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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 23, 2012

UMNS Weekly Digest

March23, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for March 1923. It includes summaries of stories 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:

Agency Q&A: Global Ministries

NEW YORK (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 Board of Global Ministries. Read full story and post a comment»

Foundation easesseminary finances

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Anyone who has gone to college knows the costs can sometimes be a bigger burden than final exams, robbing students of the joys and benefits of education.The Stegall Seminary Scholarship Endowment Foundation was formed in 2007 to provide financial support to seminary students from the Alabama-West Florida area. Read full story and post a comment»

Agency Q&A: United Methodist Men

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - As the 2012 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 fromUnited Methodist Men. Read full story and post a comment»

Paup, former bishop, executive, dies at 66

BELEN, N.M. (UMNS) - The Rev. Edward W. Paup, a former bishop of The United Methodist Church and top executive of the denomination's mission agency, died March 21 after a long battle with a brain tumor. Read full story and post a comment»

Agency Q&A: Board of Discipleship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - As the 2012 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 Board of Discipleship.

Read full story and post a comment»

Bishop candidates visit black caucus

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) - Twenty endorsed episcopal candidates from three jurisdictions addressed the 45th annual meeting of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn, (D-S.C.), the assistant Democratic leader of the U. S. House of Representatives, also participated in a town hall meeting on March 2. Read full story and post a comment»

Open letter urges support for new structure

LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) - More than 560 United Methodist clergy and laity as of March 21 have signed an open letter announcing their support for proposals to merge nine general agencies, nurture young leaders and empower bishops. Read full story and post a comment»

Agency Q&A: Finance and Administration

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 General Council on Finance and Administration.

Read full story and post a comment»

Finance group stands by $603.1 million budget

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Despite membership losses increasing at a faster rate than previously expected, the governing board of the finance agency recommended that the General Council on Finance and Administration stay with the $603.1 million budget for seven general church funds for the 2013-16 quadrennium.

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Agency Q&A: Higher Education and Ministry

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 Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Read full story and post a comment»

Bishop Paul A. Duffey dies at 91

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) - United Methodist Bishop Paul Andrews Duffey, 91, died March 18 in Georgia after a brief illness. Services will be March 23 at First United Methodist Church, Montgomery, Ala. Duffey was elected bishop in 1980 to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. He is survived by two children. His wife, Louise, died in 2010.

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Group offers 'Plan B' for church structure

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A group of church leaders is calling for an alternative to the proposed reorganization of The United Methodist Church's general agencies. An international ad hoc group of laity and clergy have put together a restructuring proposal they call "UMC Plan B, " combining contributions from people in 15 annual (regional) conferences in four U.S. jurisdictions and two central conferences outside the United States.

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UMCOR OKs funds for 2011 disasters

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - By prioritizing its work and further developing existing partnerships, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is "perfectly poised for what is yet ahead," said the Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey, UMCOR's top executive, during the March 21 board of directors meeting. Directors approved $2.1 million for recovery work in annual (regional) conferences affected by Hurricane Irene and other devastating weather events in 2011, along with $150,000 to rebuild homes in Haiti and $280,000 to help the Methodist Humanitarian Aid Team of the Methodist Church of Chile prepare for disasters. Read more»

Mission agency looks at global needs

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - Looking toward anticipated changes from the 2012 United Methodist General Conference this spring, Ohio West Area Bishop Bruce Ough urged directors of the denomination's Board of Global Ministries to "call on the Holy Spirit to unleash God's unlimited imagination." Ough, the mission agency's president, spoke during its March 19-22 meeting. Thomas Kemper, the board's top executive, stressed that mission is "the job of the global church, encompassing many cultures and tongues" and noted that nearly 50 percent of missionaries now come from places outside the U.S. Read more»

School focuses on church growth

ST. LOUIS (UMNS) - Registration is now open for the 2012 School of Congregational Development, a United Methodist event for laity and clergy to learn how to grow and develop local churches. The event on Aug. 16-19 in St. Louis is sponsored by the United Methodist boards of Discipleship and Global Ministries as well as Path 1: New Church Starts. Fees range from $375 to $475. To register»

Faithful budget part of ecumenical event

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - About 1,000 Christians are taking part in the annual 2012 Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, March 23-26. A delegation of the nation's leading religious officials unveiled the faithful budget at a national news conference March 22 on the lawn of the United Methodist Building. The faithful budget will be submitted to the U.S. Congress as part of the Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2012 Lobby Day March 26. Read more»

United Methodist coalition decries shooting

SANFORD, Fla. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Love Your Neighbor Common Witness Coalition, composed of two ethnic caucuses and three unofficial United Methodist groups, issued a statement expressing shock and sorrow over the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. "As a Christian coalition that works at the crossroads of issues, we must challenge all race-based profiling. It only leads to heartbreak and disaster," said Steve Clunn, director of the coalition. Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch person, on Feb. 26. Martin was unarmed. The Sanford police chief, Bill Lee Jr., who oversaw the investigation into Martin's death announced March 22 that he was temporarily stepping down, the New York Times reported. Read more»

Bush, Johnson Sirleaf at opening

DALLAS (UMNS) - U.S. President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, will participate in the launch of the Freedom Collection at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The Bushes and Johnson Sirleaf are United Methodists. The Freedom Collection is an effort to document the struggle for human freedom and democracy around the world. The event will be at 6-6:45 p.m. CDT March 28 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. Livestreaming of the event will be available online at www.bushcenter.com.

East Ohio affirms need for change

NORTH CANTON, Ohio (UMNS) -The General and Jurisdictional conferences delegation from the East Ohio Annual (regional) Conference has released a statement affirming "the need for significant, strategic change at all levels of our UM connection." The statement, according to Newscope, affirms the Call to Action's primary purpose of increasing the number of vital congregations. It also supports efforts to give annual conferences and local churches more freedom in organization, deployment of clergy based on mission and the realignment of agencies to reduce duplication of effort. Read full statement»

Board acts on campus ministry issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Educational standards for certifying campus ministers and a $250,000 loan to expand Africa University's potato farm were approved by the board of directors of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry at its spring meeting.

Read full story»

More 'UMC Plan B' developers listed

HARTWELL, Ga. (UMNS) - Some of the developers of "UMC Plan B," an alternative proposal for restructuring the denomination's general agencies, have announced their names to the news media. "We are experienced laity and clergy, delegates, non-delegates; some are members of the General Administration Legislative Committee (at General Conference)," their statement said. Read full statement»

Women's Division honors directors

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) -- The Women's Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, honored directors and celebrated the work of the 2009-12 quadrennium during a March 15-19 meeting. Inelda González, division president, was presented with a dedicated grant toward an anti-domestic-violence initiative in her name. Read more»

Condolences offered for Coptic leader

NEW YORK (UMNS) Directors and staff of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns "express their deepest condolences to Coptic sisters and brothers who mourn the loss of their leader and friend, Pope Shenouda III." The spiritual leader of the Egyptian Coptic Church since 1971 died March 17. "Christians everywhere were blessed by his humble strength and courageous leadership," the commission's statement said. "His lifetime commitment to peace with all of God's children and the spiritual well-being of his people are a shining example of courageous faith." In a March 18 letter, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, top executive of the World Council of Churches, paid tribute to Shenouda's unwavering pursuit of Christian unity and peace throughout the Middle East and the world. He served as a world council president from 1991 to 1998.

Bishop outlines Call to Action legislation

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (UMNS) - During a March 10 presentation to the Covenant Council of the West Virginia Annual (regional) Conference, interim Bishop William Boyd Grove outlined the pieces of legislation related to the Call to Action. The legislation will be voted on by delegates during the 2012 General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking body, on April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla. You can listen to the audio of Bishop Grove's presentation, and hear him talk about the Great Flood of 1985 on the Conference blog.

Connectional Table names nominating panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Members of The United Methodist Church's Connectional Table approved a nine-member committee during its March 5-6 meeting in Nashville to design a nomination process should proposed legislation be approved by the 2012 General Conference. The process would be used by the Connectional Table to select a 15-member board of directors for the proposed Center for Connectional Mission and Ministry. Read full release»

Flash floods in southern West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (UMNS) - Lincoln and Logan county residents are digging out after heavy flash flooding destroyed many homes and businesses on March 15. The West Virginia Annual (regional) Conference is serving those suffering in the aftermath of the flooding. Read more»

Webcast to teach grant process

NEW YORK - Applying for grants often can seem complicated, leaving a potential applicant overwhelmed with questions, sometimes only to give up on submitting an application. The United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence hopes to change that by hosting alive one-hour webcast tutorial at 1 p.m. EST March 30. The webcast is for those interested in substance abuse and related violence ministries, initiatives, and advocacy.

Meharry students matched to care fields

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Fourth-year medical students around the country, including United Methodist-related Meharry Medical College, learned where they will begin their careers as physicians March 16 during the nationwide Match Day. Fifty-three percent of Meharry's students matched in the primary care fields of internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine. The rate increases to 56 percent when obstetrics and gynecology is included in the primary care category. Meharry's overall match rate was 88 percent for the 2012 class of graduating seniors.

New initiatives, grants for Hispanic/Latino Plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -The National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry recently took a major step forward toward its goal of helping to grow Hispanic/Latino ministries by introducing new grants and by approving fund initiatives for the Western Jurisdiction and three annual conferences. During its meeting in Phoenix Feb. 16-18, the organization approved funding for Hispanic ministry projects in Oregon-Idaho, Florida and Greater New Jersey, as well as matching grants for aPath 1 initiative to train ministry leaders to seek diversity in their congregations.

Read more»