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Daily Digest - January 5, 2016

“When you see that Cross and Flame rolling down the street, it’s really cool.” — The Rev. Jan Davis, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Rowlett, Texas, on United Methodist relief crews arriving after Dec. 26 tornado.

No gift from Christmas weather

DALLAS (UMNS) — Catastrophic tornadoes and flooding that occurred in multiple states over the Christmas holidays directly affected some United Methodists, and many others joined relief efforts. A tornado destroyed a United Methodist church in Lutts, Tennessee, and members of a handful of United Methodist churches in Texas lost homes. Sam Hodges and Heather Hahn reports.
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Liberian church sets up climate task force

BUCHANAN, Liberia (UMNS) — On the heels of the Paris climate treaty, The United Methodist Church in Liberia has set up a task force to monitor the environmental impact of international companies operating in Liberia. Julu Swen has the story.
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Churches give clean water for Africa

COLUMBIA, Mo. (UMC.org) — Through the Missouri Conference's Mozambique Initiative, churches and schools have been built and more than 100 wells have brought far more than clean water to some 100,000 people.
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Living into a new reality

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Throughout the last half of 2015, United Methodists in Austria and Germany provided an array of services to refugees and asylum-seekers arriving from Syria, Afghanistan, North Africa and elsewhere. Linda Unger has the story for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
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Photo essay: Journey of Hope

United Methodists boost South Carolina recovery

COLUMBIA, S.C. (UMNS) — As South Carolina United Methodists continue their long-term effort to rebuild and repair homes and churches damaged after the October floods, Christian brothers and sisters outside the state are pitching in with hammer, nail — and checkbook. Jessica Brodie of the South Carolina Advocate has the story.
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Japanese treat links church families

MERCED, Calif. — Each year, a reunion of sorts occurs at the Livingston United Methodist Church, where generations of families gather ahead of New Year’s to make a Japanese treat called mochi. Brianna Calix reports for the Merced Sun-Star.
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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.

Thursday, Jan. 7
Webinar “Holy Week Activities for Children” — This webinar discusses crafts, drama, cooking and other activities that reinforce the important lessons children can learn when focusing on Holy Week. Debbie Kolacki, a United Methodist certified Christian educator and certified lay servant, will lead the discussion. Details.

Monday, Jan. 11 – Sunday, Jan. 24
Online course "Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts” from beadisciple.com — Participants can learn more about their spiritual gifts — and how to help their congregations learn more about theirs — in this two-week workshop. Participants will interact via online discussions, videos and real-time group sessions. Participants are also expected to read the Discipleship Resources book "Each One a Minister," by William J. Carter, and "Spirit Gifts," by Patricia Brown. $70. Details.

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