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UMNS Weekly Digest - October 26, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Oct. 23 - 29. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories,UMTV video reports and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:


Church ghost stories

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Churches are havens of safety, places of welcome and respite, a heavenly pathway to God - but that doesn't mean they can't be haunted. Some United Methodist churches, cemeteries and at least one home of a well-knownMethodist have reported things that go bump in the dark (or daylight) - when no living soul is around. Read story and post a comment

Go vote, Lowery tells Gammon students

ATLANTA (UMNS) -"I'm gonna die with my boots on," declared the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery during Gammon Theological Seminary's Trailblazers and Prophetic Leaders Banquet. Lowery, 91, was awarded the United Methodist-related seminary's 2012 Trailblazer and Prophetic Leader Award during the school's 129th Founders' Day celebration. Read story and post a comment

Faith, health best medicine for Memphis

MEMPHIS,Tenn.(UMNS) - In Memphis, where 54 percent of the population is African American, many are underinsured or uninsured. That translates into the death of one African-American woman per week from breast cancer in this city, according to a recent study. Learn what a partnership of faith and health is doing to improve the situation. Read story and post a comment

Faith groups claiming power to improve health

MEMPHIS, Tenn.(UMNS) As director of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare's Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, the Rev. Bobby Baker manages an ever-growing network of congregations who have signed a covenant with the large health system. Read story and post a comment

Making an impact on the mission field

NEW YORK (UMNS) - A few years ago, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries began an extended, and sometimes painful, process of re-inventing itself. The results, which include a significant decrease in the size of its board of directors, staff reductions and a realigning of structure and priorities, were apparent Oct. 22-24 when the mission agency had its first meeting of the new quadrennium. Read full story and post a comment

Tennessee faith groups fight youth obesity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist leaders in Tennessee and across the nation are standing together to fight against a growing health issue among children. Seventeen percent of U.S. children and adolescents are considered obese. United Methodists are joining with first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. Read full story and post a comment

Food fight in the church kitchen? You bet!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Martha Stamps is waging a war against sugary cereal. And while she's at it, the "minister of food" at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., also may take on canned fruits, canned spaghetti and the accompanying meatballs and children's juice boxes. Read full story and post a comment

Top court has full docket this week

ELK GROVE, Ill. (UMNS) - Denominational discussions on job security for clergy and job evaluations for bishops are among the topics addressed in 18 docket items before the United Methodist Judicial Council at its Oct. 24-27 meeting. Read full story and post a comment

Court to weigh end of clergy job guarantees

ELK GROVE, Ill. (UMNS) - Does eliminating guaranteed full-time appointments for elders violate The United Methodist Church's constitution? The denomination's top court this week will take up that question. In addition to the constitutional issue, the Judicial Council could weigh whether the church's top legislative body actually made the intended change to guaranteed appointments at all. Read full story and post a comment

George McGovern: Champion of the hungry

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - At his 90th birthday party in Washington this past July, George McGovern - former U.S. senator and lifelong member of the Methodist tradition - was hailed as a hero for his lifetime of pioneering legislation to feed the hungry of the world. The Rev. Donald E. Messer, a United Methodist leader, remembers the legacy of his longtime friend. Read full remembrance and post a comment

A response to Bishop Coyner

OXFORD, England (UMNS) - The Rev. H.A. "Bud" Tillinghast, a retired pastor in the California-Nevada Conference who is now in England, offers a response to Indiana Area Bishop Michael Coyner's criticisms of the Western Jurisdiction's "Statement of Gospel Obedience." The statement said The United Methodist Church's stance on homosexuality is in error.

Read Tillinghast's commentary
Read Coyner's letter

Prayer for the U.S. national election

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference has offered a prayer that asks, "Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour and the living of these days." Read prayer

Strengthening African theological schools

NAIROBI, Kenya (UMNS) - Support for two Ph.D. programs in Africa, an online peer-review journal, and exchange programs for both students and faculty are among the plans for meeting the needs, challenges and opportunities facing theological educational institutions in Africa. Fifteen participants from 10 African countries gathered Sept. 2-5 for the second meeting of the Africa Association of United Methodist Theological Institutions. Read story

10-Fold features fair trade

NEW YORK (UMNS) - 10-Fold, webcasts about United Methodist projects around the world supported by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, will feature fair trade Oct. 29-Nov. 2. Each visitor can trigger a $1 donation from sponsors to the week's project by clicking on the BE COUNTED button. Watch webcasts

8new missionaries commissioned

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Eight missionaries were commissioned by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries during its annual board meeting. "Take your faith with you" and "roll up your sleeves and get ready to work," Bishop Martin D. McLee, the new United Methodist leader of the New York Annual (regional) Conference, challenged the new missionaries. Read more

UMCOR awaits Hurricane Sandy reports

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief posted late on Oct. 25 to its Facebook page as it continues to try to gather information about the impact of Hurricane Sandy. "Please pray for all who are in the path of Hurricane Sandy. UMCOR is reaching out to the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas after the storm tore through the region last night. Because of continued heavy rain and wind, our Haiti office is closed today. We are staying connected with folks in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas of the U.S. and keeping an eye on the storm in the coming days. Thank you for your support and prayers," the post said. Read post

Jones to lead theological education group

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - L. Gregory Jones has been appointed as the executive director of A Foundation for Theological Education, effective Jan. 1, 2013. Jones will continue to serve as professor of theology at Duke Divinity School and senior strategist at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity. Read more

Services set for Marjorie Louise Duecker

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (UMNS) - Visitation for Marjorie Louise (Clouse) Duecker, the widow of Bishop Robert Sheldon Duecker, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the D. O. McComb & Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Ave. in Fort Wayne. A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church, 300 E. Wayne St. in Fort Wayne. She died Monday, Oct. 22, at the age of 88. Read notice

Walk in the footsteps of the Wesley brothers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - All United Methodist lay and clergy leaders are invited to participate in a 10-day Wesley Pilgrimage April 15-24, 2013, in England, where they can walk in the footsteps of John and Charles Wesley. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship is sponsoring the trip. The registration fee of $1,795 includes 10 nights' lodging, most meals, ground transportation to pilgrimage sites and all admission fees. This event qualifies for three continuing education units. Registration deadline for the 2013 Wesley Pilgrimage is March 15. To register and learn more

Jewish groups pull out of interfaith dialogue

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Mainstream Jewish establishment groups have upped the ante in a battle with Christian churches that was sparked by a mild letter calling on Congress to investigate whether military aid to Israel violates U.S. law. Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, is among the 14 Christian leaders who endorsed the letter. Read story

Caucus interim director named

DETROIT (UMNS) - The Methodist Federation for Social Action, an unofficial progressive caucus, has announced that Jill A. Warren is stepping down as the group's executive director. The MFSA board has named Chett Pritchett, the group's development and communications associate, as interim executive director, starting Nov. 1.

The little youth program that grew

CRESTVIEW, Fla. (UMNS) - First United Methodist Church's youth program had a welcome problem. In less than three years, it grew from about 10 kids to more than 90. The Crestview (Fla.) News Bulletin reports on how this house of God became a home for youth. Read full story

100 churches to receive free materials

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) One hundred United Methodist churches willeach be given $300 worth of innovative outreach materials to reach men in their communities. Churches that want to create a more vital congregation through men's ministry may apply for the free materials by submitting their church's name, address, contact person, worship attendance and membership to Josh Eidson at the Commission on United Methodist Men at The deadline for submission is Nov. 10. Learn more

Garrett president to retire in 2013

EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) - The Rev. Philip A. Amerson, an ordained United Methodist elder, has announced his plans to retire as president of United Methodist-related Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at the end of December 2013. He has served as president since June 1, 2006. Read full story

New vice president at United Methodist Homes Foundation

NEPTUNE, N.J. (UMNS) - Sharon D. Clapp has taken on the role of vice president of development for the United Methodist Homes Foundation. Clapp's mission is to lead the trustees and staff in creating a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization by enhancing giving and communication programs. The foundation operates five full-service and five affordable senior housing communities in New Jersey. Learn more about the foundation

Alternative Christmas cards benefit hungry

BIG ISLAND, Va. (UMNS) - The Society of St. Andrew, a U.S. hunger-relief group and United Methodist partner, is offering Christmas cards with a picture of the Nativity by Jerry Malzahn. Each $12 gift donation to the Society of St. Andrew provides about 600 servings of fresh food to hungry families in the United States. Learn more

Methodist liaison office opens in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (UMNS) - With a spirit of ecumenism, the new Methodist Liaison Office opened on Oct. 11 in Jerusalem "to engage the world Methodist family in Christ's ministry of peace, justice, truth and mercy among all peoples living in this land in partnership with the Palestinian Christian community." The office is a partnership of the World Methodist Council, the Methodist Church of Britain and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Read full story

Higher ed board told new focus is on mission

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The directors of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education elected Bishop James Dorff, resident bishop of Southwest Texas, as its new president. Ted Brown, president of Martin Methodist College, was elected vice president for the Division of Higher Education, and the Rev. Ianther Mills was elected vice president for the Division of Ordained Ministry. The Rev. Kim Cape, the agency's top executive, told the board that her intent is to focus on mission. Read full story

UMTV: Police Chaplain's Wesleyan Ways

PITTSBURGH (UMNS) - United Methodist chaplain Gretchen Hulse uses a Wesleyan approach to grace to bring hope to police officers who protect and serve the public every day in Pittsburgh. The department relies on an interfaith chaplaincy corps to keep its 900 officers focused and healthy. Watch video

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries