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Weekly Digest - August 15, 2014


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for August 11-15. 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
Church leaders strive to be peacemakers in Ferguson
FERGUSON, Mo. (UMNS) — Since Saturday night, the Rev. F. Willis Johnson has devoted his entire ministry to fostering peaceful — and meaningful — responses to the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager and the tumult that has followed in this St. Louis suburb. He also has reached out to other United Methodist leaders, who are joining him in helping a community in pain.

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UMCLEAD Bloggers Mourn Shooting Death in Missouri

Social support key to Ebola fight, leaders say
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Religious leaders hope providing emotional and social support for communities across Sierra Leone will help counter the rise in Ebola infections. The Religious Leaders Task Force on Ebola, chaired by United Methodist Bishop John K. Yambasu, is providing training. Phileas Jusu, a United Methodist communicator in Sierra Leone, has the story.

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Communications used to combat Ebola

5 UM members in Weala dead of Ebola

Free flow of information is critical in crisis

Ebola response counters fear, disbelief

Expressing solidarity with suffering Iraqis
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Top executives at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries on Friday expressed solidarity with Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq as they are driven from their homes, some herded into isolated encampments where they face death by starvation and thirst.

Read the statement

Things youth can do about ISIS, Ebola
MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) — United Methodist youth want to do something about the spread of Ebola in West Africa and the persecution of Christians by the Islamic State. The Rev. Jeremy Steele, a United Methodist pastor and editor of the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective, shares three ways youth can address these problems.

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Williams' death once could have been mine
DALLAS, Texas (UMNS) — Cynthia B. Astle did not know Robin Williams personally “but I know his reported illness intimately,” she writes in a blog for United Methodist News Service. United Methodist congregations can offer the spiritual care needed for those suffering from depression, she says.

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Comedian’s death opens conversation

After the laughter, waves of dread

What The United Methodist Church says about suicide

Church resources on mental health

AU grad addresses U.S. Africa Summit
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Two women inspired Ilda Massuanganhe Guambe’s passion to educate girls — her mother, who was the first woman United Methodist pastor in Mozambique, and her cousin, who was forced into marriage at age 13. That passion put Guambe, a 2011 graduate of Africa University in Zimbabwe, on center stage for a few minutes during the 2014 U.S. Africa Summit in Washington.

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McElvaney under hospice care
DALLAS (UMNS) - The Rev. William McElvaney, a retired United Methodist pastor and seminary president who faces a complaint for officiating at a same-sex wedding, is undergoing hospice care. McElvaney recently wrote members of Dallas' Northaven United Methodist Church, where he is pastor emeritus, that his liver cancer has spread and no good treatment options are left to him. The pastor also wrote of the "amazing grace" he has received in his 86 years, including from his wife, Fran.

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Freedom Summer: Real world ‘shock’ for new pastor
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Recruited to serve as a project chaplain in Holly Springs, Mississippi, the Rev. George D. McClain found his experience during the Freedom Summer of 1964 to be “the shock treatment beginning of my real-world theological education.”

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Global Young People adopt petitions for 2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Despite enduring a devastating typhoon, United Methodist young people and adult leaders from 34 countries successfully completed their convocation and legislative assembly in the Philippines and adopted petitions for presentation to the next General Conference. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship reports on the Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly.

Read the news release

Border crisis: Resources for a faithful response
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Threats of kidnapping and death by criminal gangs, combined with poverty, have led to thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing to the United States from Central America. The United Methodist Church is responding in ways few organizations can.

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View from the field: Imagine No Malaria
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Imagine No Malaria field coordinators work with local United Methodist churches to educate congregations and communities about the effort to stop malaria. Meet three women who are helping United Methodist conferences fight the disease. “Something I love is that you can add Imagine No Malaria to any event that’s going on in your church,” said Kylie Foley, a field coordinator for Imagine No Malaria in Florida.

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Jousting pastor learns about ministry from his ‘knight job’
ARRINGTON, Tenn. (UMNS) – When the Rev. Gene Martino Jr., became friends with Roy Cox, owner of an authentic jousting company, he had not spent much time on a horse: “I think I got on it in the proper direction.” Within a short time, this United Methodist pastor was competing in his new “knight job” and learning quite a bit about ministering as well.

