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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 31, 2017


Top viewed stories from March 24-30. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Africa University celebrates 25 years

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Hundreds gathered at United Methodist Africa University to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Many supporters brought gifts and memories as they looked forward to the pan-African institution’s future. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story, and Mike DuBose has the photos.
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Carcaño looks ahead in celebrating AU

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Bishop Minerva Carcaño preached at the close of the 25th anniversary celebration of Africa University. She said she dreamed of satellite campuses of the United Methodist school. Kathy L. Gilbert reports, and Mike DuBose has the photos.
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Bishop reflects as Africa University turns 25

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Zimbabwe Area Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa — one of Africa University’s first faculty members — shares his thoughts on this United Methodist-related institution. The Rev. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo did the interview. 
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Global Ministries dedicates Asia office

SEOUL, South Korea (UMNS) — Christian leaders from around Asia joined in celebrating the opening of a regional United Methodist Global Ministries office March 23. They also celebrated the spirit of partnership the office represents. Tim Tanton reports.
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Pastor cooks for Taco Service

PEARSALL, Texas (UMNS) — When the Rev. Liliana Padilla makes tacos, the people say “Amen.” Padilla preaches at the 11 a.m. service at San Pablo United Methodist Church, but cooks for the 9:30 a.m. Taco Service, which she started to reach people who don’t usually come to church. Sam Hodges reports.
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Active legacy: United Methodists at the UN

NEW YORK (UMNS) — When Elsa Stamatopoulou started her work at the United Nations in 1980, United Methodists were among the leading faith-based partners collaborating to create standards and monitoring tools for human rights issues. The Board of Church and Society visited the United Methodist-owned Church Center for the U.N. during its March 23-25 meeting in the New York area. Linda Bloom reports. 
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Jimmy Carr, 'champion of deacons,' dies at 72

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — The Rev. Jimmy Carr, who died March 17, dedicated his ministry to bridging The United Methodist Church and the world. He helped connect Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center with the broader community and worked to make Africa University a beacon of the Cross and Flame. He also helped put the Order of Deacons on the denomination’s map. Heather Hahn has the obituary.
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New Orleans church offers sanctuary

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) — A diverse New Orleans church is willing to shelter undocumented immigrants in danger of being separated from family or returned to countries they fled. The Rev. Shawn Anglim said becoming a sanctuary church seemed a natural extension of the ministry of First Grace United Methodist Church. Vicki Brown has the story.
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Part-time clergy spark church innovation

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) — Although church leaders often worry that switching from full-time to part-time clergy will lead to decline, congregations across the country are finding new vitality by reimagining the roles of clergy and laypeople. Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership reports on the experiences in multiple denominations. 
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New conference celebrated in Nigeria

KARIM LAMIDO, Nigeria (UMNS) — United Methodists celebrated the inauguration of the new North East Nigeria Annual Conference this month, with Bishop John Wesley Yohanna, Nigeria Episcopal Area, presiding. The new conference consists of 12 districts, six mission areas, 124,311 professed members and 88 clergy members. Sharon Adamu Bambuka reports.
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United Methodist Church at work in Flint

FLINT, Mich. (UMNS) — United Methodists are working on numerous fronts in response to the water emergency in Flint. As the church provides water relief, the city reached a legal settlement with the state of Michigan, which has agreed to pay up to $97 million for new water lines. Kay DeMoss of the Michigan Area has this update. 
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Cincinnati church vandalized with sexual slurs

CINCINNATI — Clifton United Methodist Church was vandalized with sexual slurs written on the church sign. “We don’t know why this happened, but that it happened is troubling,” said the Rev. David Meredith, the openly gay pastor of the church. The church has been vandalized before and incidents included broken windows and a swastika carved out in one of the restrooms, officials said. Fernanda Crescente has the story for the Cincinnati Enquirer.
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Church of the Resurrection's new sanctuary

LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, the best-attended United Methodist congregation in the U.S., plans a grand opening of its new sanctuary April 1-2. The visual centerpiece is its stained-glass window, which tells the story of Christianity from creation to the 21st century and is reportedly the largest single-image stained glass ever made. David Burke has the story for the Great Plains Conference. 
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Solutions to 4 common pastor problems

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — Pastors are often the go-to people for calming a storm. Tricia Brown offers tips to pastors in weathering their own storms, from criticism to health concerns. 
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Black pastor, white congregation 

WHITMAN, Mass. (UMNS) — The Rev. Crystal Gardner knows the challenges of being an African-American serving a predominately white congregation. The Whitman United Methodist Church pastor is among those profiled by the New England Conference in a series on cross-cultural appointments. 
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UMW gears up for 2018 Assembly

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) — “The Power of Bold” will be the theme for the 19th quadrennial Assembly of United Methodist Women, set for May 18-20, 2018, in Columbus. A promotional video and other resources are already available. 
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Top communicators honored by peers

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) — Carolyn Conover provided leadership at a critical time when she joined the Greater New Jersey Conference after Superstorm Sandy, Bishop John Schol said. Conover was honored as 2017 Communicator of the Year by the United Methodist Association of Communicators. Catherine “Cate” Monaghan, former director of communications for the California-Nevada Conference, was the Hall of Fame inductee.
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Hymn is prayer for God to fill us with his love

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — The hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” is Charles Wesley’s prayer for God to fill us with love more and more each day. Joe Iovino reports in the third of four Lenten musical devotions. 
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Gwen White memorial service planned

LEXINGTON, Mass. (UMNS) — A memorial service for Gwen White, the wife of retired Bishop C. Dale White and a longtime retreat and spiritual director, will be held at Lexington United Methodist Church at 1 p.m. on April 11. The New England Conference corrected the address for condolences to Bishop White to 80 Deaconess Road, Unit 453, Concord, Massachusetts, 01742. 

Father's mission legacy continues

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (UMNS) — Ed Ririe of Oklahoma, who served on 27 United Methodist volunteer mission teams, was helping flood survivors when he died suddenly Jan. 24. Holly McCray of the Oklahoma Conference writes about how his family is carrying out his legacy.
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Commentary: Electing Oliveto

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (UMNS) — In a commentary, Emily Allen and the Rev. Kent Ingram write about the 2016 Western Jurisdiction’s election of the Rev. Karen Oliveto as bishop from their perspective as delegates who participated in the vote. Oliveto is the first openly gay bishop for The United Methodist Church.
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Faith and Order Committee wants feedback

HOUSTON (UMNS) — Knowing that the nature of The United Methodist Church is a hot topic, the Committee on Faith and Order has developed a resource to facilitate that conversation. The document is titled “Wonder, Love, and Praise: Sharing a Vision of the Church.” Bishop Scott Jones, who leads the committee, encourages United Methodists to engage in a new small-group study on the document and complete feedback forms.
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Church's 'Roving Listeners' build community

MACON, Ga. (UMNS) — Centenary United Methodist Church works in its Macon neighborhood to connect neighbors to one another and to promote a greater sense of community through its Roving Listener program. Kara Witherow of the South Georgia Conference writes about this group of youth and adults who hears what people want to see happen in their communities and gives them a voice. 
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Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.

Monday, April 3 - Friday, April 14

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Multimedia Technology — This workshop from is designed for the church volunteer or pastor who would classify themselves as “beginners” in multimedia experience. Please note that since the workshop utilizes some software that is Windows-based, Apple users may find limitations. This course has been approved by Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries. $75. Details

Thursday, April 6

Free webinar "Celebrating Pentecost with Children" — Elizabeth Christie, a Christian educator with The United Methodist Church, will lead a discussion of projects, books and activities to help children and their families celebrate the birthday of the church and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Practical Resources for Churches, an ecumenical group, offers the webinar. Details

See more United Methodist events