UMNS Briefs

October 27, 2010

Talbert Leadership Institute Extends Deadline

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The application deadline for the Talbert Leadership Institute has been extended to Oct. 30. The institute honors retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin George Talbert, and offers a multidisciplinary approach to engage young lay and clergy to enhance their leadership potential. Beginning with 10 students and a cadre of coaches, the pilot event will be Jan. 7-9 in Nashville. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30, a member of The United Methodist Church for at least two years, and provide an essay, video/DVD, or writings sharing their background, future goals and why they are interested in participating. The Talbert Leadership Institute is a program of Black Methodists for Church Renewal Inc. An application form is available at For more information, contact
Philander Smith Receives Social Justice Grant
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) — Philander Smith College, a United Methodist-affiliated, historically black school, received a $1.2 million grant from the Kresge Foundation to establish a Center for Social Justice. The college launched a social justice initiative in 2007 that includes guest lecturers, internships and other efforts to infuse justice issues into the curriculum. The Kresge grant includes a challenge: To receive a matching gift from Kresge, the college must raise $300,000 in private support by Dec. 31, 2012.
Lake Junaluska Names New Director
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) — John L. Ewing Jr., executive director of the Foundation for Evangelism, has been named the new executive director of Lake Junaluska Assembly Inc. Ewing will begin his new duties Jan. 1, 2011, succeeding the Rev. Jimmy L. Carr. The assembly oversees the conference and retreat center that serves as a place of spiritual enrichment and leadership development for The United Methodist Church.
Delta Magazine Calls Lowery One of "'The Game Changers'
ATLANTA (UMNS) - The Rev. Joseph Lowery, 88, a United Methodist pastor and well-known civil rights leader, is recognized as one of "The Game Changers" in the October issue of Delta Sky Magazine "for fighting for racial equality." In the article, Lowery says that delivering the benediction at President Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009, was "probably the biggest thrill of my life."
Church World Service Responds to Tsunami, Volcano
MENTAWAI DISTRICT, Indonesia (UMNS) - Indonesia is dealing with two disasters: a powerful earthquake that triggered a tsunami that killed more than 400 people, with the death toll rising, and a volcanic eruption at Mount Merapi that has prompted displacement of hundreds. The 7.7-magnitude earthquake and 10-foot-high tsunami Monday (Oct. 25) stem from a fault on the west coast of Sumatra island. In immediate response to the tsunami, Church World Service - a partner of The United Methodist Church - is providing 140 baby care kits and is assessing additional needs in partnership with the Mentawai Christian Protestant Church. Church World Service staff members are monitoring the situation at Mount Merapi. Contributions to support the emergency response work of Church World Service may be made online.
Church Communicators Support Internet Freedom
WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- Communicators representing a wide range of national church bodies, including The United Methodist Church, have called upon the Federal Communications Commission "to take any and all action" to protect the freedom of the Internet. Noting that Internet communication is "vital" to faith groups as they share their stories and build communities, the National Council of Churches Communication Commission has issued a resolution urging the FCC to "protect the freedom of every individual and group to see and hear and send any information they desire."
Pastor's 24 Project Follows Clergy 'Round The Clock'
CHECOTAH, Okla. (UMNS)—The Rev. Jeremy Smith wants people to know pastors don't just work on Sundays and their duties involve more than spiritual matters. To help people get a better sense of a clergyperson's typical day, Smith, associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Checotah, Okla., suggests ministers steal an idea from the Greater Manchester Police Force in the United Kingdom. From 5 a.m. Oct. 14 to 5 a.m. Oct. 15, the Manchester police dealt with 3,205 incidents and posted details about every one on Twitter. The tweets helped the public get a better sense of the sort of problems with which police deal. With that in mind, Smith has designated Oct. 27 for pastors to give a 24-hour real-time accounting of their day in tweets using the hashtag #pastors24. So far, at least 12 clergy have signed up for the Pastor's 24 project. More details are available at Smith's blog.
Rethink Church Offers Advent Series
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - This Advent, United Methodist Communications will offer "A Life-Giving Christmas," a lectionary-based sermon series with accompanying resources for the four Sundays of Advent. Each component echoes the focus of the denomination's Rethink Church advertising and welcoming campaign.
Included in the sermon series are ideas for engaging congregants via a church's social media channels. Related to the free sermon series is an optional media bundle. It features five videos for use in worship or study, print and slide graphics, and templates for invitation cards, door hangers and direct mail. The bundle is available for $25 from the United Methodist Communications e-store or by calling toll-free (888) 346-3862. To learn more about Rethink Church resources and products, visit
Simple-Living Guide Challenges Holiday Consumerism
DILLON, Colo. (UMNS) – For those looking for an escape from Christmas consumerism, the 2010 edition of "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? Ideas for a Christ-Centered Holiday" is now available. The guide contains reflections, activities and how-to ideas for a more sacred Advent and Christmas season. It is published by the ecumenical Alternatives for Simple Living, a partner of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The group aims to equip people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and create meaningful celebrations. The guide costs $4. To order, visit  
Upper Room Supplies Needed Books
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (UMNS) – Africa Upper Room Ministries provides thousands of books to libraries at churches and seminaries throughout Southern Africa each year. The books are intended to help the spiritual journeys of Christians who typically lack quality reading materials. So far this year, more than 30 libraries have requested the books, which are provided at no cost by Africa Upper Room Ministries, the publishing arm in Africa of The Upper Room, a division of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
"The word 'library,' of course, conjures up pictures of buildings with racks and librarians and 'silence' notices," said Roland Rink, Africa Upper Room Ministries administrator and a native South African. "A library here could be a little shelf of books in some sort of strategic place within a church sanctuary."
CWS Resettles Nearly One-Tenth of U.S. Refugee Arrivals
NEW YORK (UMNS)—With the active involvement of congregational co-sponsors and community volunteers, including United Methodists, global humanitarian agency Church World Service resettled 7,055 refugees to the United States from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010, abouty 10 percent of the total 73,311 refugees.
Iraqis (1,617) constituted the largest group CWS resettled in 2010, followed by 1,293 ethnic Karen from Burma, 1,213 ethnic Nepalis from Bhutan, 510 Iranians, 481 ethnic Chin from Burma, 446 Somalis, 406 Cubans, 250 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 181 Eritreans and 148 Vietnamese. CWS also resettled 143 Palestinians and smaller numbers from each of 30 other nationalities.