“Otetela-speaking people couldn’t believe that I was a preacher. They remembered me as a mischievous missionary kid. They said, ‘If God chose you to be a preacher, God must have a very short memory.’ ” – The Rev. Bill Lovell on his life in the Belgian Congo.
United Methodism flourishes in Tunda
TUNDA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS)—The first Methodist missionaries arrived in the village of Tunda in 1922 and Methodism continues to flourish there. The Tunda District in the East Congo conference includes 68 local churches served by 72 United Methodist pastors. The district covers a lot of ground, most of it inaccessible by automobiles. Kathy L. Gilbert and Mike DuBose have the story.
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Reflections of life as a child in the Belgian Congo
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) —“I was 18 months old in 1940 when I arrived in the Belgian Congo, and 18 years old when I returned to America in 1957,” writes the Rev. Bill Lovell, retired pastor in the Tennessee Conference. His love for the people and the country remains strong today.
Read his reflection
Iraq: Food for uprooted families
DUHOK, Iraq (UMNS) —The United Methodist Committee on Relief is working with the Turkey-based International Blue Crescent to provide food to some of the nearly half a million internally displaced persons who have sought refuge in the Iraqi Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. David Tereshchuk reports for UMCOR.
United Methodist dissident put in military prison
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) ─ Vano Kiboko, a United Methodist evangelist and political dissident wrongfully imprisoned in his native Democratic Republic of Congo, has been moved to a military prison. He is the only civilian in the prison, his siblings say. The Rev. Arthur McClanahan of the Iowa Conference reports on what Kiboko’s siblings say people can do to help.
Stamp of AME founder unveiled
PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) ─ United Methodists joined in celebrating the unveiling of the “Forever” commemorative stamp to Richard Allen (1760-1831), founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Among those at the unveiling were Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Alfred Day III, top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History. Jay Rollins of Archives and History has the story.
Equipping clergy for tough conversations
LONG BRANCH, N.J. (UMNS) – As both church and society become more polarized, United Methodist churches and the denomination are seeking ways to engage in healthy conversation. With that in mind, New Jersey Area Bishop John Schol hosted a clergy convocation focused on equipping clergy to lead people through controversy in congregations and communities. Jeff Wolfe reports for the conference.
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.
Wednesday, Feb. 10
Ash Wednesday — United Methodist Discipleship Ministries has worship resources.
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 12-13
Lead Like Jesus Encounter Training Workshop ─ First United Methodist Church, 263 King St. Oviedo, Florida, will host this gathering. Facilitators are Debbie Piper and Jim Boesch of the Commission on United Methodist Men. The cost is $99 per person, and $180 for couples. United Methodist Men has endorsed Lead Like Jesus. Details