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Daily Digest: March 12 2014

“I’m anxious about this body that is supporting my mind, and I’m anticipating the people that I’m going to run into along the way.” – Rev. David Smith, on beginning to hike the Appalachian Trail, where he will be a chaplain to other hikers for the Holston Annual (regional) Conference. advertisement

Assessing the Ogletree decision
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (UMNS) — New York Bishop Martin McLee’s dismissal of the complaint against the Rev. Thomas Ogletree for officiating at a same-sex wedding evoked strong reactions within the church, ranging from hope to dismay. The pastors who filed the complaint warned that chances for denominational schism were increased by McLee’s decision. Ogletree himself welcomed McLee’s call for dialog rather than church trials, and said he’s hopeful the church is on the way to changing its position on homosexuality.

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Methodism’s late hour
HOUSTON (UMNS) — In an editorial, the Rev. Rob Renfroe — president and publisher of Good News — says “if our bishops do not act swiftly and decisively to uphold our process of holy conferencing and enforce our Book of Discipline, The United Methodist Church will be lost.” Good News is an advocacy group and magazine that supports maintaining the church’s current teaching on sexuality.

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Biblical obedience and same-gender unions
OAKLAND, Calif. (UMNS) — As a growing number of United Methodist clergy officiate at same-gender unions in violation of church law, retired Bishop Roy I. Sano reflects on what guidance the Bible offers. “Those who are violating United Methodist prohibitions are supported by what Jesus said about another ordering in God’s creation,” he writes.

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Appalachian Trail chaplain begins journey
SPINGER MOUNTAIN, Ga. (UMNS) - David Smith, the Holston Annual (regional) Conference Appalachian Trail chaplain, headed to Georgia on Ash Wednesday to begin his 2,200-mile hike through the mountains to Maine. It just worked out that his trek coincides with the Lenten spiritual journey of Christians around the globe, but Smith is giving up more than Facebook or chocolate, writes Annette Spence of The Call. Follow Chaplain David Smith's progress at TrailJournals.com/shortstop or on the “Appalachian Trail Chaplain” page on Facebook.

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Church urged to take actions on deportations
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — United Methodists are urged to join the National Day Labor Organizing Network in sending a message to President Obama, through prayer vigils and other actions, to stop the policy of mass deportations. The U.S. is nearing 2 million deportations since the Obama administration took office. Bill Mefford, executive with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, says the more congregations that take part, the more the President will realize there is public support to end “this barbaric practice” that separates families. To learn more about the United Methodist action email bmefford@umc-gbcs.org

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Social action agency urges SodaStream boycott
CHEVY CHASE, Md. (UMNS) —  The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has issued a call to boycott SodaStream, a countertop carbonation device produced in the occupied West Bank of the Palestinian Territories. The boycott decision was overwhelmingly endorsed by the agency’s board during its spring meeting here this month.

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Supreme Court won’t hear appeal of Episcopal property dispute
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Seven years after 15 conservative Virginia congregations made global news by breaking away from the Episcopal Church — and refusing to give up tens of millions of dollars in property — the U.S. Supreme Court on March 10 ended the complex legal dispute by declining to take up an appeal by the last remaining plaintiff, reports Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post. The high court’s action leaves the property in Episcopal Church hands.

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