Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - October 27, 2017


Top viewed stories from Oct. 20-26 See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Up to bishops to shape Way Forward ideas

ASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Bishop Ken Carter stressed that the Commission on a Way Forward serves the denomination’s bishops and the bishops will shape the group’s proposals. In a call with denominational communicators, he answered questions about the group that has the task of finding a way through an impasse around homosexuality. Heather Hahn reports. 
Read story    

United Methodist chaplain played in NFL

DALLAS (UMNS) — The Rev. Caesar Rentie is certainly unusual as a hospital chaplain who played offensive tackle in the NFL. He’s also a CODA — a child of deaf adults — and grew up in poverty. Sam Hodges has the story of Rentie’s rise to become vice president for pastoral services at Dallas’ Methodist Health System.
Read profile   

6 ways the Reformation still affects us

WITTENBERG, Germany (UMNS) — The Reformation led to changes that, 500 years later, still shape Christianity today. Heather Hahn reports on six developments that resulted from Martin Luther’s actions that fateful All Hallows’ Eve.
Read story  
Interpreter Magazine on the Reformation and the Wesleys  

Using biblical texts to guide climate action

NEW YORK (UMNS) — As an engineer who has focused on environmental issues since the 1970s, Stephen A. Jurovics knows a lot about climate change. But as a student of the Bible, he also has found useful references relevant to taking care of God’s creation. His book “Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action and Climate Change” is part of the 2018 Reading Program for United Methodist Women. Linda Bloom reports.
Read story 

Filipinos plant 3,044 trees for Mother Earth

MANILA (UMNS) — More than 500 United Methodists planted 3,044 tree saplings and seedlings across Mindanao, the second largest Filipino island and home to more than 20 million. Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan and his district superintendents and clergy led the Oct. 14 event “to promote ecological balance” in multiple sites. Gladys Mangiduyos has the story.
Read story  

'America’s Got Talent' winner prepares for what’s next

OKLAHOMA CITY — Ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer credits God for blessing her with the talent that won her $1 million on the television show “America’s Got Talent.” The 13-year-old and her family, members of United Methodist Church of the Servant, are still adjusting to the results of the win. Chris Schutz reports for the Oklahoma Conference. 
Read story   

Sanctuary has eight sides

CONESTEE, S.C. — McBee Chapel United Methodist Church boasts a historic and extremely rare octagonal sanctuary. Attendance is tiny, but a new pastor has plans for the church to distinguish itself in ministry as well as architecture. Jessica Brodie of the South Carolina Conference reports.
Read story   

Wyoming church rocks evangelism

WHEATLAND, Wyo. — The Rev. Robin Riley wanted to let people know “God rocks!” So he and his Wyoming congregation took an idea from Facebook and painted God Rocks to spread messages of God’s love around town. The Rocky Mountain Conference has the story of this evangelism idea that’s just a stone’s throw away. 
Read story  

Growing rice to fight food insecurity in Liberia

GBARNGA, Liberia (UMNS) — In a quest to help Bishop Samuel J. Quire Jr. take the church “back to the soil,” the Gbarnga Mission Station is growing swamp rice that will enable the station to supply most area farmers with seed rice. Julu Swen reports.
Read story  

Full-communion proposal draft adopted 

WASHINGTON — The Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue Committee has adopted a draft proposal for full communion titled “A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness.” 
Read press release 
Read draft proposal  

Pope, Methodists celebrate 50 years of dialogue

ROME — To mark 50 years of Methodist-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis met Oct. 19 with leaders of the World Methodist Council and with the Methodist Roman Catholic International Commission. 
Read World Methodist Council report  
Read and listen to Vatican Radio report

Survey on missionaries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist Communications and Global Ministries are seeking United Methodist opinions on missionaries and their work. Your feedback will help shape programs and the way agencies communicate about missionaries. This survey should take about 10 minutes.
Take survey   

NBA player asks men to end domestic violence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Former pro basketball player Shan Foster now works to end domestic violence by creating safe spaces for men of all ages to learn about healthy manhood. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Watch video  
Time for United Methodist Men to speak up   
United Methodist Men take on domestic violence 

Summit addresses racism 

BALTIMORE — More than 100 people from across the Northeastern Jurisdiction came together to learn how to reimagine, redefine, reposition and, most importantly, respond to issues around race. Erik Alsgaard of the Baltimore-Washington Conference reports on the gathering. 
Read story   

Christmas Cards for Inmates Project grows

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — The best gifts keep on giving, and that’s what is happening with the Christmas Cards for Inmates Project, a growing initiative of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice Team. John Coleman has the story for the conference. 
Read story  

UMW responds to hurricane damage

NEW YORK — Directors of United Methodist Women have created a designated fund for hurricane relief and recovery for seven national mission institutions and the communities they serve in Texas, Florida and parts of the Caribbean. Yvette Moore reports for UMW.
Read story 


Unity begins in baptism

DELAWARE, Ohio (UMNS) — “Making God’s offer of love visible to the world requires that widely different individuals be brought together in community,” writes Sarah Heaner Lancaster, a professor at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. “This requirement means that expressing this unity will never be easy.” Lancaster’s commentary is part of “Many Voices, One Faith,” a forum for sharing theological perspectives on topics of interest in the church. 
Read commentary   
United Methodist Forum: Many Voices, One Faith  

Living toward the unity that already is

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) — As talk centers on growing divisions in The United Methodist Church, retired Bishop Kenneth L. Carder writes that unity can be achieved if everyone adopts Jesus’ commandment to his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you.” Carder’s commentary is part of “Many Voices, One Faith,” a forum for sharing theological perspectives on topics of interest in the church.
Read commentary  

Rejecting the model of pastor as CEO

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Rev. Teddy Ray, a United Methodist pastor and blogger, argues that the model of pastor as church CEO and growth strategist hasn’t worked out well. He favors old-fashioned approaches, including this: “Be with people through the days of the week to help them clarify God’s will in their lives.”
Read blog post  

No joke. Comedies about God can foster faith

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Hollywood treatments of the Almighty can actually lead to good conversations about how we see God and respond to his teachings, writes Christopher Fenoglio in a commentary.
Read commentary 



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, Oct. 30—Saturday, Oct. 11

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Biblical Storytelling I  By the end of the two-week course, you will be able to share at least one scriptural story with others by heart (not “memory”). Whether you work with children in Sunday school or dream of bringing Scripture to life in worship or elsewhere, your ministry and your spirit will be enriched by this art. This course has been approved by Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries; 10 contact hours or 1.0 CEU available. Price: $65. Details

Wednesday. Nov. 1

Interfaith Leadership for the 21st Century — United Methodist Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta will host a lecture at 11 a.m. EST and a dinner workshop at 6:30 p.m. EST with Imam Abdullah Antepli on interfaith engagement. Antepli teaches at Duke Divinity School. The deadline to register is 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. Details


See more United Methodist events