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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 10, 2017


Top viewed stories from March 3-9. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Women in ministry find shoulders to stand on

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Women in The United Methodist Church often draw inspiration from those who have helped pave the way for them, from historical figures to more recent groundbreakers like Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly, the denomination’s first African-American female bishop. Even today, however, clergy and laywomen are challenged simply because of their gender. A few women share their thoughts for Women’s History Month. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Breaking the silence to build support

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Too young or pretty to be taken seriously as a pastor? Not valued enough for equal pay? The #HerTruth video project, produced by the United Methodist North Alabama Conference women’s commission, tells a sobering story about discrimination against women in ministry and offers resources to help the church uphold its standards of equality. Linda Bloom reports.
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Liturgies focus on women's stories

Young clergywomen challenge evangelical group

EDGEWOOD, Md. (UMNS) — More than 200 United Methodist clergywomen under the age of 40 have signed an open letter disputing statements by the Wesleyan Covenant Association, a new evangelical group. The clergywomen argue differing views on homosexuality can be Wesleyan. Heather Hahn reports.
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Religious leaders stand for refugees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists are among religious leaders calling for welcoming and restoring hope to the 66 million displaced people in the world and opposing executive orders from the Trump administration. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Commentary: Issues over 'unlawful' marriages

LANCASTER, Pa. (UMNS) — Questions of divorce and remarriage by clergy and members were considered by Methodism’s top court long before same-sex marriage became an issue. Darryl W. Stephens writes about one case considered by the Judicial Council in the 1920s.
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United Methodist bishop on CNN series

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — “Archaeological and historical work cause us to stop and reflect on Scripture in a different way," says Bishop Minerva Carcaño. She is a commentator on three episodes of stories about the life and time of Jesus, including one that airs Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT on CNN. Christopher Fenoglio has the story.
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Pastor: Men's ministry hard but needed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Rick Vance, director of men’s ministry for United Methodist Men, acknowledges the work is “hard and messy.” However, the ministry is critical. Vance will be leading a workshop at the 12th National Gathering of United Methodist Men, July 7-8, in Indianapolis. Rich Peck of United Methodist Men has the story. 
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Learn more about the National Gathering
Agency receives advice on ministry of younger men

A Wesley hymn devotion for Lent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Charles Wesley’s “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast,” extends the invitation to Holy Communion in song. Joe Iovino writes in a devotion that the hymn is an important reminder that Lent is not only a time for engaging in reflection but also extending welcome.
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New Wesleyan sound in the works

What does the church say about fasting?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — There is a strong biblical base for fasting, particularly during the 40 days of Lent leading to the celebration of Easter. John Wesley fasted weekly and considered fasting an important part of a Christian's life. But does The United Methodist Church have official guidelines on fasting? InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has the answer in the latest installment of Ask the UMC.
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Ask the UMC

Marking the past and future of mission

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Plans are underway to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of what is today the worldwide mission agency of The United Methodist Church. The observation will include local and global events and help prepare for the future of mission, according to the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
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Discover your history for Heritage Sunday

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) — To celebrate Heritage Sunday this spring, the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History's History and Interpretation Committee is urging congregations to discover and then celebrate their own history. Heritage Sunday will be observed on May 24, Aldersgate Day, or the Sunday preceding that date.
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Pulpit exchanges preach justice, love

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UMNS) — As he approached the Wesley Foundation’s meeting room at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, the Rev. Wayne Wiatt hesitated. What could a 61-year-old white pastor say that would be of any interest to a group of black college students? D'Ann Lawrence White reports on the Florida Conference’s recent cross-racial pulpit exchanges.
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Micro homes for homeless on church campus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A community of 20 micro homes that will provide transitional housing for homeless people is planned on the campus of Glencliff United Methodist Church. The homes provide an alternative to “tent cities.” Getahn Ward reports for The Tennessean. 
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Sierra Leone publishing partnership signed 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone and Discipleship Resources International are collaborating to create a publishing team. Plans include a quarterly newsletter, the production of catechism booklets, daily devotionals and school curriculum books for the Sierra Leone church. Julu Swen has the story. 
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Agency recruits churches for health initiative

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries hopes to unite 10,000 churches in an initiative called Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children. The program encourages churches to help save lives by promoting safe births, good nutrition, breastfeeding and childhood-disease prevention. Emily Snell reports for Interpreter magazine.
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Church, campus ministry merge

CARROLLTON, Ga. (UMNS) — In June, St. Andrew United Methodist Church and the now-closed Wesley Foundation of the University of West Georgia will merge, working together to launch a new church. This Vital Merger might be the first between a church and campus ministry, leaders said. Sybil Davidson reports for the North Georgia Conference. 
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A pastor, imam and rabbi walk into SpiritCon …

DENVER — SpiritCon, a February event aimed at finding commonalities and unity among Christians, Muslims and Jews, drew 20 speakers and 150 participants to Park Hill United Methodist Church. Melinda Pearson of reports.
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Health care as a basic human right

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The top executive of United Methodist Church and Society urged United Methodists to advocate for a health care system that “leaves no person behind.” The Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe said the health care bill proposed by members of Congress rolls back “the progress made by the Affordable Care Act” and dismantles the historic protections in Medicaid. 
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Abingdon to publish Clinton devotional book

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the Rev. Bill Shillady, a United Methodist pastor, organized daily devotions from himself and others for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic nominee. Abingdon Press will publish a collection of the devotions — along with personal notes, portions of her speeches, and relevant headlines — with a foreward by Clinton. A portion of the proceeds will go to the United Methodist City Society in New York. 
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Read UMNS story on devotions

Brown named interim higher education exec

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has named Ted Brown as the interim associate general secretary for the agency’s Division of Higher Education. Brown recently retired as president of Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee.
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National ad campaign extends Easter invitation 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Miracles, and what children have to say about them, will be the focus of The United Methodist Church’s national Easter advertising campaign and accompanying local church resources this spring. 
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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, March 15

Office Hours Webinar: Storytelling for Career Guidance — Noon to 1 p.m. EDT. This webinar will explore common career turning points at various stages and ages, as well as how your own vocational story can help others in both religious and secular fields make career decisions as they respond to their own calls. Office Hours is a free webinar series featuring Candler School of Theology faculty and staff addressing practical, relevant issues in ministry. Details

Sunday, March 26

UMCOR Sunday — Gifts to UMCOR Sunday lay the foundation for all United Methodist Committee on Relief work by covering the costs of doing business. This means all contributions designated to specific programs can go 100 percent to these programs because UMCOR’s basic expenses are covered. Resources

See more United Methodist events