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Daily Digest - April 25, 2016

“(Africa University) gave me a great education, a family and a wonderful life in a country far away from home. Today, I see how special AU has been and will always be to the African continent.” — Walter Suza, a 1996 agriculture graduate from Africa University who oversees a multi-country effort to train a new generation of plant breeders.

Africa University keeps dream alive

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — The dreams expressed at the 1988 General Conference — that the Africa Initiative would bring together United Methodists around the world with a common agenda — became a reality. Today, Africa University boasts 6,200 alumni. Countless people in the worldwide connection have supported AU with their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Tom Gillem reports.

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Bishop again officiates at same-sex nuptials

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — Retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert, for the second time, has defied church law to officiate at a ceremony celebrating the union of two men. He co-officiated with the Rev. Val Rosenquist at the April 23 wedding of Jim Wilborne and John Romano at First United Methodist Church in Charlotte. ​He was previously under complaint for officiating at a same-gender union in 2013. Heather Hahn reports.

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Song celebrates church’s malaria fight

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMC.org) — As United Methodists mark World Malaria Day, go behind the scenes for a preview of a new anthem affirming the denomination-wide Imagine No Malaria initiative. Nashville songwriters created the “God Is Able” song, and “American Idol” contender Jeremy Rosado is the performer.

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Turning on the lights after Fiji cyclone

NEW YORK (UMNS) — After losing electricity when a Category 5 cyclone struck Fiji, a new grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief will help inhabitants of a large stretch of small islands to turn on the lights. David Tereshchuk reports for UMCOR.

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Disciple Bible study celebrates 30 years

WINFIELD, Kan. (UMNS) — The Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship, named for the authors of Disciple Bible study, will hold celebrations across the United States in 2016 to recognize the groundbreaking Bible study’s 30th anniversary. The first celebration will be May 19 during General Conference in Portland, Oregon.

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Every United Methodist can be part of GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMC.org) — United Methodists who are not delegates still can participate in General Conference May 10-20, 2016, in Portland, Oregon. General Conference is the denomination’s top policy-making body and meets once every four years. Joe Iovino reports on how United Methodists around the globe can stay connected and get involved.

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Follow Jesus into the wild California desert

PASADENA, Calif. — To United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, the California desert “is a holy place, filled with spiritual values and important lessons.” In a reflection for Sojourners, she also expresses gratitude that President Barack Obama has designated 1.8 million acres of wild California desert as national monuments.

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Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email newsdesk@umcom.org and put Digest in the subject line.

 

Monday, May 2

Deadline to register for United Methodist Global AIDS Fund gathering — The gathering, titled “AIDS is not over! … Global Issues and the Church,” will be from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT Monday, May 9 at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda St., Portland, Oregon. Details

 

Thursday, May 5

Webinar “The Changing 21st Century Sunday School” — 6 p.m. CDT. Many Sunday schools face declining attendance, competition with other activities on Sunday morning, struggles to get teachers and budget cuts. Debbie Kolacki, a Christian educator and certified lay servant in The United Methodist Church, will share possible solutions to these challenges. Details

More upcoming United Methodist events