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UMNS Weekly Digest - June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for June 25 - July 1.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

United Methodists and the news

U.S. court rulings impact same-sex couples

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The full ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings Wednesday, June 26, on same-sex marriage still are being hashed out. But the rulings already are winning praise from some United Methodists even as they trouble others. On one thing many United Methodists agree: The decisions will likely add fuel to a longtime denominational debate on how the church ministers to gays and lesbians. Read story and post a comment

Bagging sandwiches and a record to fight hunger

ATLANTA (UMNS) - Be there to watch when Rethink Church, the North Georgia Annual (regional) Conference and Action Ministries team up 9 a.m. to noon ET Saturday, June 29, in five north Georgia cities to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most sandwiches in one hour. It's all in support of the Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program that is trying to serve 200,000 healthy lunches to children in 20 Georgia cities this summer. Volunteers will gather in Augusta, Atlanta, Athens, Gainesville and Rome to prepare thousands of sandwiches and we'll follow the action on Twitter.

Follow the effort along on Twitter @UMNS or at #sandwichrace
You can also cheer participants on Twitter to Fight hunger in @ConnectNGUMC #umc #sandwichrace
Look for updates on Facebook
To volunteer
Watch interview on "Atlanta and Company"

Sisters give 3 years to map hunger solutions

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Two sisters, both active United Methodists, Betsy Comstock and Carolyn Pesheck, wanted to see for themselves how people are responding to the issue of hunger in America. The two embarked on a series of road trips between 2009 and 2012 that took them to hunger-related programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The result is "Facing Hunger in America," a report that summarizes the issues and best practices of the 93 programs visited. They also kept an online diary of their travels in a Facing Hunger in America blog. Read story and post a comment

Pastor's son takes his diabetes fight to Capitol Hill

MILBROOK, Ala. (UMNS) - Caleb Perry, son of the Rev. Chris Perry, pastor of Robinson Springs United Methodist Church, was recently featured on WFSA in Montgomery for taking his juvenile diabetes fight to Capitol Hill. Caleb and his father produced an introductory video, and Caleb was selected to be one of two delegates from Alabama to attend the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children's Congress.

See video
Read story about Caleb

Church agency: Immigration reform bill inadequate

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society, the denomination's social advocacy agency, praises the U.S. Senate for its initiative in finally passing a bill to reform immigration laws. Unfortunately, though, the agency says the legislation passed is not what is needed to truly repair the broken U.S. immigration system. Read news release

CWS celebrates immigration vote

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Church World Service commended the U.S. Senate on its 68-32 vote June 27 to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. "This vote represents a historic landmark in the path to justice for millions of families across our nation who have spent too long facing family separation wrought by our broken immigration system," said the Rev. John McCullough, a United Methodist and CWS president. Read story

United Methodist Women support climate change effort

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Harriett Jane Olson, the top executive of United Methodist Women, commended President Obama for "using his moral authority and political power as head of state to move our nation forward in our urgent need to address climate change." Olson, referring to the plan the president unveiled last week to address climate change, noted that "we recognize, like President Obama, that the eyes of the future are on us." Read story

United Methodists and voting rights

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church in its Book of Discipline teaches: "The form and the leaders of all governments should be determined by exercise of the right to vote guaranteed to all adult citizens." What do you make of today's U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act? What impact do you think it will have on U.S. adults' ability to exercise the right to vote?

Join the conversation on the UMNS Facebook page
See church teaching on voting

News around the connection

Youth and young adults increasing in faith formation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Popular rhetoric may claim youth and young adults are disappearing from the church. But actual numbers reported by United Methodist congregations show participation by those age groups in ongoing faith formation activities is increasing, the United Methodist Board of Discipleship reports. Read story

Mission plane begins flight home

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Gaston Ntambo, pilot for the United Methodist Wings of the Morning aviation ministry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will begin his weeklong journey home Friday, June 28. He will be flying a refurbished Cessna Grand Caravan - a 14-seat airplane that will greatly enhance his ministry of transporting critically ill or injured passengers from remote corners of the Congo to medical care in the city of Lubumbashi.

Read story
Wings of the Morning slideshow
Follow Ntambo's flight

Just save one: How to help the AIDS fund

NEW YORK (UMNS) - If more than 34 million people around the world have HIV, can one person really make a difference? Absolutely, yes, said the Rev. Don Messer, co-chair of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund. "You can't change the whole world," he said, "but, one by one, we can change the lives of individuals and play our part in curbing HIV and AIDS in the world." Susan Kim explains how it works. Read story

UMCOR meets new needs in Sudan

DARFUR, Sudan (UMNS) - At the request of Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commission, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is providing emergency shelter for new internally displaced persons after fresh violence interrupted what was thought to be progress toward a better life. Read story

Methodist Guest House manager dies

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - Anne Ruth Depestre, manager of the Eglise Mthodiste d'Haiti (EMH) Guest House and wife of the Rev. Marco Depestre, secretary and superintendent of Port-au-Prince Circuit of EMH, died of a heart attack June 21. The funeral was held June 26, 2013, at Port-au-Prince Methodist Church, New College Bird Chapel, Haiti. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Port au Prince church organ fund.

See the June 24 Haiti Response Plan newsletter on ways to contribute
To express sympathies, sign the Guest Book

Archives commission seeks new leader

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) -The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History is searching for a new top executive to succeed the Rev. Robert Williams, who will complete his term next year. The transition could occur as early as April 1 or as late as July 1, 2014, and candidates must be professing members of The United Methodist Church. The application deadline is Sept. 1. Application information

Church represented at Infopoverty World Conference

GENEVA (UMNS) - The Rev. Neelley Hicks, who works to connect disadvantaged communities of the world with new communications technology on behalf of United Methodist Communications, is attending the annual Infopoverty World Conference in Geneva. The conference, sponsored in part by the United Nations, is being held through July 3. Hicks will address participants about how The United Methodist Church is using digital innovation to improve lives in developing countries.

Read background of conference
Read about conference sessions

Have you scheduled 'Killer in the Dark'?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Has your local NBC station scheduled the showing of "A Killer in the Dark," the documentary narrated by "NCIS" star Pauley Perrette about how mosquitoes destroy lives?

List of stations that have
For more for information

News around conferences

Methodists join in 'Campaign for Children in Poverty'

COLUMBIA, S.C. (UMNS) - United Methodist leaders in South Carolina are joining forces with other children's advocates to participate in a global Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty. Jessica Connor, editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, reports. Read story

Linking generations through prayer

PADUCAH, Ky. (UMNS) - DeVona Rosa of Broadway United Methodist Church wanted to strengthen friendships among generations at her church. So, she turned to prayer. Casey Northcutt of the Memphis Annual (regional) Conference writes about the church's Prayer Partners Program. Read story

Conferences vote on divestment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Four United Methodist annual (regional) conferences - New England, Minnesota, Pacific Northwest and Upper New York - voted in June to divest or have their funds divested from companies involved with Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, says Kairos Response, an advocacy group. The West Ohio, New York, Northern Illinois, California-Nevada and California-Pacific conferences already had taken similar action. Read story

Arkansas older adult study series wins award

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - The video components of "Living with No Regrets," a four-week study initiated in 2012 by the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference Council on Adult and Older Adult Ministries, has received a Bronze Telly Award for outstanding work in the category of "Non-Broadcast Productions - Social Responsibility." Read story

Resources for pastors and laity

Make sure the pastor's welcome is warm

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers a downloadable document giving you "50 ways to welcome your new pastor or associate pastor."

Download document
How pastoral appointments work

How pastors can 'bloom where planted'

BAXLEY, Ga. (UMNS) - When Brandi Harvey was growing up, the preacher's kid did not mind moving from city to city every few years. Now the wife of the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Baxley, Ga., Harvey wants her three daughters to have what she did not ... a place to identify as "home." Read story

Hymn history column on discipleship website

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Apopular weekly feature on hymn history that has appeared for decades in The United Methodist Reporter is now being hosted on the United Methodist Board of Discipleship website. The History of Hymns column, written byC. Michael Hawn, director of the Sacred Music Program at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, is available in a collaborative effort between Perkins and the discipleship board.

Read more
History of Hymns

History of Hymns: "O God of Every Nation"

DALLAS (UMNS) - C. Michael Hawn offers a brief history of No. 435 in the United Methodist Hymnal and how it arose in the context of war. Read story

Should Star-Spangled Banner be in church?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Practicing patriotism in church can be a sticky issue. What is the appropriate use of the U.S. flag in church sanctuaries? Interpreter Magazine explains. Read story

United Methodists confronting violence

Guidelines for confronting a church shooter

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Religion News Service reports that for the first time, the federal government has issued written guidelines for houses of worship that are confronted with a homicidal person armed with a gun. Beyond seeking shelter and waiting for police to arrive, as many did in Newtown, Conn., the new rules also advise adults in congregations to fight back - as a last resort - in a bid to stop the shooter. The new federal doctrine is "run, hide or fight."

