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UMNS Weekly Digest - February 03, 2012


UMNS Weekly Digest

February 03, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for January 30-February 03. 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 can be found at

Stories this week:

Young leaders watch church in action Ending hunger in 5 years 'doable' Alternate game plan for Super Bowl Food ministries flourish on different pathsBlack College Fund celebrates 40 years Growing communities along the Santa Cruz Sowing promise for developing countries Will restructuring cut vital ministry?




Young leaders watch church in action

LITTLE ROCK (UMNS) - The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow's style of preaching resonates with all ages but especially young people. As chaplain of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Miller-Yow has many opportunities to help young people become leaders in their church and community. He also leads by example in his role as national president of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. Read full story and post a comment»

Ending hunger in 5 years 'doable'

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Ending hunger in five years is 'doable' if we make the effort, says the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, an international hunger-relief organization. Read full story and post a comment»

Alternate game plan for Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Before it was ever determined that the New York Giants would face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl this weekend, members of United Methodist Women had decided on their game plan. UMW is working with local groups and law enforcement to find a teachable moment about human trafficking during the pre-Super Bowl festivities.

Read full story and post a comment»

Food ministries flourish on different paths

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Two United Methodist churches in the heart of Indianapolis have found different ministries to feed the hungry and enable people to reach their potential.

Read full story and post a comment»

Black College Fund celebrates 40 years

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Year after year, when students from the New York Annual (regional) Conference boarded buses to visit historically black colleges, they envisioned their future. They also saw history in the making as they walked the campuses.

Read full story and post a comment»

Growing communities along the Santa Cruz

TUCSON, Ariz. (UMNS) - From the hard soil of Tucson, Ariz., Youth Farm Project interns help the community to develop a flourishing garden and gathering place along the Santa Cruz River. Amy Rebecca Mellor and André Luiz de Oliveira Domingues, project interns and United Methodists from the New York Annual (regional) Conference, explain their work on an "Urban Farm."

Read full story and post a comment»

Sowing promise for developing countries

FAIRFAX, Mo. (UMNS) -- The Fairfax United Methodist Church growing project is one of more than 200 nationwide that collaborate with Foods Resource Bank, a Christian non-profit agency that helps farmers dedicate a share of their harvest to funding sustainable agriculture programs around the world. Farmers - supported by their churches - commit a small portion of their crop or livestock to Foods Resource Bank, which channels funds from the harvest sale to some 62 overseas programs run by partner agencies, such as the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Read full story and post a comment»

Will restructuring cut vital ministry?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -- Plans to restructure The United Methodist Church's 13 general agencies could imperil ministries that local congregations need and value, say agency executives. The members of the United Methodist General Secretaries Table released a statement Jan. 26 to respond to proposals that would consolidate agencies, shrink their governing boards and potentially slash their funding. The General Secretaries Table consists of the chief executives of the 13 general agencies. Read full story and post a comment»

Promo: Meharry's Medical Mission

Meharry Medical College is attacking health care disparities from the classroom, in research labs and at public policy debates. As the nation's largest private historically black academic health center, United Methodist-supported Meharry is a private institution with a very public mission. Look for a six-part series beginning Feb. 6.

Indy churches team up for Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Food, prayer and football are on tap at local United Methodist churches over Super Bowl weekend. Roberts Park United Methodist Church, in the heart of downtown, is welcoming the city's homeless for a free meal through the regular Sunday "Soup's On" ministry, in collaboration with Carmel United Methodist Church, which is providing the food. Guests are invited to stay to watch the game on big-screen TVs. The pastor and members of Barnes United Methodist Church will be walking the streets downtown in prayer on Friday and Saturday nights. North United Methodist Church will be the host for the NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl breakfastsponsored by Athletes in Action, a national evangelical Christian organization that reaches out to athletes, on Saturday morning. The breakfast will be at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

'Singing Church' explores congregational song

ATLANTA (UMNS) - Emory University's Candler School of Theology delves into the issue of music in worship at "The Singing Church: Current Practices and Emerging Trends in Congregational Song" March 19-21. The school has assembled a roster of well-known church music professionals to address the so-called "worship wars," a topic that has divided churches for more than a decade. Session topics will include how to write songs that address the concerns of a modern congregation, such as illness or social injustice; how to plan worship for multicultural communities; the role of the hymnal; successful methods for teaching new songs to a congregation, and how to make the most out of traditional music.

Read the full story»

2012 General Conference choirs, ensembles named

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Some of the choirs and ensembles who will lead worship April 25-27 and April 29-May 3 at the 2012 General Conference have been announced. The services will be streamed along with all other conference sessions. The groups from around the globe include Innovators Music from Zimbabwe; the Silangan Christian Dance Troupe from Côte d'Ivoire; the Candler Singers from the Candler School of Theology; the Foundry United Methodist Church Choir from Washington; the Agape Singers from Clark Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn.; the Nuevo Nacimient Praise Band from Iglesia Methodista Nuevo Nacimient in Lebanon, Pa., and the Lake Junaluska Singers from the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in North Carolina.

Read more»

Overcoming attitudes toward HIV/AIDS

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund is asking all congregations to work to overcome attitudinal and behavioral barriers that create stigma and discrimination toward people with HIV/AIDS. It asks that National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7 be observed by sharing information, resources and testing with congregations and communities. Read more»

NFL has rules for churches, too

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - WISHTV8 reports on how churches planning Super Bowl parties also have to follow the National Football League rules.. Read more»

Help for tracking worship attendance

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - To help congregations better track and improve worship attendance, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has released the Congregational Attendance Profile. Users enter past attendance into a spreadsheet and add new figures weekly. The profile monitors attendance against a 52-week average, so churches know whether each Sunday's attendance is higher or lower than the year-to-date average.

To learn more»

Clergy health survey coming

GLENVIEW. Ill.(UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits' Center for Health will conduct its annual clergy health survey in February. The survey continues the center's work after extensive clergy health research for the Church Systems Task Force. A sample of 5,000 clergy representing a cross section of active United Methodist clergy will receive a brief online survey.

To learn more»

Nothing But Nets sends 150,000 nets to Africa

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - In less than three months, thousands of Americans have donated 150,000 anti-malaria bed nets in response to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. The people of The United Methodist Church made a lead gift of $100,000 on the day the appeal was announced by the UN Foundation'sNothing But Nets campaign.

Read more»

African church leaders discuss peace, security

KIGALI, Rwanda (UMNS) - More than 90 church and ecumenical leaders attended a Jan. 28-31 consultation, organized by the World Council of Churches'
Commission of the Churches on International Affairsand the All Africa Conference of Churches, to discuss peace and security issues in Africa.

Read more»

Souper Bowl of Caring marks 22nd year

TONGANOXIE, Kan. (UMNS) - An idea sparked by senior high youth at a Presbyterian church in Columbia, S.C., in 1990 gave birth to the Souper Bowl of Caring. Young people from many faith groups have generated $81 million for soup kitchens, food banks and other charities. The Tonganoxie Mirror reports whattwo United Methodist congregations in Kansas are doing this weekend.

To get involved»

Congressman acts as Good Samaritan

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, a United Methodist elder and a Democrat from Missouri, brought the parable of the Good Samaritan to life last week. CNN reported that Cleaver, while traveling from a meeting in his district on Jan. 27, noticed a hand waving above the weeds on the side of the road. He and a staff member stopped to find a woman going in and out of consciousness. They called 911 and stayed with her until paramedics arrived. "The heroes are the First Responders who rushed to save her," he told CNN.

Read full story»

Blogs track Angola mission trip

MALANGE, Angola (UMNS) - A mission team from the Yellowstone Annual (regional) Conference is on a two-week visit to the East Angola Conference as part of its Angola Pastor's Salary Support Project. The Rev. Mark Calhoun of the Yellowstone Conference said the goal of the trip is to reconnect with Angola pastors and explore new ways the conferences can be in partnership together. The team arrived on Jan. 30. The Rev. Jeremy Scott is blogging about the trip at Calhoun also is blogging about the trip at

Turning problem into ministry

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (UMNS) A year ago, Trinity United Methodist Church found it had a problem. People were using the church dumpster as a way of getting rid of old junk and piling stuff all over the churchyard and parking lot. The trustees went into problem-solving mode. What they soon found was an opportunity instead of a problem.

Read more»

Native leader finds new mission

NEW YORK (UMNS) Gary Locklear, a 63-year-old church and community worker with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and leader of the Lumbee tribe in North Carolina, has found an inspiring second career serving rural Native American churches. Read more»

Gates pledges $750M to global health fund

DAVOS, Switzerland (UMNS) -The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $750 million to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria while at the World Economic Forum last week. The contribution will go toward fighting diseases of poverty and serves as a vote of confidence for the Global Fund, an Imagine No Malaria partner in the fight against this killer disease. Imagine No Malaria is working to end preventable malaria deaths through improved health infrastructure, research and treatment, public policy advocacy and health education. The campaign, which is part of United Methodist Communications, has reached more than $19 million of its $75 million fundraising goal.

Read more»

UMTV: Young Black Church Leader

LITTLE ROCK (UMNS) - The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow's style of preaching resonates with all ages but especially young people. As chaplain of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Miller-Yow has many opportunities to help young people become leaders in their church and community. He also leads by example in his role as national president of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. Watch video and post a comment»

Blog: Giving support (and chocolate) for Valentine's Day

NEW YORK (UMNS) - In her Bloombytes blog, UMNS Reporter Linda Bloom points out how buying chocolate for Valentine's Day direct from Equal Exchange is a delicious way to benefit small farmers in Latin America, Asia and Africa and the church's relief efforts. Read blog»

Blog: Rags or Riches

Kathy Gilbert reminds us in her blog, Gilbert's Gleanings, that "there are as many ways of being kind and generous as there are people who need kindness and generosity." Read blog»