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Weekly Digest: February 21, 2014

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Feb. 17 - Feb. 21. 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

The church and immigration
United Methodists arrested in D.C. immigration pray-in
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – They are out of jail, but for 32 protesters, including two United Methodist bishops, who were arrested in front of the White House Feb. 17, concerns remain. They want the Obama administration’s deportation policies to change.

Read story

Video of protest and prayer
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – United Methodist faith leaders, including two bishops, undocumented immigrants and labor leaders, were arrested on Feb. 17, Presidents Day, as they knelt and prayed for President Obama to stop deportations that are separating families across the globe.

See video

News around the connection
Prayers requested from Ukraine
KIEV, Ukraine (UMNS) – The Rev. John Calhoun, a United Methodist Board of Global Ministries missionary serving in Ukraine, has asked for continued prayers as violence in the region continues to grow. “For the past 24 hours, the center of Kiev has been the scene of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police,” he wrote.


Read letter

What a horse can teach a pastor
DESCANSO, Calif. (UMNS) – It is called Equine Facilitated Learning and it does not officially qualify as therapy. But one California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference pastor says working with horses "teaches you to be in connection with your people. And if you're truly connected with them, they'll follow you." Laurens Glass tells the story


Read story and post a comment

Remembering Gayle C. Felton
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Daniel Benedict remembers Gayle C. Felton as a practical theologian who could “make complicated, thorny issues accessible to the rank-and-file of the church, doing so with grace and humor.” Felton died Jan. 25.


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Many U.S. presidents have Methodist ties
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – United Methodists have a long history of ties to U.S. presidencies. In fact, Methodism began its relationship with the presidency when Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury approached George Washington twice about different issues.


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UMCOR builds health near Sochi Olympics
SOCHI, Russia (UMNS) – Not far from the site of the Olympic Winter Games, the United Methodist Committee on Relief works to increase access to health care for vulnerable people in the region. Julia Kayser reports for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.


Read story


Memorial service set for Lois Dauway
NEW YORK (UMNS) – A memorial service for Lois Dauway is planned at 3 p.m. March 2 at the United Methodist Church of the Village, 201 West 13th St. Dauway, a longtime denominational and ecumenical staff executive, died Feb. 4 at the age of 65.

Resources and educational opportunities
Women’s History Month resources available
CHICAGO (UMNS) – Inclusive/expansive-language prayers, calls to worship and liturgies that can be used in March (Women’s History Month) are available now through the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women. All the worship elements are Revised Common Lectionary-based.



Webinar on 'Means of Grace, Means of Growth'
NASHVILLE (UMNS) – Following their 2013 "Lord, Teach Us to Pray" collaboration, Interpreter magazine, a publication of United Methodist Communications, and The Upper Room are launching a new series of articles and free webinars. They will explore the means of grace, practices in which Christians have traditionally engaged to grow in relationship to God. The first webinar, "Means of Grace, Means of Growth," will be at 7 p.m. CT, Thursday, Feb. 27. Deadline for registration is 12 noon CT, Wednesday, Feb. 26.

To register

Special offer to stream church services
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Be ready to stream your services over the Internet during Lent and Easter through a special offer from United Methodist Communication’s Techshop. The offer enables your church to enjoy a bonus three months at no additional cost when you sign up for 12 months of live-streaming service. Sign up today at Use discount code, Lent, on the Contact Us form. The offer ends March 15, 2014.


For more information

Register for clergywomen leadership seminar
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Registration is open for the United Methodist Clergywomen Leadership Seminar, which offers theological reflection on women’s leadership and for the cultivation of women’s leadership skills. The May 5-7 event to be in Palm Beach, Fla., is sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and is open to all United Methodist clergywomen.


For more information or to register

Peace conference deadline extended
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) – Because the inclement weather has affected many in the Southeast, the early registration deadline for the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference has been extended until March 1. The 2014 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference: Faith, Health, and Peace: Seeking the Basic Right to Good Health for All God's Children will be March 27-30 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.


