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Daily Digest — September 9, 2015

At first, this was supposed to be a solo feat. But this feels like a barn-raising.” — The Rev. Paul Escamilla on how his church has come together to support a modern circuit ride.

Tandem trek for mission

AUSTIN, Texas (UMNS) — The Rev. Paul Escamilla, senior pastor of Saint John’s United Methodist Church, planned to cycle 670 miles to celebrate the church’s 67th anniversary and raise funds for its mission commitments. Then he broke his collarbone and shifted gears, with the help of church members. Heather Hahn reports.
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United Methodists planting churches with environmental focus

MINNEAPOLIS (NYT) — Young United Methodist church planters are starting churches with a focus on an environmentalist gospel. For them, environmentalism is about connections between consumption patterns and inequality, not just pollution and climate change. Mark Oppenheimer reports for The New York Times.
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Message in a bottle

FROSTPROOF, Fla. (UMNS) — The sight of children standing out in the hot Florida sun at bus stops prompted Sun Ray United Methodist Church to start a bottled water ministry. About 100 kids who use a bus stop near the church get water and some of them have become volunteers in the program. Brenda Eggert Brader reports for the Florida Conference.
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New worship community in Rio Texas

SHARYLAND, Texas (UMNS) — Revive Community church had its debut service on Aug. 30, packing a 151-seat movie theater. The Rev. Ruben Saenz III leads the United Methodist worship community, having built the foundation through leading Bible studies at local coffee shops. The Rio Texas Conference reports.
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Commentary: Let laity lead innovation

DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) — The church needs innovation but depending on clergy to deliver it can lead to a “savior mythology,” writes Patrick Scriven, director of communications and young people’s ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference. Scriven argues that laity should be taking the lead in shaking things up.
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African art donated to Philander Smith

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) — Philander Smith College, a historically black United Methodist school, has received 25 pieces of African art, valued at $950,000. The works, including sculptures, masks and ceremonial pieces, were donated by a Texas couple, Melissa and Kevin Katz.
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Garrett-Evangelical president honored

EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) — Lallene J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been named the latest recipient of Boston University School of Theology’s Distinguished Alumni/ae Award. Both seminaries are United Methodist. Rector, first female and first layperson to be president at Garrett, will get the award on Sept. 17 at Boston University.
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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.

Thursday, Sept. 10

Deadline to register and reserve a room for the Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee meeting Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 8-10 — The New York Conference Committee on Native American Ministries will host the event at Edith Macy Conference Center, 550 Chappaqua Road, Briarcliff Manor, New Jersey. The meetings will be in the Maple/Hickory/Dogwood rooms. To get a registration form, email Sharon Schmit at saschmit@gmail.com.

Webinar "Confirmation in the 21st Century" — 7-8 p.m. EDT. What are theological and practical roles of confirmation in the life of a young person and the church? The way in which young people are being prepared for their life in the church apparently does not produce committed members; it has been estimated that at least 50 percent of those confirmed drop out of active church membership. This webinar explores a brief history of confirmation, the faith development of adolescents, and a process for developing your own confirmation program (or using a published curriculum) that invites transformation and discipleship. Details

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