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UMNS Weekly Digest - October 20, 2017


Top viewed stories from Oct. 13-19. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

UMCOR grants to boost hurricane relief efforts

ATLANTA (UMNS) — The United Methodist response to the devastating 2017 hurricane season is getting a boost through new grants from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, part of the Board of Global Ministries. Linda Bloom reports.
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Donate to UMCOR U.S. disaster relief

Church partners with ex-offenders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Tennessee’s Take One program matches faith-based and nonprofit organizations with offenders being released from prison. Kathy L. Gilbert tells the story of a former inmate and the United Methodist church that is helping her adjust to her new life.
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Bishops promote Global Migration Sunday

WASHINGTON — Bishop Bruce R. Ough, on behalf of the Council of Bishops, invites United Methodists to observe Global Migration Sunday on Dec. 3, the first Sunday in Advent. “From Asia and Europe to Africa and the Americas, the plight of more than 65 million men, women and children forced to leave their homes and migrate to places unknown calls all Christians to remember what God requires of us,” Ough writes.
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Learn about Global Migration Sunday    
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Bishop: Responding to California wildfires

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who leads the California-Nevada Conference, asks for continuous prayer and suggests other ways to help amid the destruction caused by the northern California wildfires.
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United Methodists help, struggle amid wildfires 

African bishops recommend 7 central conferences

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — The Africa College of Bishops has proposed the creation of seven central conferences in Africa, which now has three, according to Bishop John Yambasu, president of the college. The plan has been recommended to the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters. Eveline Chikwanah has the story.
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Going deeper in theology, and in Spanish

DALLAS (UMNS) — In a first for a United Methodist seminary, Perkins School of Theology is offering a Th.M., an advanced theology degree, in Spanish. Eight students, including some from Mexico and South America, are part of the grant-funded, two-year program. Sam Hodges reports.
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African schools look to values-based leadership

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — A partnership among United Methodists in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Zimbabwe offered a weeklong training in “Values-Based Leadership” to heighten awareness of Christian leadership skills. Phileas Jusu has the story on the program, which was sponsored by the Norwegian Partnership in Development.
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Ohio pastor charged with disobedience

WORTHINGTON, Ohio (UMNS) — A committee in the West Ohio Conference has certified a charge against the Rev. David Meredith of “disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church.” Heather Hahn reports.
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Lots of preaching, little strategizing  

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (UMNS) — The Wesleyan Covenant Association, an evangelical group within The United Methodist Church, gathered here Oct. 14. The meeting, simulcast to 64 locations around the U.S., featured lots of preaching but leaders said their group's strategy for shaping the denomination’s future must wait on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward. Sam Hodges has the story.
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Impact of Boy Scouts admitting girls

IRVING, Texas — The Boy Scouts of America board has approved welcoming girls into its Cub Scout program and delivering a program that will allow girls to advance to the rank of Eagle. Rich Peck of United Methodist Men reports on what this means for United Methodists.
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Digital TV ministry to serve Filipinos in Australia

MANILA (UMNS) — A partnership among the Filipino United Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Uniting Church of Australia is launching a TV ministry and opening the digital door to serve some 295,000 Filipino immigrants in Australia. Gladys Mangiduyos has the story.
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Urging Duke Divinity to confront its past

DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) — More than 60 years ago, Duke Divinity School denied the Rev. Gil Caldwell admission because he is black. Caldwell spoke this week at the United Methodist seminary’s chapel service, and the civil rights leader urged the school to confront its past and plan for a better future. Yonat Shimron has the story for Religion News Service.
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Church's sanctuary guest goes home

PHILADELPHIA — On Oct. 11, for the first time in 11 months, Javier Flores Garcia — a loving husband, father of three and undocumented immigrant from Mexico — stepped onto the pavement outside Arch Street United Methodist Church and breathed the fresh air of freedom. Flores had won his deportation case. John W. Coleman has the story for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
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Christmas cards as first step to prison ministry

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — The Rev. Narcie Jeter learned through United Methodist News Service about an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference campaign to send Christmas cards to inmates. Last year, Jeter had her church, Point Hope United Methodist in Mount Pleasant, do the same. She’s hoping the successful effort will lead to more direct ministry at a nearby prison. Jessica Brodie reports for the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate.
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Paying tribute to a benefactor of missionaries

ATLANTA — Maribeth Wilson Collins was the matriarch of a family whose timber harvest income has provided support to United Methodist missionaries for decades. Collins, who died one month shy of her 99th birthday on Oct. 4, was remembered by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Elliott Wright has the story.
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Can United Methodist pastors forgive sin?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — United Methodists understand the need to confess their sin before God and one another. But do Methodists confess their sins to God or to the pastor? And do pastors have the authority to forgive sins? InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, tackles those questions in the latest installment of Ask the UMC.
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Ask the UMC   

Bishops to join in Reformation service

WASHINGTON — The Council of Bishops, in collaboration with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation with a special service Oct. 25 at the United Methodist Building. The ecumenical service will include Catholics and Lutherans, among others. Bishop B. Michael Watson, United Methodist ecumenical officer, will preach.
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United Methodists talk gun sense

BALTIMORE — A “Critical Conversation on Gun Sense” discussion took place this week at the Baltimore-Washington Conference Mission Center against the backdrop of reports of an active shooter at Howard University. Melissa Lauber reports for the conference on how that situation illuminated some of the deep emotions that inspired Bishop LaTrelle Easterling to call together United Methodists for a conversation that was standing-room only.
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Bishop pleads with legislators on gun laws

INDIANAPOLIS — Noting that he writes as “one who prays for you and your leadership on behalf of this country,” Bishop Julius C. Trimble of the Indiana Conference pleaded with members of the Indiana congressional delegation “to do all you can to pass laws and shift our misguided notions of the right to bear arms over public safety.” 
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Commentary: Jackie Robinson continues to inspire

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) — Baseball great Jackie Robinson’s faith, honed in a lifetime of Methodist influence, “acted as a source of inspiration and motivation, comfort and strength, wisdom and direction. It was the engine that drove and sustained him as he shattered racial barriers on and off the baseball diamond,” writes Chris Lamb, professor of journalism at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and co-author of “Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography.”
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Commentary: Benefits of 'complicated' blessings

NEPTUNE, N.J. — As a high school senior, Bishop John Schol ended his football season early because of injury, which proved to be a complicated blessing. While coaching his teammates from the sidelines, “God developed me for what was next in my life,” the Greater New Jersey episcopal leader writes. “Sometimes the church looks like it’s limping on the sidelines in a losing game, but maybe God is up to something.”
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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.

Tuesday, Oct. 24-Wednesday, Nov. 1

Coffee with Qoheleth: Ruminating on Life with the Author of Ecclesiastes  After decades of life experience, it’s normal for us to spend more time reflecting on the life we have lived. Go deeper into this practice by comparing your reflections with those of Qoheleth, the author of the book of Ecclesiastes. In this online course, we’ll imagine we are sitting down to coffee and conversation with Qoheleth. We don’t have to agree with Qoheleth, but Ecclesiastes gives us the opportunity to examine our own reflections through dialogue with his. This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU. $15. Details

See more United Methodist events