Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - May 03, 2013


May 3, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for April30 - May 6.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

Church vitality

Church vitality: How do you define it?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Leaders across the denomination are pondering that question even as they seek to increase the number of highly vital churches. This is the first in an ongoing series of reports. Read story and post a comment

UMTV: Vital church makes disciples

FORT MYERS, Fla. (UMNS) - The Rev. Jorge Acevedo leads a growing multi-campus congregation in Florida. Acevedo has written a book and offers seminars on how other churches can become vital. Here's a look at Acevedo's own congregation and what is keeping people coming back to Grace Church. Watch video and post a comment

UMTV: Church thrives on diversity

CLEVELAND (UMNS) - In a white, upper middle-class suburb of Cleveland, people drive miles to join one of the most multicultural churches in the state of Ohio. Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church casts a wide net in every direction to welcome all ages, races and socio-economic groups under one steeple. Watch video and post a comment

Church started by lay couple celebrates anniversary

OAKHURST, Calif. (UMNS) - Ken and Debbie Garner approached retired Bishop Beverly J. Shamana in 2001 about the lack of a United Methodist presence in their Oakhurst community after hearing her preach at an event. New Community United Methodist Church, which they started, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Rev. Larry R. Hygh Jr., director of communications in the California-Nevada Annual (regional) Conference, shares the church's story. Read story

8 ways to connect young adults to the church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - During the coming summer, young adults in your church, as well as their friends, may have time - and skills - to share. United Methodist Communications offers eight opportunities for young adults to engage with the church and community. Read story

Seven steps for vital older adult ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Churches genuinely concerned about the faith development of all God's people will want to be intentional in developing vital ministry by, with and for older adults. The Rev. Richard H. Gentzler Jr., director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, shares seven steps to reach older adults. Read story and post a comment

50 ways to welcome a new pastor

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Paul Simon sang about 50 ways to leave a lover. The Rev. Bob Crossman, minister of new church starts and congregational development in the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference, offers advice for a far happier scenario: 50 ways to welcome a new pastor. This essay is offered by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at United Methodist Wesley Theological Seminary. Read list

United Methodists and mental health

Mental health: Education is key

CHICAGO (UMNS)-Dan Magrini, 23, took his life in 2011. His family has made it their mission to educate people on the causes of depression and bipolar disorder and to fight the stigma, fear and misunderstanding often associated with a diagnosis of mental illness. The first in a series for Mental Health Awareness Month. Read full story and comment

Mental health care: Training equips churches

OAK LAWN, Ill. (UMNS) - Pastors of three congregations with widely divergent demographics agree on at least one thing: Mental illness affects everyone, and United Methodists need to address the issue. This is the second in a series for Mental Health Awareness Month. Read full story and comment

News around the connection

United Methodists monitor immigration bill

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - United Methodist advocates for immigration reform are watching the Senate closely as it starts amending the immigration reform bill introduced April 16, to ensure family reunification and humane treatment of the undocumented are high on the priority list. Read story and post a comment

United Methodists prep for annual conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodists in Africa, Europe, the Philippines and the United States are packing their suitcases, gathering their Books of Discipline and perusing reams of documents as they prepare for days of deliberation and celebration. It's annual conference time, and proposed amendments to the denomination's constitution are on the agenda. Read story and post a comment

Bishops hold 2nd consecutive closed meeting

SAN DIEGO (UMNS) - Active United Methodist bishops next week plan to hold their second large gathering in a row that is closed to the press. The gathering for bishops with residential responsibilities will be more like a retreat to exchange ideas, bishops say. Some longtime church observers say the meeting should be open. Read story and post a comment

United Methodist bishops work toward common goals

SAN DIEGO (UMNS) - "Exploring leadership for an emerging church" will be the theme of the first meeting of the Forum of Residential Bishops, scheduled on May 5-9. Read news release

Church's documentary on malaria to air on NBC stations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - On the heels of World Malaria Day, NBC television affiliates plan to air "An Extraordinary Effort to Catch a Killer in the Dark," beginning May 5. The documentary, produced by United Methodist Communications, covers the fight against the deadly, but easily preventable, disease has been updated from when it first showed in 2011. Check local listings for airtimes. See trailer

Malaria field coordinators prep for role

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) On Mother's Day, many United Methodists will honor the significant women in their lives through a donation to And Imagine No Malaria annual (regional) conference field coordinators are as busy as ever. Their role, said Sheri Altland, campaign director, "is to actively engage the whole conference - congregations and conference leaders - in the campaign to save lives by raising funds." Read the story.

Wespath pushes EPA Vehicle Emission and fuel standards

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - Wespath Investment Management participated in a public hearing held in Chicago on April 29, advocating for the Tier 3 fuel standard regulations being brought forward by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Wespath, representing the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits, was the only investor to participate at the EPA hearing. Starting in 2017, Tier 3 would set new vehicle emissions standards and lower the sulfur content of gasoline, considering the vehicle and its fuel as an integrated system. Read more

Two Syrian church leaders remain missing

GENEVA (UMNS) - Religious leaders around the world are continuing to pray and call for the release of two Syrian church leaders kidnapped April 22. As the Orthodox Holy Week is observed this week, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi of Aleppo and Alexandretta and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo are being held by unknown captors. Read more

Audits of bishop funding due July 31

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - During its meeting, the General Council on Finance and Administration approved requiring that each United Methodist episcopal area turn in an audit of its 2012 use of the episcopal office allowance from the Episcopal Fund by July 31. If an episcopal area does not meet that deadline, the board voted to allow payments from the Episcopal Fund related to the office allowance to stop until the area's records are in order. General Council on Finance and Administration is still working with some areas to complete their 2011 audits. The Episcopal Fund - paid for by congregational giving - supports the salaries, housing, travel and other expenses of active bishops as well as the salaries and benefits of some of their support staff. The fund also provides for retired bishops, surviving spouses and minor children of deceased bishops.

Campaign to promote general church endowment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Permanent Fund of The United Methodist Church is celebrating 125 years as a general endowment fund supporting the ministries of the denomination. The General Council on Finance and Administration is launching a campaign to continue to build this permanent base of support for the ministries. The agency is also partnering with Abingdon Press and the United Methodist Publishing House to release a special edition of "Enough" by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, lead pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan. Read press release

Global Young People's event goes to the Philippines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Young People's Ministries of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship is hosting the Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly in Tagaytay, Luzon, The Philippines, July 16-20, 2014. The assembly is a quadrennial global event designed to celebrate the mission and vitality of young people in The United Methodist Church. Read more

United Methodists in the news

Rural ministry in Alabama wins national honor

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - During the annual Make A Difference Day Awards luncheon April 25 in Washington, the members of Alabama Rural Ministry, a volunteer ministry of the Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference, were hailed for "putting their faith into action" for orchestrating the work of 72 volunteers in dozens of projects in Tuskegee, 28 miles away from its headquarters. The Rev. Maidstone Mulenga has the story. Read more

From Boston to Oklahoma City, a race finished

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) "I just want to finish," says Texas runner Diane Sherer, 51. "Just to show people you can get up and go on." Recently, Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon organizers invited the runners who didn't finish in Boston to come to their city and run with no registration fees. Sherer was half a mile away from the finish line when the bombs went off. On April 27, the Rev. Mark McAdow, pastor of First United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City, blessed Sherer's running shoes. ESPN tells the story

Teen talks about win in C-SPAN contest

SPANISH FORT, Ala. (UMNS) - In his "Message to the President" documentary that won third price in C-SPAN's StudentCam competition, Trevor Warren, 18, sought to present a balanced, but compassionate, view on immigration. "This is an issue that is less about numbers and statistics and more about actual people," he said. Warren was honored at Providence United Methodist Church. Gulf Coast News Today has the story. Read story

United Methodists reach out in FloraBama

MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) In this case, the mullets are fish, not bad hairdos. And Perdido Key United Methodist Church members got into the act at the 29th annual Interstate Mullet Toss. They served food and energy drinks to workers at the popular event, where people pay a fee to throw a mullet from Alabama, across the state line into Florida. "We're trying to practice what Christ continues to tell us to do," explained the Rev. Jeremy Mount, discipleship pastor.

Read story .

Churches offer free haircuts - and more

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (UMNS) - Mark Burgess has been job-hunting for two years, and he knows the importance of first impressions. He's grateful for Showers of Blessing, a morning of free showers, haircuts, continental breakfasts and other services run by a coalition of area churches. "They're really nice people," he says. "They make me feel good." The Santa Maria Times has the story. Read story

University and seminary news

Southern Poverty Law Center gives collection to Duke

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project has donated its extensive collection of materials documenting extremist and hate groups in the United States to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. The collection will be added to the library's Human Rights Archive, which includes materials documenting the Ku Klux Klan from the 1860s to the present day.

John Wesley Fellows named

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - Three United Methodists have been awarded John Wesley Fellowships to support their doctoral studies, A Foundation for Theological Education announced April 26. John Wesley Fellowships, designed to promote the renewal of theological education by supporting promising scholars who are committed to Christ, the church and academic excellence, provide $12,500 per year for four years. The foundation has a commitment to the renewal of United Methodist theological education in a more evangelical direction. The recipients are Natalya Andromeda Cherry, Nathan Jameson Jones and Clifton Stringer. Read about the recipients

Blogs and commentaries

Reflections on Labor Day

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (UMNS) - In many countries around the world, May 1 is celebrated as Labor Day or International Worker's Day. While the rest of the world commemorates Labor Day on May 1, the Rev. Jorge Rodrguez writes, "in Grand Rapids, we celebrate with a demonstration to stress the need for immigration reform." Read commentary and post a comment

A struggle for the American Dream

Grand Rapids, Mich. (UMNS) - Keren Rodrguez' participation in an April 10 march for immigration reform in Washington - originally thought of as a "good trip to get away from the routine" - has led to a call to activism and to "fight for the people who are less fortunate, those who don't have a voice and are scared to express how they feel," she writes. Read commentary and post a comment

'By all means, save some!'

TRENTON, N.J. (UMNS) - Amid recent tragedies in Boston and West, Texas, retired United Methodist Bishop Felton May points to the failure of the U.S. Senate to pass a bill on gun safety as potential for future tragedy and violence. In a commentary, May cites disappointment in politicians "who broke the hearts of gun victims' families everywhere and also broke their vow to represent the interests of voters, an overwhelming majority of whom support universal background checks for gun purchases." Read commentary and post a comment

Would the church accept Jason Collins?

SEATTLE (UMNS) - Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people's ministries for the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference, wonders what lessons The United Methodist Church might take from the way the NBA addressed a gay player's public declaration. Read commentary and post a comment

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.

Older Adult Recognition Sunday, any Sunday in May - Resources compiled by the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference.

Free webinar "Has God Been Invited to the Conversation?" May 9 - 6:30 p.m. CT, help with church and community prayer from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register

Ascension Day, May 9 - Celebrate Christ's Ascension with resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Mother's Day, May 12 - Imagine No Malaria provides offering envelopes, posters and bulletin inserts to prepare for special offerings on Mother's Day to benefit the campaign, which has significant impact on the lives of mothers and children.Details.

Free webinar "Gen2Gen: Sharing Jesus Across the Generations," May 14 - 6:30 p.m. CT, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register

Korea Peace Conference, May 15-17 - Korean United Methodist Church of Atlanta, 3205 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, Ga., a forum for church leaders from North America and South Korea to engage in dialogue and reassess the current situations on the issues related to the two Koreas. To register, contact the Rev. Jong Sung Kim at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries at (212) 870-3955 or

Free webinar "Committed to Christ: Six Steps to a Generous Life," May 16 - 6:30 p.m. CT, help with stewardship from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register

Bishop's Convocation on Prayer, May 18 - Workshops on prayer life. Dwight Judy, professor emeritus of spiritual formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, will provide keynote address on "A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life." Cost is $10. To register.

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

Pentecost, May 19 - Celebrate the birthday of the Christian church with resources from the Board of Discipleshipand the United Methodist Publishing House's Ministry Matters.

"Day1," May 19 - The Rev.Hal Brady, a United Methodist and executive director of Hal Brady Ministries based in Atlanta, Ga., is the featured speaker for Pentecost on the "Day1" radio program. To access online

Family Weekend, May 24-26 - The Hinton Rural Life Center, Hayesville, N.C. Details.

Free webinar "Spiritual Development in the Early Years," May 22 - 10 a.m. CT, tips on the spiritual development of children from birth to 5 from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Peace with Justice Sunday, May 26 - One of the churchwide special Sundays, it provides financial support programs that advocate for peace and justice in annual (regional) conferences and around the globe. Resources.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries