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Daily Digest — August 11, 2015

"They just want to confuse us! How will closing schools help our children?" – Ma Hawa, a single parent of three children and a street vendor, on the Liberian government closing schools again.

Liberian government abruptly cancels school again

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) – Liberian schools, already closed seven months for Ebola, are shuttered again. The government announced schools would close until September to allow an overhaul of the education system. United Methodist schools plan to remain open to offer enrichment programs. Nyamah Dunbar reports.
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Commentary: Small groups can be life‑changing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( – “I know what to do. I just have to do it.” Discipleship growth, like staying healthy, only works when we put our knowledge into practice, writes Joe Iovino of He explains how Wesleyan small groups help.
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Hotel on Publishing House site

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A developer who paid about $28.4 million for the property that was home to the United Methodist Publishing House has scrapped plans for an office building, but still plans to build a JW Marriott hotel on the property. Getahn Ward reports for The Tennessean.
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United Methodist, AME churches hold `hope and healing’ service

DENTON, Texas – Community members gathered Aug. 8 at Trinity United Methodist Church for a joint service of hope and healing with St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, touching on topics of societal violence, fear and cruelty. Nicholas Friedman reports for the Denton Record-Chronicle.
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Church rebuilt from Civil War ashes

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville’s First United Methodist Church – a big, white brick church with purple doors – rises in a tall, cool statement of post-Civil War pride. Kay Campbell of recounts how the whole town helped rebuild the church after a January 1864 fire.
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Back-to-school resources available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers resources for children, youth and adults. These include small-group studies, back-to-school blessings and prayers.
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History of Hymns: ‘Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation’

DALLAS (UMNS) – Many favorite hymns have come to the English-speaking world thanks to John Mason Neale’s skills as a translator. An expert in Latin and Greek, the 19th century Anglo-Catholic translated “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” and “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation,” among others. C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology offers Neale’s story.
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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.

Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 13-16

Crossroads: School of Congregational Development 2015 — Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing in Indianapolis will host this United Methodist gathering sponsored by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, Path1: New Church Starts, and the Board of Global Ministries. $475 on-site. Details

You can see more educational opportunities and other upcoming events in the life of the church here.