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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 15, 2013


United Methodists in the news

United Methodists welcome new pope

ROME (UMNS) - United Methodists offered prayers and warm wishes to Pope Francis I, the first pope from the Americas, who now will set the tone for ecumenical relations between the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian traditions.
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End to exclusion of women in combat welcomed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist chaplains and other denominational leaders welcomed news that the U.S. military is ending its policy of officially excluding women from combat. Combat is already a reality for women, said Chaplain Maj. Terri L. Jones, a United Methodist pastor who has been in the military for 15 years in the Army Reserve.
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How one church is helping Newtown heal

NEWTOWN, Conn. (UMNS) - In a detailed look at how the community was "left to cope with the unthinkable" after the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings that that left 28 dead, The Christian Science Monitor reports that Newtown United Methodist Church changed on that day. It became and has remained "an ark to protect them from an invasive outside world and a place to confront their anger and confusion and grief."
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Indiana man scales Kilimanjaro for kids

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (UMNS) -Mike Marker has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. The News-Sentinel reports that now he hopes, with the help of people's generosity, to mark another milestone. His goal in scaling Kilimanjaro was to raise a dollar a foot to allow his Climb for Kids project to send 100 children to United Methodist summer camps. He needs about $11,000 more.
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News from around the connection

Study: Common themes in church vitality and change

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A new study about how a group of United Methodist congregations successfully dealt with change says three key elements were almost always present: a pastor not afraid to lead, laity who would partner as a team with the pastor and a God-led purpose or vision. Clergy and laity in leadership positions at 158 congregations, representing almost all of the denomination's U.S. conferences, were interviewed for the Toward Vitality Research Project.
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Read Toward Vitality Research Project

United Methodist Men give nearly $180,000 to fight hunger

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In 2012, United Methodist Men gave $179,800 to Meals for Millions, a program of the Society of Saint Andrew to feed the hungry. Wade Mays, national director of Meals for Millions, honored Indiana Annual (regional) Conference United Methodist Men for giving the highest amount of money to the society in 2012.
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Ecumenical response to January tornado recovery

ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. (UMNS) - The plight of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the town's oldest African-American church, after a January tornado has caught the heart of the ecumenical community, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief has joined with other faith-based organizations to help support the church's members - many of whom have damaged homes - as they begin their long-term recovery.
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Rethink Church joins in El Paso event

EL PASO, Texas (UMNS) - Rethink Church, part of United Methodist Communications, will join Celebrate! Segundo Barrio, which includes music, food and a free community health and wellness fair on March 16 for residents in El Paso. The community event also includes the third annual Segundo Barrio 5K Walk/Run, which will benefit the United Methodist initiative Imagine No Malaria.
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United Methodist Insurance elects new president

Nashville, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Insurance Company board of directors elected Charles D. Hamilton as president of the organization. Hamilton will assume his position immediately. United Methodist Insurance Company is a captive insurance company wholly owned by the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency.
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WCC condemns arson attacks in Pakistan

GENEVA (UMNS) - In a letter to Pakistani churches, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, top executive of the World Council of Churches, has condemned the March 10 attacks on Christians in Badami Bagh, Lahore. More than a hundred houses were burned after allegations of blasphemy.
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Women making history

Women making history: Bishop Wallace-Padgett

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UMNS) - Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, who leads the North Alabama Annual (regional) Conference, has been shaped by her hometown community in Kentucky, her family and home church. She's also taken inspiration from women who have made a difference in the world. She is the fourth in a series talking with women in the church during Women's History Month.
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Women making history: Jalisa Ross

JENKS, Okla. (UMNS) - Jalisa Ross, a 21-year-old United Methodist and Native American, has addressed the United Nations on behalf of The United Methodist Church as well as a recent United Methodist Women's gathering. She credits her local church and the Oklahoma Indiana Missionary Conference youth program for teaching her to lead. She is the third leader profiled in a series during March for Women's History Month looking at women in the church today.
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Women at U.N. share real-life challenges

NEW YORK (UMNS) - To say that the women attending the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations understand the crises occurring around the world would be an understatement. Since the commission meeting began March 4, topics addressed during official sessions and related workshops and panel discussions have mirrored global trends and events.
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Women's History Month: Everyone can be a change agent

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - "During Women's History Month, let's commit ourselves to celebrate the women who are named in history books and research, and identify those who are not named," writes Susan Burton for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. "Those unnamed heroines are as significant in changing history and actively nurturing our girls and boys to create a world where God's kingdom has come and there is an end to oppression."
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News around conferences

