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 http://umns.umc.org.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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."
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.
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."
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."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share with others, email email@example.com.
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 www.lakejunaluska.com/july4th. Sunday worship services and evening concerts and dramas may be viewed live at www.lakejunaluska.com/streaming.
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.