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Weekly Digest: November 08, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

November 8, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Nov.4 - Nov. 8. 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

United Methodists fight bullying

United Methodist campuses fight bullying

READING, Pa. (UMNS) - When kids are younger, meanness might be limited to calling names or stealing money, but the nastiness can escalate in college, especially when bullies use smartphones, social media, text messages, emails and instant messages to be cruel. A 2008 study at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., found 82 percent of students surveyed had witnessed bullying on campus. United Methodist schools have zero tolerance for bullying and are working to address the causes.

Read story and post a comment

Girls learning to feel worthy, have worthy lives

BALTIMORE (UMNS) - Worthy Girls, Worthy Lives is helping Ariel Gilliam, a shy 8-year-old, learn to be more confident and resist bullying. The program is one of two innovative local ministries launched in 2013 and resourced through a new collaborative initiative called Spark12, a pilot incubator program and collaborative effort of several United Methodist agencies.

Read story
Resource list, sample anti-bullying policies

United Methodists in the news

New pastor looks to help Trenton's poor

TRENTON, N.J. (UMNS) - At Turning Point United Methodist Church, there are hot meals for the hungry, roundtables for women and after-school programs for children - and for the downtrodden there is hope. reports that the new pastor, the Rev. Annie Allen, and the church have taken on an increasingly involved role in reaching out to the city's poor in spirit. Read story

Pastor visits Jordan to help Syrian refugees

RAPID CITY, S.D. (UMNS) - Grace United Methodist Church pastor, the Rev. Karl Kroger, traveled to the Middle East about five years ago and has felt connected to the area ever since. The Rapid City Journal reports that this summer, the Piedmont man decided to do something to help those in the conflict area. With students from Bethlehem Bible School, he visited some of the 5,000 Syrian families that have crossed the border there, listening to stories of pain and suffering caused by war, delivering supplies ranging from foam mattresses to food and cooking supplies, and praying with, and for, the refugees. Read story

Church bags 120,000 meals for hungry

CLOVIS, Calif. (UMNS) - Members of Memorial United Methodist Church in Clovis, Calif., wanted to celebrate the congregation's 120th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate than following Jesus' command and bagging more than 120,000 meals for the hungry? The Fresno Bee has the story. Read story

Illinois church helps heal parents who lost infants

HINSDALE, Ill. (UMNS) - The name of each baby who died is read aloud as a family member pins a white felt dove with the name of the child on it to a large banner. "That's my favorite part," said Dawn Rubio, whose son Jack died in 2003 when he was 6 days old. "We are never going to hear his name when he graduates or gets an award. But when I come here, they say his name and that's the only time I am going to hear his name said aloud in public." The Chicago Sun-Times tells how suburban Hinsdale United Methodist Church helps parents who have lost children through its Still Missed Memorial Service.

Read story

Albuquerque church's stained-glass windows attacked

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (UMNS) - Leslie Linthicum writes in the Albuquerque Journal that when she encountered Kris Linton at First United Methodist Church, Linton was in the chapel, with light pouring in the baseball-sized hole in the glass where Jesus's left foot was supposed to be. Linton was crying. Linthicum tells the story of the vandalism that has hit the stained-glass windows, the "jewels of Downtown Albuquerque, subject of history tours and a 58-page book published in 1990, 'The Book of Windows.'"

Read story
How do you protect your church property?

Nebraska pastor practices, preaches healthy living

NORTH OMAHA, Neb. (UMNS) - About three years ago, the Rev. Portia Cavitt ramped up the wellness program at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church to get more people interested in health and fitness. What she didn't realize was that what she helped start would contribute to her loss of 30 pounds. tells how this pastor has helped to improve lives, especially those of African Americans in her congregation.

Read story

Newtown youth chorus sings for hope

STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) - The Newtown Youth Voices, formed in the wake of last December's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has been spreading its hope through performances and recordings. It's Relevant was there for a recent performance at the First United Methodist Church. Read story

Community mourns death of retired pastor, wife

STROMSBURG, Neb. (UMNS) - The area community is mourning and sharing memories after an accidental fire Saturday, Nov. 2, morning took the lives of a retired United Methodist pastor and his wife. The Rev. Charles Bailey was a pastor for several years at the Stromsburg United Methodist Church. His wife, Juanita, reports, was considered a second pastor for her dedication and devotion to the community.

Read story

Fire guts Brocton, N.Y., church

BROCTON, N.Y. (UMNS) - Erie TV News reports that fire gutted an historic brick church early Sunday morning, Nov. 3. The tri-church parish is called the United Methodist and Lutheran Church. The fire was reported at 1:30 a.m. Fire crews from Brocton needed help from several neighboring companies to keep the fire from spreading to the parsonage next door.

Read story
Church fires: Damage, recovery, prevention

News around the connection

Super typhoon bears down on Philippines

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief is preparing to respond through local contacts in the Philippines to respond to Typhoon Haiyan, a category 5 storm expected to hit the islands nation Friday, Nov. 8. Winds of up to 170 miles an hour are expected with impact to be felt in many areas including Bohol, the region badly damaged by a recent earthquake.

Learn how you can help

Clinton salutes long-running mission work in New York

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A daring group of 19th century Methodist women who ventured into the most notorious slum in New York to change the lives of children set an example that all United Methodists can follow, says Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was the keynote speaker Nov. 3 at a United Methodist City Society celebration of "175 Years of Mission in the City." Read story and post a comment

Top staff at finance agency opt for buyout

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The General Council on Finance and Administration will see the departure of much of its top staff over the next months under a voluntary separation program offered as part of the agency's reorganization. The agency is at the center of United Methodist operations, collecting and distributing general church funds, providing financial oversight and reporting key statistics about the denomination.

Read story

Winkler nominated to top NCC post

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Jim Winkler, who announced his planned departure from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society early this year, has been nominated to become the next top executive and president of the National Council of Churches. Read story

Serbia: How the Roma struggle

BELGRADE (UMNS) - "The Roma of Belgrade are being systematically pushed off the land where they live in order to make way for shopping malls and high-rise offices," writes the Rev. Paul Jeffrey, who through his pictures and words tells the stories of a people who have been systematically marginalized and relocated by the Serbian government. Jeffery explains what United Methodists are doing to try to help.

Read story
UMTV: Ministry with the Roma
Present and future hope for Roma children

Awards honor United Methodist communicators

CHICAGO (UMNS) - The United Methodist Association of Communicators named the Rev. Arthur McClanahan as "Communicator of the Year" and inducted the Rev. Boyce A. Bowdon into its Hall of Fame.

Read story and post a comment

Council of Bishops to meet Nov. 10-15

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - United Methodist bishops from around the globe will gather in North Carolina at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center for the Council of Bishops meeting, Nov. 10-15. "The clear priority for the Council of Bishops is to increase vitality in our congregations in all the regions where we are present," said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, the council's president. The United Methodist News Service will provide coverage throughout the meeting.

Read news release

United Methodist Publishing House reports revenue

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The board of The United Methodist Publishing House, which encompasses Cokesbury and Abingdon Press, completed its annual meeting on Oct. 30, reporting sales of $2 million over budget projections and better-than-expected net operating revenue of $210,000 in a year of major retooling for the 225-year-old ministry. Abingdon Press announced the planned launch in spring 2014 of Covenant Bible Study. cited a 14 percent increase in sales.

News around conferences

Greater New Jersey Conference holds special session

OCEAN GROVE, N.J. (UMNS) - More than 800 people gathered Nov. 2 as the United Methodist Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference celebrated the work of A Future with Hope, its Sandy recovery ministry, and made decisions related to the conference's strategic ministry plan and 2014 budget. Bishop John Schol also announced a $750,000 grant from the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.

Read special session wrapup
NJ Sandy video stories
See UMNS special report on Sandy recovery

Pastor receives recognition, $50,000 in funds

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) -The Rev. Lisa Fitzpatrick, the United Methodist co-founder of the APEX Youth Center in New Orleans and recently named as a 2013 CNN Hero, has been recognized again for her groundbreaking work with decreasing violence among youth in a city that ranks third among the deadliest in the nation. The Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference has the story.

Read story

Churches reach outto poor through Henderson Settlement

WHITE OAK, Tenn. (UMNS) - Annette Spence, editor of the Call in the Holston Annual (regional) Conference, reports the difference the Hendersonville Settlement is making in its pocket of Appalachia. Many of the 2,800 volunteers that come through Henderson Settlement each year are dispatched to repair dilapidated homes within a 20-mile radius of Frakes, Ky. "These are the people the Scripture tells us to take care of," said the Rev. Mark Fuerstenau, pastor of Kossuth Zion United Methodist Church in Spencerville, Ohio.

Read story

Resources for churches

Join the 2014 Wesley Pilgrimage in England

LONDON (UMNS) - Immerse yourself in the Christ-centered leadership of John and Charles Wesley through a 10-day adventure in the England of the Wesleys. The Wesley Pilgrimage in England will be July 14-24, 2014, and is open to all United Methodist lay and clergy leaders. Watch the video

Join with Global AIDS fund to 'Just Save One'

NEW YORK (UMNS) - If you could save just one person's life, would you do it? You have the opportunity to "Just Save One" person living with HIV and AIDS. For the next year, the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund is intensifying its work to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDS. Even a small gift can make a big difference.

Learn how you can help

Give the gift of love through organ donation

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday, a United Methodist special Sunday observed as part of the National Donor Sabbath, is observed the second Sunday in November, this year on Nov. 10. The United Methodist Church supports organ and tissue donation and believes that organ transplantation and organ donation are acts of charity, agape love and self-sacrifice.

Learn more
A moment for mission

History of Hymns: 'Hymn of Promise'

DALLAS (UMNS) - One of the top five favorite hymns of United Methodists, "In the Bulb There Is a Flower," also known as "Hymn of Promise," is No. 707 in the United Methodist hymnal. C. Michael Hawn, distinguished professor of church music at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology and director of the seminary's sacred music program, shares the story of the hymn by United Methodist Natalie Sleeth. History of Hymns is a joint project with the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Read story

Chuck Knows Church: Bishops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - How much do you really know about the office of bishop of The United Methodist Church? Chuck will tell you the basics as he plays a difficult chess match.

Learn more

World Council of Churches meeting

3 United Methodists elected to WCC Central Committee

BUSAN, Korea (UMNS) - Three United Methodists - Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, Bishop Sally Dyck and Cynthia Kent - are part of the newly elected Central Committee of the World Council of Churches but the denomination's representation has dropped from 5 to 3 seats. Read story and post a comment

Young adults lament lack of WCC representation

BUSAN, Korea (UMNS) - As the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly moved into its final days, some youth have expressed dismay over their continued lack of representation in decision-making for the ecumenical body. The percentage of young adults elected to the new 150-member WCC Central Committee, which will help set the direction of the council over the next seven years, is 13 percent or 19 members.

Read story and post a comment

6,435-mile journey of peace

BUSAN, Korea (UMNS) - The assignment for Nazar Yatsyshyn from L'Viv, Ukraine, was to organize a transcontinental "Peace Train" and advocate for reunification of the Korean peninsula as part of his commission serving the National Council of Churches in Korea. The initiative involved 130 activists from 15 nations, a pilgrimage from the Berlin Wall to Busan, Korea, for the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches and navigating passage through North Korea.

Read how he handled the tasks

WCC assembly includes 21 ecumenical conversations

BUSAN, Korea (UMNS) - One of the 21 ecumenical conversations taking place throughout the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly is focusing on human security as a way of understanding global vulnerabilities. The Rev. Liberato Bautista, an executive with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, is a resource person for the committee.

Read story

Other news of interest

Ecumenical news agency closes its doors

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (UMNS) - Ecumenical News International will not outlive the drastic financial reductions imposed by its two main sponsors, the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation, reports Michel Kocher for the World Association of Christian Communication. He called it "the end of an adventure" for a recognized, independent press agency "that strengthened the influence of the ecumenical movement."

Read story

University and seminary news

Hendrix College names new president

CONWAY, Ark. (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Hendrix College announced Nov. 1 that William M. Tsutsui will become the college's 11th president, beginning June 2014. Tsutsui comes to Hendrix from United Methodist-related Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he led Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the largest of SMU's seven colleges and schools, as dean and professor of history.

Watch Tsutsui's greeting

Blogs and commentaries

Celebrate the contributions of Native Americans

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (UMNS) - In celebration of Native American Heritage month, Blenda Smith, communications coordinator for the Upper New York Conference Committee on Native American Ministry, writes that now "is great time to celebrate the legacy of Native American traditions and gifts to our present culture and country." She offers United Methodist and other resources to do so. Read commentary

Church urged to be 'robust in charity and love'

DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) - "There is so much to love about this church but we work so hard to undermine it and hasten its demise," writes Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people's ministries for the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference. He suggests the church should strive to be "robust enough in charity and love" to hold its members' many different opinions.

Read commentary

Pastor inspired by Social Capital Markets Conference

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Rev. Mike Baughman is an admitted "Methodork" who deeply loves The United Methodist Church. But he says no church conference has inspired him more than the recent Social Capital Markets Conference. He writes, "I found inspiration, hope and God at work beyond the walls of the church. I found fertile ground that the church has yet to engage. More accurately, I discovered ground that the church once owned but abandoned and now must work to reclaim."

Read his essay for Faith and Leadership

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.

Native American Heritage Month, November - Worship and devotional resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and more ministry resources from the United Methodist Native American International Caucus.

Veterans Day or Armistice Day, Monday, Nov.11 - Resources for honoring military veterans, from United Methodist Communications and from United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Free webinar"Creating Sacred Spaces and Praying through Our Senses," Thursday, Nov. 14 -7 p.m. CT. The final offering in the "Teach Us to Pray" series will look at the value of creating set-aside space for prayer and devotional time. As Advent approaches, the webinar also will look at how icons and other visual images, music and incense can enrich Christians' experience of drawing nearer to God through prayer. Details.

Free webinar "How We Handle Money in the Church," Thursday, Nov. 14 - 6:30 p.m. CT. Every church that has had a crisis of financial impropriety thought what it was doing was fine until the day the impropriety was discovered. What's your church's policy for handing the gifts people entrust to you? To register.

"Day1," Sundays, Nov. 17 and 24 - The Rev. Amy L. Gearhart, senior pastor of Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia, will be the featured speaker on the nationally syndicated radio program "Day1." To listen.

Free webinar "Using Children's Literature in Children's Ministry," Tuesday, Nov. 19 - 10 a.m. CT. Children's ministers from across the connection will discuss ways to incorporate children's literature in Sunday school, weekday ministries, small groups, nursery and other activities in the church. To register.

Free webinar "Pastors Read - 'The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains,'" Wednesday, Nov. 20 - 10 a.m. CT, an interactive small-group discussion on the book by Nicholas Carr. To register.

Free webinar "Maximizing the Mission Through Debt Reduction," Wednesday, Nov. 20 - 3 p.m. CT, covers specific steps taken by Ceta Canyon Camp leaders and stakeholders that turned around a $1.4 million debt. To register.

United Methodist Student Day, Sunday, Nov. 24 - Celebrate the United Methodist college and university students in your church. Offerings for this Special Sunday supports scholarships and loans for students attending United Methodist-related and other accredited colleges and universities. To learn more.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 28 - Worship resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Online course "Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent," Dec. 1-25 - eRetreat featuring Pamela Hawkins's Advent resource "Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent," presented by Upper Room eLearning and BeADisciple, $40. Details.

Online course "The Uncluttered Heart: Making Room for God during Advent and Christmas," Dec. 1 Jan. 5, 2014 - eRetreat offers guided reflection through the weeks of Advent on through Epiphany. Each day provides a quotation, scripture passage, reflection, prayer. This online retreat is presented by Upper Room eLearning and BeADisciple, $40. Details.

Advent, Dec. 1-24 - Resources for Advent wreath lighting and sermons from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and resources for drawing and welcoming visitors to Advent and Christmas services from United Methodist Communications.

World AIDS Day, Sunday, Dec. 1 - The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee asks local congregations to observe the 15th anniversary of World AIDS Day committing to Just Save One child from contracting the disease. The committee developed downloadable resources in cooperation with the United Methodist boards of Church and Society and Global Ministries. The UM Global AIDS Fund. To donate.

#GivingTuesday, Dec. 3 - United Methodists are invited to participate in #GivingTuesday, when every gift made online through the The Advance will be matched dollar for dollar up to $500,000 total and $50,000 for any one project. Visit

Free webinar "Best Practices for Teaching and Implementing Creation Care and Appreciation," Wednesday, Dec. 4 - 3 p.m. CT. Seminar highlights the best practices of United Methodist camp and retreat ministries through their operations and programs. To register.

Holy Spirit Seminar: Signs and Wonders, Friday, Dec. 6 - 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, United Theological Seminary will present speaker Randy Clark, founder of Global Awakening, at Ginghamsburg (United Methodist) Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries