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December 09, 2013

"Nelson Mandela brought faith into action. Even 27 years in prison could not hinder him in staying firm in believing that all God's people are called to live with one another in peace and dignity, no matter the color of their skin." - Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of Germany, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops.

Tributes to Mandela pour in

JOHANNESBURG (UMNS) - As word of Nelson Mandela's passing spread, United Methodists and other faith leaders paid tribute to the South African leader who was a worldwide symbol of freedom, justice and peace.

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When Nelson Mandela came to dinner
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Women now 1 in 4 U.S. United Methodist clergy

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Despite a slight decline in the number of United Methodist clergy in the U.S., the percentage of women is growing, reports the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
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Bishop explores relationship of Advent and Second Coming

FORT WORTH, Texas (UMNS) - Bishop Mike Lowry of the Central Texas Annual (regional) Conference uses his latest blog post to explore the relationship between Advent and the Second Coming. "When I am caught in despair with what appears to be the downward spiral of people and things I hold dear," he writes, "the Lord God is in charge working into the greatness of a divine culmination that I in my best moments cannot fully see and only dimly comprehend."
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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.

Advent, through Tuesday, Dec. 24 - Resources for Advent wreath lighting and sermons from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and resources for drawing and welcoming visitors to Advent and Christmas services from United Methodist Communications. Ministry Matters, part of the United Methodist Publishing House, also offers the free Advent series "Follow the Star."

Broadway benefit for church, Monday, Dec. 9 - 7 p.m. ET United Methodist and Tony winner Victoria Clark joins other Broadway performers for a Bless This House concert to benefit the historic Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, which houses a United Methodist congregation in Manhattan. Tickets cost $20 to $250, Details.

Free Christmas concerts, Tuesday-Thursday, Dec. 10-12 -1 to 1:30 p.m. CT at Wightman Chapel at Scarritt-Bennett in Nashville, Tenn. Performers are WooHoo Quartet, an a cappella quartet; Kelli Cox, jazz pianist; and Connye Florance, vocalist. Details.

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Christmas, Wednesday, Dec. 25 - The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers worship resources to celebrate Christ's birth.. Ministry Matters, part of the United Methodist Publishing House, offers advice on the lectionary for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.

New Year's Eve and Watch Night, Tuesday, Dec. 31 - Whether you are at home or at church, the United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers devotions and worship resources to start 2014 with a focus on God.

Epiphany, Monday, Jan. 6 - Celebrate the magi and Christ's revelation to the world with resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

Deadline to register for Young Clergy Leadership Forum, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 - The United Methodist Board of Church and Society is accepting applications from people 35 and younger for gathering Sunday to Wednesday, Jan. 26-29, 2014, at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Event is $175. Details.

Certified Lay Ministers Academy, Friday-Monday, Jan. 10-12, 2014 -Lake Junaluska Program Ministries, in partnership with the Cal Turner Jr. Center for Church Leadership at Martin Methodist College, will present the academy at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Details.

Deadline to apply for local church racial/ethnic ministries grants, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 - Applications for grants up to $10,000 to help local United Methodist churches build ministries that strengthen and support racial and ethnic church concerns are available from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Details.

Early bird deadline for 2014 Large Church Initiative, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 - April 28-30 at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, Ga., for United Methodist churches with 1,000 or more members and/or with an average attendance of 350 or more in worship. Details.

Shift Happens: Hope in the Midst of Transition, A gathering of Urban and Rural Practitioners, Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 16-18, 2014 - Workshop in Houston sponsored by iRUN (The International Rural and Urban Network of the United Methodist Church), Church and Community Workers, and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Registration is $185. Details

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