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UMNS Weekly Digest - November 02, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Oct. 30 - Nov. 5. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories, blogs and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

Hurricane Sandy News Stories:


Other News Stories:

Greater N.J. establishes special relief fund

OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) - A special relief fund has been created for Hurricane Sandy response in the Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference. People within the Greater New Jersey Conference are encouraged to send donations directly to this fund. One hundred percent of the donations will go to relief work, including responses to church and church property damages in the conference. Donations can be sent to GNJ Sandy Relief Fund, 1001 Wickapecko Drive, Ocean, N.J. 07712-4733.

"We have different types of church damage ranging from minor repairs to major repairs," Bishop John Schol said in a Nov. 2 message to Greater New Jersey clergy and lay leaders. "This is a serious matter because our churches are not covered with flood insurance. We will need to explore together how we will assist with rebuilding parsonages and churches where they may not be covered by insurance." He invited all of the conference churches to take an offering in the next two weeks.

People outside the Greater New Jersey Conference should direct donations to the United Methodist Committee on Relief through Advance #3021787. Donations can be made online at or by calling (800) 554-8583. Checks payable to Advance GCFA, with the Advance number noted on the memo line, can be dropped in church offering plates or mailed to Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068 GPO, New York, N.Y. 10087-9068. UMCOR funds are used for humanitarian relief and are not applied to property damage.

Storm leaves several N.J. parsonages flooded

OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) - At least six parsonages in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference are uninhabitable following Hurricane Sandy, and Bishop John Schol expects that number to rise. "The word from one pastor in Atlantic City was that all the furniture in his house was overturned by floodwaters," Schol told UMNS. An early response team will begin work Nov. 5 on three of the parsonages in the Bellmar area, a hard-hit part of Central New Jersey, he said. At least two parsonages in the Cape Atlantic District are unusable. The Rev. Tom Hazelwood, U.S. disaster response coordinator for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, also will meet with conference officials early next week. Read story and post a comment

How to help after Sandy

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's relief agency, answers frequently asked questions about how to help after a hurricane. Read full story

Up to 500 a day turning to N.J. church

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (UMNS) - Hurricane Sandy has transformed Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church into a living room, office, play space and kitchen for the entire neighborhood. Read story and post a comment

United Methodists roll up sleeves to help after Sandy

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (UMNS) - From providing shelters and soup kitchens to ferrying truckloads of requested items, United Methodists are helping their neighbors as they recover from Hurricane Sandy. Here is a roundup of some United Methodist responses to need. Read story and post a comment

Past disasters worsen post-hurricane trauma

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Even as many New Yorkers are telling each other Hurricane Sandy is nothing like the September 11 terrorist attacks, their minds are constantly making the connection, said the Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie, disaster response coordinator for the New York Conference. Read story and post a comment

Parsonage becomes shelter; gas woes

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (UMNS) - The Community United Methodist Church is without power like much of its neighborhood, but two families in the congregation have found shelter at the parsonage with Pastor Jeff Wells and his family, reports Joanne Utley of the New York Conference. Read story and post a comment

N.J. struggles to assess damage

OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) - The widespread effects of Hurricane Sandy on New Jersey have made it difficult for United Methodists to assess immediately the needs of churches and communities, said Bishop John Schol, Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference. "Our main challenge is 2.4 million people without electricity," the bishop told United Methodist News Service Nov. 1. "Everything is down." Read story and post a comment

Church rallies response in Northeastern U.S.

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie, disaster response coordinator for the New York Annual (regional) Conference, is looking for volunteers within the New York area to help with cleanup and the distribution of cleaning buckets after Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, Bishop Thomas Bickerton of Pittsburgh has appealed to people in the Western Pennsylvania Conference to pray for those affected, prepare flood buckets and donate to the United Methodist Committee on Relief's recovery efforts. Read story and post a comment

West Virginia tries to dig out

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (UMNS) - About 140,000 people remained without power Thursday afternoon in West Virginia. Several high mountain counties in the eastern part of the state remain covered in snow, making travel difficult at best. The West Virginia Annual (regional) Conference and its missions are working to provide food and shelter.
Read story and post a comment

Mission Central relief agency responds

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (UMNS) - "Just because you see a little girl crying on the news because she lost her dolly in the hurricane, don't start a toy drive." So advised Patti Glasser, director of operations for Mission Central, the mission warehouse of the Susquehanna Annual (regional) Conference. In Mechanicsburg, about three hours from the Big Apple, Glasser and her staff of five already are responding to Hurricane Sandy-related needs from New York. They are waiting to hear from other affected states. Read story and post a comment

