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Daily Digest — October 5, 2015

“I’m going to preach a word of hope – that we are Easter people, that evil does not overcome God and good.” The Rev. Pam Meese, who leads two United Methodist churches near Umpqua Community College, on her Sunday sermon.

United Methodists offer prayer after college shooting

ROSEBURG, Ore. (UMNS) – United Methodists joined in expressions of distress and grief, as well as calls for prayer, after another mass shooting in the United States left 10 people dead and seven injured at Umpqua Community College in southwest Oregon. “My heart aches, and my prayers go out to all of those who were killed or injured,” said Bishop Grant Hagiya. Sam Hodges reports.
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Running a grocery store, leading 4 churches

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (UMNS) – The Rev. Jamie Sprague credits skills acquired as a grocery store manager with helping him as a part-time licensed local pastor leading four rural United Methodist churches in West Virginia. “I learned time management from Kroger,” he said. Sprague is among the local pastors profiled by in “Trending Local: The Rise of United Methodist Local Pastors,” reported by Sam Hodges with photos by Mike DuBose.
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Corrections officer doubles as local pastor

HAMBLETON, W.Va. (UMNS) – When he gets off his overnight Saturday shift as a jail guard, the Rev. Bradley Barton heads straight to the first of four small United Methodist churches he serves. And if he’s running late, he preaches in his uniform. Barton’s story is the final profile in the series reported by Sam Hodges with photos by Mike DuBose.
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Ecumenical delegation visits Iraq

KURDISTAN REGION, Iraq (WCC) – An ecumenical delegation organized by the World Council of Churches visited the prime minister of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region and discussed concerns about displaced religious and ethnic minorities in the area. About 80 percent of all Christians remaining in Iraq are now concentrated in the Kurdistan Region.
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2 United Methodist churches among fastest growing

CALEDONIA, Mich. (UMNS) – Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Caledonia and Embrace Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, made Outreach Magazine’s annual list of the 100 fastest-growing U.S. Protestant churches. Kay DeMoss of the Michigan Area has the news.
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Church is inaugural site for poverty-assistance network

GREENVILLE, S.C. (UMNS) – Buncombe Street United Methodist Church is serving as the inaugural site for Circles of Greenville County, a nationwide campaign that teams low-income families with community allies to create a long-term path out of poverty. Jessica Brodie has the story for the South Carolina Advocate.
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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. 13
Early-bird registration deadline for "Increasing Active Engagement: A Reach New Disciples Conference" – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 14 at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership will help church leaders explore best practices for keeping people in your congregation involved. $40 through Oct. 13. 0.5 clergy continuing education unit available for $10. Details

Thursday, Oct. 15
Webinar "Small Groups, Big Results: Developing and Maintaining Groups in your Church" –  What's the secret to creating a vibrant congregation with a real sense of community and spirituality?  There is no single magic answer, but small-group ministries are an important tool in the toolbox. This webinar offers some tips. Details

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