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Weekly Digest - February 12, 2016


UMNS Weekly Digest

Feb. 12, 2016

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Feb. 8-12. 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

Coalition to Africa bishops: Let’s talk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Love Your Neighbor Coalition responded to a letter from the Africa College of Bishops about the discussion of gay rights at the upcoming 2016 United Methodist General Conference. The coalition, which includes the five ethnic caucuses of the denomination as well as other official and unofficial organizations, said they hoped to work together. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
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Board recommends married lesbian as deacon

FULTON, Md. (UMNS) — The Baltimore-Washington Conference’s board of ordained ministry has recommended Tara “T.C.” Morrow for commissioning as a provisional deacon. Morrow is a woman married to another woman. Erik Alsgaard reports for the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
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Book tells of pastors’ anti-segregation stand

DALLAS (UMNS) — In 1963, 28 white Methodist pastors in Mississippi published a dissent to the prevailing arch-segregationist views in their state, and the swift backlash included death threats and demands for dismissal. Twenty of the signers would leave the state. The Rev. Joseph Reiff, a religion professor at Emory & Henry College, spent 12 years working on his new book about the episode, “Born of Conviction.” Sam Hodges reports.
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Clinics, hospitals serve many with few resources

BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of the Congo (UMNS) — Nyamianda Hospital and Mangobo, Irambo and Goma clinics have many things in common – not enough staff, not enough equipment and not enough medicine. The hospitals and clinics are all also United Methodist health centers that are places of safety and refugee in East Congo Conference. Kathy L. Gilbert and Mike DuBose have the story.
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United Methodism flourishes in Tunda

TUNDA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — The first Methodist missionaries arrived in the village of Tunda in 1922, and Methodism continues to flourish there. The Tunda District in the East Congo Conference includes 68 local churches served by 72 United Methodist pastors. The district covers a lot of ground, most of it inaccessible by automobiles. Kathy L. Gilbert and Mike DuBose have the story.
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Reflections of life as a child in the Belgian Congo

New Ebola video emphasizes hygiene, prevention

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — “In Praise of Prevention” is the latest animated video from United Methodist Communications to help prevent the spread of Ebola. The video, a collaboration with Chocolate Moose Media and UNICEF Togo, was released Feb. 9 as a free download in English and French, with additional languages and dialects planned. Joey Butler reports.
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Churches create ‘Humanitarian Corridors’

GENEVA (WCC) — The first of what will be 1,000 refugees from camps in Lebanon, Morocco and Ethiopia are arriving this month in Italy through a “Humanitarian Corridors” project organized by the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, the Sant’Egidio religious community and the Italian government. Italian churches – among them the Waldensian Church, which includes Methodists – have committed to provide housing, cultural orientation and language lessons for the refugees during their first months in Italy.
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Churches offer sanctuary after ICE raids

LOS ANGELES — The Rev. Fred Morris survived detention and torture at the hands of Brazil's military dictatorship in 1974. That is one reason Morris, pastor of North Hills United Methodist Church, said he is ready to defy Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and offer his place of worship as a refuge for Central Americans facing imminent deportation to a region with escalating violence. Cathy Carcamo reports for the Los Angeles Times.
Read LA Times story

United Methodist dissident put in military prison

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — Vano Kiboko, a United Methodist evangelist and political dissident wrongfully imprisoned in his native Democratic Republic of Congo, has been moved to a military prison. He is the only civilian in the prison, his siblings say. The Rev. Arthur McClanahan of the Iowa Conference reports on what Kiboko’s siblings say people can do to help.
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UMNS story on Kiboko 

WASP, 94, recalls WW2 service

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Of the 22 Indiana women who were part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots program during World War II, Mary Anna Martin “Marty” Wyall, 94, is the last survivor. The daughter of a Methodist minister, the former WASP was interviewed Feb. 8 for the Veterans History Project, a growing archive of veterans’ recollections stored at the Library of Congress. An active member of First Wayne Street United Methodist Church, she also received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010. Brian Francisco of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette has the story.
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See WANE-TV video interview

Don’t look to John Wesley for love advice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — United Methodists turn to John Wesley as an authority on many aspects of life. Romantic love, however, should not be one of them. Joe Iovino explains.
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Second North Texas church burns

DALLAS (UMNS) — A second North Texas Conference church has lost its sanctuary to fire. Grove Hill United Methodist, near Leonard, Texas, burned to the ground on Feb. 6. Fire leveled Marvin United Methodist Church, about 20 miles away, on Jan. 30. The North Texas Conference reports that authorities are investigating.
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Cupid’s arrows fly at Valentine’s event

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio ( — Flowers and chocolate, dinner and a movie – these are expected Valentine’s Day formulas. But how about real bows and arrows?  Northampton United Methodist Church in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, uses archery to celebrate the holiday and tighten the strings of couples’ hearts.
Watch video

Stamp of AME founder unveiled

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) — United Methodists joined in celebrating the unveiling of the “Forever” commemorative stamp to Richard Allen (1760-1831), founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Among those at the unveiling were the Rev. Alfred Day III, top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History. Jay Rollins of Archives and History has the story.
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Equipping clergy for tough conversations

LONG BRANCH, N.J. (UMNS) — As both church and society become more polarized, United Methodist churches and the denomination are seeking ways to engage in healthy conversation. With that in mind, New Jersey Area Bishop John Schol hosted a clergy convocation focused on equipping clergy to lead people through controversy in congregations and communities. Jeff Wolfe reports for the conference.
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Syrian refugee grateful for church help

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (UMNS) — A Syrian businessman who became a political target after he tried to help widows and children in his war-torn homeland now has reason to be grateful himself. Without the help of Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church, he said he does not know how his family would have managed.
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Lent-Easter quiz returns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Now until Good Friday, you can check each weekday for a new question from to help you learn about the season.
Take the quiz 

Pre-General Conference videos online

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Videos from the pre-General Conference briefing are now available online. The briefings provide information for delegates preparing for The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body when it meets May 10-20 in Portland.
To see videos
To see related materials 

Religion and Race offers Lenten study

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race has released the Lenten resource “Roll Down, Justice!” It is a six-part series based on Scripture and social-justice hymns.
Get resource

‘Journey’ series highlights biblical women

CHICAGO (UMNS) — “A Journey in Her Shoes,” a sermon series about biblical women suitable for Lent, Women’s History Month and other occasions, has been released by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
See series

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.

Feb. 10-March 26

Tuesday, Feb. 16

Missing in Action: The Disappearance of Progressive Christianity in the Movement to End Human Trafficking Faculty Lecture  — 7 p.m. EST, Alford Centrum, Methodist Theological School, 3081 Columbus Pike, Delaware, Ohio. Yvonne Zimmerman, associate professor of Christian ethics, addresses the question of whether progressive Christians, in their effort to participate in the movement to end human trafficking, are losing their distinctive voice. Free. Details

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