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UMNS Weekly Digest - October 14, 2016


Top viewed stories from Oct. 7 - Oct. 14. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Churches assessing, helping after hurricane

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Hurricane Matthew has left nearly 1,000 dead in Haiti and 38 dead in the United States, with half of that number in North Carolina. United Methodist churches are assessing damage and preparing to help. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.

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Read how the church is responding in Haiti, Cuba
Volunteer trainings set after hurricane

North Carolina bishop on Hurricane Matthew


Group: Accountability needed to avoid split

CHICAGO (UMNS) — A new United Methodist evangelical group urges bishops and other church leaders to find a way to hold church leaders accountable on matters of sexuality or prepare for a denominational split. Heather Hahn reports.
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Evangelical group plans for ‘new day’ in church

CHICAGO (UMNS) — With some 1,800 people in attendance, the new Wesleyan Covenant Association officially launched Oct. 7 and declared its intention to lead Methodism in a more evangelical direction. Organizers announced their hope is to do this work within The United Methodist Church, while leaving open the possibility of moving outside it. Heather Hahn reports.
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Bishop Colaw remembered as caring leader

CINCINNATI (UMNS) — Bishop Emerson S. Colaw, who led the Minnesota Conference, died Oct. 11 at age 94 in Ohio, where he lived during the final years of his life. He is remembered as a strong preacher and a compassionate leader who loved the church and had a heart for clergy. Christa Meland offers this obituary.
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Aid delivered to survivors of East Congo attack

BENI, Democratic Republic of East Congo (UMNS) — Food and essentials for daily life were delivered to 100 families brutally attacked by the Allied Democratic Forces. Funds for the supplies came from the United Methodist Committee on Relief as well as the United Methodist Eastern Congo Conference and the Methodist Church of Switzerland. Judith Osongo Yanga and Kathy L. Gilbert report.

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Normal life elusive for Ebola survivors

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Normal life has proved elusive for Ebola survivors who struggle with health complications and face discrimination from people who still fear the deadly virus. It’s also been difficult for the country’s 8,500 children orphaned by the disease. Phileas Jusu reports.

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Iliff conference focuses on indigenous peoples

DENVER (UMNS) — As protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline continue at the Standing Rock Sioux Camp, United Methodist Iliff School of Theology in Denver hosted a conference Oct. 10-11 to help the community better understand the intersection between religious dominance and the taking of lands from indigenous peoples. Charmaine Robledo of the Mountain Sky Area reports.

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Seminary students attend presidential debate

ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — A group of students from United Methodist Wesley Theological Seminary attended the second presidential debate of 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Oct. 9. The students attended as part of the class “Religion and the American Presidency,” taught by Mike McCurry, distinguished professor of public theology at Wesley, and one of the co-chairs of the Commission on Presidential Debates. Erik Alsgaard reports for the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

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Commentary: Schism is a failure of love

COLUMBIA, S.C. (UMNS) — Retired Bishop Kenneth L. Carder writes about the current prospects of a split in The United Methodist Church. “However we may rationalize schism as faithfulness to truth and orthodoxy, or as the cost of bold prophetic witness, the world correctly sees it as the failure to love,” he writes.
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Got a question? Ask the UMC

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Ever wonder whether The United Methodist Church has an official Bible? Curious about the church’s global structure or certain phrases said each Sunday during service? Find answers to these questions and more with “Ask the UMC,” a new feature inviting readers to submit questions about the denomination.
Explore Ask the UMC


Forming leaders through Covenant Discipleship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — John Wesley formed societies and classes to help the early Methodists live as disciples of Jesus Christ. Today, Covenant Discipleship Groups help form the leaders in discipleship our congregations need. Joe Iovino has the last in a three-part series on disciple-making yesterday and today.
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Writing your way to better Bible study

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — Want to take better notes as you study the Bible? Tricia Brown, writing for United Methodist Communications, offers tips, including ones on note-taking apps.

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Ten Commandments of food

GENEVA (WCC) — The Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, top executive of the World Council of Churches, is sharing the “Ten Commandments of Food” during the Churches’ Week of Action on Food, Oct. 9-16, to show how food choices can become a catalyst for positive change.
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Bishop Ough: ‘Stop predatory lending’

MITCHELL, S.D. (UMNS) — Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce Ough urged United Methodists in South Dakota to support curbs on “morally reprehensible” predatory lending. A measure to cap interest rates at 36 percent is on the Nov. 8 ballot. Some payday loan companies charge as much as 500-percent interest on short-term loans.
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Ministry idea: Create a ‘Little Lambs Room’

ALAMO, Tenn. (UMNS) — Members of First United Methodist Church in Alamo have found a new way to accommodate the parents of small children. The Memphis Conference reports how the church has updated the old concept of a “cry room” for fussy babies into a Little Lambs Room that makes it easier for families to be part of worship services.

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Christmas greetings for prisoners

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (UMNS) — The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team is again collecting and distributing Christmas cards for thousands of prison inmates who might have otherwise felt alone and forgotten at Christmastime. Last year, more than 5,000 greetings with handwritten notes were sent to inmates in six correctional facilities in Pennsylvania. John Coleman reports on this project for the conference.
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Advent resources help churches Imagine No Malaria

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — This Advent season, United Methodist Communications offers downloadable materials to help congregations join in the Imagine No Malaria campaign. The materials include sermon starters, hymn suggestions and children’s messages. Imagine No Malaria has surpassed 92 percent of its $75 million goal, and churches across the United States are planning to dedicate Christmas Eve offerings to help complete the effort.

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Download resources


Meharry president details AIDS research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — African Americans make up nearly half of all people infected with HIV, and United Methodist-related Meharry Medical College is working to find out why. Dr. James E. K. Hildreth, Meharry president, details the work being done at Meharry’s Center for AIDS Health Disparities in a new video produced by United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund. Hildreth recently gave the 2016 Willson Lecture at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
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Watch Willson lecture



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.


Wednesday, Oct. 19 to Thursday, Oct. 20

Conference “Unfinished Worlds: Jürgen Moltmann at 90” — Emory University’s Candler School of Theology will host world-renowned theologian Jürgen Moltmann for a conference on issues of contemporary theology, the contemporary church and the contemporary world. The gathering will be at Cannon Chapel, 515 Kilgo Circle, Atlanta. Registration is $30. Details


Wednesday, Oct. 19

Regular deadline for “The All People Conference: Welcoming the Stranger” on Saturday-Monday, Oct. 22-24 — This event for leaders who wish to foster racially and economically diverse congregations will be at Church for All People/Community Development for All People, a United Methodist ministry at 946 Parsons Avenue; Columbus, Ohio. Speakers include Bishops Minerva Carcaño and Gregory V. Palmer. $225. Details


More upcoming United Methodist events