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Weekly Digest - April 17, 2014


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for April 14 - April 17. 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

United Methodists in the news

Two United Methodists killed in shootings at Jewish centers
OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (UMNS) — Dr. Bill Corporon, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Underwood, both members of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, died after a gunman shot them outside a Jewish Community Center on April 13. A third victim also was killed at a Jewish retirement community less than a mile away. A vigil was held at the church Sunday night at which Corporon’s daughter, also the boy’s mother, spoke.


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Mom’s faith offers comfort after Kansas shootings
LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) — United Methodist Mindy Corporon is sharing her faith and belief that her son and father are in heaven after a gunman killed them April 13 as they sat in their vehicle at a Jewish community center. Dr. William Lewis Corporon and Reat Griffin Underwood will be remembered at 3 p.m. on April 18 in the main sanctuary of >The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection>.


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Atlanta church to get stadium traffic but no cash 
ATLANTA (UMNS)  Central United Methodist Church, led for 18 years by the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the civil rights leader, won’t gain anything from the new Falcons stadium being built across the street except for traffic headaches. 11 Alive has the story.


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Oconee Street UMC returns 'home' for Palm Sunday
ATHENS, Ga. (UMNS) — Palm Sunday was truly a day of celebration for the congregation of Oconee Street United Methodist Church. Almost a year after fire destroyed the church building, 100 members gathered in the newly renovated education building for worship, a baptism and confirmation of six young people.


Read the story

See photos on the church website

Holy Week and Easter

Why did Jesus have to die?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — As every Christian knows, Jesus freely died for our sins. But was there a less brutal way for God and humanity to be reconciled? Theologians answer that question in a variety of ways.


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The importance of the egg: Children and Easter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — How do you help youngsters make the connection between the whimsy of Easter egg hunts and the joy of the Resurrection? This video from UMTV offers insights, including some ideas from children themselves.


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Pastor carves Easter totem pole
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (UMNS) — A United Methodist pastor in Alaska received spiritual inspiration to carve the Christmas and Easter stories in totem poles according to the traditions of Alaska's indigenous peoples.


See UMTV story and video

Cultural traditions enhance Easter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists around the world celebrate Christ's Resurrection in many ways. Interpreter OnLine takes readers on a tour of several traditions in Africa, Europe and Asia.


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Chuck Knows Church: Maundy Thursday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Maundy Thursday is also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries! But what exactly is this important day. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship series “Chuck Knows Church” explains.


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Church honors Lent with carving, painting, sewing
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (UMNS) — Last year, Millington First United Methodist Church transformed its parsonage into an art center called Restoration House. During the season of Lent, the church has opened Restoration House each Wednesday night so people can explore Lent through art. Casey Northcutt Watson of the Memphis Annual (regional) Conference shares how the ministry works.


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Ancient traditions still influence Easter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Christians journeying through Holy Week may be surprised to learn how some Easter traditions have evolved over the centuries.


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History of Hymns: 'What Wondrous Love is This'
DALLAS (UMNS) —  "What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul. ..." The name of the soul who wrote these words is lost to history, but C. Michael Hawn does his best to trace the origins of this popular Lenten hymn in this week's History of Hymns.


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News around the connection


United Methodist Bishop Lloyd Knox dies at 85
TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) — James Lloyd Knox, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church and a former missionary in Cuba and Argentina, died at age 85 on April 13. Bishop Ken Carter, leader of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference, said, “The history of the conference could not be told apart from his ministry.”

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United Methodists prepare for annual conferences
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — For the first time, some annual (regional) conferences will elect lay and clergy delegates to General Conference two years prior to the meeting of the top legislative body of the denomination.


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Church Alliance files brief for clergy housing
GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS)-- The Church Alliance, a coalition of the chief executive officers of 38 denominational benefit programs including The United Methodist Church, has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Chicago) in the case challenging the constitutionality of the clergy housing exclusion under Section 107(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Code). Barbara Boigegrain, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits, is chair of the Church Alliance.


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Bishops address Ukraine crisis
MOSCOW AND COPENHAGEN (UMNS)  Bishop Eduard Khegay of the Eurasia Area and Bishop Christian Alsted of the Nordic and Baltic Area have issued an Easter pastoral letter, touching on the political crisis in Ukraine. “While the political winds are shifting, the church is called to be a fellowship not of this world and yet sent into this world to reflect the self-sacrificing life of Christ,” the letter says.


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Missionary salary increase approved
NEW YORK (UMNS) — A new compensation package, approved by directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, will increase the base salary of many active United Methodist missionaries, the agency said.


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News around conferences

North Carolina organist sets Guinness record
SOUTHMONT, N.C. (UMNS) — Martha Godwin began playing organ and piano at Macedonia United Methodist Church when she was 13. Now, she has a Guinness World Record for playing the longest consecutive time at one church. The Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference has the story.


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Russian-speaking Finns find new spiritual home
HELSINKI (UMNS) — United Methodists have begun a Russian-speaking congregation in Finland’s capital.


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Zimbabwean youth honor ‘green bishop’
HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Zimbabwean young people celebrated the 65th birthday of Bishop Eben Kanukayi Nhiwatiwa with the presentation of 65 tree plants. The episcopal leader of Zimbabwe is known as the “green bishop” because of his concern for the environment. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo and Abigail Mvududu have the story.


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Internet upgrade strengthens Malawi Conference
BLANTYRE, Malawi (UMNS) — Work at The United Methodist Church’s Malawi Provisional Conference should become simpler following an upgrade in connectivity, enabling the staff to have Internet access throughout the campus. The project represented a partnership of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, United Methodist Communications, Inveneo and Malawian Internet company Ultinet.


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Districts announced for new Rio Texas Conference
 SAN ANTONIO (UMNS) — San Antonio Area Bishop Jim Dorff announces in a video the planned seven districts in the new Rio Texas Annual (regional) Conference, which will be formed by a merger of the Rio Grande and Southwest Texas conferences. The new merged conference officially will be complete by Jan. 1, 2015.


Watch video

The churches in the new districts

Resources and educational opportunities


Three outreach ideas for the summer
MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) — The Rev. Jeremy Steele, writing for United Methodist Communications, shares three ideas that can help churches reach out to their community during the summer months.

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Deadline nears for large-church gathering
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (UMNS) — The deadline to register for the United Methodist Large Church Initiative conference is Monday, April 21. The conference, designed for churches with at least 1,000 members or an average weekly attendance of at least 350, will focus on church growth and discipleship. The gathering is April 28-30 at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church.


To learn more and register

University and seminary news

New dean of Liberia school promises spirit-filled campus
MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — During his installation service as the dean of the United Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia, the Rev. Jerry P. Kulah, former superintendent of the Monrovia District, said spiritual awakening will be a major part of his effort to restore the United Methodist-related school following a 14-year civil war. Julu Swen of the Liberia Annual (regional) Conference reports.


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Seminarian debt proposals considered
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Proposals to address the issue of seminarian debt are being compiled by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.


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Candler to focus on future of theological education
ATLANTA (UMNS) – United Methodist-affiliated Candler School of Theology, part of Emory University, will have a centennial conference March 18-20, 2015 on the future of theological education. Speakers will include Marilynne Robinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Gilead” and a writer and speaker about Christian faith, and Luke Timothy Johnson, Emory’s R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian origins and chair of Candler’s centennial celebration.


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News of interest

WCC plans June consultation on Korean peninsula
SEOUL, Korea (UMNS) — An international consultation on peace, reconciliation and reunification of the Korean peninsula will be held in Geneva in June, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, top executive of the World Council of Churches, announced April 9 at a press conference in Seoul.


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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.

Deadline to register for 2014 Large Church Initiative, Monday, April 21— Gathering on Monday-Wednesday, April 28-30 at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Ga., for United Methodist churches with 1,000 or more members and/or with an average attendance of 350 or more in worship. Details.

Free webinar “Pastors: Making a Good Move,” Tuesday, April 226:30 p.m. CT, Designed for pastors who are moving to a new appointment, this event will include ways to say good-bye to the current congregation and say hello to a new place and new people. To register.

Free webinar “SPRC: Your Role When the Pastor Changes,” Thursday, April 246:30 p.m. CT, Training for staff-parish relations committees and other laity on handling a transition in pastors. To register.

