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Weekly Digest - August 22, 2014

NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for August 18-22. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at umc.org/news.

Top Stories
Doctor’s daily prayer for Liberia: ‘God, send help’
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A United Methodist doctor from Raleigh, North Carolina, talks about volunteering at an Ebola center in Liberia for Samaritan’s Purse. Dr. Vicki Morris says the situation is much worse than current news reports. “There just aren’t enough public health people to respond.”

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Commentary: Culture, politics, stall Ebola response

Ebola quarantine sparks violent protests

In Liberia, Ebola text messages critical

Fighting malaria means fighting Ebola


Poverty: The Common Vector
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — While the Ebola outbreak continues, media coverage, at least on television, seems to be waning. Print media continue to provide stories that enlarge understanding about the crisis and its effects on people across the region. But this too will fade, and that’s part of an ongoing problem, writes the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, in a blog post.

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Accurate messages crucial in malaria, Ebola fight


Scholar takes his turn with Wesley’s letters
DALLAS (UMNS)  As most good United Methodists know, John Wesley felt his heart “strangely warmed” as he listened to a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. The Rev. Ted A. Campbell, associate professor of church history at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, gets a similar glow whenever he learns of a previously undiscovered letter by Wesley.

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Marching for climate change action
NEW YORK (UMNS) — United Methodists are among those planning to march in midtown Manhattan on Sunday, Sept. 21, to call for renewed action on climate change. Participants in the People’s Climate March hope to send a message to world leaders gathering for a U.N. summit two days later.

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Ukrainian United Methodists feel strain of war
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Members of two United Methodist churches in Eastern Ukraine continue to feel the impact of fighting between rebels and Ukrainian military forces. In an Aug. 14 letter, Bishop Eduard Khegay of the United Methodist Eurasia Episcopal Area wrote that the congregation in Lugansk has been particularly hard hit.

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Mercado: Technology aids disaster recovery
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — As part of a team sent by United Methodist Communications days after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, April Grace G. Mercado saw firsthand how technology can save lives after a disaster. “When Haiyan happened, all communication towers were knocked down. Satellite phones were rendered useless because of thick clouds overhead. The only useful form of communication was ham radios,” she said. Mercado is a panelist at the Game Changers Summit, a conference hosted by United Methodist Communications Sept. 3-5 in Nashville.

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For more about the Game Changers Summit, go to umcom.org/gamechangers.


By the numbers: deacons as delegates
CHICAGO (UMNS) — An analysis of clergy delegates elected so far for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference also looks at the role of deacon, which some consider to be “women’s work.” Erin Kane looks at the statistics in “Women by the Numbers” for the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women.

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Healthcare foundation to honor UMCOR work
NEW YORK (UMNS) — The Methodist Healthcare Foundation will honor the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief and five other U.S.-based and international health leaders Aug. 28 in Memphis, Tennessee. UMCOR will receive the foundation’s “Living Award” for its role in the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria initiative.

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WCC notes interfaith efforts in Ferguson aftermath
GENEVA  (UMNS) — The World Council of Churches has praised St. Louis area churches and religious communities for their efforts to provide prayer, support for peaceful protests and an “open and honest dialogue on racism and issues of class” following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Bishop asks for support after violence

Ferguson: ‘We are all accountable’

UMCLEAD bloggers mourn shooting death


Impact of a drive-thru prayer ministry
IVYLAND, Pa. (UMNS) — St. John’s United Methodist Church in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference embarked on a new ministry recently: Drive-thru Prayer. Ruth Portzline, a certified lay minister at the church, describes how prayer volunteers gather each Wednesday afternoon under a canopy outside the church to offer prayer to folks who drive by.

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Kentucky church finds way to reach youth

UPTON, Ky. (UMNS) — Upton United Methodist Church is experiencing a surge in attendance and professions of faith − defying the demographic trends of its shrinking rural community. The Kentucky Annual (regional) Conference reports how the church has found revitalization in part through prayer and intentional outreach to youth.

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New curriculum for local pastors
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A new curriculum for local pastors focuses on transformative leadership, while online interactive classes will provide easier access for educational opportunities, especially for part-time local pastors who have regular employment outside the church.

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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.

Deadline to register for workshop “Small Churches Can Have A Big Impact: Making your Voice & Vote Count!” Monday, Aug. 25 — Event is at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 6. Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer will be the keynote speaker at this workshop at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, 3081 Columbus Pike, Delaware, Ohio. $20-25. Details on PDF.

Webinar “Planning Your Fall Financial Campaign,” Tuesday, Aug. 26 — 7-8 p.m. ET This ecumenical webinar features advice on how to customize a stewardship campaign by meeting people where they are on their journey of faith.  $10. Details.

Free webinar “Reaching Younger People — What Churches Are Doing,” Tuesday, Aug. 26 6:30 p.m. CT, Ministries with Young People director Chris Wilterdink and Betsey Heavner of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship will show examples of changes churches are making to engage people under 35 and develop multigenerational ministry. Details.

Free webinar “Creating a Single Board Leadership Structure,” Thursday, Aug. 28 6:30 p.m. CT, Tips from United Methodist Board of Discipleship for reorganizing leadership for vital ministry. Details.

Deadline for early-bird discount on 2015 United Methodist Program Calendars, Sunday. Aug. 31 – Order before date and receive 10 percent discount. Use Promo Code CAL15EP

National Hunger Action Month, September — United Methodist partner, the Society of St. Andrew, offers resources to make September a time to take a stand against hunger including a daily prayer calendar, study guides and children’s sermon ideas. Resources.

Game Changers Summit, Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 3-5 United Methodist Communications invites local churches to attend a conference at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The event will focus on how congregations can use technology to strengthen international development. Details

Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101,” Wednesday, Sept. 3 – United Methodist Communications will offer the course Sept. 3-Oct.15. $9.99. Details.

Early bird deadline for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute, Wednesday Sept. 3— Gathering is Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 24-26. The keynote speaker is Len Sweet, United Methodist scholar and best-selling author. Details

Free webinar “What Can a Congregation do to Change?” Thursday, Sept. 4 6:30 p.m. CT, Phil Maynard, author of “ Shift: Helping Congregations Back into the Game of Effective Ministry” will offer practical ideas for congregational transformation. Details

Converge 2014: A Gathering of Pastors for Pastors, Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 8-10 — The event for clergy and church staff will be at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Joplin, Mo. Erwin Raphael McManus, founder of MOSAIC community of faith in Los Angeles, will be the keynote speaker.$70, discounted from what’s on the website. Details.

Deadline to register for six online courses from United Methodist Communications, Tuesday, Sept. 9 — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses Sept. 10-Oct. 22.“Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” “Connectional Giving,” “Moodle 100: Basic Training,” “Tools for Increasing Your Church’s Vitality,” “Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry?” and “Welcoming Ministry 100.” Costs vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details.

GO On Tour, Saturday, Sept. 13-Saturday, Nov.15 — A worship concert featuring Christian hip-hop artist Tedashii and speakers from next year’s national United Methodist youth event YOUTH 2015, will visit each of The United Methodist Church’s five U.S. jurisdictions this fall. Tickets are $15. Details of 10-city tour.

Worship Design Studio Planning Retreat, Sunday-Wednesday, Sept. 14-17 — At Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, the Rev. Marcia McFee will guide participants through the entire liturgical year (starting with Advent) in order to map out worship themes and general plans for each season. Details.

Catapult Conference, Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 15-17 — Conference on “launching leaders into kingdom mission” will be at Cornerstone Church, a United Methodist congregation, 2125 Hamilton Road, Auburn, Alabama. Details

Hispanic/Latino/a Heritage Month, Monday, Sept. 15–Wednesday, Oct. 15 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship shares worship resources.

Deadline to apply for Central Conference Theological Education Grants, Tuesday, Sept. 30 —Applications for the 2015 grants for theological education in Africa, Europe and the Philippines are available. The Central Conference Theological Education Commission expects to award an additional $1 million to theological institutions, Boards of Ordained Ministry, and agencies integrally related to training United Methodist pastors. Details.

World Communion Sunday, Oct. 5 — United Methodists observe World Communion Sunday by celebrating communion with other Christians around the world on this special Sunday. Churches are also encouraged to receive a special offering to support ethnic undergraduate and graduate students, which often enables first-generation students to attend college. To download the World Communion Sunday pastor’s kit .World Communion Sunday envelopes and posters.