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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 7, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Sept.4-10. 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:



Grandmother builds orphanage in Africa

UHEKULE, Tanzania (UMNS) - Kay Oursler could have retired comfortably back in Hot Springs Village, Ark., near her biological children and grandchildren. But retirement would not be much of a mission for Oursler - certainly not like starting an orphanage in a small African village. Read full story

Maryland D.S. takes prayer bike tour

FRIENDSHIP, Md. (UMNS) - "The church needs to engage itself &ellipsis; to meet people where they are," said the Rev. Evan Young, newly appointed superintendent of the three-county United Methodist Annapolis District, Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference. Young set out on a bicycle to do just that. Read story and post a comment

Who cares for caregivers?

DOVER, N.H. (UMNS) - Harriett Marshall's husband, Bob, required 24-hour care the last five years of his life. Marshall said she is thankful she had the assistance of volunteers with the Care Team Ministry at her church, St. John's United Methodist, to do some of her chores and give her a respite now and then. Read full story and post a comment

United Methodist 'church' on a ferryboat

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (UMNS) - How do you attract tourists to worship with your church during the months of summer vacation? The little Michigan towns of St. Ignace and Mackinaw City have both tourists and locals standing in line for 30 minutes for a seat at their Vesper Cruise services led by various local denominations. Read full story and post a comment

Arkansas tries new job seeker, employer plan

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - United Methodists in Arkansas are engaging in denominational matchmaking to pair potential employers with graduates of a job-training program for those recovering from addiction. A side benefit from a successful marriage: a model that others could replicate across the denomination. Read full story and post a comment

UMCOR's Isaac response in high gear

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's relief agency, has sent $10,000 emergency grants to both the Mississippi and the Louisiana conferences, and church leaders involved in the response reported that giving cash donations, rather than material goods, is the best way to help those affected by the hurricane. Read full story

New pastor also new football coach

ROCHESTER, N.H. (UMNS) - First United Methodist Church got a new pastor and Spaulding High School appointed a new assistant football coach, reports Foster's Daily Democrat. The pastor and the coach are one and the same. Read full story

Wooden bank helps tell Florida church's story

PALM BEACH, Fla. (UMNS) - Little things can speak volumes about history, notes Eliot Kleinberg in the Palm Beach Post. He writes about a little wooden coin box shaped like a house that was distributed to members of a United Methodist congregation in Lake Worth to raise money for a 1916-1917 building project. Read full story

'Best of mission' training

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. (UMNS) - The mission conference "Beyond These Walls," which aims to help revitalize congregations through "best of the best" missions training, is scheduled Oct. 11-13 at McEachern United Methodist Church in Powder Springs. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the Mission Society, World Methodist Evangelism and the International Leadership Institute are among the sponsors. To register and learn more

Louisiana disaster responders go to churches

BATON ROUGE, La. (UMNS) - Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Area; Tom Hazelwood, head of the United Methodist Committee on Relief's U.S. disaster relief efforts, and disaster relief coordinators from the area toured for two days some of the areas hardest-hit by Isaac. Here is what they found:

Day 1
Day 2

Family removes tombstone after church suit

GLOUCESTER, Va. (UMNS) - Salem United Methodist Church sued the family of the late Wilmer Frank Soles over his headstone that featured a photo of him playing cards and drinking alcohol with a friend. The church, which owns the cemetery where Soles is buried, said the image offended its members and other families with loved ones interred in the cemetery. The family has decided to remove the headstone. Watch NBC Channel 12 story

Congo delegation presents petition to U.N.

NEW YORK (UMNS) - United Methodist Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo, a member of the Democratic Republic of Congo Senate, was part of a delegation presenting a petition for peace, dialogue and reconciliation to the United Nations Security Council last week. Read more

Dialogue crucial to conflict in Syria, WCC says

KOLYMPARI, Greece (UMNS) - Calling for an immediate end to all forms of violence in Syria, the World Council of Churches Central Committee has issued a public statement saying the only solution to the conflict is for "all parties to engage in dialogue" to safeguard the country's unity. Read statement

Philippines 'still in desperate need'

NEW YORK (UMNS) - "The Philippines is still in desperate need," reminds Jay Rollins of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Typhoon Saola tore into the region in early August and combined with seasonal monsoon rains to force more than 270,000 people to flee their homes in the provincial areas around Manila. Emergency teams used rafts and makeshift boats to rescue people from the city's districts of poor and cramped housing. Read what UMCOR has been able to do and what still is needed

Louisiana outlines ways to help

BATON ROUGE, La. (UMNS) - Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference officials have expressed thanks for the prayers for those affected by Hurricane Isaac and ask that those prayers continue. They also provided a list of additional ways in which United Methodists can help:

For more information on disaster relief in Louisiana, watch the conference website and the conference Facebook page.

Alabama-West Florida asks for help

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) - The Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference is asking for help with three homes as it continues its long-term recovery efforts from 2011 storms in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac. "We have had a very active team from Slidell, La., who has been carrying the load of the recovery work in Choctaw County," writes Charles Walters, the tornado recovery coordinator. "Sadly, Hurricane Isaac flooded their hometown and they are busy in their own recovery at the moment. To finish the houses we are working on, we need your help!" Read how you can help

Texas pastor 2012 distinguished evangelist

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The Rev. Charles Anderson, directing pastor at University United Methodist Churchin San Antonio, Texas, is the 2012 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church. Read full story

Report: Older clergy bubble grows

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Lewis Center for Church Leadership on Sept. 6 released its 2012 report on "Clergy Age Trends in The United Methodist Church." The report, prepared with assistance from the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits, found that United Methodist elders ages 55 to 72 represent 53 percent of all active elders. The preponderance of older clergy is a trend across all mainline denominations, the report also found. The Lewis Center is part of United Methodist-related Wesley Theological Seminary. Read full report

From Haiti to Louisiana in Isaac's wake

GRETNA, La. (UMNS) - The Rev. Tim Smith and a Volunteer in Mission team from the Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference are back home safe after first braving Isaac's wrath in Haiti on a mission trip. Smith's church in Gretna, La., was not so lucky. However, the storm has not diminished the team's passion for the church's work in Haiti.
Read Smith's testimonial

Assessment team visits Isaac-affected area

KILLIAN, La. (UMNS) - On Labor Day, the Rev. Milton Bourque, pastor of Huff Chapel United Methodist Church, guided a damage assessment team from the Louisiana Annual Conference through some of the hardest-hit areas in a southern Louisiana parish. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, former head of UMCOR, is part of the team. Read full story

Connectional Table executive resigns

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - Bishop John L. Hopkins announced Sept. 4 that Mary Brooke Casad has submitted her resignation as the executive secretary of The United Methodist Church's Connectional Table, which coordinates the mission, ministry and resources of the denomination. Casad has provided administrative leadership to the Connectional Table since 2007.
Read full story

United Methodist Paralympian takes gold

LONDON -United Methodist wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden of Clarksville, Md., has won two gold medals at the Paralympic Games. She took her first gold on Sept. 3 in the 400 meters with a personal best time of 52.97, and took gold in the 800 meters on Sept. 5. "I (have) no words to describe this feeling," she wrote on Facebook. "Thank you for all of your wonderful support. I am truly blessed." She previously has taken four silver and two bronze medals from the games in Athens, Greece, and Beijing. Read full story

Her Facebook page

Olympic gold medalist visits home church

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (UMNS) - Olympic gold medalist swimmer Claire Donahue returned to Central United Methodist Church on Aug. 26 to participate in her pastor's sermon and give church members a gander at her trophy. Read full story

BLOG: Hurricane season: Loss and recovery

NEW YORK (UMNS) - From Andrew to Katrina and Irene to Isaac, United Methodists have become more adept at responding to hurricane season, writes UMNS reporter Linda Bloom in her "Bloombytes" blog. Read blog

UMTV: Mom's Grief Inspires Peace Walk

CHICAGO (UMNS)-Recent gun violence in this city has left more than 300 people dead, and Mary Long's son, Eric Williams, was among the victims. But Long is turning her anger into action by inviting others to pray for troubled youth and to walk a prayer labyrinth. Long has dealt with drug addiction and prison, and now her son's loss, but she is committed to changing things for the better. Long finds support from her home church, Ingleside-Whitfield United Methodist. She says she knows her son would want her to help end the killing. "It's like his spirit is pushing me. I hear his voice saying, 'Ma, you know what you gotta do.'"

Read full story
UMTV: Mom's grief inspires peace walk

UMTV: Keeping God in your Job Search

ROSWELL, Ga. (UMNS) - The U.S. job market is tough to navigate, but one United Methodist church in Georgia offers job seekers tips for success and a strong support system. The program combines preparation and prayer, and it helps hundreds. Watch video and post a comment

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries