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March - April 2016


The Social Principles are 73 statements of church teachings cover a wide range of issues and are the guiding document for the work of the General Board of Church and Society around the world. There's also a preview of the major debates at General Conference 2016 and a look at ideas for keeping a Holy Lent.

Susan Henry-Crowe

Encouraging social awareness, action

Challenging the world's 12.4 million United Methodists to be involved in Christ-inspired social concerns is a big undertaking. But that is the mission of United Methodism's General Board of Church and Society. Read More

Timeline illustrates ‘living faith’

Based on information provided by the Rev. Clayton Childers, director of annual conference relations, General Board of Church and Society, and Kurt Karandy, Ph.D. candidate in American religious history at Princeton University Read More

Healthy families initiative in Liberia

Empowering women for abundant living

Healthy Families-Healthy Planet initiative is about access to family-planning information and services that save women's lives and stop unnecessary death and injuries. Read More

Health care reform demonstration

Health Care: What does the Lord require?

Work providing health care and in health care reform illustrates United Methodists' commitment to ministries of mercy and of justice. Read More

The Rev. Joseph Kim

Intern Memories: Interning shaped his faith: The Rev. Joseph Kim

It's been 12 years since the Rev. Joseph Kim served as an Ethnic Young Adult intern with the General Board of Church and Society, but the experience continues to have an impact. Read More

The Rev. Kathleen Kind

Intern Memories: Forum started young leader on advocacy path: The Rev. Kathleen Kind

While it has been more than a decade since the Rev. Kathleen E. Kind participated in a Young Clergy Leadership Forum (YCLF), she will never forget the experience. Read More

Meeting then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was among the highlights of her internships for Damaris Nicholson (second from right). Joining them on the White House lawn in 1999 are the Rev. Neal Christie and an unindentified GBCS staff member.

Intern Memories: PK champions racial equality: Damaris Nicholson

Growing up as a preacher's kid had both blessings and hardships for Damaris Nicholson, now a Child Protective Service State Disproportionality Specialist in Austin, Texas. Read More

GBCS Intern - Movfagh

Intern memories: Linking social justice with theology, spirituality-Rev. Hilde Marie Ogreid Movafagh

An internship with United Methodist Board of Church and Society provided Norwegian pastor with new perspective on social justice and social holiness. Read More

Josh Kulah

Intern Memories: Ethnic Young Adult internship sharpens career focus: Joshua S. Kulah

Before his internship with the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), future lawyer Joshua S. Kulah admits he had no idea how involved and socially conscious his denomination is. Read More

The Rev. Laura and Richard Bensman with their daughter, Cora Rose

Intern Memories: Putting faith in action clarifies call: The Rev. Laura Bensman

The two years the Rev. Laura Bensman spent working with the General Board of Church and Society through the US-2 missionary program helped shape her faith and her eventual career. Read More

The Rev. Paul Perez

Intern Memories: Intern claimed his voice: The Rev. Paul Perez

While a student at Wesley Theological Seminary, the Rev. Paul Perez served as an intern in the Peace with Justice and education and leadership formation programs at the General Board of Church and Society. Today, he continues to work with young people. Read More

High school youth from the North Carolina Conference gather outside the United Methodist Building

Intern Memories: High schooler gains insight into domestic violence: Abby Martin

Domestic violence is not a topic most high school students want to learn about during their spring break, but a group of students from North Carolina learned a lot about this frightening issue. Read More

The Rev. Abraham Funchess

Seeking justice through sentencing reform

When it comes to working for laws that align with teachings in the United Methodist Social Principles, staff of the General Board of Church and Society know how to seek justice -- and urge others to walk with them. Read More

The Rev. Ande Emmanuel speaks to participants in a seminar to increase understanding between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. Listening are (from left) Eunice B. Bill, McBride United Methodist Church, Jalingo, and Sharp M. Hassan and Sadiya Umar Mafiosi of the Federation of Muslim Women.

Building Peace in Nigeria

In November 2015, the General Board of Church and Society worked with local church leaders to facilitate an event that brought 30 Christians and 30 Muslims together for training and dialogue. Of the United Methodists attending, 75 percent were from northern Nigeria where Boko Haram has attacked churches on Sunday and killed at least 50 church members. Read More


Ministry with* focuses on partnerships

A growing number of United Methodist conferences and congregations are partnering with those they serve in an effort to create more vibrant communities and address the root causes of poverty. Read More

Flipino delegate at COP21

Climate justice is everyone’s issue

The General Board of Church and Society sent a team to the 2015 United Nations climate change conference in Paris -- COP21 -- to share diverse perspectives and engage in seeking just solutions. Read More

Levi Bautista at UN

United Methodists play key role at U.N.

The General Board of Church and Society provides a ministry of presence and representation at the United Nations. Read More

The United Methodist Building stands today as a

A Beacon on Capitol Hill: The United Methodist Building

The United Methodist Building stands today as a "witness to God's concern" on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., says the Rev. Clayton Childers. Read More

GBCS Seminar poster marking

Helping millennials find a passion for justice

Through internships, seminar programs and young clergy leadership forums, the General Board of Church and Society aids young people in integrating their faith with a passion for social justice. Read More

Irina Margulis

Learning and living the Social Principles in Eurasia

The General Board of Church and Society is working to create more on-the-ground presence for community organizing, advocacy and reinforcing the teachings of the Social Principles. Read More

Robin Wertz, case manager, and the Rev. Steve Byrd, director, staff Exodus House in Oklahoma City.

Changing lives, building understanding

Exodus House in Oklahoma, a youth council in Europe and a project built around the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict are among the varied projects supported by offerings given on Peace with Justice Sunday, May 22 this year. Read More

Social Principles in the Philippines

Reimagining, rewriting the Social Principles

The charge from General Conference 2012 is clear – revise the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church to make them more succinct, theologically grounded and globally relevant. This is the first time a complete rewriting of the document has been undertaken since the document was first adopted in 1972. Read More

The Rev. David M. Wilson (left) of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference and Bishop Gary Mueller preside over Holy Communion as part of the 2015 Arkansas Annual Conference’s Service of Repentance and Reconciliation toward Indigenous People. The gathering was held in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where centuries ago, native tribes laid down their weapons so everyone could partake of the healing waters. Learning about the acts of repentance in which United Methodists have engaged since 2012 is one way to observe Native American Ministries Sunday.

Special Sunday serves as reminder of Native American contributions

Native American Ministries Sunday is one of The United Methodist Church's six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings. It is a day United Methodists focus on the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to society and the church. Read More

Josephine Deere (left) and the Rev. David Wilson (right) of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference pray for the Rev. Tom Albin during a panel about praying for General Conference at the pre-General Conference briefing in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Briefing previews 2016 General Conference debates

United Methodists heard about legislation regarding ordination, denominational restructuring, church investments and teachings on homosexuality. Read More

Dorothee Benz

Proposals about ministry, people expected to generate difficult debate

For Dorothee Benz, the debate is about "whether and how The United Methodist Church will continue to discriminate." For the Rev. Bill Arnold, the debate is about what church unity looks like and how the denomination lives into its mission statement. "I consider institutional unity a minimum," he said. Read More

Moses Kumar

Budget proposal still in flux

As the United States' economy has recovered from the 2008 crash, The United Methodist Church as a whole has seen its financial health improve. At the same time, declines in worship attendance are causing some to advise caution when considering the denominational budget for the 2017-20 quadrennium. Read More

The live stream of Killearn United Methodist Church's Christmas Eve service allowed a woman spending the night in a hospital with her mother to connect with her church family.

Expanding ministry via video streaming

After plans were made to produce video recordings of Killearn's services, the media ministry team didn't stop planning. The Rev. Erick Ashley, associate pastor, says, "After we made the decision to record video of the whole service, streaming was the next logical step." Read More

Publisher’s Page: Would John Wesley have used hashtags?

Would John Wesley have used hashtags? Since social media phrases inspire action, he probably would have been all in. Interpreter Magazine explores the theology of social media. Read More

Iona Orcutt modela her new prom dress.

A princess on prom day

Orcutt may not have had the opportunity to get a prom dress or even get to her high school prom without the help from the church with a cross and a flame. Read More

Computer professional Alan Macaluso and New Paltz High School seniors Luke McConnell (center) and Will Brasington staff the digital repair table.

Repair Café on the mend

More than 55 people filled the church community room with broken items in their hands. They were ready to learn how to fix their prized possessions at the Repair Café. Read More

An outgrowth of its ministry with families is Fridays Out with God, where teens lwork work with a chef to earn to prepare tasty, nutritious meals. Some later prepare food to be shared with clients of a homeless minstry the church supports.

Celebrating Christian Home Month

Hinsdale celebrates Christian Home Month each May. Read More

‘Vital Conversations’ study guides available

When churches want to help heal societal divisions, Vital Conversations study guides from the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) can help. Read More

The Rev. D. Anthony Everett

I Am United Methodist: The Rev. D. Anthony Everett

The Rev. D. Anthony Everett understands that not all United Methodists agree with all of the Social Principles and the church's Social Creed. As far as he is concerned, though, they line up with what Jesus would say. Read More