Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - September 1, 2017


Top viewed stories from Aug. 26-31. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Harvey havoc continues, testing churches 

BEAUMONT, Texas (UMNS) — A United Methodist church that became a Tropical Storm Harvey shelter began to take on water, forcing the pastor, volunteers and flood victims into a loft, where they waited hours for rescue. Recovery is underway in some areas, but others are on alert as rivers rise. Beaumont churches are unlikely to have services Sunday because the city water system is shut down. Sam Hodges reports. 
Read story 
Video: UMCOR's 'Feet on the Ground'  
Commentary: 5 Harvey things you don’t expect 

Relief efforts in flooded south Texas 

DALLAS (UMNS) — As Tropical Storm Harvey flooded the Houston area, United Methodists found ways to help. Churches have used boats for rescues and opened their doors to take in those forced out of their homes. The denominational relief response also is gearing up. Sam Hodges and Linda Bloom report. 
Read story 
Churches are shelters as Harvey moves east 
From inside an ark in Texas 

Harvey floods hit Houston churches 

HOUSTON (UMNS) — From flooded buildings to pastors and other staff forced to flee their homes, United Methodist churches in Houston and elsewhere in south Texas grappled with the consequences of a storm that wouldn’t go away. Cleanup from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath will take years, church leaders say. Sam Hodges reports. 
Read story 
Texas floods force rescue of many 
Top four worst, and best, ways to help after a disaster 

Honduras, Guatemala pastors rely on prayer 

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (UMNS) — A small group of United Methodist bishops and church leaders from the United States recently visited churches in Honduras and Guatemala, two of the most violent countries in the world. The United Methodist Mission in Honduras was started by the Board of Global Ministries in 1997 and is the only United Methodist church in Latin America. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story and photos. 
Read story 
Watch video 

Church provides relief to mudslide, flood survivors 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — With more than 1,000 feared dead and thousands more left homeless from the landslide and flooding, The United Methodist Church has stepped up efforts to provide relief for people affected or displaced by the disaster. Phileas Jusu and Julu Swen have the story. 
Read story 

Service mourns mudslide victims 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — As the death toll continues to rise, United Methodist Bishop John Yambasu helped organize a service of remembrance that allowed survivors to mourn the dead. The scale of the disaster meant many families could not have funeral services before a mass burial of some 300 victims. Phileas Jusu reports. 
Read story 

Soccer leads to Roma ministry in Romania 

COMSESTI, Romania (UMNS) — When Samuel Goia, a United Methodist lay pastor, invited Roma youth to form a soccer team, the bond among them grew to include their families and extended into a ministry with an ethnic group widely discriminated against in Europe. Linda Bloom has the story. 
Read story 

United Methodists to reconcile in Burundi

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — United Methodists in Burundi have resolved to reconcile after divisions that have affected the witness of the church in the East African country for over a decade. A joint annual conference is planned in February. Eveline Chikwanah reports.
Read story 

Refugees revitalize country church 

NEW BERN, N.C. (UMNS) — The movie “All Saints,” now in theaters, shows how Karen refugees saved a church. Rhems United Methodist Church has a similar story to tell and a personal connection to the film. Heather Hahn has the story. 
Read story 

United Methodists in Ministers March for Justice 

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — United Methodist clergy, from bishops to local pastors, were among 3,000 clergy gathered in the shadow of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington for the Ministers March for Justice. Erik Alsgaard reports. 
Read story 

Filipino United Methodists protest teen's death 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — Filipino United Methodists joined protests against the killing of a 17-year-old student through President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, and some signed a statement launching a “Movement Against Tyranny.” The student, Kian Loyd delos Santos, was among the 81 dead from the latest waves of anti-drug operations by the police in metro Manila. Gladys P. Mangiduyos reports. 
Read story 

Typhoon Hato victims flee to Methodist mission 

MACAU, China (UMNS) — The Methodist Filipino Ministry Mission House in Kuok Heng, Macau, became a refuge to evacuees after the devastation of Typhoon Hato, the biggest storm in this area in years. Gladys P. Mangiduyos reports. 
Read story 

School ministries help church's turnaround 

FINDLAY, Ohio — Zion United Methodist Church has gone from losing members to seeing young families fill its pews, in large part because of its involvement with the community, especially schools. The West Ohio Conference has the story. 
Read story 

Tons of Oreos full of love to U.S. soldiers 

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — An unplanned seatmate on a flight to Phoenix in 2009 provided the impetus for a mission at Alpharetta United Methodist Church that this year sent 5 tons of Oreo cookies to U.S. military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. 
Watch video 

Bishop Spain retires as agency's chaplain 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bishop Robert H. Spain is retiring after 25 years as chaplain for the United Methodist Publishing House. Spain went to the publishing house after his retirement as an active bishop in 1992. 
Read news release 

Commentary: Praise and protect workers on Labor Day 

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — “Collective bargaining and workers’ rights have long been a part of the spiritual DNA of the people called Methodists,” writes Bishop Peggy Johnson in a commentary on honoring Labor Day and its call for human and economic justice. 
Read commentary 

Commentary: Love the neo-Nazis? 

ATLANTA — As a Christian and a German, Thomas Kemper felt “compelled to publicly register my shock” over the display during a Charlottesville rally of blatant Nazi images, including the young Americans who “stretched out their arms in the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute and waved swastikas — in the United States of America, in Virginia, in 2017.” Kemper is the top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. 
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.

Thursday, Sept. 7

Webinar: "Funding Ministry with Five Loaves and Two Fishes"  Are you looking for new ways to financially support your church’s ministry? The Rev. Rosanna Anderson will be joined by the Rev. Rosario Picardo, a church planter who serves as executive pastor of new church development at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio, to discuss ideas from his book "Funding Ministry with Five Loaves and Two Fishes," published by Abingdon in 2016. Details


See more United Methodist events