July 8, 2011
NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for June 5-8. It includes summaries of stories, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from United Methodist News Service. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features are at http://umns.umc.org.
United Methodists boost UMCOR kit supply
CHATHAM, Ill. (UMNS) — What happens when two neighboring annual (regional) conferences compete to see who can collect the most hand towels for UMCOR health kits? Before their annual conference sessions began, leaders in the Illinois Great Rivers and Iowa conferences challenged their members to a friendly competition.
Putting faith in Wall Street
GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) — Part of the job at the denomination's pension agency is to “do good” while still making good returns. To that end, the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits recently launched Wespath Investment Management, a new brand name for its institutional investment services, which work to apply the church's teachings to stock selections.
Youth discover service, potential in mission
BIG ROCK, Tenn. (UMNS) — Beverly Boehmer has been on mission trips since 1964. Now she helps teens experience the same joy of service she discovered as a youth. “I believe that mission trips really do change lives," Boehmer said. "It has changed my life.” Boehmer is the coordinator of Youth and College Ministries for the Missouri Annual (regional) Conference.
Zimbabwe UMC women’s club empowers
CHITUNGWIZA, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Electric sewing machines buzz. Aged hand-operated machines creak, some thirsty for a few drops of oil. Figures bent on all fours murmur as they precariously juggle scissors, pins and paper. A lone voice breaks the monotony and the machines go silent. Welcome to the women’s club run by The United Methodist Church to try to empower members financially by teaching them to sew, crochet, knit and bake.
Vegetables sprout health, hope in Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. (UMNS) — Kevin Dorenbach is the head gardener of The Big Garden site, tucked in a grassy patch behind the Metropolitan Community Church in Omaha. The community garden where Dorenbach tends to his plants began three years ago. Part of The Big Garden, it was created in connection with Metropolitan Community Church. A program of the nonprofit United Methodist Ministries, The Big Garden focuses on creating community gardens in Omaha and its surrounding areas. The gardens engage community members, provide nutritious food and encourage healthy eating habits.
Pension initiative reaches $22.5 million
GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s Central Conference Pension Initiative has received at least $500,000 in new contributions during this annual conference season. The program, under the auspices of United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits, now has $22.5 million in pledges toward its $25 million goal. The program’s goal is to provide sustainable pension payments to clergy and their spouses in 62 annual (regional) conferences in Africa, Asia and Europe. Nine annual conferences in Africa are covered under the initiative, which serves 429 retired pastors and 547 surviving spouses.
Society of St. Andrew offers weekend events
BIG ISLAND, Va. (UMNS) — The Society of St. Andrew is offering three autumn intergenerational weekend events through “Harvest of Hope,” the food-rescue agency’s ecumenical study, worship and action mission-trip program. Participants will glean fresh fruits and vegetables that will immediately, through the help of local feeding agencies, find their way onto the tables of those in need. Register here.
Albright College gets $1 million grant
READING, Pa. (UMNS) — A $1 million grant from the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation will endow a new scholarship program at United Methodist-related Albright College. The fund is to assist students who have demonstrated a commitment to leadership and service. Income from the funds will be available to students in the fall of 2012.
Retreat offered to clergy affected by substance abusers
NEW YORK (UMNS) — The United Methodist Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence is sponsoring an Aug. 21-23 retreat in North Andover, Mass., designed for clergy adversely affected by growing up in an alcohol, drug or other dysfunctional family setting. The retreat, which is co-sponsored by the New England Annual (regional) Conference, will be led by Elene Loecher, a spiritual director and educator at the Hazelden Foundation.
UMCOR responds to U.S. and Philippine flood situations
NEW YORK (UMNS) — The United Methodist Committee on Relief continues to respond to flood emergencies in 14 U.S. conferences and the fallout from this spring's record-setting tornadoes and storms. The relief agency also is teaming with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction to help five flood-prone villages in the Philippines reduce their risk of future disasters. Donations to support that work can be made to U.S. Disaster Response or Philippines Emergency.
Facebook group on church music starts
NASHVILLE. Tenn. (UMNS) — A new group on Facebook offers discussion of music in The United Methodist Church at UMC Music. The site’s administrator is Dean McIntyre, the director of music resources at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
Program calendars now available
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The official 2012 United Methodist Program Calendar is now available from United Methodist Communications. Available in several designs, the calendars contain monthly planning checklists, Scriptures, dates of Special Sundays, descriptions of offerings, and church agency contact information. The 2012 calendar is themed around United Methodist-affiliated Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. United Methodist apportionments support the university.
S. Carolina conference calls for immigration reform
FLORENCE, S.C.(UMNS) — The United Methodist South Carolina Annual (regional) Conference approved a resolution at its annual meeting last month that calls for reform of U.S. immigration policies. The gathering also criticized state senate legislation — now a law to take effect Jan. 1 — requiring employers to verify the status of their employees and police to check the immigration status of anyone they have stopped and suspect is undocumented.
UMTV: Family Volunteer Vacation
BIG ROCK, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Kiefers stay busy. Mom, Dad and three boys run a family construction business and a farm. When the Kiefers take time off, they prefer working vacations where they can help others. This year the family traveled from their home in Missouri to Tennessee to help tornado victims repair their homes. You can view UMTV’s “Family Volunteer Vacation” and download a hi-res file at http://goo.gl/9Zzgg.
Find more video stories about United Methodists making a difference in the world on YouTube. You can also find the latest UMTV videos on Vimeo and Facebook.
The holy work of worship
DALLAS (UMNS) — In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus' last command to his disciples is to "go and make disciples of all nations." Two millennia later, the church is still fulfilling the Great Commission through training, offering experiences and instruction and financially supporting modern-day disciples. It is also lived out during worship, Interpreter magazine reports.
Three secrets to strong worship service
TRUCKEE, Calif. (UMNS) — Do you have an intentional process for preparing worship that feeds your creative spirit rather than depletes it? When we create something, we usually have a process to follow: a recipe, a blueprint, a storyboard. Without these, the tasks sometimes become overwhelming or unpredictable. Marcia McFee, director of worship and music for General Conference 2012, offers three important concepts in a special from Interpreter Online.
Bloombytes: Putting some meaning into ‘justice for all’
NEW YORK (UMNS) — In her Bloombytes blog, UMNS reporter Linda Bloom writes that a new progress report on justice and equality for women around the world — released July 6 by U.N. Women — deserves some attention.