"Some conferences are seriously considering allowing covered lay workers and some covered clergy to opt out of the conference plan... ." - Andrew Q. Hendren, associate general counsel at the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
Conferences grappling with health care reforms
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Affordable Care Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago, and key deadlines loom for implementation. But U.S. annual (regional) conferences continue to grapple with how best to make use of the health care reforms and are looking to the IRS for answers.
Counting on insurance exchanges
LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - The Florida Annual (regional) Conference will, as of Jan. 1, 2014, no longer offer health insurance to lay employees of its local churches and extension ministries. A task force concluded that the health insurance exchanges coming into effect under the Affordable Care Act will give those workers a better option.
World Council voices Egypt violence concerns
GENEVA (UMNS) -The top executive of the World Council of Churches expressed concern about escalating violence in Egypt but also confidence that "political and religious leaders in Egypt are aware that in critical historical moments of change and transformation in political systems, inclusive processes are vital for the unity of the nation."
United Methodist reaction to Exodus International closing
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodists of varied perspectives, including Transforming Congregations and Reconciling Ministries Network, commented on the June announcement of the closing of Exodus International North America, a Christian ministry that advised people "seeking freedom from same-sex attraction."
Remedial lessons for laity
PADUCAH, Ky. (UMNS) - Clergy aren't charged with keeping the laity happy. That's just one of the things United Methodist laity need to unlearn, says Susan Kemble, lay resource leader for the Paducah District of the Memphis Annual (regional) Conference.
'I Surrender All' boosted Graham
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - C. Michael Hawn's latest "History of Hymns" column, distributed by the General Board of Discipleship, looks at "I Surrender All." It's a hymn that influenced Billy Graham's ministry.
MyCom offers social media, back-to-school tips
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The latest MyCom newsletter from United Methodist Communications offers churches advice on back-to-school outreach opportunities, as well as a range of tips for better use of social media. Want to take better smartphone photos? There's a list for that, too.
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