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Daily Digest - January 6, 2016

“I have been an ordained United Methodist pastor for 25 years. At last, I am choosing to serve in that role with full authenticity.” — The Rev. Cynthia Meyer in coming out to her congregation.

“A denomination that cannot enforce its requirements and hold its members accountable is really a dysfunctional denomination.” — The Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president and general manager of Good News.

Kansas pastor comes out during sermon

EDGERTON, Kan. (UMNS) — The Rev. Cynthia Meyer came out to her Kansas congregation during her Jan. 3 sermon in this year’s first public action aimed at influencing the 2016 General Conference. Her announcement that she’s a lesbian comes as United Methodists across the theological spectrum gear up for the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly, where the church’s stance on homosexuality usually sparks debate. Heather Hahn reports.
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Top executive departs Discipleship Ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and the Rev. Tim Bias jointly announced Jan. 5 that he was no longer the agency's general secretary, effective Dec. 31, 2015.
Read press release

Former Arkansas governor, senator remembered

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) — Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and U.S. senator, and a lifelong United Methodist, died Jan. 1 at the age of 90. In his early days as a lawyer in 1950s Charleston, Arkansas, he taught Sunday school and led the choir at First Methodist Church. He also played a key role in desegregating the congregation. He also led the desegregation of the town’s school system in 1954, making Charleston the first town in the former Confederacy to desegregate its schools. First United Methodist Church in Little Rock, where he was a member, will hold his funeral at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10.
Read Arkansas Online obituary

Floods and chill test church relief efforts

COLUMBIA, Mo. (UMNS) — The combination of high water and cold temperatures made for a challenge as churches in the Missouri Conference of The United Methodist Church sought to serve flooded communities over the Christmas holidays. One church served as a temporary city hall.
Read conference report

Pastor’s other calling at General Conference

PARIS, Ky. (UMC.org) — In May of 2016, 864 delegates from around the world will meet to consider legislation that will shape the direction of The United Methodist Church. The Rev. Gary Graves is the man behind the scenes who is in charge of compiling the approximately 1,000 petitions submitted. This video highlights his ministry.
Watch video

Commentary: ‘The Politics of Jesus’

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) — The Rev. Matt Landry, associate pastor of Meridian Street United Methodist Church,  views the 2016 elections through the lens of the politics of Jesus. “As a person of faith, I have to look for those willing to act and govern with love, mercy and grace,” he writes.
Read commentary

Ad campaign benefits Hispanic churches

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (UMNS) — An Advent billboard advertising campaign that featured five Hispanic-oriented churches in New Jersey has provided a better-than-expected boost, said the Rev. Iraida Ruiz De Porras of Christ United Methodist Church, Her church had nine more visitors attending the English service after the campaign, supported by a grant from United Methodist Communications. Jeff Wolfe reports for the conference.
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Happy Epiphany!

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (UMNS) — Today, Christians around the globe celebrate the magi’s star-guided visit to Christ, and Christians in the Eastern Orthodox tradition celebrate Christ’s baptism. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers resources for Epiphany and United Methodist Communications has ideas for observing the day.
Get resources
Epiphany ideas
What was the star of Bethlehem?

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. 11
Human Trafficking Awareness Day — United Methodist Women offers both information and resources to take action against modern-day slavery. Details.

Tuesday, Jan. 12
Webinar “Worship for All Ages: Ideas for Lent and Easter” — 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. CST. Want to try something new for Lent and Easter? Practical Resources for Churches shares ideas for new worship experiences and ways to make our time-honored traditions more meaningful and accessible. Details.

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