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Daily Digest: October 28, 2014

"This has been a painful season for me and many members of our conference; and while this Judicial Council decision offers a partial resolution, the season is not yet fully passed." — Bishop Peggy Johnson, Philadelphia area episcopal leader.

Decision won’t end United Methodist same-sex debate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — After a year of frocking, defrocking and re-refrocking, The United Methodist Church’s top court has upheld an appellate committee’s earlier ruling to reinstate the Rev. Frank Schaefer’s clergy credentials. The series of church rulings were prompted by a complaint filed against him for violating church law when he officiated at his son’s same-sex wedding.

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Top court affirms Schaefer reinstatement

Judicial Council looks at ‘aspirational’ declarations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UMNS) — When is language about The United Methodist Church’s positions on issues of sexuality considered “aspirational” and when could it condone a violation of church law? Rulings by bishops on several statements by conferences were among the 21 docket items considered by the United Methodist Judicial Council during its Oct. 22-25 meeting in Memphis, Tennessee.

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African communicators take top honors

SAVANNAH, Ga. (UMNS) — Two African writers were named 2014 United Methodist Communicators of the Year for their coverage of the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. The United Methodist Association of Communicators gave the association’s top award to Phileas Jusu, communicator for The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone, and Julu Swen, editor and publisher of West African Writers, an online publication about United Methodist happenings in West Africa.

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See list of 2014 winners

Call to prayer and action in wake of school shooting

DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) — Bishop Grant Hagiya, episcopal leader of the Greater Northwest Area, called on United Methodists to respond with prayer to the school shooting at Pilchuck High School north of Seattle, Washington, but also urged them to consider what faithful actions might be coupled with prayer to help make our communities safer.

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Hope chain commemorates second Sandy anniversary

ATLANTIC CITY (UMNS) — Hope was delivered to Atlantic City through a human chain that linked the Venice Park United Methodist Church to a family’s home being rebuilt by A Future With Hope. About 150 participants stood side-by-side and passed items symbolizing recovery from Hurrican Sandy in a visible demonstration of how it takes partners from all walks of life to aid in recovery.

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History of Hymns: 'Now Thank We All Our God'

DALLAS (UMNS) — For many U.S. churchgoers, this hymn conjures images of pews full of people singing their gratitude to God as they prepare for a feast of turkey and cranberry sauce. But C. Michael Hawn in his Discipleship Ministries column explains that the 17th century hymn originated not in a time of plenty but out of thankfulness for scraps of food amid famine.

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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 and put Digest in the subject line.


Wednesday, Oct. 29
“Faith, Awareness & Action … Addressing Human Trafficking & Domestic Violence" Conference — The West Ohio Conference and its Miami Valley District are among sponsors of interfaith conference at the University of Dayton River Campus. $25. Details.

Free webinar on domestic violence "Making Connections and Networking for a Coordinated Community Response" — 2 to 3 p.m. ET (11 a.m. to noon PT), the webinar sponsored by United Methodist Women and FaithTrust Institute will explore the basics of effective outreach and where to start when building relationships in your community. Details.

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