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Daily Digest - December 16, 2015

"We had a Jewish boy give money to a Christian church to help a Muslim family. I think that is the God of Abraham being united." — Dorothy Wetzel.

New Jersey church embraces Syrian family

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (UMNS) — Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church did what it always does when deciding to help a family in need. But the congregation’s act of compassion toward a Syrian refugee family has gotten widespread attention. Jeff Wolfe reports.
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2015: Notable United Methodists remembered

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The bishop who popularized John Wesley’s “Three Simple Rules,” a former U.S. Speaker of the House, and scholars who influenced generations of pastors were among the widely known United Methodists who died in 2015. United Methodist News Service offers 13 short remembrances.
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Liberians launch commercial building project

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church in Liberia, through the Liberia United Methodist Empowerment Foundation, broke ground for construction of a three-story commercial building. The $2 million project, with anticipated completion in two years, is the first capital investment by the church in two decades. Julu Swen has the story.
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Interfaith welcome in Indiana for Syrian refugees

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) — More than 200 Christians, Jews and Muslims gathered to welcome three new Syrian refugee families to Indianapolis during an interfaith rally and candlelight prayer vigil at Epworth United Methodist Church. Among those speaking at the Dec.11 rally were Ed and Paula Kassig, members of Epworth Church whose son, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, was murdered by ISIS one year ago. Dan Gangler reports.
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Volunteers in Austria welcome refugees

VIENNA, Austria (UMNS) — Train of Hope, an organization powered by social media and staffed entirely by volunteers, provided an astonishing array of services to refugees and asylum-seekers as they poured into Wiener Hauptbahnhof, the central train station in Vienna, at the height of refugee traffic this year. On Dec. 11, the organization received a prestigious Austrian human rights award for its efforts. Linda Unger and photographer Paul Jeffrey have the story for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
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Quiz: Do you know this fact about Christmas?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — What is the name of the traditional Living Nativity celebration found throughout Mexico? Choose your answer.

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.

Friday, Jan. 15
Early-bird deadline for Caring for Creation Conference — The ninth event will be Friday-Saturday, April 8-9 at Decatur (Georgia) First United Methodist Church, 300 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. This year’s focus is on food and food systems. Keynote speakers include Norman Wirzba of Duke University, Jennifer Ayres of Emory University's Candler School of Theology, and Alice Rolls of Georgia Organics. Scholarships are available. Another discounted registration deadline is March 15. To register.

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