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UMNS Weekly Digest - November 22, 2017


Top viewed stories from Nov. 17-21 See all United Methodist News Service stories at


‘Missio Dei’ proves challenging topic

BOSTON (UMNS) — United Methodist bishops and seminary professors struggled to find common ground at a Nov. 12-15 colloquy titled “Missio Dei and the United States: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.” But participants saluted the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry for sponsoring an event to consider God’s mission for the denomination. Sam Hodges reports. 
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Agency employees to see changes in pay scales

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Employees at United Methodist general agencies will see changes to their pay scale under policies the denomination’s finance agency board approved Nov. 17. The board voted unanimously despite objections of agency top executives that the timing is bad. Heather Hahn reports.
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Appalachian Trail chaplain completes journey 

SPRINGER MOUNTAIN, Ga. (UMCOM) — The Rev. Matt Hall was joined by friends and supporters for the last mile of his 2,200-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. Hall, the 2017 chaplain appointed to the trail by the Holston Conference, crossed the finish line Nov. 19. Asked what he would do the next day, he replied, “Probably go for a run and catch up on some reading.”
Read UMNS story of chaplain’s journey

Living in gratitude

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Interpreter) — United Methodists who have joined a movement of people emphasizing gratitude in personal and community life say giving thanks can redirect one’s life. Cecile S. Holmes writes for Interpreter Magazine.
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2017 annual conference reports

MUKONO, Uganda (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service is posting reports from all annual conference sessions. The latest is from the new Uganda-South Sudan Conference, which had its first gathering in August.
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Mountain Sky Area
An 'inclusive church' as a bridge-builder

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — More than 200 people attended the “Toward an Inclusive Church” event Nov. 14 at St. Andrew United Methodist Church. The event was sponsored by the United Methodist Association of Retired Clergy, a new advocacy group. Charmaine Robledo reports.
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Knoxville News Sentinel
Accidental church shooting injures two

TELICO PLAINS, Tenn. — A man accidentally shot himself and his wife at First United Methodist Church while he was showing off his gun during a discussion on recent church shootings. Their injuries didn’t appear to be life-threatening, police said. Travis Dorman reports.
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Alumni association, The Straits Times 
First Asian bishop in Singapore, Malaysia dies

SINGAPORE — The Rev. Yap Kim Hao, elected the first Asian bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia in 1968, died Nov. 16 at the age of 88. The Rev. Donald Messer, former head of Iliff School of Theology, said he admired Hao’s courage as a champion for inclusion within the church. “The poor, the marginalized, the discriminated against knew Bishop Kim Hao stood in solidarity with them,” Messer wrote in an email. 
Read obit from IPOH ASC Alumni Association 
Read news story from The Straits Times 

Florida Conference
‘A taste of home’ served at church’s Filipino potluck

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Every Sunday at First Church, a United Methodist community in Melbourne, 50 to 70 friends join for an authentic Filipino potluck meal. They share fellowship, speak their common language and enjoy dishes such as lumpia (egg rolls) and pancit (rice noodles). Anne Dukes reports for the Florida Conference on a 17-year-old tradition.
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West Virginia Conference
Bishop addresses cuts at West Virginia Wesleyan

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — West Virginia Area Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball addressed layoffs at West Virginia Wesleyan College in a pastoral letter to the conference. The bishop said she grieved the reduction in force at the United Methodist-affiliated college, which included the chaplain position, but also understood it was necessary to help sustain the college long term. Steiner Ball said the conference would work with the college on how to strengthen United Methodist involvement amid the changes at the school.
Read statement 

Pacific Northwest Conference
Challenging stereotypes that exclude

DES MOINES, Wash. — It’s easy to criticize the overt racism of neo-Nazi groups and some politicians, writes the Rev. Paul Jeffrey, a Pacific Northwest Conference missionary. But Jeffery said what is hard is challenging that rhetoric of fear with a language of solidarity and hope. “We in the church must speak words that unequivocally break through the stereotypes that exclude others from our communities,” he writes.
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Lewis Center
Welcoming millennials by preserving anonymity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Churches often welcome young adults with such urgency and expectation that younger visitors can feel overwhelmed. The Rev. Scott Chrostek, pastor of Resurrection Downtown, offers ideas for being hospitable while letting newcomers blend in.
Read commentary 



United Methodist Men
Churches asked to test anti-domestic violence curriculum

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– Headlines are full of reports on respected men sexually violating women. The Commission on United Methodist Men invites local churches to test a curriculum to help men address the behaviors that objectify women and create a climate that tolerates violence against women.
Learn more 
Read UMNS story about United Methodist Men initiative


Happy Thanksgiving

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — We wish U.S. readers a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday, and our readers around the globe many reasons to say thanks to God. The weekly digest will return Dec. 1.



Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.

Friday, Dec. 1


Webinar: Beyond the Worship Wars

Sunday, Dec. 3-Sunday, Dec. 24

Online guided meditation: Practices for Advent



See more United Methodist events