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UMNS Weekly Digest - October 6, 2017


Top viewed stories from Sept. 29-Oct. 5. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

After mass shooting, churchgoers offer help

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) — Even as they pray for Las Vegas, United Methodists gave blood, provided food and prepared to respond to the long-term trauma of what’s being called the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Heather Hahn reports.
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Serving others in times of tragedy

Puerto Rican bishop: 'This is a catastrophe'

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (UMNS) — The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico has activated an emergency strategy to try to respond to community needs following Hurricane Maria. Bishop Hector Ortiz said he agrees with everyone else that the situation is “a catastrophe." Gustavo Vasquez and Linda Bloom have the story.
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Maria's wreckage slows relief to Puerto Rico

NEW YORK (UMNS) — It’s too early to say exactly how the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico has been affected by Hurricane Maria. But Methodists there, while trying to assess damages and start relief efforts, face the same challenges as everyone else in the U.S. territory. Linda Bloom reports.
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Standing in solidarity with Puerto Rico  
Donate to UMCOR hurricane relief 

Florida churches and post-Irma recovery 

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (UMNS) — Estimates are that it will take five years for Florida to recover from Hurricane Irma’s damage. The United Methodist Church plans to be there for all of it and beyond. Joey Butler has the story; Kathleen Barry has the photos.
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Serving 600 meals to first responders
Volunteer registration  

Shining a light on global migration crisis

ATLANTA (UMNS) — On Dec. 3, United Methodist churches are encouraged to participate in a day of prayer and special offering to support displaced people around the world. Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said the mission of Global Migration Sunday is threefold: Learn, pray, respond. Julie Dwyer has the story.
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Exploring a Christian approach to borders   
Migrants find help from Italian Methodists

Bishops urge new legislation for 'Dreamers'

WASHINGTON — United Methodist bishops are urging the U.S. Congress to pass a Clean Dream Act that would allow undocumented young people the opportunity to work, receive an education and serve in the U.S. military. Young immigrants covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — also known as Dreamers — had an Oct. 5 deadline to renew their permits one last time. 
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United Methodist Men take on domestic violence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Commission on United Methodist Men is partnering with AMEND Together, an initiative of the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. The collaboration features an eight-week group series that will help United Methodist men learn to recognize, respond to and prevent violence against women. Julie Dwyer has the story. 
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New group aims for LGBTQ full inclusion 

DENVER (UMNS) — A new association of retired United Methodist clergy has come together to seek full inclusion of LGBTQ Christians. The group is gearing up for its first public gathering just as two other relatively new groups in the church’s homosexuality debate are preparing for their own big meetings. Heather Hahn reports.
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Church votes no weddings until all can wed

AUSTIN, Texas (UMNS) — First United Methodist Church, across the street from the Texas capitol, has taken the unusual step of voting not to have weddings in its facilities while the denomination does not permit same-gender marriage. Heather Hahn reports. 
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Uniting Methodists work toward 'middle'

LEAWOOD, Kan. — About 1,000 people attended last week the meeting of Uniting Methodists, which sees its mission as bolstering the denomination’s center on human sexuality issues. Most of the group at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection were participants in the church’s Leadership Institute. David Burke of the Great Plains Conference has the story.
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Pastor honored for Harvey relief 

HOUSTON — The Rev. Hannah Terry, associate pastor of Westbury United Methodist Church, is featured as one of the “Heroes of Harvey” by Houstonia magazine. When flooding from Hurricane Harvey gripped Houston, Terry helped lead Westbury to a range of relief efforts, including opening a free child care day camp. 
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Agency partners with church-software company

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The General Council on Finance and Administration has announced that Church Windows, which sells church-management software, is a new corporate sponsor.
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Pastor writes book on church future

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Rev. Wil Cantrell, a General Conference delegate from the Holston Conference, has written a book about the denomination’s struggle around how to minister with LGBTQ individuals. The book, “Unafraid and Unashamed: Facing the Future of United Methodism,” is getting notice around the denomination, reports Annette Spence of the Holston Conference.
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Clergy network stands strong in Charlottesville

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (UMNS) — The interfaith Charlottesville Clergy Collective has been a primary force containing the violence that occurred in the picturesque university town this summer. “It gave us a platform to show the community that faith has a place among us,” said the Rev. Jan Rivero, pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. Richard Lord has the story.
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Bishop's letter to Trump on North Korea

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, a native of Korea who leads the Wisconsin Conference, urges a “calm, cool, well-reasoned response” to the volatile situation with North Korea. In an open letter to President Trump, Jung writes, “At the very least, the United States must rise above the caustic rhetoric to offer a better way.”
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Powers, ecumenical leader, dead at 85

MINNEAPOLIS — The Rev. Jeanne Audrey Powers, 85, a well-known ecumenist who was among the first women in the Methodist Church granted full clergy rights, died Sept. 29 in Switzerland while traveling with friends. Powers, a California resident and retired elder in the Minnesota Conference, was a longtime staff member of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.
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Oklahoma churches gain historic status

TULSA, Okla. — Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa and First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City have joined four other Oklahoma locations as official United Methodist Historic Sites. Chris Schutz reports for the Oklahoma Conference.
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United Methodist beacon on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON ( — Across from the U.S. Supreme Court, which began a new session Oct. 2, stands the United Methodist Building, a Heritage Landmark. The only non-governmental building on Capitol Hill, it houses the offices of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. 
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Church history: Love Feasts

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( — At some of the oldest Methodist churches in the U.S., you might see a three-handled cup on display. These large vessels are part of a different church celebration called the Love Feast. Dale Patterson of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History describes a tradition still embraced in some churches today.
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Where is the church headquarters?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — The United Methodist Church has never had one central headquarters or single executive leader with authority over the mission and ministries of the whole church. InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, in the latest installment of Ask the UMC, shares why that is. 
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Ask the UMC

2017 annual conference reports 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service is posting reports from all annual conference sessions as we receive them. The Rwanda Provisional Annual Conference report is new this week. 
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Wesley plans political theology conference

WASHINGTON — How can Wesleyan heritage inform political engagement in today's society? United Methodist Wesley Theological Seminary and its Center for Public Theology will sponsor the Wesleyan Political Theology Project Conference on Oct. 26-27. The event will include historians, ethicists, theologians and people involved in government. 
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Registration opens for UMW Assembly 2018

NEW YORK — The United Methodist Women Assembly 2018 will mark the official celebration of the organization’s 150th anniversary, returning to Columbus, Ohio, where the first assembly was held in 1942. Registration for the May 18-20 event is now open.
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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.

Monday, Oct. 9-Wednesday, Oct. 11

New Wineskins Conference  The Missouri Conference is hosting a time of structured learning and candid conversation for conference leaders and church planters from across the United States. The gathering will be at Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis. The Revs. Jacob Armstrong, Andrew Forrest, Jasmine Smothers, Matt Miofsky and Bishop Robert Farr will teach how to avoid putting new wine into old wineskins. Details

Monday, Oct. 9-Friday, Oct. 27

Online Lay Servant Workshop: Living Our United Methodist Beliefs — This online workshop explores the history, heritage, beliefs, mission and culture of The United Methodist Church for anyone — newcomer or longtime member — who wants to know what’s distinctive about being a United Methodist Christian. This class is one of the core Lay Servant Ministries classes, but everyone is welcome. This class has been approved by Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries and is the “heritage” class required for Lay Speaker certification. This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU. Price: $70. Details

See more United Methodist events