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Weekly Digest - May 30, 2014


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for May 26 - 30. 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

News around the connection
Bishop Clark, theologian, relief leader, dies at 93
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Retired Bishop Roy Clyde Clark, who nurtured United Methodist ministry globally and vital congregations locally, died May 27 in Nashville. He was 93. As an active bishop, he led the Columbia (S.C.) Area, served as a director of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and was president of the denomination’s relief agency. In retirement, he helped develop the denomination’s commitment to church vitality.

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Same-gender debate rekindles schism talk
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – The latest talk of “an amicable split” along progressive and conservative lines is not something new for The United Methodist Church. The denomination has a long history of disagreements. Still, much has been happening related to church unity and the struggle over church teaching on homosexuality. Here is a survey of recent developments.

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Bishops seek to help church ‘find way’ in homosexuality debate
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Eight United Methodist bishops from across the theological spectrum recently released a book on the homosexuality debate. The book from the United Methodist Publishing House’s Abingdon Press, “Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church,” seeks to provide “more clarity about the challenges and choices facing us,” the book’s editors say.

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Churchgoers protest electric chair’s return
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – United Methodists and other Christians gathered at the Tennessee capitol to protest the death penalty generally and ask state leaders to reconsider a new law that allows electrocution when lethal injection is unavailable. A drug shortage for lethal injection is affecting jurisdictions across the United States.

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People in pews, big donors net millions to fight malaria
DONNELLSON, Iowa (UMNS) – As the Imagine No Malaria campaign enters its home stretch, United Methodists can look with satisfaction at $60 million already raised in gifts and pledges, and can have confidence in surpassing the $75 million goal by the end of 2015. Most of the money raised has been from grassroots efforts, but now gifts of $1 million are coming in.

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Germans contribute $185,000 to Imagine No Malaria
SCHWARZENBERG, Germany (UMNS) – Frank Aichele, mission secretary of the United Methodist Church in Germany, recently presented Pittsburgh Area Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton with a check for $185,000 in support of the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria campaign.

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University and seminary news
Methodists urge peacemaking through education
HIROSHIMA, Japan (UMNS) – Against a backdrop of gleaming, 21st-century buildings, Methodist scholars from around the globe are recalling the world’s first atomic bombing, which decimated Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and sharing ways to prevent the tragedy of war.

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Educating a new generation of peacemakers
HIROSHIMA, Japan (UMNS) – About 70 college students from around the world are here this week to discuss topics of peace, reconciliation and human rights. 

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News around conferences
Church extends reach with Church and Society grant
FLORIDA CITY, Fla. (UMNS) – Branches United Methodist Church, a congregation known for outreach, survived a literal trial by fire and keeps on growing. The congregation is among 14 ministries in the U.S. and abroad to receive a Peace with Justice grant from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Susan Green of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference has the story.

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Learn more about Peace with Justice Sunday

Upper New York churches help vets
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (UMNS) – The 77 congregations in the Crossroads District of the Upper New York Annual (regional) Conference are more than halfway to purchasing a new van that will help veterans in central New York get to medical appointments. The effort is getting a big boost from United Methodist Men. Beth DiCocco of the Upper New York Conference has the story.

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Vietnam ripe for progress on human rights, says professor
RICHMOND, Va. (UMNS) – Vietnam is ripe for progress in the area of human rights, a United Methodist missionary told seminary students Thursday, May 22. Quynh-Hoa Nguyen, a missionary with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and professor at Wesley Theological College in Ho Chi Minh City, described the challenges and hopes of Protestant churches still on the margins of Vietnamese society. Neill Caldwell of the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference reports.

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Methodism growing in Cambodia
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (UMNS) – Representatives from around the world gathered May 1-3 to talk about the growing Methodist mission in Cambodia. The United Methodist Church is one of five denominations working in the Southeast Asian nation, which is still recovering from the 1977-79 genocide. Neill Caldwell of the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference has the story.

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UMTV: Veteran dedicated to vets
LANCASTER, Pa. (UMNS) – Lou Riedlinger served the United States in World War II and again during the Korean War. Riedlinger thinks about those currently serving on the front lines every day and he enlisted the help of his United Methodist church to make sure that others also recognize their sacrifice.

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Resources for churches
Grants available for creative older adult ministries
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Local churches with ideas for creative ministries involving older adults can apply for a limited number of special Aging in Poverty Ministry grants from the United Methodist Committee on Older Adult Ministries. The grants are from the committee and the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. The deadline to apply is Aug. 18.

To learn more and apply

Eight summer retreat ideas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Did you know Methodists in the 1870s started the first Chautauqua gatherings for spiritual learning? Holding a Chautauqua-like weekend is just one of the ways United Methodists can have a spiritually renewing summer, suggests Patricia Bates, writing for United Methodist Communications.

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Lake Junaluska youth events work with Stop Hunger Now
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) – Lake Junaluska summer youth events’ adopted theme, “One Bread, One Body,” has led to a partnership with Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency active for more than 15 years. The theme is based on Romans 12:5 and means being the body of Christ in the world through service, worship and community, which includes feeding the hungry.

Learn about the events

Wesleyan conference to reconnect leaders with baptismal living
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Lay and clergy leaders will explore baptismal living and disciple-making in the Wesleyan tradition through prayer, Scripture, worship and interactive experiences at the 2014 Wesleyan Leadership Conference Oct. 23-25 at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville.

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History of Hymns: ‘Weary of All Trumpeting’
DALLAS (UMNS) – It is likely that many readers have never had the opportunity to sing “Weary of All Trumpeting.” The musical setting may require extra effort to learn, but this hymn rings authentically in a post-9/11 world, writes C. Michael Hawn, distinguished professor of church music and director at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship shares his column each week.

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Korean UMC website launched
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – The United Methodist Church has a new website highlighting Korean ministries and resources. went live this week as the portal for Korean-language resources and content in the church. Designed by United Methodist Communications, it will aggregate resources from around the denomination and provide original content.

News of interest
Maya Angelou, celebrated author and poet, dies at 86
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UMNS) – Maya Angelou, 86, died May 28 at her home in Winston-Salem. The award-winning author of autobiographies, essays, and poetry was a familiar face to many United Methodists. She was a strong supporter of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco where she  visited in 2012. The year before, she delivered a  lecture at St Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston. She also was an emerita trustee of United Methodist-related Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. Many will remember her reading a poem at President Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.

The New York Times has the article

Ask him anything about Godzilla
CONWAY, Ark. (UMNS) – The incoming president of United Methodist-related Hendrix College happens to be an authority on Godzilla, as well as an economic policy expert. William Tsutsui comes to Hendrix from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he's been dean of the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. KERA in Dallas has the story.

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Foundation to study effectiveness of confirmation programs
PRINCETON, N.J. (UMNS) – The Lilly Endowment will be studying confirmation and equivalent practices in the United Methodist Church and four additional denominations. Housed at Princeton Theological Seminary, the study will examine how effective these youth programs are in strengthening discipleship. Other denominations to be studied are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Visit website

Blogs and commentaries
Take time to laugh, pastor suggests
MACON, Ga. (UMNS) – After watching Jimmy Fallon for two weeks on the Tonight Show, the Rev. Ben Gosden, associate pastor of Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon, suggests United Methodists should set disagreements aside and find time to “laugh, be silly and love.”

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Millennial generation
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – Asa J. Lee, of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, gives an overview of recent Pew research about today’s young adults and what it means for churches.
This item corrects an incorrect link in the May 23 Weekly Digest.

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.

African American Summit, Tuesday-Wednesday, June 3-4 — Retired United Methodist Bishop Ernest S. Lyght will be the guest speaker for this Peninsula-Delaware Conference event at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 11868 Academic Oval, Princess Anne, Md. $25. Call the Rev. Sheila Hunley at 410-810-4612. Details.

Deadline for Distinguished Evangelist nominations, Wednesday, June 4 — The Foundation for Evangelism is seeking nominations for the 2014 Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church Award. To nominate someone.

Stop Human Trafficking of Children, Friday, June 6 — An interdisciplinary training for practitioners and students in nursing, medicine, social work, law, business, law enforcement, and those who serve youth will be held at The Lunda Center, Western Technical College, in La Crosse, Wis. Details from Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference.

Pentecost, Sunday, June 8 — Throw the church a Spirit-filled birthday party with resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Day 1, Sunday, June 8 and Sunday, June 15 — The Rev.Charles Reeb, senior pastor of Pasadena Community Church (United Methodist) will be the featured speaker on Pentecost and Trinity Sunday on the nationally syndicated radio program “Day 1.” To listen.

Free webinar “Children’s Ministry: Preparing Children for Kindergarten and Other Milestones,” Monday, June 9 — 10 a.m. CT. Looks at ways that the church can support and celebrate children as they embark on new stages in their lives. Details.

Free webinar “Key Responsibilities for an Effective Camp and Retreat Ministry Board,” Wednesday, June 11 — 3 p.m. CT. Looks at specific aspects of the board’s work that must be done effectively to ensure a strong future for the mission and ministry.  Details.

Free webinar “Sunday School Curriculum Review,” Thursday, June 12 — 7-8 p.m. ET, A discussion of the different types of curriculum available and factors to consider in selection, led by Debbie Kolacki, a certified Christian educator and United Methodist lay servant. Details.

Lake Junaluska Summer Youth Events, June 12 - July 20 — Lake Junaluska Youth Events will focus on being the Body of Christ through service, worship, and community, with afternoons free for groups to customize their trip and explore the mountains of North Carolina. Leadership includes Shane Claiborne, Duffy Robbins, Andy Lambert, and more. Register at

Peace with Justice Sunday, June 15 — The offering taken during Peace with Justice Sunday will allow The United Methodist Church to advocate through a broad spectrum of global programs. Details and resources.

Deadline to register for online course United Methodism 101, Monday, June 15 — Course offered June 18-July 30. Course from United Methodist Communications gives overview of church history, structure, beliefs, ministries and challenges. $9.99. Details.

“Fierce With Age: Aging as a Spiritual Path,” retreat, Monday through Wednesday, June 23 – 25 — Carol Osborn, bestselling author of “Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn” will lead retreat at Scarritt-Bennett. Costs range from $152 to $272 depending on whether guests stay overnight. Details.

Prepare: A Training for New Leaders, Monday-Tuesday, June 23-24 & Summer Institute, Tuesday to Friday, June 24-27 — Both events at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta aim to address that need by training, equipping, and building a network for new, seasoned, or prospective United Methodist collegiate ministers. Combined cost of events is $100. Details.

Deadline to apply for CORR Action Fund grants, Monday, June 30 — The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will award grants of $20,000 to $80,000 to “innovative, bold, high-impact initiatives” that will increase intercultural competency or support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity and systemic equity. Details.

Free webinar “Finding Treasure: The Story of our Newest Stewardship Resource,” Thursday, July 10 — 6:30 p.m. CT. Jacob Armstrong, pastor and church planter, will share how he helped his congregation discover that “where our treasure goes, our hearts will follow.”  Details.