Skip Navigation

Weekly Digest - November 20, 2015


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Nov. 16–Nov. 20. 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

Shock, solidarity after Paris attacks

NEW YORK (UMNS) — United Methodists and other religious leaders are expressing shock over the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and feelings of solidarity with the French people. They also caution against condemnations of Muslims or a dangerous escalation of military action. Equally disturbing attacks are occurring elsewhere, including Beirut, Lebanon. Linda Bloom has the story.
Read story and post a comment

Speaking out for Syrian refugees

DALLAS (UMNS) — Some United Methodists are protesting calls by U.S. governors to close borders to Syrian refugees after the Paris terrorist attacks. Bishop Gary Mueller of the Arkansas Conference agreed with the need for stepped-up security, but said “it solves nothing to categorically exclude a group of people whose lives have been torn apart.” Sam Hodges reports.
Read story and post a comment
Austrian Protestants aid refugees
‘Welcome the stranger’

Seeking refuge across the sea

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Photojournalist Paul Jeffrey has heard stories from refugees making their way through Europe in recent months, but the United Methodist missionary wanted to see where many started that arduous journey. So he went to Greece, where a record number arrived by sea in October. Linda Bloom has the story.
Read story and post a comment

Pastor elected mayor calls on dad for help

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (UMNS) — The Rev. Mark Holland knew he would need help to remain a senior pastor after getting elected mayor of Kansas City, Kansas. So he turned to his father, the Rev. Ron Holland, to become his associate at Trinity Community Church. Mark preaches at the United Methodist church while Ron handles administration and pastoral care. Sam Hodges reports.
Read story and post a comment

After Ebola, doctor’s dedication recalled

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — One year ago, Dr. Martin Salia, chief medical officer and the only surgeon at United Methodist Kissy Hospital, died of Ebola. The hospital staff remembers a doctor committed to serving the poor as they struggle to fulfill his dreams. Jan Snider reports.
View video
Read about the church's response to Ebola

Church leaders decry violence against Lumads

PARAÑAQUE, Philippines (UMNS) — United Methodist leaders in the Philippines decried violence against indigenous people during Lumad Solidarity Day. The Lumads are indigenous people of the southern Philippines. For the past several months, they have been the victims of genocide and human rights violations, caught in the middle of combat between government soldiers and paramilitary rebels. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.
Read story and post a comment

Sierra Leone project aims to educate, create entrepreneurs

TAIAMA, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Operation Classroom and United Methodists in Sierra Leone are collaborating on a school that will provide hands-on career training with the goal of creating entrepreneurs. Phileas Jusu reports.
Read story and post a comment

Commentary: New direction for Operation Classroom

VALPARAISO, Ind. (UMNS) — Operation Classroom, long committed to improving education in Sierra Leone and Liberia, is taking a new direction. President and CEO Bob Coolman writes about why changes are being made and what those changes mean.
Read story and post a comment

Eastern Pennsylvania completes revote

MACUNGIE, Pa. (UMNS) — More than 500 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference members took care of unfinished business on Nov. 14 at Bethany United Methodist Church. They approved a 2016 budget and elected delegates to the 2016 General and Northeastern Jurisdictional conferences. The original election at the annual conference this past May was invalidated because of errors discovered later.
Read story
Read updated 2015 annual conference report

Lawsuit against Chapel dismissed

MOUNDS CITY, Ill. (UMNS) — A Pulaski County Circuit Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference against a breakaway congregation that declared its independence in March, but the judge left open the possibility of the conference refiling its suit after “connecting the dots” in a case involving the denomination’s trust clause. Paul Black reports for the conference.
Read story

Church comforts Pauley Perrette after attack

LOS ANGELES (UMNS) — Pauley Perrette, the “NCIS” star, attended worship at her home congregation just days after being attacked by a homeless man. Jackie Willis of ET reports on the service at Hollywood United Methodist Church. “Even though this man was punching her and threatening her life, Pauley prayed for her safety and for him,” the Rev. Kathy Cooper Ledesma told the congregation.
Read story

PLANting seeds of hope

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Francisco Cañas, a native of El Salvador, came to the United States more than three decades ago because of political conflicts in his country. Active in various ministries dedicated to serving the Hispanic-Latino communities and immigrant population in California, he helped initiate United Methodism’s National Plan for Hispanic-Latino Ministry. Gustavo Vasquez interviewed him about his work.
Read story and post a comment

Imagine No Malaria at 90 percent of goal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (UMNS) — The three Pennsylvania bishops of The United Methodist Church announced that the denomination has surpassed 90 percent of its $75 million goal for Imagine No Malaria. Bishop Jeremiah Park of the Harrisburg Episcopal Area announced that he, in partnership with his conference, has pledged $1 million, the gift that pushes the global campaign to the fundraising milestone.
Read story
Visit Imagine No Malaria website

Kalas, former Asbury president, dies at 92

WILMORE, Ky. (UMNS) — The Rev. J. Ellsworth Kalas, former president of Asbury Theological Seminary, has died at age 92. Kalas also taught homiletics at the school, and was a longtime pastor and prolific author, writing 13 adult study quarterlies for United Methodist Publishing House as well as books.
Read press release

Concern over Middle East

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Both the U.S. National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches are expressing concern over recent Middle East violence and acts of terrorism. “We call upon religious communities to build upon their historic legacies of inter-religious relationships, dialogue and action. When all these are in sight, we can envision peace,” says the NCC’s governing board.
See NCC statement
See WCC statement

1 woman, 2 hurricanes equals United Methodist love

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (UMNS) — Claudia Waller knows all about hurricanes and the floods that come with them. After experiencing both Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Superstorm Sandy in Atlantic City, she also knows how much United Methodists care. Jeff Wolfe reports for the Greater New Jersey Conference.
Read story

600 hundred children, youth to attend Methodist assembly

SWINDON, England (UMNS) — Nearly 600 children and young people ages 8-23 will get the chance to have their say on important issues including the conflict in the Middle East, immigration and climate change. They will participate in the Methodist Children’s and Youth Assembly, 3Generate. The annual event includes workshops, activities, worship and more.
Read press release

19th-century journal found at Adrian College

ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) — In a nondescript cardboard box of miscellaneous items at Adrian College, someone found a journal dated 1839. The journal, which began in 1839 and ended in 1841, contained the writings of the Rev. David Stedman Ingraham, a student of Asa Mahan’s. Mahan helped found Adrian College. Both he and Ingraham were active in the abolitionist movement. Included in the journal were a description and a drawing of a slave ship Ingraham had inspected at Port Royal, Jamaica. David Frownfelder has the story for the Daily Telegram.
Read story

Stay connected to General Conference 2016 with new app

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A redesigned 2016 General Conference app is now available. A helpful way to stay connected and learn more about all aspects of the conference, the app will feature news, photo and social media feeds, video and audio archives, live-streaming of worship and plenary, the Daily Christian Advocate and petition tracking.
Read press release

Candler professor focuses on spirit, body

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Luke Timothy Johnson, R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, believes theology needs to go in a new direction. And he’s doing his part through his new book “The Revelatory Body: Theology as Inductive Art.” In it, he explores the body as an expression of spirit.
Read press release

Garrett-Evangelical issues strategic plan

EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) — Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a United Methodist school, has issued its strategic plan for 2016-21. “These are exciting and challenging times that are truly historic in terms of the innovation necessary to respond to the shifting needs of the church and the world,” said President Lallene J. Rector.
Read plan

Church hosts funeral for veteran with no family

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 1,000 people packed into the Lawrence United Methodist Church to honor a man no one knew but to whom everyone felt a connection. The church hosted the funeral service for Billy Aldridge, a U.S. Marine veteran with no known living family., the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, reports.
Read story

Pilgrimage focuses on Wesleyan disciple-making

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist lay and clergy leaders can participate in the 2016 Wesley Pilgrimage to England, which will focus on how John and Charles Wesley made disciples of Jesus Christ. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and the Board of Higher Education and Ministry will co-sponsor the 10-day pilgrimage, July 11-21, 2016.
Read press release

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.

Sunday, Nov. 29
United Methodist Student Day — Offering during this Special Sunday provides scholarships for United Methodist young people to attend a college or university. Resources for Student Day.

Monday, Nov. 30
Early-bird deadline for the Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, Oregon — At the Wednesday-Friday, Jan. 20-22 briefing at the Oregon Convention Center, delegates and church communicators will learn what's new and different at the 2016 General Conference. General Conference is May 10-20, 2016, in Portland. The briefing is designed for up to four members of each annual conference's delegation, including the first-elected lay and clergy delegates. The early-bird registration rate is $199. Details.

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