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Keep it ‘in the moment’: Preaching without notes

By Justin Tull, Special Contributor… Looking back on my ministry, I had three preaching style stages: (1) preaching from extensive notes after doing a rough draft manuscript, (2) preaching from a “polished” manuscript, trying to look down as little as possible, and (3) preaching without notes (with a half-sheet outline in my Bible). In each […]

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 […]

Faith in Christ calls us to seek justice, end poverty

By Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, Special Contributor… I was recently reminded in a sermon shared by the Rev. Mark Flynn, superintendent of the Greenbrier District in the West Virginia Conference, that Jesus became angry over very few things. One of the rare times when the Scriptures record Jesus’ anger was when the disciples spoke sternly […]

Bishop on front lines of immigration battle

By Lilly Fowler, Religion News Service… PASADENA, Calif.—When United Methodist Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño talks about tussling with political bigwigs on the topic of immigration reform, she is poised, yet forceful. As the first female Hispanic bishop elected in the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination, Bishop Carcaño has had a lot of practice keeping her cool, […]

Harry Reems’ legacy far more than porn films, says UM pastor who saw him change

By Mark Heiss, Special Contributor… Most people over 50 probably recall the name Harry Reems, the movie he starred in, “Deep Throat,” and the numerous moral and legal battles surrounding issues of pornography and free speech in the early 1970s.  Harry died the other day.  From fame and celebrity, and $30,000-a-week paychecks making porn movies, […]

Staying centered – Clergy find ways to cope with stress of Holy Week

On a typical week, the Rev. Penny Stacy stops a few times at a Catholic seminary near her home to quietly walk the outdoor Stations of the Cross at the beginning or end of her day. This year during Holy Week, however, she’s determined to be there every single morning, and possibly in the evenings […]

UM-related colleges have ‘unique witness’ to offer

By Christopher Momany, Special Contributor… My mother was right, but please don’t let her know. Years ago, I was poised to attend a state university when Mom suggested we visit a small, United Methodist-related school in southern Michigan. I supposed that it wouldn’t hurt to look at one more place, so we spent a few […]

Church: No weddings till UMC changes homosexuality stand

Leaders of a United Methodist congregation in Winston-Salem, N.C., have decided not to hold weddings in the church building until the denomination lifts its ban on same-sex marriage. Green Street UMC announced publicly March 17 that its 18-member leadership council also has asked its pastors to refrain from signing marriage licenses until North Carolina recognizes […]

Lay of the Land: Let’s face it – Following Jesus can be ‘untidy’

By Richard Hearne, UMR Columnist… In a recent episode of Downton Abbey, Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley are finishing dressing for dinner when Matthew wants to give Lady Mary an affectionate embrace. Lady Mary puts off the advance with the words, “That would make me untidy.” These words came back to me when I was […]

Shenandoah president stresses Wesleyan values

By Ginny Underwood, United Methodist News Service… Tracy Fitzsimmons, the first woman to be president of United Methodist-affiliated Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., is preparing students to change the world based on values espoused by Methodism’s founder John Wesley. The first words every student hears at convocation and the last words every student hears at […]