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Daily Digest - March 26, 2015

"They did over 20 operations yesterday, and some of those patients had to be led in because they were blind. But tomorrow, they will go home with nobody leading them." — Dr. Lowell Gess, talking about surgery restarting at Kissy Eye Hospital.

Ebola doesn’t stop 93-year-old’s return to Sierra Leone

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Dr. Lowell Gess, a retired medical missionary, went back after the Ebola outbreak to this country where he served for 58 years. He wanted to show the people someone cared. While in Sierra Leone, Gess helped the United Methodist hospital resume surgery. Phileas Jusu reports.
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Filipino United Methodists rally for unity, discipleship

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — Nine thousand United Methodists converged March 21 to pray, march together and have fellowship in the interest of family unity and discipleship. Gladys P. Mangiduyos has the story.
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Sunday prayer: Revive hope from hopelessness

GENEVA (WCC) — The World Council of Churches invites its member churches to pray Sunday, March 29, for vulnerable minority religious and ethnic communities in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt. Christians, in particular, “face the present danger of extermination or exile from their own region,” writes the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, the WCC’s top executive.
Read WCC letter

Church history: Welcoming women immigrants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMTV) — In the late 1800s, millions of immigrants began arriving in New York City by steamship. Many of these newcomers had no money and no family as they stepped off the boat. Fortunately, Methodist missionary Alma Mathews and members of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society were there to greet young women and guide them to safety.
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UMW awards $50,000 grant to aid immigrants

NEW YORK (UMNS) — United Methodist Women has awarded $50,000 to National Justice for our Neighbors, a United Methodist immigration ministry. The money will go to four locations that have an urgent need for high-quality, affordable immigration services, said Sung-ok Lee, director with United Methodist Women based in New York. Laura Sonnenmark has the story.
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Is John Wesley trending?

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (UMNS) — The Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, is out with a book on John Wesley. In an interview with the website Read the Spirit, Hamilton asserts that the book, "Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It," is part of a resurgence of interest in Methodism's founder.
Read interview

Kennedy Center event benefits Imagine No Malaria

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Tickets are on sale for the 2015 Wesley Choral Festival Gala Concert, an event featuring choirs and individual choral singers from across the nation. The concert will be held at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 23, at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington with 100 percent of ticket sales benefiting the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria effort.
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Do we understand what we’re signing up for?

TIPP CITY, Ohio (UMNS) — The Rev. Mike Slaughter, lead pastor of Ginghamsburg Church, a United Methodist congregation, writes that the season of Lent is an opportunity to ask ourselves, “Do I understand what I have signed up for?” In Ministry Matters, he offers a meditation on why Jesus wants followers, not volunteers.
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Lent Quiz: Palm Sunday is March 29. What is the symbolism of palm branches?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Two Gospels mention that palm branches were laid on the path as Jesus rode into Jerusalem before his crucifixion. What is the symbolism?
Try today's quiz question.

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.

Tuesday, March 31
Free webinar "Helping Children Make Sense of the World" — 11 a.m. to Noon CDT. This interactive webinar from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries will look at ways to help children feel more secure and hopeful in a world that can sometimes feel scary and overwhelming. Details.

Tuesday-Thursday, April 7-9 
"Vision to Victory: Religion, Race and Revival," celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — United Theological Seminary will hold revival services, calling for accountability and reconciliation, at 7 p.m. EDT April 7,8 and 9 at Omega Baptist Church, 1821 Emerson Ave., Dayton, Ohio. Guest speakers include Bishop Gregory V. Palmer of the West Ohio Conference; Frank Thomas, professor of homiletics at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, and the Rev. Vanessa Ward, co-pastor of Omega and lecturer at United. Details.

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