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Weekly Digest - February 27, 2015


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Feb. 23-27. 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

Severe winter alters church routines but not commitment

BOSTON (UMNS) — Last week, Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End had a dilemma. A snow emergency parking ban and, well, snow — on the streets, on the sidewalks, piled up to the stained-glass windows, with the promise of a Valentine’s Day snowstorm — made it clear that worship Feb. 15 would be difficult if not impossible. Union is one of many congregations across the United States finding ways to deal with severe winter weather. Linda Bloom reports.
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Dollars in the plate save lives in Africa

CHICUQUE, Mozambique (UMNS) — When you give a $10 gift to Imagine No Malaria, how does the money go from your local church to saving lives in Africa? The Rev. Arlindo Romão in Mozambique can attest to how those gifts add up, and how they do far more than buy insecticide-treated bed nets. Heather Hahn has the story.
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Imagine No Malaria recognized as superhero at global meeting

Slave was member of first Methodist class in America

NEW WINDSOR, Md. (UMNS) — A slave named Annie Sweitzer was a member of the first Methodist class formed in America in about 1763 at what is now the Strawbridge Shrine. “The Methodist movement has always been a movement of diversity. It was open to anyone who would come to listen,” said Helen Kemp, curator of the shrine.
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Should a pastor know what church members give?

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Ann A. Michel, associate director of the United Methodist-related Lewis Center for Church Leadership, says there are valid pastoral, spiritual and developmental reasons why pastors should know what church members give. Here are her thoughts.
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Get resources for One Great Hour of Sharing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Donations to the United Methodist Committee on Relief through One Great Hour of Sharing on March 15 help cover the committee’s cost of doing business so that 100 percent of all other contributions go straight to relief projects. Bulletin inserts, video and more are available for observing this Special Sunday on March 15 or any other day you choose at
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Minnesota youth perform 15,000 good deeds in 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) — Youth at Minnehaha United Methodist Church performed 15,000 good deeds in 2014, including making sandwiches for the homeless, packing meals through Feed My Starving Children, playing games with special-needs students during breaks at school, and buying coffee for strangers. They are still going strong this year. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” featured the video they made to chronicle their work. Amanda Willis reports.
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Pension board to hold listening session March 6

PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits invites plan participants and other constituents to address the board of directors during a listening session at 11:30 a.m. EST March 6 in Philadelphia. To be added to the agenda and for specific presentation requirements, contact Colette Nies by Feb. 27 at 1-800-269-2244 (extension 4296) or at
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Church reaches youth with weightlifting ministry

SAVANNAH, Ga. (UMNS) — A partnership between Aldersgate United Methodist Church and a former member of the U.S. Women’s Weightlifting National team has grown into a powerful ministry that is drawing youth to the church multiple days a week, including Sunday worship. Kara Witherow of the South Georgia Conference has the story.
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Lay leaders discuss past, shape future

BALTIMORE (UMNS) — Nearly 80 conference lay leaders from around The United Methodist Church gathered in Baltimore to learn about the denomination’s past while looking at ways to shape the future. Erik Alsgaard of the Baltimore-Washington Conference reports.
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4 named ‘seminaries that change the world’

CHICAGO (UMNS) — The Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary has named four United Methodist seminaries to its 2015 list of U.S. seminaries that change the world. Among the list of 27 seminaries are Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary near Chicago, Iliff School of Theology in Denver and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. The seminaries were chosen based on a “commitment to invite, welcome, support, train and launch individuals into the world as community leaders.”
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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.

Women's History Month — Find out about famous women hymn writers with resources from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries.

Tuesday, March 3
"Selma at 50, Ferguson Today" panel discussion — 5-6:30 p.m. EST at Boston University School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth Ave. Boston University School of Theology alumni look back at the 50th anniversary of the March to Montgomery and at the protests in Ferguson today. Panelists include the Revs. Don Messer and William Bobby McClain, who traveled to Selma with a group of BU seminary students to participate in the March to Montgomery led by the Martin Luther King Jr. The Rev. Pamela Lightsey, associate dean, will share her experiences in Ferguson, Missouri, after the death of Michael Brown. Details.

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