From the Worldwide Faith News archives

UMNS -News In Brief - Dec. 13, 2002

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Sun, 15 Dec 2002 13:35:55 -0800

Brief items for use in local church newsletters
prepared by United Methodist News Service

United Methodists will be featured prominently in a 30-minute TV special, 
"Reaching Out," which will begin airing on CBS affiliates Sunday, Dec. 15. 
Two United Methodist-related ministries will be part of the program, one at 
a North Carolina auto racing speedway and the other at a Pennsylvania truck 
stop. The first broadcast of the show will be at 7 a.m. Sunday in New York 

When rock star Bono wanted to tour the American Midwest to draw attention 
to the devastating plague of AIDS in Africa, he turned to the church. On 
Sunday, Dec. 1 - World AIDS Day - the lead singer of U2 spoke at Saint Paul 
United Methodist Church in Lincoln for the launch of a weeklong, seven-city 
"Heart of America Tour: Africa's Future and Ours." The tour was sponsored 
by DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa), an advocacy group that Bono helped 
found. Throughout the week, he urged churches to action, describing AIDS as 
the leprosy of today. "'Love thy neighbor' is not advice," he said. "It is 
a command."

About 12 to 15 United Methodists, mostly clergy, were among the 100-odd 
demonstrators arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after blocking 
the front entrance of the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York. 
The arrests followed an interfaith rally near the United Nations to protest 
possible U.S. military action in Iraq. Others arrested included Ben Cohen, 
co-founder of Ben and Jerry's ice cream and Daniel Ellsberg, involved in 
the Pentagon Papers scandal. The Rev. James Fitzgerald, one of the United 
Methodist pastors arrested, said he thinks, "the rush to war is poisoning 
the soul of America."

Efforts to avert a pre-emptive military strike at Iraq continue to grow 
with the formation of a new coalition called Win Without War. "The prophets 
of the Old Testament never took a vote to see what was right," said Bob 
Edgar, president of the National Council of Churches in the USA and a 
United Methodist clergyman. Instead, he insisted, people need "to stand up 
and ask what is right." Jim Winkler, staff head of the United Methodist 
Board of Church and Society, said he hopes President Bush and Vice 
President Chaney, like all United Methodists, will find the denomination's 
Social Principles "instructive and persuasive."

In the wake of the Liberian government's call for self-sufficiency in food 
production, the United Methodist Church has launched three agricultural 
projects in Nimba, Bassa and Montserrado counties. The $60,000 project, 
financed by the Liberian Conference and United Methodist Board of Global 
Ministries, includes poultry development, agro-forestry, livestock 
restocking, and vegetable and rice seed multiplication and preservation. 
The projects are expected to benefit 30 villages and close to 2,000 farmers.

The Italian and English-speaking congregations at the Methodist Church in 
Milan, Italy, are continuing to cope with flood damage caused by a Nov. 26 
storm. The church's underground sanctuary was completely flooded, resulting 
in a loss of furnishings, organ, piano and Bibles, according to the Rev. 
Harold W. "Bill" and Roberta Smith, assigned there by the United Methodist 
Board of Global Ministries.

"The Road Less Traveled" is the theme for the 2003 Student Forum of the 
United Methodist Student Movement, set for May 22-25 at Albright College in 
Reading, Pa. The Student Forum is a national leadership conference for 
college students sponsored by the Campus Ministry Section, United Methodist 
Board of Higher Education and Ministry. About 500 to 600 student leaders, 
college chaplains and campus ministers will gather for leadership training, 
spiritual formation and networking. Each annual conference is invited to 
send three voting delegates and six alternate student delegates. 
Registration begins in April, and details will be available soon at

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United Methodist News Service
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