UMNS Briefs

March 23, 2011

Lenten Study Explores Recent Democracy Rallies
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – This week, Encounter Faith: Fearless, a Lenten online Bible study and webinar, will explore the recent demonstrations and violence in North Africa and the Middle East, raising questions about how God works in the world and how people's actions can matter. The United Methodist Bible study is available free of charge at

TV Special Focuses on Help for Job Seekers
NEW YORK (UMNS) – A CBS religion special, "Unemployment: How Faith Communities Help Job Seekers," will be broadcast April 10 on the CBS Television Network. Check with local stations for the exact broadcast times.
Many experienced and compassionate people are helping today's job seekers, including staff at the Career Transition Center of Chicago, which was founded in 1997, primarily by the United Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Episcopal communities. Other programs highlighted in the special include St. Chrysostom's Employment Council, also in Chicago; the free barber training program at New York's Riverside Church; and a discussion about the realities of unemployment at St. James, a Roman Catholic Parish in Stratford, Connecticut.
The special is produced in cooperation with the National Council of Churches, Consortium of Roman Catholic organizations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Union of Reform Judaism and the New York Board of Rabbis.
More information can be found at the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission website.
Web Course Tackles Faith and Immigration
PHOENIX (UMNS) – The Rev. Jim Perdue, National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry missionary assigned to the Desert-Southwest Annual Conference, will present a free webinar on the intersection of the Christian faith and immigration. The seminar will be April 25-June 17. It will explore various Bible verses as well as the book, Christians at the Border.
The course is open to people who commit to leading at least one related study in their congregation, region, or religious community.
Whitaker Opposes Florida Immigration Bill
LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) – Florida United Methodist Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker joined other religious leaders on March 11 in calling for the rejection of a proposed immigration reform bill in the Florida legislature. The religious leaders said the legislation would divide communities, separate families, and prevent churches from ministering to those in need.
The proposed legislation, approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives on March 8, is similar to a measure passed in Arizona last year, mandating the use of an employee verification program and requiring law-enforcement personnel to check the immigration status of anyone who has been arrested, even for minor offenses.
Grant Helps Provide Mentors for Prisoners' Children
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – A $7,300 grant from the Human Relations Day offering will enable the Commission on United Methodist Men to continue recruiting adults to serve as mentors of children of incarcerated parents through the Amachi program of Big Brothers Big Sisters. In 2010, the commission recruited 41 adults in 12 Annual Conferences to serve as mentors. Those Conferences continue to recruit individuals who are willing to spend at least one hour a week with these children.
The Human Relations Day grant, awarded by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, will enable the commission to introduce or expand the Amachi program in Denver, San Diego, Phoenix, Kansas City, Atlanta, and Oklahoma City or Tulsa. "Amachi" is a Nigerian Ibo word that means, "Who knows but what God has brought us through this child."
Agency Recognized for Work on Sexual Ethics
CHICAGO (UMNS) – The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women will be honored for its work on sexual ethics. The Religious Institute, a multi-faith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health and for education and justice, will recognize the general agency at its 10th anniversary celebration March 31 at Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Meharry Medical Students Matched with Health Centers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Fourth-year Meharry Medical College students were matched with prestigious academic centers such as the Mayo Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine, and Brigham and Women's Hospital in the traditional Match Day held at medical schools nationwide March 17.
More than 30,000 students apply for the match to find a position at a U.S. teaching hospital where they will undertake a three- to seven-year period of specialized training. Meharry's overall match rate of 89 percent for the 2011 class of graduating seniors exceeds the national match rate of 73 percent for all applicants. Meharry is the only United Methodist-related historically black medical college.
The majority of Meharry's class of 89 fourth-year medical students were matched in the primary-care fields of internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and family medicine. Sixty percent of Meharry fourth-year students matched into primary care specialties. In addition, several students matched into other such specialty programs as orthopedics, urology, emergency medicine, psychiatry and radiology.
Birmingham-Southern Names New President
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UMNS) – Gen. Charles "Chuck" C. Krulak, retired commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was introduced March 21 as the 13th president of United Methodist-related Birmingham-Southern College. He immediately announced that he would forego his first year's salary to demonstrate his allegiance to the college and its fiscal health.
"Birmingham-Southern is fortunate to have attracted an individual with the experience, character, and charisma of Gen. Krulak as its next president," said Wayne Killion Jr., vice chair of the college's board of trustees, when announcing the board's selection. Krulak's official start date is June 1.