New York churches to open for worship Sunday

NEW YORK (UMNS) - New York Area Bishop Martin McLee reported Oct. 31 that all of the conference's United Methodist churches would be open for regular worship on Sunday. "We were really blessed in the New York Annual (regional) Conference to not have any devastation at churches or any loss of life or injuries of any of our members, as far as we know," he said. Read full story and post comment

Follow storm updates

United Methodist Response teams on alert

NEW YORK (UMNS) - As Hurricane Sandy bore down on millions of people in the U.S. on Oct. 29, The United Methodist Church was helping with preparation, response and coping with fear. United Methodist Early Response Teams from many states were on alert, preparing to deploy after emergency officials give the OK. The Advance number is 3021787 Hurricanes 2012. Read full story and post a comment

Sending aid for Sandy relief

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's disaster-recovery agency, has designated UMCOR Advance #3021787 for 2012 hurricane relief in the United States. You may also have seen the Advance number 901670, which is UMCOR's general number for U.S. disaster response. U.S. disaster response funds will be channeled toward hurricanes 2012 relief as needed, said Jay Rollins of UMCOR. Donate online at or by phone at (800) 554-8583. For more information

Church shelters homeless during hurricane

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (UMNS) - The floor of the Ferndale United Methodist Church auditorium was covered in strips of tape, aligned in rows of four. Each piece had its own name: Tinya, Cesar, Topher, Jim. All were names of homeless people who had nowhere to go Monday night when Hurricane Sandy came barreling through Anne Arundel County and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard. The Maryland Gazette reports. Read story

UMCOR reaches out to partners in Sandy's path

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's relief agency, is reaching out to partners in the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricane Sandy there while bracing to respond to the storm's expected destruction in the U.S. Northeast. Read story and post a comment

'Nobody has scratched the surface'

HOBOKEN, N.J. (UMNS) - Churches in parts of New Jersey hit hard by Hurricane Sandy have become an oasis for some cut off from civilization. "No one has scratched the surface of what's going on in New Jersey," said the Rev. Chris Heckert. Read story and post a comment

Bulletin inserts on hurricane relief

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodist Committee on Relief and United Methodist Communications have put together church bulletin inserts that tell worshippers how they can contribute to hurricane relief in the United States and the Caribbean. The inserts are available in black and white as well as color. To download inserts

Bishops gather for closed retreat

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS) - United Methodist bishops from around the globe are gathering Nov. 4-9 for a private retreat intended to establish a spiritual grounding for their work together during the next four years. But the gathering takes place at a time when bishops face increasing scrutiny.

Read story and post a comment

Bishops begin four years with new structure

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Council of Bishops, as it gathers at Epworth-by-the-Sea for a retreat Nov. 4-9, will be organizing new leadership teams that connect with the denomination's Four Areas of Focus. The bishops also will discern how to implement the creation of an Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relations within the council. The office will replace the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.

Read full news release

Sierra Leone students to fight malaria

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) - The Sierra Leone Annual (regional) Conference Health Board is taking the fight against malaria to schools in the country. In the coming months, school health clubs will train students about environmental sanitation, first aid, treatment, education and a positive attitude toward the use of mosquito nets, which are estimated to minimize the malaria infection rate by 50 percent. Read the story and post a comment

Do United Methodists believe in saints?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodists believe in saints but not in the same manner as the Catholic Church. Find out more

Malaria fighter faces his son's battle

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) - Phileas Jusu is a member of The United Methodist Church's Imagine No Malaria team in Sierra Leone. His job requires extensive travel, most times into very remote parts of the country to provide education, treatment and health facilities for needy communities. But occasionally, his work is interrupted as his family, too, is affected by the disease. Read full story and post a comment

Haunted? Even Wesleys heard things go 'bump' in the night

LINCOLNSHIRE, England (UMNS) - Churches are havens of safety, places of welcome and respite, a heavenly pathway to God - but that doesn't mean they can't have their own tales of unexplained happenings. Even John Wesley's childhood home had an uninvited "guest." Read full story and post a comment

The 2012 State of the Church Report released

DALLAS (UMNS) - The newly released 2012 State of the Church Report focuses not only on traditional statistics of The United Methodist Church but also highlights ways in which the denomination is moving to create vital congregations. The report is created in partnership with the United Methodist Connectional Table, the Council of Bishops and the General Council on Finance and Administration. The report is available in English, French and Portuguese. It also will be published in Spanish as part of the November/December edition of El Intérprete, and in Korean as part of the November/December edition of United Methodists in Service, a Korean language magazine published by United Methodist Communications. Download the report

Judicial Council upholds security of appointment

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church's top court has struck down legislation approved by General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking assembly, that would have weakened job security for clergy. Read story and post a comment

Fall 2012 Judicial Council roundup

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (UMNS) - A United Methodist bishop can be placed in involuntary retirement. That was among the rulings by the denomination's top court at its Oct. 24-27 session. The Judicial Council also reviewed various bishop rulings on sexuality matters. Read story and post a comment

