Archives for September 2012

Addiction treatment ministry marks 30th year in Oklahoma

By Boyce Bowdon, United Methodist News Service… In the late 1960s, an Oklahoma businessman went to his pastor desperate for help. “My wife was an alcoholic,” said Jack Turner. “Nearly every week, Vicky was drunk, sometimes for three days at a time. I was worried about her and our three little boys—the oldest was just […]

Q&A: Gospel artist writes about The Whitney I Knew

In his new book, The Whitney I Knew (Worthy Publishing), gospel artist BeBe Winans describes his 28-year friendship with singer Whitney Houston. Mr. Winans, 49, and his sister CeCe performed with Houston and sang at her funeral in February. His older brother, Marvin, gave the eulogy for the service at New Hope Baptist Church in […]

History of Hymns: Zimbabwean song calls congregation to worship

“Jesu, Tawa Pano” (“Jesus, We Are Here”) Patrick Matsikenyiri The Faith We Sing, No. 2273 Jesu, tawa pano; Jesu, tawa pano; Jesu, tawa pano; tawa pano, muzita renyu. Jesus, we are here; Jesus, we are here; Jesus, we are here; we are here for you. * Patrick Matsikenyiri (b. 1937) is one of the most […]

Casad leaving Connectional Table

Mary Brooke Casad is stepping down as executive secretary of the UMC’s Connectional Table.  “As our denomination has taken on the adaptive challenge of creating, fostering and sustaining vital congregations, I have been prayerfully contemplating my role in this endeavor,” she said in a statement. “My resignation is based on a desire to be more […]

Grace Place Ministries: Church home behind bars

By Lane Gardner Camp, Special Contributor… Shayne Lavera writes lovingly of the congregation that she calls her church home. “I have never experienced a church where I feel so welcomed, wanted and loved,” is how she puts it. Ms. Lavera has been incarcerated for 17 years. Her congregation, called Grace Place Ministries, is at Mark […]

Q&A: Building a fan base for faith-based pop culture

This summer Grace Hill Media—an L.A.-based marketing firm that promotes faith-based movies and television shows to Christian audiences—launched a new phase in its efforts. The “As1” campaign ( seeks to build online support for projects like the new American Bible Challenge game show and an upcoming big-screen Noah epic with Russell Crowe. In the process, […]

Film Review: Star-powered Hope Springs prompts talk about marriage

By Rebecca Cusey, Special Contributor… Hope Springs Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality It’s become quite fashionable to cluck and sigh at romantic comedies that end with the girl getting her guy and, perhaps, a ring. “That’s just the beginning,” we scold. “What happens after that? What about grown-up romances? The ones that […]

Clergy learn: Self-care is not self-ish

By Kate Rugani, Faith & Leadership… When the Rev. Jeanette Hicks graduated from seminary in 2010, a mentor cautioned her about overwork. A retired pastor, the mentor hoped that Ms. Hicks and other young clergy would do better at staying healthy over the long run than she and her contemporaries had done. But just six […]

Wesleyan Wisdom: Bishop Schnase offers prophetic assessment of UMC

Bishop Robert Schnase gave the episcopal address to the recent South Central Jurisdictional Conference, and United Methodists should heed his prophetic words. He offers a reality check on where we are and what will happen if we do not answer the call to “rise up, ye saints of God.” Let’s begin with this assessment by […]

Q&A: Churches should connect with their cities

Andy Crouch is the author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling (Intervarsity Press), and special assistant to the president at Christianity Today, where he is also executive producer of This Is Our City (, a multi-year project featuring documentary video, reporting and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities. For 10 years […]