New gun law raises questions for Arkansas churches

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - A new state law lets individual congregations decide whether to allow concealed handguns in their church buildings. Amy Forbus, editor of the Arkansas United Methodist newspaper, writes about reaction among United Methodist leaders and the denomination's non-binding teaching that churches should be weapon-free zones.
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Church sends more than 4,400 cards to aircraft carrier

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (UMNS) - Sharon Ginger, youth leader at Grace United Methodist Church in Poplar Bluff, shares how church youth got their community involved with an effort to send more than 4,400 cards to the men and women serving on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier. The Missouri Annual (regional) Conference Review has the story.
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Circuit rider saddle bags come to rest

COLUMBIA, Mo. (UMNS) - A set of saddle bags believed to be used by a circuit rider have found their way to the Missouri Conference Center, after a few rounds of being discovered and rediscovered. Fred Koenig, editor of the Missouri Annual (regional) Conference Review, has the story.
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Justice for Our Neighbors opens new Chicago Clinic

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Justice For Our Neighbors, the United Methodist network of legal clinics, opened its Chicago Clinic site March 9 with six clients already on the schedule. Volunteers from Humboldt Park United Methodist Church and other communities of faith were there with hospitality, childcare and immigration legal services.
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Pennsylvania bishops urge Medicaid expansion

HARRISBURG, Pa. (UMNS) - Pennsylvania's three United Methodist bishops on March 11 urged Gov. Tom Corbett and members of the state legislature to say yes to expanding Medicaid service to vulnerable individuals and families under the federal government's new health-care law. The bishops - Thomas Bickerton of the Western Pennsylvania (regional) Conference, Peggy Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Jeremiah Park of the Susquehanna Conference - met with the governor and legislators.
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TV host highlights church ministry with unemployed

ROSWELL, Ga. (UMNS) - Roswell United Methodist Church will be featured at 7 p.m. ET Sunday, March 17, on the "Clark Howard Primetime Show" on WSB-TV. The show will focus on Roswell's ministry with the unemployed as well as housing and small business. The taping was also attended by Bishop Mike Watson and the Rev. Mike Selleck, connectional ministries director, both of the North Georgia Annual (regional) Conference.
Learn about Roswell's job networking ministry
Read United Methodist News Service story about ministry

University and seminary news

Positive messages unite college campus

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - Last semester, sophomore Sarah Haas was walking into her dorm at United Methodist-related Duke University when she noticed a sticky note on the floor of the entrance. It said "You belong at Duke. #DukeEncourage." Sticky notes, Twitter and a wall that displays Bible verses, Dr. Seuss quotes, Aerosmith lyrics and even drawings are part of a campus-wide campaign to unite and inspire students.
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Project provides e-books for Liberian theology students

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) - Professors and students at the Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia spend time and money copying passages the students need for study because they don't have enough books. But that could change once a pilot project using e-readers gets under way, thanks to a collaboration of two United Methodist agencies.
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Saint Paul School of Theology gets accreditation

LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Saint Paul School of Theology has received notifications from the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission that the change of location from 5123 Truman Road, Kansas City, Mo., to 13720 Roe Ave, Leawood, Kan., has been approved. Saint Paul School of Theology will move forward in an educational collaboration with the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Saint Paul School of Theology intends to begin teaching classes at the Church of the Resurrection in the fall of 2013.
Read news release

Claremont offers ethical leadership degree

CLAREMONT, Calif. (UMNS) - Claremont Lincoln University is offering an online degree for working professionals seeking advanced education in professional leadership, ethics and organizational change. The M.A. in ethical Leadership consists of 10 online classes that can be completed in as little as 15 months. United Methodist-related Claremont School of Theology is a member of the Claremont Lincoln Consortium.
Learn more

Resources for Christian discipleship

Ministry Matters offers resources for church leaders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Ministry Matters, provided by the United Methodist Publishing House, is a destination site for all church leaders, both paid and volunteer. The site's goals are: to equip, connect and inspire people in ministry. Ministry Matters offers three websites in one - a magazine, a reference library and a social network. The magazine portion consists of free articles, blog posts and This Sunday worship and preaching content using the lectionary.
Quick Links for Lent and Easter
This Sunday free lectionary based content
Circuit Rider online

