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Daily Digest - May 12, 2015

"What was normal yesterday may not be normal ever again, but we’ll find a new normal and God will see us through." — The Rev. Mark McClanahan, pastor of the Van (Texas) United Methodist Church.

U.S. tornado losses include two from Texas church

VAN, Texas (UMNS) — A church council chair and his wife, a former secretary of the church, died in likely tornadoes that roared through Van, Texas, May 10. The Rev. Mark McClanahan, pastor of Van United Methodist Church, confirmed the deaths of David and Brenda Tapley. Over the past week, tornadoes also have wreaked havoc elsewhere in Texas and in Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Dakota. Sam Hodges and Linda Bloom report.
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Central conference retirees: From destitution to hope

MAPUTO, Mozambique (UMNS) — The pension Felicidade Manguele gets as a United Methodist pastor’s widow provides the necessities of life for the orphaned 8-year-old granddaughter she is raising. Lifting retired United Methodist pastors in the central conferences out of poverty has taken nearly 15 years, but the denomination’s pension board is now celebrating that every pastor throughout the worldwide denomination has a pension. A group of church agencies, led by the board, collaborated to make that a reality. Sandra Long Weaver reports.
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Former House Speaker Wright was faithful United Methodist

FORT WORTH, Texas (UMNS) — The May 6 death of Jim Wright, former U.S. Speaker of the House, yielded many news stories about his political career. But United Methodists are remembering him as a faithful member of First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth, and a leader in the Central Texas Conference. Vance Morton, director of communications for the conference, reports.
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Denzel Washington: ‘Put God first’

NEW ORLEANS — Actor Denzel Washington gave Dillard University graduates four life goals, starting with “Put God first.” Washington gave the commencement address on May 9, receiving an honorary doctorate before leaving to give another commencement address at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Dillard and Wiley are two of the historically black colleges supported by The United Methodist Church’s Black College Fund. Washington’s 2007 film “The Great Debaters” tells the story of a Wiley College debate team. Sue Strachan reported for and The Times-Picayune.
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Church’s pension fund ranked 10th on climate change

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s pension fund has been ranked 10th out of 500 international investors in management of climate risk and opportunities. The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits and its Wespath Investment Management division got the top 10 ranking from the Asset Owners Disclosure Project. The pension board instituted a specific climate change investment policy guideline in 2015.
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Read climate change policy

Detroit district helping after severe flooding

DETROIT (UMNS) — A grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief will help three counties in southeastern Michigan hit by floods nine months ago. Through the newly formed Detroit Renaissance District, families are receiving help and hope. Kay DeMoss, editor-writer for the Michigan Area, reports.
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Pastor seeks stronger link between Native Americans, church

LANCASTER, Pa. (UMNS) — Does Christianity end at the church door? Is it a religion in which people of different backgrounds come together to pray, but separate as they leave? That has long been what Native Americans have found it to be, said the Rev. Calvin Hill. A full-blooded Navajo and United Methodist minister in Montana, he and countless other Native Americans were taught to be good Christians while in church, but were left at the curb by society and the church once the religious services ended. Earle Cornelius reports for Lancaster Online.
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Game Changers Summit 2015 set

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist Communications will host the second Game Changers Summit Sept. 17-19. The summit will bring together global technology and communication leaders to train in developing communication strategy to aid social good throughout the world.
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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.

Friday, May 15
Early bird deadline for "Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization," a global conference on creation careThursday-Sunday, June 4-7 on the campuses of Pomona College and Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California. United Methodist Bill McKibben, founder of, will be among the speakers at this conference on theology, ecology and economics. Cost $300 before May 15, $400 after. Details You can also register here.

Deadline to apply for "Social Justice Institute: Poverty, Race and Sexuality" — Conference is Monday-Friday, Aug. 3-7 at Boston University School of Theology. The Social Justice Institute aims to reclaim the role of faith leaders' prophetic voices in public life, pulpits and sacred spaces. This five-day intensive continuing education institute is designed to train seminarians, clergy and laity through conversations, lectures, worship and fellowship. Scholarships and up to two CEUs are available. Details.

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