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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 9, 2018


Top viewed stories from March 2-8. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Bishop L. Bevel 'Bev' Jones III is dead at 91
ATLANTA (UMNS) — Bishop L. Bevel “Bev” Jones III is being remembered as the “ultimate people person” and a spellbinding orator. He also took a stand for racial reconciliation in 1957, when few white Southern ministers spoke out. Jones, born in a Methodist parsonage, died March 6 at age 91. Sam Hodges reports on his remarkable life.
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Read tribute by Gary Hauk of Emory University   

Native American trailblazer dies at 85 
OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) — The Rev. Homer Noley, a member of the Choctaw Nation and founder of the National United Methodist Native American Center, was a trailblazer in The United Methodist Church. Noley died March 2 at age 85. Ginny Underwood has his obituary.  
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German deaconesses reflect on lives of service 
HAMBURG AND FRANKFURT, Germany (UMNS) — Amid the rubble of World War II, some Methodist women found calling and purpose in a life of service as deaconesses who ran hospitals, taught and worked in local churches and cared for the sick and aging in their homes. Vicki Brown and Mike DuBose have the story and photos. 
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American, Filipino deaconesses, home missioners now an order  
German Methodism: A strong Christian voice   

Nigerian church faces hefty fines for building delays 
ABUJA, Nigeria (UMNS) — Federal construction regulations are threatening the future of Abuja Area 1 United Methodist Church. The church has been constructing a new building in the capital since 2009. However, a lack of money has led to delays and fines imposed by the federal government, further challenging completion of the huge structure. E Julu Swen reports. 
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Celebrating International Women’s Day 
BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — The theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is “Time Is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives,” a message that hit home with women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Methodist Church here said investing in women, especially those in rural areas, will be a priority in 2018. Philippe Kituka Lolonga reports.
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Local pastor loses license after same-sex wedding 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Holston Conference has withdrawn the license for a local pastor who officiated at a same-sex wedding while serving as associate pastor at two United Methodist churches. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Yambasu urges biblical faithfulness in sexuality debate 
ACCRA, Ghana (UMNS) — The president of the Africa College of Bishops expressed hope for a “revived and transformed United Methodist Church … built on the strong foundations of biblical authenticity.” Bishop John K. Yambasu devoted part of his keynote address at the Africa Extended Cabinet meeting to the debate over how the church ministers with LGBTQ people. Barbara Dunlap-Berg has the story.
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Hungry bishop gets help from a stranger 
DALLAS (UMNS) — Eurasia Area Bishop Eduard Khegay had his passport but forgot his wallet when he began his journey from Moscow to Dallas for a recent Council of Bishops meeting. His struggle to get snack food at LaGuardia Airport led to rescue by a fellow United Methodist clergyman. Sam Hodges reports.
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United Methodist Communications
Giving: Change the way you ask to get more 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Churches need money to carry out their ministries, but continually asking for money and encouraging reluctant donors to give can become tiresome. Tricia Brown has tips on the psychology of fundraising.
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United Methodist Communications
UMCOR recipients pay it forward

WEST, Texas — For more than 50 years, United Methodist congregations have participated in a special UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing) offering, laying the foundation for the ministry of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Barbara Dunlap-Berg writes about the difference the denomination’s relief arm has made. “UMCOR is us,” says one flood survivor turned relief leader.
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UMCOR Sunday resources  

Secrets of John Wesley's death mask
MADISON, N.J. ( — Studying John Wesley’s death mask, made five hours after his death on March 2, 1791, turns the normal duties of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History into those resembling an episode of “CSI.” According to church historian Dale Patterson, the plaster mask shows the cause of Wesley’s death and that he needed braces. has the gory details.
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Church offers peace training to youth in DRC
FIZI, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — With the support of United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and local ecumenical groups, the church in the Democratic Republic of Congo is offering peace training to young people here. The goal is to help them seek ways to find peaceful solutions to local conflicts and to challenge them to support a culture of nonviolence. Philippe Kituka Lolonga reports.
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Attending to health needs in remote Sierra Leone
JOYAH, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The Sierra Leone Conference has opened a health center in this remote community in southern Sierra Leone. The conference’s Community Empowerment for Livelihood and Development program, supported by The United Methodist Church in Norway, provided nearly $40,000 to build the rural health center, which includes a maternal and child health post. Phileas Jusu reports.
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North Georgia Conference 
Church on the Atlanta Beltline

