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UMNS Weekly Digest - November 4, 2016


Top viewed stories from Oct. 28 - Nov. 3. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Bishops planning for 2019 General Conference

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Council of Bishops said it intends to call for a General Conference in 2019, but stopped short of making the actual call. That is expected after the Commission on a Way Forward begins its work of looking at the church’s teachings on homosexuality and issues of church unity. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
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Ough addresses Council of Bishops


Clergy gather for Standing Rock protest

BISMARK, N.D. (UMNS) — Some United Methodist pastors headed to North Dakota for a Nov. 3 interfaith clergy gathering in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Meanwhile, The United Methodist Church’s response to the protest is picking up on other fronts. Sam Hodges reports.  

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6 Methodist women who fought for the vote

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — John Wesley was a fan of voting, but in his day, it was strictly a land-owning, male affair. Getting to the point where all adult citizens had a voice in choosing their government took hard work, great risk and tremendous faith. Fortunately, many faithful members of Wesley’s movement, especially women, joined the struggle to expand the right to vote. Heather Hahn highlights six Wesleyan women who helped change history.
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​Speakers: Mass incarceration is civil rights issue

DALLAS (UMNS) — Ndume Olatushani is an artist, teacher and internationally known speaker — success he achieved after spending 28 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Olatushani was one of the speakers at a national Prison Summit on Mass Incarceration sponsored by the United Methodist Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
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Court to bishops: Rule on 'proper' questions of law

LISLE, Ill. (UMNS) — At its Oct. 25-28 meeting, the United Methodist Judicial Council addressed decisions of law by several bishops of annual conferences where positions of “non-conformity” to church law related to the ordination of gay clergy and other issues of sexuality had been adopted. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Judicial Council looks at clergy penalty questions


'Therefore Vote' campaign aims to mobilize Latinos, others

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Following calls by The United Methodist Church’s Hispanic/Latino caucus for the Latino community to get involved in the political process, a series of videos and discussion questions was developed to help local churches facilitate conversations about faith and civic duty. The series is also designed to reach other audiences, particularly young people. Joey Butler reports.

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Watch videos on YouTube 


Côte d'Ivoire laity present clergy with bikes

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS) — A gift of 25 bicycles to the clergy here means they can now evangelize in areas with few or no passable roads. The bicycles were the first of 75 to be distributed to pastors and lay leaders to boost evangelism nationwide. Joe Tueche Ndzulo reports.

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Commentaries about voting, Christian responsibility

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists view voting as a prayerful act, a Christian responsibility and a spiritual discipline. Interpreter magazine published four commentaries about voting.

Voting can be spiritual discipline
Election is opportunity, responsibility
Commentary: Voting is a prayerful act
Voting as Christian discipleship

Election Day Communion makes statement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Some 900 U.S. churches from different denominations observed Election Day Communion in 2012. Planners hope even more will do so on Nov. 8. Interpreter magazine looks at the movement, which one United Methodist pastor describes as a statement of allegiance to Jesus Christ.

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Western North Carolina Conference offers resources


Theological focus on church unity, sexuality

ATLANTA (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools will co-host a theological colloquy on “The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.” The gathering, in support of the Council of Bishops, will take place March 10-12 at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.
Read press release


Living Sermon: Pastor builds tiny house

DE PERE, Wis. ( — For the Rev. Rebecca Rutter, a United Methodist pastor and mother of three, building her own 98-square-foot home gave her a chance to reflect on how one person can leave a smaller footprint on God’s earth. Rutter spent a year of “Sabbath days” teaching herself carpentry and electrical wiring to build her tiny dream house, which measures 7½ feet wide by 14½ feet long.

Watch video


Dell fought for inclusion

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Rev. Gregory Dell has died after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Dell was pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church in Chicago in 1999 when he underwent a church trial for presiding at the holy union of two men. That was one episode in a career committed to inclusion and social justice.

Read a Chicago Tribune tribute

Read an Illinois Wesleyan University Magazine profile


Agency leaders to address issues together

ATLANTA (UMNS) — During an Oct. 22-25 meeting, The General Secretaries Table, representing United Methodist agency leaders, agreed to increase communication and collectively address issues around the denomination’s Four Areas of Focus.
Read press release


Bishops apologize for promoting World Series

CLEVELAND, Ohio (UMNS) — Bishops Tracy Malone and Sally Dyck thanked people who donated to the World Series Challenge for Haiti relief and apologized for any unintended hurt caused by their promotion of the World Series between Chicago and Cleveland. “While we were careful not to use the Cleveland Indians mascot logo, we now realize that just promoting the World Series has caused great hurt and harm to our native sisters and brothers and to others,” they wrote.
Read letter


Church responds after Philippines typhoon

MANILA, Philippines (UMCom) — After Typhoon Haima made landfall, The United Methodist Church was there to support lifesaving communication channels and to provide emergency food and water in communities affected by the storm. Laura Buchanan reports for United Methodist Communications.

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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. 6

Return to Daylight Standard Time — In most of the United States, people will need to make sure their clocks fall back an hour to make it to church on time. Details


Monday, Nov. 14 to Wednesday, Nov. 16

Faith and Guns Forum — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society invites United Methodists to share and learn about gun violence, gun control legislation, and strategies for coalition building and mobilizing congregations to be the change God calls Christians to be. The forum will be at United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cost: $200 for those who need housing; $75 for those who do not. Details


More upcoming United Methodist events