Court defers E. Africa financial dispute

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (UMNS) - A dispute regarding how United Methodist church funds are handled in East Africa has been deferred by the Judicial Council to next April. Read story and post a comment

Religion and Race charts new future

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The new, streamlined board of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race is embracing a new model for its future that goes beyond monitoring the denomination's handling of racial matters. The board empowered its leaders to initiate conversations with the United Methodist Commission on Status and Role of Women to align the agencies' work in preparation for the 2016 General Conference. A merger of the agencies would require approval by General Conference. Read full story and post a comment

Drew University scheduled to resume classes

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Drew University plans to welcome students back to campus starting at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, and resume classes Nov. 5. The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History also plans to reopen Nov. 5. More details

UMCYes! Contest winner

LOUISBURG, N.C. (UMNS) - A video of student-on-campus interviews about why the United Methodist connection matters at Louisburg College in North Carolina won first place in the UMCYes! video contest on Friday, Nov. 2. More than 2,000 people voted for one of the seven finalists chosen from the 34 videos submitted to answer the question: Why does the United Methodist connection matter to schools, colleges, and universities? Read full story

Adrian band heading to London

ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) - The marching band at United Methodist-related Adrian College has accepted a formal invitation from the lord mayor of Westminster to take part in the annual New Year's Day parade in London, this year recognized as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. More than twice the size of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, the New Year's Day Parade is watched by millions in person and on television. Read full story

Remember time change on Nov. 4

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Most of the United States will turn back the clock an hour on Sunday, Nov. 4. Dean McIntyre of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship has put together a fall "Time Change Song" to help church choir members and other worshippers remember not to show up for Sunday worship too early. It's set to the same melody as the hymn "God of Grace and God of Glory." See "The Time Change Song."

"Chuck Knows Church' video series begins Nov. 3

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "Chuck Knows Church," a new weekly online video series explaining the objects, symbols and terms used in church, will begin Nov. 3. The series is produced by the Board of Discipleship office of communications and worship resource team, in collaboration with the United Methodist Publishing House and United Methodist Communications. The series "was developed to invite churched and nominally churched people to understand the 'stuff' we see and do in church," said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, Discipleship's top staff executive. The videos can be posted on church and conference websites and are suitable for small groups. They can be seen or downloaded at or viewed on or On Twitter, check out @ChuckKnows. Find out more

Seminaries announce collaboration

DELAWARE, Ohio (UMNS) - Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., have announced a partnership that will provide students and faculty of both schools the opportunity to interact with each other online. They will also offer "open course" opportunities in which friends of the schools and the general public can engage in not-for-credit theological study at minimal cost. Read announcement

Communion or correctness?

BURKE, Va. (UMNS) - Why did Jesus have to die? Was it because God needed to impute perfection to imperfect people or foster reconciliation between irreconcilable people? To the Rev. Morgan Guyton, "the way you answer that question will determine your understanding of atonement, orthodoxy, holiness, biblical interpretation and just about every other major issue within Christian thought." Read commentary

Western Jurisdiction group to hold vigils

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (UMNS) - United Methodist churches throughout the Western Jurisdiction are scheduling prayer vigils during the fall meeting of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, Nov. 4-9. The gatherings will pray that the bishops will embrace the vision of "Biblical Obedience," the Western Jurisdiction's movement against The United Methodist Church's teaching on homosexuality. The Church in Ocean Park, a United Methodist congregation in Santa Monica, Calif., has scheduled one of the vigils at noon Sunday, Nov. 4. The Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book, says the practice of homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching." The book prohibits United Methodist churches from hosting and clergy from officiating at "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions."

Pumpkin patch shows church's spirit

MELBOURNE, Fla. (UMNS) - For visitors sorting through pumpkins at Emmanuel United Methodist Church to find traditional Halloween fare, the haunted grin of a Jack O' Lantern has given way to a glowing portrait of Jesus Christ. Florida Today has the story. Read full story

Hundreds celebrate McGovern's life

SIOUX FALLS, S. D. (UMNS) - Hundreds attended services Oct. 26 in Sioux Falls to celebrate the life of former Sen. George S. McGovern, a lifelong Methodist. Bishop Bruce R. Ough preached the Gospel based on Luke 4: 13-30 - the return of Jesus to Nazareth as the hometown prophet. Read full text of message and watch service

Blog: The splintering effects of a hurricane

NEW YORK (UMNS) In her Bloombytes Blog, UMNS staff writer and New Yorker Linda Bloom remembers a New Jersey beach town, now damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and takes comfort knowing United Methodists will respond to communities and individuals touched by the storm.

Read blog and post a comment

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries