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Daily Digest - September 21, 2016

"I intend to stay on until the Lord calls me home or the bishop finally says, 'We’ve had enough of you.'" — The Rev. Robert Marble on serving as a United Methodist pastor at age 79.


United Methodist clergy retiring later

DALLAS (UMNS) — The average retirement age for United Methodist elders has gone from 64 to 66 in recent years, according to a new Clergy Age Trends Report by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Deacons and full-time licensed local pastors are retiring even later. Sam Hodges has the story.

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Congregation aids in resettling Syrian refugees

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (UMNS) — During Advent 2015, former Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Kiesey urged churches to “welcome the stranger” by helping to resettle Syrian refugees. One of the first to accept the challenge was First United Methodist Church of Birmingham. John E. Harnish of the West Michigan Conference reports.

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Oil rush ministry still meeting needs

WATFORD CITY, S.D. (UMNS) — The Bakken Oil Rush Ministry, started in 2013 through offerings by the Dakotas Conference, continues to serve workers and the community. The oil boom has subsided, but the Bakken region still produces more than 1 million barrels a day. Doreen Gosmire, communications director for the Dakotas Conference, reports.    

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Agency: Zika virus is a social justice issue

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society, the agency charged with advocating the denomination’s social teachings, offers a list of steps governments and individuals can take to respond to the Zika virus. The agency notes that many people do not have the financial means to deal with the virus’ spread.

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Clergywoman supports police and Black Lives Matter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — The Rev. Sheron Patterson is a United Methodist elder and the proud daughter of one of Charlotte’s first black police officers. She writes about supporting both the police and Black Lives Matter in a column for The Charlotte Observer.

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Reflections on the separation of church and state

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — In this U.S. election season, the Rev. James Howell of Myers Park United Methodist Church has advice for Christians seeking to respect the traditional separation of church and state while also having a voice on the day’s political issues.

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Wyoming church takes stand against hate

GILLETTE, Wyo. (UMNS) — Members of Gillette’s First United Methodist Church joined with other individuals from around the state to protest the burning of a Quran that took place in their city. The Rev. A.J. Bush, the church’s pastor, reports.

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Church teams with Cokesbury for prison Bibles

MITCHELLVILLE, Iowa (UMNS) — Women at the Well United Methodist Church is asking for Bibles for women incarcerated in the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. The church has negotiated a deal with Cokesbury, the retail arm of the United Methodist Publishing House, to sell Bibles at a discount. The Rev. Lee Schott, the church’s pastor, explains how people can help.

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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.


Monday, Sept. 26

Welcome Table at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington — 4 to 7:30 p.m. EDT. Events for prospective students include a campus tour, dinner and the chance to attend a class. Details


Monday, Sept. 26 to Friday, Oct. 7

Online course “Teaching and Leading Small Groups” from — In this interactive two-week workshop, participants will learn to lead and teach more effectively so that people they minister with will better retain and apply gospel lessons to their lives. 1 CEU will be awarded. $50. Details


More United Methodist events