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UMNS Weekly Digest - February 10, 2012


UMNS Weekly Digest

February 10, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for February 610. 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:



Doctor buys hospital to aid rural health

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (UMNS) - A doctor with a remarkable family tradition at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., credits the United Methodist-related school with nurturing his dedication to improving health care in a poor Mississippi rural community. Dr. Kenneth Williams' dedication is so profound that he bought a much-needed hospital for his rural patients. This is part of aseries on Meharry Medical College and its efforts to end health disparities among ethnic groups. Read full story and post a comment»

NCC begins to consider its future

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The National Council of Churches and its 37 member communions, including The United Methodist Church, not only are pondering how to maintain long-term financial health but also considering a much broader issue: the future of the U.S. ecumenical movement. Read full story and post a comment»

Dental school cares for entire community

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Dental problems can lead people to an early grave just as surely as any other medical problem. Since oral health is a path to overall health, Meharry School of Dentistry instills in its students a passion for serving the underserved. Read full story and post a comment»

Church process no guarantee against lawsuits

DALLAS (UMNS) - The filing of a sexual misconduct lawsuit against a United Methodist pastor in civil court does not mean the complaint went unheard by church leaders. However, that type of legal action can indicate the complainant believes the denomination's process was not handled fairly, says the Rev. Darryl Stephens of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Read full story and post a comment»

Meharry looks to close health-care gap

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - What will it take to put an end to health-care disparities? The answer might come from health-care professionals who are also scholars of political science and economics with a passion for clearing the way for quality medical and dental care for all. Read full story and post a comment»

Africa becomes theology professor's passion

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (UMNS) - Glenna Jackson's first trip to Africa was planned merely as a checkpoint on her traveling "to do" list. Now, through Africa University connections, the professor at United Methodist-related Otterbein University has forged a connection with Muslim women in the southern African nation of Malawi. Read full story and post a comment»

Meharry attacks HIV/AIDS in lab, streets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - African-American women are 15 times more likely to become infected with HIV than the rest of the U.S. population. It is not known why that disparity exists, but United Methodist-related Meharry Medical College is pursuing a variety of methods to fight the disease. Read full story and post a comment»

Sex harassment suit hits Dallas pastor

DALLAS (UMNS) - A young pastor in the North Texas Annual (regional) Conference has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by the Rev. Tyrone Gordon, who has resigned as pastor of St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church in Dallas. Gordon has surrendered his credentials, effective Feb. 15. The suit, according to a story in the United Methodist Reporter, names St. Luke and the North Texas Conference as defendants, as well as Gordon. Read full story and post a comment»

At Meharry, M.D. means 'make a difference'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - From the cradle to the grave, if you are African-American or any other racial minority, you are less likely to live a long, healthy life. Meharry, a United Methodist-related medical, dental and research university, is the nation's largest private, independent, historically black academic health center. Read full story and post a comment»

Malaria documentary garners award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Imagine No Malaria documentary, "A Killer in the Dark," has won another award. This time, the documentary, based on the United Methodist ministry, was selected as "Platinum Best of Show" by the Aurora Awards, the organization's highest honor. The documentary previously received the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals two top "Platinum" honors. Read full story»

United Methodists, Brits strengthen partnership

NEW YORK (UMNS) - For the second year in a row, top leaders from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries met with representatives of the Methodist Church of Great Britain to continue conversations with a goal of being more effective partners in mission. Read full story»

Scouting Ministries Sunday on Feb. 12

HUDSON, Fla. (UMNS) - United Methodists around the world on Feb. 12 will celebrate the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire, 4-H and similar civic youth groups as part of Scouting Ministries Sunday. The Tampa Bay Times reports the story of Ryan Wilson, a member of the Faith United Methodist Church in Hudson, who has Down syndrome and recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Read full story»

Countdown to General Conference: 2012 schedule

Only 73 more days remain until the meeting in Tampa that will set policy for The United Methodist Church for the next four years. The first week is set aside for legislative committee work and the second week for plenary sessions. Take a look at what's onthe agendain Tampa. View schedule»

