The global church
Mapping program — United Methodist Communications (UMCom) is using digital technology to help conferences map their churches. The Philippines Central Conference was the first to complete this process in three episcopal areas. This work proved important during Typhoon Ruby preparations in December; crisis mappers depended on UM data to provide shelter locations. Partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire also are engaged in the program.
Conversations on race — For Black History Month in February, Rethink Church is offering episodes of "Night Call," one of the first national radio call-in shows. Airing in the 1960s, the show was aimed at getting whites and blacks to talk to each other over the airwaves during a time of great racial tension in the United States. The General Commission on Archives and History helped digitize the episodes. Listen at http://rethinkchurch.org/articles/conversations-on-race/night-call.
Holy Communion — The Week of Christian Unity became real in tangible and spiritual ways Jan. 25, at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Canon Gina Campbell served Communion to both United Methodists and Episcopalians. Her actions in the sanctuary were hailed by leaders of both denominations as historic for the denominations’ Interim Eucharistic Sharing Agreement. Kim Cape of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry said, "Those things that bind us together are stronger than those things that pull us apart. Sharing at the table is at the heart of who we are. We celebrate our family tree and common roots in Christ."
Winter shelter — Cold temperatures in Northern Iraq forced thousands of families fleeing Mideast violence to seek shelter. Some found refuge in communal settlements or abandoned and unfinished buildings inadequate for health and safety needs. In response, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is supporting partner GlobalMedic in providing winterization kits to 1,620 displaced families in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The kits include blankets, mattresses, coverlets, household heaters, and hygiene items.