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Daily Digest: May 15, 2013

"People are finding faith in ways that they never dreamed they would have. I don't think anybody can really draw upon their own individual psyche to be able to deal with this." - Rob Sibley, a volunteer firefighter who was among the first responders to the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Newtown responders get 'Strength for Service'

NEWTOWN, Conn. (UMNS) - Those who rushed to the Dec. 14, 2012, tragedy have received United Methodist Men's "Strength for Service to God Community" devotionals and prayers for blessings as they heal. Recipients included three members of the Newtown United Methodist Church - Rob Sibley, Ken Carlson and Bob Virgalla. The Rev. Arthur McClanahan of the Iowa Annual (regional) Conference, who attended a service there, shares their stories.
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Gosnell's actions called reprehensible

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Church of Society issued a statement May 14 saying, "Both those who oppose abortion and those who support it find the illegal and immoral actions of Dr. (Kermit) Gosnell reprehensible." Gosnell was convicted Monday of three counts of first-degree murder. "What he did was not just against the United Methodist Social Principles; it was against the basic laws of this country and edicts of humanity," the statement said. "Christians should not use this case as an opportunity to point fingers or cast stones at one another. Rather, all members of The United Methodist Church must take seriously our shared responsibility for the sanctity of all human life - at all stages of life."
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Abortion doctor convicted of murder

United Methodists help women fight breast cancer

MEMPHIS (UMNS) - The actress and director Angelina Jolie stunned many with her column in the May 14 New York Times about her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy. But not every woman has Jolie's financial resources. That's where United Methodists come in. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a United Methodist-related hospital system based in Memphis, is working with more than 470 congregations to help prevent breast cancer deaths, particularly among the underinsured and uninsured.
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The Big Garden grows food and communities

OMAHA, Neb. (UMNS) - The Big Garden was born out of the Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede's dream to create a hands-on model of community gardening. Trish Johnson of the Nebraska Annual (regional) Conference shares how Ahlschwede and other United Methodists have created a network of gardens that is addressing hunger and more.
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Changing the world by feeding the hungry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In a world where one in eight people goes to bed hungry every day, United Methodists across the connection are trying to make a difference. For many congregations, the upcoming Change the World weekend, May 18-19, is a perfect time to address hunger. And, the plans of no two churches are exactly alike.
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Church launches plan to address homelessness

SPOKANE, Wash. (UMNS) - At the corner of West Third Avenue and South Howard Street, where drug deals are common and panhandling yields profits, the staff at Central United Methodist Church has a front-row seat to the issue of homelessness. The church is done waiting for someone else to come up with a solution, the Spokesman-Review reports.
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Teen taps into tradition for sweet fundraiser

NEWTONVILLE, N.Y. (UMNS) - High school freshman Caleb Smith tapped into family tradition and turned it into a fundraiser. Smith, 14, and his family produced maple syrup, which he sold to raise money for the Upper New York Conference Council on Youth Ministries Youth Service Fund. Beth DiCocco of the conference has the story.
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Seniors give new life to old bags

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) - Youth and young adults are not the only people who can have a huge impact serving in mission work. Roberta Pennington of Middlebrook United Methodist Church in Jackson is leading the inexpensive and senior-friendly project of making sleeping mats for the homeless. Jasmine Haynes of the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference has the story.
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Protestant denominations merge in France

LYON, France (UMNS) - The Reformed Church of France and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France, both members of the World Council of Churches, have merged to form the United Protestant Church of France. The merger was celebrated at a joint national synod on May 8-12 in Lyon.
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How the new Facebook news feed affects your church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodist Communications offers a slideshow that includes eight tips for making the most of Facebook's new visually rich news feed as a communications and evangelism tool.
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Seeking to love all of God's creations

WHITTIER, Calif. (UMNS) - Stephanie Kimec, a United Methodist young adult missionary who works out of Echo Park United Methodist Church, writes about how ministry with immigrants to the United States relates to John Wesley's goal for personal and social holiness. Her commentary appeared in the Whittier Daily News.
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