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UMNS Weekly Digest - January 13, 2012


UMNS Weekly Digest

January 13, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Jan. 9-13. 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:



Expectations build for 2012 General Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Every four years United Methodists develop high expectations that delegates to the top legislative body of the denomination will set policies and approve resolutions to address specific challenges in the church and society. Those expectations are building as the 988 delegates and 4,000 volunteers and observers prepare for the 2012 General Conference, meeting April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla. Interpreter OnLine takes a look at what is shaping up.

For quick information and to see how many days are left until General Conference, visit the new Countdown to General Conference page. Read full story and post a comment»

Oklahoma Conference trains church planters

OKLAHOMA CITY - Working in trios on a Saturday morning, the men and women decorated puzzle pieces to represent segments of The United Methodist Church: general agencies, annual (regional) conferences and more. Then they connected the pieces, and the puzzle's shape emerged: a heart. God's love is at the center of "Lay Missionary Planting Network" training in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference. Read full story and post a comment»

Racism still stings, bishop tells King

ATLANTA (UMNS) - As he writes his annual letter to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday to celebrate King's birth, retired Bishop Woodie W. White observes that "many years ago, I likened racism to Johnson grass, that tough, elusive type of grass that seems to defy destruction. When it appears to be eradicated, it shows up elsewhere. &ellipsis; One thinks it's gone, and then discovers it was only dormant." Read full story and post a comment»

Methodists cooperate in Haiti's recovery

NEW YORK (UMNS) - For Methodists, the recovery process since the Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti earthquake can easily be measured by dollars raised, churches and schools repaired, volunteer teams sent. What is less measurable - but ultimately more important - are the new or renewed relationships forged among Haitian Methodists, Haitian communities, The United Methodist Church and other global partners, both large and small. Read full story and post a comment»

Breadfruit flour effort aims to enrich Haiti

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) - Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants in the world. It is a staple in many tropical regions. Eighty-nine-year-old Hank Garwick and members of the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church believe this miracle product can help countries like Haiti produce much-needed food and jobs. Read full story and post a comment»

Oklahoma church sends Bibles to Congo

TULSA, Okla. (UMNS) - The word of God is reaching poor and illiterate people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in several ways, thanks to the generosity of Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa. A pastor was inspired to launch the project after hearing about United Methodists in the central African country who had no Bibles.

Read full story and post a comment»

Side by side with Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - Two years after a 7.0 earthquake left 220,000 people dead and 1.3 million homeless, United Methodist volunteers and the United Methodist Committee on Relief - in partnership with the Methodist Church of Haiti - continue to help in the island nation's recovery. On the eve of the quake's anniversary, the United Methodist News Service has put together a slideshow featuring photos by Mike DuBose and the Rev. Chris Heckert, showing the quake's immediate aftermath and United Methodist recovery efforts.

Watch slideshow»

Cyclists pump up hearts, environment

DETROIT (UMNS) - Recycled exercise equipment - formerly known as clothes hangers or toe-stubbers - are getting a new "green" start in life at a United Methodist community center in Detroit. Read more and post a comment»

2 big disputes ahead at General Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) --Two proposals hover near the top of the controversy list as The United Methodist Church approaches this spring's General Conference. The first from theCall to Action processwould restructure the denomination, including consolidatingnine of the church's 13 general agencies under a 15-member board. The second would end job guarantees for ordained elders in good standing. Read more and post a comment»

Black leaders discuss church changes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) -- Proposals for change across the denomination drove the discussion at a gathering of African-American church leaders from the South Central Jurisdiction. The main question that had United Methodists talking at the November gathering was: "How does the Call to Action affect African-American churches?" Read full story and post a comment»

Agency applauds deportation policy change

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society sent a statement to the White House this week applauding the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's decision to enable some undocumented immigrant children and spouses to reunite with their U.S.-citizen family members. Considering the "record numbers of deportations by the Obama administration," the agency said in a Jan. 11 statement, "we hope this change in policy will finally make it easier for thousands of American families with mixed immigration status to remain permanently together." Read more»

Haiti earthquake survivor speaks at service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) The Rev. James Gulley, who survived the collapse of the Hotel Montana during Haiti's earthquake two years ago, spoke at the hotel during a Jan. 12 service of commemoration. Two United Methodist colleagues trapped with him, the Rev. Sam Dixon and the Rev. Clinton Rabb, died of their injuries. The Rev. Marco Depestre represented the Methodist Church of Haiti at the service. "January 12, 2010, impacted the lives of all who are here today in ways we could never have imagined before that date: snuffing out the lives of so many, calling to a halt many plans, but never extinguishing the hopes and dreams of many, many more," Gulley said.

Sunday Supper: a nationwide conversation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Inspired by the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., America's Sunday Supper invites people from all backgrounds to come together to share a meal, discuss issues that affect their community and highlight the power of each person to make a difference. Rethink Church invites everyone to participate Sunday, Jan. 15, in a community-by-community, nationwide conversation. Read more»

Dr. King's most memorable speeches

NEW YORK (UMNS) - "I've been to the mountaintop. ... And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land." This is from one of the presentations by the United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race of five of the most memorable speeches by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Listen to the speeches and read more»

Caring for Creation event slated

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Bill McKibben, environmental author and founder of, will be a featured presenter at Caring for Creation on March 15-18 at Lake Junaluska. Caring for Creation 2012, a faith-based event on environmentalism, will explore ways individuals and churches can become good stewards of God's Earth. Early registration ends Feb. 15. To learn more and register»

DVD connects Bible with immigration

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas presents the DVD, "Gospel Without Borders,"which shows the experiences of documented and undocumented immigrants and examines what the Bible says about the treatment of the "stranger." Individual copies are available for $10 on the Christian site, which produced the documentary.

To order a copy»

New UMCOR global health director

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's relief agency, announced Jan. 10 that Shannon Trilli will serve as the new director of its global health programs. Trilli will be UMCOR's key liaison to all international, regional and national collaborating health partners.

Read full story»

Applications for young adult mission work

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 interested in linking their faith to justice work are invited to apply to the US-2 and mission intern programs of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. US-2s serve in the United States for two years. Mission Interns serve for three years, about half of the time abroad and half of the time in their home country. Applications are due Feb. 5, with training and placement to begin in the summer of 2012. Read full story»

Social action agency is 'green' partner

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the United Methodist Board of Church and Society for "exemplary environmental leadership" and awarded the agency membership to the 2012 Green Power Leadership Club. The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. Read full story»

Wesley memorabilia on display

FERRUM, Va. (UMNS) An 18th-century porcelain bust of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is part of a collection of Wesley memorabilia recently donated to Ferrum College, a United Methodist-related college. The exhibit comprises 43 items and is on display in John Wesley Hall on the campus. Call (540) 365-4201 with questions.

Claremont one-month online courses

CLAREMONT, Calif. (UMNS) -- New online courses for personal and professional development taught byClaremont School of Theology faculty begin Feb. 6, 2012. The classes include evangelism in a plural world; prayer from a process perspective, interfaith lessons from medieval Spain and spirituality and service. For more information»

NCC leadership transition plans

NEW YORK (UMNS) -- The Governing Board of theNational Council of Churches will meet Jan. 20 to address the next steps in leadership transition after the Rev. Michael Kinnamon ended his service as general secretary on Dec. 31, 2011. Kinnamon, in announcing his intended departure, said that based on advice from his cardiologist, frequent travel and other demands of the office were detrimental to his health. Read more»

Blog: Five things I like in Tebow's autobiography

BURKE, Va. (UMNS) - Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback, and his evangelical zeal have become a flashpoint for debate among sports fans. The Rev. Morgan Guyton, an associate pastor at Burke United Methodist Church, writes in his blog that he does not agree with all of Tebow's theology, but he sees much that is biblical in the athlete's autobiography. Read blog»

Blog: Love and prayers for the sweet people of Haiti

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) Kathy Gilbert in her blog writes "the hole that opened in my heart on that day in 2010 remains full of love and prayers for the sweet people of Haiti." Read blog»

Blog: Providing help, hope in any disaster

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Looking beyond the catastrophic statistics, UMNS reporter Linda Bloom, in her blog, talks about how United Methodists support the individuals and communities struggling to overcome disaster. Read blog»