Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - March 16, 2012

UMNS Weekly Digest

March16, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for March 1216. 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 http://umns.umc.org.

Stories this week:

Plus:

BLOG:

What St. Patrick can teach United Methodists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - While many of the details of his life are shrouded in legend, on this scholars agree: The patron saint of Ireland left a legacy far more vibrant and lasting than the green beverages and food served on his feast day. And his life and ministry offer lessons for United Methodists today.

Read full story and post a comment»

'Our town has lost its obscurity'

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. (UMNS) - Whenever she stepped out of her house, Lori Keeton could always count on a view of the West Liberty United Methodist Church, its steeple gracing the town's horizon against a backdrop of mountains. That view changed forever for Keeton and hundreds of others on March 2, when tornadoes destroyed not only the church, but also flattened houses and businesses in Kentucky and several other southern and Midwest states. Read more»

Hope rises above flood damage in Minot

MINOT, N.D. (UMNS) - Recovery from last summer's massive flooding in Minot, N.D., has been painstaking, but hope for the future builds each time a volunteer steps forward or shares material resources. Beginning April 1, United Methodists heading to Minot to volunteer can count on Hope Village, located on the Our Savior Lutheran Church campus, for food and housing. Some observers view Hope Village, the first ecumenical, cooperative venture of this scope, as a possible model for future disaster response across the United States.

Read full story and post a comment»

'We are not forgotten'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - One Great Hour of Sharing offering supports UMCOR, allowing them to do things like send school and hygiene kits to children in Armenia. On March 18, or another day this year, join United Methodists everywhere by celebrating the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

Read full story and post a comment»

Agency Q&A: Publishing House

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - As the2012 General Conference approaches, United Methodist News Service is looking at details of legislation and offering information to help readers better understand how the church works. A number of proposals are aimed at restructuring the denomination and its general ministries, so UMNS asked the top executives of each agency to answer five questions about their agency's role in the church. This is the response from the United Methodist Publishing House. Read full story and post a comment»

Sibling Arkansas delegates share hopes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Two General Conference delegates from the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference - the Rev. John P. Miles Jr. and the Rev. Rebekah "Beka" Miles - are siblings with sometimes widely divergent views. But they and other delegates are being encouraged to use holy conferencing, or holy conversation, to set "a tone for respectful dialogue and relationship building." Read full story and post a comment»

Agency Q&A: Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns

NEW YORK (UMNS) - As the 2012 General Conferenceapproaches, United Methodist News Service is looking at details of legislation and offering information to help readers better understand how the church works. A number of proposals are aimed at restructuring the denomination and its general ministries, so UMNS asked the top executives of each agency to answer five questions about their agency's role in the church. This is the response from the Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. Read full story and post a comment»

Fluke reacts to Limbaugh comment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Sandra Fluke, the young law student behind the controversy stirred when Rush Limbaugh called her derogatory names, is a lifelong United Methodist who says the church taught her to speak out for others in need, "even if that wasn't a popular thing to do."

Read full story and post a comment»

Will restructure give bishops more power?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A growing number of United Methodist leaders say they fear proposed restructuring will put too much power in the hands of the bishops. Members of the Call to Action Interim Operations Team that developed the restructure proposal counter that the recommended changes will advance the bishops' work on mission - not their power. Read full story and post a comment»

Agency Q&A: Religion and Race

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - As the 2012 General Conferenceapproaches, United Methodist News Service is looking at details of legislation and offering information to help readers better understand how the church works. A number of proposals are aimed at restructuring the denomination and its general ministries, so UMNS asked the top executives of each agency to answer five questions about their agency's role in the church. This is the response from the Commission on Religion and Race. Read full story and post a comment»

Long history of set-aside bishop proposals

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) - Issues of leadership and management have been a part of our life from the beginning, says the Rev. Robert J. Williams in an excerpt from his remarks on the proposed "set-aside" bishop. The top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History offered a historical perspective on previous efforts to appoint a nonresidential bishop to provide greater church oversight.

