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UMNS Weekly Digest - May 31, 2013


May 31, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for May 28 - June 3.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

News around the connection

United Methodists ahead of malaria goal

NEW YORK (UMNS) - In 2008, it seemed like a daunting challenge: Raise $75 million within seven years to end the deaths and suffering from malaria in Africa. This month, the pledge made by The United Methodist Church through its Imagine No Malaria initiative reached a June benchmark goal of $40 million ahead of schedule. Read story and post a comment

Aviation ministry gets new wings and a prayer

DAYTON, Ohio (UMNS) - After United Methodists raised more than $2.1 million, supporters blessed the new Wings of the Morning plane bound for medical mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pilot, Gaston Ntambo, was trained and educated in West Ohio 20 years ago, supported in large part by Epworth United Methodist Church in Toledo and other area United Methodists.

See slideshow of blessing
Read West Ohio Conference story

New look for women's commission

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Forty years after the launch of feminist magazine Ms., four decades after Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment to states for ratification and 10 quadrennia after The United Methodist Church established the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the agency has updated its logo.

Read story and see logos
Commission on Status and Role of Women

Water: A source of health and hope in Nicaragua

LA PITA, Nicaragua (UMNS) - Victoria Hernandez Diaz can tell you how she used to walk two kilometers every day to get water from a creek - waiting in long lines to draw the water once she got there. Her family did not have a latrine. But that's changing. Through a partnership with El Porvenir, UMCOR is helping to provide clean water to the Hernandez family and others in the community. Read story

Aldersgate milestone journey ends

LONDON (UMNS) - The journey has ended for a group of pilgrims walking the paths John Wesley traveled in the early years of his ministry. The Rev. H. Eddie Fox updated some of what they did and offers pictures of the activities. Read story

McClain to retire from Mission Society

NORCROSS, Ga. (UMNS) -The Mission Society, which deploys missionaries globally in a variety of Christian ministries, has announced the retirement of Dick McClain, its president and longest-tenured member of staff, effective May 2014. McClain, elected president in 2009, has worked at the organization since 1986. Read news release

Archbishop of Canterbury to address British Methodists

LONDON (UMNS) - The Most Rev. Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, will address the annual Methodist Conference on Wednesday, July 10. It will be the first time he has addressed the conference, which this year meets at Central Hall, Westminster. Read news release

News around conferences

Church vitality: From 'dying' to 'reborn'

BREMERHAVEN, Germany (UMNS) - A failing German congregation had planned to sell its building, but God had other plans. Last year the church was re-consecrated. Read story and post a comment

United Methodists begin Chicago Urban Strategy

CHICAGO (UMNS) - On Change the World weekend, more than 400 United Methodists gathered at a high school on Chicago's South Side to start a movement that is a new mission for the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference. "This is just the beginning," said Bishop Sally Dyck at the Chicago Urban Strategy Summit.

Read story
See video
UMTV: Mom's Grief Inspires Peace Walk

Basketball ministry 'assists' young men

NASHVILLE, Ga. (UMNS) - Every Tuesday evening, about 30 young men meet in Nashville United Methodist Church's fellowship hall to shoot hoops, socialize and hear messages of salvation and inspiration. Kara Witherow, editor of the South Georgia Advocate, shares how the ministry has grown and made an impact. Read story

Call for 'economic missionaries' answered

ORLANDO, Fla. (UMNS) - St. Luke's United Methodist Church has launched a pioneering Community Transformation Initiative to help break the cycle of poverty for many of its neighbors. The 4,600-member congregation, rooted in an upscale suburban part of Orlando, will collaborate with a nearby low-income neighborhood in a holistic approach that empowers residents and tackles socioeconomic problems with assistance from church members. Kevin Brady has the story for the Florida Annual (regional) Conference. Read story

United Methodists and disaster relief

Inseparably tied by the tornado

MOORE, Okla. (UMNS) - "We need to embrace that, sometimes, the right thing to say is nothing, and simply share the embrace and the tears," writes the Rev. Adam Shahan, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church, in The Huffington Post. Shahan, age 12 when the 1999 EF5 tornado hit Oklahoma City, has been there twice.

Read commentary
Support U.S. disaster relief
How to volunteer
Dealing with disaster

When tornado hit, church was prepared

OKLAHOMA CITY(UMNS) - In January 2013, the Rev. D.A. Bennett, senior pastor at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, felt convinced he and his church should go through training to be a designated Red Cross emergency shelter. He believed that God was leading them to go through the training, but no amount of training could prepare them for May 20. Read story and post a comment

Church, Jennie-O partnership serves two needs

MONTEVIDEO, Minn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church of Montevideo and the Jennie-O Turkey Store have become partners in an effort that is helping disaster relief and making a contribution to the environment. explains what happened when the two discovered each other. Read story

Weather continues toll in U.S. heartland

DES MOINES, Iowa (UMNS) - "Many of the people who are cleaning out their basements know full well that when it rains hard tonight they are going to have water in them again," writes the Rev. Catie Newman, the Northwest District Disaster Response Coordinator for the Iowa Annual (regional) Conference, as weather continues to take its toll in the U.S. heartland.

Read story
Oklahoma Conference updates
Dealing with Disaster
To donate to the United Methodist Committee on Relief's U.S. disaster response

United Methodists in the news

Nashville housing fund to bear pastor's name

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has announced the creation of a $3 million affordable housing fund named for the Rev. Bill Barnes, a retired United Methodist pastor. Barnes is known as a longtime advocate for the city's poor. The Tennessean reported that the fund should allow Nashville to establish 100 new affordable housing units and, according to Dean, "improve the affordability of an additional 200 existing units each year."

Read Tennessean story
Mayor's State of Metro address

United Methodists pack lunches with love

MANATEE, Fla. (UMNS) - Following their hearts led Joe and Mary Ann Brito to spearhead one program for one church at one school, and, since 2010 more than 20 children a year at Manatee Elementary School have had lunches to eat every weekend. The Bradenton Herald reports on the Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids community outreach program, administered by United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast Inc., local school boards in Pinellas, Manatee and Pasco counties, and area churches and collaborative partners. May 28 was World Hunger Day.

Read story
Food ministries flourish on different paths
2013 hunger report: Goals 'within reach
Food for hungry pours in from all over U.S. after appeal by Girl Scouts

Bishop responds to crimes against gay men

NEW YORK (UMNS) -New York Area Bishop Martin D. McLee responded May 22 to both the Oklahoma tornadoes and a recent rash of violent crimes against gay men in New York. "As Christians, we are called to respond. Let us begin by offering prayers for the victims and families of those harmed by hate crimes," he said in his statement. "I encourage pastors to provide anti-bias leadership by teaching and preaching about the harm of directing violence against anyone." Read statement

United Methodists join in Macedonia talks

SKOPJE, Macedonia (UMNS) - United Methodists were among the 250 political and religious leaders from Macedonia and 25 nations who participated in the third World Conference on Inter-Religious and Inter-Civilization Dialogue on May 10-12. The late President of Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski, a United Methodist lay leader who died in a 2004 crash of the presidential aircraft, initiated the world conference events.

Read story
Conference declaration

Coast Guard celebrates new lives with old tradition

NATCHEZ, Miss. (UMNS) - On May 25, five U.S. Coastguardsmen and their families gathered on the Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier to celebrate a baptismal ceremony for their children, with the bell of the boat serving as a font. Among those celebrating were United Methodists David and Galen Smith, whose son David Guyton Smith was among the baptized. The Natchez Democrat has the story. Read story

Resources for ministry

Denomination's language guide again available online

CHICAGO (UMNS) - A United Methodist guide to the language used to describe God, first recommended for churchwide study by the 1984 General Conference, is available once again through a cooperative effort of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women, United Methodist Women and the United Methodist Publishing House. General Conference is the denomination's top lawmaking body.

Read story
Order as ebook

Conference on kids' faith development

GREENVILLE, S.C. (UMNS) - Church leaders and workers who are engaged in ministry with children can celebrate their work and discuss ways to help children grow in faith at the 2013 United Methodist Conference on Ministry with Children. The conference, "Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord," is set for July 23-26 at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship is the sponsor.

Read news release
To register

Online market benefits local churches

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Office of Corporate Responsibility at the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, is announcing a new program. UMCmarket will allow United Methodists the opportunity to shop online at some of their favorite places while generating a donation to their local church.

Read news release
Sign up for UMCmarket

Help for improving summer attendance

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Lewis Center for Church Leadership at United Methodist Wesley Theological Seminary offers the "Reaching Others through Worship" DVD/CD resource. Among the tips offered are strategies and concepts for strengthening worship attendance during traditional low times, such as summer. The cost is $75. To learn more and see introductory videos

Insurance program helps designate church gifts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Office of Corporate Partnership at the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, announced a new term life insurance program. The program, a partnership with The Dream Company, includes options for members to designate any or all of their benefits to the church to support local and global ministries.
Read news release

Dealing with religious persecution

Christian support in Middle East needed

BEIRUT (UMNS) - A World Council of Churches conference has issued a joint statement calling on churches and ecumenical groups to commit themselves to prayer and action to support the Christian presence and witness in the Middle East. Read story

International Religious Freedom Report

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - On May 20, the U.S. State Department released its annual International Religious Freedom Report - which describes the status of religious freedom in countries around the world. The United Methodist Board of Church and Society offers an overview.

Read story on report
Read about Countries of Particular Concern

Blogs and commentaries

Heifer International: Not a handout but a 'hand up'

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (UMNS) - "Being from the Midwest, where some of the most fertile soil has blessed us with bumper corn and soybean crops, the issue of hunger is hard to conceptualize and yet, it exists," writes Paul Black, director of communications ministries at the Illinois Great Rivers Annual (regional) Conference. He writes how United Methodist partner Heifer International is helping people become self-sustaining. Read blog

In the same boat ... or pup tent

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (UMNS) - United Methodists and Boy Scouts just seem to go together, writes the Rev. Jack Harnish of First United Methodist Church. He notes that last week's modification of Boy Scout membership rules "mirrors Methodism's commitment to be in ministry with all persons and to include openly gay and lesbian persons in our life together. And for good or for ill, their decision to restrict openly gay adults from leadership parallels our stance regarding clergy ... ." Read commentary

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.

Lunch and Learn program, June 6 - "Who is Our Neighbor: Interreligious Dialogue in the Parish" featuring Barry Hughes, professor of supervised ministry at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology, at 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT, The Crossroads, 3501 W. Alabama, Houston. Reservations required. RSVP Susan Buchanan at 713-621-5059 or

Deadline to register for Church Music Summer Seminar, June 7 - Advanced track seminar, June 17-19, sponsored by Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology, for experienced church musicians. $195. Details.

Medgar Evers Sunday, June 9 - Myrlie Evers, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, has asked houses of worship to mark the day with service and a message of "Unity and Faith." Details.

Deadline to register for online course "United Methodism 101," June 12 - June 19-July 31, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. Limited seats are available. Cost is $9.99. Details.

Deadline to register for free online course "Turning Connectional Living into Connectional Giving," June 12 - June 19-July 31, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. Limited seats are available. Details.

Registration opens for Ski Lake Junaluska, June 13 - Lake Junaluska Youth Events go from December to March 2014. Speakers include Rachel Held Evans and Duffy Robbins. Details.

Father's Day in U.S., June 16 - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers liturgical and devotional resources.

Lake Junaluska Summer Worship Series, Sundays June 16-Aug. 11 - The series includes Holy Communion at 8:30 a.m. ET and worship at 10:45 a.m. ET at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in North Carolina. The Africa University Choir kicks off the series on June 16. Guest preachers also will include United Methodist bishops and the general secretary of the World Methodist Council. Details.

Faith and Service Unite Summit luncheon, June 19 - 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET, Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, featuring the Rev. Kirbyjohn Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. $25 for luncheon. Details about luncheon and summit. Details.

Juneteenth, June 19 - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources for the oldest known African-American celebration, which recognizes the date slaves in Texas received word of the Emancipation Proclamation. Resources

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.

Free webinar "2013 Clergy Health Implications for the Church," June 20 - 6:30 p.m. CT, how congregations can positively influence the health of clergy and laity from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and Center for Health. 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.

United Methodist Conference on Ministry with Children, July 23-26 - The conference, "Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord," at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville, S.C., for church leaders and workers engaged in children's ministry focuses on helping children grow in faith. United Methodist Board of Discipleship is the sponsor. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries