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Weekly Digest - December 5, 2014


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Dec. 1-5. 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

Top Stories

Bishops face penalties for auditing issues
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The board of The United Methodist Church’s finance agency is taking separate actions against two African bishops over financial and accounting issues. Heather Hahn reports.

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Bishops to get 3 percent raise in 2015

Evangelist: Traveling the world to spread gospel
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Rev. H. Eddie Fox was born in the Appalachian foothills and never saw an ocean until he was 21. But as head of World Methodist Evangelism, he traveled millions of miles to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ on every inhabited continent in the world. Tom Gillem has the story for United Methodist News Service.

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Doctor who died of Ebola remembered as hero
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The death of Dr. Martin Salia — the United Methodist Kissy Hospital surgeon who died of Ebola after he was airlifted to the U.S. for treatment — was mourned as an "irreparable loss" by colleagues, church officials, family members, and government officials. Communicator Phileas Jusu has the story.

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Liberian church hit hard even as Ebola pace slows

Ebola cause for concern in Côte d'Ivoire
MAN, Côte d'Ivoire (UMNS) — Though no cases of the deadly Ebola virus have been reported in Côte d'Ivoire, the threat stalks the western part of the country, which shares borders with Liberia, Guinea and Mali. "Our borders are not walls with doors where we can prevent someone from entering or leaving," said Dr. Simplice Adouko. Isaac Broune, communicator for The United Methodist Church in Côte d'Ivoire, reports.

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Police shooting: Rise up and pray
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — As protesters took to the streets in dozens of U.S. cities after the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting of Michael Brown, the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race writes that the church must show up “with words of hope, justice, and service.” “This is what it takes to be disciples of Jesus Christ engaged in the transformation of the world,” Erin Hawkins writes.

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Bishop: On race and hope

Giving Tuesday raises $2.5 million for mission work
NEW YORK (UMNS) — On #GivingTuesday, United Methodists donated more than $2.5 million online through The Advance to support denominational mission and ministries around the world. The Board of Global Ministries matched the first $1 million in gifts.

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Able to move, thanks to Giving Tuesday

More on Giving Tuesday

United Methodists gather to remember Sand Creek
EADS, Colo. (UMNS) — The 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre is “not a celebration; it is a commemoration,” the Rev. Michael Dent, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver, said during the Prayerful Preparation gathering held Nov. 29 at Eads United Methodist Church. Charmaine Robledo, Mountain Sky Area director of communications, has the story.

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Read UMNS story on 150th anniversary events

Governor apologizes at Sand Creek 150th ceremony

Weatherman pastor: ‘I prayed really hard’
BANGOR, Maine (UMNS) — For two decades, Steve McKay has been telling TV audiences his best guesses about the impending weather, but he's also a United Methodist pastor who tries to help folks see the future on their spiritual journeys. Both jobs seem to require similar skills, reports Reed Galin for UMTV.

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Tattoo ministry: Expression of Christian commitment
OCALA, Fla. (UMNS) — A tattoo parlor is hardly the likeliest place that Christians would be found on a Saturday morning studying the Bible. But nearly 40 members of Wildwood United Methodist Church met at Fat Kats Artistry and about a dozen members, including the Rev. Michael Beck, got the United Methodist cross and flame inked onto forearms, hands and, in at least one case, a foot. Kathy Steele has the story for the Florida Conference.

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Dream big to end AIDS crisis
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Those gathered at the World AIDS Day observance in the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill were urged to dream big and make a difference in the lives of those who are affected and infected. Melissa Lauber of the Baltimore-Washington Conference reports.

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This Christmas, help a child be born AIDS-free

‘Methodist Day’ in Peru promotes creation care
LIMA, Peru (UMNS) — In conjunction with the U.N. Lima Climate Change Conference and the People’s Summit on Climate Change, the Methodist Church of Peru is promoting “Methodist Day” on Dec. 8. The program will include workshops, music, theater presentations and a faith-based panel on “Caring for Creation.”

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Churches cradle pastor’s daughter who has brain tumor
CINCINNATI (UMNS) — Since 15-month old Tillery Phillips was diagnosed with a brain tumor, churches and individuals have reached out with gifts and prayers and have posted photos of supporters wearing “Tillery is Loved” T-shirts. “It’s a testament of how great it is to be United Methodist,” said the Rev. Joe Phillips, Tillery’s father and pastor at Daisy United Methodist Church in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. Annette Spence reports from the Holston Conference.

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Advent Reflection: Waiting on the Light
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — What are some ways to see the season of Advent with fresh eyes and renewed energy? Watch and download this video, which explains the symbols and meanings associated with Advent. MaryJane Pierce Norton shares ideas about how we can center ourselves on the peace, love, and joy that emerge throughout this season.

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North Georgia Conference finalizes Simpsonwood sale
PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. (UMNS) — The North Georgia Conference is selling the 227-acre Simpsonwood property to Gwinnett County and the city of Peachtree Corners for $16 million. The property, a largely natural site lying along the Chattahoochee River, has been owned and used by the conference for more than 40 years.

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Richey examines formation for ministry in Methodism
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A new book by Russell E. Richey critically considers the potential future of formation for ministry in the digital age and offers an overview of how the Methodist community in America has identified and formed its ministers since the late 18th century. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Nicole Burdakin has the report.

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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 and put Digest in the subject line.

Tuesday, Dec. 9
Free webinar "Planning Lent and Easter for Discipleship'" — 7:30 p.m. CT. The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards, director of worship resources for Discipleship Ministries, will offer advice for liturgical planning. Details.

You can see more educational opportunities and other upcoming events in the life of the church here.