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Daily Digest — September 28, 2015

We do not presume that every elder is somehow more gifted than every local pastor.” – Missouri Area Bishop Robert Schnase on the growing role of licensed local pastors.

Local pastors on the rise



FORT MYERS, Fla. (UMNS) – Licensed local pastors, both part-time and full-time, are growing in number in The United Methodist Church as the number of seminary-trained ordained elders declines. The first part of the UMNS series “Trending Local: The Rise of United Methodist Local Pastors,” with articles by Sam Hodges and photos by Mike DuBose, looks at the important and varied roles such clergy are playing in the denomination.
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A pastor named ‘Bible’

SENECA ROCKS, W.Va. (UMNS) – The Rev. Earl Bible is, at 78, in his third decade of leading four United Methodist churches in the West Virginia mountains. “I’ll go, probably, as long as the Lord allows,” he says. Bible is one of six part-time licensed local pastors in West Virginia profiled by Sam Hodges with photos by Mike DuBose.
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Washington Area bishop meets with pope

WASHINGTON (UMNS) – Bishop Marcus Matthews, who leads the Baltimore-Washington Conference, was one of 11 ecumenical leaders invited Sept. 23 for the first Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in the United States. The conference’s Erik Alsgaard reports.
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Candler students supporting death-row inmate

ATLANTA (UMNS) – Kelly Gissendaner, 46, is scheduled to be executed on Sept. 29. United Methodist Candler School of Theology students and faculty are holding prayer vigils and sending messages asking the Georgia Parole Board to spare her life. Gissendaner graduated from a theological program at Lee Arrendale State Prison that is sponsored in part by Candler. Kathy Gilbert reports.
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Greater New Jersey churches join Team Vital

OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) – Some 25 churches in the Greater New Jersey Conference are beginning a journey with the goal of becoming highly vital congregations. Team Vital builds on the principle that bringing teams of leaders together from various churches strengthens learning and creative energy. Jeff Wolfe has the story for the conference.
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Bishop attends “Belief” screening at Oprah’s home

MONTECITO, Calif. (UMNS) – Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr., along with religious and community leaders from across the country, attended a private screening of Oprah Winfrey's upcoming television series, “Belief,” at Winfrey’s home. The seven-night documentary series, which premiers Oct. 18, will explore beliefs around the world and humankind's ongoing search for meaning and connection. 
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Black college tour aims to recruit missionaries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – Recruiting and developing missionaries is the aim of a campus tour of 10 of the 11 colleges and universities supported by the United Methodist Black College Fund. The tour is co-sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, and the Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
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A holistic gospel call in revising Social Principles

WASHINGTON (UMNS) – The Rev. Jacob Dharmaraj was among a group of United Methodists who met recently to discuss revising the denomination’s Social Principles. “Our radically altered world today warrants new transformative mission principles that take people, societies, cultures, traditions, histories and worldviews seriously,” he writes for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
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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, Sept. 30 and Thursday-Friday, Oct. 1-2

Pre-Institute and the Leadership Institute at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas – The pre-institute will be Wednesday, Sept. 30 and the institute will be Thursday-Friday, Oct. 1-2. This mainline church training event brings together clergy, church staff and volunteers who share a passion for renewing the church. The gathering includes more than 80 different ministry workshops in a variety of ministry areas. Details

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