Daily Digest: June 16, 2014

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“That is the end of Methodism as we know it.”
– The Rev. William J. Abraham, professor of Wesley Studies at Perkins School of Theology,
on the idea of a “local option” for churches and annual conferences regarding church law on homosexuality.


‘Local option’ draws support, pushback

DALLAS (UMNS) – The Rev. Adam Hamilton’s proposal to give churches and annual conferences leeway to depart from church law regarding homosexuality is drawing support as well as heated opposition. The website for the proposal has added about 2,100 names of endorsees, but a group of clergy, theologians and laity has published an open letter, saying the idea would merely shift conflict to the local level, while also eroding Methodist connectionalism.

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Israel-related concerns cited in pension board sale

NEW YORK (UMNS) – United Methodist Kairos Response, an advocacy group, reports that the denomination’s Board of Pension and Health Benefits has sold its shares in G4S, “due in part to concerns about the company's involvement in human rights violations in the Israeli prison system and the military occupation of Palestinian territories. David Zellner, chief investment officer for pension board, told United Methodist News Service the shares were sold for reasons related to a number to the company's business activities.

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Northern Illinois near $1 million malaria goal

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (UMNS) — The Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference is close to reaching a $1 million fundraising goal for Imagine No Malaria just one year after the campaign began. During the June 8-10 annual conference session, a bishop’s appeal offering of more than $42,000, a $10,000 donation from the Seoul South Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church and other donations helped boost the $811,000 already raised to $868,000.

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Looking ahead
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email [email protected] and put Digest in the subject line.


Deadline to register for online course United Methodism 101, Monday, June 16 – Course offered June 18 - July 30. Course from United Methodist Communications gives overview of church history, structure, beliefs, ministries and challenges. $9.99. Details.

Window on Wesley Theological Seminary, Tuesday, June 17 – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. Opportunity for prospective students to get to know the Wesley community and to experience a day in the life of a Wesley seminarian. Details.

Juneteenth, Thursday, June 19The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources for what is the oldest-known African-American celebration. The day celebrates when word of emancipation reached slaves in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 – two months after the Civil War ended. Details.

“Fierce With Age: Aging as a Spiritual Path,” retreat, Monday through Wednesday, June 23 – 25 – Carol Osborn, bestselling author of “Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn,” will lead retreat at Scarritt-Bennett in Nashville, Tenn. Costs range from $152 to $272 depending on whether guests stay overnight. Details

Prepare: A Training for New Leaders, Monday-Tuesday, June 23-24 and Summer Institute, Tuesday to Friday, June 24-27 – Both events at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta aim to address that need by training, equipping and building a network for new, seasoned or prospective United Methodist collegiate ministers.. Combined cost of events is $100. Details

Deadline to apply for CORR Action Fund grants, Monday, June 30 – The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will award grants of $20,000 to $80,000 to “innovative, bold, high-impact initiatives” that will increase intercultural competency or support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity and systemic equity. Details

Deadline to register for five online courses from United Methodist Communications, Tuesday, July 8 – United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses July 9 - Aug. 20.  “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” “Connectional Giving,” “Moodle 200 – Advanced Training,”  “Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry?” and “Welcoming Ministry 100.” Costs vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details

Free webinar “Finding Treasure: The Story of our Newest Stewardship Resource,” Thursday, July 10 – 6:30 p.m. CT. Jacob Armstrong, pastor and church planter, will share how he helped his congregation discover “where our treasure goes, our hearts will follow.”  Details

Deadline to register for Boards of Ordained Ministry Mid-Quadrennial Training, Friday, July 11 – Event for board officers and cabinet  representatives will be Tuesday, Aug. 12, and ends by noon on Friday, Aug. 15, in Denver. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is sponsoring. Details

Free webinar “What’s the Job of Conference and District Lay Leaders?” Wednesday, July 16 –  6:30 p.m. CT. Jodi Cataldo of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship will facilitate a conversation on these ministries. Details

Free webinar “Creating a Culture of Innovation Part 1: Can My Leaders Innovate?” Thursday, July 17 –  6:30 p.m. CT. This 90-minute session led by Craig Kennet Miller of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship will introduce tools for implementing new ministry strategies in local churches. Details

Aldersgate 2014 Conference, Thursday to Sunday, July 17-20 – The national conference of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries will be at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Ill. The theme is freedom. Details

Deadline to register for School of Congregational Development 2014, Tuesday, July 15 – Gathering Thursday-Sunday, Aug.14-17, sponsored by the United Methodist boards of Discipleship and Global Ministries at Matthews United Methodist Church, 801 S. Trade St., Matthews, N.C. $425. Details

Introduction to United Methodist Board of Church and Society seminar program, Wednesday-Friday, July 23-25 – Youth group and young adult leaders are invited to attend a three-day “In Focus” familiarization event about United Methodist Seminars on National and International Affairs. The program will introduce the seminars and will explain how to organize and lead a group for these tailored study experiences in the U.S. capital. Details

Festival of Wisdom and Grace, Monday to Thursday, July 28-31 – Columbia (S.C.) Area Bishop Jonathan Holston will be the conference preacher at this time of worship and learning at Lake Junaluska (N.C) Conference and Retreat Center. The theme is “Living Ordinary Time with EEEE’s – Enthusiasm, Encouragement, Engagement and Empowerment.” Details

United Methodist conference “Walking with Palestinian Christians,” Thursday-Friday, Aug. 7-8 – Sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and host Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. Details on PDF

Deadline to apply for Ethnic Local Church Grants, Sunday, Aug. 10 – The grants, distributed by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, aim to strengthen ethnic minority local churches through education, advocacy or leadership development as they engage in social justice. Details

United Theological Seminary’s Preaching Retreat, Tuesday-Thursday, Aug. 12-14 – “The Promise of New Testament Apocalyptic” will be the theme of the retreat at the seminary’s campus at 4501 Denlinger Road, Dayton, Ohio. The event aims to help pastors and students gain competence in preaching apocalyptic texts in the New Testament. Details

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