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UMNS Weekly Digest - November 23, 2016


Top viewed stories from Nov. 18 - Nov. 22. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


U.S. church sees numbers slide

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) —​ The United Methodist Church in the United States has continued to see its membership and attendance slide in 2015, but that isn't the whole story. Heather Hahn reports on the data just released by the General Council on Finance and Administration.

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Hispanic groups challenge church

DALLAS (UMNS) — Hispanic groups in The United Methodist Church have issued a flurry of statements since U.S. Election Day, calling on the denomination to strengthen support for immigrants, and insisting denomination leaders denounce discriminatory rhetoric and actions. Sam Hodges reports.

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Philadelphia church gives father sanctuary

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) — Arch Street United Methodist Church is providing sanctuary for Javier Flores García, an undocumented Mexican immigrant and a husband and father of three. John W. Coleman of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference offers the details of García’s situation.

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Pension board: Talk to Standing Rock tribe

CANNON BALL, N.D. (UMNS) — As many United Methodists have joined the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in protesting a pipeline, the agency that oversees the denomination’s pensions has engaged in its own form of advocacy. Heather Hahn reports.
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Visually impaired students thrive at African school

MUREWA, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Murewa Central Primary School does not discriminate against children without sight and currently has 12 visually impaired pupils in different grades. “None of the students have ever failed the Grade 7 examinations,” said the head of the department for visually impaired students. Eveline Chikwanah, a communicator of the Zimbabwe East Conference, reports.

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Support church on #GivingTuesday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — #GivingTuesday, a day to counter the consumer-driven traditions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, kicks off the charitable giving season Nov. 29. United Methodists can support the denomination in a variety of ways on #GivingTuesday, including donations to The Advance projects and missions.
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Ough: Christians must stand against hatred, discrimination

WASHINGTON — Council of Bishops President Bruce R. Ough, in a pre-holiday, post-election letter to The United Methodist Church, called upon all Christians to “remember who we are” in this time of tension and anxiety and work to overcome hatred and discrimination. “We must stand for what is best in us as people of God,” he wrote.
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Press release: Way Forward progress reported

WASHINGTON — The moderators of the special commission that will look at the church’s teachings on homosexuality and issues of church unity met Nov. 17-18 to plan for the commission’s work. “Our hope and prayer for The United Methodist Church is that we will be united and vital, missional and global,” the moderators said in a press release about the progress of the Commission on a Way Forward.
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Visit commission website


Bishop Oliveto receives award for inclusiveness

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (UMNS) — Bishop Karen Oliveto, Mountain Sky Area and first openly gay United Methodist bishop, will receive the 2016 Paul and Paula Murphy Award in Human Sexuality from the Center for Health and Hope at World AIDS Day observances in Denver. The award honors those who work in church and society for inclusiveness.

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Amendment to non-discriminatory clause discussed

CHICAGO (UMNS) — An amendment that adds gender, age, marital status and ability to the non-discriminatory clause in the membership section of the denomination’s constitution was a major topic when conference Commissions on the Status and Role of Women gathered for networking and strategizing.
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Reaching people with 'Cars for Christ'

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (UMNS) — West End United Methodist Church in Portsmouth has found a way to minister outside of the church walls. Church members and the community gather monthly for “Cars for Christ.” Nick Ruxton of the Virginia Conference has a video on the ministry that uses classic cars for evangelism.

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Resources for Advent home worship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Advent, which starts Sunday, Nov. 27, is when Christians prepare themselves to receive God's gift of Jesus. Writing for United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, the Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton offers ideas that go beyond the Advent wreath.

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Dec. 2-3 hurricane work blitz in South Carolina

NICHOLS, S.C. (UMNS) — Six weeks after Hurricane Matthew ravaged South Carolina, The United Methodist Church is shifting to the next level of disaster aid, going beyond early response to more comprehensive relief. The new phase will officially kick off the weekend of Dec. 2-3, when the South Carolina Conference holds a work blitz in Nichols, a Marion District town devastated by the October storm. Jessica Brodie reports for the conference.
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Thanksgiving and the practice of gratitude

PARKSLEY, Va. (UMNS) — “To read the press on gratitude, you would think that it rivals kale as the trendiest health kick,” writes the Rev. Alex Joyner, a Virginia district superintendent. Writing for United Methodist Ministry Matters, Joyner argues that gratitude to God is more than just good for the body — it’s the natural state of creation.

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Commentary: Thanksgiving requires diversity

DETROIT (UMNS) — It is time to reframe the “thanksgiving story” so that it truly embraces the full stories of the diverse humanity that God has intended in every community and country, writes the Rev. Jerome Devine in a commentary about the U.S. celebration.

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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.


Sunday, Nov. 27

United Methodist Student Day — Designated offerings on this Special Sunday support scholarships for United Methodists to graduate from college and seminary. Resources


Thursday, Dec. 1

World AIDS Day — The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund invites people to participate in the Just Save One initiative, which aims to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV through an international grant-making process. To donate


More upcoming United Methodist events