Weekly Digest - July 24, 2015
UMNS Weekly Digest
July 24, 2015
NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 20-July 24. 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 umc.org/news.
Duke dean stepping down Aug. 1
DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - The Rev. Richard B. Hays will leave his post as dean of Duke
Divinity School on Aug. 1 to begin treatment for pancreatic cancer. Hays had planned to
step down at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. He has been dean since 2010,
and has taught New Testament at the United Methodist seminary for 24 years. Ellen
Davis, a professor of Bible and practical theology at Duke Divinity, will serve as
Read news release
United Methodist uses peace skills as D.C. intern
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Erika Yun does not know exactly what the rest of her
post-collegiate life will hold. She does know she has the chance of a lifetime this
summer. A member of Grace Korean United Methodist Church in Westwood, New Jersey, she
is one of 10 participants in the Ethnic Minority Young Adult Internship Program,
organized by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Jeff Wolfe of the
Greater New Jersey Conference reports on her experiences.
Hearing female preacher, pastor finds calling
CLEVELAND, Miss. (UMNS) - The Rev. Darian Duckworth’s earliest memory of
seeing a woman in a pulpit was watching Lisa Osteen, daughter of Lakewood Church
founder John Osteen. Lisa Osteen inspired Duckworth to preach to her stuffed animals
and eventually discern a calling to ordained United Methodist ministry. Duckworth
shares the story of how the televised ministry helped her in unexpected ways.
Ecumenical training for Middle East Christians
BEIRUT, Lebanon (WCC) - A new initiative, “Ecumenical Institute for the Middle
East,” is “promising and inspiring” in its attempt to train young
Christians in ecumenical thought and history, says the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, top
executive of the World Council of Churches. Some 40 students participating in the
World Student Christian Federation program this year come from Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan,
Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Iraq, representing diverse Christian traditions and
Chuck Knows Church: Ark of the Covenant
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Bible describes it and, as movie fans know, Indiana
Jones hunted for it. But what really made the Ark of the Covenant so important? This
episode of “Chuck Knows Church,” produced by United Methodist Discipleship
Ministries, explains. No snakes were used in the making of this video.
Follow action at annual conferences
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - New reports this week from conference gatherings include
California-Pacific, West Ohio and Wisconsin. United Methodist News Service is posting
Bishop leads peace trip to Japan, 70 years after bombings
NEW YORK (UMNS) — In early August, United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson
will lead a World Council of Churches delegation to Japan for 70th anniversary
commemorations of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War
II. Group members also plan to encourage their governments to ban nuclear weapons.
Linda Bloom reports.
Read story and post a comment
United Methodists respond to Chattanooga attack
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UMNS) – Hixson United Methodist Church was in charge of
funeral services July 24 for Sgt. David Wyatt, one of the Marines killed in the attack
on the Navy and Marine operations center. Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor, whose area
includes Chattanooga, released a statement in the wake of the tragedy, as did the
conference's Muslim Outreach Team.
Read funeral details
Read bishop’s statement
Read Muslim Outreach Team statement
Gay pastor’s removal brings sadness, defiance
CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (UMNS) — The Rev. Benjamin David Hutchison, an African
Methodist Episcopal pastor, was forced to resign last week from his supportive United
Methodist congregation after his district superintendent received a complaint that
Hutchison was openly gay and in a relationship. Hutchison later married his longtime
partner, with nearly 30 United Methodist pastors in attendance. Nine of those pastors
are now facing a complaint for officiating at the wedding in defiance of church law,
said one of the pastors facing a complaint. Heather Hahn reports.
Read story and post a comment
Annual meetings stir human sexuality debates
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists talked of many things at their
annual regional meetings but some of the most passionate discussions revolved around
what Scripture and the denomination’s lawbook say about human sexuality. The
conferences are preparing legislation they will take to the 2016 General Conference.
Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
Read story and post a comment
Pastor gets 90-day suspension for gay wedding
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Pam Hawkins, associate pastor at
Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, is under a 90-day suspension after
officiating at the same-sex wedding of two Belmont members in March. The complaint
against Hawkins reached a resolution on July 16. Officiating at a same-sex union is a
chargeable offense under the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book.
Belmont offers a statement and details on the resolution.
Book urges stronger unity, faith ties
NAIROBI, Kenya (UMNS) — The Rev. Donald E. Messer has a message that will
resonate with fans of the Rev. Al Green: “Let’s stay together.” He
has edited a book, “Celebrating God’s Love,” that includes essays by
bishops and other United Methodists arguing why the denomination should stay united
despite debates over human sexuality and should also bolster its dialogue with other
faith groups. Messer, traveling in Kenya, spoke to UMNS's Heather Hahn about the new
Read Q&A and post a comment
Bishop presents book to Pope Francis
Nichols answered call against odds
NITRO, W.Va. (UMNS) – The Rev. Shelly Nichols, who answered the call she felt
to be a United Methodist pastor even as she battled colon cancer, died at home on July
9, at age 53. Nichols was featured in a United Methodist News Service story earlier
Read earlier story
Filipino ‘ham’ radio operators train for disasters
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church is training
clergy and laity disaster management teams on the use of amateur, or “ham”
radios, as a vital communications tool during typhoons and landslides when the country
experiences power outages. Gladys P. Mangiduyos has the story.
Read story and post a comment
Slideshow 2: 2015 Annual Conferences
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Each year, clergy and lay members attend their
conference's session for worship, fellowship and to conduct business. Kathleen Barry,
with help from conference volunteers, assembled a slideshow with highlights from many
of the 2015 meetings around the global United Methodist Church. This is the second of
Agency calls for response to police custody death
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society issued a
statement July 21 calling for a public response to questions about the death of Sandra
Bland while in police custody in Waller County, Texas. Bland was a member of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Read press release
Filipino bishop testifies at U.S. Congressional hearing
WASHINGTON — United Methodist Bishop Solito Toquero, former resident bishop of
the Manila Episcopal Area, told a U.S. Congressional hearing that his daughter-in-law
was harassed by the Philippine security forces for supporting workers’ rights and
a national minimum wage. Jon Melegrito reports for the Inquirer.net.
UMCOR assists families caught in Afghan conflict
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Armed conflict between national security forces and Taliban
combatants in Afghanistan has displaced or trapped more than 20,000 families in the
Kunduz province, where the hardship was compounded by recent severe flooding. The
United Methodist Committee on Relief is partnering with Community World Service to
provide emergency food supplies to 365 of these families, a total of 2,555
Give to UMCOR International Disaster Response
Claflin University receives top honors
HAMPTON, Va. (UMNS) — United Methodist-related Claflin University was named
the 2015 HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) of the Year at the annual
AARP HBCU Awards presented by Hampton University, taking awards for best college and
best alumni association. Claflin and other colleges in South Carolina were lauded for
standing with their communities in the hours following the historic removal of the
Gathering to look at future of worship
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – “Fusion: The Future of Worship in the
UMC” is scheduled Feb. 4-6, 2016, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to bring
together practitioners from vital congregations and recognized expert professors to
delve into current worlds of worship resources and leadership in the areas of music,
worship planning and design, preaching and sacraments. The $149 registration fee will
be discounted to $129 for anyone who registers by Dec. 1. Registration for seminary and
course of study students is $89.
Read press release
12-year-old’s faith helps homeless
MANTUA TOWNSHIP, N.J. (UMNS) — Savanna Schaekel didn’t mind sharing her
soccer ball with a homeless child. What she did mind was seeing that the child had no
other toys to play with. Jeff Wolfe of the Greater New Jersey Conference reports how
Schaekel is helping children in the Family Promise Network.
Advice to help stop church vandalism
PADUCAH, Ky. — Recent church vandalisms in three counties has church
leaders unsettled. The Rev. Sky McCracken of The United Methodist Church’s
Purchase District met with church members recently to offer tips to help keep
facilities safe. WPSD Local6 reports.
Fargo church has mother-daughter pastors
FARGO, N.D. — As church leaders developed the job description for the pastor
of discipleship position at Fargo's First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Marilyn
Spurrell, senior pastor, knew she had a match. But how would church leadership respond?
Meredith Holt reports for the Jamestown Sun.
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put Digest in the subject line.
Friday, July 31
Deadline to apply for Ethnic In-Service Training grants — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is accepting grant applications to fund programs that recruit, train and retain racial-ethnic United Methodists for leadership positions. Details
Sunday, Aug. 2- Sunday, Aug. 9
'We Are All Ferguson' conference — Wellspring Church, a United Methodist congregation in Ferguson, Missouri, will bring together community and business leaders to address the racial and economic issues that became widely known in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown. The Revs. F. Willis Johnson Jr. of Wellspring and Steve Lawler of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church are organizers of the event. Details