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Daily Digest: January 13, 2014

“I wouldn’t miss this place for the world. I come here every Monday night. I love it.” — Jim Redding, who attends the Sycamore Creek United Methodist Church worship service in a diner.

UMTV: Church in a diner

LANSING, Mich. (UMNS) — With work schedules, football games, and family commitments, Sunday morning is no longer always set aside for church. A worship service in a Michigan diner offers a different time and place, and appeals to many who are looking for a more casual experience than traditional church offers.
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Missionaries postpone South Sudan visit; pray for peace

ALCOA, Tenn. (UMNS) — Missionaries Fred and Libby Dearing have postponed their return to South Sudan after deciding they could do more to help their ministry partners while in the U.S. than in Africa. On Jan. 8, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries suspended mission travel to South Sudan “for security purposes.” Annette Spence of the Holston Annual (regional) Conference has the story.
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How sexual misconduct is still an issue

CHICAGO (UMNS) — The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women reports some interesting responses to sexual ethics questions asked of clergy attending a boundaries training session. For example, 41 percent of the respondents said they personally know someone who reports being the victim of sexual misconduct by a ministerial leader. Erin Kane offers the full report.
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Moving forward and looking back — connecting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — New mobile technologies can give new meaning to the church’s “connectional” system, as the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, explains in a blog series on how the intersection of technology and communication is shaping the 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 newsdesk@umcom.org and put Digest in the subject line.

Free webinar “SPRC Overview of a Year of Leadership,” Tuesday, Jan. 14 — 6:30 p.m. CT, Guidance for how staff-parish relations committees can create a healthy workplace for staff so that ministry is vital and effective. To register

Webinar “Enhance Your Digital Ministry: Strategy and Tactics for Integrating Social Media,” Tuesday, Jan. 14 — 7-8 p.m. ET, offered by Practical Church Resources and led by Meredith Gould, author of “The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways.” $10. Details

Free webinar “Hope through Healing,” Wednesday, Jan. 15 — 3 p.m. ET, The United Methodist Board of Church and Society and Healthy Families, Healthy Planet will present a webinar on the reproductive health needs of human-trafficking survivors. Details

“Creating Hope” workshop, Wednesday, Jan. 15 — 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America offices, Chicago. Meeting focuses on the power of faith communities in mental health recovery. $25. Details

Free webinar “Eating Your Way through the Bible,” Wednesday, Jan. 15 — 10 a.m. CT, Jill Plant, children’s ministry director at Madras United Methodist Church in Oregon, will share a new way to search the Scriptures with children, her curriculum that inspired this webinar. To register

Free Pastors Read webinar on “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” by Reza Aslan, Wednesday, Jan. 15 — 10 a.m. CT, a discussion for United Methodist pastors of the controversial New York Times bestseller by a Muslim scholar. To register

Early bird deadline for 2014 Large Church Initiative, Wednesday, Jan. 15 — April 28-30 at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Ga., for United Methodist churches with 1,000 or more members and/or with an average attendance of 350 or more in worship. Details

Deadline to apply for local church racial/ethnic ministries grants, Wednesday, Jan. 15 — Applications for grants up to $10,000 to help local United Methodist churches build ministries that strengthen and support racial and ethnic church concerns are available from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Details

Free webinar “Lay Leader: What’s My Job?,” Thursday, Jan. 16 — 6:30 p.m. CT, Jodi Cataldo, the United Methodist Board of Discipleship's new director of Laity in Leadership, and Betsey Heavner will facilitate a discussion about lay leadership in congregations of all sizes. To register

Human Relations Day, Sunday, Jan. 19 — One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings for The United Methodist Church, Human Relations Day strengthens United Methodist outreach to communities in the United States and Puerto Rico, encouraging social justice and work with at-risk youth. Details

Shift Happens: Hope in the Midst of Transition, A gathering of Urban and Rural Practitioners, Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 16-18, 2014 — Workshop in Houston sponsored by iRUN (The International Rural and Urban Network of the United Methodist Church), Church and Community Workers, and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Registration is $185. Details

Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 20 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources.

Deadline to register for six online courses offered by United Methodist Communications, Monday, Jan. 20 — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses Jan. 22-March. 5: “United Methodism 101,” “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” “Tools for Increasing Your Church’s Vitality,” “Welcoming Ministry 100,” “Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry?,” and “Moodle 100 — Basic Training.” Costs vary. Details

Listen to the Silence retreat, Monday-Thursday, Jan. 20-23 — The retreat at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, Nashville, Tenn., will focus on meditation, reflection and spiritual growth and will be led by United Methodist Deaconess Kathryn L. Mitchem. Costs range from $165 to $345. Details

Free webinar “Nominating Committee Develops Leaders,” Thursday, Jan. 23 — 6:30 p.m. CT, Advice for committees to identify, train and support leaders throughout the year. To register

Free webinar “Trustees Manage for Ministry,” Tuesday, Jan. 28 — 6:30 p.m. CT, Overview of the legal and fiduciary responsibilities for new and returning trustees. To register

Deadline to apply for 2014 Urban Fellows and Missional Fellows programs at Wesley Theological Seminary. Saturday, Feb. 1 — Urban and Missional Fellows receive a $10,000 stipend for educational and living expenses. Details

Banquet at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, Monday, Feb. 3 — 6 p.m. CT, During Minister’s Week, the Distinguished Alumna Award will be presented to the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, recently retired top executive of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Details

Preaching workshop on “Preaching Lent and Holy Week: Dying and Rising with Christ,” Friday, Feb. 7 — 8:45 a.m.– 4:20 p.m. ET at United Theological Seminary, 4501 Denlinger Road, Dayton, OH 45426. $95.

Lake Junaluska Signature Series featuring Rachel Held Evans, Saturday, Feb. 22 — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. The popular blogger and author will talk about how the Bible is meant to be a conversation starter, not a conversation ender. $25-$35. Details