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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 30, 2012

UMNS Weekly Digest

March30, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for March 26 30. 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:

United Methodist released from detention

SAN JOSE, Calif. (UMNS) - Ueen Joung (Cindy) Chang, 26, a member of a United Methodist Korean-American congregation in San Jose, who was detained for several weeks in Arizona on an immigration charge after being stopped on her way to a wedding, was released March 27.

Read full story and post a comment»

Somebody has been sitting in my pew!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - It seems some churchgoers - United Methodists not excluded - are as possessive of their "family pew" as the unfortunate baby bear in the fairy tale. They arrive for Sunday worship only to discover "someone is sitting in their pew." United Methodist News Service asked readers to share their stories of sitting in someone else's pew. Read full story and post a comment»

How the general ministries work

As the 2012 General Conference approaches, United Methodist News Service continues to offer 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 week's responses are from the Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, the Board of Church and Society, the Commission on the Status and Role of Women and United Methodist Communications. To read about how the agencies work»

Work toward General Conference builds

The United Methodist News Service is reporting on activities related to General Conference 2012, the denomination's top lawmaking body, which will meet April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla. UMNS reports appear as they occur and also can be found on General Conference 2012.Among the stories this week:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - The General Conference delegation from the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference has issued its response to various proposals to restructure The United Methodist Church's general agencies. "The Arkansas delegation agrees that The United Methodist Church must change in spirit and structure in order to fulfill its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World," the delegation's statement said. The delegates then listed the principles they would use in guiding its decision-making at General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking body. Read full statement»

Ethnic groups join inclusion calls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The National Federation of Asian American United Methodists and Black Methodists for Church Renewal have joined with a 2012 General Conference coalition that supports all people regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation in The United Methodist Church.

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Grants for students from 44 countries

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - Two hundred and six students from 44 countries will receive more than $1 million in leadership study grants for the 2012-2013 academic year from The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Read more»

Financial woes linger for churches

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Churches continue to feel the effects of "the Great Recession" of 2008 as contributions dropped $1.2 billion, according to the National Council of Churches' "2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches." Read more»

Taizé gathering coming to Chicago

CHICAGO (UMNS) ) - Three young people from the Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference are featured ina video promoting"Taizé: Pilgrimage of Trust" in Chicago this spring. The three were part of pilgrimages that New Jersey Area Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar annually leads to the ecumenical community in France. For more information»

Appalachian network supports petitions

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Appalachian Ministry Network voted during its March 22-23 meeting to approve $13,000 in grants to local churches and community centers in Appalachia and support two petitions to the 2012 United Methodist General Conference. Read full statement»

Discipleship top executive asked to stay

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, will remain in her position for an additional year to help provide stability and leadership during the period immediately following the 2012 General Conference. Greenwaldt's term was to end this year. However, the agency's board voted overwhelmingly to use a provision in the Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book, which allows extension of service on an annual basis. Read full story»

Faith leaders respond to shooting of Fla. teen

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Religious leaders and organizations responded last week to concerns raised over the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Some donned hoodies and went to church to pray for justice for the slain teen. Read full story and post a comment»

Other responses from Christian groups included:

  • "While people of faith must be agents for healing once these tragedies occur, we can and must also work to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the first place," said staff leaders of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society in a March 29 statement. "We call on our legislators to pass policies that protect our children and make the use of firearms a truly rare occurrence."
  • United Methodist Bishop Larry Goodpaster, president of the denomination's Council of Bishops, was among the signers of a March 28 statement from Churches Uniting in Christ committing "to raise the underlying issues of Trayvon's killing in our churches and wider society."
  • Erin Hawkins, the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, said in a statement Martin's death "reminds us that the work for moving from racism to relationships is far from over."
  • The Pan-Methodist Commission also sent a letter March 24 to Florida's attorney general and the U.S. attorney general expressing outrage over Martin's death and the lack of action by law enforcement regarding George Zimmerman, the shooter.
  • President Kathryn M. Lohre and staff leader Clare J. Chapman of the National Council of Churches said March 26 in a statement they were "profoundly disturbed" by the killing of Trayvon Martin and expressed concern about the racial stereotyping and endemic racism that sparks confrontations of the kind that led to Martin's death.
  • The Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, in his blog post "Trayvon Martin and the Muted Voice of the Mainline Church," discusses the need for United Methodists and other mainline Protestants to make their announcements part of the national U.S. media conversation.