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Daily Digest - February 17-18, 2015

"We pray for metanoia – a transformative change of heart on the part of those driven to such inhuman violence and hatred of the other." – The Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches, in a letter on the killings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Plans underway to make Discipline global

MAPUTO, Mozambique (UMNS) – What are the essentials that bind all United Methodists and what can be adapted for use outside the United States? That is the heart of the debate before an international body of church leaders, who met last week in Maputo, Mozambique. The hope is that a truly global Book of Discipline can answer these questions. Heather Hahn reports.
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WCC mourns killings of Egyptian Christians

GENEVA (UMNS) – The World Council of Churches has joined its member churches, partners and people in Egypt as they mourn the killings of 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped by militants in Libya.
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UMCOR addresses needs in Ukraine

NEW YORK (UMNS) – Whether the latest ceasefire holds or not, the United Methodist Committee on Relief will continue working through the church and the Union of Young Christians of Ukraine to address people’s needs. David Tereshchuk reports.
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Religious leaders try peace effort

Join Rethink Church in a Lenten photo challenge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Some will choose to give up something for Lent, others will choose to be more reflective. Whatever your practices this season, Rethink Church asks that you join a photo-a-day-challenge to share how you perceive each word or phrase for the day.
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Lent: Find your own spiritual path

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – During Ash Wednesday services, many United Methodist pastors will invite their congregations “to observe a holy Lent.” There is no one way to observe Lent. Instead, we are each encouraged to find our own method of confronting our sinfulness, remembering our mortality, and giving thanks for the gift of salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Joe Iovino has some suggestions.
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Ash Wednesday: Returning to dust

COLUMBIA, S.C. (UMNS) – In the Arizona desert, “migrant bodies return to dust too often and too soon,” writes the Rev. Elizabeth Murray in an Ash Wednesday reflection. The provisional deacon in the South Carolina Conference looks at human rights issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.
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When did United Methodists start ‘imposition of ashes’?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – On Ash Wednesday, we see people with dark smudges on their foreheads. Do you know when this became an official practice in The United Methodist Church?
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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.

Wednesday – Friday, Feb. 18-20

Candler's Black Church Studies Reunion and Conference: “In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: Revisiting, Renovating and Revolutionizing the Path” – The event at Emory University's Candler School of Theology in Atlanta features faculty and alumni leading seminars on issues affecting the black church. Maria Dixon Hall, associate professor of communications at Southern Methodist University, will deliver the Anna Julia Cooper lecture at 11 a.m. EST Feb. 18. Details

Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101” from United Methodist Communications, Tuesday, Feb. 24 – Course offered Feb. 25 – April 8 on the denomination's history, structure, ministries and challenges. $9.99 Details

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