“This pandemic has paralyzed several activities of the church, but we will have to continue to help the Congolese government in the awareness component in order to eradicate this pandemic.” — East Congo Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda.
Church leaders urge COVID-19 vaccines in Congo
BUKAVU, Congo (UM News) — With a downward trend continuing in church attendance, finances and evangelism efforts due to the pandemic, church leaders are encouraging members, especially those living with underlying conditions, to agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Philippe Kituka Lolonga reports.
National Justice for Our Neighbors
Helping a young asylum seeker
SOMERSET, Ky. — Eitan was only 7 years old when his grandmother sent him from his native Guatemala to be with his parents in Kentucky, fleeing from increasing danger. After several months, he was reunited with his parents but faced navigating the complex asylum system in order to stay. The Neighbors Immigration Clinic, part of the United Methodist immigration ministry Justice for Our Neighbors, was able to step in and help.
Greater New Jersey Conference
Conference reports on designated fund use
NEPTUNE, N.J. — Recently, Greater New Jersey Conference’s financial leaders organized an independent team to identify how $13 million in designated program funds was used to underwrite congregations’ health and property insurance. The conference’s Council on Finance and Administration has released the team’s report and plans to bring an action plan to annual conference on May 24-25.
Read team report
Read Bishop John Schol’s letter
Western Jurisdiction to meet July 17 online
DES MOINES, Wash. — The Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops has called a special session of the jurisdictional conference to be held virtually July 17. The purpose is to approve bishops’ requests for retirement and to determine the number of bishops to be elected at the next regular jurisdictional conference, now scheduled for Nov. 2-5, 2022.
Read press release
UM News: Bishops say no episcopal elections until 2022
Monday, May 24-Tuesday, May 25
Greater New Jersey Annual Conference
Friday, May 28-Saturday, May 29
Great Plains Annual Conference
TOP STORIES FROM THE WEEK
Churches get COVID-19 vaccines to thousands
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UM News) — Fifteen United Methodist churches in Charlotte have launched an effort to be a trusted place for vaccinations in a community that may lack access or be hesitant. Joey Butler reports, with photos by Mike DuBose.
Europeans make plans for separation
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (UM News) — United Methodists in Europe are beginning to make plans for what happens under a proposal to separate the denomination. Ultimately, the continent's four bishops expect the church's map to look very different. Heather Hahn reports.
Bishops’ election plans draw mixed reaction
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — Many General Conference delegates praised the bishops for retracting an earlier recommendation of a four-year hold on episcopal elections. But some still have misgivings about delaying elections until 2022. Heather Hahn reports.
Publishing House sees rebound
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — The United Methodist Publishing House was hit hard by the pandemic as churches, unable to meet in person, slowed or halted orders of curriculum materials. But with COVID-19 case numbers down in the U.S., the self-supporting agency is seeing sales bounce back. The Publishing House also has reached a purchase agreement for its Nashville headquarters. Sam Hodges reports.
Georgia group questions bishop in full-page ad
ATLANTA (UM News) — An anonymous group of North Georgia Conference laity placed a full-page ad in May 9’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution with an open letter to Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson seeking answers around the appointment dispute at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, LGBTQ inclusion and the future of the church. Heather Hahn reports.
Greater New Jersey Conference
Church leaders fight school segregation
NEPTUNE, N.J. — In 2019, Bishop John Schol and leaders from the Greater New Jersey Conference stood with other organizations to file a lawsuit against the state of New Jersey and the Board of Education to desegregate the state’s public schools. As they await a ruling later this year, the conference is working with other desegregation advocates to end the huge disparities in New Jersey’s educational system, one of the most segregated in the nation. Heather Mistretta reports.
Illinois Great Rivers Conference
Bishop Beard plans medical leave
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Bishop Frank J. Beard, who leads the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, will take medical leave, effective July 1, to care for his eyesight. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, who formerly led the conference in 2008-2012, will serve as interim bishop and continue to lead the West Ohio Conference. Beard said he plans to return Jan. 1 “to lead with or without eyesight.” Paul Black has the story.
Read Bishop Beard's ‘Vision and Sight’ column
New 2021 annual conference reports posted
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — United Methodist News is posting 2021 annual conference reports. New this week are the Hungary Provisional and Liberia conferences.
South Carolina Conference
South Carolinians help eye care in Guatemala
QUETZALTENANGO, Guatemala — About 350 Guatemalan men and women can see more clearly now thanks to the efforts of a United Methodist medical mission there. Jessica Brodie writes about the "Cataract Camp" organized by a clinic supported by the South Carolina Conference.
Church serves African French speakers
LANSING, Mich. — A growing church in Birmingham, Michigan, caters to African immigrants who speak French. The French United Methodist Church of the African Diaspora meets at the Embury United Methodist Church building. John E. Harnish reports.
Finding purpose as a deaconess
United Methodist Communications
Celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Peace with Justice Sunday is May 30. This Special Sunday offering helps the church strengthen its capacity to advocate publicly in communities and nations throughout the world. The United Methodist Board of Church and Society administers the offering, which supports grants benefitting peace with justice ministries in conferences and around the world.
Archives and History
Racism workbook released for Heritage Sunday
MADISON, N.J. — A workbook on racism in The United Methodist Church is available for Heritage Sunday on May 23, published by United Methodist Archives and History. Heritage Sunday is a day for United Methodists to reflect on church history and commit themselves to the continuing call of God.
Read press release
Download workbook (PDF)
Commentary: Is church separation a good or bad idea?
ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UM News) — The Rev. Dr. Jean Claude Masuka Maleka, a missionary in Côte d’Ivoire, said that separation in the church could affect Africa more than any other continent, and United Methodists must work to keep the unity of the Body of Christ. “The American church should resolve the issue without including Africans in the debate of traditionalists or centrists,” he writes.
Three bishops announce retirement
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Three bishops announced their plans for retirement this week. Bishops Paul L. Leeland of the Western North Carolina Conference and Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Conference said they intend to retire Sept. 1. Bishop Bob Hoshibata, who leads the Desert Southwest Conference, plans to retire Oct. 1.
Read Bishop Leeland’s announcement
Read Bishop Ward’s announcement
Read Bishop Hoshibata’s announcement
United Methodist Communications
5 reasons why smaller numbers may be better
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — COVID-19 has left many churches worrying about how to increase attendance. Could smaller in-person worship lead to more engaged members and a more inviting environment for visitors? Tricia K. Brown writes about five reasons bigger isn’t always better.
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