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January 07, 2013

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UMNS Daily Digest
Produced by United Methodist News Service
Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. The people of The United Methodist Church
Monday, January 7, 2013

"I know people come with big fancy family Bibles. Mine's a little more modest." - United Methodist Elizabeth Warren as she carried the Bible she has used since third grade to her swearing-in as a U.S. senator.

Sunday Supper events reach out to military

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Seeking new ways to honor veterans and embrace military families? United Methodist congregations share special plans to do so this month.
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Merry Christmas to Eurasia Episcopal Area

MOSCOW (UMNS) - Merry Christmas to our fellow United Methodists in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and other parts of the Eurasia Episcopal Area. We're too late, you say? That's not the case everywhere in the world. Due to a trick of calendars, many United Methodists in the former Soviet Union celebrate Christ's birth twice. They celebrate the Nativity on Dec. 25 in the Gregorian calendar that the rest of the denomination uses and again on Dec. 25 in the Julian calendar used year-round by their Russian Orthodox neighbors. The Julian calendar places Christmas 13 days later - Jan. 7 in the west. For these United Methodists, one Christmas observance is typically more worshipful; the other more light-hearted. And isn't Christ's coming into the world worth celebrating multiple times?
Learn more about the differing calendars

Lawsuit against conference alleges abuse by pastor

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) - A lawsuit has been filed against the Oregon-Idaho Annual (regional) Conference alleging sexual abuse by the Rev. William Walker when he was pastor of First Eugene United Methodist Church. Walker served the church from 1982 to 1992 when he died of AIDS. The suit filed anonymously by "Jack Doe" alleges that he was sexually abused as a youth in 1984. Bishop Grant Hagiya, who has established a legal response team, said he and other conference leaders take the allegations very seriously. "I am deeply grieved by this situation and pray for all those who were directly involved," Hayiga said. Providing places of safety is a key value within the conference, and each church is required to have a safe sanctuary policy to provide for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. More information on the safe sanctuaries program is available on the conference website at www.umoi.org/safesanctuaries.
Read the conference's announcement
Read news story by The Register-Guard

Senator takes well-used Bible to swearing-in

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - United Methodist Elizabeth Warren, the new U.S. senator from Massachusetts, arrived for her swearing-in carrying the Bible she has used since the third grade, the Boston Globe reported.
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A healing Christmas: Church reaches out to Newtown

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (UMNS) - Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church members came to their Sunday worship a few days after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., asking what they could do, North Fulton.com reports. The congregation wrote more than 800 prayer cards and collected almost $40,000, all of which will be sent to Newtown United Methodist Church.
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After Sandy, Maryland town quietly suffers

CRISFIELD, Md. (UMNS) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency did not approve aid for this town of 2,600, though Gov. Martin O'Malley requested the declaration, but the work of United Methodist relief teams has caused FEMA to re-evaluate its decision.
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First volunteer teams for 2013 arrive in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - As the first three United Methodist volunteer teams in 2013 for the Haiti earthquake recovery began their work, the Rev. Tom Vencuss, project coordinator, said there are no new safety threats, despite a recent U.S. State Department advisory. The three-year Haiti recovery report from the United Methodist Committee on Relief is expected to be available Jan. 12.
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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.

Jan. 10 - Free webinar "Stewardship and Finance: Getting It Right at the Starting Line," 6:30 p.m. CST, for stewardship team, finance committee and church council members from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register, visit www.gbod.org/webinars and scroll toward the bottom of the webpage.

Jan. 10 - Deadline to apply for an Ethnic Local Church grant from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Download an application form.

Jan. 10 - Deadline to apply for a Human Relations Day grant from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Download an application form.

Jan. 10 - Deadline to apply for a Peace with Justice grant from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Download an application form.

Jan. 10 - Free webinar "Stewardship and Finance: Getting It Right at the Starting Line," 6:30 p.m. CST, for stewardship team, finance committee and church council members from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register, visit www.gbod.org/webinars and scroll toward the bottom of the webpage.

Jan. 15 -Free webinar "SPRC Plans the Year," 6:30 p.m. CST, for staff-parish relations committees from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register, visit www.gbod.org/webinars.

Jan. 17 - Free webinar "Lay Leader: What Do I Do?," 6:30 p.m. CST, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Includes advice from lay leaders of congregations large and small. To register, visit www.gbod.org/webinar.

Jan. 20 - "America's Sunday Supper" focuses on honoring military veterans. Inspired by the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the event invites people from diverse backgrounds to come together to share a meal, discuss issues that affect their community and highlight the power each one of us has to make a difference. Rethink Church, part of United Methodist Communications, offers resources.

Jan. 20 - Human Relations Day Special Sunday of giving. Offering can be designated to benefit Human Relations Day grants, which support United Methodist rehabilitation and community development ministries. Details.

Jan. 21 - The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday observed. Many churches celebrate King's legacy with a day of service. The United Methodist Board of Discipleship also offers worship resources.

Jan. 21-23 - "Winter Retreat: Feeding the Soul" at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. Costs range from $100-235. Details.

Feb. 13 - Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent.

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