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UMNS Weekly Digest - November 16, 2012

We wish all of our U.S. readers a very happy Thanksgiving. The Weekly Digest will return Nov. 30.

Nov. 16, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Nov. 13 -19. 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:

N.J. church sign points way to storm relief

DRAKESTOWN, N.J. (UMNS) - Like many other churches in the denomination's Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference that were lucky enough to sustain power after the storm, Drakestown United Methodist opened its doors to the community. And the church's newly installed electronic sign helped light the way for those in need. Read story and post a comment

Hugo survivors join Sandy relief efforts

BARNEGAT, N.J. (UMNS) - Residents in the tiny coastal town of McClellanville, S.C., are raising money to assist in Hurricane Sandy recovery as a gesture of thanks to Ocean County, N.J., residents who aided them after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the reports. Bill Neyenhouse, who was on the Hugo relief expedition, is volunteering now through the Barnegat United Methodist Church. Read full story

Multiple faiths team up for Sandy relief

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Think of it as a new variation on 3M. United Methodist volunteers joined with Muslims and Mormons, and together, they removed muck and debris from flood-damaged homes in Rockaway, Queens. The Salt Lake City Tribune has the story. Read story and post a comment

Neighbors, near and far

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (UMNS) - Two weeks after super-storm Sandy slammed into the south shore of Long Island, New York, the makeshift disaster-response offices at Community United Methodist Church in Massapequa are buzzing with volunteer relief workers. Read full story and post a comment

N.J. now open to early response teams

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodists in New Jersey are receiving their first out-of-state "early response teams" to assist in the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. Early Response Teams interested in coming to New Jersey should send an email to that lists name and contact information, church, annual conference, team size and dates available to respond. Read full story and post a comment

Jellyfish add note of levity to destruction of Sandy

FREEPORT, N.Y. (UMNS) - As if the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy weren't already overwhelming in the storm's wake, Leroy Morgan of Freeport found himself faced with another astonishing and wholly unexpected phenomenon: jellyfish in his living room. Read story

N.Y. United Methodists continue Sandy response

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (UMNS) - In a Nov. 15 letter to the United Methodist New York Annual (regional) Conference, Bishop Martin McLee recounts his visit to storm-damaged New Dorp Beach on Staten Island. United Methodists are working around New York and New Jersey in response to Hurricane Sandy. The New York Conference Disaster Response office now has sites set up on Long Island ready to receive early response teams and individual ERT volunteers.

Read Bishop Martin D. McLee's letter
ERT registration
Donate for Sandy relief

Top court reinstates retired bishop

PHOENIX (UMNS) -United Methodist Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe, who was involuntarily retired in July, is to be "immediately reinstated to his rightful status as an active bishop of The United Methodist Church," the denomination's top court has ruled. Read story and post a comment

Bledsoe's next appointment still unknown

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Nov. 10 decision by The United Methodist Church's top court to reinstate Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe and reverse his involuntary retirement has church leaders still trying to determine what happens next. One bishop described the situation as "new ground." Read full story and post a comment

Tips to re-energize inactive members

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Intentional relational efforts and constant communication can prevent new members from becoming idle and prompt the return of those people who have become inactive. Here are eight tips to re-engage the people missing from worship. Read full story

Chuck Knows Church: Liturgical colors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Ever walk into your Sunday morning worship service and realize the colors have changed around the sanctuary? The first episode of video series "Chuck Knows Church" explains why and when the colors change. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship has produced the video series. Watch video

Community health workers bring healing

GANTA, Liberia (UMNS) - On a dreary, rainy Monday, Dorothy Payetee starts singing a hymn as villagers slowly begin to file into a small cinderblock building. Payetee, a community health volunteer from Ganta United Methodist Hospital, opens the spontaneous meeting with a prayer and then she starts quizzing the group on healthy habits. Read full story and post a comment

Cokesbury closures challenge seminaries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Publishing House's Nov. 5 announcement that it plans to shutter all 57 of its Cokesbury stores - including 19 seminary locations - has theological schools across the United States scrambling to determine their next move. Theological schools have multiple options for supplying students, but some worry the loss of brick-and-mortar stores will do long-term damage. Read full story and comment

Quilts of love for Congo ministry

KETTERING, Ohio (UMNS) - The congregation at Christ United Methodist Church, Kettering, Ohio, knows how it feels to be wrapped up in a "God-size" dream and see it come true. The church raised $117,000 and helped tip the scales to buy a new plane for an aviation ministry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But money wasn't enough; they wanted something more personal. Read story and post a comment

Same-sex unions gain support in U.S. elections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Four states made decisions about same-sex unions in the Nov. 6 election, signaling many are grappling with the issue. Debates have been simmering inside the church and in society for years. At the center of the issue for many in The United Methodist Church is how to offer ministry to gays and lesbians. Read story and post a comment

Bishop lifts suspension of Utah pastor

SALT LAKE CITY (UMNS) - After an investigation, church leaders have closed complaints against the suspended pastor of a Salt Lake City-area Tongan United Methodist congregation after several instances of child sexual abuse there were not reported in a timely manner. The Rev. Havili Mone, while no longer suspended, will not return as pastor of Laumalie Ma'oni'oni United Methodist Church. Read full story and post a comment

Letter describes bishops' retreat

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS) - Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council of Bishops, shared a letter to all United Methodists, which follows the Council of Bishops' first meeting of the quadrennium on Nov. 4-9. "It was a retreat time of growing spiritually through inspiring worship and engaging Bible study, deepening relationships through community building and exploring accountability, and reorganizing the Council for more fruitful and strategic leadership," Wenner wrote. Read full news release

Hope of Hearing restarts in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - A three-member team led by Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the United Methodist Commission on United Methodist Men, conducted hearing tests on 415 children in three schools in this island nation. During the Nov. 3-10 trip, the team members fit 30 children with hearing aids and they made ear mold impressions for 55 children, who will receive hearing aids and batteries when a second team comes to Haiti in January. Read story and post a comment

Evangelicals team up across denominations

DALLAS (UMNS) - Evangelical United Methodist groups are teaming up with evangelical groups in other mainline Protestant denominations to share resources. Some of these evangelicals are working toward reform within their denominations. Others are in the process of splitting to form new denominations. Read full story and post a comment

Advent studies available

TIPP CITY, Ohio (UMNS) - Advent starts Dec. 2, and a number of United Methodist agencies and partners are offering special studies and activities as we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth. Here are just a handful:

  • "A Different Kind of Christmas" - A multimedia package including devotions, studies for different age groups, a sermon series, video and Reclaim Christmas graphics. Based on the Rev. Mike Slaughter's book "Christmas Is Not Your Birthday," the package is provided by United Methodist Communication's Rethink Church and the United Methodist Publishing House. Details.
  • "Singing Mary's Song" - Online course, Nov. 30- Dec. 29, from Upper Room Multimedia, a division of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, $45. Details.
  • "Poor, Young & Pregnant: Mary's Advent" - A one-day student and mission project prepared by Healthy Families, Healthy Planet at the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. It concludes with instructions for assembly of birthing kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Details.
  • "Joy to the World!" - Society of St. Andrew devotion and giving program based on Luke 1:44 for Sunday school classes, small groups and families.Society of St. Andrew, a United Methodist partner, is a food gleaning and distribution ministry. Details.

Leaders urge focus on clergy health

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - Top executives of the United Methodist boards of Higher Education and Ministry, Pension and Health Benefits and Discipleship have pledged to involve church leaders in a denominational effort focused on clergy health and wholeness. Read full news release

One pastor's dedication to fair process

KANKAKEE, Ill. (UMNS) - The Rev. Earl Black was a passionate defender of a clergy member's right to fair process. Paul Black, Illinois Great Rivers Annual (regional) Conference, was reminded of that recently when his uncle's death coincided with two United Methodist Judicial Council decisions. Read blog and post a comment

World Council of Churches seeks young communicators

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The World Council of Churches has positions for skilled and enthusiastic young communication professionals from WCC member churches and ecumenical organizations to be members of the 10th Assembly communications team. The goal is to offer a unique opportunity to work with a diverse team of communication professionals from around the world, as well as a chance for ecumenical formation.

The application process ends Jan. 31, 2013. For more information, visit or email

Non-traditional worship sometimes comes with fries

LANSING, Mich. (UMNS) - You know you're in a non-traditional worship setting when you overhear the words, "Do you want fries with that?" Chances are, it's Monday night and you're at Grumpy's Diner, a new community of faith birthed out of Sycamore Creek United Methodist Church. If you go to their church website, reports Kay DeMoss, West Michigan Conference, it becomes clear: "One church in multiple locations." Read story

Young adult ministry director named

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -The Rev. James "Trip" Lowery III, senior pastor of Wendell United Methodist Church in North Carolina, has been appointed as the director of young adult ministry discernment and enlistment for the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Division of Ordained Ministry, effective Jan. 7, 2013. Read press release

Discipleship adds evangelism staff member

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Heather Heinzman Lear, an ordained elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference, will join the United Methodist Board of Discipleship staff Jan. 1 as director of evangelism ministries. Read press release

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries