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Daily Digest - July 13, 2015

"These Oreos are a sweet and tangible sign of our love and support for the brave men and women who serve in a dangerous land." — The Rev. Don Martin, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia

Church goes cookie crazy for troops

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Alpharetta First United Methodist Church recently collected a record 5.64 tons of Oreos for U.S. service members stationed in the Middle East. The church has had the cookie drive every year since 2009. Appen Media Group has the story.
Read story

Liberian churches honored for service during Ebola outbreak

MONROVIA, Liberia (WCC) — The Liberian Council of Churches, which includes The United Methodist Church, will be honored by the Liberian government for their prayers and action during the Ebola crisis. The council will receive the “Commander, Order of the Star of Africa,” during a ceremony on July 17. The Liberian Council of Churches includes member churches of the World Council of Churches.
Read press release
Read United Methodist News Service coverage of the Ebola outbreak

General Conference video: Portland venue tour

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — More than 860 delegates from 130 conferences will participate in The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly in May 2016. As United Methodists anticipate the global church gathering, here is a behind-the-scenes trip around the site.
Watch video

New Meharry president: Go 'from surviving to thriving'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, the new president of Meharry Medical College, says he takes inspiration from the college’s early leaders who met in the basement of Clark Memorial United Methodist Church. Meharry, a United Methodist-related medical, dental and research university, is the nation's largest private, historically black academic health center. It receives support from the Black College Fund. Adam Tamburin of the Tennessean reports on the new president.
Read story

DisAbility Ministries plans award banquet

DALLAS (UMNS) — The DisAbility Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church will have its inaugural Robert M. Pitzer Award banquet 6 to 9 p.m. CDT July 31 at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, 9200 Inwood Road in Dallas. The committee will honor United Methodist Women for the group offering “The Church and People with Disabilities” as a Mission U study in 2014 and 2015. Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson will be among the guests. Tickets are $15. Deadline to RSVP is Tuesday, July 21.
To attend

Commentary: Sacrificing our buildings for God’s kingdom

SAVANNAH, Ga. (UMNS) — “What if we encouraged more churches to give their space away? Yes, you read that correctly. What if God is leading us into a season of downsizing our physical space?” The Rev. Ben Gosden, pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church, ponders how doing so might shift the church’s priorities.
Read commentary

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.

Friday, July 17
Deadline to submit youth and young adult video and text for the 2016 General Conference — United Methodist youth and young people are invited to share their best personal stories, visions and innovations for the church, and two people will be selected to express their thoughts in person at the 2016 General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking body. The messages from youth and young people about the church’s impact on their lives and their vision for the future can be either in the form of written text or 1-2-minute video presentations. Details.

Monday-Thursday, July 27-30
Festival of Wisdom and Grace Conference — The 2015 Festival of Wisdom and Grace Conference's theme is "Let Each Generation Tell." Led by Derrick-Lewis Noble, this event will be full of worship, workshops, professional training and fellowship designed for individuals, couples, small groups or church leaders relating to the second half of life. The event is sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association of Older Adults at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Details .

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