Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - September 20, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

Sept.20, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Sept.16 - Sept. 20. 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 respond to Colorado flooding

Helping hands, words of comfort to Coloradoans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "United Methodist local churches in Colorado and United Methodist people around the world are concerned for those affected by the floodwaters, and we want to communicate our concern in as many ways as possible," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications. The communications agency announced the denomination's messages of hope will be in Colorado newspapers Sunday. Read story and post a comment

Prayer, funds needed after Colorado floods

BOULDER, Colo. (UMNS) - United Methodists in Colorado are asking for prayers and monetary donations in the wake of the floods that have ripped up roads, cut off communities and taken people's lives.

Read story and post a comment

Coloradoans shaken in body, strong in faith

BOULDER, Colo. (UMNS) - Some United Methodist churches in Colorado may be weeks or months from re-opening after flooding that took out roads and bridges and shut down utilities in Front Range communities. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported within United Methodist congregations, but an elderly member of a United Methodist church in Boulder lost her grandson - a teen trying to save his girlfriend - to flood-related drowning. Read story and comment

Bishop reflects on 'amazing' ways of people in disasters

GREENWOOD, Colo. (UMNS) - Sunday was a day for Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky of the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area to visit churches in the midst of the Colorado floods. "People are amazing in disaster," she says. Read story

Pastor writes of carrying on in 'hard-hit' Longmont

LONGMONT, Colo. (UMNS) - "The response from our congregation has been amazing. We had volunteer teams out Tuesday helping to muck out basements and houses for our members and others in some of the hardest-hit areas," says the Rev. Carol Lillie, co-pastor with her husband, Dave, of The Heart of Longmont at First United Methodist Church. Read story and post a comment

Helping our neighbors in Colorado

BILLINGS, Mont. (UMNS) - The Yellowstone Annual (regional) Conference is asking for prayers and money for their neighbors in Colorado. "We're in the emergency phase right now and then we will be moving into the response phase in the next few weeks," said the Rev. Nancy Boswell, disaster relief coordinator for the Peaks and Plains District, Rocky Mountain Annual (regional) Conference. "That's when we'll gather people into work teams to clean up and then get people back on their feet." Read full story

United Methodists in the news

Bishop reflects on Navy Yard shooting

FULTON, Md. (UMNS) - Reflecting on the Sept. 16 shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington, Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference called for United Methodists to pray but also to take a stand against gun violence. Read full statement

'Rock 'n' roll pastor' begins at Montana church

BIGFORK, Mt. (UMNS) - The Rev. Mark Thurman, the new pastor at Community United Methodist Church in Bigfork, loves rock 'n' roll, has a Beatles calendar on his wall and plays acoustic guitar. "It kind of chose me more than I chose it," Thurman told the Bigfork Eagle of his ministry. Read full story

University and seminary news

Saint Paul relocation brings cheers and tears

LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) - Dropping enrollment and financial problems forced Saint Paul School of Theology to relocate from its large, rambling campus in the Kansas City, Mo., area to the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, one of the largest United Methodist churches in the United States. Leaving its previous location was not easy, said Daniel Aleshire, director of the Association of Theological Schools, but it gives the denomination "an amazing creative possibility." Read story and post a comment

Students find a place in campus ministry

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Wesley Foundation at the University of Tennessee at Knoville has become a home away from home for many students. They are among the thousands who are finding a place at 520 United Methodist collegiate ministries. Read story and post a comment

Open letter to new college students

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UMNS) - The Rev. Narcie Jeter, campus minister at the Gator Wesley Foundation at the University of Florida, urges young adults to get involved, try churches a second or third time and "find a community and hold tight to it." Read blog

College debt and search for financial freedom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The debate among politicians regarding student loans could be distracting from the critical need for financial aid for deserving young people who lack the resources and experience to achieve higher education, writes the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications. In his blog, Faith, Media, Culture, Hollon, reflecting on his own struggles to pay for college, said United Methodist student loans made a critical difference in allowing him to pursue his education. Read blog

News around the connection

UMTV: The ministry of memory

MADISON, N. J. (UMNS) - Since 1982, the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History has housed denominational records and rare finds in its 16,000-square-foot space on the Drew University campus in New Jersey. Archivist Dale Patterson says, "We describe our work here as the ministry of memory. We want to help the church remember where it's been, where it's come from, because that helps inform who we are and gives us an orientation toward the future." Watch the video

Bishop Swanson: Men need new Christian identity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) "Men are in search of a new Christian identity." That's what Mississippi Area Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. told the Commission on United Methodist Men, at the conclusion of their Sept. 6-7 meeting in Nashville. Swanson said that men are seeking to find genuine and passionate ways to express God's call upon their lives. Rich Peck of United Methodist Men reports. Read story and post a comment

Missionaries receive World Methodist Peace Award

LONDON (UMNS) - United Methodist missionaries Marion and Anita Way, known for their work in Angola and Brazil, received the 2013 World Methodist Peace Award last week in London. Read full story

Religion and Race to award $98,000 in grants

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will award nearly $98,000 in grants to seven church projects that will support or replicate culturally diverse, relevant and vital congregations, develop culturally competent leadership and ministries or promote institutional equity. Read story

Efforts under way to boost rural Sierra Leone

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) - A new school building, a completely remodeled school building and 16 community toilets represent the first results of a collaborative United Methodist effort to improve rural life in this West African nation. The United Methodist Church in Norway, with support from the Norwegian government, is funding the partnership with the Sierra Leone Annual (regional) Conference. Read story and post a comment

Stepping up to the SNAP Challenge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) - Skyler E. Nimmons is "a self-proclaimed foodie" who estimates he usually spends about $25 a day on food. Despite that title, he is one of the United Methodists taking the SNAP Challenge - to live on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allowance for an entire week and be in solidarity with people who rely on food stamps. This amounts to about $4.50 per person per day. Interpreter OnLine has the story. Read story

History of Hymns: "Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive"

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In his column for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, C. Michael Hawn offers a meditation on the concept of forgiveness and the hymn by Rosamond E. Herklots that uses this line from the Lord's Prayer as its title. Read story

News around conferences

Alabama-West Florida volunteers to be locked up

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) - Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference pastors and ministry leaders and the Alabama Rural Ministry are getting ready to be locked up in the 6th Annual No More Shacks Campaign. Lisa Pierce, director of the rural ministry, will live in a makeshift shack for up to eight days. Other ministry leaders will commit to 24 hours in two other adjoining shacks. The goal is to raise awareness about poverty housing, provide volunteer efforts and raise money for repair. Read story

United Methodist turns to alternative gifts

BONAIRE, Ga. (UMNS) - Terry Everett wants a cow for her 64th birthday - not for herself but for a family in Kenya. So she's asked friends and family to donate to a ministry that provides livestock for African families rather than give her gifts. Everett is not alone. Many United Methodists are espousing the philosophy that it is better to give than receive, the South Georgia Annual (regional) Conference reports. Read story

Sky-diving to fight malaria

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Four staff members from Kodak United Methodist Church, including the Rev. Brad Hyde, senior pastor, jumped from an airplane Sept. 14 to celebrate $3,700 collected for Imagine No Malaria during the month of May. The same weekend, United Methodist Women in the Holston Annual (regional) Conference also celebrated giving to fight the disease. The Call has the story.
Read story

Teams organizing to help immigration ministry

HOUSTON (UMNS) - Bishop Janice Riggle Huie and teams across all of the Texas Annual (regional) Conference districts are grabbing their running and walking shoes - and a few friends - to raise funds to provide legal services to all nationalities through Justice For Our Neighbors. Read story

3 United Methodist churches help sustain town's kids

CLARKSBURG, W. Va. (UMNS) - United Methodist churches in Clarksburg are ensuring youngsters have a safe place to go after school and balanced meals when school is not in session. Read story

Methodist history from saddlebags to soda bottles

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - Long before projection screens told worshipers what to sing and what to say, Methodists contemplated the word of God through hand-held Bibles and hymnals of all shapes and sizes. Susan Green reports how the Florida Annual (regional) Conference is preserving its history, including the diary of an early 19th-century circuit rider. Read story

Other news of interest

NCC expresses grief over Navy Yard shootings

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - National Council of Churches officers have expressed shock and grief over the Washington Navy Yard tragedy in which 12 died at the hands of a gunman. "Our hearts and prayers go out for the families of the victims," said NCC President Kathryn Lohre. "We shudder at the suddenness with which so many innocent lives were taken from us." Read story

Wales says 'yes' to women bishops

LAMPETER, CEREDIGION, Wales (UMNS) - The Anglican Communion News Service is reporting that, within a year, women will be allowed to become bishops in the Church in Wales. The historic decision was made Sept. 12 during a meeting of the church's governing body. Read story

Pritchett named MFSA executive director

WASHINGTON (UMNS) -Chett Pritchett is the new executive director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action, an unofficial progressive caucus. Pritchett joined MFSA in the fall of 2011 and was development and communications associate before becoming the interim executive director in late 2012.

Church leaders support political solution for Syria

BOSSEY, Switzerland (UMNS) - Church leaders, including five from Syria, meeting Sept. 18 at the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, have called a political solution the only way toward peace in Syria. Kofi Annan, former U.N. secretary-general, and Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N.-Arab League joint representative for Syria, were part of the meeting. Read story

Blogs and commentaries

How do Christian ethics shape response to Syrian war?

SEATTLE (UMNS) - The Rev. Darrell Reeck, an elder in the Pacific-Northwest Annual (regional) Conference, argues that idealist rhetoric and realist threat of use of force worked together to achieve the agreement to remove chemical weapons from Syria's arsenal. Read blog

Christians and wealth disparity

ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) - Widely reported statistics from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service shows income inequality between the richest 1 percent and the rest of the United States is reaching levels not seen since 1928. "The dynamic is unsustainable, and the church should be deeply concerned," writes the Rev. Chris Momany, chaplain at United Methodist-related Adrian College. His blog appeared on the United Methodist Publishing House's Ministry Matters site. Read blog

Looking ahead

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

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.

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.

"Learning to Walk in the Dark" lecture by the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, Thursday, Sept. 26 - 7 p.m. ET, lecture by Episcopal priest and best-selling author at Glenn Memorial Auditorium, Emory University in Atlanta. Details.

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.

Free bluegrass and Christian bluegrass open stage and jam session, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 - Millbrook United Methodist Church, 8360 Fox River Road, Millbrook, Ill.. Musicians can sign up on-site to perform that night. For more information, contact the Rev. Kent Svendsen at 815-786-4106.

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.

"Navigating the Affordable Care Act," Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 1-2 - Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has collaborated with a number of Chicago-based organizations to host a healthcare education conference for religious and community leaders on its Evanston, Ill., campus. 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.

Deadline for tickets to AIDS Prayer Breakfast, 4:30 p.m. MT Monday, Oct. 7 - 8:30-10 a.m. MT Friday, Oct. 12, Bishop Fritz and Etta Mae Mutti will speak on "Dancing in a Wheelchair: How We Faced Losing Two Sons to AIDS" at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Tickets cost $10. Details.

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.

Free webinar "Long Range Planning as a Movement of Hope," Tuesday, Oct. 8 - 6:30 p.m. CT, Planning committees develop a strategic "big picture" that focuses beyond the walls of the church. To register.

Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee meeting, Thursday-Friday, Oct. 10-12, - Drew University, Madison, N.J., discussions of ministry and concerns of Native peoples, time for fellowship. Details. To learn more or register, email Sharon Schmit at

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.

Deadline to register for Women, Theology and Ministry Annual Women's Forum: "Living Out Love," Tuesday, Oct. 22 - 11 a.m.4 p.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 1, featuring the Rev. Becca Stevens, Cox Hall, Emory University, $15. Details.

Webinar "Breaking Through the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women Pastoring Large Churches," Thursday, Oct. 24 - 7:00 p.m. EDT, editors of a new book that offers a glimpse into the daily lives and spiritual journeys of clergywomen who lead large churches will discuss the Lead Women Pastors Project of The United Methodist Church, $9.99. Details.

Convocation on the Black Church, Friday-Saturday, Oct. 25-26 - Presented by the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference at Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson and Hinds Community College in Pearl. Details.

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries