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UMNS Weekly Digest - November 3, 2017


Top viewed stories from Oct. 27-Nov. 2 See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Praying, singing as white supremacists rally

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — As the same hate groups that descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, came to Tennessee, United Methodists responded with prayers, hymns and chants of love. Heather Hahn and Kathy L. Gilbert have the story and photos. 
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Appalachian Trail chaplain nears end of '2,200 miles of ministry'

PEARISBURG, Va. (UMNS) — The Rev. Matt “Trigger” Hall is hiking almost 2,200 miles as the United Methodist chaplain appointed to the Appalachian Trail. United Methodist News Service hiked with him for a little more than 1 percent of his journey. Joey “Hills” Butler has the story; Mike “Grateful” DuBose has the photos. 
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Big grant for missional internships

MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) — A United Methodist-affiliated program that has young people living and doing mission work together in low-income neighborhoods is set to expand, thanks to a $2.6 million foundation grant. Sam Hodges reports.
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United Methodist University in Sierra Leone opens

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Students have started classes at United Methodist University in Sierra Leone. The university began with the School of Theology and plans to add other faculties as they become ready. Phileas Jusu reports.
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Holston Conference

70 years of Sundays as church pianist

RICEVILLE, Tenn. — Betty Trotter has been through 23 pastors, three pianos and 70 years of Sundays as pianist for Spring Creek United Methodist Church. She started playing at age 16. The church held a reception in her honor, with Bishop Mary Virginia “Dindy” Taylor in attendance. Annette Spence has the story for the Holston Conference’s The Call.
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Court maintains stand on ministerial candidates

LOS ANGELES (UMNS) — In an Oct. 27 ruling on the duties of a conference board of ordained ministry, The United Methodist Church’s top court restated its earlier opinion that all qualifications of ministerial candidates must be examined. But Judicial Council also ruled against what it called “clear efforts to re-litigate” a previous complaint against an Iowa clergywoman. The council met Oct. 24-27. Linda Bloom reports.
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Santa Rosa residents return to ashes

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (UMNS) — More than 20 families in one United Methodist congregation here lost their homes to the wildfires that roared through California. In Napa, members of another church are taking people left homeless by fires into their homes. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
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5 years later, Sandy cleanup continues

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Five years after Hurricane Sandy roared up the East Coast, United Methodist leaders working in recovery recognized the rebuilding efforts — but also expressed concern for the work that still needs to be done. Mary Jacobs has the story. 
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Mary Pat Christie meets with recovery groups   

South Carolina Conference 
A 15-year quilting bee

GREER, S.C. — Ken and Joanne Lehman, longtime members of Ebenezer United Methodist Church here, have over the last 15 years made nearly 1,600 quilts for a center that helps developmentally delayed children. Jessica Brodie reports.
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Holston Conference
Church celebrates influx of youth, children

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — After attempts to invite their neighbors to church initially failed, leaders at First Johnson City United Methodist Church are celebrating that about 75 new children and youth have walked through the doors in the last three years. Annette Spence has the story for the Holston Conference’s The Call.
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Board of Global Ministries 
UMCOR responds to Rohingya refugee crisis

ATLANTA — The United Methodist Committee on Relief, through its partnership with Muslim Aid, is working to address humanitarian needs of vulnerable Rohingya in Myanmar, where more than half a million have fled their homes to escape violence. UMCOR is also prepared to provide additional funding and support to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, where the mass influx of refugees has led to a crisis.
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Joint statement from UMCOR, global humanitarian agencies

Global Ministries

Committee explores Native American concerns

ATLANTA — A newly formed Committee for Native American Concerns met to act on the next steps to raise awareness of the harm caused by some U.S. sports teams that use Native American mascots and symbols. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has the story. 
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Discipleship Ministries
Conferences embrace #SeeAllThePeople

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Conference leaders and clergy are embracing the #SeeAllThePeople initiative to be in relationship with the communities surrounding their churches as a way to fully embody the spirit of the Wesleyan tradition. Discipleship Ministries offers an overview of the response to its initiative.  
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Watch video   


Can we value relationships over rules?

ZURICH, Switzerland (UMNS) — Bishop Patrick Streiff, who presides over the Central and Southern Europe Conference, considers the unity of the church to be a gospel mandate. More than doctrinal issues, “what matters in Christ Jesus is faith working through love,” he writes. Streiff’s commentary is part of “Many Voices, One Faith,” a forum for sharing theological perspectives on topics of interest in the church. 
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United Methodist Forum: Many Voices, One Faith   

In the heart of God, we are one

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — “There is no unity where sacrifice is something only the other guy ought to do,” writes the Rev. James C. Howell, senior pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte. Howell’s commentary is part of “Many Voices, One Faith,” a forum for sharing theological perspectives on topics of interest in the church. 
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United Methodist Forum: Many Voices, One Faith   


Council of Bishops
Way Forward interim report drafted

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Commission on a Way Forward has drafted an interim report to share with the Council of Bishops that emphasizes the need for unity of the church, yet recognizes the different theological understandings on LGBTQ inclusion. 
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Africa University
AU to add religious studies institute

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Africa University board of directors voted to add an Institute of Theology and Religious Studies to the curriculum to address “contextual challenges of theological education” on the African continent, said Bishop David Yemba, chancellor of the United Methodist-related university.
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Bishops ask AU to reconsider structure   

Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Book of C. K. Barrett sermons published

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Publishing Office of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has released “Preaching Methodist Theology & Biblical Truth: Classic Sermons of C. K. Barrett.” The new book is edited by Ben Witherington III. 
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Board of Higher Education and Ministry
UM history course offered in Spanish

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Office of Clergy Formation at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is now offering La Historia de la Iglesia Metodista Unida, United Methodist history, for the beginning term in 2018, Jan. 15 to March 25. This is the first time the course has been offered in Spanish. 
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To register   

Discipleship Ministries
Registration open for 2018 Wesley Pilgrimage 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Registration is underway for the 2018 Wesley Pilgrimage in England. Applications also are being accepted for 24 scholarships that will be awarded to commissioned provisional elders and deacons, licensed local pastors, lay servants, lay speakers and certified lay ministers.
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Apply for scholarship

Candler professor honored

ATLANTA — Carl R. Holladay, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament at United Methodist Candler School of Theology, has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Holladay has written eight books, including “A Critical Introduction to the New Testament” (Abingdon), which is used by many seminaries.
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Celebrate United Methodist Student Day 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — United Methodist Student Day is Nov. 26. On this Special Sunday, congregations around the country will join to provide scholarships for deserving United Methodist students. For resources to help celebrate the special offering, download the United Methodist Student Day Pastor and Leader’s Kit. 
Download resources   


Special Report: Honduras and Guatemala 2017   

Clergy network stands strong in Charlottesville   

Liberian radio broadcasts hope  



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.

Monday, Nov. 6

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Your Ministry of Leading Worship 101 (LSM Worship course) 

Online Lay Servant Workshop - "Leading Public Prayer"


See more United Methodist events