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Daily Digest: April 7, 2014

“We put 32 saints in a basketball-type bracket and they go at it.” — The Rev. Tim Schenck, Episcopal priest, on his creation of Lent Madness.

Will a Wesley win Lent Madness?

BOSTON (UMNS)  In 2010, the Rev. Tim Schenck, an Episcopal priest, decided to play off of the popular practice of creating brackets to predict the winner of the NCAA college basketball championship, a tradition called March Madness. In Lent Madness, saints, both ancient and modern, compete against each other for the coveted Golden Halo.  People can read the Lent Madness blog and vote for their favorites. 

Listen to NPR report and post comment

Desktop Meditation: Easter Joy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -- “He is risen!”  As part of the Easter season, watch a reflection that includes joyful photos of United Methodists around the world, set to an upbeat rendition of the song “Marching in the Light of God” performed by the Africa University Choir.

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Heifer International redesigns ‘Animal Crackers’ resource

LITTLE ROCK, Ark­. (UMNS) – Animal Crackers, a popular Heifer International congregational resource for more than 20 years, has been released in a new and improved edition. The resource offers a new section for youth and young adults. Local churches use Animal Crackers to engage children, youth and adults in an effort to end hunger and poverty.

To order resource and for more information

Letters from U.S. Presidents

DALLAS (UMNS) – An exhibit featuring letters and White House invitations sent to Methodists from men who were, had been or once would be president of the United States continues through May 9 at Bridwell Library, part of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. The dates of the documents range from 1854 to 1957.

To see images from the exhibit

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.

Free webinar “New Children’s Ministers,” Tuesday, April 810 a.m. CT. The event will help you recruit adults for children’s ministry and provide ways to encourage them to continue serving.. To register.

Free webinar “Teaching the Way of Jesus,” Tuesday, April 86:30 p.m. CT. What does it mean for us to educate “followers of Jesus” for faithful living in the world? A look  at six key ways to focus our ministries in Christian education. To register.

Free webinar “Pastors Read: ‘American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists,’” Wednesday, April 910 a.m. CT. A discussion of John Wigger’s book, which gives an overview of how the Methodist movement started in the United States. Wigger will be part of the discussion. To register.

John Dominic Crossan to speak at Eugene (Ore.)  First United Methodist Church’s New Visions Lectures, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 12 and at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. PT on Sunday, April 13. — Crossan, a leading historical Jesus theologian and a founder of the Jesus Seminar, will speak on “The Power of Parable: A Story that Never Happened but Always Should” at the church, 1376 Olive St., Eugene, Ore. Details

Live Well Event: A Different Kind of Women’s Fair, Saturday, April 129 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kan. United Methodist Church at the Well is also a sponsor. $5 per person; $8 for two. Details

Palm/ Passion Sunday, April 13 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources

Holy Week, Monday-Saturday, April 14-19 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources.

Deadline to register for “Church Communication: 10 Things,” Tuesday, April 15. — A clinic sponsored by the Memphis Conference Communications Action Team from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT, Thursday, April 24, First United Methodist Church, Jackson, Tenn. $25 per person, $20 each for groups of three or more. Details.

Free webinar “Media: What’s Trending in Elementary School,” Tuesday, April 15, Noon CT. A discussion of how to extend community to children through the use of healthy media. To register.

Deadline to register for “Wesley presents: A Faithful Action in Partnership: A Training to Respond to Human Trafficking,” Friday, April 18 This free workshop from 9:30 a.m. to  4 p.m. ET May 1 is designed to foster collaboration among local churches, social-service organizations and law enforcement agencies to respond to trafficking in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. The event will be held at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington. Details

Easter Sunday, April 20 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources 

Free “Lunch and Learn” about Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, Monday, April 21 — 11: 45 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT, Thomas Spann, professor of supervised ministry at Perkins, will speak on “Internship: Doing Ministry and Theology in the Traffic at the Intersection” at Perkins’ Houston-Galveston Extension Program, 3501 W. Alabama, Suite 107, Houston. Details

Free webinar “Pastors: Making a Good Move,” Tuesday, April 226:30 p.m. CT, Designed for pastors who are moving to a new appointment, this event will include ways to say good-bye to the current congregation and say hello to a new place and new people. To register.

Free webinar “SPRC: Your Role When the Pastor Changes,” Thursday, April 246:30 p.m. CT, Training for staff-parish relations committees and other laity on handling a transition in pastors. To register.

“Turn Your Radio On” singles ministry weekend, Friday-Sunday, April 25-27 — A study of four of Jesus’ parables through “old-time” radio episodes at Lakeshore Camp and Retreat Center, Eva, Tenn. Sponsored by the Memphis Conference’s Single Adult Ministry. Details

“How to Reach New People” workshop, Friday-Saturday, April 25-26 — Jim Griffith, a church planter and coach, will lead the workshop at First United Methodist Church in Independence, Mo. $25 per person or $75 for a team of up to five people. Details

“Jazzin for Christ” luncheon, Saturday, April 26Noon to 3:30 p.m. CT, Masque performance, sponsored by Wesley United Methodist Church in Chicago at Georgios of Orland Park, 8800 W. 159th St., Orland Park, Ill. $60. Details

2014 Large Church Initiative, Monday-Wednesday, April 28-30 — At Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Ga., for United Methodist churches with 1,000 or more members and/or with an average attendance of 350 or more in worship. Details

Early-bird registration deadline for Game Changers Summit, Wednesday, April 30 — United Methodist Communications invites local churches to attend a conference Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 3-5 at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. The event will focus on how congregations can use technology to strengthen international development. $215. Details
 
Free webinar “Ordinary Time Doesn’t Have to Be Ordinary,” Thursday, May 1 — 7-8 p.m. ET, With no holiday on which to focus, here are ways to do something different in Sunday school. Details

Beyond These Walls Mission Conference, Thursday-Saturday, May 1-3 — The event at McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church in Powder Springs, Ga., focuses on churches interested in or doing mission work. The Rev. Jorge Acevedo, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Fort Myers, Fla., and Brian Fikkert of the Chalmers Center will be keynote speakers. Details

Deadline to apply for CORR Action Fund grants, Monday, June 30 — The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will award grants of $20,000 to $80,000 to “innovative, bold, high-impact initiatives” that will increase intercultural competency or support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity and systemic equity. Details