Daily Digest - May 17, 2016

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“Black Lives Matter is a movement that has opened the door and stepped into The United Methodist Church.” — The Rev. Pamela Lightsey, who helped organize a march into the General Conference 2016 plenary.


Images of General Conference 2016


PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A Black Lives Matter protest, a debate over more bishops for Africa and a number of celebrations made up the photos from Monday.

See the photos


GC2016 pauses for Black Lives Matter demonstration

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Chanting “Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter,” close to 150 United Methodists swarmed the plenary floor at General Conference on May 16 to voice concern for the oppressed and marginalized. Jessica Brodie has the story.
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Clergy offer support to LGBTQ pastors

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — More than 1,500 United Methodist clergy have signed a letter stating they would refuse to fill the pulpit of a LGBTQ pastor who was removed for “God’s given sexual orientation or gender identity.” Marching around the Oregon Convention Center, a group of LGBTQ supporters sang and shouted, “Tear the Walls Down Now” in reference to the Bible story of Jericho, and asked an openly gay pastor to be a bishop candidate. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Five elected to Judicial Council

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — United Methodists from Norway and Mozambique are among the new members of the denomination’s Judicial Council. Delegates to General Conference 2016 filled open positions for two clergy and three lay members on the nine-member council. Linda Bloom reports.
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More bishops for Africa, but not right away

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — General Conference 2016 delegates approved adding five more bishops in Africa, but not until 2020, when a comprehensive plan is to be in place for the continent's central conference and episcopal area boundaries. Some African delegates wanted to add two bishops right away, arguing that the church's growth in Africa demands it. Sam Hodges has the story.
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Guaranteed appointment survives

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Some clergy-related petitions have passed at General Conference 2016, and others are likely to be adopted, having made it onto the consent calendar. But a petition for "early ordination" and another that would have removed the constitutional bar to ending guaranteed appointment for ordained elders failed in committee. Sam Hodges reports.
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Hearing the plea: Safe water for all

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — From Michigan to Liberia, Portland to Philippines and Honduras, poor and marginalized communities struggle with water contamination that threatens everyday life. United Methodist Women called attention to their plight during a lunchtime rally on May 16 at the Oregon Convention Center plaza. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Harvey: ‘Wear the robe like it matters’

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Episcopal Area ​ reminded those attending General Conference 2016 that God calls all to “bear fruit for God’s sake.” Betty Backstrom reports.
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Bishops vow to work toward unity, accountability

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) – United Methodist bishops have adopted a “Covenant of Accountability,” in which they pledge to work for church unity and remain in community with each other despite differences in Christian conscience. Heather Hahn has the story.
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GC2016 celebrates Africa University

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — As Africa University approaches its 25th anniversary, delegates to the 2016 General Conference took a few moments Monday afternoon to celebrate one of the denomination's high points. “You and The UMC have answered a call to witness through this transforming ministry,” Munashe Furusa, vice chancellor of Africa University, told delegates. Erik Alsgaard reports.
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Delegate asks for legislation first, presentations later

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — As the second and final week of General Conference 2016 began here, a call came for a dogged focus on legislative work, to make sure all petitions that cleared committee would get a vote in the plenary session. The motion to set aside everything but closing and opening prayers until all petitions, elections and necessary business were completed was referred to the Committee on Agenda. Sam Hodges has the story.
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Lack of youth delegates leaves General Conference Commission slot unfilled

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) – The lack of youth delegates among the 864 delegates to General Conference 2016 means that for the second time in a row, the commission that runs the denomination’s top legislative assembly will not have a youth delegate. Charmaine Robledo, director of communications for the Mountain Sky Area, has the story.
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May 16 wrap-up: Week Two begins with elections, celebrations, protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Before tackling the pile of petitions before them, delegates to General Conference 2016 voted to fill vacancies in key positions on the Judicial Council, University Senate and the Commission on General Conference. In other news, United Methodist Women celebrates its 150th and more than 1,500 clergy signed a letter of support for LGBTQ rights. Joey Butler reports.
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Coyner: We ‘agree on homosexuality’

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) – In his latest E-pistle, Indiana Area Bishop Michael J. Coyner says that despite popular perceptions, United Methodists actually agree on several aspects of the sexuality debate.
Read this week’s E-pistle


Blog: The main thing

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Bishop Joseph Yeakel had a motto: “Always keep the main thing the main thing,” writes the Rev. Laura Easto. She asks in a blog, “At General Conference this year, what is the main thing?”
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Blog: Laity called to live ever-blessing

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Inspired by the Laity Address speakers and mission of Hannah Foust, 14, to build water wells in Burkina Faso, Baltimore-Washington Conference delegate Delores Martin urges United Methodists “in the pew” to go out and connect with people. Melissa Lauber reflects on what Martin said.
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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.


Tuesday-Wednesday, May 17-18

Community Service at GC2016 — Portland, various sites. Delegates, guests and observers to General Conference are invited to participate in community service events on Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18. Small groups will work at the Oregon Food Bank and Bethlehem House of Bread, a ministry of Tigard United Methodist Church. Details


Thursday, May 19
Commissioning of missionaries
8 p.m. PDT. Watch livestream video as 29 new United Methodist Board of Global Ministries missionaries are commissioned at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. This is believed to be the first time the blessing and sending of missionaries has been included in a General Conference worship service during a plenary session. Watch online

More upcoming United Methodist events

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