News In Brief - January 20, 2012

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News In Brief - January 20, 2012

Brief items for use in local church newsletters
Prepared by United Methodist News Service

More than 300 United Methodists attended a briefing Jan. 19-21 to learn about some of the legislative issues that will be before General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking body, when it meets April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla. The group, which met at the Tampa Convention Center, the site for the 2012 conference, included General Conference delegates and United Methodist communicators. The attendees listened to presentations about proposals that include changes to the ordination process, to the Council of Bishops and to the denomination's organization and participated in question-and-answer sessions. More coverage, including video of the discussions, will be posted on For more information on General Conference, go to

Uneasy with the Call to Action's proposed restructuring, leaders of one special-interest group have submitted an alternative reorganization for The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking body to consider. The Methodist Federation for Social Action, an unofficial progressive caucus, is the only one of the denomination's unofficial progressive and evangelical caucuses to submit legislation regarding restructuring.

The Rev. Riley B. Case of Kokomo, Ind., writes that "here in middle America &ellipsis; not a lot of people are stirred up - either positively or negatively - over Occupy Wall Street &ellipsis;. We do note that almost all of us are part of the exploited 99 percent and wonder how it is that people in far-off places claim to speak for us." Case noted in a commentary for UMNS, that he has some big-time concerns about the protests. To read Case's full commentary, go to

Bread for the World has launched its 2012 Offering of Letters campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to create a circle of protection around programs vital to hungry and poor people this year. Within this broader campaign are four mini-campaigns that address specific legislative topics that will come before Congress in 2012: nutrition, poverty-focused development assistance, tax policy and food aid. For more information, go to

John Harper has been a volunteer for the Job Networking ministry at Roswell (Ga.) United Methodist Church since 2001. He says the church is committed to helping those who are out of work. "We try to make people understand that number one, God will hear you and God will help you. And number two, you're not alone." The Roswell church, which is near Atlanta, invites hundreds of job seekers to its job networking ministry each month. Church member Katherine Simons says she hopes other churches will begin their own ministries to help those who are out of work. For more information about the jobs ministry, go to

The Board of Pension and Health Benefits recently approved a loan commitment to the United Methodist Children's Services of Wisconsin for a newly constructed 24-unit low-income housing project, continuing the board's tradition of values-driven investing.

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