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UMNS Weekly Digest - June 29, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for June 22 29. It includes summaries of stories, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from United Methodist News Service. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:



Ironman pastor shows 'Anything is Possible'

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (UMNS) - Pastor Scott Sharp was in a rut-physically, emotionally and spiritually. The 44-year-old knew he had to do something and that "anything was possible." Sharp is now vying to be in the Ironman World Championship. "At first, it was about overcoming illness," he said. "But it's really about the meaning of life. It's about what it means to live and die," Sharp said. Read full story and post a comment»

Reformers hail, hammer immigration ruling

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist advocates for comprehensive immigration reform see the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, as progress but are disappointed by the provision that allows "racial profiling" to continue. Read full story and post a comment»

Is this your mother's UMW?

NEW YORK (UMNS) -You could say that Cynthia Rives was raised from the cradle to be part of United Methodist Women. Now, as president of the Central Texas Conference UMW, she is excited and supportive as UMW starts a new chapter of its 143-year-old existence as a mission movement for women within The United Methodist Church. Read full story and post a comment»

Colorado Springs fire bypasses church

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (UMNS) - Aerial photos and earlier reports from an eyewitness reports make members of Wilson United Methodist Church hopeful that their building has survived the wildfire that threatened the Mountain Shadows neighborhood of Colorado Springs. Read updated story and post a comment»

Health care law survives; what's ahead?

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5 to 4 majority, largely upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama's health-care legislation. Some United Methodists hailed the decision, saying the law's provisions will help extend health insurance to the poor and even save local churches money. But, even proponents agree the legislation likely will need improvements. Read full story and post a comment»

Trailblazer bishop Leontine Kelly dies

OAKLAND, Calif. (UMNS) - Leontine Turpeau Current Kelly is being remembered as a trailblazer, spiritual mother, a bearer for women of color in leadership and a gift to The United Methodist Church. She died at age 92 on June 28. Being elected the first African-American woman bishop was just part of her "audacious life," said Bishop Judith Craig, who also was elected a bishop in 1984 just hours after Kelly. Read full story and post a comment»

Happy Birthday, John Wesley

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) - Today is one of the two days that mark the birthday of the founder of Methodism, John Wesley. Which day depends on whether you follow the Julian or the Gregorian calendar, as the Rev. Robert J. Williams, top executive of the Commission on Archives and History, explains. Post a comment to John Wesley»

Students await Congress on loan rates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Conor McCandless is just one of many college students who are partly financing their college degrees with a federal Stafford loan. For weeks, Congress has been delaying a plan that will keep the federally backed loan program interest rate at 3.4 percent. If they don't reach an agreement, the rates will go up.

Read full story and post a comment»

Same-sex union trial controversy continues

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (UMNS) - A year after being acquitted on one charge and convicted on another in a church trial, the Rev. Amy DeLong's proposed clergy covenant team plan has been adopted by the Wisconsin Conference. However, the plan still faces questions of law. Read full story and post a comment»

'Moment of grace' for immigrant students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - This is a moment of grace to prepare, United Methodists who work for immigration reform told the Tennessee Annual (regional) Conference during a discussion of the recent Obama administration ruling affecting immigrants who enter the country before age 16. Read full story and post a comment»

A year after N.D. flood: 'Faith thrives'

MINOT, N.D. (UMNS) - "Where were you?" That's a popular question for people who live and work in the Souris Valley of North Dakota after last year's flood, writes the Rev. Debra Ball-Kilbourne, pastor of Faith United Methodist Church in Minot. "Faith is rising from the floodwaters," she says. Read full commentary and post a comment»

Violet Kulah, bishop's wife, dies

JALINGO, Nigeria (UMNS) - Violet Mamusu Sackie Kulah, wife of Bishop Arthur F. Kulah, died June 26 in Liberia after a brief illness. Funeral arrangements were unavailable at press time. Now interim bishop of the Nigeria Episcopal Area, Bishop Kulah served the Liberia Area until his retirement in 2008. Married in 1956, the Kulahs were the parents of seven children, one of whom was adopted. At the end of the civil war in Liberia, they adopted 27 homeless and parentless children. The address for the bishop is Bishop Arthur F. Kulah, Nigeria Episcopal Area, UMCN Secretariat, Mile Six, Jalingo, Numan Road, PO Box 148, Jalingo, Taraba State, Nigeria.

Debby's waters slowly leaving Florida

APOPKA, Fla. (UMNS) - As Tropical Storm Debby moved into the Atlantic Wednesday, United Methodists began assessing the damages and what needs to be done to help affected communities. The slow-moving storm drenched Florida with rain for nearly four days, flooding parts of the state from the west coast to Jacksonville. Until waters recede, however, there's no way of knowing the extent of damage, said Pam Garrison, manager of the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery office. She told United Methodist News Service that only a few churches have filed insurance claims with the conference. Once assessments have been made, Garrison said, conference leaders will have a better idea what to do to help individuals and families recover.

Clark Atlanta president leads higher ed group

ATLANTA (UMNS) - Carlton E. Brown, the president of United Methodist-related Clark Atlanta University, was appointed May 31 to the Council of Presidents for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Read full story»

Pension Board honored for health plan

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - The Center for Health at the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits was among 30 U.S. employers to receive the National Business Group on Health's highest award on June 27. The honor, part of the group's Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award program, recognizes exceptional employee wellness initiatives. Read full story»

Duke names rural church program officer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) - The Rev. Kristen R. Richardson-Frick , an ordained elder in the United Methodist South Carolina Annual (regional) Conference, has joined The Duke Endowment as a program officer in the Rural Church program area, which offers grants to develop rural United Methodist churches in North Carolina, support their clergy and lay leaders and expand church outreach. Read more»

Officials condemn Sudan's church demolition

GENEVA (UMNS) -The top executives of the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches have expressed their shock following the demolition of an Episcopal parish church in Khartoum, Sudan, on orders of Sudanese government authorities. The action appears to be the latest in a series of "calculated attacks" on minority communities in Sudan, "and in particular Christians," the leaders said. Read statement»

Pensions ease central conference retirement

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) - Many aged United Methodist clergy and their widowed spouses outside the United States struggle to survive once their ability to fulfill their pastoral duties has faded. They have little or no pension income to provide for the rest of their lives at a time when their strength and health are failing. The Central Conference Pension Initiative was established by The United Methodist Church to improve their physical lives. Interpreter OnLine has the story. Read full story»

Still rebuilding after Irene

MIDDLEBURGH, N.Y. (UMNS) - Christian Vischi of the Upper New York Annual (regional) Conference reports that the city is still recovering from the damage done by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Read full story»

Ride fights hunger, binds conferences

BEATRICE, Neb. (UMNS) - Nearly 200 cyclists joined the 275-mile trek of the 17th Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger on June 23-27, the Beatrice Daily Sun reports. The benefithelped alleviate world hunger and brought together members of the Nebraska, Kansas East and Kansas West annual (regional) conferences, which have approved a plan to merge. Read full story»

Follow the ride on Facebook»

Pedaling for Imagine No Malaria

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - From the nation's capital to Pittsburgh, Nothing But Spokes is covered 335 miles to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. Read more»

Young adults serving in D.C.

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Twelve 20- to 22-year-olds began work early in June in the Ethnic Minority Young Adult Summer Internship program of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, working in social-justice organizations for two months. Read more»

Rio+20 falls short, church participants say

RIO DE JANEIRO (UMNS) -The Rev. Liberato Bautista was among the speakers at a "Rio+20" side event organized by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and the Baptist World Alliance. Participants criticized the "lukewarm" U.N. conference statement, which, they said, did not mention the ethical, cultural and religious dimensions of environmental sustainability. Read more»

New head of Christian Churches Together

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (UMNS) - Raised in a Seventh-day Adventist church, the Rev. Carlos Malave was captivated by the call for church unity in a seminary class taught by a Pentecostal ecumenist. Now, the associate ecumenical officer for the Presbyterian Church (USA) is the new executive director for Christian Churches Together, a forum that includes United Methodist participation. Read Presbyterian News Service story»

Pension board reviewing health-care rules

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the health-care law, the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits will continue to review the law and its regulations to implement the components that apply to the HealthFlex health plan. Read full release»

For updates on health-care reform»

West Ohio pulls off 'a current-day miracle'

LAKESIDE, Ohio (UMNS) - In what one pastor called "a current-day miracle," the West Ohio Annual (regional) Conference raised more than $1 million at its yearly meeting to buy a Cessna airplane for the Wings of the Morning aviation ministry. The airplane will be used to deliver medicine, mosquito nets, doctors, nurses and Bibles to villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo that are inaccessible by car. Read full story and post a comment»

UMTV: Couple Fosters 100 Children

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (UMNS) - Ralph and Sue Hillman felt a call to help those in need. "This voice, and I knew it was God, said, 'I want you to take care of babies.'" Watch their story»

Blog: Bledsoe: Search for fairness

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe has written a blog post on the North Texas Annual (regional) Conference website about his decision to fight the South Central Jurisdiction episcopacy committee's request that he retire early. "This issue is not about race!" said Bledsoe, an African-American bishop whose retirement dispute has drawn concernfrom the caucus Black Methodists for Church Renewal and others in the denomination. Instead he says, "the single issue is about fairness and due process in assessing leadership and procedures that lead to more effective ministry at all levels of the church." Read full blog post»

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries