“As I read about the Book of Acts, I don’t see any talk about metrics. I do see talk about transformation, and that’s what is happening in these weird expressions of church.” — The Rev. Beth Ann Estock, a church planter and coach in Oregon.
To reach ‘nones,’ try church experiments
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Portland, the host of the denomination’s 2016 General Conference on May 10-20, is on the leading edge of the “None Zone” — where more people answer “none” when asked their religion than identify with any single faith group. United Methodists in Portland are taking the lead in another way: They are coming up with new ways to do church for people who don’t like church. Heather Hahn reports on two examples.
Prayer vigil focuses on deportation plan
NEW YORK (UMNS) — United Methodist Bishop Jane Middleton was among those leading an “Interfaith Prayer Vigil for Immigration Reform” Monday at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, sponsored by the denomination’s New York Conference and the New Sanctuary Coalition. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week regarding the legality of a White House plan to defer deportation for about 5 million immigrants. Linda Bloom reports.
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Bishops: Repeal North Carolina’s HB2
RALEIGH, N.C. (UMNS) — Eight United Methodist bishops who live in North Carolina are calling on the state’s legislators to repeal House Bill 2. The law makes it illegal for cities to expand upon state laws related to workplace discrimination, use of public accommodations and the minimum wage. The law has gotten significant pushback from business leaders. “We urge all United Methodists to engage in prayer, in study of the issues, in patient listening and persevering conversation with others who hold differing opinion,” the bishops’ statement said.
Read bishops’ statement
Read Charlotte Observer about the law
United Methodists key partners in malaria fight
GENEVA, Switzerland (UMNS) — Donations from Imagine No Malaria to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2015 were more than double that of combined donations in the previous four years, according to the annual report issued by the Global Fund to The United Methodist Church.
Read press release
Agency will have Twitter session on budget
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Moses Kumar, the top executive of the denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration, will on Thursday, April 28, lead a live session on Twitter to answer questions about the proposed 2017-2020 budget for general church operations. You can join at @GCFA_UMC and #UMCBudget.
How to join the conversation
Read UMNS budget background
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.
Thursday-Friday, May 5-6
“Navigating Change Conference” — Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois, will host this gathering, and church leaders will share what they’ve learned in growing from 200 to more than 2,000 in weekly attendance. Speakers include the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, lead pastor at Grace Church in Southwest Florida; Justin Wise, a social-media strategist; the Rev. Junius Dotson, senior pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Kansas; the Rev. Ashley Cooper, senior pastor of Swan Bank Methodist Church in Stoke on Trent, England. Details