Book of Discipline — What are the essentials that bind all United Methodists, and what can be adapted for use outside the United States?
General Conference delegates in 2012 assigned the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters to assist in developing a truly global Book of Discipline.
The international committee met recently in Mozambique.
The central conferences are seven church regions in Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. But unlike their counterparts — the five U.S. jurisdictions — central conferences have authority to make "such changes and adaptations" to the Discipline as missional needs and differing legal contexts require.
"Many parts of the Book of Discipline are not applicable to churches in different nations, different languages, under different state constitutions and legal systems," said Wilfried Nausner, a committee member and district superintendent in Macedonia and Albania. (Feb. 16, UMNS)
Superhero status — Imagine No Malaria, a UM initiative to prevent and treat malaria, received a Superhero Award from the Rotarians Action Group on Malaria. The award was made in Geneva, Switzerland, at the annual meeting of the Alliance for Malaria Prevention, which is a coalition of more than 40 partners.
To date, Imagine No Malaria has raised 86 percent of its goal. United Methodists seek to achieve the $75 million goal before the 2016 General Conference. (Feb. 24, UMNS)
One Great Hour of Sharing — Resources for this Special Sunday, March 15, are at www.umcgiving.org. The United Methodist Committee on Relief ministers in more than 80 countries. (Feb. 23, UMNS)
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Aid worker mourned — Kayla Mueller, age 26, died 6,000 miles from her Arizona home, killed as she followed her call to offer humanitarian aid in Syria.
Friends and family say she was walking the path she believed God set for her. "She saw the suffering before her and tried to respond," said Kathleen Day, who was Mueller’s campus minister at Northern Arizona University.
Mueller’s death was confirmed Feb. 10. She was captured in August 2013 by the Islamic State. (Feb. 16, UMNS)
Severe winter — Union UMC in Boston had a dilemma. A snow emergency parking ban and snow piled as high as the stained-glass windows made it clear that worship Feb. 15 would be difficult, if not impossible. So the congregation logged in at www.FreeConferenceCall.com for about 23 minutes of praising God together.
Jay Williams, Union’s lead pastor, said Boston had 95.7 inches of snow as of Feb. 16.
The idea for worship via conference call first arose two years ago, "because we were in the same predicament," he said.With more notice this year, 75 people took part in the call.
Why not? When James Karpen offered background about the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew to performers of its new resident theater company, he described it as the church of "why not."
In some churches, he said, people suggest trying something new and others respond with all the reasons why it can’t be done. "My experience here was the opposite," he told them.
So, when Theatre 167 created a play about its new home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the title became: "The Church of Why Not." (Feb. 18, UMNS)