Skip Navigation

Weekly Digest - January 9, 2015


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Jan. 5-9. 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

Bishop Job, author of `Three Simple Rules,’ dead at 86
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (UMNS) — Retired Bishop Rueben P. Job died at his home surrounded by family on Jan. 3. He leaves a legacy of more than 20 books, including “Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living.” Kathy L. Gilbert shares this remembrance.

Read remembrance and post a comment

Bishop Sticher, German United Methodist leader, dead at 87
FRANKFURT (UMNS) — Retired Bishop Hermann L. Sticher led United Methodists in Germany at a time when western European culture was growing ever more secular. But he never lost faith in the capacity of the church to make more disciples. He died Dec. 19 of cancer. A commemoration service is planned for Jan. 8. Klaus Ulrich Ruof shares a remembrance.

Read story and post a comment

Complaint against Bishop Talbert resolved
DENVER (UMNS) — A resolution has been reached in the complaint against retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, who blessed the union of two men in 2013, in violation of church law. The parties involved in the case have agreed to what church law calls a just resolution, and the result is that Talbert will not face a trial or lose his status as bishop. Heather Hahn reports.

Read story and post a comment

114th Congress has 43 United Methodists
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Who are the United Methodists in the U.S. House and Senate? As the 114th Congress convenes today, meet fellow church members who serve in the nation’s legislative branch. Albert J. Menendez reports.

Read story and post a comment

Church publishing team produces Ebola booklets
PAYNESVILLE, Liberia (UMNS) — Even as Ebola cases slow, The United Methodist Church in Liberia is distributing booklets to provide tips for responding to future outbreaks of the disease. Julu Swen reports.

Read story and post a comment

Sri Lanka: A decade of UMCOR service
NEW YORK (UMNS) — The United Methodist Committee on Relief is wrapping up a decade-long operation in Sri Lanka, which began after the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred on Dec. 26, 2004, and expanded to assist families displaced by armed ethnic conflict . David Tereshchuk reports for UMCOR.

Read story

Read UMNS tsunami 10th anniversary story

East Congo hopes to improve communications
KINDU, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — United Methodist Bishop Gabriel Unda, East Congo Episcopal Area, is working on improvements to the area’s communications department, including a partnership network with local radio stations. The Rev. Antoine Otoka reports in New World Outlook Magazine.

Read report

Too busy to pray? Make more time this year
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — If you have resolved to spend more time in prayer in 2015, but are concerned about squeezing it into your already crowded calendar, here is advice from United Methodist pastors and church leaders for making time to talk with God. Joe Iovino reports.

Read story and post a comment

Lady Gaga has ‘applause’ for church musician
LANCASTER, Pa. (UMNS) — Pop star Lady Gaga recently visited Grandview United Methodist Church on Dec. 28. She had high praise and advice for church musician Liz Fulmer, who performed her original Christmas song, “He is Coming.” has the story, which includes the song.

Read story and post a comment

WCC condemns Paris slayings
GENEVA (UMNS) — The acting top executive of the World Council of Churches, Georges Lemopoulos, called the Jan. 7 shooting deaths of 12 people in an attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo “an attack on human life, human dignity and the human rights of all.”

Read statement

Ecumenical partners brought healing after ‘hell on earth’
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — On the 36th anniversary of the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Larry Hollon recalls visiting Cambodia’s killing fields as a documentary producer. In his blog, he also notes the impact of ecumenical partners in bringing healing.

Read the blog and post a comment

Former head of United Methodist Communications passes away
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Curtis Allen Chambers, former top executive of United Methodist Communications, died Jan. 3 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was 90. Barbara Dunlap-Berg reports.

Read story and post comment

Pastor: Gospel of Mark the work of `literary artist'
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — The Gospel of Mark is the Rev. Talbot Davis' favorite of the four New Testament accounts of Jesus' life. In a blog post, he credits it with having a special combination of theological depth and literary excellence.

Read commentary

Q&A: A United Methodist network of faith in Europe
FRANKFURT, Germany (UMNS) — United Methodists in central and southern Europe span 16 countries and cultures but work together as one central conference. Volker Kiemle of The United Methodist Church in Germany spoke with Bishop Patrick Streiff about the conference’s characteristics and challenges. To read the story in English, use your web browser’s translate button.

Read Q&A

Movie ‘Selma’ sparks reflections on church, racism
ASBURY PARK, N.J. (UMNS) — Seeing the movie “Selma” with his family and an interracial group of viewers at a theater in Harlem brought back personal memories of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march for the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell. Caldwell reflects on that experience and how the film offers faithful United Methodists a chance to consider what the church can learn from the film and its own history.

Read commentary and post comment

Dreamers now eligible for United Methodist college loans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Dreamers — young adults who were unauthorized immigrants brought into the United States as children — are now eligible for United Methodist loans for higher education. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is accepting loan applications until May 5 for spring and summer enrollment.

Read story

Holston pastors get fit, gain community
ALCOA, Tenn. (UMNS) — A handful of Holston Conference pastors got a head start on the frequent New Year’s resolution to exercise — they started new workouts several months ago. Now they are boasting biceps that look more at home on a cinema poster than in the pulpit. Annette Spence has the story.

Read story

Chuck Knows Church launches new show Jan. 12
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — “Chuck Knows Church,” an online video series by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, is expanding to a new series. This time, Chuck is on “The Committee” working to save the congregation. In the series, debuting Jan. 12, the fictitious Park Grove Community Church has lost its way, lost its pastor and is closing its doors ... unless, despite itself, it finds a new way of doing church with the help of Chuck. The original Chuck Knows Church series also will continue.

Read press release

Visit Chuck Knows Church

The best way to follow breaking United Methodist news
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — If you want to follow the most recent breaking news in the United Methodist connection, like us on the UMNS Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

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.

Tuesday, Jan. 13
Free webinar "Church Council" — 6:30 p.m. CST. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries shares the resources available for building and overseeing a comprehensive plan for church councils and leadership teams, including those that opt for a single board leadership model. Details.

Thursday, Jan. 15
Free webinar "SPRC Overview of a Year of Leadership" — 6:30 p.m. CST. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers suggestions for staff-parish relations committees to create a healthy work place for staff so that ministry is effective. Details.

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