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Daily Digest: June 3, 2014

“The secret to those large churches is the small group ministry. Almost every large church in Korea has a very strong small-group ministry, and the Methodist churches are not an exception.” — The Rev. Paul Hak-Soon Chang, executive director of the United Methodist Korean Ministry Plan.

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A gift from Korean-American United Methodists
DALLAS (UMNS) — Korean-American United Methodists are sharing their Wesleyan small-group ministry training guide, through a new English language translation. Effective small-group ministry will yield church growth and more committed Christian lives, leaders say, adding that their ministry guide is a gift from Korean Americans to the larger United Methodist Church.

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Work to eradicate malaria deaths starts with God
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — For a Sierra Leone congregation, it is first the worship, then the work as they gear up to help distribute more than 350,000 insecticide-treated nets. This is the first dispatch from Kathy L. Gilbert and Mike DuBose of United Methodist News Service, who are covering the distribution.

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North Georgia clergy, laity take stand against schism
ATLANTA (UMNS) — As talk of splitting The United Methodist Church reaches a fever pitch, a theologically diverse group of clergy and lay members of the North Georgia Annual (regional) Conference are signing onto a covenant calling for unity.

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United Methodists recognized for ‘Pay it Forward’ efforts
HOWARD CITY, Mich. (UMNS) — Fox-17 has recognized Nancy Johnson, of South Ensley United Methodist Church, as its “Pay it Forward Person of the Month.” Working in an elementary school cafeteria, Johnson noticed many kids came to school hungry. She and her pastor, the Rev. Darryl Miller, conceived the idea of “MacBaskets” bag meals for the kids to take home for the weekend. Johnson has worked with the local food pantry, which the church helps to support, to keep kids fed. Fox 17 has the story.

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UMTV: Samoans find church home in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (UMNS) — “That’s our gift from God, to be Samoan,” says a United Methodist pastor. Meet some islanders who are preserving their traditions in a new locale.

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History of Hymns: ‘The Head that Once Was Crowned with Thorns’
DALLAS (UMNS) — The Ascension of Christ 40 days after Easter is a longstanding observance of the church. This hymn fills in the gaps of the scriptural account by describing Christ's presence in heaven and the glory of those who "dwell above" (stanza three) with him in "heaven's eternal light" (stanza two). C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology shares the story of this hymn and its author in a column for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

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Correction to ‘Same-gender debate rekindles schism talk’
This story was updated June 2 to clarify that leaders reached "a just resolution" in the complaint against retired United Methodist seminary dean, and the charges were not "dropped." Also, some churches in the California-Nevada Annual (regional) Conference declared May a "Season of Love," not the conference as a whole.

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