“We don’t want to be legalistic, but I think we need rules to live by to guide our conversation together so we can address these tough issues.” — The Rev. Jeffrey Raffauf of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
“Many of us have made the choice to be ‘out of order’ and to stand in nonconformity with laws that harm our friends, family and parishioners.” — The Rev. Vicki Flippin of the New York Conference.
Bishops overrule nonconformity resolutions
BOSTON (UMNS) — Two bishops, in separate rulings, have voided two resolutions in the Northeastern U.S. that called for defying church restrictions on gay and lesbian individuals. The rulings come after a summer that saw multiple conferences say they would defy the denomination prohibitions related to homosexuality. Heather Hahn reports.
Pastor chastises Trump, also his hecklers
FLINT, Mich. — A United Methodist pastor cut off Donald Trump when he attacked Hillary Clinton during what was supposed to be a speech on helping where the government had failed Flint, Michigan. Later, the Rev. Faith Green Timmons of Bethel United Methodist Church admonished hecklers, saying Trump was “our guest.” A spokesperson for The United Methodist Church’s Michigan Area told UMNS that the Trump campaign contacted Bethel on Sept. 13 asking that Trump be allowed to visit and thank volunteers for providing safe drinking water and filters during Flint's water crisis.
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Support for Africa University equals hope
CLEVELAND (UMNS) — “The work that your church and your conference is doing at Africa University gives hope and is helping to break the cycle of poverty,” Vice Chancellor Munashe Furusa told the congregation at Westlake United Methodist Church. He was one of 20 speakers at East Ohio Conference churches and district rallies raising awareness of the impact The United Methodist Church makes by supporting Africa University. Rick Wolcott, director of communications for the East Ohio Conference, reports.
Occupation harms all, ecumenical leaders say
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Top executives of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches declared in a joint statement that the continued occupation of Palestinian lands has “grave and deteriorating dimensions” for the Palestinian people, for Israel and for the region. More than 60 representatives of both ecumenical organizations met Sept. 12-14 in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss the crisis in Israel and Palestine.
Workshops boost African writers
MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — United Methodist writers in Africa are getting published, including in The Upper Room daily devotional guide, thanks to training they’ve received in denomination-sponsored writing workshops. A Nigerian pastor and workshop participant even has a book coming out. Kara Lassen-Oliver reports for Discipleship Ministries.
Wespath board organizes for four years
GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) — Wespath Benefits and Investments, the denomination’s pension board, elected its board officers at its organizing meeting Sept. 7-9. The newly organized board elected Bishop Robert Schnase of the Rio Texas Conference as chairperson. Barbara A. Boigegrain, who has served as top executive since 1994, was re-elected.
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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.
Monday, Sept. 19 to Saturday, Oct. 1
Online course “Come to the Table” for lay servants from BeADisciple.com — Deepen your congregation’s understanding and practice of Holy Communion, or begin a Eucharistic ministry, through this wide-ranging study of “This Holy Mystery,” a class on Scripture, church history and United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament. 1 CEU will be awarded. $65. Details
Monday, Sept. 19 to Saturday, Nov. 12
Online course “Creation Care: Biblical Basics” from BeADisciple.com — This course is designed to help both those new to creation care and longtime practitioners. The course will use two books: Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology and Serving God, Saving the Planet. $65. Details
Tuesday, Sept. 20
Webinar “The Necessary Nine” — 7 to 8 p.m. EDT. This course deals with nine things effective pastors do differently and the two traits effective congregations do differently to bear kingdom fruit. Kay Kotan, a United Methodist church coach with the Healthy Church Initiative, leads this webinar. Details