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Daily Digest - December 15, 2015

“Everything about my experience at COP21 reminded me of the interconnectedness of all of creation — the climate and humanity.” — The Rev. Lisa Garvin, part of United Methodist team at the Paris climate summit.

Many voices back historic climate accord

PARIS (UMNS) — The river in central Liberia where Jefferson Knight used to play and fish as a child has completely dried up due to serious drought. Knight joined other United Methodists and Methodists in Paris to press for action at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — popularly known as COP21 — where a historic accord was signed Dec. 12.
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Church family fears deportation

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Susana Ponce faces the second Christmas without her son at home. Her biggest fear is that she will never see him again. Annette Spence of the Holston Conference recounts the harrowing experiences of the Ponce family.
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Video webinar on peacebuilding and race

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Rev. David Anderson Hooker, a mediator and board member of United Methodist JustPeace, will lead a video webinar at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 16, for the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race. The video is part of the commission’s “Vital Conversations” series.
To register

No more surgery by candlelight

KAMINA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMCom) — The Solar Suitcase is one way technology is changing the game for doctors and patients alike. Before the Solar Suitcase and portable solar lights, physicians at Shungu Clinic often found themselves performing high-risk surgeries or trying to resuscitate patients guided only by handheld flashlights, kerosene lanterns or candlelight. Susan Passi-Klaus and Laurens Glass report on this ICT4D initiative.
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History of Hymns: “Angels We Have Heard on High”

DALLAS (UMNS) — The refrain from this hymn comes directly from the canticle of the angel’s song in Luke 2:14. The hymn is a traditional French carol that originated as early as the 18th century. C. Michael Hawn and Jeanne Larson Williams write about this beloved Christmas song.
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Quiz: What do you know about Christmas trees?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — What items decorated the first Christmas trees?
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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, Dec. 31
New Year's Eve/ Watch Night — Worship resources, including for covenant renewal and baptism reaffirmation, are available from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries.

Monday, Jan. 11-Sunday, Jan. 24
Online course "Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts” from — Participants can learn more about their spiritual gifts — and how to help their congregations learn more about theirs — in this two-week workshop. Participants will interact via online discussions, videos and real-time group sessions. Participants are also expected to read the Discipleship Resources book "Each One a Minister" by William J. Carter and the book "Spirit Gifts" by Patricia Brown. $70. Details.

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