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Daily Digest - January 15, 2016

"He was an excellent preacher. As a lot of folks around here would say, he could shuck the corn.” — The Rev. John Ed Mathison, said of Bishop William Morris.

Bishop Morris dead at 78

GALLATIN, Tenn. (UMNS) — Bishop William Wesley Morris, who served as bishop of the Alabama-West Florida and the Nashville (Tennessee) episcopal areas, died Jan. 14 of a heart attack. He was 78. Sam Hodges report.
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Grants boost central conference theological education

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — The Commission on Central Conference Theological Education has awarded another $1 million in grants to fund theological education and pastoral training in Africa, the Philippines and Europe. Priscilla Muzerengwa has the story.
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Annual letter to Martin Luther King Jr.

ATLANTA (UMNS) — Retired United Methodist Bishop Woodie W. White reflects on the worsening racial climate in the U.S. in his annual “birthday letter” to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. White writes about how xenophobia, nativism and even religious intolerance have been added to the struggle against racism. Interpreter magazine published the letter.
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Setting up shop in a church basement

DALLAS — White Rock United Methodist Church here has opened its unused, 14,000-square foot basement to small businesses, nonprofits and professionals in need of low-cost space. A sewing collective of African refugees is among those taking advantage. Heather Noel reports for the Dallas Morning News.
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Former NFL player trains for other side of Sundays

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. (UMNS) — Colin Brown first felt called to ministry around the age of 12. But like many 12-year-old boys, he also had the dream of being a professional athlete. With one of those goals firmly checked off the list, the former NFL linebacker is now an intern with Woods Chapel United Methodist Church in Missouri. Fred Koenig reports for the Missouri Conference.
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Pastor: Let’s talk about animal welfare

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UMNS) — The Rev. Teddy Ray, a United Methodist pastor, believes churches need to address the subject of humane treatment of farm animals. He offers advice and resource links for this subject in his latest blog post.
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Because life gets messy, church does, too

EUGENE, Ore. (UMNS) — Trinity United Methodist Church has found that incorporating the Messy Church program into their ministry and outreach is providing a new way for people, especially families, to connect to the church and build a spiritual relationship.
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In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there will be no UMNS Daily Digest on Monday, Jan. 18. The digest will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

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.

Monday, Jan. 18-Friday, Feb. 5
Online course “Life Together in the United Methodist Connection” from beadisciple.com — Why does The United Methodist Church do things the way it does? This course will help newcomers to The United Methodist Church get their bearings, and longtime members consider the specific structural challenges the church faces in the 21st century. Participants must obtain the book, “The Method of Our Mission: United Methodist Polity & Organization” by Laceye C. Warner, which is not included in the course fee. $70. Details.

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 22-23
Reaching New People workshop — The Louisiana Conference offers an opportunity to learn more about what growing, fruitful churches are doing to start and grow relationships that bring new people to the church. The workshop will be at First United Methodist Church, 2727 Jackson St. in Alexandria, Louisiana. The event is limited to 25 churches. Details.

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