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UMNS Weekly Digest - June 30, 2017


Top viewed stories from June 23-29. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

'See All the People' pushes disciple-making

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists need to worry less about fixing churches and more about making disciples of Jesus Christ, says the Rev. Junius Dotson, top executive of Discipleship Ministries. The agency’s “See All the People” initiative encourages local churches to focus on disciple-making, and to work harder to reach those beyond the church. Sam Hodges reports.
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Teen leads revival for racial reconciliation

GREENWOOD, Miss. (UMNS) — Ethan Oltremari, a United Methodist teen, wanted to do something about his Mississippi town’s racial divide. So he organized the Revival on the River, which brings together musical groups from both predominantly African-American and predominantly white churches. Heather Hahn has the story.
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Petitions: 'Incompatible' is unconstitutional

REDLANDS, Calif. (UMNS) — The Denmark and California-Pacific conferences have petitioned the denomination’s high court, asking for a decision on the constitutionality of church law and Social Principles language stating that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Sam Hodges reports.
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Florida Southern: A Frank Lloyd Wright treasure trove

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) — Florida Southern College, with the most Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings of any single site, was named a United Methodist Historic Site this year. Suzanne McGovern has the story.
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Still in 'Deep Denial' on race

NEW YORK (UMNS) — As a young person living in the South during the 1950s and 1960s, the Rev. David Billings saw the Methodist Church as a way out of the rigid segregation of the time. He has written a book about his experiences and learnings as an anti-racism trainer, “Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in U.S. History and Life,” that he hopes will spur others to action. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Bishop: Second Nigerian episcopal area crucial

KARIM LAMIDO, Nigeria (UMNS) — Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna said Nigeria is likely to get one of the five bishops The United Methodist Church plans to add in Africa after 2020. Other church leaders in Nigeria agreed. 
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Church opens window to slave past on its property

MANASSAS, Va. — On the same day a city historical marker was unveiled for Grace United Methodist, a restored slave cabin on the church property was opened to the public. While refurbishing the building meant researching one of the most gruesome times in American history, church members and local historic preservation volunteers considered it an important task. Jonathan Hunley reports for The Washington Post.
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The Rev. Adam Hamilton subject of magazine profile

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The Rev. Adam Hamilton is featured in The Atlantic magazine for having led the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection to tremendous growth while preaching on controversial issues to a congregation he estimates as 60 percent Republican, 40 percent Democrat.
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Watch Aspen Institute video  

Way Forward Commission meets in Chicago

WASHINGTON — The Commission on a Way Forward will convene in Chicago July 19-21 to continue its work concerning human sexuality and exploring options for the future of The United Methodist Church on the issue. The meeting is closed to the public and press. 
Read press release 
Read moderators' posts and other commission releases 

2017 annual conference reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Poland Conference ordained a woman as a deacon, the first woman ordained in the conference since 1972. Other new reports this week are: California-Pacific, Desert-Southwest, Greater New Jersey, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Georgia, Pacific-Northwest and Rio Texas.
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Valdez Barker heads to Global Ministries

ATLANTA — The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has named the Rev. Amy Valdez Barker as its new executive director of Global Mission Connections. She will leave her role as chief connectional ministries officer for the Connectional Table on July 30.
Read Global Ministries press release  
Read Connectional Table press release  

Learning to connect 'Church to Community'

WASHINGTON — In a new project, “Church to Community,” the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will highlight congregations across the connection that are working with their neighbors to build a more just and equitable community. First up is the United Methodist Church for All People in Columbus, Ohio.
Visit Church to Community webpage  
Learn more about the Church for All People  
Watch video 

$1 million challenge for central conferences

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Jerre and Mary Joy Stead have committed $1 million to support theological education for United Methodists in Africa, Asia and Europe. The pledge to the Endowment Fund for Theological Education in the Central Conferences must be matched 4-to-1, so each $400,000 raised will unlock $100,000 of the Stead pledge. Jerre Stead serves as board chair of United Methodist Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. 
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Town with no school serves 66 at VBS

TUTTLE, N.D. — There is no school in the town, but Tuttle United Methodist Church still served 66 children at vacation Bible school this year. “What better way to share the love of Jesus with these kids? Many do not get to go to church any other time,” said Susie Heidt, coordinator for VBS at Tuttle and 2017 Dakotas Conference recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award.
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Morningstar ministry connects Native Americans

BISMARCK, N.D. — The Rev. Susan Jennys and Morningstar Fellowship, a Native American outreach ministry in South Dakota, are the recipients of this year’s Streams of Justice Award, presented by the Dakotas Annual Conference. Morningstar, led by Jennys, connects Native Americans through sacred conversations over morning coffee. The Dakotas Annual Conference has the story.
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Financial planning for clergy candidates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has joined with Wespath and EY (formerly Ernst & Young) to offer financial planning services to certified candidates for licensed and ordained ministry. The services will be offered for free to candidates upon certification by their district committees on ordained ministry.
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What is meant by the term 'image of God'? 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — Genesis 1:27 says that humans are created in the image of God, but what exactly does that mean? InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, looks to Scripture and the writings of John Wesley for the answer in the latest installment of Ask the UMC.
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Ask the UMC 

Commentary: Four marks of the next Methodism

DAYTON, Ohio — The Rev. David F. Watson predicts there will be revival of the Methodist tradition in the United States. The dean and New Testament professor at United Methodist United Theological Seminary writes about the four qualities he believes will characterize that revival.
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Pastor's wife laments threat of Medicaid cuts

GUILFORD, N.C. — A United Methodist pastor’s wife writes about how Obamacare has been important to her family after the birth of a child with Down syndrome and heart problems. Joanna Hudson writes further that proposed cuts to Medicaid threaten her family, and many others.
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See church history this summer

MADISON, N.J. — The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History has put together a traveler’s guide for United Methodists hoping to take in a bit of the denomination’s history while on vacation.
See guide  

South Congo bishop's fiancée dies

WASHINGTON — South Congo Area Bishop Kasap Owan Tshibang’s fiancée, Miriam Mwenya Tshibind, died June 22, in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, after a short illness. 
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New United Methodist handbook available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The new United Methodist Church Handbook is available, providing a detailed overview of the denomination’s beliefs, mission, structure and history. The handbook is a free, go-to resource for anyone in search of information about the church and is helpful for leaders and new members.
Learn more 
Get handbook 



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, July 5-Tuesday, July 18

Online Workshop: The Non-Anxious Leader — Based on Edwin Friedman’s “Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue,” this course will provide a basic understanding of how to begin the journey toward becoming an effective, non-anxious leader. This workshop from is comprised of a series of brief recorded presentations that can be viewed at the student’s convenience on specific days. The course also includes three online discussions and online interaction with the instructor and other students. This course offers 2.0 CEUs. Cost: $99. Details 

Monday, July 10-Sunday, Aug. 20

Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home — This online book study addresses cultivating an ongoing, interactive relationship with God. During this six-week course from, participants will read, practice and reflect on chapters from Richard Foster’s book “Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home.” Cost: $45. Details

See more United Methodist events