UM Insight

UM Insight


A Renewing Vision. Oil on panel by Sharon Barley I recently read a story about a woman who walked along a beautiful Sandy shore every morning most of her life. She sat on the light sand and pondered the rhythm of the waves. One day, suddenly a large storm swept through the area. It washed away the beautiful beaches and left course pebbles and rocks strewn across the landscape by the waters. Her world had changed in one night. But what she realized, Is that the sea did not change, The rhythm of the water washing to shore did not change, Why she went there to ponder this beautiful place did not change. I was grateful to read this rather beautiful and personal reflection as she revealed her sadness, and also in her thoughtful recognition of what was really important in those moments of contemplation on that shoreline, and what truly filled up her soul. It reminds me of the chaos that has come into all of our lives in this worldwide pandemic. For the first time, in my lifetime, It’s not a war over there, or hunger in a far land, or pestilence I see on TV. Every family, Every community, Every state. Every government every nation... WE are all suffering the after-affects of a great storm. Her story reminded me that beauty remains in the skies, the heavens are full of the glory of God and the sea laps in a rhythmic dance upon our shores. We come alive in all the simple things that we value as human beings. If sitting on rocks makes us pause a little longer to appreciate the majesty and the glory before us.. if it makes us realize what makes us human, specifically, our connections to love and loving relationships, then perhaps one day the world will look back..., and remember when everything stopped; both the terror and beauty, the frailty and strength; the fear lightened by the faith that held us; and those first responders and healthcare saints who sacrificed everything for everyone. Perhaps we will look back when this world stopped, and the streets were empty and remember again the people and things that brought us alive; and remember again what makes us all human. This is an uncomfortable place to sit or navigate as we walk, but what if this is all meant to remind us that as humanity we truly are ONE.
A prayer prior to GC20 “We beseech Thee to make known to us more and more clearly each day the duties we are expected to perform if we are to fulfill our destiny. We plead for that serenity of spirit which trusts confidently that Thy will may, and must, and can be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” (Rev. Lloyd C. Douglas, The Living Faith, Houghton Mifflin, 1955, p. 299.) “The serenity of spirit” to trust that God’s will can and must be done — a powerful statement! May God grant our UMC leaders the wisdom to discern and follow God’s will as we confront the world-wide coronavirus epidemic. May we have the serenity of spirit to follow their lead. Jim Loomis (Parishioner: Michigan Annual Conference)
REFLECTIONS prior to GC20 Theological differences, regional differences, years of dispute, reconciliation failures. A new protocol, promised agreement, peaceful resolution. Unexpected amendments, warnings of financial apocalypse, requests for donations to fund partisan advocacy. Legislation submitted…or not. rules of order… or adoption of principle… which first, which most important? Social media, striving for dominance, unambiguous claims. “If one of my followers sins against you, go and point out what was wrong. But do it in private, just between the two of you….” (Matthew 18:15, CEV) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9, NIV) May people call you blessed today. Jim Loomis (Parishioner: Michigan Annual Conference)
From Colossians 3:15 (NLT) Paul writes to us, “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Note that Paul is talking about Christ’s church, and not specifically about the United Methodist Church. I wonder which “church” are we talking about in our social media posts regarding GC20. I wonder if Christ’s peace rules our hearts as we decide what to post. I wonder….. Jim Loomis (Parishioner: Michigan Annual Conference)
A thought to ponder prior to GC20 Psalm 118:26a (NRSV) The psalmist writes, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” I wonder: When I come before others, especially fellow Christians, in whose name do I come? Do I speak on behalf of God, or do I represent my own preferred expression of Methodism? To be honest, I don’t always want to know the answer. Jim Loomis (Parishioner: Michigan Annual Conference)
May the love of God fill your heart with joy today and everyday, and may our love for the rest of his creation fill their hearts with joy also. Jim Loomis, (Parishioner: Michigan Annual Conference)
My prayer for all prior to GC20: May you feel God’s grace this week, and may you pass it on to others. (Jim Loomis, Parishioner: Michigan Conference)
Hard Times Have you ever felt like the whole world was on your shoulders? Like everyone was out to get you and trying to run you over? No matter what you do, it always turns out wrong. Everything around you keeps falling as you try desperately to hold on. Everybody seems to be going up, while you keep heading down. Everyone has something to smile about, while you wear a frown. They all seem to be doing well and climbing up to the top. They all get to drink from the cup of success, but you never get a drop. Nothing ever seems to go your way and you don't even know the meaning of the word Luck? No matter how much you scrape and save, something always comes along and take your last buck. Well.. just remember the man who complained about not being able to buy a new pair of shoes, until he met a man with no feet. The girl who complained about having to wear glasses, until she bumped into a blind man on the street. The boy who complained of having to eat his vegetables, when there are kids starving in the world with nothing to eat. The woman who complained about her baby crying all night, while some are born never to speak. Your life may not be as good as others, but remember that there is always someone worst off than you. So instead of complaining of what you don't have, take the time to thank the Lord for what you do. - taken from the book "I Love God by Gregory St. James Mundy- READ IT FREE on AMAZON.
I have been a member of one UMC congregation or another for 73 years, baptism and confirmation, state officer in MYF, etc. Despite my disagreement with some of the theology of UMC, I felt attached to the people and the traditions of the service. After years of patience with the narrow view of the Book of Discipline, I am tired of the turmoil. I am leaving the hypocrisy of "open hearts and open minds" of the UMC for another denomination.
Absolutely despicable that the conference "issue" is my LGBT community. Your ongoing discrimination is unchristian, immoral and that it should be an issue at all in light of the evil the UMC should be disturbing. I'm a mother, a psych RN, a hypnotist, an attendee of a local UMC church ( long ago a UMC pastor's wife) I'm is my being gay an issue for you? How is my sexual orientation hurting your church? Religion is often toxic. And not synonymous with Spirit.
Good publication that helps United Methodists know more about the upcoming Special General Conference in February. Our Bishops are doing what they were consecrated to do: lead our church and do so in a way that promotes Christian unity while providing excellent Christian education. Way to go, Council of Bishops!
I just read Dr. Howell's open letter to Rev Rob Renfroe and having read and listened to Rev Renfroe I must agree with him and feel that the UMC is headed down the road of apostasy if they abandon scripture in favor of popular sentiment and they will be responsible for leading many well intention ed Christians away from scripture. We all know that famous road paved with good intentions. Today it doesn't take much courage to do what is politically correct but to stand for God's truth can be painful and unpopular.

