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Daily Digest: May 5, 2014

"Two weeks is a long time. We pray for the safe and immediate release of our daughters.” – United Methodist Bishop John Wesley Yohanna on the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Agency wants bishop to account for use of funds
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church's finance agency announced May 2 that it is asking West Angola Area Bishop Gaspar João Domingos to account for how he used $100,000 in general church funds designated for theological education. The General Council on Finance and Administration board has given Domingos a deadline of May 30. If he does not provide a full accounting, the board warns it will recommend church entities withhold funding.

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Appeals for release of girls kidnapped in Nigeria
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Church leaders are asking for prayers for the safe return of more than 200 girls kidnapped from their government secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria, more than two weeks ago. Among those expressing concern were United Methodist Bishop John Wesley Yohanna of the Nigeria Episcopal Area; Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries; and the U.S. National Council of Churches. Most of the girls are members of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, those denominational leaders have reported.

Global Ministries statement

NCC statement

Slideshow: Assembly 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (UMNS) — UMNS Photographer Mike DuBose captured the action in the Kentucky International Convention Center April 25-27 as United Methodist Women gathered for “Assembly 2014 — Make it Happen.”

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Active bishops gather for spring retreat
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Active United Methodist bishops and the top executives of general church agencies will gather May 4-8 at Epworth-by-the-Sea in St. Simons Island, Ga., for a time of spiritual reflection and peer learning and sharing. The gathering is closed to the press. 

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Women theologians, clergy savor ‘trusting space’
EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) — Providing a trusting space for women theologians and ministers of Asian ancestry to debate ideas, discuss challenges and support each other’s work is one of the hallmarks of the annual conference of the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry. The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women sponsored the opening reception and panel discussion for this year’s event.

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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.

Deadline to register for Multicultural Journeys in Worship Conference, Monday, May 5 Event on reaching multicultural communities through worship, Friday-Saturday, May 9-10, at First Grace United Methodist Church, 3401 Canal St, New Orleans. United Methodist Board of Global Ministries sponsors in collaboration with four United Methodist congregations. $30 per person and $100 maximum per church. Details.

Deadline to register for United Theological Seminary’s “Light the Fire!” Church Renewal Conference, Monday, May 5 — Event Thursday-Friday, May 8-9 at Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. $149, Details.

Where Grace Meets Power — Standing for Each Others’ Greatness, Monday through Wednesday, May 5-7 — A United Methodist Clergywomen’s seminar, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Details.

“Elevation” continuing education and spiritual renewal retreat for worship leaders, Monday-Friday, May 5-9 — Lake Tahoe, with Marcia McFee, director of worship at two General Conferences. Details.

Deadline to register for six online courses offered by United Methodist Communications, Tuesday, May 6 — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses May 7-June 18: “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” Welcoming Ministry 100,” “Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry?,” “Moodle 100 — Basic Training,” “Moodle 300: Course Facilitation” and “Connectional Giving.” Costs vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details.

Free webinar “Pastors Read: ‘#digitalvertigo: How Today’s Online Social Revolution is Dividing, Diminishing and Disorienting us,” Wednesday, May 7 — 10 a.m. CT, A discussion of Andrew Kern’s critical look at social media and its creators. To register.

Free webinar “Developing Your Ministry Plan 4: Worship, Small Groups and the Next 12 Months,” Thursday, May 8 — 6:30 p.m. CT, Building on the previous three sessions, church teams will be guided in a process to identify key steps for their congregational development To register.

Albertson Lectures at Wenatchee (Wash.) First United Methodist Church, Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11 — Jerry D. Campbell, President of Claremont Lincoln Univ., will speak to the topic “New in the World and Long Overdue.Details and lecture times.

Free webinar “Children’s Ministry: Weekday Preschool Guidelines,” Monday, May 12 — 10 a.m. CT, How to maintain high educational and ethical standards that are consistent across United Methodist Weekday Preschool Ministry Programs. To register.

Free “Lunch and Learn” about Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, Monday, May 12 — 11: 45 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT, Jaime Clark Soles, associate professor of New Testament at Perkins, will speak on “The Bible and Disability” at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Road, Houston. Details.

Free webinar “Binders Full of Women: How to Create, Maintain and Utilize a Talent Bank,” Tuesday, May 13 — 7:30 p.m. ET, part of a series of leadership webinars offered by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women. To see schedule and register.

A Day of Learning at Adrian College, Wednesday, May 14 — Starting at 1 p.m. ET, Adrian College in Adrian, Mich., will host a day of contlnuing education for United Methodists in and around the Michigan Area. Sessions will focus on the Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, the fight against human trafficking and the connections between the church and the academy. $30. Details.

Free webinar “Stewardship: What’s New in the Toolbox?,” Thursday, May 15 — 6:30 p.m. CT, An overview of new resources and ideas for increasing church giving. To register.

Deadline to apply for Spark12 grants, Friday, May 16 — Spark12, part of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, provides funding, coaching and other support for young adult leaders and those working with young adults who have innovative ideas they believe will change the world. To apply.

A Gathering of the Aldersgate Covenant, Friday-Saturday, May 16-17 — A 20-hour prayer for revival with guest speakers from across the United States at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kan. $35. Details.

Heritage Sunday, May 18 — The theme this year is "The Church’s Heritage in Mission: Remembering the 200th Anniversary of the Death of Thomas Coke.” Resources from the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History. Details.

Workshop “Tranformation: Equipping Churches to Transform Lives,” Tuesday-Thursday, May 20-22 — United Methodist-related Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, will host ecumenical event. $150. Details.

The 2014 conference of the International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges and Universities, Saturday-Wednesday, May 24-28 — The event in Hiroshima, Japan is open to pastors as well as educators Hiroshima, Japan. The theme is “Peace, Reconciliation and Human Rights.” Details.

African American Summit, Tuesday-Wednesday, June 3-4 — Retired United Methodist Bishop Ernest S. Lyght will be the guest speaker for Peninsula-Delaware Conference event at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 11868 Academic Oval, Princess Anne, Md. $25. Call the Rev. Sheila Hunley at 410-810-4612. Details.

Lake Junaluska Summer Youth Events, June 12 - July 20 Focus on being the Body of Christ through service, worship, and community with afternoons free for groups to customize their trip and explore the mountains of North Carolina. Leadership includes Shane Claiborne, Duffy Robbins, Andy Lambert, and more. Register at http://www.lakejunaluska.com/youth.

Prepare: A Training for New Leaders, Monday-Tuesday, June 23-24 & Summer Institute, Tuesday-Friday, June 24-27 — Both events at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta aim to address that need by training, equipping, and building a network for new, seasoned, or prospective United Methodist collegiate ministers. Collegiate ministers who register by May 5 will receive a $50 gift card toward resources for their particular ministry. Combined cost of events is $100. Details.

Deadline to apply for CORR Action Fund grants, Monday, June 30 — The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race will award grants of $20,000 to $80,000 to “innovative, bold, high-impact initiatives” that will increase intercultural competency or support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity and systemic equity. Details.

Deadline to register for School of Congregational Development 2014, Tuesday, July 15 — Gathering Thursday-Sunday, Aug.14-17 sponsored by the United Methodist boards of Discipleship and Global Ministries at Matthews United Methodist Church, 801 S Trade St., Matthews, N.C. $425.Details.

United Methodist conference “Walking with Palestinian Christians,” Thursday-Friday, Aug. 7-8 — Sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and host Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. Details on PDF.