Grants aim to fight poverty among older adults

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The denomination's Committee on Older Adult Ministries will distribute grants to help local congregations deal with issues surrounding "old age poverty." The committee is administratively related to the United Board of Discipleship. The grants will be available to local churches that identify ways to be in ministry to older adults who face poverty issues, including financial exploitation.
Read news release

Webinar offers help with 'Praying the Scriptures'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Interpreter magazine and The Upper Room plan to offer a free webinar on "Praying the Scriptures" at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, March 19. The webinar is part of a yearlong series on prayer practices. Guests will include the Rev. Beth Richardson, editor of Alive Now! magazine, and the Rev. Andrew Dreitcer, director of spiritual formation at Claremont School of Theology. The webinar will close with a journey to some unique "Stations of the Cross" and "Stations of the Resurrection."
Register for the webinar

Blogs and commentaries

The Lenten journey

BREMERHAVEN, Germany (UMNS) - In the sanctuary of the United Methodist church in Bremerhaven is a "portable" cross. One Sunday each month, the congregation takes the cross to a place somewhere in the city. Germany Area Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council of Bishops, points to that church as an example of the Lenten challenge to take up the cross and break out of our comfort zones for Christ.
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Building community through ministry teams

CAPE CORAL, Fla. (UMNS) - "Large gatherings of people for corporate worship and teaching are important, but it isn't Christian community," writes the Rev. Jorge Acevedo in a commentary for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at United Methodist-related Wesley Theological Seminary. "Real community doesn't happen in rows of chairs, but in circles," he says. Acevedo is the lead pastor of Grace Church, a multi-site United Methodist congregation in Florida. The commentary is adapted from his book "Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World."
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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 and put Digest in the subject line.

March 19 - Free webinar on "Praying the Scriptures," 7 p.m. CT, sponsored by Interpreter magazine and The Upper Room. Details

March 19, April 17 - Poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch will address "The Good Funeral and the Empty Tomb" at 5 p.m. ET March 19 in Candler School of Theology's room 252. He will present "The Feast of Language" at 7 p.m. ET April 17 at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta. The lectures are free, but registration is required. Details

March 19 - Benefit for Day1 radio ministry, 6:30 p.m. ET, Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta. United Methodists Lillian and Buddy Darden among those honored. Details

March 21 - Free webinar "Consumerism and the Christian," 6:30 p.m. CT, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register

March 23 - Spring Youth Forum for high school youth ages 15 and older, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT, Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology. Theme is "Walking in Faith Together." Details

March 24 - Palm/Passion Sunday. United Methodist Board of Discipleship has worship ideas.

March 25-30 - Holy Week. United Methodist Board of Discipleship has worship resources.

March 27 - Deadline to register for online course: Moodle 100 - Basic Training, April 3- May 15, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. Cost is $89. Details

March 31 - Easter. United Methodist Board of Discipleship has worship resources.

April 1 - Deadline for seminary students to apply for two internships at Oak Forest United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Ark. Interns, who will receive a small stipend, will live and work in Barnabas House, the church's counseling and social work center. Send a letter outlining your interest in the internship, a copy of your rsum and three letters of recommendation to: Summer Internship, Oak Forest United Methodist Church, 2415 Fair Park Blvd, Little Rock, Ark., 72204. Learn more

April 1 - Deadline for nominations of the Foundation for Evangelism's Culture of Call Church award, which recognizes a United Methodist congregation that encourages young people to respond to God's call to full-time Christian service. Nomination forms.

April 2 - Deadline to register for free webinar on the intersection of maternal health and domestic violence, 3 p.m. ET, April 3, sponsored by United Methodist Women and Healthy Families, Healthy Planet. Details

April 3 - Deadline to RSVP for "Rethinking the Mission: Developing a District Strategy" workshop, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. ET, April 11, Hinton Rural Life Center, Hayesville, N.C. Details

April 3-7 - "Caring for God's Creation" retreat, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, N.C. Details

April 5-8 - Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace and Justice, supported by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Details

April 5 - Deadline to sign up for South Central Small Church Leadership Institute, April 14-18, Mount Sequoyah Retreat and Conference Center, Fayetteville, Ark. $199. Details

April 5-7; April 12-14; April 19-21; Nov. 8-10 - Confirmation Retreat Weekends at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Details

April 11 - Free webinar "The Pastor's Moving - the SPRC Role," 6:30 p.m. CT, tips for saying goodbye and welcoming pastors for members of staff-parish relations committees from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries