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Items in Category 2016

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Courtesy photo of the Rev. Keith Boyette.

Commentary: Lawyer on meaning of bishop ruling

Lawyer who argued the request for a declaratory decision on election, consecration and nomination of a gay bishop offers his interpretation of the Judicial Council’s ruling. Read More

Courtesy photo of Richard Marsh, 2017.

Commentary: Attorney on confusion over Oliveto’s status

Attorney for Western Jurisdiction contends Bishop Oliveto’s election, consecration proper under church law. Read More

Courtesy photo of the Rev. Christopher P. Momany.

Commentary: Who ‘counts’ in ministry any more?

As the denomination struggles with declining U.S. membership, a chaplain at a United Methodist-related college wonders who counts in his campus ministry. Read More

Courtesy photo of the Rev. Walter Fenton, United Methodist Communications.

Commentary: Understanding renewal, reform group positions

The Rev. Walter Fenton, an analyst for Good News, writes about what members of renewal and reform groups see as misunderstandings or mischaracterizations of their positions. Read More

Jesus confronts the Roman centurion Severus in this scene from The Young Messiah. © 2016 Focus Features. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Delve deeper into Holy Week with Jesus films

“When Scripture becomes script, the camera adds an almost subliminal depth to God’s story,” writes a pastor whose book describes the impact Jesus films can have on viewers. Read More

Courtesy photo of The Rev. Darryl W. Stephens, United Methodist Communications.

Commentary: Legal challenges to ‘unlawful’ marriages in Methodism

Questions of divorce and remarriage by clergy and members were considered by Methodism’s top court long before same-sex marriage became an issue. Read More

Courtesy photo of the Rev. Mark Nakagawa. United Methodist News Service Featured Blogs and Commentaries.

Commentary: An executive order with memory

Trump’s executive order on immigration brings back memories for Japanese Americans, who this weekend mark the anniversary of a similar moment in history from the last century. Read More

United Methodist Bishop William B. Lewis. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Commentary: Conferences need final say on gay issues

Retired bishop says the annual conference, not General Conference, has the responsibility for addressing moral issues involving clergy. Read More

Tennessee Wesleyan University student Todd Cox shared his thoughts on the attending 2017 U.S. presidential inauguration with United Methodist News Service. Courtesy photo.

Commentary: A student’s viewpoint of the inauguration

Student attending the inauguration was moved by the diversity at the event but troubled by deep divisions of ideology. Read More

Photo of the Rev. Lloyd T. Nyarota by Mike DuBose, United Methodist News Service.

Commentary: Sexuality debate overshadows real issues in Africa

The church in Africa is facing divisions and exclusions that extend well beyond sexuality. Read More

Courtesy photo of Ginny Underwood.

Commentary: The rise of Standing Rock through social media

Thanks to social media, Native American communities have been able to tell their own story. Read More

Photo of the Rev. Marty Toepke-Floyd, courtesy of First United Methodist Church, Redfield, S.D.

Commentary: What’s Essential to Living?

Pastor in area affected by the Dakota Access pipeline weighs the conflict between modern society’s oil needs and humanity’s clean water needs. Read More

Courtesy photo: The Rev. Paul J. Kottke

Commentary: Wesleyan Covenant meeting overlooked important issues

One observer of Wesleyan Covenant Association’s inaugural event excited by call for a church revival, but feels certain concerns must be resolved. Read More

Steven W. Manskar is the director of Wesleyan Leadership at Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of Discipleship Ministries.

Commentary: Wesley’s views on holding right opinions

John Wesley was certainly a fan of orthodoxy, but believed the goal of religion was to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. Read More

Courtesy photo: The Rev. Christopher P. Momany

Commentary: Taking our theology seriously

In an age of division, it’s important to remember that Wesley’s movement embodied a diversity of identities united by a God who died for all. Read More

The Rev. Junius Dotson.

After divisive election, pastors can help heal

United Methodism is a big tent filled with Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and progressives, often within the same local church. Read More

Priscilla Pope-Levison traveled to the Manchester Wesley Research Centre in England for her summer vacation. This 1892 edition of Tongues of Fire was among the journals she studied to gain insight into Britain’s Wesleyan/Holiness movement. Photo courtesy Geordan Hammond

She spent vacation in Wesleyan archives

A scholar went to England and happily immersed herself in documents illuminating role of women in Wesleyan/Holiness movement. Read More

Three family Bibles were found in Stephanie Hope's flooded home in Louisiana. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hope.

Three family Bibles bring a flood of emotion

Stephanie Hope lost her home and all its contents in Louisiana's flood, but her strongest feelings came when she saw her most treasured books. Read More

The emotional cast of Inside Out. Artwork courtesy of Pixar Pictures.

Peace of Mind: Mental Health in the Movies

Sermon series from Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. uses modern movies to explore theological themes around mental and emotional health issues. Read More

Methodism ‘a big tent’ from its beginnings

John Wesley’s movement generally has made space for multiple theological views, writes historian. That history can inform the Commission on a Way Forward. Read More

Image portrays Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles. Courtesy of United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

Susanna Wesley: How one woman shaped the Methodist church

Visit to John Wesley's childhood home gives writer surprising insights into his mother's influence. Read More

When a United Methodist looks at the Bible, how many books are there?

When it feels things are shifting, stand firm with Scripture

As headlines shake us, the Rev. Stephen Bauman says remember “the recurring human discovery that God is. Behind all things lays a fundamental order.” Read More

Scott Gilpin is the Executive Director of Fund Development for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

How to respond to a crisis: Do something!

Scott Gilpin writes about his experiences at the September 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi and his suggestions on how we should respond to crises. Read More

Bishop Mike Coyner. Photo courtesy of the Council of Bishops.

Another Day, Another Shooting

"We must not be apathetic. We must not get used to all of this violence. We must be peace-makers, especially in our faith communities," writes Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner. Read More

Delegate Pierre Kasongo (right) and other members of the Tanganyika delegation vote on legislation while supporters of full rights for LGBTQ persons in the life of The United Methodist Church stand with their mouths taped shut outside the bar of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore., to symbolize the way LGBTQ people feel they are silenced by the church. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

GC2016 commentary: We can’t legislate church

Church can’t be legislated, but a clear mandate for denominational unity would help the next General Conference. Read More

This week the United Methodist Church has tried to model an approach to disagreement that the U.S. political system would do well to emulate. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Americans are more polarized than ever. We United Methodists don’t want to be.

The United Methodist Church has tried to model an approach to disagreement that the U.S. political system would do well to emulate. Read More

Commentary: Overcoming the brink of schism

With the enormous issues and overwhelming debate on each that confronts The United Methodist Church today, General Conference 2016 has managed to do some holy conferencing. Read More

God-led hospitality gesture at GC2016 underscores United Methodist connection

A reservation snafu was the catalyst launching two strangers into a friendship for life. Read More

#Pagelife: Perspective on what it’s like to serve as a GC2016 page

They run notes, deliver coffee and so much more. Here is one woman's perspective on what it's like to be a page at General Conference. Read More

Laity called to live ever-blessing, ever-blessed

General Conference delegate urges people in the pews to go out, connect with people, offer hope, engage the world, make disciples. #UMCGC Read More

The Grammy Award-winning indie folk rock duo Indigo Girls sing about love, faith and social justice during a Reconciling Ministries Network benefit May 13 during General Conference. Photo by Matt Brodie, UMNS.

Indigo Girls call on United Methodists to love, support all people

Calling their concert “one big love-fest,” indie folk rock duo the Indigo Girls headlined a benefit concert on May 13. Read More

Pentecost illustration by Cindy Caldwell

God isn’t done showing up among the people

Only the intrusion of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost will cause us to stop producing new rules and begin practicing the ones we already have received. Read More

Discipleship Ministries staff embark on their daily walk to the Oregon Convention Center.

Walkers challenge us to be difference-makers

When several staff at Discipleship Ministries challenged each other for a “Fitbit” exercise session each day at General Conference, they ended up being challenged to do much more. Read More

A Road to Clarification: Certified lay ministry

Many leaders, including conference lay leaders, are welcoming petitions that reference certified lay ministry in the Book of Discipline. A number of petitions have been submitted with the goal of more clearly defining the concept and requirements for each category of certified lay ministry and clarifying the terminology. Read More

Delegates to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference consider their hopes and dreams for the legislative meeting. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Separate but together: Living as individuals in community

Day 2 of The United Methodist Church 2016 General Conference had moments to acknowledge one's need for individuality in the midst of living within a community. Read More

Opening Worship: We are global and indigenous

While we are a global church, we are a “local” people. Read More

The bishops’ emphasis on prayer is most visible as they offer to pray with people during the breaks in the legislative sessions. Pairs of bishops move to places in the lobby of the Oregon Convention Center just outside the doors of the main meeting room. There they pray with anyone who asks. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

‘A fire shut up in my bones.’ God-given passion at General Conference

Passion is on display on the first day of United Methodist General Conference, and God may be speaking through it all. Read More

A delegate asks:

The Noise of Worship at General Conference

Nearly every day at General Conference, when lay and clergy delegates from all over the world meet to renew and reset our direction as the United Methodist Church, we are treated to magnificent, creative, high quality worship services. We sing, marvel, listen, stand, bow our heads and even applaud, opening... Read More

Farmers (many of them Lumads) stage a die-in protest along General Santos-Cotabato national highway in Koronadal City, Philippines, to raise their demand to the government for the immediate release of calamity funds and justice to the farmers of North Cotabato who were violently dispersed last April 1 in Kidapawan City.

Commentary: GC2016 will hear Lumad plight

The Lumads, indigenous peoples in the Philippines, are on a pilgrimage in the United States to tell their stories of struggle and hope. Read More

Baseball delivers strong personal and family values, especially the need for a strong sense of faith when cheering for the Chicago Cubs. Photo © Fenoglio family archives.

Baseball delivers strong personal and family values

There are real life lessons in what some see as a game. The sport reminds us of the need for faith, as it did for one lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. Read More

The Rev. Amy Valdez Barker (left) addresses the Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, Ore. Barker is executive secretary of the United Methodist Connectional Table. At rear is Bishop Christian Alsted. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Commentary: Numbers matter, but so do mission and ministry

The executive secretary of the Connectional Table asks how numbers about the denomination can be used to inspire “hope and possibility.” Read More

The Rev. Darryl W. Stephens

Commentary: Who really has a say at General Conference?

ʽVoice’ matters more than voting percentages, and most voices are white, male, American Read More

Country music star Tim McGraw sings “Humble and Kind” in music video.  Video image courtesy Vevo.

Life lessons: Song links new country music and early Methodism

Tim McGraw is a country music star and a parent. Read how the singer's latest single echoes advice shared in 1869. Read More

Picketers who wanted to lift a bar that prevents divorced clergy from being nominated for bishop in the Liberia Conference disrupted the April 16 session of the conference. Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

Commentary: Liberian divorce rule and connectionalism

What does Liberia’s ban on divorced candidates for bishop mean for the worldwide nature of The United Methodist Church? Read More

Finding Jesus

Last Friday the president and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery presented a ceremonial check to John, Lisa and daughter Tiffany Robinson after John’s winning Powerball ticket was authenticated. Read More

Why I Do What I Do (Remastered)

In October of 2011, I wrote a post entitled, “Why I Do What I Do.” Here is the remastered version to start 2016. Read More

Big Picture

On our recent family vacation to Austin, Texas, we drove 23 hours southwest to the home of my mother-in-law. Read More