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Daily Digest - November 13, 2014

"I was emotionally disturbed when I got news this morning that Dr. Salia had tested positive of Ebola. I prayed that the news might turn out to be false." — Sierra Leone Bishop John K. Yambasu.

Sierra Leone hospital closes after doctor gets Ebola

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Kissy United Methodist Hospital was closed Nov. 11 after Dr. Martin Salia, chief medical officer and surgeon, tested positive for Ebola. Sierra Leone United Methodist Bishop John K. Yambasu held an emergency meeting at the hospital to talk about steps to protect the staff and make sure the hospital is disinfected immediately. Communicator Phileas Jusu has the report.

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Same-sex marriage complaint against Michigan pastors resolved

FLINT, Mich. (UMNS) — Two United Methodist Michigan pastors will not go to trial for officiating at same-sex unions, Bishop Deborah Kiesey announced. Instead, the two hope to lead a series of discussions in the conference on the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning people in the denomination. Kathy Gilbert has the story.

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Gay couple files complaint for refusal of wedding

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UMNS) — A United Methodist pastor is facing a complaint for declining to perform a same-sex wedding. A gay couple at Green Street Church, a United Methodist congregation, has filed a formal complaint against their pastor. The church announced last year it would not hold any weddings in its building until the denomination lifted its ban on same-gender weddings. Heather Hahn reports.

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Commentary: Is the Philippines ready for an earthquake?

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (UMNS) — A year after a 2013 typhoon, disaster preparedness is a high priority in the Philippines—especially since historic records indicate a possible 7.2 magnitude earthquake could hit Manila within our lifetime. April Grace G. Mercado writes about how the country is getting ready.

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Florida churches fight modern-day slavery

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) — More than two decades ago, Dotti Groover-Skipper met a 13-year-old girl whose grandmother was hiring the girl and her 4-year-old sister out for sex. She joined the fight against human trafficking, founding an outreach program for victims with the help of her church. Other United Methodist churches in Florida are joining that fight.

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Holston Conference seeks new partners for Sudan

ALCOA, Tenn. (UMNS) — Since 2006, the Holston Conference has sent missionaries to South Sudan to build churches and schools, dig wells, and more. Now, five of 20 local churches in South Sudan have formed partnerships with Memphis churches as well. And Holston leaders are encouraging other groups from the denomination or beyond to partner with the remaining South Sudanese congregations. Annette Spence reports.

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Young pastor writes about personal stewardship

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — A young associate pastor writes about how a new program funded through the Young Clergy Initiative has helped him consider how to evaluate his financial assets and ask: “How can I be a steward of my money in such a way that my money helps me keep Sabbath?” The Rev. Parker Haynes took part in INVE$T YC, a program in Western North Carolina that promotes financial health.

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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, Nov. 18
Free webinar "Engaging Families and Children with Special Needs" — 10 a.m. CT. In this interactive webinar, Elizabeth Christie of the New York Conference will present a broad overview of children and families who come to churches with special needs. She will offer tips for setting up classrooms and activities so that everyone is successful and engaged. Details.

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