January 31, 2014
NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Jan. 27 - Feb. 3. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at http://umns.umc.org.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — It may not reach Richard Sherman/Michael Crabtree levels, but some 50 churches in Seattle and Denver are engaging in a little friendly Super Bowl-related competition to help the hungry. Sophia Agtarap of Rethink Church has the story.
HOPE, Ark. (UMNS) — Nate Carter, a member of First United Methodist Church, almost saw his football dreams disappear like the 70 pounds he lost during the month he spent in the hospital. His story of recovery from a life-threatening illness and return to the gridiron won an NFL essay contest, and he is now heading to the Super Bowl. Amy Forbus of the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference shares Carter's story and how his church family helped his recovery.
DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) — Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people's ministries in the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference, worries when some fans or players even jokingly pray to God for a win. "Prayer is one of the most public ways by which we communicate our theology," he writes.
LOS ALTOS, Calif. (UMNS) — Barbara Ferguson, a laywoman from Los Altos United Methodist Church, donated $1.1 million toward the California-Nevada Annual (regional) Conference’s efforts in the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria campaign. This is the largest gift from an individual donor to date in The United Methodist Church’s campaign to eradicate malaria in Africa by 2015.
ATLANTA (UMNS) — The Wesleyan Covenant Network, a new United Methodist group, is forming with the aim of advancing “the Kingdom of Christ,” despite the denomination’s growing divisions over homosexuality. In practice, group members say, this means committing to mutual accountability, evangelism and upholding the United Methodist doctrine.
DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) — The Rev. Gayle C. Felton, 71, a clergy member of the North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference known for her published works on baptism and the sacraments, died Jan. 25. She was the primary author of the 2004 denominational statement on Holy Communion.
LEYTE PROVINCE, Philippines (UMNS) — The Rev. David D. Cosmiano, district superintendent in the Eastern Visayas District, reports that the United Methodist Committee on Relief returned to Leyte Province Dec. 5-6 to distribute more relief goods to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which is known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda. “You are a church that remembers,” Cosmiano said survivors told him.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — UMCmarket.org, launched by the General Council on Finance and Administration, in six months raised around $49,000 for local churches and other United Methodist organizations. The online service is designed for United Methodists to shop at hundreds of retailers and have a percentage of their total shopping purchase donated to the local church or other church organizations of their choice.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (UMNS) — United Methodist Neile Jones isn't an athlete, but she has been in her own way vigorously preparing for the Feb. 7-23, 2014, Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The evening news anchor at KNWA-TV in Fayetteville, Ark., will be reporting on the games for Nexstar NBC affiliates and their sister stations, working with more than 100 markets across the United States and the NBC network.
GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) —The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits invites interested plan participants and other constituents to address the board of directors during a listening session at 11:30 a.m. CT Feb. 27 in Kansas City, Mo. To place your name and topic on the agenda and for specific presentation requirements, contact Colette Nies by Feb. 14 at 1-800-269-2244 (extension 4296) or email@example.com.
GENEVA (UMNS) — Christian young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 are invited to apply to the World Council of Churches Stewards Programme to learn and assist at the June 26-July 10 WCC Central Committee meeting. Application deadline is Feb. 21.
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — “A deep sense of tragedy hangs in the air,” Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference wrote as he called Jan. 25 for prayers in the wake of the shooting at the Mall in Columbia, a few miles from the Conference Mission Center.
GORE, Okla. (UMNS) — Steve Pool, a certified executive chef, filled his plate of life with United Methodist missions. People are fed physically and spiritually because of his ongoing commitment, Holly McCray and Ron Wallin of the Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference report.
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The United Methodist General Hospital at Kissy is improving the lives of Sierra Leoneans in multiple ways. United Methodist Communicator Phileas Jusu looks at two improvements. Physical therapy — which started as a volunteer service — is winning national acclaim, and a $750,000 maternity building addition has doubled maternal bed space to 50.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (UMNS) — When singer-songwriter Jason Moon performs at Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church in February, the Iraq veteran will be bringing full circle a journey that started when that congregation reached out to him years ago. Beth DiCocco of the Upper New York Annual (regional) Conference shares Moon’s story.
GADSDEN, Tenn. (UMNS) — Hunters love their dogs and love their sport. And the approximately 90 people of all ages gathered at Center United Methodist Church in Gadsden Tenn., for a raccoon hunt fundraiser also love Christ. Lane Gardner Camp of the Memphis Annual (regional) Conference has the story.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. Paul Kottke has preached it before and he'll preach it again — Christian faith and science, including Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, are not incompatible. The United Methodist Church officially endorses the Clergy Letter Project, an interfaith initiative on religion and science whose projects include Evolution Weekend, which is set for Feb 7-9 this year.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — February is Black History Month and United Methodists are taking time to reflect on race and religion.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Wednesday, Feb. 5, is the deadline for the Young Clergy Initiative grants, which will be awarded to applicants who develop innovative projects that could attract young people to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist clergy and lay leaders will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Christ-centered leadership of John and Charles Wesley this summer during a 10-day Wesley Pilgrimage to England. The pilgrimage, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and the Board of Higher Education and Ministry, will begin July 14.
DALLAS (UMNS) — Pete Seeger, singer, songwriter and social activist, died Monday, Jan. 27, at the age of 94. He played a crucial role in adapting and popularizing "We Shall Overcome," an anthem of the U.S. civil rights movement that many congregations will sing during Black History Month. C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology in Dallas offers a full history of the song.
DALLAS (UMNS) — This hymn by S. Ralph Harlow calls us to become more Christ-like, following the prophetic example of Christ’s life. History of Hymns, a weekly feature made available by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, is written by C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology.
ATLANTA (UMNS) — North Georgia Annual (regional) Conference Bishop Michael Watson and retired Bishops Woody White and Ann Sherer-Simpson will be special guests at Just Save One Atlanta, Feb. 25. The free event hosted by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund will help attendees learn how they can be a part of eradicating HIV and AIDS around the globe.
SMITHSBURG, Md. (UMNS) — “For those who love their pets,” said the Rev. Al Deal of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, they’re not just animals. “They are part of the family.” If they are part of the family, he asked, “why not invite them to church?” That’s just what he has done, reports The Herald-Mail.
MORRISTOWN, N.J. (UMNS) — It's difficult for all congregations to lose a longtime and valued member. United Methodist Church parishioners tell MorristownGreen.com that Joe Replogle, who passed away just before Christmas, could "build something that works from what seems to be just a pile of parts."
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) — Barry Bray, scoutmaster of Troop 12 at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock, has been honored with the Boy Scouts’ highest valor award for single-handedly guiding to safety a confused motorist who was barreling down the wrong way on busy Interstate 40. The Associated Press reports how Bray maneuvered ahead of the 90-year-old motorist, forcing him to stop.
SYSKESVILLE, Md. (UMNS) — Bethesda United Methodist Church may have an average attendance of just 22, but its voice rings through the valleys on Sunday mornings. The Carroll County Times tells how a more than a century-old bell fulfills the dream of a congregant’s mother.
BALTIMORE (UMNS) — Students who want to apply for college scholarships will find the paperwork lighter in a pilot project between the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference. Students can go online and complete informational forms once instead of a new form for each application because their information will be stored in a database for reuse.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and 2011 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 International IAMSCU Conference in Hiroshima, Japan. Johnson Sirleaf is a United Methodist and the first elected female head of state in Africa. IAMSCU, the International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges, and Universities, includes more than 800 Methodist educational institutions around the world.
TYLER, Texas (UMNS) — A dilapidated dorm at Tyler Junior College has been transformed into a missional community that is helping students at two Texas colleges grow in their faith. The vision of a campus minister — who is also a United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry Baker Scholarship recipient — came to life with help from the Texas Annual Conference, local churches, and the Wesley Foundation. Nicole Burdakin has the story.
ATLANTA (UMNS) — Jennifer Ayres, director of the Religious Education Program at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, is the author of the new book “Good Food: Grounded Practical Theology.” The book explores the link between food and the Christian faith.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (UMNS) — The Rev. Tim McClendon, a South Carolina district superintendent who has taught church polity at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, reflects on “the distinction between abandoning a church or discontinuing it.”
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put Digest in the subject line.
Deadline to register for “Walking Together: Christian Communities and Faithful Responses to Mental Illness,” Monday, Feb. 3 — Feb. 6-8 conference in Houston. The Texas Annual (regional) Conference and Duke Divinity School are among the sponsors. Details
Free webinar “Robert’s Rules 101: Learning to Participate in Conference Legislative Sessions,” Tuesday, Feb. 4 — 7:30 p.m. CT, the first in a series of leadership webinars offered by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women. To see schedule and register
World Interfaith Harmony Breakfast, Wednesday, Feb. 5 — 7:30 to 9 a.m. CT at Scarritt-Bennett Center, Nashville, Tenn. $12. Details
Free webinar “Developing Your Ministry Plan 1: Congregational DNA,” Thursday, Feb. 6 — 6:30 p.m. CT, the first of four webinars using the School of Congregational Development ministry plan to develop a focus for your church. To register.
Caring for God’s Creation Conference, Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 6-9 — Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta. Matthew and Nancy Sleeth will be keynote speakers. The theme is “Keeping the Sabbath and Mindfulness as Sustainable Practice.” Sponsored by United Methodist group Caretakers of God’s Creation. Details.
Free webinar “Children’s Ministry in New Church Starts,” Friday, Feb. 7 — 10 a.m. CT, the basics needed in new congregations to welcome and contribute to the Christian formation of children from birth to age 11. To register.
Cokesbury Vacation Bible School preview, Friday, Feb. 7 — 9 a.m. to noon CT, United Methodist Publishing House 201 Eighth Ave. S., Nashville, Tenn. Find more preview events near you
Workshop on “Preaching Lent and Holy Week: Dying and Rising with Christ,” Friday, Feb. 7 — 8:45 a.m.– 4:20 p.m. ET at United Theological Seminary, 4501 Denlinger Road, Dayton, OH 45426. $95. Details
Free lunch and Learn about Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, Monday, Feb. 10 — 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. CT, Perkins School of Theology’s Houston-Galveston Extension Program, 3501 W. Alabama, Suite 107, in Houston. Details
Free webinar “Pastors Read: David and Goliath,” Wednesday, Feb. 12 — 10 a.m. CT, discussion of Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants.” To register.
Free webinar “No More Volunteers: Reclaiming Christian Servanthood,” Thursday, Feb. 13 — 5 p.m. CT, a new way for finding people with the time, skills, energy and inclination to serve the church. To register.
Deadline for legislative proposals at Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly, Friday, Feb. 14 — The gathering organized by United Methodist Young People’s Ministries is July 16-20 in Tagaytay, the Philippines. Petitions considered at the legislative assembly could find their way onto the docket for the 2016 General Conference. Details.
Deadline for nominations for Wesley Theological Seminary’s Society of John Wesley Award of Merit, Saturday, Feb. 15 — Nomination forms.
Early registration deadline for Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, “Faith, Health and Peace: Seeking the Basic Right to Good Health for All God’s Children,” Saturday, Feb. 15 — Thursday-Sunday, March 27-30 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Partial student scholarships available. Details
Online registration deadline for Black Methodists for Church Renewal annual meeting, Saturday, Feb. 15 — Both BMCR and the Native American International Caucus will meet March 28-29 in Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark Hotel in St. Louis. Call the hotel at 314-421-1776. Registration
Free webinar “Leaders Learn: Shaped by God, 12 Essentials for Nurturing Faith in Children, Youth and Adults,” Tuesday, Feb. 18 — 6:30 p.m. CT, a discussion of the book “Shaped by God,” which explores the role of story, liturgy and spiritual practices in faith formation. Read the book before the webinar. To register.
The Methodist School for Supernatural Ministry Session Six, "Power Evangelism,” Wednesday- Saturday, Feb. 19-22 — Course offered by Aldersgate Renewal Ministries in Goodlettsville, Tenn. A prerequisite for attendance is to have viewed or attended Session One, "The Basics" Details
Restorative Justice Weekend, Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 22-23 — Christ United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas, near Houston, will host speakers from Alpha Prison Fellowship and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Jim Liske, president of Prison Fellowship Ministries, and Paul Cowley of Alpha International, London, will preach at worship services. Details
Lake Junaluska Signature Series featuring Rachel Held Evans, Saturday, Feb. 22 — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, The popular Christian blogger and author will talk about how the Bible is meant to be a conversation starter, not a conversation ender. $25-35. Details
Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101,” Monday, Feb. 24 — Feb. 26-April 23, training from United Methodist Communications. Seating limited. $9.99. Details.
Deadline to register for online course “Moodle 300: Course Facilitation,” Monday, Feb. 24 — Feb. 26-April 23, training from United Methodist Communications, Moodle Basc and Moodle Advanced are prerequisite. Seating limited. $119.99. Details.
Early registration deadline for United Theological Seminary’s “Light the Fire!” Church Renewal Conference, Friday, March 21 — May 8-9 at Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. Details.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Friday through Monday, March 21-24 —Assembly co-sponsored by United Methodist Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Women, and other United Methodist ministries in Washington, D.C. The theme is “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace.” Details.
Increase Generosity in Your Church Conference, Saturday, March 29 — 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, N.C. The Rev. Lovett H. Weems Jr., director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, will speak. $35-45. Details.