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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 13, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

Sept.13, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Sept.10 - Sept. 13. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

United Methodists in the news

Civil rights icon inspired by mother in 1963

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - On her 62nd birthday, United Methodist Edith Lee-Payne returned to Washington for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. On her 12th birthday, Lee-Payne's mother took her to the 1963 march and set the course of her daughter's life. Read story and post a comment

Former chemist takes kindness to the streets

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (UMNS) - When Eric Mercado stepped foot for the first time in a homeless camp in New Smyrna Beach, it reminded him of rural Tanzania where he served in the Peace Corp. Now outreach coordinator at First United Methodist Church, Mercado steers the Community Hot Meal program to those camps three days a week. The Daytona Beach News-Journal explains how this former chemist changed his life to help others and found new meaning. Read full story

Homeless shelter for women gives them wings to rise

AKRON, Ohio (UMNS) - First United Methodist of Akron volunteered its facility and sewing machines twice a week for Harvest Home clients to help homeless women get the tools to rebuild their lives and the wings to soar in a whole new direction. The Akron Beacon Journal explains how social enterprise programs are lifting up the women. Read story

Alabama woman a light in the darkness

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (UMNS) - Shirley Chupp is a counselor with Guntersville First United Methodist Church, but she also is the driving force behind a program for the homeless that offers a safe sheltered night's sleep, meals, counseling and fellowship with the local churches in Marshall County. WHNT19News says she is called an "unsung hero." Read story

Church between rock and a hard place

MATEWAN, W.Va. (UMNS) - The Matewan United Methodist Church is hoping someone can come up with a solution to the dilemma posed by the ever-growing cracks in the mountain behind the church property. The Charleston Gazette-Mail explains that a large boulder is slowly splitting off from the mountainside, which is causing the cracks. There are few places for the boulder to land that do not involve the church property. Read story

Syria and United Methodists

Peace vigil: Dialogue, not military action, for Syria

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Some faith representatives at the Church Center for the United Nations took a lunchtime break Sept. 6 to pray about the situation in Syria. See Storify on event

Theologian addresses why U.S. prone to intervention

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Stanley Hauerwas, professor emeritus of theological ethics at United Methodist-related Duke Divinity School, talks with The Atlantic about Christian pacificism and why the U.S. is frequently involved in military interventions. Hauerwas' most recent book is "War and the American Difference." Read Q & A

Global Mission leader prays for Syria peace

NEW YORK (UMNS) - "Our social principles say that 'we believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We therefore reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy,'" writes Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, of the situation in Syria. "As followers of Christ, we are anointed as peacemakers - we know that adding violence to violence is not the answer." Read full commentary

United Methodists and Scouting

United Methodists seek to expand scouting ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) The number of Scout troops and other youth-serving agencies sponsored by United Methodist congregations is likely to increase over the next 12 months. Rich Peck reports from a recent meeting of the Commission on United Methodist Men. Read story

Scout's Eagle project honors 9/11 victims

WINDERMERE, Fla. (UMNS) - With steel from Ground Zero and handmade tiles, Jeff Cox created a unique 9/11 tribute. He was honored by United Methodist Men for his work. Watch video

New president of United Methodist Scouters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Phil Craig has been elected as the new president of the National Association of United Methodist Scouters. Affiliated with United Methodist Men, the scouting association provides resources for scouting and civic, youth-serving ministries like Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Camp Fire USA, 4-H and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Craig has served NAUMS as vice president for a year and is the scouting coordinator for the Memphis Annual (regional) Conference. Read story

News around the connection

The United Methodist Church and workers' rights

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Whether fighting to stop exploitation or advocating for proper working conditions, The United Methodist Church has a history of protecting and defending worker rights. Rethink Church has collected some examples of how United Methodists have put their beliefs into action. Read story

Gaza kids get a break from conflict

JERUSALEM (UMNS) - In the narrow and desperately overcrowded 140-square miles of Gaza, everyday life goes on in a kind of perpetual emergency, whatever the discussions of the territory's status in international corridors of power. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is supporting a program that will help the children of that perilous territory to enjoy fuller and more stable lives. Read story

Pan-Africa Summit empowers health workers

ACCRA, Ghana (UMNS) - United Methodist leaders from around Africa are here for the fourth annual Pan-Africa Health Summit, sponsored by the denomination's Imagine No Malaria campaign and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, with support from United Methodist Communications. Read story

Resources for churches

Connecting with the 'unplugged'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - According to former Mashable writer Alex Fitzpatrick, "While 91 percent of Americans as a whole have access to wired broadband speeds, there is a very different reality if you lack a college education, if you're poor or if you're Hispanic or African American." The same disparity exists in rural and urban areas versus the suburbs. MyCom, a publication of United Methodist Communications, suggests seven ways to improve your communication with those who are "unplugged." Read story

'Dream Team' makes plan for grant requests

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Funds from the $7 million Young Clergy Initiative will be used to support projects to attract young people to pulpits in The United Methodist Church. The Dream Team, a group of 12 young clergy, campus ministers, pastors, youth ministers, annual conference and seminary staff with expertise in various areas relating to discernment and young clergy issues, met in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 5-6 to map the plans. Read news release

Generation Transformation launched for aspiring young missionaries

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is launching Generation Transformation, a new movement to provide mission service opportunities for young adults ages 18-30. Three programs within the plan provide a variety of options for young adults.

Learn more about Generation Transformation
Read news release

Film follows new clergy on Wesleyan pilgrimage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Six newly ordained United Methodist clergy, who find themselves in the midst of a changing denomination, share in a new film how a 10-day pilgrimage to follow in the footsteps of the Methodist movement's founder John Wesley helped shape their ministries. The film, "Pastor or Savior? A Wesley Pilgrimage," was made by GodFilms, a production unit of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, in England during the fall of 2012. DVDs will be available to purchase this fall from Download movie

Documentary to be part of 2014 mission studies

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Diva Communications' Emmy-nominated documentary "A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities" will be featured in United Methodist Women's 2014 Mission Studies. Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson, who is a part of the film, noted that the goal for any religious group "is to help people see with new eyes that people with disabilities are truly valuable and have skills and abilities that enhance the faith community." View trailer

History of hymns: 'Behold a Broken World'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - At a time when much of the world is focused on civil war in Syria and violence around the globe, C. Michael Hawn focuses on a prayer for peace by Anglican Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith. The hymn is No. 426 in the United Methodist Hymnal. Read story

Chuck Knows Church: Confirmation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Did you attend confirmation classes when you were young? And do you know why we confirm young people in the church? Chuck tries to confirm his reservation as he talks about confirmation. Read more

News around conferences

Maryland church aims for 'hunger free' ZIP code

KENSINGTON, Md. (UMNS) - St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Kensington has set out to make the ZIP code in which it resides-20895-the nation's first "Hunger Free Zone." Erik Alsgaard of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference explains how hearing God's call three years ago led to today's commitment. Read story

Communion at Sunshine Camp

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) - Sunshine Camp is a camp for adults with special needs run by the Alabama-West Florida annual (regional) conference. Alicia Smith, director of the camp, recalls one camper, "Joe," who went through the communion line twice, simply because he was hungry, and how he helped camp workers remember the gift of an invitation to communion. Read blog

District opens thrift store

MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) - The Mobile District of Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference has launched the Open Doors Resale and Thrift Store. The store was established to financially support United Methodist mission endeavors in the Mobile area. The ministry aims to help deal with the impact of the economic downturn. Read story

Blogs and commentaries

Why churches can't get (and keep) volunteers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Nonprofit organizations such as social services and hospitals have mastered the art of empowering volunteers, writes Thomas G. Bandy on the United Methodist Publishing House's site Ministry Matters. The church only seems to know how to use volunteers like disposable tissues, observes Bandy, a leadership coach for faith-based organizations. Read commentary

The church could benefit from review of history

ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) - "Those of us committed to the church's renewal should stop dismissing deep historical awareness as simplistic nostalgia for outmoded practices," writes the Rev. Christopher Momany on the United Methodist Publishing House's Ministry Matters site. The chaplain at United Methodist-related Adrian College argues that the church has much to learn from history. Read commentary

Wonder why young people aren't in your church?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Want to rid your church of young people? Ben Boruff, a young adult and former member of the Connectional Table, outlines a sure way to accomplish the task in a blog on Ministry Matters, part of the United Methodist Publishing House. Read blog

A close look at polling trends on same-sex marriage

HOUSTON (UMNS) - News outlets, including the United Methodist News Service,have reported polling that shows a slight majority of Americans support same-sex marriage. The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president and general manager of the unofficial caucus Good News, writes about a recent study by Rice University that calls those results into question. Read commentary

See study

Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email and put Digest in the subject line.

Free webinar "Creative Thinking in Faith Formation: An Ancient/Future Approach," Tuesday, Sept. 17 - 6:30 p.m. CT, learning strategies for teaching adults using an exploration of Jesus' teaching methods, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Free webinar "The Pastors Book Club: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business," Wednesday, Sept. 18 - 10 a.m. CT, a summary of the book and time to engage in small group discussions with people across the country. To register.

Free webinar "Building a Health Ministry in your Congregation," Thursday, Sept. 19 - 6:30 p.m. CT, UMCOR Health, Parish Nurses and the Center for Health provide resources. Learn what one congregation has done. To register.

"Historians Against Slavery" conference, Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 19-21 - Adrian College students will join in a conference on fighting human trafficking at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Details.

Author of "The Shack" preaches, Sunday, Sept. 22 - 8:30 and 10:50 a.m. CT, William Paul Young will be the guest speaker at worship services at Dyersburg First United Methodist Church in Dyersburg, Tenn. Details.

"Deborah's Daughters: Women's Ways of Leadership and Ministry," Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 23-25 - A conference in Dayton, Ohio, co-sponsored by United Theological Seminary and Harriet L. Miller Women's Center and the Center for Urban Ministry. Details.

Free webinar "Church Council: Incorporating Younger, Diverse Leaders," Tuesday, Sept. 24 - 6:30 p.m. CT, Healthy vital congregations bring together leaders who have different generational values and work styles. To register.

United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute, Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 25-27 - Event aimed at helping leaders renew churches. Details.

Free webinar "Guiding Children in a Violent World," Thursday, Sept. 26 - 10 a.m. CT, Looking at ways to guide children at different stages of life in varying circumstances, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Free webinar "Principles of Vitality for District Superintendents," Thursday, Sept. 26 - 1 p.m. CT, Tools a D.S. can use to equip clergy for vital leadership, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Free webinar "Lord, Teach Us to Pray: Ancient Practices Aid Modern Prayers," Thursday, Sept. 26 - 7 p.m. CT, Discussion of how walking labyrinths and using prayer beads can be meaningful to Christians today, presented by Interpreter magazine and The Upper Room. To register.

Magic City Miracle, Sunday, Sept. 29 - Noon to 4:30 p.m. CT, 200 service projects in Birmingham, Ala., sponsored by United Methodist churches and United Methodist Communications' Rethink Church. Volunteers welcome. Details.

Sojourning Women, Bold Voices Then + Now, Friday-Saturday, Oct. 4-5 - Conference honoring 25th anniversary of Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. Details.

Hands4Detroit, Saturday, Oct. 5 - 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. ET, Effort to drive out hunger sponsored by area United Methodist churches and United Methodist Communications' Rethink Church. Volunteers welcome. Details.

World Communion Sunday, Oct. 6 - Worship resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, and stewardship resources from United Methodist Communications for giving to scholarships.

Early-bird registration for Reach New Disciples Conference, Monday, Oct. 7 - 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Nov. 2, Wesley Theological Seminary's Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Washington. Details.

Explore United, Tuesday, Oct. 15 - 9 a.m. ET, United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, will have an open house for prospective students. Details.

Downtown Church Network, Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 16-18 - First United Methodist Church Peoria, Ill., annual gathering for pastors and staff of United Methodist churches in cities with at least 100,000 people. Details.

Wesleyan Leadership Conference, Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 17-19 - Fourth annual conference, with a focus on evangelism, at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville. Open to all lay and clergy leaders. To register.

Creative Worship Workshop, Saturday, Oct. 19 - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Life Enrichment Center, Fruitland Park, Fla., for preachers, artists, musicians and worship planners, sponsored by the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Florida Chapter, and Mary Scifres Ministries. Details.

"Catechesis: Why United Methodists Must Recover Their Doctrinal Heritage," Saturday, Oct. 26 - 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET, William J. Abraham and David F. Watson will speak about the collapse of doctrine in The United Methodist Church at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Evangelical Fellowship of West Ohio is a sponsor. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries