Archives for September 2012

Rural Life Center boosts small church vitality

United Methodists often say that rural congregations form the backbone of their denomination. For more than 50 years, the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, N.C., has been strengthening that backbone. Think of the center as the United Methodist Church’s chiropractor. With the denomination-wide emphasis on vital congregations, the Hinton Center now plays a key […]

Call to Action Interim Operations Team issues final report

  Editor’s Note: The Call to Action Interim Operations Team took the lead in pressing for specific change, including agency reorganization, within the UMC. Here is its just-released final report: This report is a final update from the Interim Operations Team (IOT) named by the Council of Bishops (COB) and the Connectional Table (CT) in late […]

Leap of faith – Texas church invests big in new service, young pastor

PLANO, Texas—The Rev. Arthur Jones was nervous. His church was betting $2.1 million on him. In just a few days St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano, a suburb of Dallas, would launch The Well, a contemporary service aiming to reach younger people with Mr. Jones, 28, at the helm. Press releases had gone out. […]

UMC finance agency warns about East Africa Conference and files complaint against Bishop Wandabula

By United Methodist News Service, … The United Methodist Church’s finance agency announced today, Sept. 27, that it recommends general agencies, annual (regional) conferences and local churches withhold funding from the East Africa Annual Conference until further notice. In addition, the board of the General Council on Finance and Administration approved filing a formal complaint […]

The challenge of focus – Don’t drift from mission

By Bishop Mike Lowry, Special Contributor… The invitation came (I think from God) while I was standing at an entrance to the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle. I was taking a picture of a coffee shop across the street with a long line outside its door waiting to be served. A young man (early […]

Book Review: Seeking the best way to help orphans in Africa

By Wes Magruder, Special Contributor…   A Twist of Faith: An American Christian’s Quest to Help Orphans in Africa John Donnelly Beacon Press, 2012 Hardcover, 200 pages  I saw it happen several times as a United Methodist missionary living in Cameroon, West Africa. A church mission team from America would visit the mission and travel […]

United Methodist ‘church’ on a ferry boat

By Kathleen Barry, United Methodist News Service… How do you attract tourists to worship with your church during the months of summer vacation? The little Michigan towns of St. Ignace and Mackinaw City have both tourists and locals standing in line for 30 minutes for a seat at their Vesper Cruise services led by various […]

Why we must keep faith with Holocaust witnesses

By Jim Robinson, Special Contributor… Throughout the millennia, Christians have perpetrated anti-Semitism and shown indifference to attacks on Judaism. We must recognize and try to atone for this terrible history. My father, the Rev. Forrest Robinson, was among the many firsthand witnesses to the Holocaust, and spent almost a lifetime processing his reactions. Sixty-seven years […]

Reflections: Coming to church should never be a waste of time

It was a comment that I shall never forget. I was in a cabinet meeting, and one of the district superintendents was reporting on a recent meeting with a congregation’s pastor-parish relations committee. The congregation was to receive a new pastor and this was a meeting to assess the congregation’s needs and its current identified […]

History of Hymns: ‘Just a Closer Walk’ remains a traditional song for jazz funerals

“Just a Closer Walk with Thee” Anonymous The Faith We Sing, No. 2158 I am weak, but thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk, let me walk close to thee. Just a closer walk with thee, grant it, Jesus, is my plea, daily walking close […]