United Methodist Insight is a news-and-views forum for the worldwide United Methodist Church. It is ranked among the top 10 UM websites globally.

Tuesday updates on United Methodist Insight,

UMC Pastors Bring Comfort Through NCC Devotions by Cynthia B. Astle

Global United Methodist Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Updated by David W. Scott (see map)

Easter Sunday, COVID 19 by Charlie Baber

Words to Live By (Especially in Anxious Times) by Jack Sh*tama

A Paper-Mache Church by Bishop Gary Mueller

April 7 Coronavirus Update from The Conversation

On this Monday of what some are predicting will be the “hardest, saddest week” for the United States in the coronavirus pandemic, United Methodist Insight sets some new guidelines for its coverage.

A Message from the Editors Cynthia B. Astle and John Astle

Being the Church at the Epicenter of the U.S. Pandemic by Linda Bloom (see photo)

“I Was Sick, and in Prison …” by Cynthia B. Astle

Passion and Compassion

Passion and Compassion - "It is time for right-wing, extremist Christianity to become extinct just as the dinosaurs did. ... Jesus' harshest words were directed to the religious leaders. Why? Because they were the ones who were supposed to know better. They were the ones poisoning the wells of the spiritual life, turning th...

Wednesday Updates:

God's Role in Times of Crisis by Knut Refsdal

What Will the Church's 'New Normal' Be? by Cynthia B. Astle

Hurry Up to Get in on Virtual Easter Choir by Cynthia B. Astle

The Battle for the Eucharist by Morgan Guyton

Preaching Tips They Didn't Teach in Seminary by Thomas Fuerst

A Rock in a Weary Land by Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Spotlight: Coping with Coronavirus Pandemic

Find these and much more on our home page at

It's "show us the money" Tuesday:

UM & Global’s David W. Scott concludes his series on United Methodist assets with two articles: "Challenges in Dividing Assets" and "Concluding Thoughts.

Wrestling with Budget After GC2020 Postponed by Heather Hahn, UM News

Pandemic Presents Challenge to Church Giving by Heather Hahn (see photo)

Cynthia B. Astle brings United Methodist COVID-19 updates and highlights the latest Pew Research results on how believers are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in
"We’re Praying for an End to Coronavirus"

Find these and lots more on our home page,

Big news and views on this gloomy-in-Dallas Monday. Hope these articles on United Methodist Insight give you something to relieve any boredom you may have while sheltering in place.

Rev. Joseph Lowery, Civil Rights Leader, Dead at 98 by Kathy L. Gilbert of UM News (see photo)

Online Communion or Not – That’s THE Question by Cynthia B. Astle

Three Ecumenical Organizations Join in Easter Suggestions

Wrestling with Budget After GC2020 Postponed by Heather Hahn of UM News

Remembering Holy Week, Celebrating Easter by Cindy Solomon of UMC Resource

Western Jurisdiction Bishops Give Guidance on Holy Communion

Ajar by Steve Harper

Slave, Hired Hand, Friend – Relating to God by Jason Valendy

Little Deaths by Jim Parsons

Letting Go of Righteousness by Jason Valendy

Lockdowns Disrupt Holy Week

Lockdowns Disrupt Holy Week - "We believe that beyond the ravages of time and this pandemic, we will be restored into wellness and wholeness, with different understandings of what it is to be the Church in the world.

Wednesday Updates – The coronavirus pandemic is peaking in the United States, and it’s curtailing the life and work of The United Methodist Church.

Holy Week and Easter Services Likely to Be Online by Cynthia B. Astle

An Affirmation of Faith: For the Self-Exiled During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Glory E. Dharmaraj

Worship and Faithfulness in the Age of COVID-19 by Daniel Benedict

Possible Steps After General Conference Delay by William B. Lawrence

BMCR Focuses on Separation Plans, Leadership Views by John W. Coleman (see photo)

Wesley Bros: Rise and Shine by Charlie Baber

In These Uncertainties by Bishop Rosemarie Wenner

COVID-19 Lockdown: How Churches Can Live-Stream Worship While “Sheltering in Place” by Jeremy Smith

Billionaires (A Poem About American Christianity) by Morgan Guyton

Find these and a wealth of other news and views on United Methodist Insight,

‘Hope’ is the theme for today’s updates on United Methodist Insight,

‘Hope’ Becomes Watchword for COVID-19 Crisis by Cynthia B. Astle

GCORR Denounces Trump’s Racist and Xenophobic “Chinese Virus” Language (see photo of White House briefing)

Singing Our Song in a Strange Land by James A. Harnish

Praying the Lord’s Prayer Worldwide from NCC News

General Conference to Move to 2021 -- Media Release

UPDATED: Looking at General Conference Dates by Heather Hahn

In GC2020 Delay, Leaders See Needed Pause by Heather Hahn and Sam Hodges

Eastern Pennsylvania Corrects Coronavirus Closings Info

Connection in a Time of Social Distancing by Jack Sh*tama

Quarantined, Set Apart, Sacred by Jason Valendy

Find these and more on our home page,

Looking for something to read while isolated at home? Here are new articles on United Methodist Insight,

Go to Church in Europe This Weekend by David W. Scott

Grounding Our Faith in the World Caused by This New Reality by Richard Lowell Bryant

Keeping Connected Amid Social Distancing from The Conversation

Be sure to visit United Methodist Insight daily for news and views on life in The United Methodist Church amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Stay safe and wash your hands!

For your weekend reading:

New Salutes and Notes from the COVID-19 Pandemic by Cynthia B. Astle

The Virus Through the Lens of Faith by John Boley

Roland Fernandes to Lead Global Ministries by Elliott Wright

COVID-19 Causes GC2020 to be Postponed

COVID-19 Causes GC2020 to be Postponed - "We face the challenges of these days in the confidence that we do not face them alone. ... In Jesus, we see a God who is willing to go all the way to the cross to demonstrate God’s unfailing, redeeming love. Even Jesus was not immune to human suffering, which comes to all of us at one time or ano...

Now that GC2020 is officially postponed, here’s other news and views about United Methodist responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find links to these headlines on our home page at

COVID-19 Prompts Responses by Global Ministries

United Methodists Around the World Respond to Coronavirus by David W. Scott

“Will Your Church Survive?” by Christy Thomas

Wesley Bros: The Holy Loogie of God by Charlie Baber

Attune and Contain: Two Counseling Concepts to Survive the Apocalypse by Morgan Guyton

Shifting Gears During the Coronavirus Pandemic by Cynthia B. Astle

Church Leaders Postpone General Conference 2020

GENERAL CONFERENCE 2020 OFFICIALLY POSTPONED GC2020 organizers had no choice but to postpone the once-every-four-years congress after the conference site in Minneapolis cancelled all events through early May.

