Briefs: Federal judge hears final arguments over building


By United Methodist News Service
A District of Columbia judge heard final arguments Oct. 22 in a hearing on whether the social action agency of The United Methodist Church can use United Methodist Building Endowment Funds to promote causes other than temperance and alcohol. The hearing in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia began on Oct. 6. Final arguments were presented by attorneys representing the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and the Coalition for United Methodist Accountability. Judge Rhonda Reid-Winston gave the attorneys 45 days to present final summaries before she will make her ruling. The board’s trustees filed a request in 2007 for a declaratory decision on the appropriate use of the funds and whether the trustees have overseen them correctly over the years. The Board of Church and Society is the successor to the Board of Temperance, Prohibition and Public Morals and two other agencies of the former Methodist Episcopal Church. The temperance board led efforts to construct The Methodist Building in Washington, completed in 1923. In spring 2007, five individuals supported by the Coalition for United Methodist Accountability were allowed by the judge to join the case as interveners. The coalition includes the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Good News and the Confessing Movement.

Mike Dubose named UMAC Communicator of the Year
Mike DuBose, photographer for United Methodist Communications, was named Communicator of the Year by the United Methodist Association of Communicators at its annual banquet Oct. 16 in Providence, R.I. DuBose, 48, was honored for his years of photographing the denomination at work in the world. DuBose joined United Methodist Communications in 1995 after working for The Tennessean newspaper. Also at the banquet, the late Sharon Fulmer was inducted into the UMAC Hall of Fame. Fulmer, who had been director of communications for the denomination’s North Central New York Annual Conference, died May 10 at age 66 after battling multiple health problems. She had been a church and community leader in Liverpool, N.Y., and received numerous awards for her contributions.

Businesswoman’s pledge starts fund for evangelism
United Methodists can become evangelists and church planters around the world through a fund launched with an initial gift from an Atlanta businesswoman. Mary Watson pledged $400,000 to the 400 Fund — $1,000 per new congregation outside the United States — in a church development effort by the Board of Global Ministries. Watson and her husband, the Rev. Ralph Watson, a retired United Methodist pastor, are engaged in mission around the world and have notable involvements in Russia, Estonia and Brazil. The mission board has a goal of 400 new congregations outside of the United States during the next four years.