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Daily Digest: August 26, 2013

I couldn't help but wonder what their lives were like in such times of rain, when they have no roof to shelter them, no one walking down the street from whom they can beg for a single cent, nor even a piece of cloth to cover their bodies from the cold. - Albert Otshudi Longe, mission intern.

Finding the 'rare opportunity to do good'

DENVER (UMNS) - Building on John Wesley's three simple rules, Bishop Elaine J. W. Stanovsky's welcoming message to the 2013 School of Congregational Development encouraged those in ministry to "enter relationships without doing harm" so that we "may have the rare opportunity to do good."
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Conference withdraws clergy age guidelines

HOUSTON (UMNS) - The Texas Annual (regional) Conference has withdrawn a controversial proposal to discourage those older than 45 from becoming candidates for ordained ministry. However, the conference's board of ordained ministry still is trying tackle the challenge of recruiting effective young clergy.
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Higher Ed considers state of theological education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Plans for the Young Clergy Initiative, the Central Conference Theological Education Fund, a report on a coming shortage of elders in The UMC and the state of theological education were considered Aug. 7-9 by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Board of Directors.
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Congo bishop receives peace award

KAMINA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) - United Methodist Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda of the North Katanga Episcopal Area received a peace award Aug. 18 from the National Chancellor office of the Democratic Republic of Congo led by Gen. Chilungu Nembeso Otoko. 

Showers of blessings

TONDO, Philippines (UMNS) - Albert Otshudi Longe, a United Methodist mission intern from the Democratic Republic of Congo, "finds blessings in rain even after experiencing the recent flooding in the Philippines."
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Our place in the universe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The discovery of 4,437 plants where life could develop by Kepler, NASA's doomed space observatory, puts perspective on our place in the universe, writes Rich Peck in a blog for United Methodist Men.
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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 with others, email newsdesk@umcom.org and put Digest in the subject line.

Deadline to register for Welcoming Ministry 100 online course, Aug. 28 - Sept. 4-Oct. 16, help for becoming welcoming and hospitable congregations, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. $29.99.

Deadline to register for Web Ministry 100 online course, Aug. 28 - Sept. 4-Oct. 16, help using the Web in theologically sound ways to reach new people and cultivate relationships, sponsored by United Methodist Communications. $49.99.

Churchquake, Reconciling Ministries Network convocation, Aug. 30-Sept. 2 - Gathering by unofficial United Methodist caucus that advocates for greater inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the church. Details.

"Day1," Sept. 1 - The Rev. Sam Matthews, senior minister, First United Methodist Church, Marietta, Ga., will be the featured speaker on the nationally syndicated radio program "Day1." To listen.

"Day1," Sept. 8 - The Rev. Elaine Wilder, associate minister, First United Methodist Church, Marietta, Ga., will be the featured speaker on the nationally syndicated radio program "Day1." To listen.

Free webinar "Creative Thinking in Faith Formation: An Ancient/Future Approach," Sept. 17 - 6:30 p.m. CT, learning strategies for teaching adults using an exploration of Jesus' teaching methods, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

"Communicating Faith in the 21st Century" online course, Sept. 18-Oct. 30 - Based on the book "We Must Speak: Rethinking How We Communicate Faith in the 21st Century", by the Rev. Larry Hollon. Explores the importance of telling stories of faith, as well as how to create and share personal stories of faith via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and blogs. $29.99. To register.

Free webinar "Building a Health Ministry in your Congregation" Sept. 19 - 6:30 PM CT - UMCOR Health, Parish Nurses and the Center for Health provide resources. Learn what one congregation has done.

Free webinar "Church Council: Incorporating Younger, Diverse Leaders" Sept. 24 - 6:30 p.m. CT - Healthy vital congregations bring together leaders who have different generational values and work styles. To register.

United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute, Sept. 25-27 - Registration open now for event aimed at helping leaders renew churches. Details.

Sojourn/ing Women, Bold Voices Then + Now, Oct. 4-5 - Conference honoring 25th anniversary of Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. Details.

Free webinar "Principles of Vitality for District Superintendents" Sept. 26 - 1 p.m. CT - Tools a D.S. can use to equip clergy for vital leadership.

Free webinar "Long Range Planning as a Movement of Hope" Oct, 8 - 6:30 p.m. CT - Planning committees develop a strategic "big picture" that focuses beyond the walls of the church.

Free webinar "District Superintendents: Reach diverse, younger, non-churched people in your district" Oct. 10 - 1 p.m. CT - District superintendents' role with churches to bring younger, diverse people into relationship with Christ and the church.

Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee meeting, Oct. 10-12 - Drew University, Madison, N.J., discussions of ministry and concerns of Native peoples, as well as time for fellowship. Details.

Wesleyan Leadership Conference, Oct. 17-19 - Fourth annual conference, with a focus on evangelism, at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville. Open to all lay and clergy leaders.

Revitup! Event for young clergy, Oct. 28-30 - Event for clergy ages 25-39 in Atlanta, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. Aims to help clergy manage debt and set boundaries. Details.

Reach New Disciples Conference, Nov. 2 - 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Wesley Theological Seminary's Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Washington. Details.

"A Killer in the Dark," NBC stations until Nov. 3 - If it isn't scheduled in your area, contact your local NBC station. If it has aired, order a free copy here. Download ideas and resources to plan a viewing party. Details.

Workshop on Advocacy, Nov. 12-14 - Training for anyone asked to be an advocate for a pastor or lay person from preventive options to facing the Judicial Council, with the Revs. Larry Pickens and Scott Campbell as two of the speakers.

Exploration 2013, Nov. 15-17 - Event for young adults, ages 18-26, considering ordained ministry, Marriott Denver Tech Center, sponsored by United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Speakers include Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, senior pastor of the multi-campus Grace Church in Southwest Florida.