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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 22, 2013


March 22, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for March 18 - March 25.It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service storiesand additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

United Methodists in the news

Church says no I do's until all can marry

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UMNS) - Leaders of Green Street United Methodist Church have decided not to have weddings in the church building until the denomination lifts its ban on same-sex marriage. The church announced publicly March 17 that its 18-member leadership council also has asked that its pastors refrain from signing marriage licenses until the State of North Carolina recognizes such marriages. Read story and post a comment

ABC to broadcast United Methodist Easter service

NEW YORK (UMNS) - ABC-TV will broadcast an Easter Sunday service on March 31 taped at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan. Check local listings for broadcast time. The service, featuring the church's choir and orchestra, includes a message, "Your Defining Story," by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor. Hamilton, a denominational leader and the author of 13 books, delivered the 2013 National Prayer Service message following the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Check local listings

Homeless drop-in center offers warmth

DETROIT (UMNS) - "We give them basically everything they need besides a house,"Bridgette Floyd, 23, a volunteer at the Homeless Drop-in Center inside Cass United Methodist Church, told the Detroit Free Press. "That's the only thing we really can't give out. Anything will help because these people really don't have nothing." Read story

Women making history

Women making history: The Rev. Roslyn Lee

DIX HILLS, N.Y. (UMNS) - "Having experienced cultural dualism, I strive to create an open and encouraging space for all God's people," says the Rev. Roslyn Lee, a licensed local pastor. "Once we step back from the dualism, we experience freedom in the wonder of God and how God continues to lead us." Lee is one of the United Methodist women featured during Women's History Month.

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Women making history

Women making history: Jocelyn Briddell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "It is critical that our history is highlighted through Women's 'Herstory' Month," says Jocelyn Briddell, "so we can envision a bright future for ourselves and our dreams are fully realized." Meet the new director of the Scarritt-Bennett Center, one of the United Methodist women featured during Women's History Month.

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Women making history

Haiti recovery: The church responds

Haiti 2013: Rebuilding St. Martin Methodist

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - It was a joyful Sunday recently for Lucienne Bazile and Noelzina Doavil at St. Martin Methodist Church. That was a dramatic change from a Sunday in January 2010 when services were amid the rubble of the church and school left behind by the earthquake days before. Doavil and Bazile were grieving then. United Methodists have helped to give Haitians a dramatic turnaround from the despair of three years ago.

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Haiti: The church responds

Haiti 2013: Bringing light to the darkest slum

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - In the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Korean United Methodist layman Seung Don Kim is a beacon of hope for the children. United Methodist News Service reports on how the church is helping Haiti to recover from the 2010 earthquake.

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Missionary Seung Don Kim
Haiti: The Church responds

Haiti 2013: Women help women improve lives

MIZAK, Haiti (UMNS) - From working to ensure healthy moms and babies to funding small growers, Haiti Artisans for Peace makes a difference.

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Watch slideshow of Haiti Artisans for Peace
Haiti: The Church responds

Haiti 2013: 'HAPI is a light that shines for me'

MIZAK, Haiti (UMNS) - At 34, a Haitian woman reflects on how the Haiti Artisans for Peace program has helped her to learn skills and earn money that makes life for her family much better. Read commentary and post a comment

Haiti 2013: Future seen through eyes of a 'kid'

PETIT-GOVE, Haiti (UMNS) - The people of Olivier brought their goats into the church square at the request of Gontran Delgrace, an agricultural technician who oversees the goat project funded by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, working with the Methodist Church of Haiti. The program brings much-needed income and a food source to the rural people in this small community outside of Petit-Gove.

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Haiti: The church responds

Haiti 2013: Methodist staff rebuild homes

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - Jean Claude Degazon and 15 members of his family live in a house with no doors, no electricity and no water. However, Degazon knows he has been blessed. He is one of 17 longtime staff members of the Methodist Guest House who lost their homes in the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake and qualified for a project created to help guesthouse staff.

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Haiti: The Church responds

News around conferences

Music minister to write 40 hymns for Lent

HAMDEN, Conn. (UMNS) - While many people are devoting more time to prayer and reflection during Lent, Eric Buggie will be spending additional hours at the piano. Buggie, music director at Hamden Plains United Methodist Church, has committed to write "40 hymns for 40 days" during Lent. The Rev. Joanne S. Utley, editor of The Vision in the New York Annual (regional) Conference, shares the story. Read story and post a comment

Church ministry reaches Hispanic/Latino neighbors

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (UMNS) - Our Saviour's United Methodist Church in Schaumburg offers English-language classes and free child care to the area's growing Hispanic/Latino immigrant population. Anne Marie Gerhardt, Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference's director of communications, shares how the church is reaching a new flock. Read story

Hail hits Mississippi children's home, vehicles

CLINTON, Miss. (UMNS) A March 19 hailstorm damaged a dozen vehicles and some of the 29 buildings on the campus of Methodist Children's Homes, which serves children and youth who have been abused. Volunteers and funds for repairs are needed. Read Story

Perkins dean: Don't panic about declining numbers

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (UMNS) - The Rev. William B. Lawrence, dean of Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology, advised the denomination not to panic in the face of declining U.S. membership numbers. The Rev. Sheron C. Patterson, director of communications in the North Texas Annual (regional) Conference, shares the story. Read story

News from around the connection

Black Methodists for Church Renewal restructure

CHICAGO (UMNS) - A new Black Methodists for Church Renewal was born Friday, March 15, 2013, when members attending the 2013 annual meeting approved a major restructure of the official caucus that advocates for Black Methodists in The United Methodist Church. Read story and post a comment

UMTV: Mentor for Homeless

RALEIGH, N.C. (UMNS) - Once an orphan on the streets, Kevin King now ministers to the homeless through a church program. "If I reach one person, then I'm doing God's work," he said. Watch video and post a comment

$110,000 awarded in Ethnic Local Church grants

WASHINGTON (UMNS)- The board of directors of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society awarded $110,000 in Ethnic Local Church grants during its spring meeting. Read about the recipients

$24,000 awarded in Human Relations Day grants

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Directors of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society awarded nearly $24,000 in Human Relations Day grants during their spring meeting here. Human Relations Day is one of The United Methodist Church's six Special Sundays with offerings. Human Relations Day strengthens United Methodist outreach to communities, encouraging social justice and work with at-risk youth. Read list of recipients

Young Clergy Initiative tops board discussion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Forming partnerships, sharing best practices and creating or supporting pilot programs to test what works are all being discussed for the $7 million Young Clergy Initiative, directors of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry learned during a presentation at their March 13-15 meeting. Vicki Brown shares the story. Read story

Board of Discipleship seeks new top executive

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -The board of directors of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship has authorized a committee to search for a new top executive to succeed the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, who will retire on Dec. 31 after 13 years. In other business, the board approved nine Christian curriculum proposals. Read news release

UMCOR training helped when earthquake struck

SANTIAGO, Chile (UMNS) - The training sessions that the United Methodist Committee on Relief was organizing for the Methodist Church in Chile provided "basic tools" when a devastating earthquake struck in 2010. Read story

UMCOR promotes TB prevention in Armenia

YEREVAN, Armenia (UMNS) - In Armenia, with the number of tuberculosis cases continually on the rise, identifying early signs of the disease is an important part of the Prevention of HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB project of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Sunday, March 24, is World Tuberculosis Day. Read story

Religious affiliation resurges in Africa, China

GENEVA (UMNS) - Both Christianity and Islam make up growing segments of the world's population as religious affiliation has resurged, with Africa and China showing the most marked religious change, according to findings presented by Todd M. Johnson, a religious demographer, at the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Center. Read story

Alcoholics Anonymous wrestles with spiritual roots

BEVERLY, Mass. (UMNS) - For Alcoholics Anonymous to continue helping addicts find freedom in sobriety, the 75-year-old organization must reclaim its spiritual roots. That is the message coming from reformers who say the group has drifted from core principles. G. Jeffrey MacDonald of the Christian Science Monitor shares how AA is grappling with diversity on spiritual matters. Read story

University and seminary news

Africa U. to celebrate 20 years of progress

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) - United Methodists from around the world literally built a world-class university from the red Zimbabwean clay in a little more than 20 years, and it is time to celebrate.

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See slideshow

Resources for church vitality

Easter outreach ideas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Easter is March 31, and many church leaders are preparing to pack the pews. They've ordered the Easter lilies and laundered the altar cloths, and pastors have written the very best sermon. Everyone hopes that if people show up on Easter Sunday, they'll be back the next week. United Methodist Communications offers seven outreach ideas that are within reach for churches. Read list

'Real ideas' for strengthening congregations

LUTZ, Fla. (UMNS) - For the seventh year, two Florida Annual (regional) Conference churches that have blossomed from dozens to thousands of worshippers and developed highly active ministries, invited others to join them in devising jumpstarts along the road to discipleship. Derek Maul of the Florida Conference shared some of their ideas. Read story

Society of St. Andrew offers VBS resources

BIG ISLAND, Va. (UMNS) - The Society of St. Andrew, a United Methodist partner that feeds the hungry in the United States, offers free vacation Bible school material to teach young people the importance of mission. The program is called "Superheroes of the Faith." Learn more

Blogs and commentaries

Bloombytes: Women must tell their stories

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Helping women participate in forums where they can make connections and share their stories can empower them to work for change in their communities, writes UMNS reporter Linda Bloom in her Bloombytes blog. The recent Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations is an example. Read blog

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 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. ABC-TV will broadcast an Easter Sunday service March 31 taped at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan. Check local listings.

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 2 - Free lecture on "Caring for our Aging Parents: Dementia and Mental Health Issues," at 7 p.m. ET, Killearn United Methodist Church, 2800 Shamrock St., Tallahassee, Fla. 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 - 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 5-8 - Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace and Justice, supported by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. 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

April 11 - Deadline to register for online course, "United Methodism 101," April 17-May 29, provided by United Methodist Communications. Cost is $9.99. Details.

April 13 - "Own Your Health Now Event" health fair, 8 a.m. to noon CT, Bonner Springs, Kan., sponsored by area United Methodist churches, Rethink Church, Own Your Health now nonprofit. Details.

April 14 - Native American Ministries Sunday, in which special offering benefits Native American outreach within annual conferences and provide seminary scholarships to Native Americans. Details and to donate.

May 18-19 - Change the World. Join the United Methodist Rethink Church event that helps build community locally and fight malaria globally. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries