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Daily Digest: February 26, 2014

“We have two U.S. citizen daughters who ask every night, ‘When will our father be home?’” – Pilar Molina, whose husband is in a detention facility.

Devastation of deportations must end
WASHINGTON (UMNS) ) – Members of the United Methodist Immigration Task Force sent a letter to President Obama Feb. 25 stating the policy of mass deportations is “morally reprehensible and must end.” The letter follows an act of civil disobedience by 32 faith leaders who were arrested in front of the White House on Feb. 17.

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Faith partnership to anchor poor neighborhood
WICHITA, Kan. (UMNS) – United Methodist churches are working with Lutherans and Episcopalians in a project called Partners Church, which is trying to make a difference in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the state. The Wichita Eagle explains how Partners Church, which is housed in Brookside United Methodist Church, plans to help provide education and job opportunities for adults and soccer for kids in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood.

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Nebraska church’s glory returning after fire
FRIEND, Neb. (UMNS) – The first rush of grief is past and now the congregants at the United Methodist Church are eagerly watching their new structure rise from the rubble of a Dec. 4, 2012, fire that gutted the historic building. The Lincoln Journal Star tells how a piece of religious history is being lovingly restored.

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Hispanic outreach booms in Oklahoma community
GUYMON, Okla. (UMNS) – Victory Memorial United Methodist Church one recent Sunday received 34 people into membership in its Spanish-language service. That’s just one example of how the church’s “Vida En Victoria” – Life in Victory – service is reaching new people in this increasingly diverse Oklahoma city. Melyn Johnson reports for the Oklahoma Conference.

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Perkins names new Hispanic ministries director
DALLAS (UMNS) – Philip Wingeier-Rayo will be the new director of the Mexican-American and Hispanic-Latino/a Church Ministries Program at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Wingeier-Rayo also will be director of the Regional Course of Study School, under the auspices of The United Methodist Church.

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Announcement March 10 in Ogletree case
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (UMNS) – The Rev.William S. Shillady, secretary of the trial court in the case of the Rev. Thomas Ogletree, said Feb. 24 that there will be a news conference March 10 to announce the resolution of the case. Ogletree’s trial for officiating at a same-sex wedding was scheduled to begin March 10 but was postponed March 10.

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Human rights task force updates agencies
GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) – Two United Methodist general agencies – Pension and Health Benefits and Global Ministries – updated the Human Rights and Investment Ethics Task Force on the effort “to identify resources, principles, and procedures that express our commitment to human rights, taking into account fiduciary responsibility and ministry priorities, consistent with the global mission of The United Methodist Church.”

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Service for wife of bishop emeritus of Puerto Rico
ARECIBO, Puerto Rico (UMNS) – Rafael Moreno Rivas, the active bishop of The Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, presided over the celebration of life and thanksgiving in memory of Iris Janet Rivera Casanova, the wife of the Rev. Juan A. Vera Mendez, bishop emeritus. Rivera Casanova passed away Feb. 18, 2014. She is survived by her husband and her three children, Juan Carlos, Cristina María and Deborah.

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Strength for Service becomes non-denominational
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – United Methodist Men announced that the Internal Revenue Service officially granted Strength for Service Inc. status as a 501(c) (3) public charity. “Strength for Service to God and Country” which began as a pocket-sized book of daily devotions distributed to more than a million military troops before it went out of print after the 1953 Korean armistice, has evolved under United Methodist Men’s leadership into devotions for first responders as well as military.

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Church leaders urge better U.S.-Cuba relations
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – The Rev. John McCullough, a United Methodist pastor and top executive for Church World Service, is urging the U.S. faith community to action around improved relations with Cuba as a delegation from the Cuban Council of Churches prepares to meet with Obama administration officials and members of Congress during a Feb.26-27 visit. “This is a particularly important time for congregational activism; for people to tune in to this issue and to make their voices heard to members of Congress,” McCullough said.

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Taking Lent outside of church
NOVI, Mich. (UMNS) – The Rev. June M. Marshall Smith of Novi United Methodist Church explains her reasons for offering “Drive Thru Ashes” on Ash Wednesday and offers examples of how it can be an effective outreach.

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