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UMNS Weekly Digest - May 12, 2017


Top viewed stories from May 5-May 11. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Ruling on a gay bishop could be far-reaching

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Judicial Council ruled that a same-gender marriage license creates a presumption of homosexual practice. That’s a big deal, church legal analysts say. Heather Hahn reports.
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Commentary: Lawyer on meaning of ruling

NEWARK, N.J. (UMNS) — The lawyer who argued for the request for a declaratory decision on the election, consecration and nomination of a gay bishop writes that while the case did not name Bishop Karen Oliveto specifically, the ruling means a cloud covers her episcopacy. The Rev. Keith Boyette offers his interpretation of the Judicial Council ruling.
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United Methodists describe daughter's murder

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — A United Methodist couple from Michigan drove 600 miles to celebrate their daughter’s short life and share the story of her murder as part of a summit on gun violence. Erik Alsgaard reports.
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Twins follow mom into ministry

WASHINGTON ( — The Rev. Johnsie Cogman leads 200-year-old Mt. Zion, the oldest African-American United Methodist church in Washington. The educator turned pastor has been a strong role model for her 23-year-old sons, who plan to follow in their mother’s footsteps in The United Methodist Church.
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Barratt's Chapel: Church's 'Independence Hall'

FREDERICA, Del. ( – Barratt’s Chapel is the oldest Methodist church building in the United States still in use as a place of worship. As Heritage Sunday approaches, tour the site where “the first truly American-born denomination” came together.
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Ask the UMC: Can God really love me?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — United Methodists who struggle to feel accepted and loved by the Savior should remember that John Wesley struggled with similar feelings. In the latest installment of Ask the UMC, InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, explores God’s love and acceptance and says the church should be a safe place to work on imperfections. 
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Ask the UMC 

Religious freedom order likely has little effect

WASHINGTON (RNS) — President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated executive order on religious liberty has disappointed social conservatives who expected more. And the order itself seems unlikely to have much real impact on current laws and regulations. David Gibson reports for Religion News Service. 
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Order draws mixed reviews   

Resource addresses Trump order

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An online resource regarding President Donald Trump’s May 4 executive order on religious liberty is available from The United Methodist Church’s finance and administration agency. The General Council on Finance and Administration encourages caution in interpreting the order and adds that “the law prohibits churches from campaigning for or against a candidate for public office.” 
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Faculty dispute at Duke Divinity 

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke Divinity School, a United Methodist seminary, is facing internal turmoil over one professor’s call for diversity training and a colleague’s response that such training is a “waste.” The dispute has escalated and now includes the dean, as Inside Higher Ed reports.
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Wesleyan album aims to ignite worship

NEPTUNE CITY, N.J. — A new worship album written and performed by Eric Drew, director of worship for the Greater New Jersey Conference, went live May 8. The project, “Center of It All,” hopes to blaze the path for what Methodist worship could be. Josh Kinney has the story.
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Bishop Ward named 'Champion for Children'

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Foundation for Public School Education has honored Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, who leads the North Carolina Conference, as a 2017 “Champion for Children.” Ward accepted the award on behalf of Congregations for Children, a shared-mission focus of the North Carolina and Western North Carolina conferences. The North Carolina Conference has the story. 
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Ministry helps mother reunite with children

NEW YORK — With the aid of the legal director for New York Justice for Our Neighbors, a mother was reunited with her children after 10 years. The family will attend church together on Mother’s Day. National Justice for Our Neighbors, a United Methodist-related program, has the story.
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Mission challenges at the border

JUAREZ, Mexico — Twenty years ago, Patricia Esquivel lived in the United States, where her daughter was born. She was there without papers, and one day she was caught and deported. So now she proudly watches from afar as her daughter crosses the border to get an education. In the May edition of Response, the United Methodist Women’s magazine, Paul Jeffrey looks at mission challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border.
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Ending famine: A global invitation to pray

GENEVA (WCC) — As more people face famine today than any time in modern history, the World Council of Churches, All Africa Conference of Churches and a range of faith-based partners and networks are calling for a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine on Sunday, May 21. Among the partners are the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Committee on Relief.
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Registration open for Leadership Institute

LEAWOOD, Kan. — Registration is open for Leadership Institute 2017 on Sept. 27-29 at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Speakers include the Revs. Olu Brown and Adam Weber, founding pastors of two of the fastest-growing United Methodist churches in the United States. Through July 13, the super early bird rate is $35 for the pre-institute and $149 for the Leadership Institute.
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6 ways to turn a church inside out

MINNEAPOLIS — To connect with people, churches need to meet them where they are, writes Ben Ingebretson, the director of new church development for the Dakotas and Minnesota conferences. He offers six practical ways churchgoers can air out their church by taking their ministry into public spaces. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership shares his ideas.
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Bishop Haller: Reflection on church future

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Bishop Laurie Haller reflects on the convergence of the TED Talk by Pope Francis and last week’s United Methodist Judicial Council ruling. She writes in her blog about civil disobedience and the future of The United Methodist Church. “The feet of countless United Methodists across the globe are tired at times, but our souls are rested and filled with hope, compassion, and joy in believing and serving.”
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Commentary: Finding faith in Dubai

ATLANTA — When Thomas Kemper, top executive of United Methodist Global Ministries, visited Dubai recently, he found a “vital and vibrant church” whose members are devoted United Methodist migrant workers from the Philippines.
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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, May 15-Friday, May 26

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Leading Public Prayer for Lay Leaders — Lay speakers may find themselves leading prayer in worship services, as well as in other settings. This course enables the lay speaker to effectively prepare and lead various prayer forms, primarily in worship settings. This BeADisciple course is approved by Discipleship Ministries as a "Leading Prayer" course for Lay Servant Ministries certification. Cost: $70. Details

Saturday, May 20

Dealing with Shame and Forgiveness: Spring No Whispers Conference — 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Central, Christ Church, 4488 Poplar Ave., Memphis. The church will host a conversation on shame and redemption with the Rev. Phil Jamieson, president of the United Methodist Foundation for the Memphis and Tennessee annual conferences, and the Rev. Lenn Harris Milam, an ordained elder in the Memphis Conference who is a marriage and family therapist in private practice. Details

See more United Methodist events