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Daily Digest - February 4, 2015

"It was a very loud and a very consistent and a very determined clarion call for change." — The Rev. John McCullough, about religious advocacy on U.S.-Cuba relations.

Looking toward change in relations with Cuba

NEW YORK (UMNS) — U.S. religious leaders played an unofficial but significant role in the negotiations that led to the Obama Administration’s restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba, says the Rev. John McCullough, a United Methodist pastor and top executive of Church World Service.
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Mission agency deeply interested in improving U.S.-Cuba relations

NEW YORK (UMNS) — The moves toward more open doors between the U.S. and Cuba, including relaxed rules on visits, are in keeping with United Methodist positions, writes Elliott Wright for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
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‘Vowing’ to play cupid on Valentine’s Day

WEST LAYFAYETTE, Ohio (UMNS) — The congregation at West Lafayette United Methodist Church is playing cupid this Valentine’s Day by holding a group wedding for those who want a big church wedding but can’t afford one. Leonard Hayhurst reports for the Coshocton Tribune.
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New Lent studies emphasize drawing nearer to God

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — From the “I am” sayings of Jesus to a renegade look at the Gospels, to daily meditations, new books offer a basis for study and reflection in Lent. Kathy Noble reports for Interpreter magazine.
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New staff appointed in campus ministry, endorsing agency

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry announced the appointment of three new staffers. The Rev. Matthew Charlton was appointed as a staff executive for collegiate ministry; Col. Gerald “Scott” Henry Jr. is the new director of extension ministry and pastoral care for the board’s United Methodist Endorsing Agency; and Shelia Bates is director of faith and leadership formation for collegiate ministry. Nicole Burdakin reports.
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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.

Tuesday, Feb. 10
Window on Wesley Theological Seminary — 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST. Opportunity for prospective students to get to know the Wesley community in Washington and to experience a day in the life of a Wesley seminarian. Details.

Free webinar "Boomers R Us! How to Minister with Baby Boomers" — 9 a.m. CST. This webinar is a quick look at the cohort that came of age in the 1960s and '70s. With many more boomers outside the church than in, this Discipleship Ministries class offers ideas for connecting. Details.

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