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UMNS Weekly Digest - June 23, 2017


Top viewed stories from June 16-22. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Bishop John Wesley Hardt: 1921 to 2017

DALLAS (UMNS) — Bishop John Wesley Hardt is being remembered for his long, profound contribution to United Methodist life as pastor, episcopal leader and bishop-in-residence at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Hardt died June 18 at age 95. Sam Hodges reports.
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Read Response magazine story on UMW influence on Hardt  

How to reclaim the church-planting tradition

ALAMEDA, Calif. (UMNS) — Methodists once planted at least a church a day across the American frontier. Today’s United Methodists are trying to recover that legacy — with a modern twist. Heather Hahn reports on church planters who are blazing a trail among the unchurched. 
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Latin American Methodist leader remembered

ATLANTA (UMNS) — The Rev. Oscar Bolioli, 83, three-time president of the Evangelical Church of Uruguay, longtime ecumenical leader and champion for social justice, died on June 18. For two decades, he also was affiliated with the Latin American and Caribbean work of the U.S. National Council of Churches and Church World Service. The Rev. Gustavo Vasquez reports and Elliott Wright has a Global Ministries tribute. 
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Winkler, former Chicago pastor, dies

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — In downtown Chicago, a street in front of the 30-story-tall building housing the Chicago Temple, a United Methodist congregation, is named Eugene H. Winkler Way. The Rev. Eugene Winkler, who died June 16 at age 83, was “a fearless advocate for social justice,” writes son Jim Winkler, top executive of the National Council of Churches. Northern Illinois Bishop Sally Dyck will preach at the June 24 funeral at Barrington (Illinois) United Methodist Church, where another son, the Rev. Chris Winkler, is senior pastor.
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Turning fear to love

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — It was during the U.S. presidential primaries that retired Bishop William H. Willimon sat down to write his new book, “Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love.” Concerned by rising xenophobia and hate crimes, he began looking at the role of Christians in welcoming strangers. Julie Dwyer spoke with Willimon about the book and how Christians can learn to love rather than fear “the Others” around us.
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2017 annual conference reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service is posting reports from all annual conference sessions. New this week are reports from the Dakotas, East Ohio, Florida, Great Plains, Holston, Iowa, Memphis, New Mexico, Northern Illinois, Oregon-Idaho, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Ohio and Western Pennsylvania conferences. 
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Bishop Ough: Letter on high-profile trials

MINNEAPOLIS — Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough writes about the recent acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez in the death of Philando Castile and the mistrial in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby. Ough, who is also president of the Council of Bishops, reflects on what it means to worship a God of truth and justice.
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Clergy improve health with Duke program

DURHAM, N.C. — An intervention program for more than 1,100 United Methodist clergy in North Carolina led to improvements in weight, cholesterol and blood pressure that were sustained over 24 months. Duke University researchers published their findings in the June 19 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 
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Church blends dinner, worship, enterprise

GRAFTON, Mass. — Simple Church, a new congregation formed from the remnants of North Grafton United Methodist Church, blends dinner, worship and a new model for generating revenue — bread baking. The model is catching on with other United Methodists. G. Jeffrey MacDonald reports for Duke Divinity School’s Faith and Leadership web magazine. 
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Learning about God by listening to children

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — What can we learn about God and our Christian faith from children? The Rev. Jacob Armstrong of Providence United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, interviewed 59 children about their faith. The Rev. Joe Iovino talks with Armstrong and Jennifer Rodia, chief communications officer at United Methodist Communications, about those interviews. 
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Partnership streamlines path to ministry

HAMPTON, Va. — An agreement between two United Methodist-related schools will mean Shenandoah University students can complete their final year of undergraduate work while taking master’s level classes at Wesley Theological Seminary, one of 13 United Methodist seminaries. The program will begin in fall of 2018.
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BU offers dual education, ministry degrees

BOSTON — Boston University School of Theology, one of 13 United Methodist seminaries, is offering two new dual degrees in partnership with the university’s School of Education, beginning this fall. 
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How can churches be in ministry with Deaf?

BALTIMORE — People considering ministry with the Deaf often think of sign language interpretation, but there are many models for ministry with the Deaf. The Rev. Leo Yates Jr., a provisional deacon in the Baltimore-Washington Conference who serves as the consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries, writes about these possibilities.
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Preacher's kids share experiences

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Preacher’s kids, or PKs, share their experiences — from always attending church to enjoying leftover communion bread and playing hide-and-seek in the church. The Rev. Joe Iovino has the story. 
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Commentary: Interracial marriage

BALTIMORE — June 12, which marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, was not just another day for John Gauthier. It reminds him of the hard-fought struggle that preceded his interracial marriage. It also inspires a call to action.
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Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.

Wednesday, June 28

Deacon Dialogue 2017: Deacons as Emissaries, Sent by the Spirit — 1-7 p.m., CDT. Loyola University Lake Shore Campus, 6333 N. Winthrop, Chicago. On the eve of the World DIAKONIA Assembly, United Methodist deacons gather to learn about each other’s ministries, and receive both encouragement and challenge for their own ministry. The Rev. Ben Hartley will lead an exploration of emerging interpretation of the Greek word diakonos. This event is sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Details

Tuesday, Aug. 1 to Friday, Aug. 4

4th Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf — Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center, Waxahachie, Texas. Presenters will include Emmanuel Deaf Ministry of Brazil, United Methodist Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Caesar Rentie, a former NFL player reared by deaf parents. Details

See more United Methodist events