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Daily Digest - April 5, 2016

“It is never a sin when poor farmers demand food, but it is a sin to deny them food.” — Filipino United Methodist bishops in a pastoral letter on the shootings of farmers and indigenous people.


United Methodist church shelters farmers in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — A United Methodist Church compound is giving sanctuary to farmers and indigenous people after a protest for food relief turned deadly on April 1. Three were killed and more than 100 injured when security forces fired on the crowd blocking a major highway. Protesters poured into the Spottswood United Methodist Church for refuge. Gladys Mangiduyos and Kathy L. Gilbert report.

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Slashed church budget heads to GC2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s lowest general church budget proposal in 16 years is now heading for a vote at the 2016 General Conference. Two denominational leadership bodies in the past week have agreed to propose a bottom-line budget of $599 million for general church funds in 2017-20. Heather Hahn reports on how this proposal came to be.

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Lay evangelist remains imprisoned in Congo

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — A United Methodist lay evangelist and political dissident imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been allowed more visits, his brother said. But the family of Vano Kiboko fears for his safety in a military prison. Kiboko has not been allowed to preach and minister to other prisoners as he did in the civilian prison. Art McClanahan has the story and audio for the Iowa Conference.
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Students occupy Duke president’s office suite

DURHAM, N.C. ( — Nine students have occupied the waiting room outside the president’s office at United Methodist-related Duke University, demanding the firing of three administrators and a $15 an hour minimum wage for all campus workers. reports.

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Read the university update on the protests


E-readers: A lifetime of ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The E-Readers for Theological Education initiative is committed to providing electronic libraries on e-readers with important theological texts. The goal is to send the e-readers to libraries of United Methodist-related and sponsored theological schools in Africa and the Philippines by Dec. 31, 2016. The partnership between the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Discipleship Ministries was expanded to provide e-readers to 18 theological schools.
Watch a video about the project 


Drum ministry helps church bind cultures together

NEW YORK, N.Y. ( — The Steel Pan Ministry at Westchester United Methodist Church fits the community perfectly, said Charlene Brown. "There are about 28 different cultures in the church. We have different parts of the Caribbean and parts of Africa. But what binds us all together is the religion and the music," said Brown, a church member.

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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 and put Digest in the subject line.


Friday-Saturday, April 8-9

Caring for Creation Conference —The ninth event will be at Decatur (Georgia) First United Methodist Church, 300 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. This year’s focus is on food and food systems. Keynote speakers include Norman Wirzba of Duke University, Jennifer Ayres of Emory University's Candler School of Theology and Alice Rolls of Georgia Organics. Scholarships are available. Register 


Proclamation 2016 leadership training conference — Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century will sponsor this training conference for clergy and laity at United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, 1908 Grand Ave., Nashville, Tennessee. Speakers include the Revs. Emanuel Cleaver III of Kansas City, Mo., and Rudy Rasmus of Houston. $20. Details

More upcoming United Methodist events