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UMNS Weekly Digest - July 6, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 2 6. 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

News Stories:



Health care law survives; what's ahead?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Although the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5 to 4 majority, largely upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama's health-care legislation, even proponents agree the legislation likely will need improvements. Many United Methodists hailed the decision, saying the law's provisions will help extend health insurance to the poor and even save local churches money. Read story and post a comment»

Immigration reformers hail and hammer ruling

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist advocates for comprehensive immigration reform see the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, as progress but hope to see immigration reform legislation that would eliminate the provision that allows "racial profiling" to continue. Read story and post a comment»

United Methodist pastor takes arrest in stride

SAN ANTONIO (UMNS) - A recent night in jail made headlines but is nothing new to the Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith, a United Methodist pastor who has been living on the streets, offering ministry to the homeless for the past year. She turned herself in July 1 on a warrant and ticket for "camping in public." It is the second time she has spent time in jail for this offense. The court had given her the option of a $150 fine or community service. She refused both because she says she wants to make the point that the homeless often are jailed for minor offenses and cannot pay fines or do community service. "Old tickets pile up, they get stopped for some silly reason and they get arrested again. They leave kids behind," she said. "It is really a tragedy." Read more»

Follow her on Facebook»

United Methodist pastors called to serve

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The last American troops left Baghdad on Dec. 18, 2011, marking the end of the nearly nine-year war in Iraq. Now those who served, their families and the religious professionals who cared for them are returning and in need of spiritual care from their religious homes as well. The United Methodist Endorsing Agency, the denomination's chaplain agency, offers ways for congregations to reach out to deployed and returning service members and their families. Read full story and post a comment»

Exchange program opens world for students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Starting this fall, students from six United Methodist-related universities in the United States and six international Methodist universities will have an opportunity to learn firsthand from each other in a new student exchange program. The Methodist International Student Exchange Network is an initiative of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities managed by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Read story and post a comment»

Churches respond to 700 miles of U.S. storms

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (UMNS) - Challenged by a swath of severe summer storms and sweltering temperatures, United Methodists immediately opened their churches as cooling/relief centers and went to work removing debris. In the mid-Atlantic region, at least 2.5 million remained in the dark as the workweek began July 2. The death toll from the severe weather was in the teens. Read full story and post a comment»

July conferences to elect 11 U.S. bishops

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The attention of the denomination will be focused beginning July 18 on the jurisdictional conferences, where 11 new U.S. bishops are expected to be elected in three jurisdictions.

Read full story and post a comment»

'The bishop goes around and gives high fives'

BOSTON (UMNS) - Some of the 14 retiring bishops offer thoughts on the role of bishops and their years of service. Read more and post a comment»

44 candidates for the episcopacy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - There are now 44 candidates for the episcopacy. Learn who they are. Read full story and post a comment»

Services for Bishop Kelly

SAN FRANCISCO (UMNS) - The funeral service for Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly was July 5 at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco. Kelly died June 28 at age 92. The family asked that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the Ila Marshall Turpeau Scholarship Fund, Garrett Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Ill. 60201, or to The Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly Endowed Scholarship Fund,Africa University Development Office, P. O. Box 340007, Nashville, Tenn., 37203-0007. Read obituary and post a comment»

See Bishop Kelly speak about her faith on two video clips that were recorded in 1992 for a program called "Faces on Faith." See Video: Bishop Kelly on Faith»

See Video: Bishop Kelly on Miracles»

Lon Morris files for bankruptcy

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (UMNS) - Lon Morris College, a United Methodist-affiliated two-year college, filed for bankruptcy July 2, according to the United Methodist Reporter. The oldest private two-year school in Texas, Lon Morris has been the gateway to higher education for many United Methodist pastors. Among its creditors is the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, which loaned the school $250,000. Read story»

Episcopal bishop cites Methodist talks

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - Episcopalians are "seeing new possibilities" in conversations with Methodist churches, including a focus on healing the sin of racism, said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in her opening remarks July 4 to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church now have an interim agreement for sharing the Eucharist. Both denominations are in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Read the opening remarks»

South Sudan to mark first year of independence

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Five days after the United States celebrated its independence, the people of South Sudan will mark their own milestone. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became an independent country, separate from Khartoum-ruled Sudan after a long, bloody war, but still facing conflict and many other challenges. The United Methodist Committee on Relief, present in South Sudan since 2006, now has three offices there, including the central office in the capital, Juba. Learn more»

Grace knows no barriers

GILROY, Calif. (UMNS) - "In these difficult economic times, many United Methodist churches in our district are staying open by collaborating with churches of other ethnicities (Korean, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tongan)," writes Kat Teraji in the Gilroy Dispatch. "Many Methodist churches are growing, while those with traditional models remain the same or are losing members. We are no exception." Read full story»

Church videos fight bullying of gays

NORMAN, Okla. (UMNS) - Moved by several suicides that received local and national attention, St. Stephen's United Methodist Church launched in May a 10-video series, designed to combat bullying and to help promote the church's Reconciling Ministry of welcoming the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community. The video series was recognized as the best lay-led ministry project from the denomination's South Oklahoma City District at a May luncheon, NEWSOK reported. Read full story»

Church working on uniforms for students

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (UMNS) - It may be July but the Hay Street United Methodist Church has a Christmas tree in place as part of its latest community service project, reports. The church is helping a local elementary school to acquire 300 uniforms for the start of school. Read full story»

Claremont president to retire

CLAREMONT, Calif. (UMNS) - Jerry D. Campbell, sixth president of United Methodist-related Claremont School of Theology and the founding president of Claremont Lincoln University, announced July 29 his retirement from both positions, effective June 30, 2013. Though stepping away from day-to-day operations, Campbell has accepted an invitation from the Claremont Lincoln Board of Trustees to become university chancellor on July 1, 2013. In this role, Campbell will serve as a senior adviser and ambassador for Claremont Lincoln University. Read full announcement»

Ministry summit to be August 5-7

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - The 2012 Lake Junaluska Ministry Summit: "Shifting from Management to Mission" is scheduled August 5-7. The gathering, led by the Rev. Gil Rendle Jr., will explore some of the fundamentals of change that the church is facing. Rendle is senior consultant with The Institute for Clergy and Congregational Excellence of The Texas Methodist Foundation in Austin, Texas. To learn more»

'The Cross and the Flag'

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) - "As Christians we have another loyalty - to the Cross - which calls us to another allegiance," writes Bishop Mike Coyner of the Indiana Episcopal Area. "We are not just citizens of the USA; we are also citizens of the reign of God. Living in the USA we can take for granted the wonderful blessing we have: We can pledge allegiance to both the Cross and the Flag." Read full commentary»

Pension board reviewing health-care rules

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the health-care law, the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits will continue to review the law and its regulations to implement the components that apply to the HealthFlex health plan.

Read full release» For updates on health-care reform»

Webinar on giving planned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship will offer an hourlong webinar at 6:30 p.m. CDT July 12 on how churches can shift the focus from the church's need for money to the people's need to give. The course is called: "Are You Raising Funds or Raising Generous Disciples?" To learn more, contact: Ken Sloane or call 615-340-7165. To sign up, click on the seminar at right»

'Festival of Wisdom and Grace'

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) - Retired United Methodist Bishop William Wesley Morris will be the preacher at the 2012 Festival of Wisdom and Grace on July 30-Aug. 2 at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Morris will talk at this event for older adults about going from transition to transformation. To register»

UMTV: Battle buddies mentor veterans

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. (UMNS) - Statistics suggest that up to 30 percent of U.S. troops who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam will struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder. The Veterans Administration offers free mental health services in many U.S. cities but 40 percent of veterans return to rural areas. Battle Buddies is a peer-counseling program that helps vets to get the support they need. Watch video»

See other UMTV related stories:

Dogs Rescue Soldiers»
Food Bank for Vets»

Blog: Bishop Kelly 'giant of faith'

NEW YORK (UMNS) - "Bishop Kelly was small in stature, but a giant of the faith," says Larry R. Hygh Jr., remembering the late Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly. "She had a gentle, but firm style. In every way Bishop Kelly was a servant leader, challenging and pushing The United Methodist Church and the broader community on issues of racism, sexism and human sexuality, without pause or prejudice." Read commentary and post a comment»

Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries