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Daily Digest: March 03, 2014

“The energy emanating from these historic documents gently reminds us that higher education is still the common denominator for access, empowerment, and self-determination.” – Cynthia Bond Hopson, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, reflecting on denominational support of black colleges.

Giving keeps pace with denomination’s budget
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Many United Methodist conference treasurers have reason to sleep easier these days with giving substantially better than during the deep 2009 recession. See which conferences paid full apportionments, and find out how your offering is distributed.

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Black college support began in Civil War era
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists support the largest number of historically black colleges and universities of any church body in the United States. The tradition began during the Civil War era and through the Black College Fund today helps support about 16,000 students. Tom Gillem tells the story of this ministry.

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Remembering Harry Hosier: Methodist pioneer
ORLANDO, Fla. (UMNS) — A colleague of Francis Asbury, Harry Hosier delivered the first documented sermon by an African-American preacher in 1781, and was one of two African Americans at the famed 1784 Christmas Conference. Kathy Steele for the Florida Annual (regional) Conference shares how the Florida campus of Asbury Theological Seminary is working to get Hosier some long-overdue recognition.

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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 and put Digest in the subject line.

Women’s History Month, March — Worship resources from the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women.

Early-bird registration deadline for Engaging Local Schools Conference, Monday, March 3 — 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, March 22, Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, $20-50. Details.

Webinar “Making Sure Your Church Website Works,” Tuesday, March 4 — 7p.m.-8 p.m. ET, what belongs on the website, how to organize content and how best to use images, offered by Practical Church Resources. $10. Details.

Welcome Table at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, Tuesday, March 4, and Thursday, April 3 — 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET. Events for prospective students include a campus tour, networking opportunities and the chance to attend a class. Details.

Ash Wednesday, March 5 — Mark the start of Lent with worship resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Devotional and study resources are available from

Early-bird deadline for Evangelism Conference, Thursday, March 6 — Holston Conference event Friday-Saturday, March 14-15 at Cokesbury Center in Knoxville, Tenn. The speaker will be the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, lead pastor of Grace Church, a multi-site United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida. $35. Details.

Free webinar “Developing Your Ministry Plan 2: Discovering Your Congregation’s Niche,” Thursday, March 6 — 6:30 p.m. CT, Understanding the missional context of your congregation and your community is key for creating ministry that connects to newcomers. To register.

Sprague Lecture Series, “Christian Ethics and the Crisis in U.S. Criminal Justice,” Saturday, March 8 — 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio. Speakers include Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness;” James Logan, author of “Good Punishment? Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment;” and Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer. Details.

Deadline to register for “The Wizard of ALZ: A Different Perspective on Dementia,” Monday, March 10 — Memphis Conference Older Adult Council event 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. CT Tuesday, March 18, First United Methodist Church, Jackson, Tenn. $15. Details.

Deadline to register for five online courses from United Methodist Communications, Monday, March 10 — March 12-April 23, choices include Communicating Faith in the 21st Century, Connectional Giving, Moodle 200: Basic Training, Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry? and Welcoming Ministry 100. Prices vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details.

Free webinar “Individual Faith Formation Planning for Children,” Tuesday, March 11 — 10 a.m. CT, The interactive webinar explores what an individual faith formation plan for a child would look like and how it could shape the way a child engages. To register.

Free webinar “Multiplying Disciples: Part 1,” Tuesday, March 11 — 6:30 p.m. CT, Explore the qualities needed to build a lay-clergy team that leads the congregation in disciple-making. To register.

Free webinar "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife," Wednesday, March 12 – 10 a.m. CT, discussion of Dr. Eben Alexander’s best-seller. To register.

Free webinar “Freed Up Financial Living: Start This Ministry in Your Church!” Thursday, March 13 — 6:30 p.m. CT, This course can help people in your church better understand their money and how to control it so that it doesn't control them. To register.

180 Turnaround Church Conference,” Thursday, March 20 — 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET conference at Redeemer United Methodist Church in DeWitt, Mich. $59 per person and $20 for each additional person from the same church. Details.

Early registration deadline for United Theological Seminary’s “Light the Fire!” Church Renewal Conference, Friday, March 21 — May 8-9 at Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. Details.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Friday through Monday, March 21-24 —Assembly co-sponsored by United Methodist Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Women, and other United Methodist ministries in Washington. The theme is “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace.”  Details.

“Prophets, Harlots, Witches, And Warriors: Untamed Women Of The Old Testament,” Friday, March 21 —6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. CT, The Rev. Sherry Cothran, United Methodist pastor and singer/songwriter, will share songs and stories about some of the Bible’s most interesting women at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. $10. Details.

Window on Wesley Theological Seminary, Tuesday, March 25; Saturday, April 26; and Tuesday, June 17 — 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET, full-day events for prospective students include a campus tour, discussion of degree programs and the chance to attend a class. Details.

White Privilege Conference, Wednesday-Saturday, March 26-29 — A conference that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team-building strategies to work toward a more equitable world, co-hosted by the Wisconsin Conference Board of Church and Society and Wisconsin Council of Churches at Monona Terrace Convention Center and Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wis. Details.
Increase Generosity in Your Church Conference, Saturday, March 29 — 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte, N.C. The Rev. Lovett H. Weems Jr., director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, will speak. $35-45. Details.

One Great Hour of Sharing, Sunday, March 30 — Donations the United Methodist Committee on Relief receives through this offering, along with other undesignated gifts made throughout the year, cover the relief agency’s costs of doing business. The United Methodist Publishing House offers “Be Hope,” a new, four-week study in preparation for One Great Hour of Sharing. $6.29-10. To order.

Community Organizing for Social Change & Church Development training, Monday-Friday, March 31-April 4 — First Grace United Methodist Church, New Orleans. The training will teach how methods of community organizing can be a tool in congregational development, community transformation and engagement in justice ministries. Jointly offered by United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and Path 1 of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. $295. Details.

Deadline to register for Church Communication: 10 Things, Tuesday, April 15 — Clinic sponsored by the Memphis Conference Communications Action Team, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT, Thursday, April 24, First United Methodist Church, Jackson, Tenn. $25 per person, $20 each for groups of three or more. Details.

Early-bird registration deadline for Game Changers Summit, Wednesday, April 30United Methodist Communications invites local churches to attend a conference
Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 3-5 at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., focused on how congregations can use technology to strengthen international development. $215. Details.