Culture of Call nominations sought

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church's Foundation for Evangelism is now accepting nominations for the 2012 Culture of the Call Church Award. This award, given annually, recognizes one local United Methodist congregation for a culture that encourages young people to respond to God's call to full-time Christian service as a result of their being active in the life of that church. The deadline for applications is April 3. Download a nomination form»

'Bearing Fruit' study guide available

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Rev. Lovett H. Weems Jr. and Tom Berlin, authors of "Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results," have prepared a free study guide to facilitate reflection, discussion and application of their book's key points. The book and guide aim to provide church leaders with tools to assess whether their ministry bears fruit. Weems is the director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. Download the free study guide»

Upper Room app available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A free Upper Room Devotional Life app is available for download on Apple and Android products. The app will offer meditations from The United Methodist Church's Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide. The Upper Room is part of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Read more»

Film series on vital congregations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship has produced a five-part film series, "Dreaming of Vital Congregations," which celebrates and explores the issues United Methodists hold dear. Topics include imagining the church of 2092, planting churches, nurturing young leaders, deepening spiritual life and supporting churches in Africa, Europe and the Philippines. The films are intended to be discussion starters in General Conference delegations and local church small groups. The series is available at Watch "Church 2092"»

African student movement forming

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Student Movement in the United States grew out of a shared need by college-age young adults at Wesley Foundations to join in bringing about social change. Now, United Methodist students in Africa are modeling an organization after the U.S. prototype in which one event each year brings together United Methodist students from all over the continent. The United Methodist Student Movement in Africa also plans to train student leaders to do grassroots organizing on issues such as creation care, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. Read more»

Conference plans defense in Texas lawsuit

DALLAS (UMNS) The North Texas Annual (regional) Conference "intends to vigorously defend itself in court" against a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by the Rev. Tyrone Gordon, who recently resigned as pastor of St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church, writes United Methodist Reporter's Sam Hodges in an update. The church and conference also were named in the lawsuit. Read more»

Delegations respond to restructuring

NORCROSS, Ga. (UMNS) - The North Georgia Annual (regional) Conference delegation, by a majority vote, has endorsed a call for an alternative restructuring plan to the current proposed Interim Operations Team/ Connectional Table legislation. The North Georgia delegation statement follows statements from the Iowa, Louisiana and North Texas delegations to General Conference and Jurisdictional conferences that, to some extent, endorse the proposed changes for study and discussion. Look for more coverage from United Methodist News Service.

Pension forum set

TUCSON, Ariz. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits has scheduled a public forum around 11:45 a.m. (Mountain Time) March 2. The event is at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., Tucson.

To be placed on the agenda and receive specific presentation requirements, call Colette Nies by Feb. 20 at 1-800-269-2244, extension 4296, or

Missouri partner assists Costa Rican seminary

COLUMBIA, Mo. (UMNS) - The Missouri Annual (regional) Conference is partnering with the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana in San Jose, Costa Rica, over the next several years to raise funds and provide volunteers to build housing for seminary student families. Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana is widely recognized as one of the main centers of theological education in Latin America and the Caribbean, training pastors and lay leaders for the growing Christian communities involved in witness and service throughout the region. Read more»

Rededication set for Simpson Chapel

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Dakotas Area Bishop Deborah Kiesey, president of the United Methodist Board of Church & Society, will preach at a Feb. 15 rededication service of the historic Simpson Memorial Chapel in the United Methodist Building in Washington. For more than eight decades, Simpson Chapel has offered a place for worship, education and reflection at the heart of Capitol Hill. The rededication comes after a two-month renovation, the second in Simpson Chapel's history.

Read more»

Baltimore-Washington giving exceeds goals

FULTON, Md. (UMNS) - Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference churches exceeded their goal of a 90.25 percent collection rate by donating 90.46 percent toward the apportionment budget in 2011. A total of 643 of the conference's 650 churches gave $14,833,552, an amount that was very close to the $14,842,689 donated in 2010.

Read more»

UMTV: Church offers AIDS Tests

HOUSTON (UMNS) - In the 1990s, an African-American pastor in Houston found himself officiating at too many funerals resulting from AIDS-related deaths. He and his church, St. John's Downtown, decided to take a direct approach to stop the high rate of infection in their own community. Feb. 7 marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Watch video and post a comment»