read news release

Pension board's Bullock-Mixon to retire

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - Vidette Bullock-Mixon, who "made a significant contribution" in building the reputation of the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits as a socially responsible investor, is retiring after 31 years with the agency. Read announcement

Using technology to fight malaria wins award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Pierre Omadjela, director of communications and development for the Central Congo Annual (regional) Conference, won third place in the inaugural Visual Networking Index Service Awards Program for his storytelling about the power of technology to connect people and lives. Omadjela tackled the tough topic of access to healthcare and prevention of malaria. Read news release

Blogs and commentaries

Can we get a 20-percent-off coupon for General Conference?

HOUSTON (UMNS) - If the cost projection is accurate, The United Methodist Church will spend some $10.8 million for the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore., the next gathering of the denomination's top lawmaking body. The Rev. C. Chappell Temple, pastor of Lakewood United Methodist Church in Houston and veteran General Conference delegate, offers three ideas for cutting costs.

Read commentary and post a comment
Read United Methodist Reporter story on projected costs

Dear parents with young children in church

VERNON, N.J. (UMNS) - To any parent at church juggling diaper bags and wondering if it's worth it, Jamie Bruesehoff has some words of encouragement. She is a pastor's wife in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with which The United Methodist Church has full communion. Read blog

Fire doesn't quench little church's spirit

BLACK FOREST, Colo. (UMNS) - "Our church buildings are still standing, but several of our members were not as fortunate," noted the Rev. Burl G. Kreps, a United Methodist interim pastor of Black Forest Community Church, in a note to his friends. "We know that the homes of 10 members were destroyed." Read commentary and post a comment

Bishop Carder: Remembering Will Campbell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Every Christian leader needs a gadfly, someone who will cut to the chase and help him or her stay focused on the gospel. For one retired United Methodist bishop, that was the late Will D. Campbell, an iconoclastic Baptist pastor. This blog by Bishop Ken Carder appeared on Duke University's Faith & Leadership site. Read commentary

Commentary: 'We are the church'

ATHENS, Ga. (UMNS) - "Although our building will no longer be the same, our church is still standing strong," wrote Jenny Alpaugh, editor of The Odyssey, after the loss of the building that housed Oconee First United Methodist Church in an April 15 fire.

Read story
Church fires: Damage, recovery, prevention

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

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

Help kids, break a Guinness World Record, June 29 - 9 a.m. to noon ET, United Methodist Communications' Rethink Church and Action Ministries will join forces in five north Georgia cities to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most sandwiches in one hour. The effort will provide meals for Smart Lunch, Smart Kids, which assists more than 800,000 children in Georgia. 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

Deadline for World Methodist Conference logo submissions, July 22 -The World Methodist Council is accepting submissions for the official logo for the 21st World Methodist Conference, which will be in September 2016 in Houston. The conference theme is "One." Details.

Free webinar "Spiritual, But Not Religious - Adult Faith in a Post-Christendom World," July 23 - 6:30 p.m. CT, tips on ministering in the current U.S. social context from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Free webinar "Is Your Church Ready for a Capital Funds Campaign?" July 25 - 6:30 p.m. CT, indicators of whether churches can make fundraising work from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

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

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries