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Q&A: Lessons from facing a parent’s dementia

Many United Methodists appreciate the books of Robert Benson, author of nine works on the contemplative life, including Living Prayer and A Good Life. But he tells a very personal story in his latest book, Moving Miss Peggy (Abingdon Press). It’s the story of his mother’s descent into dementia, and the wrenching experience of moving […]

Beauty pageant lesson rubs VBS leader wrong way

Selecting a curriculum for Vacation Bible School might seem like an innocuous enough task. How could kid-friendly Bible stories and crafts be fraught with controversy? Or so thought the Rev. Danyelle Ditmer—until she encountered the beauty pageant. Her church is using the “Kingdom Rock” VBS program this summer, which includes a lesson about Esther. The […]

’Tis the season – Less debate, more worship for some annual conferences

In the past, delegates headed to Annual Conference might carry copies of Robert’s Rules of Order for long hours of legislative sessions and budget debates. This year, delegates might do better to pack hymnals, work gloves and sneakers. With the seven-week annual conference season under way (having begun with the May 16-18 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference […]

Q&A: The ‘Quiet Pentecost’ of spiritual formation

United Methodists worried about declining church membership may be overlooking a more subtle renewal that’s underway, writes the Rev. Dwight H. Judy in his new book, A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life (Upper Room Books, 2013). Dr. Judy is a retired elder in the North Texas Conference and professor emeritus of spiritual […]

Bringing it home – ‘One Mile’ model helps focus mission

For years, members of First United Methodist Church of Grapevine, Texas, tried to organize a Wednesday night supper—with little success. People were too busy. Volunteers were hard to find. They tried having the meal catered. Nothing worked. Then, in 2009, the church launched “One Mile Mission,” encouraging every group in the church to find some […]

UMs warming up for Home Run movie

The Rev. Jorge Acevedo is heading to the movies this weekend with a group of folks from his church. They’ll see Home Run, a fictional film portrayal of a ministry that’s at the core of his United Methodist congregation, Grace Church in Fort Myers, Fla. Home Run, which opens in 400 theaters on April 19, […]

Q&A: U.S. still religious, but not a ‘Christian nation’

Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and contributing editor to Time magazine, recently delivered the Bolin Family 2013 Public Life/Personal Faith lecture at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Mr. Meacham lectured on “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation,” also the title of his bestselling 2007 book. More […]

Gift of life: Passionate UMC advocates emerge for organ donation

As Bob Young talks about organ donation, he recalls the years he served as a hospital corpsman in Vietnam, treating villagers during the day and wounded Marines at night. “There’s no greater high than saving someone’s life,” he said. Mr. Young, 64, wants more United Methodists to experience that “high.” He’s a passionate advocate for […]

UM innovation extends to Easter observances

By Sam Hodges, Managing Editor and Mary Jacobs, Staff Writer… Easter is all about transformation, but Easter observances tend to be conservative, sticking to familiar (if stirring) music, and the usual texts and formats. The exceptions are out there, though.  They’re found in highly innovative congregations and in others where the weather seems a bit […]

Holy Week in the Tate household

Together, the Rev. Sara Tate and her husband, Craig, serve as pastors of six different United Methodist churches in the Memphis area. Given that Mr. Tate is in seminary, and the Tates have a toddler, life can get hectic during Holy Week. Ms. Tate answered questions via email from staff writer Mary Jacobs; here are […]