"So many of the people who went were just taken by the people, by the land, by the history. It’s become a part of their lives." — The Rev. Tom Vencuss, who was coordinator of the Haiti Response Plan.
Volunteers still answering call to serve Haiti
DALLAS (UMNS) — Five years after a devastating earthquake, Haiti continues to be a magnet for United Methodist volunteers who speak of the enormous needs there as well as the spiritual return they themselves receive. Highland Park United Methodist in Dallas is among the churches working in Haiti, despite having had a volunteer killed in the earthquake. Sam Hodges has the story.
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Read full UMNS coverage of the earthquake response
A letter to Martin Luther King Jr.
ATLANTA (UMNS) — Retired United Methodist Bishop Woodie W. White reflects on the national conversation on race in his annual “birthday letter” to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The deaths of a number of unarmed black youth at the hands of police point to a deep racial divide even as the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the act that granted rights to vote to black American citizens, he writes.
Faith groups condemn massacre in Nigeria
NEW YORK (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, World Methodist Council and World Council of Churches are among the faith groups condemning a recent massacre by the Boko Haram in Baga, a small town in Borno State, Nigeria. “We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are building peace in the face of atrocity,” said Thomas Kemper, head of Global Ministries, in a statement.
Board of Global Ministries statement
Board of Church and Society
World Methodist Council statement
Read WCC story
A reflection on the ‘slaughter of innocents’
SHRUB OAK, N. Y. (UMNS) — Alarmed by the rise of anti-Christian persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, the Rev. Jacob Dharmaraj exhorts more United Methodists to respond to the “plight of our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world.” Dharmaraj, president of the National Federation of Asian American United Methodists, shared this reflection with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
Free Imagine No Malaria resources available for Lent
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Imagine No Malaria effort offers free resources for the time of year when Christians strive to give up indifference and often take on something new. The resources include graphics, worship materials and videos suitable for use in a church, small group or Sunday school setting.
Lawsuit filed against North Alabama Conference, pastor
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UMNS) — A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the former pastor of Gardendale-Mount Vernon United Methodist Church and the United Methodist North Alabama Conference for a 2013 shooting that left his wife dead and his daughter wounded. The lawsuit was filed against the Rev. Terry Lee Greer by his daughter Suzanna on behalf of herself and the estate of her late mother, Lisa. Terry McElheny, an attorney for the conference, said the lawsuit is “under seal,” and he has not seen it and cannot comment. Kent Faulk of AL.com has the story.
Read UMNS story filed after the shooting
United Methodist Insurance ends year on upswing
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist Insurance, which provides insurance policies and risk management for local churches and other organizations, reports that its sales have doubled each of its two years of operations. The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, owns the insurance company that aims to serve unique United Methodist needs.
Read press release
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.
Sunday, Jan. 18
Human Relations Day — A special offering this Sunday, the closest to the observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, will focus this year on the rehabilitation of youth offenders. The United Methodist Book of Discipline describes Human Relations Day as a call "to recognize the right of all God's children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other." Resources from umcgiving.org