Read more and post a comment»

Should bishops have a full-time president?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In the blogosphere, commenters have called the proposed position everything from a United Methodist archbishop to the denomination's CEO. One thing is certain: The proposal to set aside a bishop to serve as full-time president of the Council of Bishops is sparking discussion.

Read full story and post a comment»

Agency Q&A: Archives and History

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) - As the2012 General Conference approaches, United Methodist News Service is offering information to help readers better understand how the church works. A number of proposals are aimed at restructuring the denomination and its general ministries, so UMNS asked the top executives of each agency to answer five questions about their agency's role in the church. This is the response from the Commission on Archives and History.

Read full story and post a comment»

Radiation fear lingers after Japan quake

SENDAI, Japan (UMNS) - A year after a devastating earthquake/tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Japanese Christians - in northern Japan and nationwide - are grappling with radiation concerns. "In our area, the government says it's not a problem, it's not dangerous at all," said Jonathan McCurley, a United Methodist missionary based at the Asian Rural Institute. "But a lot of people are very concerned that's not necessarily true."

Read more and post a comment»

Restructure draws finance agency warning

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A proposed consolidation of general agencies could put The United Methodist Church's assets at risk, says a statement approved by the board of the denomination's finance agency. The General Council on Finance and Administration said the Interim Operations Team plan also could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of some church entities.

Read more and post a comment»

Countdown to GC 2012: Media Credentials

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Media representatives and church communicators must submit an application by April 13 to receive media credentials for General Conference. Applicants may pre-registeronline or by mail, and will be issued credentials on site at the Tampa Convention Center. Credentials must be requested for each representative of a media outlet, including photographers. After April 13, applicants must register on site.

For more information, visitgc2012.umc.org or get the General Conference app.

'This is home and we'll never leave it'

HENRYVILLE, Ind. (UMNS) - The day a tornado ripped through town, Peggy Ward rode out the storm in the basement of her daughter's house, next door to the Henryville Elementary Junior/Senior High School. The school was destroyed. So was Ward's home, along with dozens of others in this town of a few thousand people. Even though she has no insurance, Ward believes she'll eventually rebuild. "This is home, and we'll never leave it," she said. Read more»

What to give?

SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (UMNS) - What will help tornado survivors more - 20 cases of Frosted Cake Confetti Pop-Tarts or $20? At the Prater Memorial United Methodist Church in Salyersville, Ky., boxes of Pop-Tarts are crowding the altar and piled in the pews. Material donations often don't match the needs of disaster survivors, explained the Rev. Tom Hazelwood of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. "Cash donations enable UMCOR to send help exactly where and when it's needed," he said. Read more»

50 days of prayer campaign begins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)-"For many of us, Lent is a season of intense prayers of self-examination, of listening intently for God's continuing call, of repenting," writes Interpreter editor Kathy Noble in her"Just Thinking" column. Noble urges everyone to engage in the denomination's "50 Days of Prayer" campaign that begins today and continues through the end of General Conference, May 4. Read more»

Board of Discipleship responds to restructure

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The executive committee of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship has issued a statement in response to the proposed restructure of the Interim Operations Team. Under that proposal, nine general agencies - including the Board of Discipleship - would be consolidated into a new Center for Connectional Mission and Ministry under a 15-member board. "Of greatest concern is that it is not obvious how the pathway created by the IOT legislation is informed by the Call to Action research and leads to more vital congregations," the executive committee's statement said.

Read full statement»

Texas Conference affirms Call to Action

HOUSTON (UMNS) - After its meeting on March 9-10, the Texas Annual (regional) Conference delegation to General Conference has released a statement that "affirms the hard work and visionary leadership of our Council of Bishops and others in issuing a 'Call to Action' to our denomination." The statement concurs that "creating vital congregations which make disciples of Jesus Christ is key to being a faithful church in a changing world" and calls upon the General Conference to "carefully consider and perfect the legislation associated with the Call, recognizing that some specific proposals need clarification and changes in order to lead us into the future which God has for us as a church." Read full statement»

March 26 'witness' for health care arguments

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - As the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments March 26-28 on key issues and challenges to the health-care law passed two years ago, people of faith are planning to make "A Prayerful Witness for Health Care" at 11:30 a.m. March 26 in front of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. The witness "will be a compassionate commitment to the common good," organizers say. Read more»

Tornado takes church, not heart

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. (UMNS) - For decades, Rose W. May has been the musical heart and soul of the West Liberty (Ky.) United Methodist Church. A retired Morgan County English teacher, she has played graduations, baptisms, weddings and funerals. The March 2 tornado that ripped through town took her church, her house and her grand piano. It even took her sheet music. But it couldn't take her songs, reports Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader. Read more»

Evangelical Seminary regains UM ties

MYERSTOWN, Pa. (UMNS) - Evangelical Seminary's status as an approved seminary of The United Methodist Church has been extended through 2016. The Rev. Anthony Blair, Evangelical's president, said in a news release that he received a letter from the denomination's University Senate announcing the decision on Feb. 27. The University Senate, which decides whether colleges and universities meet the criteria for affiliation,had removed the seminary from its approved list in 2010 because of concerns over lack of ethnic inclusiveness of faculty and staff and the absence of full-time United Methodist faculty. The seminary last year won an appeal of the decision to remove it from the approved list and was granted a one-year extension that would have expired July 1. Read more»

Bennett College holds women's conference

GREENSBORO, N.C. (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Bennett College for Women plans to host its fourth annual Women's Leadership Conference on March 29. The event will focus on "Women Entrepreneurs in a Global Economy: A Driving Economic Force." The conference will bring together corporate, small business and community leaders with sessions on the issues and challenges women face as aspiring entrepreneurs.

Read more»

Cokesbury VBS kits on sale

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Through March 31, all Cokesbury vacation Bible school kits are 10 percent off. Churches can orderOperation Overboard orNo Friend Like Jesus starter kits today. Go towww.cokesbury.com.

BLOG: The role of another 'Lin' for diversity

NEW YORK (UMNS) - In the midst of the media hype surrounding NBA star Jeremy Lin, the New York Times recently turned a spotlight on another young man named Lin - Lin Dakang - who delivers takeout and is part of a United Methodist congregation that attracts immigrants from Fuzhou, writes Linda Bloom in her Bloombytes blog.

Read commentary»

BLOG: Disaster response is both/and

NEW YORK (UMNS) - In the wake of a disaster, local volunteers want to do what they can to help and become frustrated if they are turned away by disaster relief agencies. The Rev. Tom Hazelwood of the United Methodist Committee on Relief writes that there is a role for both trained and untrained help when tragedy strikes, and each are vital to recovery.

Read commentary»

BLOG: How do we know God's will for us?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In a commentary, The Rev. HiRho Park, director of clergy lifelong learning at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, offers eight suggestions for spiritual discernment before, during and after General Conference.

Read commentary»

BLOG: Are we ready to be relevant church?

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - In her blog,"Hawkins' View," United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race top executive Erin Hawkins says merging the denomination's social action and justice monitoring agencies into an Office of Reconciliation and Justice is "a move in the wrong direction."

Read full story»

BLOG: Blogs address 'Kony 2012'

SEATTLE (UMNS) - "Kony 2012," a Youtube video gone viral about Joseph Kony (pictured), a Ugandan whose Lord's Resistance Army has committed many atrocities, has generated both online buzz and media attention. In his blog, Patrick Scriven of the United Methodist Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference, offers youth leaders some advice, starting with "watch this video." In a separate blog, the Rev. Larry Hollon of United Methodist Communications examines the controversy stirred by the video campaign and the challenge of responding in a way that doesn't worsen the problem.

Read Patrick Scriven's Blog»
Read Larry Hollon's Blog»