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Inner-City Gem: Emerald Youth mentors at-risk children

By Kelly Norrell, Special Contributor… KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—In 1986, when the Rev. Bob Bean became the new pastor at Emerald Avenue United Methodist Church, he found an aging congregation with low morale, no youth and no youth program. Once solidly middle-class, the surrounding neighborhood near downtown Knoxville had fallen on hard times as residents fled to […]

New England delegation: UMC’s identity and unity must be spiritual, not structural

Editor’s note: This essay comes from the New England Conference delegation to General Conference. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins. (Mark 2:22 The NIV) Preface  In 2012 […]

Rev. Mike Baughman preaches on ‘dehydration’ of church

Note: The Rev. Baughman preached this sermon June 3, at opening worship of Annual Conference 2012 of the North Texas Conference. Greetings beautiful people of the North Texas Annual Conference. I am so grateful to stand before you this day as we enter into this time of Holy Conferencing. I give thanks to Bishop Bledsoe […]

A pastor gives advice on chasing off pastors

By Chris Shoemaker, Special Contributor… In my 25 years as a United Methodist (16 as a pastor), I have come to realize that in every church there are at least a few laity who just cannot stand their minister. Maybe you are one of them. Perhaps you disagree with his or her theology. Or, you […]

Q&A: A self-described fanatic for ecumenism

Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr., the senior bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, presides over the East Coast region for the 141-year-old historically African-American denomination. Long before his 2010 appointment to that post, he was known as a scholar and a leader in the Christian ecumenical movement. A former president of the National […]

United Methodists join Pan-Methodist covenant

By Rich Peck, UMNS… TAMPA, Fla.—After several hundred years of separation, members of six Pan-Methodist denominations have committed to ministry together. The United Methodist Church is the last of the denominations to adopt the full communion agreement, which was celebrated May 1 during the 2012 General Conference. The affirmation establishes a new relationship among the […]

Congo family performs at General Conference

By Elliott Wright, UMNS… TAMPA, Fla.—Four brothers and a sister from the Congo took the United Methodist General Conference to its knees and brought it to its feet as they sang “O Happy Day . . . when Jesus washed my sins away.” The five Kamana children, ranging from 9 to 21 years of age, […]

Aging Well: If church doesn’t value frail seniors, who will?

Each week I visit older adult friends in three different senior care communities. Not long ago when I went to visit one of my friends, I saw a frail woman sitting in a wheelchair, looking out the window at the parking lot. She looked dressed for a special occasion with white curls framing her thin […]

Looking back, looking forward after GC 2012

By Alan Heath, CEO, UMR Communications… Halfway through the second week of General Conference, I sat down to record my observations as a first-time attendee. I was not a delegate, only a very interested observer with little or no context other than attendance at many Annual Conferences in North Texas. I made some observations at […]

Faith kept seminary grad going

DALLAS—In pursuing a United Methodist seminary education, the Rev. Ella Luna faced so many trials—some of them matters of life and death—that friends began to compare her to a certain Old Testament character. They meant well, but that too became a trial. “People would mention Job to me and I would just want to wring […]

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