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Daily Digest - May 4, 2014

"I grieve when I look at what happened in Baltimore. Misguided anger has shifted the focus from justice." — Baltimore native Bishop Warner Brown Jr., addressing the Council of Bishops.

Bishops urged to speak out as group on racism

BERLIN (UMNS) — United Methodist bishops must speak out against racism and address the anger that has sparked riots in Baltimore and other U.S. cities, the Council of Bishops president told his colleagues. Bishop Warner Brown Jr., a Baltimore native and former police chaplain, spoke with passion about events in his hometown and other cities across the United States. Heather Hahn reports.
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Read bishop’s letter to church

UMCOR, churches help those affected by Baltimore unrest

NEW YORK (UMNS) — A grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief will help Baltimore churches provide practical, spiritual and emotional assistance to those affected by recent unrest. “What we want to do as a church here is to be present, to be that hope and that light, because there are some dark places in the community,” said Rev. Joan Carter-Rimbach. Linda Unger reports for UMCOR.
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Pastor works to bring Baltimore community together

BALTIMORE — The pastor of Ames United Methodist Church grew with Freddie Gray, who died after being in police custody. Michael Parker found that after Gray’s death, many from their old neighborhood needed an outlet for prayer and a forum to talk. So he organized a prayer vigil and began running a mediation group out of his house. The group drew police officers, pastors, and community leaders together. Erica Hellerstein reports for Think Progress.
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Zimbabwe churches call for immediate end to xenophobia

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — United Methodists joined other ecumenical church leaders in calling for an immediate end to xenophobic violence in South Africa. The violence against immigrants to South Africa is cause for concern because 3 million Zimbabweans live in South Africa. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo, communicator for the Zimbabwe East Conference, has the story.
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Mother learns first-hand about malaria during pregnancy

O’FALLON, Mo. (UMNS) — The Rev. Jennifer Long delivered a healthy baby boy even after she was diagnosed with malaria four months into her pregnancy. The experience taught the Imagine No Malaria field coordinator first-hand about the disease. “I couldn’t help but think of the 3,000 mothers who were holding their babies that day, as (the infants) were dying of malaria, simply because they lived on the other side of the ocean,” she said.
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Student loan application open for fall semester

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Loan application opened May 1 for students seeking loans for fall 2015. The mother of loan recipient Mikala Mayhugh credits the United Methodist student loan with helping her daughter pay for school when the family faced financial difficulties.
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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.

Tuesday, May 5
Deadline to register for four online courses offered by United Methodist Communications — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses May 6-June 17: “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” “Connectional Giving," "Moodle 100: Basic Training" and “Welcoming Ministry 100.” Costs vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details on most courses. Details on Moodle 100.

Free webinar "Creating Your Plan for Christian Faith and Discipleship" — 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. CDT. Christian faith and discipleship don't just happen — they must be developed, nurtured, encouraged, challenged and "grown." Participants in this webinar will receive practical suggestions about how to create a specific plan for their particular congregation and context. Details.

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