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Daily Digest - December 7, 2015

“It is so difficult to admit and share, but I must inform you that I did not uphold the sacred vows I made to God at my wedding, at my consecration as bishop, and at my ordination as elder.” — Bishop James E. Dorff on his decision to resign.

Rio Texas bishop resigns after admitting wrongdoing

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (UMNS) — United Methodist Bishop James E. Dorff admitted to violating his marriage and ordination vows and has voluntarily resigned as episcopal leader of the Rio Texas Conference, effective Jan. 1, 2016. Dorff is also surrendering his credentials. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
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A moving prayer vigil after mass shooting

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (UMNS) — St. Paul’s United Methodist Church’s pastor, the Rev. David McGlocklin, opened the prayer vigil in a dimly lit sanctuary with a tolling of the church bell to remember those whose lives were lost. The vigil brought together people to mourn and reflect after the Dec. 2 mass shooting, which claimed 14 lives. The Rev. Karen Ristine and James J. Kang have the story for the California-Pacific Conference.
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Michigan ministry about the people

DANSVILLE, Mich. (UMNS) — In the Lansing District, United Methodists are living the lyrics of the hymn, “We Are the Church.” When the Rev. Jeremy Wicks was appointed to Dansville United Methodist Church in 2011, he began working with the superintendent on a cooperative parish. Now, the parish involves three healthy congregations: Millville, Webberville and Williamston Crossroads. Along the way, the Dansville church agreed to merge with Millville with the condition that their building be kept for community use. Kay DeMoss reports for the Michigan Conference.
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Church turns plastic bags into sleeping mats

OMAHA, Neb. —  Each week, volunteers at Faith Westwood United Methodist Church turn thousands of plastic grocery bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. When homeless shelters are filled to capacity, those mats give people sleeping on the floor something between them and cold concrete. Joe Chiodo reports for KMVT-TV.
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Lilly Endowment gives grants for exploring theology

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) — United Methodist-related schools are among the 82 private four-year colleges and universities that will receive part of $44.5 million in grants aimed at encouraging young people to explore theology and examine how faith calls them to serve.
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General Conference prayer observance starts Jan. 1

OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops has invited each conference to host a 24-hour prayer vigil on a specific date, leading up to the meeting of the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly in 2016. The Greater New Jersey Conference will begin the effort on Jan. 1. General Conference will meet May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.
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Quiz: A question about St. Nicholas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Feast of St. Nicholas is Dec. 6. What Christmas traditions did St. Nicholas inspire?
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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.

Through Thursday, Dec. 24

Advent Resources
One stop for United Methodist Advent resources, including devotions, sermon starters and books from Cokesbury, Upper Room, Discipleship Ministries, Rethink Church and Imagine No Malaria.

United Methodist Communications offers a way to take Advent to Facebook and other social media with free downloadable images to celebrate each Sunday of the season.

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