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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 29, 2017


Top viewed stories from Sept. 22-28. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

UMCOR is there for the long haul

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Being the last to leave after a disaster is a calling card for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and a sign of hope for those starting the recovery process in the wake of Harvey, Irma and Maria. Julie Dwyer has the story 
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Texas Conference needs volunteers 

HOUSTON — While Irma survivors are still in recovery mode and Maria survivors are still assessing the damage, the Texas Conference is pleading for volunteers to come help with the response to Harvey’s record-breaking floods. “We need help immediately,” said Scott Moore, the conference’s disaster response coordinator. 
To help    

Banding together for a great awakening

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (UMNS) — The New Room Conference, which draws together United Methodists and other Wesleyan Christians, seeks to prepare the ground for revival in the U.S. Recovering the Wesleyan tradition of band meetings is one way it’s trying to do that. Heather Hahn has the story.
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Faith family surrounds woman convicted of baby's murder

HARRISBURG, Pa. (UMNS) — Calvary United Methodist Church has been Tina Brosius’ family of faith and support since she was convicted of first-degree murder of her newborn baby in 1994. Her sentence was commuted on Sept. 15, but she still needs clemency from the governor. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
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Graying of clergy corps continues

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — After hitting a low point in 1985, the number of United Methodist elders under age 35 had been slowly growing in the U.S. in recent years. But the numbers dropped in 2017, according to a new Lewis Center for Church Leadership study. Sam Hodges has the story.
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North Texas announces just resolutions

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) — The North Texas Conference has announced just resolutions in complaints filed against a retired pastor who officiated at a same-gender wedding and the pastor of the church that hosted the wedding. Heather Hahn reports.
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Africa U. asked to reconsider restructure

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Bishops from the African continent have urged the leadership of United Methodist-related Africa University to reconsider the institution’s restructuring approved in 2016 that resulted in the Faculty of Theology being absorbed into the College of Social Sciences, Humanities, Theology and Education. Eveline Chikwanah has the story.
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Liberian radio transmits hope

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Community radio is one of the most important information outlets in Africa. During Liberia’s 2014-15 Ebola outbreak, United Methodist-run ELUM was a prime resource for disseminating news and health tips to combat the disease. Joey Butler reports.
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Filipinos protest on martial law anniversary

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — United Methodists joined thousands of protesters calling for an end to what they believe are extra-judicial killings linked to the war on drugs by President Rodrigo Duterte. It was the 45th anniversary of martial law declared by the late President Ferdinand Marcos. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.  
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Unique school project for Macedonia's Roma

OHRID, Macedonia (UMNS) — Twenty-two Roma children are participating in a unique school project of The United Methodist Church in Macedonia. The project offers education, practical help and hope to children whose families often face discrimination. Christina Cekov and Urs Schweizer have the story.
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After mudslide: Need for environmental education 

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — One month into the response for people affected by the twin disasters of flooding and the mudslide, the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone views environmental care and education as the long-term plan for churches. The council distributed relief supplies recently at a new relocation camp in Juba, western Freetown. Phileas Jusu has the story.
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Work starts on new United Methodist Hymnal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Discipleship Ministries said work on a revision of The United Methodist Hymnal would begin this fall. The hymnal is designed to be a print-digital contextually adaptable resource for primary use in the United States. A 15-member committee has been chosen to guide the revision.
Read press release

Traditional service increases attendance 

CANYON, Texas — In a time when many churches are starting more modern worship services, First United Methodist Church in Canyon, Texas, was too crowded in its traditional service and needed to add another. After a month of three services — two traditional and one modern — average attendance has increased by 100 people. Levi McKay reports.
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Churches reach out via high school football

MARIANNA, Fla. — On Friday afternoons in the fall, the folks at First United Methodist Church of Marianna don’t have a lot of time to stand around and chat. The church is one of many across the Alabama-West Florida Conference taking an active role in the local high school football scene. Kari Barlow has the story on how churches reach out. 
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New church brings worship to movie theater

BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) — A new congregation, Mosaic Church, is offering a twist on worship by bringing it to a local movie theater. Ginghamsburg Church, a United Methodist congregation in Tipp City, and Christ United Methodist Church of Kettering, have teamed up to plant Mosaic. Kristen Cornett of Fox45 reports on the ministry.
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Pastor brings rap beat to Scripture

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Rev. Matt Kern picked up rap when he was in high school, his way of getting out some teenage angst. Now he’s using it in his ministry at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Yvette C. Hammett has the story for the Florida Conference.
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Church on fastest-growing list

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection is ranked 31 on Outreach Magazine’s 2017 list of the 100 fastest-growing churches in the U.S. The magazine looks each year at Protestant churches with more than 1,000 in attendance. In previous years, the magazine has featured the United Methodist congregations of Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Impact Church near Atlanta.
Read Outreach Magazine list
Read UMNS story on Embrace
Read UMNS story on Impact 

Volunteers in Mission Sunday launched

ATLANTA — The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is inviting United Methodist churches and annual conferences to participate in United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Awareness Sunday on a date of their choosing. The 2016 General Conference approved UMVIM Awareness Sunday as a time to recognize the ministry of “those who have served in short- and long-term missions and the work of UMVIM throughout the world.” 
Read press release

Grant application deadline extended to Oct. 4

WASHINGTON — The deadline for applications for the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race Action Fund grant program, designed for empowerment of diversity, inclusion and racial justice work inside and outside the church, has been extended to Oct. 4. The 2018-2020 grant period will begin in May with $750,000 in available funding for programs in the United States. 
For more information

Aid for young people's work on racial justice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Applications are now available for grants to help United Methodist young people with a passion for racial justice to initiate projects that can influence their church, community and world. In collaboration, three agencies and the Connectional Table are providing up to $2,500 per project. The application deadline is Oct. 15.
Read Discipleship Ministries press release
To apply   

Do United Methodists swear oaths?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — During baptism, parents respond to questions about raising their child in the church with "I do." Is this considered an oath? InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, tackles that question in the latest installment of Ask the UMC. 
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Can social media feed your spirit? Maybe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — If your social media feed sometimes leaves you feeling stressed, hurt and confused, don’t despair. Jordan Taylor for offers examples of social media feeds that can brighten days and add a spring to the step of one’s Christian walk. 
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New forum offers space for understanding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — “Many Voices, One Faith” is a new feature that brings together perspectives on topics and issues related to what it means to be United Methodist. Seven people address the inaugural topic, “Why I am United Methodist, and what we can all celebrate about the church today.” The feature, provided by United Methodist News Service, is designed to increase understanding of diverse perspectives in the church and spark dialogue.
Read the commentaries 



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.

Sunday, Oct. 1

World Communion Sunday  The special offering on World Communion Sunday funds graduate-level, racial-ethnic World Communion Scholarships, with at least one-half of the annual amount reserved for ministries beyond the United States. Donations also provide for undergraduate U.S. Ethnic Scholarship and Ethnic In-Service Training programs. Details 


See more United Methodist events