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Daily Digest: March 24, 2014

“What the United Methodist Church of Missouri is trying to do is take the resources that were given to them after the tornado hit and get them in the right place at the right time now that the tornado recovery is winding down.” – The Rev. Aaron Brown, St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Joplin, Mo. advertisement

Missouri Conference gives $150,000 for Joplin
JOPLIN, Mo. (UMNS) — The Missouri Annual (regional) Conference on March 19 gave a check for $150,000 to Rebuild Joplin to help more families affected by the catastrophic May 22, 2011, tornado. The Rebuild Joplin development director told Fourstateshomepage.com the gift is a game changer to clear the current waiting lists for homes.

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Dallas pastor faces complaint for same-sex service
DALLAS (UMNS) — The Rev. William McElvaney says he is the subject of a formal complaint for going against United Methodist Church law by officiating at a March 1 same-sex wedding. He confirmed to UMNS the details of a letter he sent to members of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, where he once was pastor and now is pastor emeritus.

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United Methodists work to protect water
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Two of the denomination’s general agencies are providing material to help understand the threat to water resources throughout the world. The United Methodist Committee on Relief joined with the United Nations to mark World Water Day on March 22. “Water, Holy Water” is the theme of this year’s Earth Day resource from Creation Justice Ministries of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. The material for the April 22 day to remember the environment explores “water as a gift from God being threatened by overuse and pollution.”

Five ways to make water last

“Water, Holy Water” (Earth Day 2014)

Communications relief progresses in Philippines
TANAUAN, Leyte (UMNS) — United Methodist Communications is continuing to work on communication relief for the survivors in Central Philippines. Its work has included funding mobile tools seminars conducted by partner Inveneo to equip organizations working in the disaster areas to respond more efficiently.

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Alban Institute closing
HERNDON, Va. (UMNS) The Alban Institute, which has long provided support to mainline denomination congregations through consulting and publications, is closing amid financial struggles. United Methodist-related Duke Divinity School is in discussion with Alban Institute officials about carrying on some of the work, the Religion News Service reports.

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Re-organized NCC to host national gathering
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The National Council of Churches will have its first national gathering May 18-20 since a 2013 reorganization that reduced the size of its governing board and created four ‘convening tables’ responsible for key mission and programs. Jim Winkler, a United Methodist, is the NCC’s top executive. 

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Agency's board prepares for General Conference
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Members of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race's board recently dedicated three days of prayerful discernment and preparation for the agency’s work at the 2016 General Conference. The focus was on monitoring, supporting delegates and preparing legislation for the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly to help further the values of institutional equity.

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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 newsdesk@umcom.org and put Digest in the subject line.

Free webinar “Media: What’s Trending in Elementary School,” Tuesday, March 25 — 10 a.m. CT, a discussion of how we can extend community for children through healthy media use. To register.
 

Free webinar “What is Recovery? Understanding Addictions and Supporting Recovery Strategies,” Tuesday, March 25 — 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET, offered by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Details.
 

Free webinar “No More Volunteers! Reclaiming Christian Servanthood,” Tuesday, March 25 — 5 p.m. CT, a discussion of a different approach for finding, recruiting and motivating people to serve the church. To register.
 

Webinar “Company’s Coming! Training for the Experience,” Tuesday, March 25 — 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET, how to welcome guests at your local church. The Rev. Mark Waltz of United Methodist congregation Granger Community Church in Indiana will lead. $10. Details.
 

Window on Wesley Theological Seminary, Tuesday, March 25; Saturday, April 26; and Tuesday, June 17 — 9 a.m. to 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.
 

Alonzo L. McDonald Distinguished Faculty Lectures on Christianity and Human Rights, Wednesday, March 26 — 12:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, Tull Auditorium, Emory Law School, a 50th anniversary celebration of key civil rights documents. Details.
 

“Spirituality of the Labyrinth” workshop, Saturday, March 29 — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. $42. Details.
 

Bishop’s Convocation of Prayer, Saturday, March 29 — 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond, Va. The Rev. Tom Albin, dean of the Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations, will be the speaker. $10. 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 to $45. Details.
 

Preaching and lunch with retired Bishop William H. Willimon, Sunday, March 30 — Willimon, who formerly led the North Alabama Annual (regional) Conference and teaches at Duke Divinity School, will preach at 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. ET at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Alexandria, Va. At 12:30 p.m., he will speak during “Lunch with the Bishop” about the future of mainline denominations. $10 for lunch; reservations required. 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. To learn more.
 

Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101,” Monday, March 31— Course offered April 2 to May 14, an overview of the denomination’s history, structure, beliefs, ministries and challenges from United Methodist Communications $9.99. Details.
 

Community Organizing for Social Change & Church Development training, Monday-Friday, March 31 to 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 Path1 of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. $295. Details.
 

Free Perkins “Lunch and Learn” with Susanne Johnson, Monday, March 31 — 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT, Perkins School of Theology’s Houston-Galveston Extension Program, 3501 W. Alabama, Suite 107, in Houston. Johnson, associate professor of Christian education, will speak on “Hidden in Plain Sight: Perspectives on Injustice.” Details.
 

Free webinar “Multiplying Disciples: Part 2,” Monday, March 31 — 6:30 p.m. CT, spiritual leaders learn together to build an intentional congregational plan for making disciples. To register.
 

Deadline to apply for Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy, Tuesday, April 1 —The chaplain’s office at United Methodist-related Adrian College will help host a leadership academy June 25 to 28 for Hispanic United Methodist youth and young adults in eighth through 12th grades. Click here for a pdf of the registration form.
 

Free webinar “Monitoring Reports: Increasing Participation through Gentle Mutual Accountability,” Tuesday, April 1 — 7:30 p.m. CT, part of a series of leadership webinars offered by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women. To see schedule and register.
 

Deadline to register for the 2014 United Methodist Women Assembly, Tuesday, April 1 — April 25 to 27, Louisville, Ky. Details.
 

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

Free webinar “Developing Your Ministry Plan 3: Discovering Your Discipleship Process,” Thursday, April 3 — 6:30 p.m. CT, this session focuses on three key areas of congregational life: values, small groups, and social outreach. To register.
 

Free webinar “Reaching out to children of unchurched parents,” Thursday, April 3 — 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET, offered by Practical Church Resources. Details.
 

The Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries conference, Thursday through Sunday, April 3 to 6 — Asheville, N.C., continuing education for administrative assistants and any office workers in United Methodist churches. Details.
 

Free webinar “New Children’s Ministers,” Tuesday, April 8 — 10 a.m. CT, how to recruit people to serve as well as provide tangible tools online, print, and verbal for identifying and encouraging adults to connect with children’s ministry programs and continue serving. To register.
 

Free webinar “Teaching the Way of Jesus,” Tuesday, April 8 — 6:30 p.m. CT, What does it mean for us to educate “followers of Jesus” for faithful living in the world? A look at six key directions to focus our ministries in Christian education. To register.
 

Palm/ Passion Sunday, April 13 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources.
 

Holy Week, Monday-Saturday, April 14 to 19 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources.
 

Easter Sunday, April 20 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources.
 

The 2014 conference of the International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges and Universities, Saturday-Wednesday, May 24 to 28 — The event in Hiroshima, Japan is open to pastors as well as educators. The theme is “Peace, Reconciliation and Human Rights.” Details.