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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 2, 2016


Top viewed stories from Aug. 26 - Sept. 2. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


World Methodist Conference gathers Wesleyan family

HOUSTON (UMNS) — The 21st World Methodist Conference, underway here through Sept. 3, has brought together some 2,500 faithful, from 108 countries and 88 communions, including The United Methodist Church. The once-every-five-years event features preaching, singing, teaching and networking. Sam Hodges reports.
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United Methodists, Native Americans oppose pipeline

NEAR STANDING ROCK RESERVATION, N.D. (UMNS) — United Methodists are supporting a Native American fight against a four-state oil pipeline that protesters say would endanger sacred sites and water quality. Ginny Underwood has the story.
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Responding to floods, tornadoes in Indiana

NEW YORK (UMNS) — When a tornado barreled through Kokomo, Indiana, on Aug. 24, it left a thriving community service program, started by a United Methodist pastor, on hold. Further north in the state, record rainfall the week before flooded about 1,000 homes. Indiana United Methodists, with help from the United Methodist Committee on Relief, are responding. Linda Bloom reports.
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Floods reopen decades of grief when caskets disturbed

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (UMNS) — The flooding in Louisiana was powerful enough to raise concrete crypts and caskets out of the ground at Plainview Cemetery and toss them around like boats, bringing pain to family members and the congregation at Roberts United Methodist Church in Denham Springs, which cares for the cemetery. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story and Joey Butler has a video.

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Watch video interview with pastor

Three churches team up for flood relief
Read about Louisiana flooding


Clergywomen's event offers celebration, frank talk

HOUSTON (UMNS) — The Global United Methodist Clergywomen’s Gathering, occurring in conjunction with the World Methodist Conference, drew some 450 participants from 27 countries. The event included celebration of advances for women clergy, but also frank talk about lingering challenges of justice, equity and living out the ideal of a worldwide church. Sam Hodges reports.

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Bishops delay naming commission

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops executive committee has delayed naming members to the Commission on a Way Forward. The committee wants more time to consider more than 300 nominees for the body charged with reviewing and potentially recommending changes to church teachings on sexuality.

Read press release

Bishop Carter reflects on way forward

Read earlier UMNS coverage on commission


Building good relations in Pakistan, Afghanistan

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Marvin Parvez regrets that when Pakistan and Afghanistan receive international attention these days, it’s usually about a bombing or attack. The representative for Community World Service Asia said he finds most people in the region to be genuine, generous and “extremely hardworking.” This week, he also is representing the Church of Pakistan at the World Methodist Conference in Houston. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Children plant trees to protect environment

CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — Sixty-two children planted trees to support The United Methodist Church’s efforts to protect the environment in the Philippines. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.
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World Methodist Council relies on UMC funding

HOUSTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church will continue to provide the bulk of the financial backing to support the budget of the World Methodist Council for the next five years. The Rev. Maidstone Mulenga of the Baltimore-Washington Conference reports.

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Protesters arrested, residents afraid to work

BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — United Methodists in Beni report that bodies believed to be victims of the Aug. 13 massacre are still being found. Meanwhile, a civilian and police officer were killed at a protest march against terrorism and residents are afraid to tend crops. Judith Yanga has the story.

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Call to walk and pray unites diverse Christians

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) — United in Jesus, a group of more than 1,000 believers rallied for a prayer walk in August that began on the west side of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and culminated in a prayer service at Oklahoma City’s First United Methodist Church. The Christians sought to counter a satanic-themed event nearby, reports Holly McCray of the Oklahoma Conference.
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Grants available for ecumenical and interfaith work

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships will award three $1,000 local initiative grants to United Methodist projects that strengthen ecumenical and/or interreligious relationships. Such projects may include building networks on a local level, among specific groups, such as young adults. The deadline to apply is Sept. 16, and recipients will be announced Nov. 18.
To apply


How to gut a house in six steps

SHREVEPORT, La. — First, remove all the furniture. Then you cry, writes the Rev. Jessica Lowe, United Methodist pastor of Grace Community Church, in a commentary on the flooding in Louisiana for The Washington Post.
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How UMCOR helps in low-attention disasters

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Contributions to the United Methodist Committee on Relief help disaster survivors recover from events that never made the headlines, such as a hailstorm that struck Pine Bluff, Wyoming, and tornadoes in Florida and Virginia. UMCOR also supports recovery in more well-known disasters, such as flooding in Louisiana. Susan Kim reports for UMCOR.
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How to donate

Man charged after threats at church

TEMPLE, Texas — A man who entered the First United Methodist Church in Temple on Aug. 24 and threatened to shoot others and himself has been charged with a third-degree felony. Parishioners fled the church and police were able to subdue the man. The Temple Daily Telegram has the story.
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Pastor is firefighter of year in Vermont

BRISTOL, Vt. (UMNS) — A United Methodist licensed local pastor, the Rev. William “Bill” Elwell, has followed both of his callings: to ministry and to the fire service. He was honored this month as the 2016 Vermont Firefighter of the Year by the Vermont State Firefighters’ Association. Beth DiCocco reports for the New England Conference.

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Diapers are pollution hazard in Zimbabwe

MUREWA, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — An item meant to offer convenience to new parents has turned into an environmental headache in Zimbabwe. As people have adopted the use of disposable diapers as an alternative to cloth ones, used diapers have become an eyesore and environmental hazard, according to Africa University professor Zanele Furusa. Zimbabwe Episcopal Area communicator Taurai Emmanuel Maforo has the story.
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United Theological Seminary names president

DAYTON, Ohio (UMNS) — United Theological Seminary, one of 13 United Methodist seminaries in the United States, has elected the Rev. Kent Millard as its new president. Millard served 18 years at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, and served as United’s interim president.
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Commentary: How to be a volunteer-savvy leader

HERNDON, Va. (UMNS) — The vocabulary church leaders use when asking people to serve makes a significant difference, writes Jake McGlothin, director of missions and outreach at Floris United Methodist Church. In a commentary for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, he offers tips for recruiting volunteers.
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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.


Tuesday, Sept. 6

Deadline to register for two online courses offered by United Methodist Communications — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses Sept. 7 to Oct. 19: “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century” and “Welcoming Ministry 100.” Details


Tuesday, Sept. 6 to Monday, Sept. 12

Online course "Using the Common English Bible: A Primer” from — The Common English Bible is the latest translation that is supported by The United Methodist Church. This course will examine the unique translation features of the Common English Bible and what it means to United Methodists in Bible study, preaching and personal reflection. Students will need a copy of the Common English Bible. One CEU will be awarded. $30. Details



More upcoming United Methodist events