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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 8, 2017


Top viewed stories from Sept. 1-7. See all United Methodist News Service stories at

Pastors preach comfort to Harvey survivors

HOUSTON (UMNS) — United Methodists gathered to worship after Harvey, even as bishops from the Rio Texas and Texas conferences visited churches and communities that suffered damage. Kathy L. Gilbert and Vicki Brown have the story. 
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Read story about Bishop Robert Schnase visit to coastal area    
Watch video of Bishop Scott Jones   
Read Florida Conference information about Hurricane Irma 
Recalling the flood of human kindness after Katrina  

Enlisting tech, boats for Houston rescue efforts

HOUSTON (UMNS) — Witnessing the chaos and confusion created by Harvey, two members of Chapelwood United Methodist Church and a friend quickly created an app to help flood victims. And the “Chapelwood Navy” also sprung into action. Mary Jacobs has the story.
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Rio Texas churches assess Harvey damage

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Several churches in the Rio Texas Conference are just beginning cleanup and repairs after Hurricane Harvey tore through parts of the Coastal Bend area. So far, 15 churches in Rio Texas have reported damage related to Harvey. Will Rice has the story. 
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'God moments' spur pastor's Harvey relief efforts

BEAUMONT, Texas (UMNS) — The desire to make sure Hurricane Harvey relief teams had enough water last week provided timely help for the thirsty town of Beaumont, Texas, where floodwaters shut down the water system. What happened goes past coincidence into “Oh. This is one of those God moments," said the Rev. Scott Moore. Maggie Hillery reports.
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Guatemala church works in shadow of gangs

GUATEMALA CITY (UMNS) — Pastors of the Evangelical National Methodist Primitive Church of Guatemala talked about how they never have services at night for fear of the gangs, or “maras,” that control the area. The church has a covenant with The United Methodist Church. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story and photos.
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Honduras, Guatemala pastors rely on power of prayer

Churchgoers stand with immigrant 'Dreamers'

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — United Methodists are calling for Congress to act on behalf of unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Specifically, they are seeking ways for “Dreamers” to remain in the U.S., continue contributing to their communities and be on the pathway to citizenship. Heather Hahn reports. 
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Bishop speaks at DACA rally   

Bishop with East German, Moscow ties is dead at 78

DRESDEN, Germany (UMNS) — When Bishop Rüdiger (Ruediger) R. Minor became the first United Methodist bishop to reside in Moscow, he was uniquely qualified to head a mission to oversee the denomination’s fledgling congregations and historic ties to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. Minor, 78, died Sept. 3 in Dresden, Germany. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Task force considers placement for new bishops

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — New episcopal areas, new central conference boundaries and various ways of increasing the central conferences’ capacities were all part of the initial discussion about where to add bishops in Africa. Eveline Chikwanah reports.
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Abingdon pulls Clinton devotional book

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist author of a book of devotionals sent during the 2016 presidential campaign to Hillary Rodham Clinton has apologized after the publisher’s review following an earlier plagiarism concern showed other unattributed content. Linda Bloom reports. 
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Trans Christians share stories

CHICAGO (UMNS) — Rooted, a three-day conference for trans and gender-expanded Christians, gave participants an opportunity to share faith stories and struggles. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
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Coalition fights for labor issues in Liberia

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — The Civil Society and Trade Union Institutions of Liberia, now headed by United Methodist leadership, says it will not endorse presidential candidates whose platforms do not consider Liberia’s labor force. Julu Swen reports.
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Indian dentist dies in fire at mission station 

GANTA, Liberia (UMNS) — The 25-year-old dentist died in a fire at his residence at Ganta United Methodist Mission, where he worked at the hospital. He also served as an instructor at the nursing college of United Methodist University. Julu Swen reports. 
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Group looking at apportionments

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Church Apportionment Sustainability Task Force, which includes representatives from all five U.S. jurisdictions, is looking at the structure and impact of the requested giving that supports ministry across the denomination. The group recently met at the General Council of Finance and Administration office.
Read about meeting   
Read about last year’s denominational giving   

How to hear a sermon for all it's worth

ASHBURN, Va. ( — What is God speaking through the pulpit? The Rev. Larry Buxton, a United Methodist clergy coach and retired pastor, writes about how to be active listeners and get the most impact from a sermon.
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Living together well is hard, but possible

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Interpreter) — Five leaders talk about how United Methodists can lead in living together well in an increasingly diverse world. Polly House has the story for Interpreter.
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Wesley Foundation offers safe place during protest

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Wesley Foundation at the University of Tennessee offered prayers, communion and a place of safety and comfort amid a protest around a Confederate memorial near campus. Nearly 3,000 people turned out to protest a rally in support of the memorial. That rally was attended by about 35 people. Annette Spence reports for the Holston Conference. 
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Bishops appeal for prayers, disaster relief support

WASHINGTON — Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough is urging all United Methodists to pray and offer support to the victims of the flooding in the Gulf Coast and the mudslides in Sierra Leone.
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Global Mission Fellow applications open

ATLANTA — Young adults, ages 20 to 30, can now apply to become part of the next class in the two-year Global Mission Fellows program, a denominational initiative administered through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. The application deadline is Jan. 21.
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Share your mission stories

ATLANTA — The United Methodist Church and its partners are celebrating 200 years of Methodist mission. The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries launched a bicentennial website on Sept. 1. The agency is inviting churches and annual conferences to share their own mission stories.
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Mission bicentennial website 



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.

Friday, Sept. 15

United Methodist Day of Health  Dunwoody United Methodist Church, 1548 Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwoody, Georgia. To further The United Methodist Church’s commitment to creating abundant health for all, Global Ministries — in partnership with the North Georgia Conference — is bringing together local United Methodist churches, health care coordinators, general agency representatives, global health partners and affiliates. The event will provide churches with resources to successfully implement new health care programs and ministries in their congregations and communities. Details


See more United Methodist events