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Daily Digest - March 31, 2015

"The training is to prepare our teachers to be able to respond to health emergencies when schools re-open, especially given the situation that Ebola is not over yet." — Joseph Pormai, education secretary for secondary schools at the United Methodist Sierra Leone Conference.

United Methodists train teachers for reopening of schools

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Primary and secondary school teachers at United Methodist schools in Sierra Leone were in a classroom learning how to keep students safe amid the continuing threat of Ebola. The country is preparing for an April reopening of schools closed since June 2014 because of the deadly virus. Phileas Jusu has the story.
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Sharing Passover seders, like a good neighbor

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Passover is one of the places where Judaism and Christianity intersect. According to three Gospels, Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Exodus from Egypt when Jesus instituted Holy Communion. This year, Jews begin the eight-day commemoration on the evening of April 3. If Christians participate in a Passover seder, how can they do so in a way that honors their Jewish neighbors? Barbara Dunlap-Berg in Interpreter magazine offers ideas.
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Newscope to cease publication

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Publishing House announced that its “Newscope” publication will cease distribution as of the April 1 issue, after 43 years of serving the denomination’s leaders with weekly news and information.
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Agency board meets, does mission work in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — The board of the General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination’s finance agency, recently met in the Philippines. Board members also engaged in mission through Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc., an Advance project of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
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Scarritt Bennett plans to honor ‘phenomenal’ women

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Scarritt Bennett Center is seeking nominations for the inaugural Phenomenal Woman Awards. The awards will honor women, nonprofits and businesses that demonstrate and exhibit the characteristics of Maya Angelou and the core values of Scarritt Bennett Center. One female high school senior will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
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History of Hymns: ‘Beneath the Cross of Jesus’

DALLAS (UMNS) — “Beneath the cross of Jesus, I fain would take my stand” is how this hymn so frequently sung during Holy Week begins. C. Michael Hawn in his column for United Methodist Discipleship Ministries discusses the hymn’s Scottish author, Elizabeth C. Clephane, and compares her creation to that other famous Holy Week hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
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Lent Quiz: What book is Jesus quoting from the cross?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — When Jesus asks “Why have you forsaken me?” the question is actually a quote from another book. Take today’s Lent Quiz question to find out what writing Jesus quoted.
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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.

Saturday, April 11
Deacon Day @ Drew — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. EDT at Drew Theological School, Seminary Hall, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, New Jersey. This workshop explores the identity and call of the deacon. In the morning, participants will take advantage of Drew's Seminary Saturday offerings. In the afternoon, the Rev. Victoria Rebeck, director of deacon ministry development and provisional membership at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, will moderate a panel of deacons serving in diverse appointments. Free. Details.

Wednesday-Thursday, April 15-16
Deacon Candidacy Formation Workshop — 7-9 p.m. CDT Wednesday, April 15, and 9-11:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, April 16, at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois. This formation event is for candidates for ordination who are on the deacon track. Topics include discernment, the identity and ministries of deacons and how to prepare for interviews with district committees on ministry and boards of ordained ministry. $10. Details.

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