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Daily Digest: April 8, 2014

“If the sum total of our advocacy work is about ensuring that our little church stays on our little corner no matter what the bishop or superintendent says about it, we have failed.” – The Rev. Cedrick Bridgeforth, chair of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, at the group’s annual meeting.

Black caucus commits to increase advocacy
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — Expect to hear more in the next three years from The United Methodist Church’s black caucus on issues that affect the denomination and the U.S. society. Black Methodists for Church Renewal adopted a plan to increase the group’s advocacy on issues such as criminal justice and voting.

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History of Hymns: ‘Jesus, Tempted in the Desert’
DALLAS (UMNS) — This hymn, linking the temptations Jesus endured in the wilderness to the temptations humans now confront, is the work of the late Herman G. Stuempfle, who was a seminary dean in what today is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology shares the story of the Lenten hymn found in the United Methodist songbook, “The Faith We Sing.”

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CBS-TV examines ‘Spiritual Second Careers’
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Two United Methodists, the Rev. Cathy Abbott, a former Enron executive, and Mike McCurry, who served as press secretary for President Bill Clinton, are among those featured in “A New Calling: Spiritual Second Careers,” a CBS Interfaith Special that explores the phenomenon of mature adults moving from successful secular careers into the world of religion. The program will be broadcast Sunday, April 13, on the CBS Television Network.

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United Methodists doing amazing work in Zimbabwe
MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) Schools, pastoral counseling, hospitals and children’s homes are all part of the outreach United Methodists are doing in Zimbabwe, as staff and directors of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry learned during a recent visit to Africa University.

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WCC: Respond to climate change during Lent
GENEVA (UMNS) The World Council of Churches is encouraging member churches to use Lent as an opportunity to respond to climate change, an issue which deeply impacts the communities they serve.

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Councils congratulate new Syrian patriarch
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Both the U.S. national and world council of churches have offered congratulations to the U.S. archbishop who has become the new patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II. “Aphrem II has been a committed member of the (national) council’s governing board and a clear voice of concern on important matters such as our Muslim-Christian dialogue,” said Jim Winkler, a United Methodist serving as the NCC’s top staff executive. “He has shown a wisdom and compassion that serves as a model for all church leaders.”

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Updated April 7: Church agency sues over UMCmarket
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Geir Thomas Kristiansen, the executive director of Foundation Automation, disagrees with many of the allegations leveled at his company in a lawsuit filed by the General Council on Finance and Administration in federal court. He contacted UMNS after the story initially ran last week.

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