Skip Navigation

UMNS Weekly Digest - September 27, 2013


UMNS Weekly Digest

Sept.27, 2013

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Sept.23 - Sept. 30. 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

News around conferences

Church vitality: Turning mission into members

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - Ten years ago, the ministry of Oak Forest United Methodist Church appeared to be flatlining. Its neighborhood was struggling, and so was its membership. A core of mostly elderly worshippers was all that kept the lights on. However, this aging, urban congregation committed to improving its neighbors' health and ended up boosting its own vital signs as well.

Read story and post a comment
UMTV: Church turns mission into members

Trial set for pastor of same-sex wedding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A Nov. 18-19 trial has been set for a pastor in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference who officiated at the same-sex wedding of his son five years ago. The Rev. Frank Schaefer, pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona, Lebanon, Pa., said he "followed his heart" when his son, Tim, asked him to officiate at his wedding in 2007. Read story and post a comment

'From ruins to restoration' in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - "The story continues here in Oklahoma. Today I covered a ribbon-cutting in Moore for the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project, with a story to come in the next issue of Contact," writes Holly McCray, editor of Contact Magazine, a publication of the Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference. The 32-page Contact Magazine for September is about United Methodist disaster relief and recovery work in that hard-hit state. Read Contact Magazine

Virginia designer creates 2016 conference logo

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (UMNS) - The logo chosen for the 2016 World Methodist Conference is the work of Cathryn Wooton, a graphic designer in the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference's communications office. Her design was selected from more than 50 entries and unveiled at the World Methodist Council's meeting at Wesley's Chapel in London. Read story

South Dakota church among fastest-growing in survey

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (UMNS) - Embrace Church (United Methodist) is listed as the 40th fastest-growing church in America in an Outreach Magazine survey. Embrace is a 6-year-old church that has grown to more than 1,300 in weekly attendance.

About Embrace
About the survey

News around the connection

Top court to look at rulings on gay-related statements

BALTIMORE (UMNS) - Rulings on recent actions by United Methodist annual (regional) conferences regarding church law on homosexuality issues will be considered by the denomination's top court this fall. Those decisions of law by bishops are among the 17 docket items on the United Methodist Judicial Council's agenda when it meets Oct. 23-26. Read story and post a comment

Should churches offer Holy Communion online?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Can a virtual community truly celebrate communion? United Methodist bishops, scholars, agency executives and pastors will tackle the theological implications of that question when they meet Sept. 30-Oct. 1 to discuss the possibility of churches offering the Lord's Supper online. Read story and post a comment

Agency says Affordable Care Act needs fix for churches

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - Without the Church Health Plan Act, the future of church-sponsored health plans is in danger under the new health care law, says the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. Read story and post a comment

United Methodist HBCUs prepare for health care changes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)-United Methodist historically black colleges and universities are preparing for changes associated with U.S. health care reform. On Sept. 9, the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Black College Fund Council of Presidents met with the schools' chief financial officers and human resources directors, plus representatives from Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators Inc., for a workshop on how the new health care law will affect their schools. Read story and post a comment

United Methodists part of migration week at U.N.

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodists will be part of an Oct. 1-2 consultation on Churches Witnessing with Migrants amid larger U.N. events related to global migration the week of Sept. 30. Read story

The story of Amos the truck

NEW YORK (UMNS)-For seven years, a box truck named Amos carried heavy loads to Gulf Coast hurricane survivors. Amos is ready to start a second life of service with missionary Guillermo (Willie) Berman, who is serving as the Mexican Methodist border coordinator with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Amos was part of UMCOR's Relief Supply Ministry. Read story

Hector Navas, MARCHA co-founder, dies

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (UMNS)-The Rev. Hector Navas, 79, a founder of The United Methodist Church's Hispanic/Latino caucus, died Sept. 18. Navas was a founder of Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans, and served as a pastor, missionary, executive of different United Methodist institutions, and member of several boards and agencies at the general church and annual conference levels.

Read full obituary
En Espa