Daily Digest - January 21, 2021

“Through the years, I’ve always had a heart for doubters. I’m not trying to be Mr. Answer Man, but I do want to be a voice for those that struggle.”The Rev. Martin Thielen, speaking of his new Doubter’s Parish website.


NEWS AND FEATURES
 
Retired pastor starts online ‘Doubter’s Parish’ 

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — The Rev. Martin Thielen’s retirement project after United Methodist ministry is a new website called Doubter’s Parish, where skeptics and what he calls “thinking Christians with questions” can read his writings and get in touch. Thielen, a popular author and former megachurch pastor, is quick to acknowledge his own faith struggles. Sam Hodges reports.
Read story

Western North Carolina Conference
Evangelism through hops and hymns

LINCOLNTON, N.C. — The Rev. Amy Vaughan, pastor of Marvin United Methodist Church, took having Bible study in a bar to the next level when she decided to team up with the Rev. Mike Collins, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church. The Rev. Meg Gaston tells their story. 
Read story

KFSM-TV
Church and Walmart honor front-line workers

FORT SMITH, Ark. — First United Methodist Church and Walmart in this northwest Arkansas city wanted to show support for hospital workers dealing with the surge of COVID-19 patients. With donations from Walmart, church members assembled and delivered food baskets to workers at two local hospitals. In a few weeks, church members plan to return to pray with the workers. Tiffany Lee has the story. 
Watch and read story

New 2020 annual conference reports posted
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — United Methodist News is posting 2020 annual conference reports. New this week is Zambia. 
Read reports


PRESS RELEASES

Council of Bishops
Bishops mourn loss of AU chancellor

WASHINGTON — The United Methodist Church has lost a “great visionary” and leader with the death of Professor Munashe Furusa, vice chancellor of Africa University, the Council of Bishops said in a statement. With his death, “a dark cloud has passed over the valley of dreams, our crown jewel of Methodist education in Africa,” the statement said. 
Read statement
Read UM News obituary

Higher Education and Ministry
Agency eliminates jobs under new structure
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The church agency charged with leadership development has reorganized and will cut 25% of its labor force by the end of January. Budget decreases and falling collections made the cuts necessary, said the Rev. Greg Bergquist, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. 
Read press release 

World Council of Churches
Online prayer scheduled for Christian unity

GENEVA — The World Council of Churches invites the global ecumenical family and friends to join a livestreamed public prayer service at 8 a.m. U.S. Eastern time Jan. 25, the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year’s theme, from the Gospel of John: “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit.”
Read invitation
Watch livestream


COMMENTARIES
UM News includes in the Daily Digest various commentaries about issues in the denomination. The opinion pieces reflect a variety of viewpoints and are the opinions of the writers, not the UM News staff.

What would Jesus tell the US Capitol rioters?
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (UM News) — Some of the protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol offered a prayer from the presider’s desk in the Senate chamber. The Rev. William B. Lawrence examines the rioters’ claims of Scriptural authority. 
Read commentary
Assault on US Capitol dismays United Methodists


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