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Weekly Digest - April 10, 2015


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for April 6-10. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

Top Stories

Publishing House deals with rare books before move

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The planned relocation of the United Methodist Publishing House has been complicated — in a good way — by a collection of old, rare religious books, including what may be a first edition of the King James Bible. Assessing the collection, and deciding what to do with it, are punch list items before the big move. Sam Hodges reports.
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Judicial Council to meet April 15-18 in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) — Requests for decisions on resolutions related to sexuality, conference committees on investigation and an African bishop’s salary reduction are among the seven docket items the United Methodist Judicial Council will consider when it meets April 15-18 in Columbus, Ohio. The top court’s regular spring meeting includes an oral hearing at 11 a.m. April 15. Linda Bloom reports.
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A faux pas in the pew: What to do?

FREEVILLE, N.Y. (UMNS) — Amy Dickinson, the syndicated advice columnist behind “Ask Amy” and a United Methodist, gets her fair share of emails from church members who are fed up with the behavior of certain pew neighbors. Susan Passi-Klaus shares the advice of Dickinson and other United Methodists on both good manners and forgiveness.
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Condolences, condemnation after Kenya school massacre

GARISSA, Kenya (UMNS) — United Methodists condemned the deadly attack on Garissa University College and offered condolences to the families and friends of the 148 who were killed April 2 by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabab. Tafadzwa Mudambanuki has the story.
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Church, city standoff ends

MCMINNVILLE, Oregon (UMNS) — City officials here say McMinnville Cooperative Ministries, a United Methodist-Lutheran church, has complied with city ordinances and no longer faces the threat of court action. The church had been given a March 31 deadline regarding the encampment of homeless people on its lawn.
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New top leader named for communications agency

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Daniel Krause, a former corporate communications executive who is a candidate for ordination, will take the helm of United Methodist Communications on June 8. He has served in management at Frontier Airlines and is currently a seminary student at United Methodist Iliff School of Theology in Denver.
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Norway-Zimbabwe partnership founded on chabadza

CHITORA, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Fifteen years ago, Cyclone Eline took out a bridge between part of the Chitora community and a United Methodist health clinic, as well as a local school. In the past year, the community has dug out and hauled 24 truckloads of stone and river sand to rebuild the bridge. The project is one of 15 underway through the Zimbabwe-Norway Partnership. Vicki Brown reports.
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Filipino clergy hopeful for disaster risk reduction

PASAY CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — A United Nations report has identified the Philippines as one of the countries most at risk for disaster because of climate change. Clergy and others were grateful for a training session on reducing disaster risk, sponsored by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Gladys P. Mangiduyos has the story.
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Liberian bishop visits schools reopened after Ebola

SIAFFA-KEH, Liberia (UMNS) — The bishop of The United Methodist Church in Liberia urged students to take learning seriously because the church and the country are depending on them as future leaders. Bishop John G. Innis visited United Methodist schools that had been closed since July because of Ebola.
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Côte d’Ivoire guest house to provide lodging, jobs

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS) — House of Hope, a United Methodist missionary guest house, will provide jobs and generate income for the denomination’s mission work. The guest house was inaugurated March 31 by Bishop Benjamin Boni and government representatives.
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Native American offering enriches heritage, outreach

GREENSBORO, N.C. (UMNS) — For the past two years, Carson Jones and his daughter, Sade, have been able to celebrate their heritage with other Native Americans at the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association for Native American Ministries — thanks to funds from the Native American Ministries Sunday offering. Jones, a member of the Lumbee tribe, explains to Interpreter magazine that without the financial assistance of the fund, they could not afford to attend.
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Get resources for Native American Ministries Sunday

Petition submissions begin for 2016 General Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Petitions for consideration by the 2016 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary through Oct. 13, 2015.
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Volunteer marshals, pages needed for General Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Volunteers can apply online to serve as marshals or pages during The United Methodist Church’s 2016 General Conference. The denomination’s top legislative assembly will meet in Portland, Oregon, May 10-20, 2016.
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Welcome to the church of ‘holy chaos’

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (UMNS) — Known as a church of “holy chaos,” the Haywood Street Congregation is a United Methodist mission church launched in 2009 as a place of welcome and ministry for people who are homeless or otherwise living on the margins in downtown Asheville. Duke Divinity School’s Faith and Leadership reports how the church is an example of “entrepreneurial and innovative ministry.”
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Vermont church gives Easter take to ‘Uptown Funk’

BURLINGTON, Vt. (UMNS) — First United Methodist Church gave worshippers a special reason to get up and dance in the pews on Easter. Minister of music Adam Hall turned pop hit “Uptown Funk” into “Christ is Risen Up.” It will have you singing “Hallelujah!” Just watch.
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History of Hymns: ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today’

DALLAS (UMNS) — “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is likely one of Charles Wesley’s most well-known hymns, up there with “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Peyton Strouth, a student at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, shares the evolution of this beloved Easter anthem.
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Easter Quiz: How long is Eastertide?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Lent is complete and the season of Easter has begun! Do you know how long this season of celebration called Eastertide actually is?
Try the final quiz question

7 reasons your church should have a front porch

TACOMA, Wash. (UMNS) — In this era where so many churches are struggling to grow and connect with new people, Patrick Scriven of the Pacific Northwest Conference wonders if it isn’t long overdue that we reevaluate where we spend our time and energy. He suggests why churches should adopt a front-porch orientation and get to know their neighbors.
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Nobody likes change, but change is crucial

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (UMNS) — When Marvel introduced us to Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man, people were upset because Miles wasn't Peter Parker. But just as old comic-book stalwarts change with the time, churches sometimes need to change the style in which they share the timeless gospel message. The Rev. Joseph Yoo of St. Mark United Methodist Church explains why churches need change in a commentary for Ministry Matters.
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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.

Monday, April 13
Online Lay Servant Ministries advanced courses offered by — Three options: Leading Public Prayer, Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts and the polity course, Life Together in the United Methodist Connection.

Sunday, April 19
Deadline to register for Large Church Initiative conference "Imagine Limitless God. Boundless Possibilities."April 20-22 at The Woodlands United Methodist Church, 2200 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands, Texas. The conference is for churches with a weekly attendance of at least 300. The conference is $329 for individuals or $289 per person for groups of three or more. Details.

You can see more educational opportunities and other upcoming events in the life of the church here.