Tuesday updates: Churches show virtual vitality amid virus pandemic

Uncertain and Chaotic, Life Goes on for United Methodists by Cynthia B. Astle

Virus Alters But Does Not Stop Sunday Worship by Linda Bloom and Sam Hodges

COVID-19: Learning to be a Virtual Church by Ben Gosden

Three Ways the Church Can Support People with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Rebecca L. Holland

A Primer on UMR Assets: What Does It Mean to Divide Assets? By David W. Scott

Monday Updates

GC2020 Organizers to Consider Bishops’ Request to Postpone Meeting by Heather Hahn

‘Just Trust God’ – Coronavirus Diary March 16, 2020 by Christy Thomas

‘Sacred Trust’ Report Touts Local Church Leadership by Jim Patterson

Journeys to Affirmation: This Little Light of Mine by Amy Sells

Jesus, Social Distancing, and Health Care by Richard Lowell Bryant

Communicable Compassion: Faith Communities in the Coronavirus Era by Jim Burklo

Christmas Covenant and Connectional Table Legislation Clarified

This and more at:

Our package of stories on United Methodist response to the coronavirus pandemic has been updated throughout Friday. Please go to our home page at for links to these latest versions:

Council of Bishops Asks to Postpone GC2020 – Press Release

A Pastoral Care Word from a Physician by Michael Baughman

Updates by Insight Editor Cynthia B. Astle:
Survey Finds 60 Percent of Respondents Willing to Postpone GC2020
Fearing COVID-15, UM-related Colleges Switch to Online Classes
Pandemic Cancellations of Church Meetings Increase

Council of Bishops Asks to Postpone GC2020

BREAKING NEWS: Council of Bishops asks to postpone General Conference 2020 because of coronavirus pandemic. The bishops have asked to postpone General Conference 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

[03/13/20]   UPDATED: Pandemic Cancellations of Church Meetings Increase by Cynthia B. Astle

Corona, Corona – United Methodist Insight for 3-13-2020

Corona, Corona – United Methodist Insight for 3-13-2020 - "The recent coronavirus outbreak is cause for tremendous concern. It’s only a matter of time before your area is affected. The nature of the virus makes that a near certainty. 

The global spread of COVID-19, now officially a pandemic, tops today’s updates on United Methodist Insight,

Pandemic Causes Cancellations, Postponements of Church Meetings by Cynthia B. Astle
TAKE OUR SURVEY: Should GC2020 Be Postponed Because of COVID-19 Pandemic?
Don’t Panic (It’s Never Helpful) by Jack Sh*tama
For Goodness’ Sake, CANCEL GC2020. Unfortunately, We Can’t Do This Legally by Christy Thomas
Adjusting to Coronavirus Threat by Linda Bloom

In other news and views
Welcome to the “Cone of Uncertainty” by Cynthia B. Astle
A Primer on UMC Assets: Board and Agency Assets by David W. Scott
Wesley Bros: Literalism Will Get You Nowhere by Charlie Baber
Along the Way: At the Bottom of the “Slippery Slope” by Steve Harper
Conference Presidents of UM Men Mull Future After General Conference 2020 by Rich Peck
Church Members Worship Together After Tornadoes by UM News Staff

Today's update. Attn: UM-Forward

Lenten Gathering Aims for Liberation, but How? by Cynthia B. Astle

Pacific Northwest Conference Office Closed After Staffer's Spouse Tests Positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus has hit the UMC in Washington:

Pacific Northwest Conference Office Closed After Staffer's Spouse Tests Positive for COVID-19 The Pacific Northwest office is located in the Seattle, Wash., area, center of one of the largest outbreaks of coronavirus in the United States.

Coronavirus and Tornadoes – United Methodist Insight for 3-6-2020

Coronavirus and Tornadoes – United Methodist Insight for 3-6-2020 - "Selfless practices do not make me more worthy of God’s love. Rather, they prepare my heart to believe that God’s love is real.  And it’s really for me.  God doesn’t love me more just because I kept all my spiritual disciplines and turned into the best version of myself.  No, God’s love...

One update for today, but it's a big one:

United Methodists Prepare for Coronavirus with Health Habits and Hope by Cynthia B. Astle

On Super Tuesday, here’s our super line-up on United Methodist Insight,

LGBTQ Advocates See Hope in Church Future by Heather Hahn of UM News

A Primer on United Methodist Assets: Board and Agency Income by David W. Scott

Wesley Bros: My Personal DisciPlan by Charlie Baber

Dallas Pastor Tapped to Lead Black Church Initiative by Christal G. Herbin

Two updates on this Monday in March:

Local Church Options Under Separation Plans, a UM News Analysis by Kathy L. Gilbert

Systematic Thinking About Separation: The May, Should, Can and How Hierarchy by Frank Holbrook.

Find these links in our "UMC Future" section,

Late-breaking news:

Key African Group Supports 'Protocol' Plan by Heather Hahn

Reversal in Africa as IRD Bails on 'Protocol' by Mark R. Holland

Find these articles at the top of our home page,

For your weekend reading:

Coronavirus and the UMC by Cynthia B. Astle (see map)

Overlap of UMC with Countries Where Coronavirus is Confirmed

Unraveling the Protocol by David Livingston

Find these articles starting on our home page,

Jumping the Gun – United Methodist Insight for 2-28-2020

Jumping the Gun – United Methodist Insight for 2-28-2020 - "Or will the narratives and stories be what we privilege as we consider the future of the UMC? Will we focus on the what God might be doing in and through us?"

Today’s offerings on United Methodist Insight are few but powerful:

5 Problems with Liberia’s Protocol Vote by Mark R. Holland (see photo)

Seeking a Way Out of the Dark by Cynthia B. Astle

Tuesday Updates on United Methodist Insight:

A Primer on UMC Assets: Departing Annual Conference and Remaining Local Churches by David W. Scott

Journeys to Affirmation 08: Who Are We to Stand in God’s Way? by Paul R. Purdue

Spiritual Hypothermia by Jason Valendy (see photo)

Proposed New General Book of Discipline Review Documents Available by Diane Degnan

Personal Responsibility = Social Responsibility by Jim Burklo

Check out these and lots more articles starting on our home page at

Wesley Bros: St. Ephrem’s Song

The Wesley Bros are back! Much to the delight of his many fans, the Rev. Charlie Baber has returned from a three-month sabbatical to drawing our favorite Methodist cartoon. He starts the new series with a perfect entry for Lent, “St. Ephrem’s Song.”’s-song/ The Wesley Bros are back! And they began with an ancient text suitable for the Lenten season.

Monday news & views:

Resist Harm’s March Theme: Lament by Cynthia B. Astle (photo courtesy of Resist Harm)

UPDATED: Three Florida Clergy Attempt to Create New Denomination by Cynthia B. Astle

Let’s Watch Our Language by Gilbert Vieira

Alaska Conference to Ask GC2020 to Become Mission District by Jim Doepkin

How to Avoid a Civil War with Your Congregation (or Family) by Jack Sh*tama

Along the Way: Tending the Flock by Steve Harper

Boy Scouts and Bankruptcy from The Conversation

Find these and more articles on our home page at United Methodist Insight,


Three Florida Clergy Attempt to Create New Denomination by Cynthia B. Astle

Florida Man Leaves Cabinet After Starting New Methodist Denomination by Jeremy Smith

Central Conferences Flex Their Muscles – United Methodist Insight for 2-21-2020

Central Conferences Flex Their Muscles – United Methodist Insight for 2-21-2020 -

Late-breaking articles from UM News:

Liberians Want Changes in Separation Plan by E. Julu Swen and Sam Hodges

Think Tank to Look at GC2020 Possibilities by Heather Hahn

Home Page

Wednesday Updates

Like It or Not, We’re in This Together by David Livingston

Seeking Future Liberation from Past Oppression by Jay Williams

Obituary for The United Methodist Church by Philip Wingeier-Rayo

United Methodist Men Support Boy Scouts of America

Our home page has links to these and many more articles, including our new listing of commentary on the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.”

“Lenten Gathering” Seeks to Build “Liberation Methodist Church” by Cynthia B. Astle (see photo)

Church Giving Overcomes Worst Fears by Heather Hahn

Conference Urged to Reopen Misconduct Case by Heather Hahn

Africa University Founding Father Dies at 87 by Eveline Chikwanah and Kathy L. Gilbert

Philippines Central Conference Perspective on Future of The United Methodist Church by Igmedia Domingo

What Makes You Angry? By Mark Conrad

Journeys to Affirmation 07: New Ways of Thinking by Scott Spencer

Go to our home page,, for links to these and other articles of interest about The United Methodist Church.

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