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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 27, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 23 27. It includes summaries of stories and additional briefs from United Methodist News Service. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:


Summer Olympics a dream come true

LONDON (UMNS) - Since she was a child, United Methodist pastor Kathleen LaCamera has wanted to go to the Olympics. She's finally gotten that chance. And she's discovered that British Methodists are pretty excited - including a 26-year-old churchgoer who helped carry the Olympic Torch. Read full story and post a comment»

Bishop Bledsoe appeals removal

PLANO, Texas (UMNS) - Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe is appealing to the Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church's top court, challenging the constitutionality of a provision used to force him to retire as an active bishop. Read full story and post a comment»

Western Jurisdiction challenges gay stance

SAN DIEGO (UMNS) - The Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church has launched a grassroots movement to challenge bishops, clergy, congregations and ministries in that jurisdiction to operate as if the statement printed in the denomination's law book-Paragraph 161F-"does not exist." Real full story and post a comment»

Shootings draw personal, pastoral response

AURORA, Colo. (UMNS) - United Methodist pastors here are finding themselves on the front line in the aftermath of the July 20 massacre inside a movie theater that left 12 people dead, dozens of others wounded and sent waves of shock and sadness over the nation. The Rev. Elizabeth Jackson is responding personally, as well as pastorally. Read full story and post a comment»

5 conferences merge to become 2

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - Over the next four years, the boundaries of five annual (regional) conferences will change significantly. The changes - the merger of the Southwest Texas and Rio Grande conferences and the consolidation of the Kansas East, Kansas West and Nebraska conferences - were approved July 20 by delegates to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. Read full story and post a comment»

228 years of bishops in Methodist tradition

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) - Quick: Name the man who insisted he had to be elected to his church office, thus setting up the democracy that continues still in The United Methodist Church. Hint: It happened in 1784 and the man's name sounds a little like "raspberry." Check your answer - and read a little bit more about the history of the denomination's bishops. Read full story and post a comment»

U.S. bishops elected, assigned for 2012-16

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodists elected 11 new bishops and made assignments for all active bishops in the United States during jurisdictional conferences July 18-21. The new assignments take effect Sept. 1. Read full story and post a comment»

See assignments for all bishops»

Bishop Bledsoe retired after Aug. 31

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - In a surprise move, the chair of the South Central Jurisdiction episcopacy committee announced that Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe would be "placed in a retired position" after Aug. 31. The committee decided on July 17 to place Bledsoe in involuntary retirement. Read more and post a comment»

Avoid overlooking people in need

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - An essential part of ministry is ongoing pastoral care. The responsibility increases during times of economic depression or seasons of increased illness. Inevitably, some people are overlooked, but a healthy communication system can help church leaders minimize gaps. Learn how»

Missionary slowly recuperating

MUNICH (UMNS) - The Rev. David Goran, the United Methodist missionary severely injured when a roof collapsed in L'viv, Ukraine, took his first steps recently, writes his wife in her blog. A mission team from the Houston area was repairing a church-related facility when the accident occurred July 10. David Nevotti, a member of the team, and Illya Onoprienko, a member of the student ministry at the University of L'viv, were killed. Read the blog»

Read about the accident»

Covenant dispute heads to church court

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (UMNS) - The Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church's top court, has agreed to take up questions regarding a proposed clergy covenant team in the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference. The Rev. Amy DeLong proposed the team as part of her sentence for officiating at a same-sex union. Read updated story and post a comment»

See the Judicial Council's docket»

Young missionaries speak at Southeastern Conference

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Four young adults serving as missionaries with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries attended this year's Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference to tell their stories and encourage support for the Mission Intern and US-2 programs. Read more and post a comment»

Clergy couple serves separate churches

ORLANDO, Fla. (UMNS) - The Rev. Clare Chance and her husband, the Rev. Tony Chance, serve separate churches five miles apart. It's what they wanted. "There are advantages to being in different churches,"Clare Chance told the Orlando Sentinel. Read story»

Mission interns to be commissioned

ARLINGTON, Va. (UMNS) -Three dozen young adults will be commissioned as mission interns on Friday, Aug. 3. The service will be streamed live beginning at 7 p.m. EDT. The class of 2012 represents nine countries, and two students are using Skype to participate. They will serve half of their three-year commitments in their home country and the other half in another country. To learn more»

At the Olympics? Check out your roots

LONDON (UMNS) - If you're at the Summer Olympics and looking for something to do (other than attend sports events), don't forget about John Wesley's Chapel. Not far from the Old City Underground Station, the complex includes the chapel named for the founder of the United Methodist movement, as well as his house and the Museum of Methodism. There are still Sunday services there. Check out the website»

Ghana president cited impact of Methodism

ACCRA, Ghana (UMNS)-Ghana is mourning the death of its president, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, who died July 24. Mills, 68, had been a Methodist, and he was present when the Methodist Church of Ghana celebrated 50 years of autonomy from the British Methodist Church in 2011 at Accra Sports Stadium. In a Ghana TV newscast at the time, he described the church's impact on his life. "I am the biggest beneficiary of the Methodist Church's autonomy because I owe my education to the Methodist Church and my childhood training that was given me by the Methodist Church," he said. "&ellipsis; Since the church and state have a common agenda, there is a need for us to get closer and see what we can do in order to build a better Ghana." Mills died at a military hospital, but official details on the cause of death have not been released. Mills, who had served as president since 2009, was succeeded by his vice president, John Mahama.

Colorado shooting revives bad memory

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (UMNS) - United Methodist pastor the Rev. Kevin Anderson was in elementary school in Illinois when a woman armed with three handguns came into the classroom and began shooting. That was in 1988. When he hears about mass murders in public places, the memories flood back. Read full commentary»

Liberian center for the deaf dedicated

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) - The Hope for the Deaf Ministry of the United Methodist Church in Liberia has dedicated a modern skills training center for deaf students. The dedication of the three-classroom building was presided over July 11 by Bishop John G. Innis of the Liberia Area. Construction of the Modern Skills Training Center was made possible through donations from the Middletown United Methodist Church in Middletown, Md.

Church's mobile kitchen on the road

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (UMNS) - Trinity United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn., is back home after teaming up with the National Guard and the Southern Appalachian Labor School to provide food and water to the hardest-hit communities of West Virginia, which went 11 days without power after a series of storms battered the area. The church set up a food kitchen at the labor school facility in Beards Fork. The church set up a similar kitchen in Alabama in 2011, after a tornado there.

'Can't let fear, anger take control'

AURORA, Colo. (UMNS) - At a memorial service Sunday for the 12 killed in a theater shooting, The Associated Press reports the Rev. Kenneth Berve, pastor at Grant Avenue United Methodist Church and a witness to Friday's horrors, told mourners, "We can't let fear and anger take control of us.'' Read more»

Consider solutions to hunger

BIG ISLAND, Va. (UMNS) - The Society of St. Andrew has assembled resources, including a six-unit Bible study on hunger, to help United Methodists observe National Hunger Action Month in September. Find resources»

Appeal on global arms treaty

GENEVA (UMNS) - Global Christian leaders sent a message July 20 to the 194 governments negotiating the first global Arms Trade Treaty: Take the bullets out of the hands of terrorists and other attackers. As victims are brought to church-related hospitals and graveyards, communities witness the human costs of unlawful armed violence every day. "The Arms Trade Treaty must regulate the ammunition that strikes them down," say representatives of the World Council of Churches, World Evangelical Alliance, Pax Christi International and Caritas in a joint statement. Read statement»

Church offers message, prayer wall, for Aurora tragedy

AURORA, Colo. (UMNS)-As Aurora and people everywhere reel from the July 20 shooting that left 12dead and dozens injured, The United Methodist Church is sending messages of hope and healing into the community. The churchplaced a full-page ad in the July 23 Denver Post, declaring: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Aurora. Through the darkness, we come together in search of the light. The people of The United Methodist Church join with all of those affected by this recent tragedy. To understand. To heal. To find hope." The adalso appeared in Aurora Sentinel on July 26.

In addition, people are invited to post prayers for the Aurora community on a prayer wall on Facebook. The ads and call to action were developed by United Methodist Communications, the denomination's communications agency. Post a message on the prayer wall»

Aurora community gathers for prayer»

'May we never see another day like it'

OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) - "Please God, may we never see another day like yesterday," writes the Rev. Rebekah Miles, a clergy delegate to the South Central Jurisdiction, regarding the controversy involving Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe. Read more»


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Clarifications have been made to a United Methodist News Service story - "Conferences reject church's stance on gays" - which was published July 18, 2012. Good News, an unofficial conservative caucus, published an editorial in the May/June issue of the caucus magazine talking about the 2012 General Conference. Good News published a different article on June 29 challenging a sermon by retired Bishop Melvin Talbert. The United Methodist News Service story did not make clear that the quotes were from two different articles in the caucus magazine. Read full story and post a comment»

BLOG: Why I'm leaving the church

LANCASTER, Pa. (UMNS) - After a lifetime as a United Methodist, Artie Van Why is leaving the denomination because of what he calls the "blatant doublespeak" over whether gays are really welcome. Read the blog and post a comment»


Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries