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UMNS Weekly Digest - January 20, 2012


UMNS Weekly Digest

January 20, 2012

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for January 16-20. 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:



'Exploring Differences, Deepening Faith'

HARTFORD, Conn. (UMNS) -- Stepping out of our comfort zones to follow God's calling on our life is risky, but full of unimaginable rewards, writes Teresa Mueller, of United Methodist Church of Bolton, in Bolton, Conn.Six years ago, she quit a job she loved to follow a calling into ministry. Read full story and post a comment»

Group proposes alternative restructure

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Uneasy with the Call to Action's proposed restructuring, leaders of one special-interest group have submitted an alternative reorganization for The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking body to consider. The Methodist Federation for Social Action, an unofficial progressive caucus, is the only one of the denomination's unofficial progressive and evangelical caucuses to submit legislation regarding restructuring. Read full story and post a comment»

Greeting job seekers in Georgia

ROSWELL, Ga. (UMNS) - John Harper has been a volunteer for the Job Networking ministry at Roswell (Ga.) United Methodist Church since 2001. He says the church is committed to helping those who are out of work. "We try to make people understand that number one, God will hear you and God will help you. And number two, you're not alone." Watch the video and post a comment»

Training churches for job ministry

ROSWELL, Ga. (UMNS) - Roswell United Methodist Church near Atlanta invites hundreds of job seekers to their job networking ministry each month. Church member Katherine Simons says she hopes other churches will begin their own ministries to help those who are out of work.

Watch the video and post a comment»

What shall we say about Occupy Wall Street?

KOKOMO, Ind. (UMNS) - The Rev. Riley B. Case writes that "here in middle America &ellipsis; not a lot of people are stirred up - either positively or negatively - over Occupy Wall Street &ellipsis;. We do note that almost all of us are part of the exploited 99 percent and wonder how it is that people in far-off places claim to speak for us." However, Case notes in a commentary for UMNS he has some big-time concerns about the protests. Read more and post a comment»

Pre-General Conference briefing under way

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) -- More than 300 United Methodists are attending a briefing through Jan. 21 to learn about some of the legislative issues that will be before General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking body, when it meets April 24-May 4. The group, which includes General Conference delegates and United Methodist communicators, is attending panel discussions on proposals that include changes to the ordination process, to the Council of Bishops and the denomination's organization. More coverage, including video of the discussions, is coming to For more information, see Countdown to General Conference.

Pastor learns to accept sudden dementia

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (UMNS) -- The Rev. Jeff Spaulding, 55, was in his 32nd year of ministry, the last decade at Faith United Methodist Church, when his life changed dramatically, the Suburban Journals reports in a story about how Spaulding and his family are coping with dementia. Read more»

Wiley student mission to Kenya

MARSHALL, Texas (UMNS) -- While many students were relaxing over their Christmas break, four Wiley seniors were sharing their faith more than 8,500 miles from home, the Longview News-Journal reports. The United Methodist Church's Texas Annual Conference, to which Wiley College belongs, helped send the students to Kenya on what one student said was "the most God-given, emotional, eye-opening, humbling and gracious experience that I have ever had." Read more»

30 years and still learning

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (UMNS) - It was an inauspicious beginning in January 1982, wrote the Rev. Laurie Haller, district superintendent of the Grand Rapids District of the West Michigan Annual (regional) Conference. In her blog, she reflects on the lessons she learned each year of her 30 years of ministry.

Read a more»

Pension board loan for Wisconsin housing

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - The Board of Pension and Health Benefits recently approved a loan commitment to the United Methodist Children's Services of Wisconsin for a newly constructed 24-unit low-income housing project, continuing the board's tradition of values-driven investing. For more information»

Support group makes cancer patients blankets

ATASCOCITA, Texas (UMNS) - The Atascocita Observer reports that the group, A Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Support, from Atascocita United Methodist Church with the help of volunteers spent most of the day Jan. 14 making 100 blankets that soon will be in the hands of breast cancer patients. Read more»

Disciples turn metal into cash for church

WAYNESBORO, Pa. (UMNS) - The volunteers - who wear "I am a recycled disciple" T-shirts - have taken in more than $15,000 through an effort to benefit projects at Christ United Methodist Church. The reports on this green program that is helping the church and community in multiple ways. Read more»

Program to grow Hispanic leaders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Students in the Spanish-language Bachelor of Theology program come from all across the United States from a wide variety of ministry settings. The program, co-sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Latin American Biblical University in Costa Rica and offered in collaboration with the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, is in its fourth year. Read more»

Dog blogs to help homeless shelter canines

MARRIOTT-SLATERVILLE, Utah (UMNS) - The Rev. Michelle Perry of First United Methodist Church frames a picture of her with her dog with the words "Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog." The Standard-Examiner reports it was a natural move for Perry to make her Weimaraner, Goose, part of her ministry on the board of directors at St. Anne's Center. Goose's effort is his own blog designed to raise money for a pet park that will be included in the facility's new home. Read more»

Bread for the Worldpush for hungry, poor

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Bread for the World has launched its 2012 Offering of Letters campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to create a circle of protection around programs vital to hungry and poor people this year.Within this broader campaign are four mini-campaigns that address specific legislative topics that will come before Congress in 2012: nutrition, poverty-focused development assistance, tax policy and food aid. Read more»

UMTV: World Record Female Bodybuilder

BALTIMORE (UMNS) -- Seventy-five-year-old Ernestine Shepherd works out more than most people half her age. Shepherd runs 10 miles a day, lifts weights and works as a personal trainer. Shepherd is in the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley's Believe It or Not as the world's oldest competitive female bodybuilder. Shepherd considers it her ministry to inspire others to live healthy lives. Watch video and post a comment»