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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.

Free webinar “What Every Teacher Needs to Know,” Tuesday, Aug. 196:30 p.m. CT, The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers tips for effective leadership in small groups and other classes. Details

Free webinar “The Importance of Preaching for Children,” Thursday, Aug. 21 10 a.m. CT, a United Methodist Board of Discipleship one-hour interactive webinar discussion on preaching to reach listeners of all ages and abilities. Details

Deadline for “Revitup! … For a Lifetime in Ministry” event for young clergy, Friday, Aug. 22 — Event Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 15-17 in Atlanta for young clergy, ages 25-39, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The focus is on financial and leadership skills. $149. Details.

Seven Levers Workshop: Missional Strategies for Conferences with Bishop Robert Schnase, Saturday, Aug. 23 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT at Collierville United Methodist Church, 454 W. Poplar Ave., Collier, Tennessee. $10. Details

Symposium on “Understanding Human Trafficking: From Awareness to Action,” Saturday, Aug. 23 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, sponsored by Frankfort District United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women at Frankfort (Kentucky) First United Methodist Church, 211 E. Washington St. $16. Details

Deadline to register for workshop “Small Churches Can Have A Big Impact: Making your Voice & Vote Count!” Monday, Aug. 25 — Event is at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 6. Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer will be the keynote speaker at this workshop at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, 3081 Columbus Pike, Delaware, Ohio. $20-25. Details on PDF.

Webinar “Planning Your Fall Financial Campaign,” Tuesday, Aug. 26 — 7-8 p.m. ET This ecumenical webinar features advice on how to customize a stewardship campaign by meeting people where they are on their journey of faith.  $10. Details.

Free webinar “Reaching Younger People — What Churches Are Doing,” Tuesday, Aug. 26 6:30 p.m. CT, Ministries with Young People director Chris Wilterdink and Betsey Heavner of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship will show examples of changes churches are making to engage people under 35 and develop multigenerational ministry. Details.

Free webinar “Creating a Single Board Leadership Structure,” Thursday, Aug. 28 6:30 p.m. CT, Tips from United Methodist Board of Discipleship for reorganizing leadership for vital ministry. Details.

Deadline for early-bird discount on 2015 United Methodist Program Calendars, Sunday. Aug. 31 – Order before date and receive 10 percent discount. Use Promo Code CAL15EP

Game Changers Summit, Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 3-5 United Methodist Communications invites local churches to attend a conference at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The event will focus on how congregations can use technology to strengthen international development. Details

National Hunger Action Month, September — United Methodist partner, the Society of St. Andrew, offers resources to make September a time to take a stand against hunger including a daily prayer calendar, study guides and children’s sermon ideas. Resources.

Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101,” Wednesday, Sept. 3 – United Methodist Communications will offer the course Sept. 3-Oct.15. $9.99. Details.

Free webinar “Working with Exceptional Children: ADHD and the Autism Spectrum,” Thursday, Sept. 4 — 7-8 p.m. ET United Methodist Christian educator and certified special education teacher Elizabeth Christie will provide information, strategies and activities for working with those with ADHD and autism. Details.

Converge 2014: A Gathering of Pastors for Pastors, Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 8-10 — The event for clergy and church staff will be at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Joplin, Mo. Erwin Raphael McManus, founder of MOSAIC community of faith in Los Angeles, will be the keynote speaker.$70, discounted from what’s on the website. Details.

Deadline to register for six online courses from United Methodist Communications, Tuesday, Sept. 9 — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses Sept. 10-Oct. 22.“Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” “Connectional Giving,” “Moodle 100: Basic Training,” “Tools for Increasing Your Church’s Vitality,” “Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry?” and “Welcoming Ministry 100.” Costs vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details.

Worship Design Studio Planning Retreat, Sunday-Wednesday, Sept. 14-17 — At Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, the Rev. Marcia McFee will guide participants through the entire liturgical year (starting with Advent) in order to map out worship themes and general plans for each season. Details.

Hispanic/Latino/a Heritage Month, Monday, Sept. 15–Wednesday, Oct. 15 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship shares worship resources.