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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 28, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Sept.25-Oct. 1. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:


Young women of UMCOR

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Melissa Crutchfield, Shannon Trilli and Nyamah Dunbar have become leaders at the United Methodist Committee on Relief. In a story and video, United Methodist News Service and UMTV look at their lives and the impact they make:

UMTV: Young women of UMCOR: "Our African counterparts are surprised at how young we are. And they even comment on that. &ellipsis;So indirectly the church is also presenting a face and really breaking some ceilings not only at the head office level, but even towards the partners in the field," says Nyamah Dunbar, who manages Imagine No Malaria.

3 young women = UMCOR's 'triumvirate': "I know we've all been through some incredibly difficult challenges in the work we do for UMCOR," says Melissa Crutchfield, agency staff executive for international disaster response. "For a lot of people, if you ask them about their job &ellipsis; they go to work from 9 to 5. They come home. I think for all of us it's much more than just a job. It's really our life. It's who we are; it's not just what we do."

Judicial ruling sought on E. Africa funds

PITTSBURGH (UMNS) - For almost six years, unanswered questions and accusations have clouded several mission projects by U.S. United Methodist conferences working in the denomination's East Africa Annual (regional) Conference. Some of those questions and accusations will be front and center when the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference puts its case before the Judicial Council, the denomination's top court. Read full story and post a comment

Finance agency asks E. Africa funds cutoff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church's finance agency announced Sept. 27 that it recommends general agencies, annual (regional) conferences and local churches withhold funding from the East Africa Annual Conference until further notice. In addition, the board of the General Council on Finance and Administration approved filing a formal complaint against Bishop Daniel Wandabula, who has led the East Africa Annual Conference since 2006. Read more and post a comment

Did Jesus have a wife?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - If Jesus had been married, don't you think Paul or the biblical Gospel writers would have mentioned it? United Methodist scholars and others weigh in on the papyrus fragment in the Egyptian language Coptic that includes the phrase: "Jesus said to them, my wife." Read full story and post a comment

United Methodists working to connect Haiti

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A need to bring technology to underserved communities - especially in rural Haiti - sparked a new initiative among United Methodist Communications, United Methodist volunteers and a nonprofit organization with the power to make the connections. Read full story and post a comment

Helping young adults reach citizenship dream

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Across the country, United Methodist churches and other faiths are holding free legal clinics to help thousands of young people, brought to the U.S. as children by immigrant parents, to apply for temporary relief from deportation. Read more and post a comment

New school brings new hope to Liberia

MOUNT BARCLAY, Liberia (UMNS) - Liberia's newest school began classes Sept. 10 when the New Hope United Methodist Women Elementary School in Mount Barclay officially opened for the academic year. Read full story

Top award given for chaplain support

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, Miss. (UMNS) - In 2007, when the Rev. John Mark Branning decided to answer a call for military chaplains, he had the support of his United Methodist congregation in Mississippi behind him. On Sept. 20, that congregation was one of 15 U.S. employers recognized with the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the nation's highest honor for employer support of Guard and Reserve. Read full story and post a comment

Learn more about how The United Methodist Church is in ministry with members of the U.S. military and their families at

10-Fold. 1 Click. Be Counted

NEW YORK (UMNS) - It's October and10-Fold, an annual interactive global gathering that features United Methodist projects around the world supported by Global Ministries and UMCOR, has returned. This year 10-Fold features five projects, each highlighted for a full week. Encourage friends and church members to visit 10-Fold.orgweekly, all month long, for a project-focused multimedia experience that includes videos, chats, devotions and worship resources. Each visitor can trigger a $1 donation from sponsors to that week's project by clicking on the BE COUNTED button.

October 2012 Schedule

Week 1: Disaster Relief
Week 2: Young People in Mission
Week 3: Mission Initiatives
Week 4: Missionaries
Week 5: Fair Trade


Wanting to say thank you

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - "Shannon and I are healing in all kinds of ways these days and life is beginning to regain some semblance of order and reasonability," writes the Rev. David Goran. Life for the Gorans changed tragically July 10, 2012, when an accident at the youth mission in Li'iv, Ukraine, seriously injured David Goran and took the lives of a U.S. volunteer worker at the mission and a Ukrainian student.

Read blog post

Two die in Ukraine roof collapse
'Pilgrims' find calling in Ukraine mission

United Methodist part of White House 'energy' talk

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Rev. Pat Watkins, a United Methodist church and community worker from Virginia, was among speakers at a Sept. 13 conversation at the White House about boosting the energy efficiency of the nation's houses of worship. The White House has issued a "call to action" that encourages houses of worship to measure and track their energy use with the Environmental Protection Agency's Portfolio Manager tool. Read full story

Support for local pastors

KISSIMMEE, Fla.(UMNS) - For pastors left stinging from comparisons to previous church leaders or feeling frustration at how slowly things change at their assigned church, the Rev. Lovett Weems has some words of wisdom. "Leadership is not about the leader," he told the National Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors. "Leadership is helping God's people take the next faithful step." Susan Green of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference reports on the national fellowship's gathering. Read full story

Fighting hunger on Oct. 16 and every day

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Church World Service is calling upon Americans to mark World Food Day on Oct. 16 by making the fight to end hunger a regular part of their daily diets. One in seven people go hungry internationally, and one in six struggle with hunger in the United States. Read full story

St. Andrew debuts 2012 Advent devotions

BIG ISLAND, Va. (UMNS) - The Society of St. Andrew is inviting congregations to participate in "Joy to the World!," its 2012 Advent devotion and giving program, based on Luke 1:44. Society of St. Andrew also offers Christmas gift donation cards and a Bible study on hunger. Learn more

Tracing back Methodist roots

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A professional genealogist has compiled a list on of online archives, records and historical resources related to The United Methodist Church and its predecessor bodies. See list

Demand grows for older adult ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - With Americans reaching age 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day, congregations must become even more intentional about providing appropriate ministries for older adults, said the Rev. Richard H. Gentzler Jr., director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. He recently presented a comprehensive plan for older adult ministries to help annual (regional) conferences. Read full story

Greenwaldt to retire as Discipleship head

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, announced Sept. 25 that she will retire on Dec. 31, 2013.She will have served as the agency's leader for 13 years. Read full story

Pastor recalls tough trip home to Plaquemines Parish

BURAS, La. (UMNS) - Even after Isaac's winds passed, the Rev. Dave Carlton faced a harrowing journey from a hospital in Mississippi to his congregation in Plaquemines Parish. Seeing a United Methodist Committee on Relief truck arrive in his church parking lot was an emotional moment for Carlton.

Read full story
Volunteer to serve on a disaster response team
Give to UMCOR through Advance #901670

Concern over religious minorities in Iran

GENEVA (UMNS) - Two U.N. Special Rapporteurs have expressed their deep concern at the situation of minority religions in Iran, calling for a "thorough and independent review" of "all cases against individuals arrested and prosecuted on charges related to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion and belief." Read full story

Retired pastor seeks to restore boyhood church

TOPEKA, Kan. (UMNS) - In July, the Rev. Francis Stockton took over as pastor of Oakland United Methodist Church, at the request of the Rev. Evelyn Fisher, district superintendent for the Kansas East Annual (regional) Conference. This time, it is personal, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports: Stockton attended the church during his childhood years and doesn't want to see it fold. Read full story

Scarritt-Bennett names new executive

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Scarritt-Bennett Center, a United Methodist Women conference and retreat center, has named Jocelyn Briddell as its new executive director. She will start on Jan. 1, 2013. Read full announcement

UMW joins rally at New York City Hall

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Representatives of United Methodist Women were among those planning to gathered at 9 a.m. Sept. 25 on the steps of City Hall to denounce anti-Muslim hate advertisements posted on New York City subway platforms. The rally was organized by the New York Interfaith Coalition.

Read more

UMTV: Battle Buddies Mentor Veterans

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. (UMNS) - A third of the troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. The Veterans Administration offers free mental health services in many cities, but 40 percent of veterans return to rural areas. Battle Buddies is a peer-counseling program that helps vets get the support they need. Watch video

UMTV: Young women of UMCOR

NEW YORK (UMNS) - They are leaders at the denomination's relief agency before age 40. Hear their story. "Young people are looking at us saying, 'We want to do that, too.'" Watch video

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries