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UMNS Weekly Digest - May 26, 2016


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for May 21-26 . It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at


General Conference wrap-up

GC2016: Farewell, Portland. Thanks for the doughnuts.

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Believe it or not, General Conference 2016 spent more than twice as much time debating a Rule of Order than the hot topic of human sexuality. After almost three days of considering an alternative method for discussing legislation, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body referred its most difficult subject — sexuality — to a study commission and moved on to other matters. Joey Butler reports.
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May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Goodnight, Portland! On the last day of General Conference 2016, voting clocks shrank from 30 seconds to 10 and more than one presiding bishop urged delegates to speak less and vote more. Delegates rolled up their sleeves and plunged into a daunting collection of remaining petitions before the closing gavel fell. They did pass a $604 million general church budget for the next four years. Joey Butler reports.
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Stanovsky: ‘We will not leave divided’

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — On the last day of the 2016 General Conference, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky reminded those attending, “We will not leave divided because God is not finished with us yet!” She concluded that the real work is done once the 10-day event has finished. Charmaine Robledo, Mountain Sky Area director of communications, has the report.
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Preparing for GC2020

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) — Most United Methodists in Portland, Oregon, were focused on General Conference 2016, but a dozen Minnesota and Dakotas United Methodists were looking ahead to General Conference 2020 in Minneapolis. Christa Meland reports for the Minnesota Conference.
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Votes of note

Legislation promotes expanded health care

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A piece of legislation approved by the 2016 General Conference calls for The United Methodist Church to advocate for the improvement of health care in the United States. The legislation outlines a plan for the church to work with U.S. government officials to improve health care coverage for all citizens, specifically including ethnic minorities. Kyle Wallace has the story.
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New Southeast Asia conference approved

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In a historic action, General Conference 2016 approved a new geographical provisional unit — called a “central conference” — for Southeast Asia and Mongolia. The first such conference established in many decades is in response to the growth of United Methodist congregations in the areas it covers. Elliott Wright has the story on that vote and other General Conference actions for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

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Delegates choose engagement over divestment

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — After prolonged, impassioned debate, General Conference 2016 chose not to add a fossil fuels investment screen for the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The question came down to divestment vs. engagement as the better way to influence companies to address climate change. Sam Hodges reports.
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Court rules no conflict on question of authority

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In response to a request for review from General Conference 2016, the United Methodist Judicial Council has found no conflict between two of its previous decisions or between specific paragraphs in the church’s constitution. Linda Bloom has the story.
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‘One Great Hour of Sharing’ becomes ‘UMCOR Sunday’

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church has renamed a popular special Sunday observance that includes an offering to cover disaster relief costs. “UMCOR Sunday” replaces “One Great Hour of Sharing,” a change approved by the 2016 General Conference. The title refers to the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Elliott Wright reports for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

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Bid to divest from illegal settlements fails

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — An amendment offered on May 20 during a General Conference debate on socially responsible investing that sought to divest from illegal settlements on occupied lands failed 559-167. But delegates adopted a petition on behalf of a Palestinian village, Wadi Foquin. Erik Alsgaard reports.
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Sights and sounds of GC2016

Scenes from the final day of GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A final protest over full inclusion, debates and voting on the general church budget and a sermon about unity make up some of the images of the last day of General Conference.

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Audio stories from GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Daily podcasts from General Conference 2016 include the experiences of a Hispanic pastor and seminary student, reflections of the host committee and Mountain Sky Area Bishop Elaine Stanovsky's closing day sermon.
Listen to the podcasts


Final video wrap-up from GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. ( — Skyler Nimmons of the Indiana Conference joins Greg Nelson of the Oregon-Idaho Conference, which hosted General Conference 2016, for a look at highlights from the last day at the convention center. Learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of having 3,000 United Methodist friends drop by for two weeks.
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Spirit-filled moments at GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. ( — Worship, prayer and celebrations surround the work of the General Conference, and lift up God’s work through the people of The United Methodist Church. Read about some of the big and small moments that have celebrated the presence of the Holy Spirit among us. Joe Iovino has the story.
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LGBTQ people gather for final demonstration

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A large group of LGBTQ people circled the floor of the 2016 General Conference May 20, singing, “I am not forgotten, you are not forgotten; God knows your name.” Participants said the respectful demonstration was the final chance for LGBTQ people to surround and support each other before everyone leaves General Conference and returns to their local churches. Kathy Gilbert reports.
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Blog: Overcoming the brink of schism

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — With the enormous issues and overwhelming debate on each that confronts The United Methodist Church today, General Conference 2016 has managed to do some holy conferencing, says Gladys Mangiduyos in her blog.
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Blog: Serving as a GC2016 page

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Pages at General Conference 2016 run notes, deliver coffee and much more. At times, the work becomes surreal. South Carolina Advocate editor Jessica Brodie blogs about the experience and perspective of the Rev. Elizabeth Murray, first-time page.
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Other church news

2016 John Harrison Ness Memorial Award winners

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History announced the 2016 winners of the John Harrison Ness Memorial Award, given to students enrolled in the Master of Divinity program (or its equivalent) to recognize and celebrate their interest and research in the area of church history.
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Foundation offers grants to college ministry

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — At General Conference, the Foundation for Evangelism announced a new pilot grant program for ministry on the U.S. college campus. The foundation will provide grants of up to $50,000 in each of three years to an innovative campus-focused ministry with a mission to engage, form and grow disciples of Jesus Christ. Apply through Aug. 1.

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As church rebuilds, it offers public art

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Public art is First United Methodist Church's way of saying life goes on for a 190-year-old congregation that lost its landmark sanctuary to fire nearly a decade ago. Wayne Risher of The Commercial Appeal reports how the art is brightening downtown Memphis even as the church’s rebuilding continues.

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Oklahoman-Russian partnership flourishes

ULYANOVSK, Russia (UMNS) — St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City and Ulyanovsk United Methodist Church have a fruitful partnership. United Methodists in Eurasia share the story of the longtime friendship.

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Becoming the person God created you to be

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (UMNS) — “Spiritual growth is in large part a journey toward knowing not only who God created us to be but who God is calling us to become,” writes the Rev. Laurie Haller. In a commentary for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, the United Methodist pastor offers advice on following that call.

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