Florida martial arts class takes Christian approach

By Colleen Hart, Special Contributor… JUPITER, Fla.—John Landry knows what it’s like to be bullied. “I was picked on from about the third grade through high school for being a skinny kid who was not into sports,” said the now 47-year-old police detective and member of First United Methodist Church, Jupiter-Tequesta. Those feelings of isolation […]

Facebook and pastoral ministry

By John P. Jackman, Special Contributor… Four years ago, at the urging of younger members in my congregation, I joined Facebook. As a 55-year-old pastor, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I soon discovered that this strange new medium, for the church at least, is about much more than new technology. For us, Facebook […]

Missouri church catches rays for power

By Fred Koenig, Special Contributor… SEDALIA, Mo.—When God’s heavenly light shines down on Wesley UMC in Sedalia, the church experiences more power than any other house of worship around. It’s not that the sun shines brighter on Wesley, it is just that they make better use of it. The far side of Wesley’s parking lot […]

Religious labels matter less in 2012 campaign

By Bob Smietana, USA Today… There aren’t any white Protestants on the presidential ballot this year—a first in American history. Instead, the race features two Catholic candidates for vice president, and a Mormon Republican and African-American mainline Protestant for president. Perhaps lucky for all of them, voters care more about issues such as social justice […]

Are we slowly dropping the UMC cross & flame?

Is it just me . . . or is something missing? I see less and less of our beloved United Methodist cross and flame symbol. It apparently is being hidden under the proverbial bushel. It is becoming less predominant on church buildings, websites and even denominational publications. Most of us know the origins of our […]

UMC starts response to Hurricane Isaac

United Methodist News Service… In the days after Hurricane Isaac hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in late August, United Methodists in the region deployed trained responders, cared for storm survivors and used church-to-church connections to assess ever-changing needs. Checking on neighbors and mucking out homes were the first priorities in Mississippi, where Wayne Napier, disaster […]

Penn State, Paterno and the hazards of leadership

Roger G. Duffett, Special Contributor… Most major college football programs begin preseason practice in early August. Usually a time of anticipation, a somber tone engulfs summer camps from the Big 10 to the Big 12 to the Southeast Conferences. This year, college football confronts fundamental moral questions. Jerry Sandusky, a long-serving, highly respected assistant football […]

Kansas church helps youth discern call to ministry

By Jay Voorhees, Special Contributor… NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (COR) in Leawood, Kan., has been a passionate voice on the need to recruit, mentor, train and support young adults for ordained ministry in the UMC. This was demonstrated by his advocacy for the new […]

North Texas bishop’s removal is not about race

By Christy Thomas, Special Contributor… Are we a racist Conference (North Texas) and Jurisdiction (South Central)? An extraordinarily incendiary commentary written by the Rev. Henry L. Masters Sr., the newly appointed senior pastor of St. Luke “Community” UMC in Dallas, and published in the Reporter, makes that accusation. He refers to the involuntary retirement of […]

Book Review: Theologian describes need for ‘prophetic imagination’

By David N. Mosser, Special Contributor… The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipating Word Walter Brueggemann Fortress Press, 2012 Hardcover, 192 pages An inquisitive layperson recently asked about Josephus, and then Tacitus, as he was trying to track down the “historical Jesus.” Finally I suggested that he read about the Jesus of history in […]