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Daily Digest — August 19, 2015

I’ve always seen the religious sector as being one of enormous promise for us because of the presence globally of many different faiths.” — Thane Richard on working with The United Methodist Church on the Outernet library.

Thane Richard: Librarian for the world

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — In this era of rapidly expanding technology, almost two-thirds of the world’s population still lacks Internet access. Thane Richard is working to change that. Richard is publisher and chief operating officer of Outernet, a company dedicated to connecting every person on Earth to free data. Richard is a panelist at the upcoming Game Changers Summit, Sept. 17-19. The event in Nashville, Tennessee, is hosted by United Methodist Communications. Joey Butler reports.
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Commentary: Growth of girls’ education lags in Liberia

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — The growth of girls’ education has been at a disproportionately slower pace than that of boys in developing countries like Liberia. Nyamah Dunbar reports on a new mentoring group founded to encourage Liberian girls to stay in school.
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Commentary: Life abundant

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) — Bishop Peggy Johnson, who leads the Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware Conferences, discusses United Methodists’ concerns about the church’s position on abortion.
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Lightning leads to creative worship

INVERNESS, Fla. — Pancakes, pizza and praise. Since lightning blasted their church building, members of First United Methodist Church in Inverness have held worship and Bible studies in area businesses during normal business hours. They give the gatherings catchy names such as “Slice of Scripture” or “Simply Caffeinated,” depending on the business. Nancy Kennedy reports for the Citrus County Chronicle Online on the congregation’s experience.
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Traditional calendar gets mobile update

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The 2016 United Methodist Program Calendar App is now available for Apple and Android devices. The app is free to download and includes a 14-day trial and all of the information in the Official Program Calendar of The United Methodist Church. After the trial period concludes, you can continue viewing 2015 and 2016 calendar data via quarterly subscriptions for $3.99 each or an annual subscription for $10.99. The app also includes United Methodist News Service stories, which are free.
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Born again: After the storm

NEW ORLEANS (UMNS) — The Rev. Hadley Edwards is resurrecting a United Methodist presence in the 7th Ward with The Spirit Church. Three United Methodist churches in that ward were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. Some churches were reborn and some are still struggling in Louisiana and Mississippi. Writers Kathy Gilbert and Linda Bloom with photographer Mike DuBose report in stories and photos.
Coming Monday, Aug. 24.

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.

Sunday, Aug. 30

Time of remembrance to mark 10th anniversaries of massive hurricanes — The Louisiana Conference is inviting congregations to have a time of remembrance during worship for those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which struck the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and neighboring states in August and September 2005. The conference offers a litany of remembrance. Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Harvey also has a letter that can be read aloud.

Tuesday, Sept. 1

Deadline to register for online course "United Methodism 101" from United Methodist Communications — Course offered Sept. 2 to Oct. 14 on the denomination's history, theology, governance, ministries and challenges. $9.99. Details

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