Read RNS story
See guidelines

Resources for responding to violence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - On any given day, United Methodists respond to tragedy by offering support. Find resources for helping people cope with violent events, read news coverage and learn how individuals as well as ministries make a positive difference, even in the most difficult of times. Resources

Time is now to end gun violence

BLACKSBURG, Va. (UMNS) - The Rev. Glenn Tyndall was the United Methodist campus minister at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, when a young man killed 33 people including himself. Tyndall says the lasting lesson of that day should be "Never again." Read story

Hokie Nation stronger after 2007 shootings

BLACKSBURG, Va. (UMNS) - The Rev. Bret Gresham, now the United Methodist campus minister at Virginia Tech, talks about how the campus has changed since that fateful day.

"The tragedy that occurred that day could have broken our community, creating division and hatred. However, through all the pain, grief and struggle that followed the shootings, Virginia Tech has become a closer community intent on serving one another and others."
Read story

Chicago forum to address youth violence

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Youth themselves are the key to decreasing youth violence, contends young adult Angel Grant. "When 50 or more young people are getting shot ... every weekend, it's time for a revolution of peace in our streets," she said. Grant is inviting United Methodists from across the metro area to participate in a Youth Empowerment Forum on July 13 starting at 2 p.m. at Grace-Calvary United Methodist Church on the city's South Side. "The goal of this event is to connect and collaborate in doing big initiatives together to create powerful solutions to ending violence," she added.

For more information, email or call 872-800-4336.

University and seminary news

United Methodist-related campus has the 'Wright' stuff

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - A new tourism and education center designed by the late Frank Lloyd Wright will add to the architectural exhibit at United Methodist-related Florida Southern College, helping the campus attract up to 90,000 visitors a year, college officials said. Kevin Brady of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference talks about the college that is home to the largest collection of Wright's architecture in the world. Read story

Mentoring, scholarship program graduates six

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Six seminary students involved in a scholarship and mentoring program for racial-ethnic students who plan to be ordained as deacons or elders in The United Methodist Church are receiving Master of Divinity degrees this year. That brings to 19 the total graduates who participated in the Journey Toward Ordained Ministry program since it began in 2004. Read story

Garrett-Evangelical fills chair named for bishop

EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) - United Methodist Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has announced the first person to hold the newly endowed Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation, named for the retired United Methodist bishop and author of "Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living." Frederick W. Schmidt will be the Rueben P. Job Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation effective July 1. Read news release

Bennett College names provost

GREENSBORO, N.C. (UMNS) - Bennett College has announced that Joyce Blackwell has been appointed provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at the United Methodist-related institution. She is the chief academic officer for the college and responsible for all academic and student affairs. Read news release

News of interest

More than platitudes, praying for others promotes hope

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (UMNS) - What do those prayers mean? More than you might imagine, it turns out, particularly when the pledge comes from someone near to the person suffering, new research suggests. David Briggs, former United Methodist News Service editor, sheds light on the research findings in the Huffington Post. Read story

Charitable giving still slumps after recession

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (UMNS) - The recession officially ended in 2009, but the economic recovery has been slow and unstable in the years since. Experts say that has meant Americans across the economic spectrum have been hesitant to return to their pre-recession giving levels. NBC News reports on a report on 2012 giving prepared by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and released this week by Giving USA. Read story

Blogs and commentaries

Is Hollywood manipulating Christians?

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The blockbuster "Man of Steel" has all sorts of messianic overtones that its makers are trying to capitalize on. Jonathan Merritt, writing for Religion News Service, wonders "Is Hollywood manipulating Christians to turn a buck?" Read commentary

Saying grace: Paula Deen, progressives and race

DALLAS (UMNS) - "When it comes to discussing race, progressives have little tolerance for intolerance past or present. We throw labels around as easily as the Pharisees threw stones at adulterous women," writes Maria Dixon in a commentary about the reaction to celebrity chef Paula Deen's admission that she used a racial slur. Dixon is an associate professor of communications studies at United Methodist-related Southern Methodist University and a member of the commission of United Methodist Communications. Her commentary appeared on Patheos. Read commentary

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 Centennial Homecoming Celebration, June 30-July 7 - Reunions, speakers, concerts (including Balsam Range), a water skiing show, home and garden tours and historic re-enactments are all on tap during the celebration. A complete schedule of events can be found at Sunday worship services and evening concerts and dramas may be viewed live at

Independence Day, July 4 - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship has worship and music resources.

"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.

Reach New Disciples Conference, Nov. 2 - 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Wesley Theological Seminary's Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Washington. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries