Christmas Dinners – Some UM churches offer meals on the day

Last year, at a Council on Ministries meeting, the Rev. Don Perks shared that God had laid something on his heart. The senior pastor of Willoughby (Ohio) United Methodist Church hoped the congregation might organize a dinner for people in the community—on Christmas Day, just two weeks away. Church members agreed, and quickly scrambled to […]

UM pastors rewrite sermons after Newtown massacre

At a clergy colleague’s wedding on Saturday night, Dec. 15, the Rev. Matthew Sipe sat at a table of eight United Methodist pastors. All had the same question on their minds: What would they preach the next morning, in light of the tragic events on Friday morning in Newtown, Conn.? “We were all sitting there […]

Q&A: A Candid history of Christmas’ origins

While many may long for the true, “spiritual” Christmas from bygone days, the Rev. Bruce Forbes says that it never really existed. In his book Christmas: A Candid History, Dr. Forbes argues that the holiday as we know it today has always been part religious observance, and part party. Dr. Forbes, an ordained United Methodist […]

Reclaiming the holiday – UMCOM ads tout shift from consumerist Christmas

Two years ago, children at Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park, Pa., celebrated Advent with a “Journey to Bethlehem.” Each child attending left with a gift in hand. Last year, when a new event replaced Journey to Bethlehem, the kids left empty-handed. Instead of receiving gifts, they left behind items they’d made for people […]

Christian retailing group president ‘not necessarily surprised’ by Cokesbury closings

On Monday, the United Methodist Publishing House shook up Methodism by announcing it would close all of its Cokesbury stores, which Methodist clergy and laity – as well other mainline Protestants – have patronized for generations. Many United Methodists reacted negatively to the news, but UMPH said the closings are essential, given that so much bookselling […]

United Methodists in northeast brace for storm

United Methodists in the Northeast are bracing for the incoming Hurricane Sandy today, which is expected to make landfall in Central New Jersey. Forecasters say the “superstorm” threatens 50 million people in the nation’s most heavily populated area. UMCOR Assistant General Secretary for U.S. disaster response, the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, urged residents of the Northeast […]

A voice of our own – Can new author fill gap for UM women?

Jen Mulford has had the job of helping choose materials for women’s groups at her church, Providence United Methodist in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., for several years. She opted for books and DVDs featuring Bible study teachers like Beth Moore, Kelly Minter, Jennifer Rothschild and Priscilla Shirer. All of whom are popular among women’s Bible study […]

Q&A: Filmmaker explores beliefs about hell

As a seminary student, Kevin Miller’s concentration was epistemology, the study of how we know what we know. You won’t hear the term in his new documentary, Hellbound?, but his background shows. The film is an entertaining and thought-provoking bit of cinematic epistemological inquiry. Mr. Miller interviewed writers, preachers and thinkers from a range of […]

Sandra Fluke speaks to packed house at SMU

DALLAS—Sandra Fluke warned her audience at Southern Methodist University that she might not live up to her bad reputation. “If you’ve come to see how slutty I am in person,” she said, “you’re probably going to be disappointed with the content of my discussion.” Ms. Fluke, a recent graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, came […]

Seminary-bound students get support at Hendrix

Karyn Kuan was considering two colleges—and two different career paths— as high school graduation approached. Either she’d enter a pre-med program at the University of Washington, or she’d explore the possibility of going into the ministry at United Methodist-related Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. Ms. Kuan, 21, a lifelong member of First UMC in Seattle, […]