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Weekly Digest: November 15, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

November 15, 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 aid the Philippines

Filipino bishops grateful for church response

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - On Nov. 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the strongest storm ever to reach land, devastated parts of the Philippines. Three Filipino bishops were far from home, attending a gathering of United Methodist bishops in the United States, when the world learned of the terrible destruction from the storm. Bishops Pedro M. Torio, Ciriaco Francisco and Rudy Juan spoke with United Methodist Communications a few days after the storm and shared their appreciation for the prayers and support church members offered. Juan said, "I believe that with help from The United Methodist Church worldwide, from countries that support the Philippines, we'll rise above this, and we'll be able to move on.Because we are a global church, when one part of the world suffers, the other members of the connection will help. Because of our connection, there's so much help. And thank you so much."
Watch Video
Philippines Typhoon: The Church Responds
Donate: International Disaster Response

Filipino Americans in Houston raise disaster funds

HOUSTON (UMNS) - In the Houston area, where 50,000 residents are Filipino-Americans, many are raising funds for recent disasters in the Philippines. Members of First Filipino American United Methodist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church are co-sponsoring a Nov. 23 concert, The Houston Chronicle reports.
Read story
In U.S., Filipinos ready to aid typhoon survivors
Philippines Typhoon: The Church Responds
Crisis map of Philippines

UPDATE: Missing Filipino pastor OK

MANILA (UMNS) - The Rev. Iris Picardeal-Perana, a United Methodist pastor in Tacloban thought to be missing after Typhoon Haiyan, has been in contact with Pastor Ruby Bongolan. In a text message, Picardeal-Perana said, "We are OK here in Leyte, but our situation is difficult. I have not had contact with Mom because I have no cellphone load. I was lucky to have been passed a load to be able to send this text message to you, after charging from a place far from where I am." The text appears to have been sent at 6:31 p.m. Manila time, Nov. 14.
Watch for updates

UMCOR relief money on way to Philippines

NEW YORK (UMNS) - As the United Methodist Committee on Relief released a $97,000 grant for emergency relief, the United Methodist bishop who leads the area that includes the Philippines islands devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda is waiting to hear more about the extent of the damage there. The National Association of Filipino American United Methodists said it is trying to coordinate with responders to the disaster, including UMCOR.
Read story and post a comment
Be in prayer for the Philippines andshare this video.
Support UMCOR's work throughInternational Disaster Response, Advance #982450.

Filipinos rally in southern California for typhoon survivors

LOS ANGELES (UMNS) - Filipinos in southern California, including United Methodists, have rallied to raise money for survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. A Nov. 15 candlelight vigil also is planned in the front of Grace United Methodist Church, Long Beach. The vigil will include prayers and testimonies remembering the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
Read story

In U.S., Filipinos ready to aid typhoon survivors

CHICAGO (UMNS) - The stark television images of people who lost family and homes to Typhoon Haiyan are moving U.S. Filipinos to promote relief efforts for the Philippines. The lack of communication from the affected areas has heightened the anxiety for those worried about relatives, friends and church members.
Read full story
Philippines Typhoon: The church responds

Communications agency responds to typhoon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)-As part of a multifaceted response to Typhoon Haiyan, United Methodist Communications is placing a full-page ad in USA Today next week, pointing readers to a United Methodist website for donations and updates. In addition, because of its work in ICT4D (information and communications technology for development), the agency has been contacted by other organizations interested in collaborating to set up communications services and staffing in the Philippines. The communications agency also is working with the United Methodist Committee on Relief in publicizing the church's response and receiving donations.
Support UMCOR's work throughInternational Disaster Response, Advance #982450.

Council of Bishops meeting

Bishops seek complaint against Talbert

After hours of closed-door sessions throughout the week, the Council of Bishops "respectfully"requesteda formal complaint be filed against retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, who officiated at a same-sex union on Oct. 26 despite church law. The complaint would go before the Western Jurisdiction, from which Bishop Talbert retired. The council also recommended that its executive committee "initiate a task force to lead honest and respectful conversations regarding human sexuality, race and gender in a worldwide perspective in our shared commitment to clear theological understanding of the mission and polity of The United Methodist Church."
Read story

Bishops called to embrace 'team spirit'

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - As they meet this week for their annual meeting, active and retired United Methodist bishops clearly are not of one mind regarding human sexuality and other issues the denomination faces. However, bishops will need to talk and listen to each other "in an attitude of team spirit," Germany Area Bishop Rosemarie Wenner said in her presidential address to the Council of Bishops.
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Commentary: Frank asks bishops 'to stop the trials'

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UMNS) - The Rev. Thomas E. Frank, an expert on United Methodist polity, is urging the Council of Bishops for the sake of church unity to stop church trials of elders accused of violating the denomination's stance on homosexuality.
Read his letter

Bishops share thoughts on women's role in The UMC

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Some bishops have joined the conversation as the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women continues to assess how the church is meeting its mandate for full inclusion of women in all areas of church life. While the church has made strides, much work lies ahead, said participants at a listening session at the Council of Bishops meeting.
Read full story

Bishops celebrate milestone in fight to end malaria

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton told the Council of Bishops today that the Imagine No Malaria campaign is nearing $60 million of its $75 million goal to eradicate the disease in Africa by 2015. Bickerton recognized the efforts throughout the connection.
Read story and post a comment
Learn about Imagine No Malaria

Call for 'no more trials' part of bishops' deliberations

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - A United Methodist polity expert's call to halt church trials related to the denomination's stance on homosexuality is sparking conversation both in the blogosphere and within the Council of Bishops. Germany Area Bishop Rosemarie Wenner - the Council of Bishops president - said the bishops, meeting this week in Lake Junaluska, would consider Frank's letter and other public reaction in their deliberations.
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2016 General Conference to have 124 fewer delegates

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The Rev. L. Fitzgerald "Gere" Reist II, top executive of the commission on the 2016 General Conference, told the Council of Bishops that there will be 864 delegates to the lawmaking assembly, which will convene May 10-20 in Portland, Ore. The 2012 General Conference had 988 delegates.
Read about how change came about
Read press release

Bishops visit Cherokee as part of repentance

CHEROKEE, N.C. (UMNS) - This year marks the 175th anniversary of the start of the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokee people and other tribes from their homelands in the Southeast to what is today Oklahoma. The United Methodist Council of Bishops visited Cherokee for church leaders to have an "immersion experience" during this week's annual meeting of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, said Charlotte Area Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster.
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News around conferences

United Methodist clergy assist in wedding of gay couple

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) - Inside a 150-year-old United Methodist church, Richard Kevin Taylor and William Robert Gatewood celebrated their 25-year relationship with a service of Christian marriage on Nov. 9. Nearly 40 United Methodist clergy helped officiate. The United Methodist Church forbids ordained clergy from officiating at same-sex weddings. The Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book, also forbids same-sex marriage in United Methodist churches and declares marriage is between a man and a woman.
Read story and post a comment

News around the connection

Swenson elected vice moderator as WCC event ends

BUSAN, Korea (UMNS) - As theWorld Council of Churches 10th Assemblydrew to a close Nov. 8, the new 150-member Central Committee was commissioned. Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, ecumenical officer for the United Methodist Council of Bishops, was elected vice moderator for the committee.
Read story

Korean pastor reflects on first assembly experience

BUSAN, Korea (UMNS) - The Rev. Thomas Kim, a Korean-American United Methodist pastor from the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference, reflects on his experience at the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly in a Q&A with United Methodist News Service.
Read story

Wesley Center hosts Tokyo UMC reception

TOKYO (UMNS) - During a Nov. 8 worship service and dinner at the Wesley Center, Thomas Kemper, United Methodist Global Ministries, and Harriett Olson and Yvette Richards, United Methodist Women, shared food and conversation with about 20 people, mostly active and retired missionaries living there. Both organizations have historic ties to Japan. The trio stopped in Tokyo after attending the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea.

Church in the news

Young people learn they benefit from giving

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (UMNS) - While the younger kids decorated cookies and played games at Schweitzer United Methodist Church's Fall Fest last month, Diana Hamlet, 12, greeted people at the door, handed them orange bracelets and collected donations for the church's food bank. The Springfield News Leader explains that she is one of many young people learning why it is better to give than to receive.
Read story

Volunteers ready historic church for anniversary

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UMNS) - Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and did whatever was necessary to get Wiley United Methodist Church, a historically black church listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ready for its anniversary service. Whatever was necessary included moving pews, pulling up the dull red carpet and backing, cleaning organ pipes and throwing out garbage. The reports that the undertaking came about when Christ United Methodist Church, the denomination's largest church in the area, asked the United Methodist Chattanooga District office to assign it a struggling congregation with which it could work.
Read story

Thefts from church include youth fundraising gifts

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (UMNS) - The pastor at Ebenezer United Methodist learned Wednesday morning his church was robbed overnight. reports the thief or thieves took several thousand dollars' worth of audio and video equipment, the youth group's video game system and homemade items the youth sold as fundraisers for a mission trip.
Read story
How do you protect your church property?

Vandals damage historic Methodist church in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES (UMNS) - Bishop Frank Nully Brown of the Argentinean Evangelical Methodist Church has reported that the First Methodist Church of Buenos Aires, located on downtown Corrientes Street, suffered damages in the temple and the historical pipe organ this past weekend. An arsonist damaged another Methodist church in Rosario, Argentina, in September.
Read story

Christianity and Dr. Who

PONCHATOULA, La. (UMNS) - The Rev. Matt Rawle, pastor of The Well United Methodist Church in Ponchatoula, knows how to use a fictional time lord to draw people closer to God. He was among a number of scholars from the United Kingdom, the United States and Scandinavia invited to speak Nov. 2 in the United Kingdom at the University of Manchester during the 50th anniversary celebration of "Doctor Who," a British science-fiction television program.Rawle presented a paper entitled, "God, Time and Identity: Doctor Who and the Great Physician's Table." The Louisiana Conference has the story, and you do not need the TARDIS to read it.
Read story

Resources for churches

Bulletin insert available for Newtown anniversary

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has prepared a bulletin insert to assist congregations in conducting a worship observance of the anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., gun-violence tragedy that occurred Dec. 14, 2012.
Read story
More info

Grants for local churches and annual conferences

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Grant applications are being accepted for funding of up to $10,000 for the strengthening and developing racial-ethnic local churches. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries provides the grants to assist local congregations and annual conferences for projects and programs in four specific areas: congregational development, health ministry, leadership development and ministry with the poor.For applications and more information, contact Sonia Brum The application deadline is Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.

Young clergy initiative grants open

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Applications for Young Clergy Initiative grants to develop innovative projects of all sizes that could attract young people to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church are now open through Feb. 1, 2014. The goal of the $7 million Young Clergy Initiative, approved by the 2012 General Conference, is to increase the number of United Methodist young elders and deacons.
To apply

History of Hymns: 'O God Who Shaped Creation'

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Rev. William W. Reid Jr., the author of this hymn, had a multifaceted career. He was an Army veteran and prisoner of war, a pastor and district superintendent in The United Methodist Church, an official of The Hymn Society, in addition to a hymn writer of note. C. Michael Hawn offers more of his story.
Read story

University and seminary news

3 United Methodist seminaries recognized

WASHINGTON (UMNS) -, a website promoting engagement of young people in the church, has listed United Methodist-relatedWesley Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School and CandlerSchool of Theology among 17 "Seminaries that Change the World."
Read Huffington Post article

Blogs and commentaries

Asking clergy to send message on immigration reform

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The voices of clergy can be heard above D.C. special interest groups, says Bill Mefford, staff with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. He is asking clergy to sign a letter to be sent Nov. 18 to the U.S. House of Representatives on fixing the immigration system. Twenty-seven United Methodist bishops have already signed the letter.
Read more
More info

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.

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.

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 burden of 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

"Day1," Sunday, Nov. 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.

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

Online course "Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent," Dec. 1-25 - e-retreat 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 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

Lecture by former ambassador, Tuesday, Dec.3 - 5 p.m. CT, Miguel H. D

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries