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UMNS Weekly Digest - May 5, 2017


Top viewed stories from April 28-May 4. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Consecration of a gay bishop against church law

NEWARK, N.J. (UMNS) — The consecration of a gay bishop violates church law, the top court of The United Methodist Church has ruled. However, any such bishop “remains in good standing,” the Judicial Council said in Decision 1341, until an administrative or judicial process is completed. Linda Bloom reports.
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Read decisions 

Ruling greeted with confusion

DALLAS (UMNS) — Bishop Karen Oliveto is still bishop of the Mountain Sky Area even after The United Methodist Church’s top court ruled that consecrating a gay bishop violates church law. The Judicial Council said any such bishop remains in “good standing” until an administrative or judicial process is completed. That decision is being greeted with confusion and hope that the Commission on a Way Forward has time to work on finding a path to unity. Kathy L. Gilbert and United Methodist News Service report on the aftermath of the ruling.
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Review all clergy qualifications, court says

NEWARK, N.J. (UMNS) — United Methodist boards of ordained ministry must look at all qualifications to determine whether a ministerial candidate is a fitting applicant — including adherence to the church’s position on homosexuality. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Reactions vary to ruling on clergy qualifications

NEWARK, N.J. (UMNS) — Two more decisions concerning acceptance of LGBTQ people as church leaders in The United Methodist Church are being met with anger and approval across the denomination’s diverse worldwide membership. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
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Commentary: Attorney on confusion over Oliveto's status

LONGMONT, Colo. (UMNS) — The denomination’s top court has held Bishop Karen Oliveto’s election and consecration as proper under United Methodist Church law, Richard Marsh writes in a commentary. Marsh, the attorney who represented the Western Jurisdiction before the Judicial Council in the case related to the election of a gay bishop, offers his take on the ruling.
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Next week: The Rev. Keith Boyette, counsel for the South Central Jurisdiction, will offer his analysis of the opinion

Pastoral response to Judicial Council decision

DALLAS — The United Methodist Church’s Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops presented a pastoral message to the church May 4 during the Council of Bishops meeting. The message is about the Judicial Council decision regarding the South Central Jurisdictional Conference’s questioning of the process surrounding the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly lesbian bishop.
Read press release and watch video message



Bishop Ough says entire church is watching

DALLAS (UMNS) — Bishop Bruce Ough, in his May 1 presidential address to the Council of Bishops, spoke of what would be lost if The United Methodist Church divides over homosexuality. He urged support for the Commission on a Way Forward, and called on bishops to redouble efforts in evangelism and social outreach. “The entire church is rightly watching how we will lead in this moment,” Ough said. Sam Hodges reports.
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Bishops back immigration initiatives

DALLAS (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops, meeting in Dallas through May 5, lent its support to new denominational efforts on immigration. The bishops also received an update on efforts toward full communion between The United Methodist Church and Episcopal Church. Sam Hodges reports.
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Staying focused on Four Areas of Focus

DALLAS (UMNS) — The need to keep faith with the denomination’s Four Areas of Focus, but in ways that are relevant to the local church, dominated discussion on May 3 as the Council of Bishops continued its meeting. Sam Hodges reports.
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Evangelical group plans for what's next

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UMNS) — At their group’s second public gathering, leaders of the Wesleyan Covenant Association leave open the possibility of a church split. No matter what happens, leaders of the evangelical group say they’ll be prepared. Heather Hahn reports.
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United Methodists join People's Climate March

WASHINGTON — United Methodists were among the estimated 200,000 people who converged on Washington April 29 for the People's Climate March. Before the march, an interfaith prayer service was held on the steps of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill. Erik Alsgaard reports for the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
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Church donates food for female prisoners

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe has donated more than $1,300 worth of food to female inmates at Chikurubi Prison. Zivorinashe Mujaji, United Methodist Board of Church and Society chairperson for the Harare East District, said the church was touched by the plight of the female inmates who faced food shortages and other challenges while serving their prison terms. Kudzai Chingwe reports.
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Mission agency, Liberian church agree on payments

ATLANTA — The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and the church’s Liberia Annual Conference have reached an agreement as the result of recent audits conducted by the mission agency. The Liberia Conference will replenish $270,545 in missing Global Ministries funds through quarterly payments over the next two and a half years, beginning in June.
Read press release

Michigan mission leader remembered

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Rev. Robert C. Smith, who died April 20, was celebrated in an April 29 memorial service that recounted his commitment to mission. Smith served as conference council director of the West Michigan Conference and was a faithful partner for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. He was a force behind West Michigan’s mission giving, which led the denomination for years. Kay DeMoss reports.
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May 8 blessing for new missionaries

ATLANTA — Seventeen new missionaries will be blessed May 8 by leaders of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries in preparation for being formally commissioned at regional church conferences in late spring and early summer.
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Watch blessing service live

British Methodist ecumenical leader dies

LONDON (WCC) — Pauline Webb, a British Methodist laywoman and the first woman to serve as vice-moderator of the World Council of Churches’ governing bodies, died April 27 at the age of 89 in London. From 1979 until retirement in 1987, she was organizer of religious broadcasting for the BBC World Service.
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Churches respond to Texas tornadoes

CANTON, Texas — In the wake of deadly and destructive tornadoes over a 50-mile stretch, United Methodists are helping with cleanup and repair, as well as sheltering survivors.
Read Texas Conference story




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 8

Preaching Prophetically for Such a Time as This — 10-11 a.m. Central. This webinar features the Rev. Dawn Chesser of Discipleship Ministries and the Rev. Wes Allen, Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology, discussing prophetic preaching and Allen’s new book, “Preaching in the Era of Trump.” Chesser will talk about how she is using the book in her teaching and preaching, and Allen will respond and answer questions. Details   

Tuesday, May 9

What Do You Need to Know about Pre-Diabetes? — 2-3 p.m. Central. This interactive webinar by Wespath Benefits and Investments, the pension agency of The United Methodist Church, will help participants understand the diagnosis of pre-diabetes and steps to take to reverse it. Details

See more United Methodist events