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Daily Digest: February 21, 2014

“You bond with these horses and you become, I can’t explain it in any other way, a part of their herd." – The Rev. Doug Hodson, pastor of Glendora (Calif.) United Methodist Church.

What a horse can teach a pastor
DESCANSO, Calif. (UMNS) — It is called Equine Facilitated Learning and it does not officially qualify as therapy. But one California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference pastor says working with horses “teaches you to be in connection with your people. And if you’re truly connected with them, they’ll follow you.” Laurens Glass tells the story

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Webinar on ‘Means of Grace, Means of Growth’
NASHVILLE (UMNS) — Following their 2013 “Lord, Teach Us to Pray” collaboration, Interpreter magazine and The Upper Room are launching a new series of articles and free webinars exploring the means of grace, practices in which Christians have traditionally engaged to grow in relationship to God. The first webinar, “Means of Grace, Means of Growth” will be at 7p.m. CT Feb. 27. Deadline for registration is Feb. 26.

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Hoosiers assemble 155,520 food packets
HAGERSTOWN, Ind. (UMNS) — Each day more than 14,400 children die of starvation around the world. With this in mind, 625 volunteers — including members and friends of 17 United Methodist churches — came together Feb. 8 to assemble 155,520 one-pound food packets that eventually will feed 933,000 adults and children in Indiana and Guatemala. The Rev. Dan Gangler of the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference shares the story and photos from the event.

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Event focuses on ethics, criminal justice
COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) — “Christian Ethics and the Crisis in U.S. Criminal Justice” will be the focus of this year’s Sprague Lecture Series from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 8 ET at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus. Speakers include Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”; James Logan, author of “Good Punishment? Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment”; and Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer.

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Oklahoma church grows with multi-site
OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) – In 2013, St. Luke's United Methodist Church went multi-site, adding what had been two independent churches. The multi-site approach is bearing early fruit, reports Holly McCray of the Oklahoma Conference's Contact newspaper. St. Luke's now includes Fuente De Vida and Asbury congregations as well as the downtown home.

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St. Luke’s plans new satellite

Louisiana church reaching kids with reading
ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (UMNS) — A book club for area kindergartners through fifth-graders has become a popular community outreach for Mallalieu United Methodist Church in southern Louisiana. The Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference explains the ministry and shares pictures.

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‘Nones’ and the common good
CHICAGO (UMNS) — “Where would the United States be without its Quaker high schools, its Methodist universities, its Lutheran hospitals, its Jewish social service agencies, and its Southern Baptist disaster relief organizations?” asks Eboo Patel in Sojourners Magazine.  He writes about the importance of religion in civil society, and his worry about the growing number of “nones,” those who say “none” when asked for religious affiliation.

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