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December 17, 2013


"While we often hear about the innovative 'out of the box' plant, the majority of new plants are traditional and reaching many new people and making new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
- The Rev. Douglas Ruffle of Path1, the new church starts division of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

2013: Year of United Methodist growth, progress

DALLAS (UMNS) - Getting a handle on the organizational health of a large, worldwide denomination is not easy. But key developments in 2013 indicate vigorous responses to the challenges facing The United Methodist Church. This is part of a weeklong series on issues and events that were front and center in the lives of United Methodists this year.
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2013: A year in United Methodist milestones

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In 2013, The United Methodist Church experienced important transitions in its leadership as well as widely recognized milestones in the life of the denomination and individual United Methodists.
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Pastor says he will not surrender clergy credentials

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) - At a news conference at Arch Street United Methodist Church on Dec. 16, the Rev. Frank Schaefer said he will not surrender his clergy credentials and intends to continue to be an outspoken advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Schaefer was convicted in a church trial in November of officiating at the same-sex union of his son.
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Same-sex clergy couple marries in Seattle

SEATTLE (UMNS) - Two female United Methodist pastors were married Dec. 7 in a ceremony that drew more than 300 people to Tibbetts United Methodist Church in Seattle. The district superintendent for the two pastors officiated. The marriage of the same-sex clergy couple marked what is a first in the Pacific Northwest Annual (regional) Conference - and likely a first for the denomination.
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Year of trial, grace for Newtown faith community

NEWTOWN, Conn. (UMNS) - Children are now performing the pageant that was canceled last year at Newtown United Methodist Church. Congregants are once again singing joyful carols outside the homes of shut-ins. But traditions have changed to reflect a community that is at once healing and still traumatized, reports G. Jeffrey MacDonald in The Christian Science Monitor.
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Methodist bishop delivers sermon at Mandela funeral

QUNU, South Africa (UMNS) - In his sermon during the Dec. 15 funeral of Nelson Mandela, Bishop Ziphozihle D. Siwa, presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, told mourners that the "fitting tribute" for the beloved South African leader "will be that we strive for the fulfilment of his dream."
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Funeral program

Church choir to perform 'Messiah' at prison

HOUSTON (UMNS) - Lakewood United Methodist Church's Chancel Choir and the Cypress Symphony Orchestra plan to perform Handel's "Messiah" on Dec. 19 for the inmates of a local prison. The performance at the Carol Vance correction unit in Richmond, Texas, is part of the congregation's Kairos Prison Ministry, a Christian-based ministry that addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, youth and their families.
To learn more about Lakewood United Methodist Church
To learn more about Kairos Prision Ministry

History of Hymns: 'Tell Out, My Soul'

DALLAS (UMNS) - Although this text is often read and proclaimed during the season of Advent (Luke 1:46b-55), the words by Anglican Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith are applicable at any time of the year. These words trumpet God's enduring love and ever-present power. C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University's School of Theology explains.
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Updated history of Methodism available

MADISON, N.J. (UMNS) - Need a last-minute gift idea for a church history buff? The third edition of the "Historical Dictionary of Methodism" is out. Earlier editions appeared in 1996 and 2005. The book costs $110 in hardback. The new edition, edited by Charles Yrigoyen Jr. and Susan E. Warrick, both former employees of United Methodist Commission on Archives and History, contains more than 500 cross-referenced entries and more than 100 new articles.
To learn more

Correction:An item in the subject heading of the Dec. 16 Daily Digest misspelled the name of Wespath, the investment division of the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The name is a reference to John Wesley, founder of Methodism.
View November Investment Report

Category: Daily Digest