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Daily Digest - October 21, 2015

“When the book came out we all knew that it was something groundbreaking and rich and significant.” — Retired United Methodist Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey on the late Rev. James Fowler’s book “Stages of Faith.”

Pastor-scholar connected with ‘Stages of Faith’

ATLANTA (UMNS) — The Rev. James W. Fowler, a United Methodist scholar and elder, has died at age 75. His book "Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning" has gone through some 40 printings and influenced many pastors and others. An elder in the Western North Carolina Conference, Fowler taught for many years at Emory University's Candler School of Theology and was the first full-time director of Emory's Center for Ethics. Sam Hodges reports.
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Visiting refugees near the Greece-Syria border

GENEVA (WCC) — Representatives of the World Council of Churches visited a refugee camp near the border of Greece and Syria during an Oct. 14-18 visit to strengthen efforts in support of refugees in Europe and the Middle East. Nearly 530,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean this year.
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Son’s death plunges couple into abyss of grief

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Words intended to bring comfort or encouragement can create additional pain in times of loss. Writing for Interpreter magazine, Tafadzwa Mudambanuki recounts how the comments of parishioners and colleagues both helped and hurt him and his wife, the Rev. Ever Mudambanuki.
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New voices in planning General Conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMC.org) — A 29-year-old Norwegian said one of his goals as a member of the commission planning General Conference is to give voice to the central conferences of The United Methodist Church. He also hopes he can “bring the voices of the young people into the work that has to be done in planning the General Conference.” Audun Westad talks about the upcoming meeting of the church’s top legislative body in a United Methodist Communications video.
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Building capacity for mission

NEW YORK (UMNS) — More than $1 million was allocated recently by directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries through an international program called Nationals in Mission that supports mission partners as they build capacity to undertake their own mission efforts. Elliott Wright reports for the Board of Global Ministries.
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Commentary: When a sermon flops

HOUGHTON, N.Y. (UMNS) — The Rev. Steve Dunmire, director of ministry resources at Houghton College and Wesleyan Church pastor, suggests how to know a sermon is a dud and ways to improve for next time. Seedbed shares his commentary.
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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, Oct. 27
"Get Positive Publicity" seminar — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT at United Methodist Communications, 810 12th Ave. South, Nashville, Tenn. This workshop aims to help anyone who speaks to the news media. This highly interactive one-day seminar will help people develop basic skills for communicating effectively with print, radio and television reporters. $149. Details.

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