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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 30, 2016


Top viewed stories from Sept. 23 - Sept. 30. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


‘Bittersweet’ departure from New York

NEW YORK (UMNS) — In a worship service acknowledged by all as “bittersweet,” the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries celebrated the rich history of Methodist mission work in New York on Sept. 27 as part of its final preparations to leave the Interchurch Center. The agency’s new U.S. headquarters is in Atlanta. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Still present: Methodism in New York

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The first big conflict at John Street Church in lower Manhattan — nearly 200 years ago — was whether to remain “downtown” or move to the “suburbs.” The decision to stay permanently defined the church’s core ministry. Linda Bloom offers a snapshot of the denomination’s presence in the city through the lens of its oldest congregation.
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Looking at core social values

COLUMBIA, Md. (UMNS) — Members of the newly organized United Methodist Board of Church and Society started to shape some concrete goals during their Sept. 21-24 meeting. Melissa Rogers, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, spoke to the group after it toured the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Program offers seminarians financial lifeline

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) — United Methodist pastors credit a program founded by the Rev. Karl K. Stegall with providing critical financial resources during seminary. Martha Simmons has the story on the program in the Alabama-West Florida Conference.
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Two seminaries listed as ‘bright spots’

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Auburn Seminary, a leadership development institute, has recognized Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and Methodist Theological School in Ohio in its newly released report, "Bright Spots in Theological Education: Hopeful Stories in a Time of Crisis and Change."
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Early Methodism: The Oxford Holy Club

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — During the Wesley Pilgrimage in England, participants learned about the rich history of disciple-making and disciple-shaping groups. Joe Iovino writes about disciple-making yesterday and today.
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The method of Methodism expands

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — John and Charles Wesley formed religious societies to support one another in the pursuit of “holiness of heart and life.” The 18th-century class meeting of the early Methodists has been reimagined into Covenant Discipleship Groups and class leaders for today. Joe Iovino has the second of a three-part series on the disciple-shaping groups.

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Bulgaria ministry a ‘journey to another world’

AKSAKOVO, Bulgaria (UMNS) — A visit to a prison, while initially uncomfortable, inspired one pastor to begin a now-thriving ministry to inmates that continues beyond prison walls.

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World Communion Sunday: ‘Grace for the World’

NEW YORK ( — United Methodists will join Christians around the world in celebrating World Communion Sunday on Oct. 2. The Rev. Stephen Bauman of Christ Church, a United Methodist congregation with more than 50 nationalities represented, talks about what the day means for his congregation.
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How World Communion Sunday helps students


Laity Sunday: Tips for involving members

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — United Methodists observe Laity Sunday on Oct. 16 as a day to include church members in the planning and execution of the worship service, but other days can be chosen as well. Darby Jones offers seven tips for including members in the service, and Discipleship Ministries has resources for observing Laity Sunday.

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Be newsworthy, not snooze-worthy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMCOM) — Church announcements are important to communicate what’s happening in your congregation. Want to capture attention with announcements that are newsworthy and not snooze-worthy? Tricia Brown, writing for United Methodist Communications, offers four tips.

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New Hmong ministry baptizes 18 in single day

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) — Just eight months after launching worship, Northwest Minneapolis United Methodist Ministry — one of the Minnesota Conference’s newest church starts — baptized 18 new Christians on a single Sunday. Christa Meland of the Minnesota Conference reports on how this new ministry among the Hmong is bringing people to Christ.

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Seeing a soccer field as a mission field

HOUSTON (UMNS) — In an area of town where green space is hard to find, the new soccer field on the Gethsemane campus of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church is a “kingdom asset,” says the church’s pastor, the Rev. David Horton. The Texas Conference has the story of how the church is facilitating community through soccer kicks.

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Memphis artist creates gifts for retiring bishops

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UMNS) — The five retiring bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction each received a gift of artwork made by a member of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Memphis. The jurisdiction’s active bishops commissioned the art for their colleagues. Lane Gardner Camp has the story for the Memphis Conference.
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The power of spirituals

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — A musician and professor at Wesley Theological Seminary, Eileen Guenther has just published “In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals.” The book traces the heart of the spiritual and uses the history of this music to tell the compelling story of slavery in the United States. Melissa Lauber reports for the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

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Fighting hunger with the longest table

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (UMNS) — One in four people goes to bed hungry in Steubenville and the surrounding community. To raise awareness of hunger, the United Methodist-related Urban Mission set a table down the middle of the street and fed 300 people. Rick Wolcott reports for the East Ohio Conference.
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Bishop Easterling responds to racism

FULTON, Md. (UMNS) — Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, who leads the Baltimore-Washington Conference, responds to bullying and racism on the campus of United Methodist-related American University and the recent police shootings of black men. She said Psalm 69:1-3 “could have been written today.”

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Read news coverage of racist attacks at American University


Reflections on Charlotte protests and truth

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — The Rev. James Howell, senior pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church, talks about the importance of the larger truth of what’s happening in his city. He also talks about clergy working toward racial reconciliation.
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Martin Methodist president to retire

PULASKI, Tenn. — After 18 years as president of Martin Methodist College, Ted Brown announced plans to retire Jan. 31. Brown said his energy had "dipped a bit" during the past few years, which have been financially challenging for the college. Adam Tamburin of The Tennessean reports.
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Candler hosts German theologian Moltmann

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Candler School of Theology will host renowned German theologian Jürgen Moltmann for a two-day conference on issues of contemporary theology, the church and the world. “Unfinished Worlds: Jürgen Moltmann at 90” will take place Oct. 19-20 in Cannon Chapel.

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