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Daily Digest - May 14, 2015

"The scorching effects are still in the minds of the people. . . . There will always be tears and joy every time Ebola is mentioned in our United Methodist churches in Liberia." — The Rev. Cooper Mondolo.

Liberia gives thanks for freedom from Ebola

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — United Methodist leaders joined in as Liberia gave thanks for the declaration that the country is free of Ebola. But church leaders also recalled the many lives lost and counseled continued vigilance in public health. Julu Swen reports.
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Coming next week: The struggle to recover from Ebola

The United Methodist Church in West Africa has been on the frontlines of the fight against Ebola since the outbreak began in May 2014. As the deadly virus shows signs of retreating, United Methodist News Service visited Sierra Leone to chronicle the many challenges that lie ahead for the church and the country in overcoming the devastation of the outbreak. Jan Snider’s four-part special report begins May 18 with stories and video.

U.S. Christians lose ground in latest Pew survey

WASHINGTON (RNS) — The United States is a significantly less Christian country than it was seven years ago. That’s the top finding — one that will ricochet through American faith, culture and politics — in the Pew Research Center’s newest report, “America’s Changing Religious Landscape,” released May 12. Cathy Lynn Grossman reports for Religion News Service.
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Pew Research Center study

Christian Unity gathering draws 200-plus in D.C.

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — More than 200 Christian leaders, scholars, activists, and ecumenists, including United Methodists, were part of the second annual Christian Unity Gathering held by the National Council of Churches May 7-9. Participants also were among the more than 2,500 people at the Washington National Cathedral for a worship service commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
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Walking to Emmaus in Holy Land, Sweden

GENEVA (WCC) — In a feature for the World Council of Churches, Peter Kenny shares how the biblical story of Emmaus motivated 60 young people from Palestine, South Africa, Germany and Sweden to make a two-stage peace pilgrimage in the Holy Land and Sweden.
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United one of 12 seminaries to double enrollment

DAYTON, Ohio (UMNS) — A report from the Association of Theological Schools listed United Theological Seminary as one of only 12 seminaries to have doubled enrollment over the past five years. United President Wendy Deichmann credits much of the United Methodist school’s recent success to its online education programs. “We have a really compelling, relevant program, and because of that we’ve been able to connect with a whole new population of students,” she said.
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Feeding kids and souls in Watertown

WATERTOWN, S.D. (UMNS) — Every Wednesday evening, volunteers gather at the Watertown Mall to pack hundreds of bags with nutritious food for area children to eat over the weekend. The initiative, Watertown People Against Childhood Hunger, was started at First United Methodist Church. The Dakotas Conference has the story.
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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.

Thursday-Sunday, May 21-24
Wesley Choral Festival — Choirs and individual choral singers are invited to participate in this event in Washington that culminates with a gala concert to benefit Imagine No Malaria. The concert will be at 8 p.m. EST at the Kennedy Center. Details.

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