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UMNS Weekly Digest - May 26, 2017


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Church leaders look at adding U.S. structure

OSLO, Norway (UMNS) — The Connectional Table, a United Methodist leadership body, is looking at the worldwide nature of the denomination. One idea is to create a U.S. church structure that deals with issues exclusive to the U.S. Heather Hahn reports on the possibilities under discussion.
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Manchester: 'Turn from evil and do good'

MANCHESTER, England (UMNS) — Leaders of the British Methodist Conference joined others in expressing horror that young people and children were targeted by a suicide bomber while leaving an Ariana Grande concert May 22 at the Manchester Arena. Linda Bloom reports.
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Plan approved for agency evaluation

OSLO, Norway (UMNS) — A church leadership body has laid out a plan to connect the evaluation of United Methodist general agencies with the development of the denomination’s budget. Heather Hahn reports on the Connectional Table’s evaluation process.
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Church response to migration gets boost

OSLO, Norway (UMNS) — The Connectional Table took two actions to financially support ministries that relieve the suffering caused by forced migration. Heather Hahn reports.
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Boards reaffirm stand on LGBTQ clergy

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (UMNS) — The New York and Pacific Northwest conference boards of ordained ministry are reaffirming their 2016 decisions not to consider issues of sexuality when evaluating candidates for ordained ministry. These announcements came after decisions by the United Methodist Judicial Council that boards must adhere to the church’s position on homosexuality. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Commentary: What's next for Standing Rock?

CANNON BALL, N.D. (UMNS) — The Rev. David Wilson, superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, visited Standing Rock recently to help one of the small remaining camps there. He reflects on his visit, the mood today and what water protectors are focused on now.
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Churchgoers return favor to labor activist

RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas — Daria Vera was an important young activist during the 1966 United Farm Workers’ strike here, an effort that led to better wages and a better life for many. When retired Bishop Joel Martinez learned Vera’s house was in disrepair, he contacted the Rev. Mark Porterfield, who runs a construction ministry. The result was a swarm of United Methodist volunteers who rebuilt her home.
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Read 2016 NPR interview with Daria Vera 

Without aid, 1.4 million children could die

GENEVA (WCC) — About 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death unless aid reaches them immediately. That’s the video message from faith leaders to political leaders at the G7 summit, which meets May 26-27 in Taormina, Italy. Strong political action is needed now to assist the 20 million people who face famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, the faith leaders declared.
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Retired Martin Methodist president dead at 65

PULASKI, Tenn. — Ted Brown, who served as president of United Methodist-related Martin Methodist College for nearly two decades, died May 20. Brown, 65, retired in January and began serving as interim top executive for the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Division of Higher Education in April.
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2017 annual conference reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service is posting reports from all annual conference sessions. The Susquehanna Conference report is new this week. 
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United Methodist worship leader wins 'The Voice'

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Chris Blue, worship leader at Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Knoxville, was named winner of Season 12 of "The Voice" on the show’s May 23 finale. Hundreds of fans filled the church for a watch party to cheer Blue on. Maggie Jones of the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. 
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'60 Minutes' features sanctuary ministry

PHILADELPHIA — CBS’ famed "60 Minutes" news program featured Arch Street United Methodist Church here on May 21, for the church’s providing of sanctuary to an undocumented Mexican immigrant. CBS reporter Scott Pelley interviewed Javier Flores-García and the Rev. Robin Hynicka, lead pastor. John W. Coleman reports for the East Pennsylvania Conference.
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Homeless, addicts worship alongside affluent

ANDERSON, S.C. — A once-closed church is bringing together the homeless alongside those with plenty, recovering drug addicts alongside those struggling to overcome a need for excess and greed, and the mentally ill alongside the spiritually ill. Jessica Brodie reports for the Advocate.
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UMCOR gives grant for Peru flood relief

ATLANTA — A $100,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief will assist those affected by devastating floods and landslides in Peru. Bella DiFilippo reports for the Board of Global Ministries.
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Commentary: Talking with God

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Rev. Adam Weber, lead pastor of Embrace Church, one of the fastest-growing United Methodist churches in the U.S., released his first book, “Talking with God.” In a blog, Weber shares his insights on prayer and thoughts about becoming an author.
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Learning from Wesley at Aldersgate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — John Wesley’s heart was strangely warmed during a period of seeking God. The Rev. Joe Iovino writes about how people can prepare themselves to hear God speaking.
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11-year-old plants food pantry garden

MINNEAPOLIS ( — Fresh food isn’t always available at food pantries, but it will be at Joyce Uptown Foodshelf here, thanks to 11-year-old Silja Bijnagte. Her determination to build raised garden beds brought together volunteers from Lake Harriet United Methodist Church in a common goal of serving their neighbors — one carrot at a time.
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Celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Peace with Justice Sunday is June 11. On this Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church, congregations around the country will join together to help break down barriers so that all God’s children have equal access to jobs, education, food, clean water, health care and much more. For a collection of resources to help celebrate, download the Peace with Justice Pastor and Leader’s Kit. 
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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.

Wednesday, May 31-Friday, June 2

New Mexico Annual Conference — Las Cruces Convention Center, Las Cruces, New Mexico. The New Mexico Conference gathers for worship, prayer, celebration, education, remembrance and discussion. The theme is “New Places for New People.” The guest preacher will be the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, lead pastor from Grace Church in Florida. Details

Thursday, June 1-Sunday, June 4

Detroit and West Michigan Annual Conferences — Grand Traverse conference center, Acme, Michigan. The theme for the gathering of these two annual conferences is “Gather UP!,” based on the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Details

See more United Methodist events