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UMNS Weekly Digest - May 24, 2013


May 24, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for May 21 -28.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

United Methodists help Oklahoma

Pastor: Don't underestimate the need for prayer

MOORE, Okla. (UMNS) - As the Rev. D.A. Bennett, pastor of St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, waited with other anxious parents to learn what had happened to their children his son was at South Moore High School he grieved for other families who had lost children in the May 20 storm. A woman and her 5-month-old child were killed in a nearby store. "She had gone to pick up her child because she wanted to be with him in the storm," Bennett said. He got word Tuesday that her family wanted to have her funeral at St. Andrew's. Read story and post a comment

Bishop Hayes urges strength after storm

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - "What I would like to say to the United Methodist community and beyond is that we grieve with those who have lost life and property not only in Moore and Newcastle but also on Sunday in Shawnee," Oklahoma Area Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. told United Methodist News Service. "These storms have devastated our state and have inflicted tremendous loss on our people ... and just affected lives in ways we can only imagine."

Read story and post a comment
Prayers from Bishop Rosemarie Wenner

Oklahoma Tornado: $100,000 gift brings tears to all

NORMAN, Okla. (UMNS) - When word went out that McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church was taking donations for disaster relief, the congregation never dreamed that in one day, they would collect more than $100,000 without even a chance to pass the offering plate on Sunday.

Read full story and post a comment

Church protects people and pets

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - Think of United Methodist Church of the Servant as Oklahoma City's answer to Noah's Ark. Since at least 2006, the church has sheltered people and their four-legged friends in its 40,000-square-foot basement whenever dangerous storms draw near. The church's hospitality was needed this week. Read story and post a comment

Moore church checking on its members

MOORE, Okla. (UMNS) - The Rev. Tish Malloy, pastor of First United Methodist Church, said the last two days after May 20's tornado were "pretty painful" as residents of a town blown apart by a tornado start to pick up the pieces. Read story and post a comment

Native American conference gears up to help

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - In the wake of disaster, the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference often can help native families in ways that other agencies might overlook. Read story and post a comment

OKC University reaches out to those affected

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - About 20 students and faculty at United Methodist-related Oklahoma City University were affected by the May 20 tornado, including one of the university's "house moms" who lost a daughter, said Sandy Pantlik, director of communications. Read story and post a comment

How to give in response to disasters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church is well situated to respond to disasters because of its churches in almost every county and community across the United States and the worldwide Methodist connection with annual conferences, central conferences and autonomous partner churches on five continents.

Here is how giving works
See a graphic of ways you can help
Cash donations encouraged over clothing, other items
Volunteers urged to be patient

Responding to children's fear

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Consoling children after a traumatic event can be overwhelming to the adults caring for them. If you are looking for resources to support children following a crisis or disaster, or even during a crisis, this article has links to several helpful sites. Read story

The theology behind disaster relief, recovery

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Identifying with and assisting individuals and communities affected by disasters are ways we follow Jesus Christ - whether those disasters are naturally or humanly generated, explains Thomas Kemper, the top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, as he explains the theology, the history and the organization of the denomination's efforts. Read story and post a comment

More stories of how United Methodists are responding to the recent storm disasters can be found on Churches Dealing with Disasters and on UMConnections.

United Methodists in the news

Boy Scouts lift ban on gay members

GRAPEVINE, Texas (UMNS) - Boy Scouts of America leaders voted by a substantial margin May 23, to lift the organization's longstanding ban on openly gay youth in the Scouting movement. The change could affect ministries at 6,700 United Methodist churches in the United States. The discussion also has helped re-energize a longtime debate about human sexuality within The United Methodist Church. Read story and post a comment

Tributes to victims killed at Alabama church

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (UMNS) - They had no property, sometimes no food, no job, and not a diploma between them, but Terry and Anthony Jackson leave behind a priceless legacy of generosity and service to others in the neighborhood around West Huntsville United Methodist Church. The Jacksons were attacked May 21 at the church while working at the food pantry. The Alabama Media Group explains what happened and how the church is struggling to cope. Read story

Bishop: Time to lobby senators over immigration reform

WASHINGTON (UMNS) -The Senate Judiciary Committee will send an amended immigration reform bill to the full Senate when it reconvenes in June. United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcao is calling for bishops and other United Methodists to use this crucial time to contact their senators because the bill has "weaknesses that would keep it from being the just and humane comprehensive immigration reform that we have all worked so hard for," she said. Carcao, of the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference, along with the other active bishops of The United Methodist Church, went to the U.S.-Mexican border.

Read more
View slideshow

Health Center gets national award

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits announced that the agency's Center for Health was among 65 U.S. employers honored by the National Business Group on Health with the 2013 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award, presented at the annual Leadership Summit in Washington on May 22. Read news release

News around the connection

Saying farewell to United Methodist Reporter

DALLAS (UMNS) - United Methodists across the United States are sharing a sense of loss following the news that UMR Communications, publisher of the United Methodist Reporter, will shut its doors May 31. After years of financial struggles, the board of UMR Communications unanimously voted May 16 to shutter the Dallas-based nonprofit, ceasing a publication that has been covering Methodism since 1847. Read story and post a comment

Mental health: Crises challenge rural pastors

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) - United Methodists who serve churches in rural, town and country settings have a great opportunity to transform their corner of the world, writes the Rev. Roger Grace of United Methodist Rural Advocates. Read story and post a comment

Church begins 3,175 new worship places worldwide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church established 3,175 new places for new people to worship God around the world during the past four years, according to a new report. The Worldwide Church Plant Update includes 684 new churches started by annual conferences in the United States, 574 new churches and cell groups initiated by Global Mission Initiatives, and 1,917 new missions, churches, circuits and preaching points in the central conferences. Read more

Offering supports justice, mercy for sojourners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (UMNS) - Fleeing an abusive boyfriend, "Maria" arrived in Grand Rapids, Mich., by bus with her young daughter one night, scared and desperate. She had fled her native Mexico because of violence, and now she was on the run again. Despite lacking legal immigration status, she needed to find safe harbor and someone who felt her fragile life was worth protecting. At a local victim services agency, staffer Nikole Krueger helped Maria get settled. Then she introduced her to West Michigan Justice for Our Neighbors, a ministry funded in part by the United Methodist Peace with Justice Sunday offering, where immigrants with little income receive help in seeking legal status or U.S. citizenship. United Methodists across the connection can support Peace with Justice grants with a special offering this Sunday, May 26.

Read story
Learn more about Peace with Justice Sunday

Churches reflect on military sacrifices

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - While some recall Memorial Day parades and picnics of their childhood and visits to cemeteries to lay flowers on loved ones' graves, many people today view the holiday as little more than the end of a relaxing, three-day weekend. Christ United Methodist Church in Lafayette, Ind., however, is one of many congregations that include Memorial Day in their weekend plans.

Read story
12 ways to observe Memorial Day

Program to develop new African-American pastors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A program to develop a new generation of young, visionary, effective African-American pastors and lay leaders for The United Methodist Church will pilot this fall. The chair of Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe, and the national director, the Rev. Fred A. Allen, said The Academy of Interns, a new initiative responding to the pressing need to develop African-American leaders in the church, has attracted six interns for the first class. The program will recruit and match dynamic and passionate candidates with leading, innovative and spirit-filled African-American pastors with demonstrated effectiveness in ministry.

What does Bledsoe case mean in denomination future?

DALLAS (UMNS) - In a story in United Methodist Reporter, Sam Hodges looks at the possible implications for the United Methodist connection as he offers an overview of the case involving the South Central Jurisdiction's effort to retire involuntarily Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe. Read story

United Methodist heritage

Aldersgate Day: Celebrating Wesley's experience

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - May 24 is Aldersgate Day. This celebrates our founder John Wesley's life-changing experience at a meeting on Aldersgate Street, London, May 24, 1738. He wrote extensively of that experience in his journal for that day.

Read Wesley's words at Interpreter Online
What a Georgia church plans

Celebrate Aldersgate Day May 24

NEW YORK (UMNS) - John Wesley's Aldersgate experience on May 24, 1738, is identified as a turning point in his spiritual growth, a time in which the faith he preached so boldly became real for and in him. But when we remember "Aldersgate Day," what exactly are we commemorating? Read story

Methodists mark May 24 Aldersgate milestone

LONDON (UMNS) - People from around the world gathered in London this week for the 275th anniversary of Aldersgate, the experience on May 24, 1738, that shaped the life of Methodism co-founder John Wesley.

Read story

News around conferences

Hockey ministry scores big with youth

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (UMNS) - Ashley and Tyler Moreland's love of hockey and the Fort Wayne Komets, the area's minor league team, has grown into a passion for using the sport as a platform for ministry. As the idea for a hockey ministry emerged, Ashley and Tyler turned to their home church, St. Joseph United Methodist in Fort Wayne, for guidance. Read story and post a comment

United Methodist Day in Windy City

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed a declaration proclaiming May 18 as United Methodist Day acknowledging the United Methodist Church's longstanding contribution and commitment to the peace and well-being of Chicago. Read proclamation

University and seminary news

Claremont names new president

CLAREMONT, Calif. (UMNS) - The board of United Methodist Claremont School of Theology announced Wednesday, May 22, that the Rev. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan will be the school's seventh president. Kuan will succeed Jerry D. Campbell, who was president for seven years. Kuan has served as dean of Drew University's United Methodist Theological School since 2011. Read news release

Philander Smith acts on social justice heritage

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - "Think justice" is what motorists on Interstate 630 see when they drive by Philander Smith College. The words on the side of the college's gymnasium reflect both the school's Wesleyan heritage and its modern-day mission. Read full story and post a comment

Blogs and commentaries

Learning about life on the U.S. Mexico border

SAN DIEGO-TIJUANA (UMNS) - On May 7, the active bishops of The United Methodist Church went to the U.S. Mexico border to learn more about the people there and the issues they face. Two commentaries by United Methodist pastors - the Revs. John Fanestil and Saul Montiel - who work at the border each day tell us about that area.

Feeling God's presence on the border
Tijuana: Where the world's migrants wait

Reporter and Cokesbury: The Splintering of Methodism?

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) - The Rev. Jeremy Smith, the minister of discipleship at First United Methodist Church in Portland, reflects in his blog, "Hacking Christianity," on the closing of the Cokesbury bookstores and UMR Communications. Smith writes that the "unintended but definite effect of these twin actions is that there's no longer an unofficial forum with authority in The United Methodist Church." Read blog

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.

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

Deadline to register for "Pathways Through Loss" workshop, May 31 - Event explores grief and spiritual growth, June 14-16, Hinton Rural Life Center, Hayesville, N.C. Details.

Inspiration Saturday, June 1 - Event featuring Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey and the Rev. Lovett H. Weems of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT at Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center, Grand Rapids, Mich. Details.

Free webinar "The New Senior: Boomers," June 20 - 6:30 p.m. CT, tips on ministering to this large generation from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Native American Summer Conference, June 28-30 - Workshops and worship, sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association on Native American Ministries, at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C. Details.

"Inside Out for the Glory of God," July 12-14 - 11th national gathering of United Methodist Men at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Details.

School of Congregational Development, Aug. 15-18 - Hosted at Denver Marriott Tech Center, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, Path1 and Board of Global Ministries. Theme is "Encountering God at the Edge." Details.

School of Congregational Development, Satellite Experience, Aug. 17 - Offsite participation is available from satellite congregations within the five U.S. jurisdictions. Registrants will participate remotely through live and tape-delayed interactive live streaming. Details.

Confirmation Retreat Weekend, Nov. 8-10 - Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Details.

Exploration 2013, Nov. 15-17 - Event for young adults, ages 18-26, considering ordained ministry, Marriott Denver Tech Center, sponsored by United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Speakers include Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, senior pastor of the multicampus Grace Church in Southwest Florida. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries