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UMNS Weekly Digest - September 9, 2016

Top viewed stories from Sept. 2 - Sept. 8. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Professor fears split of United Methodist Church ‘a given’

HOUSTON (UMNS) — The World Methodist Conference, which wrapped up Sept. 3, was a feel-good event bringing together Wesleyan Christians from around the world. But it took a somber turn when the Rev. Ted Campbell, a professor at United Methodist Perkins School of Theology, gave a speech saying he fears that the division of The United Methodist Church over homosexuality is “a given.” Sam Hodges reports.

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Bishop Lewis: Being first means lifting others up

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Bishop Sharma Lewis initially aspired to a career in medicine but ended up as a trailblazer in United Methodist ministry, most recently becoming the first African-American female bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. The bishop, whose vocation changed from healing bodies to healing souls, now has the opportunity to help heal a strained denomination. Heather Hahn offers the first in a series of profiles on the first-elected bishop in each U.S. jurisdiction.
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New bishop recalls questions about segregated church

BALTIMORE (UMNS) — When Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi speaks from the pulpit as a newly elected bishop in The United Methodist Church, the voice of her great-grandmother — who sang in a racially segregated choir — echoes in a place deep in her heart. When she was younger, the new bishop questioned why her family stayed in a church that didn’t fully welcome them. Moore-Koikoi, elected bishop in July, now leads the Western Pennsylvania Conference. Melissa Lauber offers the second in a series of profiles on the first-elected bishop in each U.S. jurisdiction.
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Bishop Oliveto: God has been in control

SAN FRANCISCO (UMNS) — Born in Babylon, New York, on Good Friday in 1958, elected and consecrated United Methodist bishop in 2016, Bishop Karen Oliveto sees her life just rolling out the way God intends. Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, now leads the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone conferences. Kathy L. Gilbert offers the third in a series of profiles on the first-elected bishop in each U.S. jurisdiction.

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Pastor avoids church trial in same-sex wedding

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — A North Carolina pastor will avoid a church trial and keep her job after she co-officiated with retired Bishop Melvin Talbert at the April same-gender wedding of two church members. While her case is over, Talbert said he still faces questions of whether he violated the terms of an earlier resolution related to a same-sex union. Heather Hahn reports.

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Baton Rouge church fixing ‘holy, beautiful messes’

BATON ROUGE, La. (UMNS) — A United Methodist church straddling a line between racially divided neighborhoods is repairing homes and, hopefully, relationships in one of the poorest ZIP codes in the city. Kathy L. Gilbert reports, with video from Joey Butler.

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Baton Rouge church hosts school


Kulah takes over as Liberia interim bishop

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Retired Bishop Arthur Kulah, who was bishop in Liberia for 20 years, has been called out of retirement to serve the Liberia Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church as its interim bishop until 2017. Bishop John Innis, who led the conference since his election in 2000, retired as of Sept. 1. Julu Swen has the story.
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15 years later: United Methodists reflect on 9/11

NEW YORK ( ) — When terrorists attacked New York City and other locations in the U.S., United Methodists responded with prayer, outreach and interfaith efforts. Church leaders and members recount how their lives and ministry were changed after that dark day.

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New president plans to move Liberia university

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — During his induction ceremony, Johnson Gwaikolo said he would seek to relocate the congested United Methodist University from central Monrovia to a site 15 miles away. Julu Swen reports on the president’s plans for the move.

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Flint focus shifts to long-term recovery

FLINT, Mich. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church is shifting its focus in the water quality crisis here from emergency relief to long-term recovery. Kay DeMoss of the Michigan Area talks with Greg Timmons about ongoing efforts.
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Judge lets some pipeline work continue

WASHINGTON (ABC) — A federal judge has ruled that construction on sacred tribal burial sites in the path of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline can continue. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued a temporary restraining order that halts construction only between Route 1806 and Lake Oahe.
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Lewis Center opens conference registration

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Lewis Center for Church Leadership at United Methodist Wesley Theological Seminary will host the conference and live stream “Discovering God’s Future for Your Church.” The event aims to provide a step-by-step process to help congregations discern God’s vision for their future. The early-bird registration deadline is Oct. 4.

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World Methodists bestow peace award

HOUSTON (UMNS) —The once-every-five-years World Methodist Conference wrapped up last weekend in Houston, having drawn United Methodists and other Wesleyan Christians from around the globe for worship, teaching and fellowship. The final day included presentation of the World Methodist Peace Award to the Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, founder of World Hope International and former general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church. Sam Hodges reports.

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WCC: Are we united in hope?


Filipinos ask president to stop killings

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — United Methodists in the Philippines are among the religious groups expressing alarm over the rising death toll in the “war on drugs” instituted by that nation’s president. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.
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Church responds to bombing in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — United Methodists are considering how they can help victims of a deadly bombing at a night market, a bombing that was condemned by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Gladys Mangiduyos has the story.
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Bishops select staff in reorganization

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — New appointments for a centralized staff reorganization, including the Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships, were announced by the Council of Bishops’ Executive Committee. Bishop Marcus Matthews became the council’s executive secretary Sept. 1.
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Needed start to racial bridge building

KANSAS CITY — An editorial in The Kansas City Star commended two United Methodist pastors, the Rev. Adam Hamilton and the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, for making an “impressive start” on improving race relations by bringing their congregations together for a nonthreatening dialogue between black and white Kansas City area residents.

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Bishop Brown serves as interim at Glide

SAN FRANCISCO — Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, who leads the California-Nevada Conference, has assigned recently retired Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. as the interim senior pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church. Brown follows recently elected Bishop Karen Oliveto, who now leads the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone conferences. Larry Hygh reports.
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What a difference a name change can make

ROCKY TOP, Tenn. (UMNS) — Two years after changing its name to go along with town leaders, good ol’ Rocky Top United Methodist Church is still home sweet home to a bunch of dedicated members. It’s also finding a new way to serve, reports Annette Spence of the Holston Conference’s The Call.

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Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email and put Digest in the subject line.


Thursday, Sept. 15

Willson Lecture featuring Dr. James E.K. Hildreth — 9:15 a.m. CDT. Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, the president and chief executive officer of United Methodist-related Meharry Medical College and an African-American pioneer in medicine, will speak at the Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education, Meharry Medical College, 1011 21st Ave. N., Nashville, Tennessee. United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry presents the Willson Lecture. Details


Deadline for Culture of the Call Award nominations — The Foundation for Evangelism invites nominations for its 2016 Culture of the Call Church Award, which recognizes local United Methodist churches that excel in nurturing young people who are called to Christian service. The award includes a plaque and $1,000 grant. Self-nominations are welcome. Details


More upcoming United Methodist events