Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - November 09, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Nov. 6 -12. 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

Hurricane Sandy News Stories:

Other News Stories:

Neighbors help neighbors in New York City

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (UMNS) - "I don't know what my mom's going to do with the house now," said Peter Vasquenz as he worked diligently amid diminishing daylight to clear pieces of ripped flooring and soggy drywall from the modest house that is decades old. Read story

Sandy survivor: 'It's unfathomable'

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (UMNS) - The Rev. Don Stevens was holding himself together until he came across a tote bag that had been drenched by flooding from Hurricane Sandy. The bag was full of photographs. Read story

United Methodist ads provide hope for Sandy survivors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, United Methodist Communications is spreading a message of hope from The United Methodist Church to those living in affected areas with national and regional advertising. Additionally, the ad provides information about how others can donate to be a part of the rebuilding efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. A full-page color ad appeared Nov. 8 in USA Today nationwide and will appear today, Nov. 9 in the New York Times andNew Jersey publications.

To view the ad, get special relief-related bulletin inserts and find a shareable Facebook image, visit this website. For complete Sandy coverage, go to Read news release

Volunteers: The lifeblood of storm response

MANASQUAN, N.J. (UMNS) - After Hurricane Sandy ripped through the New Jersey coast, the Manasquan United Methodist Church was left without power, but the Rev. Reggie Albert was determined that her church wouldn't be powerless. Read full story and post a comment

N.Y. send out relief volunteers

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodists have dispatched volunteers on Staten Island and Long Island to assist survivors of Hurricane Sandy. The Rev. Joseph Ewoodzie, disaster relief coordinator for the denomination's New York Annual (regional) Conference, said Bethel United Methodist Church would be used as a staging area for relief efforts. Read story and post a comment

Stunned N.J. towns reach for hope

BELMAR, N.J (UMNS) - Charlie and Eileen Brennan are sitting on steps of their house in Belmar, a coastal New Jersey town where they've lived for 31 years. Since Hurricane Sandy struck a week ago, they've been living with their son, a two hour's drive away in Delaware. Read story and post a comment

How people are helping in the wake of Sandy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - From Salt Lake City to London, help is on the way. Read story and post a comment

Pastor, now homeless, feeds drenched community

BAY HEAD, N.J. (UMNS) - Sandy's waters have driven the Rev. Scott H. and Karen Bostwick from their home. But that hasn't stopped the pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church from reaching out to help. The church building - "the only dry spot" on its end of town - is serving as Bay Head's official feeding station.

Read story and post a comment

More on United Methodist response to Sandy at

Picking up the pieces

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The Rev. Joanne Utley has compiled some snapshots of cleanup, comfort and recovery around the New York Annual (regional) Conference. Read story and post a comment

World Methodist Council responds to Sandy

NEW YORK (UMNS) - In the Nov. 2 "First Friday" newsletter of the World Methodist Council, the Rev. Ivan Abrahams, the council's top executive, expressed his prayers and support for those in the United States affected by Hurricane Sandy. Read story and post a comment

N.J. bishop describes 'disaster'

OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) - In a message to the Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference, Bishop John Schol told members that he has "traveled to most of the communities that have been significantly impacted and there is only one word to describe what I have seen, it is a DISASTER. Words cannot describe the devastation, chaos and the deep emotional impact Superstorm Sandy is having on many people." Read Bishop Schol's message

More cleaning supplies needed

NEW YORK (UMNS) - More help is needed with cleaning supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. "Cleaning buckets are going quickly," said Kathy Kraiza, executive director of relief supplies for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. "We started this process with 18,930 buckets in the network. To date, 7,300 are either delivered or being delivered. I believe we will go through all that we have on hand at least by Thanksgiving if not by the end of next week." Cleaning bucket instructions

Interview with disaster response coordinator

DES MOINES, Iowa (UMNS) - The Rev. Arthur McClanahan, director of communications for the Iowa Annual Conference, has recorded an interview with Joseph Ewoodzie, the coordinator of disaster response in the New York Conference. Ewoodzie describes the support that is needed, talks about when volunteers from outside the area will be invited to come and help, and encourages support through UMCOR. Listen to interview

Cleaning buckets needed

NEW YORK (UMNS) - More than 16,000 UMCOR cleaning buckets have so far been distributed to sites in five states from Maryland to New York in response to super-storm Sandy. You can help by continuing to provide cleaning buckets to any of the member depots of the UMCOR Relief Supply Network. See list of depots

Far Rockaway Mission continues to serve

QUEENS, N.Y. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Center in the Far Rockaway section of Queens, continues to keep its doors open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily despite the continued lack of electricity, reports the Rev. Joanne Utley of the New York Annual (regional) Conference. Read story and post a comment

Cokesbury brick-and-mortar stores to close

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The board of United Methodist Publishing House has decided to close all 57 local Cokesbury stores - including its 19 seminary stores - by April 30, 2013, and redirect its focus and resources to enhancing and the Cokesbury Call Center. The closures will affect about 285 full-time and part-time employees, and the news already has dismayed a number of United Methodist customers.

Read story and post a comment

Pastor collects food cards for vets

MUNCIE, Ind. (UMNS) - The Rev. Randy Davis, a Vietnam veteran and now pastor of Redkey and Dunkirk Mount Tabor United Methodist churches, has been gathering McDonalds gift cards for military veterans. The Star Press in Muncie reports that his effort is far more successful than he ever expected. Read full story

Remembering the U.S.-Dakota War

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) - In 1862, 560 Native Americans and people of European descent lost their lives in the Dakota Conflict, a series of bloody altercations. Among the dead were two clergy in the Evangelical Association, one of the predecessor bodies of The United Methodist Church. One United Methodist pastor has organized remembrances of the clergy and others hurt by the conflict. Read full story

Bees, snails, Moringa trees boost Liberia

TUNUKUK PUYE, Liberia (UMNS) - UMCOR isn't just there when disaster strikes. Its program to teach sustainable agriculture and development is making an economic and health impact for West Africans. Read story and post a comment

Voting for myself

St. IGNACE, Mich. (UMNS) - After the suicide of a neighbor, the Rev. Erik Alsgaard wanted to bring more attention to the problem of bullying. He ended up running for office. Read full commentary and post a comment

20 ways to reach out on Veterans Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Veterans Day, a Nov. 11 observance that dates back to the end of World War I, officially falls on a Sunday this year (although many folks will get Monday, Nov. 12 off from work). Here are some suggestions for honoring the military veterans and military families in your communities. Read full story and post a comment

The priorities of 14 new bishops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The 14 new bishops elected in the United States, Africa and Eurasia are committed to increasing the number of vital United Methodist congregations.
Read story and post a comment

Bishops urged to be 'one in ministry to all the world'

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS) - In the first presidential address of the quadrennium to the Council of Bishops at Epworth-by-the-Sea, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner encouraged the bishops to lead so that "we may be one in ministry to all the world."

Read news release
To see full address

New Connectional Table leader named

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Rev. Amy Valdez Barker has been named executive secretary of the Connectional Table, providing administrative leadership for the body that coordinates the mission, ministry and resources of The United Methodist Church. She will start her new role Jan. 1, 2013. Read story and post a comment

Voting and the Common Good

DES MOINES, Iowa (UMNS) - "Voting, for me, is about asking the question of the common good. We are all part of one human family. In the United States with all of its diversity, we are all part of one nation," writes Iowa Area Bishop Julius C. Trimble in a commentary. Read commentary and post a comment

Let's be hospitable inside and out

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (UMNS) - The Rev. Anita K. Hahn of the Western Michigan Conference muses about how to extend 'hospitality' to those who do not enter our church doors. "How does the "hospitality" of our lives impact others? If Jesus is our host what have we learned from his grace and how do we offer it to others&ellipsis;everywhere?" she asks. Read full commentary

Boston University joins ranks of top research schools

BOSTON (UMNS) - Boston University has become the third United Methodist-related institution to join the Association of American Universities, an elite organization of 61 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. Boston University was invited to become the 62nd member based on its research and academic programs. Duke University and Emory University are the two other United Methodist-related schools in the association. Read news release

Asbury to dedicate student housing

WILMORE, Ky. (UMNS) - Asbury Theological Seminary will dedicate new student housing on its Wilmore, Ky., campus Nov. 13, during its fall meeting of the board of trustees. The ceremony marks the completion of two single student residence halls, Bettie Morrison Hall and Sundo Kim Hall, and officially opens The Ira and Sally Gallaway Village. Read full story

Detroit building readied for homeless

DETROIT (UMNS) - Homeless men and women will have a safe place to call home, the Detroit News reports, when work on a gutted 1920s-era apartment building results in the 41-unit Arthur Antisdel Apartments permanent housing development. The project is part of the effort of Cass Community Services, a United Methodist congregation and community service program, to help some of the estimated 19,000 homeless in Detroit. Read full story

Caution advised about part-time appointments

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Judicial Council ruling upholding security of appointment for elders and associate members does not require a full-time appointment. However, the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry's top executive issued a cautionary note during a webinar about the ruling. Read full story

Art of coaching seminar set

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) - A seminar "The Art of Coaching, Conflict Transformation and the Intersection of the Two: Moving to a New Place," facilitated by Chris Holmes and Craig Gilliam, is scheduled for Dec. 9-13 at Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue Hotel in New Orleans. JustPeace, the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and the Louisiana Conference Center for Pastoral Excellence are among the sponsors. The event aims to help bishops, district superintendents, directors of connectional ministry and other church leaders in their coaching. The $495 early registration deadline has been extended to Friday, Nov. 9. To register or for further questions, contact Linda Gregg at 225-346-1646 or To learn more

Pension board sets public forum

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits has scheduled a public forum at 11:45 a.m. Eastern Time Dec. 7 at the Marriott Hollywood Beach, 2501 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood, Fla. The forum allows the board of directors to hear concerns of United Methodist constituents through a short presentation. To place your name and topic on the agenda and for specific presentation requirements, contact Colette Nies by Nov. 20 at 1-800-269-2244, extension 4296, or by email at

Jan. 10 deadline to apply for Peace with Justice grant

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Jan. 10 is the deadline to apply for a Peace with Justice grant from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. The funding targets ministries that witness "to God's demands for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world." To download an application form

Why don't we talk about God's wrath?

BURKE, Va. (UMNS) - God's wrath is not a popular topic for United Methodists since we like to focus our theology on God's grace. The Rev. Morgan Guyton thinks of wrath as the natural response to injustice and disharmony that God has instilled into creation. Read commentary

Camp scholarships make disciples

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (UMNS) - As congregations plan their 2013 budgets, some add a line item for camp scholarships. West Michigan Annual (regional) Conference urges local churches to "invest in disciple-making" by including camp scholarships in their budgets for the new year. Read what they do

Religious preference data available to conferences in January

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The latest data on religious preferences and beliefs among the U.S. population will be available to annual conferences of The United Methodist Church beginning in January. Read more

Conference leaders work to strengthen collegiate ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Fundraising for campus ministries, board development, and how churches can help students and families prepare for and choose a college were among the topics at an Oct. 18-19 gathering of annual conference Boards of Higher Education and Campus Ministry and conference higher education staff. Read more

United Methodists set faith revival on Nov. 30

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) - Retired Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno will deliver the keynote address to thousands of United Methodists during a Grand Revival Worship Celebration to be held at the Philsports Arena (Ultra) in Pasig City on Nov. 30. Revive United Methodist Church is a movement that calls for healing and unity within the church and society. The event is "a call to stand fast and pray for the Holy Spirit's work in the hearts of United Methodists and other Christians in the country." Learn more

Former ambassador 'gives back' to Gammon

ATLANTA (UMNS) - Gammon Theological Seminary, the United Methodist seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, has received a $100,000 gift to strengthen the institution's scholarship aid to students. Charles R. Stith, former ambassador to Tanzania under the Clinton administration, a 1975 graduate of Gammon, and founding director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center at United Methodist-related Boston University, said his donation is a way of "paying forward" the support he received at the seminary.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries