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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 22 2017


Top viewed stories from Sept. 15-21. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Churches, ministry hit by earthquake

DALLAS (UMNS) — Methodists are among those affected by and responding to the devastating Sept. 19 earthquake in Mexico. Some church buildings and parsonages of the Methodist Church of Mexico were damaged, as was a campus of Give Ye Them to Eat, a ministry supported by United Methodists. Methodists are joining in relief efforts. Sam Hodges reports.
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Standing with Puerto Rican church after hurricanes 

NEW YORK (UMNS) — United Methodists were praying and standing in solidarity with Puerto Ricans as they awaited word about the effects of Hurricane Maria. Linda Bloom and Michelle Maldonado report. 
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Still with West Virginia in flood recovery

RICHWOOD, W.Va. (UMNS) — It’s a sad reality that most disasters drop out of the news cycle quickly. The June 2016 flood that devastated parts of West Virginia has long faded from the headlines, but The United Methodist Church is still helping those trying to rebuild homes and lives. Joey Butler has the story; Mike DuBose has the photos.
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See before-and-after photos 

Way Forward sketches ideas to share with bishops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Commission on a Way Forward, meeting behind closed doors in Berlin, is sketching possibilities for The United Methodist Church’s future that it will present to the denomination’s bishops in November. Heather Hahn has the story.
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More about Way Forward Commission 

Group to church: Let's stay together

LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) — The new group Uniting Methodists Movement is getting under way with the message that different views of same-gender marriage and gay ordination need not be church-dividing. Two of the group’s leaders are members of the Commission on a Way Forward. Heather Hahn reports.
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Pastor: 'God wanted me to go through tribulations'

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (UMNS) — The Rev. Félix Medina has gone through many tribulations but he always knew God would let him finish his dream to build a church. Casa de Paz United Methodist Church started with a cornerstone on July 22. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Read all stories in Special Report: Honduras and Guatemala 2017  

Connecting across regional lines

NEW YORK (UMNS) —  At a rare joint session, the New York Conference and Northern Illinois Conference bishops and their cabinets shared joys, frustrations and best practices as they discussed what they have in common and what they could learn from each other. It worked so well that they suggest other United Methodist conferences do the same. Linda Bloom reports.
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Church reserve funds under a microscope

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — How much should United Methodist agencies save for a rainy day? A new Reserves Task Force is looking at that question. Heather Hahn reports on how the church handles a practice at least as old as Genesis.
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Church becomes shelter after Harvey

HOUSTON (UMNS) — The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell is a Houston native and pastor of the city’s 17,000-member Windsor Village United Methodist Church, the denomination’s largest-membership congregation in the U.S. He shares his reflections on Hurricane Harvey and people’s courageous response in a video interview by Brant Mills of the Texas Conference and Sam Hodges of UMNS.
Watch video 
Read about gift for Harvey Relief  

Florida disaster team always ready to go

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. — Sun City Center United Methodist Church’s disaster response team, under the direction of Earl Gall, 72, is ready and willing to respond to Hurricane Irma when needed. Ed Scott reports for the Florida Conference.
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See Florida Conference's post-Irma photos  
Watch video interview with Florida Conference
Read about South Georgia response
UMCOR responds to Irma — watch video

United Methodists cope with wildfires

LOLO, Mont. (UM Insight) — As hurricanes ravaged the southern United States and Caribbean islands, United Methodists in nine Western states were responding to ongoing wildfires that, like the storms, will have devastating effects for years to come. Cynthia Astle has a special report for United Methodist Insight on how conferences across the West are responding. 
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Filipino United Methodists help refugees from violence

MALAYBALAY CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — Filipino United Methodists provided relief to wounded soldiers and people displaced because of violent conflicts. Gladys Mangiduyos reports. 
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Support for young African-American leaders

ATLANTA (UMNS) — A new network aims to provide mentoring for African-American leaders in The United Methodist Church. Sandra Long Weaver reports. 
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Kenyan church promotes peaceful voting

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — United Methodist leaders are making plans for the church to be a “bridge for crossing tribal divisions and uniting Kenya under the body of Christ” as the country prepares for a second presidential vote. Kenya’s Supreme Court on Sept. 1 nullified the results of the Aug. 8 presidential election. Eveline Chikwanah has the story.
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New Advent outreach resources available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — New resources that support local church Advent outreach efforts are now available. The resources carry the theme “Unwrap the true meaning of Christmas” and complement The United Methodist Church’s national Advent advertising campaign, which will feature children sharing about their faith and what Christmas means to them.
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Podcast: Meet Bishop Harald Rückert

FRANKFURT ( — In this “Get Your Spirit in Shape” podcast, Joe Iovino talks with the new bishop in Germany. Bishop Harald Rückert studied food technology, plays the sax and speaks four languages.
Listen to podcast

Experiments in understanding

KELLER LAKE, Mich. — Three graduate students moved into Windsor Manor at Clark Retirement Community just over a year ago. They are part of a 19-month experiment to improve care for seniors. The Rev. Karin Orr has the story for the Michigan Conference.
Read the story

Commentary: Deaf awareness leads to empowerment

FULTON, Md. — September is Deaf Awareness Month. The Rev. Leo Yates Jr. of the Baltimore-Washington Conference offers ideas for learning more about Deaf culture, raising awareness and doing a better job of empowering Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. 
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Congregational resources for Deaf ministry

Commentaries: 2 views of centrism

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Rev. Kevin Watson, a professor at United Methodist Candler School of Theology, wrote about his struggles with United Methodist centrism and particularly the Rev. Adam Hamilton’s book “Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White.” Hamilton, senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, responded to Watson’s critique and explains why it’s possible to disagree and still be one church.  
Read Watson’s blog  
Read Hamilton’s blog

Commentary: What 'middle' am I?

WASHINGTON — The Rev. Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli, senior pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church, is a leader in the new Uniting Methodists Movement, which is seeking to represent the “vibrant center” of the denomination. Gaines-Cirelli has faced the question what “middle” is she in? This is her answer. 
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Commentary: Bishop speaks to Way Forward fears

WORTHINGTON, Ohio — Bishop Gregory Palmer, a member of the Commission on a Way Forward, often senses the anxiety United Methodists feel about the denomination’s future. In a commentary, the bishop — who leads the West Ohio Conference — writes about what moves him away from fear. 
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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, Sept. 25-Saturday, Oct. 7

Online workshop on creating an abundance mentality  The Rev. Beth Galbreath has heard a lot of folks worry about churches struggling to stay alive. She’s also heard bishops preach to church leaders about switching their focus to “abundance.” Folks respond, “Yeah, right, and how do we do that?” This course from aims to provide an answer to that question. 1 CEU will be awarded. $55. Details 


See more United Methodist events