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Weekly Digest - May 29, 2015


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for May 26-29. 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

Plan calls for global funding of general church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — For the first time, United Methodist churches around the world would have a set formula to support financially the denomination’s global ministries, under a plan going before the 2016 General Conference. Heather Hahn reports.
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United Methodist man identified as flood victim

DALLAS (UMNS) — Authorities have recovered and identified the body of Larry Thomas, who was washed away in the floods that hit Wimberley, Texas. Thomas was an active member of Wimberley United Methodist Church. Sam Hodges reports.
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Agency urges withholding funds from East Africa

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s finance agency has agreed to repay Bishop Daniel Wandabula’s salary as ordered by the denomination’s top court. But the agency’s board urged congregations and other denominational bodies to continue withholding funds from the East Africa Conference until it can ensure accountability. Heather Hahn reports.
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Finding ways to build peace

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — When Meagan Gaddis wrote a thank you letter to the United Methodist Board of Church and Society for its support of Exodus House, a ministry of the Oklahoma Conference, the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe was reminded that “welcoming Meagan and her family into a new way of being out of incarceration is one critical way that we are building peace in this world.” Peace with Justice Sunday is May 31.
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Peace with Justice grant supports interfaith efforts
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Serving a forgotten community

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Will Shewey was so determined to begin a storefront ministry for forgotten people that he was willing to resign as a United Methodist pastor to make it happen. Instead, he got the support of the Holston Conference to start Shades of Grace. Less than a year after its first service, the church has its own location, offering a complex ministry every day of the week for an inner-city community. Average worship attendance is 160, with a high of 310. Annette Spence reports.
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British church issues full apology to abuse survivors

LONDON (UMNS) — The Methodist Church in Britain apologized for failing to protect children, young people and adults from physical and sexual abuse by some ministers and Methodists. The apology came after a review of past safeguarding cases related to the church from 1950-2014.
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Yemba keynotes DRC peace conference in Geneva

GENEVA (WCC) — United Methodist Bishop David Yemba was the keynote speaker May 27 during a three-day conference on peace and security in the Democratic Republic of Congo, convened by the World Council of Churches. Yemba sketched the mountainous threats and challenges within the country, especially the deep insecurity brought on by resource pillaging, corruption in business and the public sector, and the ensuing poverty. “Where is the church in all this?” he asked.
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Summer retreats offer healing to migrant children

NEW YORK (UMNS) — At least 50 migrant children will gain lifetime memories and a new sense of hope this summer as the California-Pacific Conference — with support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief and other partners — organizes weeklong retreats for them. Susan Kim reports for UMCOR.
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Candler, UGA offer dual degree

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary, is partnering with the University of Georgia to offer a dual master’s in divinity and social work. “The cross-training at UGA and Emory will create a new, more effective brand of caregiver,” said Ian A. McFarland, Stokes Professor of Theology and associate dean at Candler.
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Yamada returns as interim Higher Education leader

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Ken Yamada will serve as an interim staff executive for the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Division of Higher Education beginning June 22. He previously worked at the agency from 1979 to 2011.
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UK Wesley-related sites get Heritage Lottery grants

LONDON (UMNS) — Two British Methodist sites — the New Room in Bristol, known as John Wesley's chapel, and Wesley’s Chapel and the Museum of Methodism in London — have been awarded grants of about 2.6 million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The New Room received 2.5 million pounds (U.S. $3.85 million) to update existing facilities. The Museum of Methodism will use its grant of up to 98,300 pounds (U.S. $151,456) for a “World Parish” exhibition display case telling the story of the global spread of Methodism.
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Feeling the joyful burden of ministry

DALLAS (UMNS) — The Rev. Stephen Rankin, chaplain at Southern Methodist University, reflects on his 40 plus years in ministry, with a focus on the joyful burden of the pastor's life.
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Honoring lost loved ones with unique memorials

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists share innovative ways they channeled their grief by creating personalized memorials. “Meaning matters,” writes Susan Passi-Klaus.
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The struggle to recover from Ebola

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church in West Africa has been on the frontlines of the fight against Ebola since the outbreak began in May 2014. As the deadly virus shows signs of retreating, United Methodist News Service visited Sierra Leone to chronicle the many challenges that lie ahead for the church and the country in overcoming the devastation of the outbreak. Jan Snider’s four-part special report, published May 19-22, includes stories and video.
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History of Hymns: ‘Christ Loves the Church’

DALLAS (UMNS) — In “Christ Loves the Church,” Brian Wren explores the relationship between Jesus and the church. The first stanza reminds all singers that they are covered by and saved through grace. Corrie Hermans, a Master of Sacred Music student at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, writes about this hymn.
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Hudson River churches link by structure, worship

UNION CITY, N.J. (UMNS) — Six United Methodist churches in Hudson River communities are joining in a new structure with two full-time pastors and two local pastors. The goal of the North Hudson Community Development program is to help create new ministries. All four pastors have a Hispanic heritage, said the Rev. Manny Sardinas, Gateway North district superintendent. “The population is about 80 percent Latino and most of the churches are linked to the community around them,” Sardinas said. Jeff Wolfe reports for the Greater New Jersey Conference.
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Commission looks at where women seminarians serve

CHICAGO (UMNS) — The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women looks at who enters seminary, what their vocational goals are and where they are in their first two years of ministry in a new report of Women by the Numbers. The report found that women make up nearly half of all students entering seminary.
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Wesley center celebrates 4 high school graduates

MOBILE, Ala. — Dumas Wesley Community Center honored four Mobile high school seniors who grew up participating and volunteering at the center. The graduates credit the community center, founded in 1903 by United Methodist Women, with setting them on the right path. Kelli Dugan reports for
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Course of Study reaches Central American pastors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Local pastors from across Central America are furthering their education through a Course of Study offered in El Salvador. Sponsors include the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Duke University Divinity School, a United Methodist seminary. Tom Gillem reports.
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History Quiz: Where was the first Wesley Foundation?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Wesley Foundations create a United Methodist presence at universities and colleges. Do you know where the first one was established in 1913?
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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.

Monday, June 1
Deadline to submit nominees for Scarritt Bennett Center's Phenomenal Woman Awards — The awards will honor women, nonprofits and businesses that demonstrate the characteristics of Maya Angelou and the core values of Scarritt Bennett Center. One female high school senior will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Details.

Early-bird deadline to register for SOULfeast — The retreat will be Sunday-Thursday, July 12-16. The Upper Room, part of United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, sponsors a time of worship, prayer, fellowship and study. Costs vary. Details.

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