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UMNS Weekly Digest - October 5, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Oct. 2 - 8. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories, blogs, 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:



Placemats make point on food rights

NEW YORK (UMNS) - To encourage United Methodists to talk about world food production over lunch or dinner, hunger advocates are providing the placemats. The 2012 theme for World Food Day on Oct. 16 is "Agricultural cooperatives - key to feeding the world."

Read full story and post a comment

Report: Church's path is 'unsustainable'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church's way of doing business remains "unsustainable," and the changes made during and after the 2012 General Conference are insufficient to address the challenges the denomination faces. That's the assessment of the final report of the Call to Action Interim Operations Team, which since its formation in late 2010 has been looking at ways to reorder the life of the church. Read full story and post a comment

Bishop calls funds issue 'mud-slinging'

KAMPALA, Uganda (UMNS) - Bishop Daniel Wandabula, who leads the East Africa Annual (regional) Conference, says he blames the decisions of church agencies to withhold funds from his conference on a campaign "of malice, mud-slinging, character lynching and insurrection." The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, recommended Sept. 27 that all United Methodist bodies cut off funds to the East Africa Conference until further notice. The agency's board also filed a formal complaint against Wandabula with the Africa Central Conference College of Bishops. The Board of Global Ministries, the denomination's mission agency, announced Aug. 8 the decision to suspend all funds indefinitely to the East Africa Annual Conference. Read story and post a comment

Church puts spotlight on Congo conflict

NEW YORK (UMNS) - To call attention to continuing human rights atrocities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, United Methodists and others traveled to the United States and Canada to promote a petition for peace; testified before a congressional subcommittee and met with DRC President Joseph Kabila. A bishop also has been elected to lead the newly formed East Congo Episcopal Area. Read full story and post a comment

HIV/AIDS threatening Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) - With about 10 new cases reported daily in the Philippines, government and church leaders are awakening to a potential eruption of HIV and AIDS that may limit national development. But United Methodists are joining with other Christians to respond. Read full story and post a comment

Dos and don'ts in an election season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The U.S. Election Day is fewer than 30 days away, and some states already have opened early voting and are mailing out absentee ballots. To participate in the political process and keep their tax-exempt status, churches must follow certain guidelines. A July 2012 Pew Research Center survey also found two-thirds of Americans say houses of worship should not favor one candidate over another.

A list of tips from Interpreter Magazine
Read more about the Pew survey
United Methodist Women's questionnaire for candidates

Quiz: People, pets and the spiritual ties that bind

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - Oct. 4 marks the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, known for his ministry with the poor and his love of all God's creatures. Many Catholics and Protestants, including United Methodists, celebrate St. Francis' legacy with pet blessings this time of year. With that in mind, the folks at Duke Divinity School's Faith and Leadership have put together a quiz on pets and the Christians who love them.

Take quiz
Watch UMTV video on an innovative pet ministry
Read more about United Methodist pet ministries

United Methodist Women counters hate speech

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodist Women was part of a coalition of community and faith-based organizations that gathered at the steps of city hall in Manhattan Sept. 25 and UMW unveiled an ad countering the anti-Muslim hate speech of another ad posted in 10 New York City subway stations.

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Young adult Oklahoman helps Georgia children

FAIRVIEW, Okla. (UMNS) - Her mother recognized Jerrica Becker's big heart for children when her daughter was a little child. Now young-adult missionary Jerrica uses her gift to help neglected children in Cedartown, Ga. In August, she was commissioned as a US-2, through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, and began her assignment as assistant chaplain at a residential children's center. Read full story

Dad, daughter complete seminary

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - On Aug. 24, six people received master of divinity degrees from the Saint Paul School of Theology, the United Methodist seminary at Oklahoma City University. For the milestone moment, a joyous crowd overflowed the Church of the Servant's Chapel of the Cross. In that audience was 6-year-old Aidan, whose mother and grandfather were two of the graduates. Read story

Fijian Methodist faces free speech issue

TORONTO (UMNS) - The World Association of Christian Communicators Executive Committee has written an open letter to the government of Fiji expressing concern at the infringement of the right to freedom of opinion and expression by its Pacific president, the Rev. Akuila Yabaki. The Methodist clergyman has been accused of contempt of court for an article published in April.

Read story

Conferences begin adding group mentoring

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - Research has found some consistent challenges across The United Methodist Church for ordination candidates. These challenges include misunderstanding among candidates about the process, too few gifted mentors to guide candidates and inconsistency in the candidacy experience. One possible solution the Florida Annual (regional) Conference has found and other conferences are discovering: group mentoring.

Read full story

Church discovers history in 100-year-old time capsule

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (UMNS) - Members of Canaan United Methodist Church opened a time capsule from the now demolished Central United Methodist Church after their Sunday service on Sept. 30. The time capsule had been placed under Central's cornerstone in 1913, the Sunday Gazette-Mail reports.

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10-Fold features young people in mission

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 young people in mission this week. Each visitor can trigger a $1 donation from sponsors to the week's project by clicking on the BE COUNTED button.

Watch webcasts

United Methodists join in two big Habitat builds

ANTIOCH, Tenn. (UMNS) - For four weekends, volunteers have been meeting at a Nashville-area subdivision in the early morning for prayer and safety training, followed by hours of hard work. Members of more than a dozen United Methodist congregations have joined in an area-wide United Methodist Build and an interfaith Unity Build to construct Habitat for Humanity homes. The Unity Build dedication will be Oct. 7. Read full story

Ignite church outreach efforts

CORRY, Pa. (UMNS) - Rethink Church, part of United Methodist Communications, will sponsor a Fall 2012 Ignite event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at First United Methodist Church in Corry. The event, which includes workshops and breakout sessions, aims to help church outreach efforts using traditional and digital tools and techniques. Registration costs $25 by Oct. 14 and $35 after. The event offers five continuing education units. Get more details and register

Archives and History elects Park as president

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) - Harrisburg Area Bishop Jeremiah Park was elected president of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History during its first annual meeting of the new quadrennium Sept.13-16. The Rev. Beauty Maenzanise, dean of the faculty of theology of Africa University, was elected vice president, and Nancy Watkins, director of the Heritage Center for the Southeastern Jurisdiction, secretary. The commission's actions included adoption of a position paper establishing an advisory committee for Hispanic/Latino church history and affirmation of continued support for the African American Methodist Heritage Center. Read full story

Tech-savvy servant creates thrift store with a twist

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. (UMNS) - Kingswood United Methodist Church is offering a new, convenient way to shop for bargains online and giving back to the community at the same time, Interpreter Magazine reports.

Read full story
Visit New Beginnings On-line Thrift Shop

Pastors of color talk big-steeple church challenges

ORLANDO, Fla. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church has about 1,200 churches with more than 1,000 members, but just 20 of them are served by a pastor of color who is a different race or ethnicity than the majority of the members. So a small group of pastors of color who have cross-racial and cross-cultural appointments in large churches recently gathered to grapple with the unique challenges they face. Read full story

Bringing grace to tough conversations

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (UMNS) - Holy or Christian conferencing is a practice John Wesley included, along with prayer, Scripture reading, fasting and The Lord's Supper, as a way of experiencing God's grace. The roots are biblical. And holy conferencing is key in many decisions congregations face, reports Interpreter Magazine. Read full story

Bishop Carcaño on list of spiritual leaders

LOS ANGELES (UMNS) - In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, The Huffington Post has put together a slideshow of Hispanic/Latino religious leaders. Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, who leads the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference, is among the religious leaders featured. See slideshow

Discipleship board organizes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship's new, smaller board, in its first organizational session, has selected Mountain Sky Area Bishop Elaine Stanovsky as president and the Rev. Eric Park, a district superintendent from Western Pennsylvania, as vice president for the coming four years. The board, which was reduced to 23 members from 60 members by the 2012 General Conference, also created a new working structure and meeting schedule.

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East Africa leaders attend training in Kenya

NAIVASHA, Kenya (UMNS) - A team of United Methodist leaders from the East Africa Episcopal Area has undergone training on the best Social Principles practices. The training was held with support from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Countries of Uganda and Kenya were the first to come on board.

Read full story

Pastor mixes hogs and gospel

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (UMNS) - The Rev. Kenton Van, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Fort Scott, loves the Lord and appreciates a good motorcycle. He combines both in his ministry. Read full story

Ecumenical news service suspends operations

TORONTO (UMNS) - Ecumenical News International announced Oct. 1 that its ENInews service is suspending operations, effective immediately, as it seeks emergency funding for the remainder of 2012. "We regret taking this step, but despite a massive reorganization, ENInews is feeling the effect of the deep cuts from its historic supporters as well as from non-payment by quite a number of subscribers," said the Rev. David Harris, president of ENI and publisher of the Presbyterian Record. Read full story

There is no place like home for pension exec

CHICAGO (UMNS) - David Zellner found his job as chief investment officer of the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits in 1997 through a classified ad in Pensions & Investments, a publication of Crain Communications. Now that same publication provides a look at what Zellner manages and how he views his work. Read story

Homeless find home at tent city in church lot

TUKWILA, Wash. (UMNS) - Tent City 3 moved to a vacant lot at Riverton Park United Methodist Church in August and will remain at the site until mid-November. About 100 men and women live at the location. "It saved my life," Christine Johnson recently told "I feel safe in Tent City where all are friendly." Read story

Commentary: Open letter to my liberal friends

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - In an opinion piece, A.W. Martin reflects on General Conference's rejection of proposals to change church policies regarding gays, lesbians and transgender people, and suggests that in some cases, "moving on" from the denomination would be preferable to scenarios that include "donnybrooks every four years." Martin notes, "Some of our conservative friends have extended their hands to help us depart in an amicable way. ... (It) is time, as we also shake their hands, to express our thanks, accept their help, move out and move on." Read commentary and post a comment

Blog: 'Supper's ready!'

COLUMBIA, S.C. (UMNS) - The three phrases we most often desire to hear are: "I love you!" "I forgive you!" and "Supper's ready!" In the sacrament of Holy Communion, we hear all three from Jesus, writes the Rev. Tim McClendon in a reflection on World Communion Sunday. "It's His Table, and all are invited," writes McClendon, a South Carolina district superintendent. Read blog post

UMTV: Pro Wrestling Deacon of Doom

SALT LAKE CITY (UMNS) - The Rev. Brian Diggs pounds people by night and preaches by day. Talk about an "altar ego." Meet a minister who brings God's message to the mat. Watch video

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries