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UMNS Weekly Digest - November 11, 2016


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Connectional Table: Called 'for such a time as this'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UMNS) — The Connectional Table, which coordinates denominational ministry and resources, plans to focus on vital congregations and the worldwide nature of the church. Kathy L. Gilbert reports on the leadership body’s organizing meeting to set the course for the next four years.

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Church leaders challenged to lead with courage

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UMNS) — More than 750 United Methodist leaders gathered for a summit to focus on cultivating vital congregations. California-Pacific Conference Bishop Grant Hagiya, the keynote speaker, urged those attending to lead with courage for the sake of the church’s future. Kathy L. Gilbert reports on the discussion.
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New York board responds to ruling on gay ordination

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The recent Judicial Council decision related to a New York Conference bishop’s ruling on gay ordination issues has prompted statements from the conference board of ordained ministry, the current bishop and advocacy groups. Linda Bloom and Vicki Brown report.
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Court to bishops: Rule on 'proper' questions of law


Reactions vary to special General Conference date

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops’ announcement that 2019 is the earliest realistic time for a special General Conference brought a range of reactions, from support to frustration. The conference would address the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, created by the bishops to review church law related to homosexuality and examine ways to unify the church in a time of deep divisions. Sam Hodges and Kathy L. Gilbert have the story.

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Bishops planning for 2019 General Conference

Jazz-playing pastor brings out CD

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The Rev. Nat Dixon likes to riff on his tenor saxophone before preaching at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in the Bronx, where he’s pastor. Dixon, a former full-time jazz musician, is out with a new CD that includes secular and sacred jazz tunes. Singing on the CD is another United Methodist pastor with deep jazz roots. Sam Hodges reports.

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A woman's leadership through a difficult time

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — United Methodists, take note. When Susanna Wesley found the spiritual depth of her church lacking, she led her own devotions. When people objected, she stood firm. Joe Iovino has the feature.

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Bishops' letter congratulates President-elect Trump

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — On behalf of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, Bishop Bruce R. Ough sent a congratulatory letter to President-elect Donald Trump. In the letter, Ough — council president — sent a prayer and a plea for the nation to come together.

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A call to 'stand united in prayer' post-election

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, top executive of United Methodist Board of Church and Society, offers a word, a prayer and a song for the world after the 2016 election. “Today, may we stand united in prayer for all those who have accepted the mantle of leadership: that they might find strength and wisdom to lead our communities and country in the days ahead.”

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Tips for healing after Election Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — United Methodists may feel divided on many issues. An expert in conflict transformation offers tips to help church members reconnect after a divisive U.S. election season. Joe Iovino reports.
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In China, explaining a U.S. ballot

LUZHOU, China (UMNS) — When Connie Wieck, a college English teacher through the Amity Foundation, showed her Chinese students an absentee ballot — mailed from the Clark County Courthouse in Illinois — they had questions and opinions about the U.S. elections. Wieck writes about the experience in her blog.

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Military families support one another

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (UMNS) — On the second Monday of every month for the past six years, Northwoods United Methodist Church has hosted a Deployed Spouses Dinner as a way to support military wives and husbands. Christine Kumar reports for Interpreter magazine.

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Church rises from typhoon wreckage

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — On Nov. 8, 2013, Tacloban City was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. One of the casualties was the building that housed Light and Life United Methodist Church. Just shy of the third anniversary of the storm, the newly named Light and Life Community United Methodist Church held a dedication ceremony for its new worship space. Gladys Mangiduyos, a communicator from the Philippines, reports.

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Pastors respond to church burning

GREENVILLE, Miss. (UMNS) — Area United Methodist pastors offered a message of forgiveness to whoever is responsible for burning and spray-painting the words “Vote Trump” on Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, an African-American congregation. “God will forgive you, no matter what,” said one. “As Christians, we have got to keep on loving in spite of what’s happened.”

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Church packs 1 million meals

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — How do you pack a million meals? One at a time. Over the past five years, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church has packed more than 1 million meals through Stop Hunger Now. The milestone involved close to $300,000 in donations, thousands of volunteers and three major events.

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Struggling Texas church slowly rises again

AUSTIN, Texas (UMNS) — Despite years of decline, Memorial United Methodist Church is moving forward in ministry, with bread baking, English-as-a-second-language classes and a decidedly Wesleyan model of church focused on its neighbors. Duke University’s Faith & Leadership website has the story.
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Food Network show to feature ministry café

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (UMNS) — The Table Café, a ministry of the United Methodist Church of the Promise, will be featured on chef Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” Nov. 18 on the Food Network. The Table addresses food insecurity and food justice issues and operates on a pay-what-you-can model. Cathy L. Bruce has the story for the Kentucky Conference.

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UMCOR at work in Haiti after hurricane

PORT-SALUT, Haiti (UMNS) — The United Methodist Committee on Relief is making a difference in southwest Haiti, providing relief to families whose homes were badly damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Jack Amick, a top official in UMCOR’s International Disaster Response effort, offers a first-person report.

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Got a question? Ask the UMC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Ever wonder what The United Methodist Church’s views are on cremation and organ donation? How about saints? Curious about what it means to be a member? “Ask the UMC,” a new feature inviting readers to submit questions about the denomination, has the answers.
Explore Ask the UMC

Do United Methodists believe in saints?


Committee on Faith and Order organizes

ATLANTA (UMNS) —  The United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order met Oct. 26-28 to welcome its new members, elect officers and plan its work for the next four years. This work will include engaging the church in a study of its ecclesiology (a theology of church), with the goal of producing an official document to parallel similar statements on baptism and the Eucharist.

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10 ways to reach the unchurched at Christmas

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Unchurched people want to celebrate Christmas, so there is no better time to connect with friends and neighbors who rarely, if ever, go to church. Carey Nieuwhof offers 10 ways to do that in a commentary for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.

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Commentary: A day of prayer at Standing Rock

NEAR STANDING ROCK RESERVATION, N.D. (UMNS) — More than 500 clergy and other people of faith gathered in a day of prayer and support for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Rev. Richenda Fairhurst, who was among United Methodist clergy at the event, writes in a commentary that one phrase from the gathering stuck with her: “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up.”

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Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email and put Digest in the subject line.


Thursday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 19

Native American Discipleship Conference — The gathering, co-sponsored by the Native American Comprehensive Plan and the North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Native American Ministries, will be at the Comfort Suites, Milwaukee Airport Hotel, 6362 South 13th St., Oak Creek, Wisconsin. For reservations, contact Cheryl Hensley at 918-686-8444. Details


Thursday, Nov. 24

U.S. Thanksgiving — Whether you're going over the river and through the woods or to a community Thanksgiving service, United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers devotional and worship resources to mark the day that celebrates gratitude to God. Details


More upcoming United Methodist events