World Malaria Day, Sunday, April 25 — Imagine No Malaria is encouraging supporters to #CoverTheNet to raise awareness on Facebook and Twitter about a killer disease that claims the life of a child every 60 seconds. Details.

“Turn Your Radio On” singles ministry weekend, Friday-Sunday, April 25-27 — A study of four of Jesus’ parables through “old-time” radio episodes at Lakeshore Camp and Retreat Center, Eva, Tenn. Sponsored by the Memphis Conference’s Single Adult Ministry. Details.

“How to Reach New People” workshop, Friday-Saturday, April 25-26 — Jim Griffith, a church planter and coach, will lead the workshop at First United Methodist Church in Independence, Mo. $25 per person or $75 for a team of up to five people. Details.

Small Membership Church Seminar, Saturday, April 269 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET at Union United Methodist Church, 2 N Laws St. in Bridgeville, Del. Lew Parks, professor of theology, ministry and congregational development at Wesley Theological Seminary, will speak. Registration is $25 per team. Details.

“Jazzin for Christ” luncheon, Saturday, April 26Noon to 3:30 p.m. CT, Masque performance, sponsored by Wesley United Methodist Church in Chicago at Georgios of Orland Park, 8800 W. 159th St., Orland Park, Ill. $60. Details.

Jubilation 2014, Sunday-Tuesday, April 27-29 — Worship and workshops at MeadowView Resort and Conference Center,1901 Meadowview Pkwy., Kingsport, Tenn., sponsored by the Holston Annual (regional) Conference Older Adult Ministries. Missy Buchanan, an expert on older adult ministries, will be the keynote speaker. Details.

Free webinar “Children’s Ministry: Choosing Curriculum,” Tuesday, April 29 — 10 a.m. CT, This interactive webinar will focus on some of the aspects to consider when selecting curriculum, including the theological perspective, the teaching perspective and the needs of the students. To register.

Free webinar “Claiming a Missionary Mindset!” Tuesday, April 29 — 6:30 p.m. CT, A look at what it takes to be a missionary to your community. To register.


Early-bird registration deadline for Game Changers Summit, Wednesday, April 30 United Methodist Communications

invites local churches to attend a conference Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 3-5 at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. The event will focus on how congregations can use technology to strengthen international development. $215. Details.

Free webinar “Ordinary Time Doesn’t Have to Be Ordinary,” Thursday, May 1 — 7-8 p.m. ET, With no holiday on which to focus, here are ways to do something different in Sunday school. Details.

Free webinar “Change Requires Something of Us!” Thursday, May 1 — 6:30 p.m. CT, How churches must address change to move from death to resurrection. To register.

Beyond These Walls Mission Conference, Thursday-Saturday, May 1-3 — The event at McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church in Powder Springs, Ga., focuses on churches interested in or doing mission work. The Rev. Jorge Acevedo, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Fort Myers, Fla., and Brian Fikkert of the Chalmers Center will be keynote speakers. Details.

Native American Ministries Sunday, May 4 — Offering on this Special Sunday benefits annual conference Native American ministries and Native American seminary students. Details.

Deadline to register for United Theological Seminary’s “Light the Fire!” Church Renewal Conference, Monday, May 5 — Event Thursday-Friday, May 8-9 at Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. $149, Details.

Where Grace Meets Power — Standing for Each Others’ Greatness, Monday through Wednesday, May 5-7 — A United Methodist Clergywomen’s seminar, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Details.

“Elevation” continuing education and spiritual renewal retreat for worship leaders, Monday-Friday, May 5-9 — Lake Tahoe, with Marcia McFee, director of worship at two General Conferences. Details.

Albertson Lectures at Wenatchee (Wash.) First United Methodist Church, Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11 — Jerry D. Campbell, President of Claremont Lincoln Univ. will speak to the topic “New in the World and Long Overdue.Details. and lecture times

Free webinar “Binders Full of Women: How to Create, Maintain and Utilize a Talent Bank,” Tuesday, May 137:30 p.m. ET, part of a series of leadership webinars offered by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women. To see schedule and register

A Gathering of the Aldersgate Covenant, Friday-Saturday, May 16-17 — A 20-hour prayer for revival with guest speakers from across the United States at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kan. Details.