ATLANTA — Evan McElreath works for the church, but is rarely in one when he is working. Instead, his ministry happens as he walks along the Atlanta Beltline, a sustainable redevelopment project that will ultimately connect 45 neighborhoods via a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, a modern streetcar and parks. Rebecca Wallace has the story.
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Holston Conference
Pastor bringing Gospel to Prague

ALCOA, Tenn. — The Rev. John Redmond, pastor of the English Speaking United Methodist Church of Prague, works in a vast land of opportunity. According to a recent poll, 72 percent of Czechs do not identify with a religious group. Redmond has been in the United States to raise awareness for a ministry that was designated as a Holston Conference mission in 2016. Annette Spence has the story.
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The Herald-Sun and Duke Divinity School
LGBTQ protest interrupts dean's speech at Duke Divinity

DURHAM, N.C. — A group of Duke Divinity school students interrupted the dean’s annual state-of- the-school address to press for better treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. The group has a list of 15 specific demands, Ray Gronberg reports. On March 6, Dean Elaine Heath announced the formation of a task force on gender and sexuality issues.
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Read Duke press release   

World Council of Churches
Theology students gather in Tanzania

MAKUMIRA, Tanzania (WCC) — More than 100 theology students gathered March 5 for the opening of the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute 2018, organized by the World Council of Churches. The Rev. Pamela Couture, a United Methodist and professor at the Emmanuel College of Victoria University, is one of the facilitators tasked with guiding the students through their coursework.
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Lake Junaluska 
Lake Junaluska has new executive director  

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Lake Junaluska Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Ken Howle as the new executive director, effective immediately. Howle has worked at Lake Junaluska, a United Methodist conference and retreat center, for the last 14 years as director of advancement and as director of sales and marketing.
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Board of Higher Education and Ministry 
April training set on collegiate ministry 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry will host an April 23-26 training for annual conference leaders involved in collegiate ministry. The registration deadline is March 23.
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Don’t give up on your neighborhood
CASPER, Wyo. — The Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter urges congregations not to give up on their neighborhoods. “This Lent, I challenge you to get local and reach out to your neighbors, not someone else’s neighbors,” she writes.
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Northern Illinois Conference 
1968 was year to remember for church, world

CHICAGO — The United Methodist Church is beginning to share retrospectives on the 1968 merger that created the current denomination, writes Chicago Area Bishop Sally Dyck. But Dyck adds that it’s important to remember that 1968 was a tumultuous, pivotal and significant year in U.S. history, too.
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Commentaries on Way Forward 
Interpreting the bishops' meeting

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The two church future options now being considered by the United Methodist Council of Bishops don’t include the model that would have kept the existing language on marriage and homosexuality in the Book of Discipline, writes the Rev. Thomas Lambrecht. He is a member of the Way Forward Commission and vice president of Good News, which supports the denomination’s current restrictions related to homosexuality. He offers his thoughts on what will happen.
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Church future hanging by thread
SEATTLE — The only way United Methodist bishops can overcome distrust is to propose a way forward with incredible novelty that “creates conditions for full inclusion of LGBTQ persons and keeps moderates from being seduced to the Wesleyan Covenant Association,” writes the Rev. Jeremy Smith. The progressive blogger admits he doesn’t know what that would look like but prays the bishops and the commissioners do.
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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.

Sunday, March 11 

UMCOR Sunday

Monday, April 9

Deadline to register for United Methodist Women Assembly 2018


See more United Methodist events