United Methodist Church News Feed

Sanctuary as more than shelter
United Methodist advocates say there are many ways to help those at risk of deportation.
Safe water for 2 more Sierra Leone villages
Two Sierra Leone villages plagued by disease get water, sanitation help from the United Methodist Global Health Initiative.
Death toll more than 200 in Congo landslide
The East Congo bishop has called on the entire community to help after a landslide in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo left more than 200 dead.
Board raises bishops’ pay, starts budget work
Finance and Administration board decides bishops’ compensation and helps develop general church budget.
Native Americans share stories, songs at conference
Gathering included a ‘Cherokee Immersion,’ with visits to a Native American museum and village in Cherokee, North Carolina.
Church leaders visit Sierra Leone disaster area
United Methodist bishop prays for God to have mercy on Sierra Leone as he leads clergy group to visit two communities devastated by flooding and a mudslide.
Hundreds dead, missing in Sierra Leone mudslides, flooding
The numbers of dead and missing after torrential rains led to deadly mudslides is expected to rise as recovery efforts continue.
Guam church prays for restraint on nuclear threat
Although many on island are “unfazed” by nuclear threat, a “greater danger” arising from U.S.-North Korea confrontation is acknowledged.
At Sunday worship, pastors decry racism
After witnessing the white supremacy that led to deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, United Methodists across the U.S. spent Sunday proclaiming a different way in Christ.
Prophetic speaking a given at MARCHA
The church’s Hispanic/Latino caucus discusses Trump effect and celebrates 25th anniversary of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry.

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Learning from Paul to Leverage Networking for Missions

The ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’ had an entrepreneurial spirit that helped him spread the Gospel.

To say that we live in a connected and networked world is old news. When an immigrant from Mexico cooks my favorite Levantine dish (I happen to be Korean American) at a bodega owned by a second-generation Jordanian, the world just got smaller and more connected. Cultures collide, and the outcome is messy and beautiful. It is difficult to see where one culture ends and another begins. Is the hot sauce in the baba ghanoush a Mexican touch? No one knows, not even the server. Like a good sketch, there is a lot of cross-hatching, and the final product is greater than the parts. The keenest observers of society are those who are incentivized to see—entrepreneurs, financial institutions, and missionaries.

The world has plenty of the former, and they can sniff opportunities years before others. If we tweak Horace’s famous words and monetize it, carpe pecuniam (“seize the money”) might be their motto. In a world where mammon is enthroned, who can fault them? They are just better devotees.

The church, if she is honest, is far slower in analyzing shifts in culture. Part of the problem is, undoubtedly, owing to the church’s inherent traditionalism, not necessarily a bad quality in a world obsessed with novelty. However, if God has created these shifts in culture and networks for the church to accomplish her mission, then failing to see them is to miss God’s design. More importantly, the church might miss open doors. To provoke our imaginations, the apostle Paul offers an example of what can be done by those who use networks in a selfless way.

Paul’s Network

Paul was a man of his times. He was a Jew, who lived in a Hellenized world under the rule of the Roman Empire. He could expound the Scriptures ...

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Challenges to Becoming a Multicultural Church

Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America.

One of the biggest issues in our culture is race relations. I write about it often, and the latest #Charlottesville incident reminds us of the brokenness we face in this area.

One of the biggest knocks on the Church is that 11:00 on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America. There is no reason to argue it. Neither should that fact cause us to change everything we do to make it untrue. I’m not defending the reality, and I do understand that there are many reasons for it. But it is also encouraging that many churches are trying to overcome that history.

However, I also know that there is a strong movement to help us not be defined by ‘white church’ and ‘black church’ labels. There are many good people reaching across ethnic and color lines to help the Church become as diverse as the many types of people God created. There are challenges for sure. But these challenges can be met and dealt with successfully.

When we talk about churches becoming more multicultural, I’m not here to shame anyone. I get that many Anglo churches are filled with angst because they are “too white,” but that can be good or bad. The fact is, some churches are in communities that are not very diverse. A church is not primarily responsible for how multicultural its neighborhood is, but it is responsible for how kingdom-minded it is. So what does it look like to make a healthy cultural shift away from who you are to who you can be?

Notice the Neighborhood

The goal is not to meet a quota.

It is to meet the expectations God has for us. In some ways, that expectation varies from local body to local body. But it seems fair to suggest that the Church should have a goal to reflect its local community—not ...

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Cambodia Lets Anti-Trafficking Ministry Stay After Controversial News Report

Government rescinds threat to shut down a US-based evangelical charity.

A shocking news segment on child sex trafficking in Cambodia spurred American evangelicals to get involved in the cause 13 years ago. A recent CNN update on the industry almost ended more than decade of anti-trafficking ministry by a major Christian charity.

The controversial story, which portrayed mothers selling their daughters to work in brothels, offended the country’s top leader, who threatened to expel Agape International Missions (AIM) from Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen took issue with the characterization of Cambodians in CNN coverage from July since the women featured—like a disproportionate number involved in trafficking in Cambodia—were ethnically Vietnamese, not Cambodian.

On Tuesday, the leader of the majority-Buddhist nation accepted AIM’s apology over the segment and has rescinded calls to shut down the organization’s schools, shelters, and offices, mostly based in the heavily Vietnamese Svay Pak slums.

AIM, the subject of CT’s June cover story, investigates more than half of all sex trafficking raids that take place in Cambodia and has rescued over 100 underage girls in recent years.

The evangelical charity works in partnership with the anti-human trafficking division of the national police to catch perpetrators and provide recovery for young victims. It had received commendation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in July, just days before the prime minister pledged, “No matter what it costs us, this organization has to leave Cambodia.”

The government investigation ultimately found AIM to be sincere in its explanation and apology.

"Recently, myself and the NGO I led, Agape International Missions, were mistakenly accused of working ...

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