To register

Event focuses on ethics, criminal justice
COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) – "Christian Ethics and the Crisis in U.S. Criminal Justice" will be the focus of this year's Sprague Lecture Series from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 ET at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus. Speakers include Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” James Logan, author of "Good Punishment? Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment,” and Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer.


Learn more

News around conferences
Wood ministry brings warmth to those in need
 ANDERSON, S.C. (UMNS) — James Morrison, 70, spends at least three days of every week chopping wood from trees into firewood that people in need can use to heat their homes. Jessica Connor of the South Carolina Advocate has the story of this 38-year-old ministry.


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Hoosiers assemble 155,520 food packets 
HAGERSTOWN, Ind. (UMNS) – Each day more than 14,400 children die of starvation around the world. With this in mind, 625 volunteers – including members and friends of 17 United Methodist churches – came together Feb. 8 to assemble 155,520 one-pound food packets that eventually will feed 933,000 adults and children in Indiana and Guatemala. The Rev. Dan Gangler of the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference shares the story and photos from the event.


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Author of book on Methodism, slavery dies
ATHENS, Tenn. (UMNS) – Durwood Dunn, a history professor at United Methodist-related Tennessee Wesleyan College, late last year published his fourth and final book,“ The Civil War in Southern Appalachian Methodism.” In the early morning hours of Feb. 15, he died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 70 years old. Annette Spence shares a remembrance of the historian and his research.


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Oklahoma church grows with multi-site
OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) – In 2013, St. Luke's United Methodist Church went multi-site, adding what had been two independent churches. The multi-site approach is bearing early fruit, reports Holly McCray of the Oklahoma Conference's Contact newspaper. St. Luke's now includes Fuente De Vida and Asbury congregations as well as the downtown home.


Read story


St. Luke's plans new satellite

Louisiana church reaching kids with reading 
ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (UMNS) – A book club for area kindergartners through fifth-graders has become a popular community outreach for Mallalieu United Methodist Church in southern Louisiana. The Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference explains the ministry and shares pictures.

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The church and homosexuality
Sister believes in Jesus’ love for lesbian sibling
MOUNT WASHINGTON, Pa. (UMNS) – Jane L. Bonner, president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Evangelical Connection and a strong advocate for The United Methodist Church’s position that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” firmly believes that her late sister, Amy Lamb, who was a professional photographer and filmmaker, is in heaven right now. But, Bonner is also certain God did not want a gay lifestyle for her sister.


Read story and post a comment

Bishop denounces Kansas bill on gays
WICHITA, Kan. (UMNS) – In a letter addressed to Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones of Great Plains Annual (regional) Conference suggested that state House Bill 2453 be killed, as to not legitimize discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals. The bill sought to allow public or private employees to refuse service based on religious views about marriage. The state Senate leaders decided Tuesday, Feb. 18, to not bring the bill to the floor, but will explore the issue of religious liberty in March hearings.


Read news release

Bishop's statement to clergy on denomination’s same-sex union debate

Bishop says pain remains in pastor’s removal
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (UMNS) – Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson did not let the Frank Schaefer case and her views on homosexuality define her, but in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, she emphasized that continued conversation is the only way to try to close the divide. "I'm not turning my back to the pain," she said. "I want to head straight into it. Let the chips fall where they may."

Read more

United Methodists in the news
Humanizing the homeless
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Ingrid McIntyre, a United Methodist in Tennessee, was featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in February. She is a founder of “Open Table Nashville,” an ecumenical group working to end homelessness.


Watch the “60 Minutes” story

Short life of pastor filled with service
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (UMNS) – Carrie Chandler Reece found her relationship with God and her purpose in life as a United Methodist pastor. In her 36 years on earth, she never wavered from her mission to help others. tells the story of the woman that “the Lord chose to take…home to be with him” on Dec. 26.


Read story

He’s trying to bring a younger face to church
KOKOMO, Ind. (UMNS) – In the year since Anthony Schuh, 25, moved from Wisconsin, he has been actively trying to engage more young people in his church and others. The Kokomo Tribune tells the story of this young man who started a chapter of the Epworth League and who says, “You’ve got to be swimming in a direction. You can’t just tread water. The nature of the church is that it has to grow.”


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Omaha clergy try new ways to reach people
OMAHA, Neb. (UMNS) – The Rev. Bruce Davis of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church preached on a recent winter morning while a church band played the Eagles song “Desperado” as he wove the lyrics into his sermon. The Omaha World Herald explains how local clergy are using innovative ways to capture the attention and hearts of people.


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Community works on future of church building
COVINGTON, Ky. (UMNS) – A year ago, the Gateway Foundation of Gateway Community and Technical College purchased the former First United Methodist Church. Now the school has enlisted the community to help decide the future for the historic building. tells the story.


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University and seminary news
Evansville students learn to engage other faiths
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (UMNS) – The Rev. Tamara K. Gieselman, university chaplain and director of religious life since 2009, hopes that undergraduate students at the United Methodist-related University of Evansville will have the chance “to engage with other world religions.” She is doing her best to make that happen.


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White House honors 8 from UM schools
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – Eight students from historically black colleges and universities supported by The United Methodist Church’s Black College Fund were among 75 students named 2014 HBCU All-Stars by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


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Stronger partnerships for schools, agencies urged
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — An effort to develop stronger partnerships among the 119 United Methodist-related schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools and the general agencies of the church was affirmed by those attending a Feb. 2-3 meeting of the National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of The United Methodist Church. The effort has been under way for two years.


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Theological education grants to be chosen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – The 74 applications for grants from the $5 million fund for theological education in Africa, Europe and the Philippines will be evaluated and awards granted Feb. 20-22 when the Commission on Central Conference Theological Education meets in Atlanta. The commission estimates it will be able to disburse grants for $1 million a year for the next four years.


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Student journalist sues Otterbein
WESTERVILLE, Ohio (UMNS) – A student journalist at United Methodist-affiliated Otterbein University has filed suit against the school, seeking to open records of arrests by campus police. “It’s an issue of transparency for us,” said Anna Schiffbauer, news editor of, a student-run news website.


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Adrian College’s fight against human trafficking
ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) – The Rev. Chris Momany, chaplain and director of church relations for United Methodist-related Adrian College, explains why he is so passionate about social justice issues, especially the fight to end human trafficking.


Read the story

Clark Atlanta selected for entrepreneurship effort
ATLANTA (UMNS) – United Methodist-related Clark Atlanta University has been selected to join the inaugural cohort for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative. Funded by The Lemelson Foundation, the cohort of 15 HBCUs will participate in a multi-year collaboration to foster innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship on their respective campuses.


Read news release

Blogs and commentaries
'Nones' and the common good
CHICAGO (UMNS) – "Where would the United States be without its Quaker high schools, its Methodist universities, its Lutheran hospitals, its Jewish social service agencies, and its Southern Baptist disaster relief organizations?" asks Eboo Patel in Sojourners Magazine.  He writes about the importance of religion in civil society, and his worry about the growing number of "nones," those who say "none" when asked for religious affiliation.


Read column

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 online course “United Methodism 101,” Monday, Feb. 24Course runs Feb. 26-April 9, training from United Methodist Communications. Seating limited. $9.99. Details.

Deadline to register for online course “Moodle 300: Course Facilitation,” Monday, Feb. 24Course runs Feb. 26-April 9, training from United Methodist Communications, Moodle Basc and Moodle Advanced are prerequisite. Seating limited. $119.99. Details.

United Methodist Global AIDS Fund event “Just Save One,” Tuesday, Feb. 25 — 6:30 to 8 p.m. ET, Saint Mark United Methodist Church, 781 Peachtree St. NE., Atlanta. The event focuses on how individuals and churches can fight AIDS. Details.

Welcome Table at Wesley Theological Seminary, Tuesday, Feb. 25; Tuesday, March 4; and Thursday, April 3 — 4-7:30 p.m. ET events for prospective students include a campus tour, networking opportunities and the chance to attend a class. Details.

Free webinar “Children’s Ministry: Using Pockets Magazine in Groups, at Home and in Church,” Tuesday, Feb. 2510 a.m. CT, Lynn Gilliam, editor of Pockets, will offer suggestions and ideas for using this resource with the children of your congregation and community. To register.

Webinar “Does Your Church have a Personality?” Tuesday, Feb. 25 — 7-8 p.m. ET, finding out what Myers-Briggs can tell about a congregation, offered by Practical Church Resources and led by Julia Wallace, ministry coach and former staff member of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. $10. Details.

Free webinar "Means of Grace, Means of Growth," 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. CT, Thursday, Feb. 27  Registration deadline is 12 noon CT, Wednesday, Feb. 26.Webinar from Upper Room and Interpreter magazine that explores practices in which Christians have traditionally engaged to grow in their relationship to God. To register.

Deadline to register for “Reclaiming Evangelism” Event, Wednesday, Feb. 269 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 1, Mullins United Methodist Church, 4 N. Mendenhall Road, Memphis,Tenn. The Rev. Heather Lear, director of evangelism ministries at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, will speak. $25 per individual, $20 per attendee in groups of four or more. Details.

Deadline for early-bird registration for “180 Turnaround Church Conference,” Friday, Feb. 288:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET Thursday, March 20 conference at Redeemer United Methodist Church in DeWitt, Mich. $49 per person. Details.

New deadline to register for Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, “Faith, Health and Peace: Seeking the Basic Right to Good Health for All God’s Children,” Saturday, March 1 —Thursday-Sunday, March 27-30, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Partial student scholarships available. Details.

Transfiguration Sunday, March 2 — Resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

WebinarMaking Sure Your Church Website Works,” Tuesday, March 4 — 7 p.m.-8 p.m. ET, what belongs on the website, how to organize content and how best to use images, offered by Practical Church Resources. $10. Details.

Ash Wednesday, March 5 — Mark the start of Lent with worship resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Creating Sacred Time for Your Family workshop, Sunday, March 2 — 6 p.m. CT, First United Methodist Church of Hurst, Texas. Details.

Our Sacred Journey with Children workshop, Monday, March 3 — 7-8:30 p.m. CT, First United Methodist Church of Hurst, Texas. Details.

Early-bird registration deadline for Engaging Local Schools Conference, Monday, March 3 — 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 22, Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. $20-50. Details.

Free webinar “Developing Your Ministry Plan 2: Discovering Your Congregation’s Niche,” Thursday, March 66:30 p.m. CT, Understanding the missional context of your congregation and your community is key for creating ministry that connects to newcomers. To register.

Sprague Lecture Series, "Christian Ethics and the Crisis in U.S. Criminal Justice," Saturday, March 8 - 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio. Speakers include Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” James Logan, author of "Good Punishment? Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment,” and Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer. Details.

Deadline to register for five online courses from United Methodist Communications, Monday, March 10Courses run March 12-April 23, choices include Communicating Faith in the 21st Century, Connectional Giving, Moodle 200: Basic Training, Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry? and Welcoming Ministry 100. Prices vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details..

Free webinar “Individual Faith Formation Planning for Children,” Tuesday, March 1110 a.m. CT, The interactive webinar explores what an individual faith formation plan for a child would look like and how it could shape the way a child engages. To register.

Free webinar “Multiplying Disciples: Part 1,” Tuesday, March 116:30 p.m. CT, Explore the qualities needed to build a lay-clergy team that leads the congregation in disciple-making. To register.

Free webinar “Freed Up Financial Living: Start This Ministry in Your Church!,” Thursday, March 136:30 p.m. CT, This course can help people in your church better understand their money, and how to control it so that it doesn't control them. To register.

One Great Hour of Sharing, Sunday, March 30 Donations the United Methodist Committee on Relief receives through this offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, cover the relief agency’s costs of doing business. The United Methodist Publishing House offers “Be Hope,” a new, four-week study in preparation for One Great Hour of Sharing. $6.29-10. To order.

Deadline to register for the 2014 United Methodist Women Assembly, Tuesday, April 1April 25-27, Louisville, Ky. Details.

Sojourn/ing Women, Bold Voices Then + Now conference, Friday-Saturday, April 4-5 — Scarritt-Bennett Center, Nashville, Tenn. Prices vary. Details.

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






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