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Daily Digest - March 19, 2015

"You can get out of addiction. … But here’s what it will take: 1,000 percent effort. That’s more than you can give. You will need God. But you can do it." — The Rev. Craig McLaughlin, whose daughter died of heroin addiction.

Heroin’s tragic story touches United Methodists

BALTIMORE (UMNS) — Heroin killed Hannah McLaughlin, a pastor’s 19-year-old daughter. But her parents know God saved her heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half a million Americans are thought to be addicted to heroin. Melissa Lauber of the Baltimore-Washington Conference writes about the McLaughlin family’s struggle and how the church can help fight addiction.
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Dealing hope instead of dope: Robert’s story and struggle

BALTIMORE (UMNS) — The funeral of a close friend brought “Robert,” a drug dealer, inside the doors of a United Methodist church. Someone in the congregation invited him to come back, and now he is hooked on growing closer to God. Erik Alsgaard of the Baltimore-Washington Conference shares Robert’s transformation.
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Church history: The founding of Mother’s Day

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) — The Methodist mother and daughter who started the May celebration didn’t have in mind greeting cards and Sunday brunches. Instead, Ann and Anna Jarvis wanted to honor the work mothers do to promote peace. As part of Women’s History Month, UMTV showcases the legacy of the two Jarvises.
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South Jersey church blesses tractors for farming season

PITTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, New Jersey — Union Grove United Methodist Church, known to locals as "The Little White Church on the Hill," could be easily spotted Sunday, March 15, by the line of John Deere and Farmall tractors parked outside. For the first time in South Jersey, farmers, gardeners and landscapers had the opportunity to have their equipment blessed in the hopes of receiving a bountiful and safe farming season. The South Jersey Times reports on the service.
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United Methodist schools commit to justice

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The top executives of United Methodist schools in the U.S. have committed to “give leadership on behalf of social justice and human dignity.” Specifically, members of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church pledged to sponsor conversations on justice concerns and to assess their own institutional practices in relation to human dignity.
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Ferguson faith leader to keynote Ecumenical Advocacy Days

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The Rev. Traci deVon Blackmon, a Ferguson (Missouri) area pastor, will be the opening keynoter for the 2015 national gathering of Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice. She will speak on Friday, April 17.  The event’s 2015 theme is “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation.” The organization’s goal is to strengthen the Christian voice to mobilize for advocacy on U.S. domestic and international policy issues.
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Lent Quiz: Which disciple objects to Jesus washing his feet?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — When Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, not everyone was happy about it. Which disciple initially objected to Jesus washing his feet?
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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.

Thursday, March 19
Welcome Table at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington — 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT. Events for prospective students include a fellowship meal with a faculty member and the chance to attend a class. Details.

Thursdays, March 19, March 26 and April 2 
Free “Power Up! Energy Conservation” webinar series — 3 to 4 p.m. EDT. This series is the result of a partnership between GreenFaith and Drew Theological School, a United Methodist seminary. Participants will learn energy management strategies from leaders who have experience working with faith communities on these issues. You’ll learn three no-cost steps that reduce most congregations’ energy bills by at least 10 percent, how to benchmark your energy usage and carbon footprint and to measure the improvements you make, and a host of other strategies and practices. Details.

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