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Daily Digest — August 17, 2015

 

“The war in Syria has shaken the foundations of the Christians in Syria and caused many to flee, while others refused to leave their homes and have remained stalwart, only to suffer from abductions and violence.” — Tarek A. Sater, Middle East Council of Churches.

Christians under threat in Syria, Iraq

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The Middle East Council of Churches is in constant communication with churches in Syria and Iraq, where active threats remain against Christians and other minority religious groups, causing many to flee. The United Methodist Committee on Relief has committed more than $2 million in response to the region’s refugee crisis. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Paper cranes as a prayer for peace

NAGASAKI, Japan (UMNS) — As United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson watched thousands of Japanese schoolchildren bring millions of folded paper cranes as a prayer for peace in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she realized it wasn’t just a historical event that was being commemorated. Paul Jeffrey reports.
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Vaccine milestone in malaria fight

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — While a new malaria vaccine for young children is a major breakthrough, United Methodist officials cautioned that Imagine No Malaria will need to continue the fight with existing preventative measures. Mahalia Smith reports.
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United Methodists put focus on criminal justice reform

EAST ORANGE, N.J. (UMNS) — About 75 United Methodists in the Greater New Jersey Conference participated in an interreligious criminal justice reform forum that featured U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. “This is an issue that is important for all of us and it affects our communities in countless ways,” New Jersey Area Bishop John Schol told those gathered.  Jeff Wolfe has the story.
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Ministry idea: Marriage seminar for inmates

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (UMNS) — Prison ministry volunteers recently hosted a marriage seminar at First United Methodist in Huntsville for the families of those behind bars. The volunteers shared much more than hospitality while keeping families strong in the midst of challenging circumstances. The Texas Conference reports on the life-changing ministry.
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A pastor talks to Stanley Hauerwas

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UMNS) — The Rev. Teddy Ray, lead pastor of the Offerings Community of First United Methodist Church of Lexington, has devoted his latest blog post to an interview with theologian Stanley Hauerwas. Hauerwas is professor emeritus at Duke Divinity School, and his latest book is titled “The Work of Theology.”
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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.

Wednesday, Aug. 19 
Alzheimer's Talks Teleconference — 3 to 4 p.m. EDT. Dr. Scott Mackin, associate professor of psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, will speak about his work in mental illness and late-life depression and how that relates to cognitive decline.The monthly teleconference series is produced by USAgainstAlzheimer's, with help from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Details of how to register

Monday, Aug. 24 to Friday, Sept. 4
Online course “Leading Public Prayer” for lay servants from BeADisciple.com — United Methodist lay servants often lead prayer in worship services and other settings. This course presents an opportunity to grow in the discipline of leading prayer and enable the lay servant to effectively prepare and lead various prayer forms. The course is approved by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course in lay servant ministries and is the “prayer” class required for lay speaker certification. $65. Details 

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