RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Western United Methodists Protest Church Policy Against Gays (RNS) United Methodist churches in the western United States have approved a statement calling for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church, echoing a declaration by churches in New England that protested the church’s decisions to ban same-sex unions and gay ordination. Meeting in Casper, Wyo., last week (July 12-15), delegates from United Methodist churches in 12 western states vowed to work for the “full participation at all levels in the life of the church and society” for gays and lesbians. The 8.4 million-member church met in Cleveland in May for its quadrennial General Conference meeting, where prohibitions against same-sex unions and gay ordination were upheld. A statement calling the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching” was also reaffirmed.

NEWS STORY: Woman Bishop Elected `The Old Fashioned Way’ _ With Politicking

c. 2000 Religion News Service CINCINNATI _ In the euphoria last week over the election of the first woman bishop in a mainline black denomination, thousands of men and women at the African Methodist Episcopal General Conference immediately began chanting “Two! Two! Two!” in the hopes a second woman would be elected. What many did not realize is that newly elected Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie had already made a political deal with the old-boy network that all but guaranteed her election while shutting the other female candidate out of the race.

NEWS STORY: Woman Bishop Elected `The Old Fashioned Way’ _ With Politicking

c. 2000 Religion News Service CINCINNATI _ In the euphoria last week over the election of the first woman bishop in a mainline black denomination, thousands of men and women at the African Methodist Episcopal General Conference immediately began chanting “Two! Two! Two!” in the hopes a second woman would be elected. What many did not realize is that newly elected Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie had already made a political deal with the old-boy network that all but guaranteed her election while shutting the other female candidate out of the race.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Three African-American Women Named United Methodist Bishops (RNS) The United Methodist Church has 13 new bishops, three of whom are African-American women, following its U.S. jurisdictional conferences. The new women bishops, joining four African-American men and six white men in the episcopate, are the first black women to be named Methodist bishops since Leontine Kelly was elected in 1984. She served in the denomination’s San Francisco area for four years before retiring. “It is great to no longer be the `only,”’ Kelly said in a United Methodist News Service report.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Three African-American Women Named United Methodist Bishops (RNS) The United Methodist Church has 13 new bishops, three of whom are African-American women, following its U.S. jurisdictional conferences. The new women bishops, joining four African-American men and six white men in the episcopate, are the first black women to be named Methodist bishops since Leontine Kelly was elected in 1984. She served in the denomination’s San Francisco area for four years before retiring. “It is great to no longer be the `only,”’ Kelly said in a United Methodist News Service report.

COMMENTARY: Let’s Give Teens a Break

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Dale Hanson Bourke is the author of five books and the mother of two sons.) (UNDATED) When Prince William turned 18 years old, his life became an open book. The news and entertainment media examined everything from his taste in vests to his choice of university. But one decision no one seemed to question was his decision to take a year off between the British equivalent of our high school and college in order to travel. That’s because the “gap year,” as it is known to Brits, is a common occurrence.

COMMENTARY: Let’s Give Teens a Break

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Dale Hanson Bourke is the author of five books and the mother of two sons.) (UNDATED) When Prince William turned 18 years old, his life became an open book. The news and entertainment media examined everything from his taste in vests to his choice of university. But one decision no one seemed to question was his decision to take a year off between the British equivalent of our high school and college in order to travel. That’s because the “gap year,” as it is known to Brits, is a common occurrence.

NEWS STORY: Episcopalians Target Need for Generation X Clergy

c. 2000 Religion News Service DENVER _ When Nathan Humphrey was first considering becoming an Episcopal priest, an official in his Maryland diocese laughed at him and told him to come back when he had more experience. “It was (an) out-of-hand dismissal,” said Humphrey, who is now 26 and a 1997 graduate of Yale Divinity School. There is also the story of the woman ordained at 32 who had been told to read an article on how “unhappy” Episcopal priests are when she was considering ordination. And there was the man who was ordained at 31, but was told “No one under 40 should even think about ordination.” Unfortunately, Humphrey says, his story and the stories of countless others are all too common.

NEWS STORY: Episcopalians Target Need for Generation X Clergy

c. 2000 Religion News Service DENVER _ When Nathan Humphrey was first considering becoming an Episcopal priest, an official in his Maryland diocese laughed at him and told him to come back when he had more experience. “It was (an) out-of-hand dismissal,” said Humphrey, who is now 26 and a 1997 graduate of Yale Divinity School. There is also the story of the woman ordained at 32 who had been told to read an article on how “unhappy” Episcopal priests are when she was considering ordination. And there was the man who was ordained at 31, but was told “No one under 40 should even think about ordination.” Unfortunately, Humphrey says, his story and the stories of countless others are all too common.

NEWS FEATURE: Show Biz Career Leads to Ministry With Addicts

c. 2000 Religion News Service HUNTSVILLE, Ala. _ To most, people like Muhammad Ali, Stevie Wonder, Donnie and Marie Osmond, B.B. King, or Archie Bell and the Drells are sports and entertainment icons they can only dream about seeing live, let alone know personally. But to the Rev. Al Lewis, they were fellow performers and even personal friends. Beginning nearly two decades ago _ or, as Lewis puts it, “back in the day” _ Lewis and his band, Allison’s South Funk Boulevard, played with these and other notables or appeared on stage with them.

NEWS FEATURE: Show Biz Career Leads to Ministry With Addicts

c. 2000 Religion News Service HUNTSVILLE, Ala. _ To most, people like Muhammad Ali, Stevie Wonder, Donnie and Marie Osmond, B.B. King, or Archie Bell and the Drells are sports and entertainment icons they can only dream about seeing live, let alone know personally. But to the Rev. Al Lewis, they were fellow performers and even personal friends. Beginning nearly two decades ago _ or, as Lewis puts it, “back in the day” _ Lewis and his band, Allison’s South Funk Boulevard, played with these and other notables or appeared on stage with them.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Farrakhan Announces Million Family March (RNS) Five years after the Million Man March brought thousands of African-American men to the nation’s capital in a demonstration of racial unity and pride, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan appeared Friday (July 14) in Washington calling for a multiracial, interfaith Million Family March scheduled for October. “When there is no strong marriage and no strong family, there is no strong community,” said Farrakhan, according to Cox News Service. About 10,000 new couples will be married and 1 million couples will renew their vows during the Oct. 16 event, said Farrakhan, adding that the march will stress the Nation of Islam’s beliefs about poverty, education, drugs, crime, and African and Caribbean relations.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Farrakhan Announces Million Family March (RNS) Five years after the Million Man March brought thousands of African-American men to the nation’s capital in a demonstration of racial unity and pride, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan appeared Friday (July 14) in Washington calling for a multiracial, interfaith Million Family March scheduled for October. “When there is no strong marriage and no strong family, there is no strong community,” said Farrakhan, according to Cox News Service. About 10,000 new couples will be married and 1 million couples will renew their vows during the Oct. 16 event, said Farrakhan, adding that the march will stress the Nation of Islam’s beliefs about poverty, education, drugs, crime, and African and Caribbean relations.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service House Forgives Debt in Foreign Aid Package (RNS) In a 239-185 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $13.8 billion foreign aid bill Thursday (July 13) that sets aside $225 million to alleviate or forgive the debts of 40 heavily indebted poor countries. “This is a real shot in the arm for the debt relief campaign,” said Dan Driscoll-Shaw, national coordinator for Jubilee 2000 USA. Jubilee 2000 is an international coalition of religious groups and activists campaigning for global forgiveness of debt owed by the world’s poorest countries. “It shows that lawmakers in the House are truly hearing the call of the poor and are ready to lead efforts to help.” Though the measure more than doubled the original $82 million Republicans wanted to set aside for debt relief, it still falls short of the $472 million the Clinton administration had requested to honor the nation’s commitment for the years 2000 and 2001 to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative _ an agreement made last year among wealthy countries to provide debt relief for poor nations such as Nicaragua and Tanzania.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service House Forgives Debt in Foreign Aid Package (RNS) In a 239-185 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $13.8 billion foreign aid bill Thursday (July 13) that sets aside $225 million to alleviate or forgive the debts of 40 heavily indebted poor countries. “This is a real shot in the arm for the debt relief campaign,” said Dan Driscoll-Shaw, national coordinator for Jubilee 2000 USA. Jubilee 2000 is an international coalition of religious groups and activists campaigning for global forgiveness of debt owed by the world’s poorest countries. “It shows that lawmakers in the House are truly hearing the call of the poor and are ready to lead efforts to help.” Though the measure more than doubled the original $82 million Republicans wanted to set aside for debt relief, it still falls short of the $472 million the Clinton administration had requested to honor the nation’s commitment for the years 2000 and 2001 to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative _ an agreement made last year among wealthy countries to provide debt relief for poor nations such as Nicaragua and Tanzania.