“Our purpose is to meet the needs of the community and find out what the needs are. We come from a grass-roots approach saying, ‘What is it you need help with? What are you missing? How can we help you?’ ” — The Rev. John Bice on community ministries of St. James United Methodist in Philadelphia.
Taking church to the community
PHILADELPHIA — St. James United Methodist Church spends more time being a church in the community than it does inside church. The church had an average of six members attending when the Rev. John Brice arrived in July 2016. Now there are 79 members and ministries include free English classes, an after-school program with free music classes, food programs, a computer lab and free wireless access for community internet use, to mention a few. Samaria Bailey reports for the Philadelphia Tribune.
'Prayer runs' are spiritual, physical disciplines
CONWAY, Ark. — The director of youth ministries at First United Methodist Church started running and praying to get back in shape and spend more time in prayer. Now, Zach Schrick uses running to pray for the community as he makes his way through the city. Amy Forbus reports for the Arkansas Conference.
Art links Christ with Syrian refugees
WASHINGTON —Wesley Theological Seminary is inviting the public to encounter the sacred through Michael Takeo Magruder’s “Lamentation for the Forsaken,” a real-time new media installation juxtaposing Christ’s journey to the cross with the plight of refugees fleeing the Syrian Civil War. The installation is laid out on the tomb of Bishop Bromley Oxnam in the chapel of the United Methodist seminary through May 19. Melissa Lauber reports for the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
Commentary: Find a way to stay together
FORT SMITH, Ark. — The Rev. William O. “Bud” Reeves writes that as intractable as the issue of homosexuality has been, there is hope. Reeves wrote a commentary about Florida Bishop Ken Carter’s visit with a group of Arkansas clergy and laity. Carter talked about the work of the Way Forward Commission. Reeves writes that there may be “new definitions of unity that will allow us to disagree on some important issues.”
Ask the UMC: Communion questions
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — Can a layperson celebrate communion privately at home or is Holy Communion only valid when an ordained minister does it? InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has the answers with an explainer from the Rev. Mark W. Stamm, author of “Sacraments and Discipleship: Understanding Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in a United Methodist Context.”
Ask the UMC
Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.
Sunday, May 28-Wednesday, May 31
Texas Conference Session — The Woodlands United Methodist Church, 2200 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77380. The theme of this annual conference meeting is “Unified Through Christ.” Details