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Weekly Digest - July 18, 2014


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for July 14-18. 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
Church seeks to meet needs in U.S. border crisis
DALLAS (UMNS) — United Methodists have mobilized to provide humanitarian relief and other assistance as the United States deals with a flood of Central American immigrants, including unaccompanied minors. But the magnitude of the need is sobering, and the crisis is likely to be long term, church leaders say.

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Arizona church leaders seek ways to help children
NOGALES, Ariz. (UMNS) — The Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, superintendent of the South District of the Desert Southwest Annual (regional) Conference, led a team to Nogales July 14 to learn more about the conditions of unaccompanied migrant children being held in detention centers there. Christina Dillabough, director of communication for the conference, has the story.

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Bishops urge compassion, prayer for border crisis
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — In response to the rise in unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border, the executive committee of the Council of Bishops has called on United Methodists across the connection to “pray, reflect and engage in acts of compassion.”

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Bishop: Blessed responsibility to God’s children
WORTHINGTON, Ohio (UMNS) — “From the Middle East to the U.S. border, children's lives seem to be ready pawns used in political arguments, economic wars and military conflicts,” writes Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer. He reminds United Methodists of Jesus’ words in Mark 9:37: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

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As typhoon hits, church youth take shelter and pray
TAGAYTAY, Philippines (UMNS) — Youth and young adults from across the United Methodist connection were safely sheltered during Typhoon Rammasun, locally known as Glenda. Organizers of the Global Young People's Convocation have moved the event to a new venue near Manila because of the storm’s damage. This story includes video footage of the storm’s aftermath.

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Delegates Benjamin Musasizi and Lee Rodeo share their experiences

A lens-eye view of the civil rights struggle
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Larry McCormack, a United Methodist and newspaper photographer, gives his own twist on civil rights history by combining black-and-white images from the struggle for integration with color photos of the same settings today. “There was a time when people of color were looked at like they didn’t belong as part of Nashville, and that hurts my heart because we are all God’s children,” he said.

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Firdaus Kharas: Activism through animation
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Firdaus Kharas has created a series of animated shorts that confront issues such as AIDS and domestic violence in the hopes of creating what he calls “a cultural shift.” Kharas is a panelist at the upcoming Game Changers Summit, hosted by United Methodist Communications Sept. 3-5 in Nashville. The conference will demonstrate how information and communications technology can be used to improve all facets of life.

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Ministry idea: Post-it identity
SONOMA, Calif. (UMNS) — Is your church welcoming a new pastor? David W. Chambers, a member of Sonoma United Methodist Church in California, shares the following idea for helping to familiarize that pastor with a congregation’s ministries, and what parishioners might be interested in doing differently.

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Women’s colleges cultivate leadership
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Ruth A. Knox, a 1975 graduate and now president of Wesleyan College, knows firsthand that women’s colleges give their students “countless opportunities to develop as leaders and thinkers, to explore and accept challenges, to experience success and failure, and – even when not hitting the mark – to keep trying.” Wesleyan, in Macon, Georgia; Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina, and Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, are all United Methodist-related women's schools.

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United Methodist Publishing House to move
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Publishing House, a self-supporting church agency, plans to move to Nashville's Metro Center area of office parks in the first half of 2015. The agency bought the Lake Front Office Park in Metro Center for $9.25 million. Florida-based Turnberry Associates has the current 3.7-acre publishing house headquarters site, across the street from Nashville's new convention center, under contract. The Tennessean reports.

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Wisconsin Conference celebrates donor
NEW LONDON, Wis. (UMNS) — Stanley Cottrill is a 92-year-old retired plumber and member of New London United Methodist Church who lives his faith and believes in generosity. He recently presented a check for $1 million for the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation Seminary Scholarship Fund. That’s not the only example of Cottrill’s altruism, the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference reports.

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Theological education grants for 2015 available
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Applications for the 2015 grants for theological education in Africa, Europe and the Philippines are open through Sept. 30. 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.

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List of grants awarded in 2014

Malaria goal gain in Alabama-West Florida
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) — United Methodists in the Alabama-West Florida Annual (regional) Conference had cause to celebrate at their annual gathering this year: An outpouring of grass-roots support has put them at almost 60 percent of a $1 million goal for Imagine No Malaria.

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Read Alabama-West Florida Conference report

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.

Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101,” Tuesday, July 22 — United Methodist Communications will offer the course July 23-Sept. 3. $9.99. Details.

Free webinar “Congregations as Discipling Communities” Tuesday, July 22 — 6:30 p.m. CT. This webinar will focus on a model where congregations can create safe, open and relational spaces where disciples at all stages of their faith journey can share their experiences. Details.

Free webinar “Creating a Culture of Innovation Part 2: VAP-IT (Values, Assets, Process-Initiate, Test),” Thursday, July 24 6:30 p.m. CT. This webinar will discuss how to use the VAP-IT tool to launch new ideas and revamp existing ministries. Details.

Festival of Wisdom and Grace, Monday to Thursday, July 28-31 — Columbia (S.C.) Area Bishop Jonathan Holston will be the conference preacher at this time of worship and learning at Lake Junaluska (N.C) Conference and Retreat Center. The theme is “Living Ordinary Time with EEEE’s — Enthusiasm, Encouragement, Engagement and Empowerment.” Details.

Deadline to register for United Methodist conference “Walking with Palestinian Christians,” Wednesday, July 30 — Gathering Thursday-Friday, Aug. 7-8 sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and host Ginghamsburg Church, 6759 S. County Road 25A, Tipp City, Ohio. Details.

Deadline for early-bird registration for “Make Worship More Creative” workshops in the Upper New York Conference, Friday, Aug. 1 — Day-long workshops featuring worship coach Jason Moore will be Monday, Sept. 8 through Thursday, Sept. 11 at different churches around the conference. Cost is $25 per person, and $65 per church. Details.

A Weekend of Music: The Lake Junaluska Singers & David Troy Francis, special guest star Broadway performer Mark Morales, Friday-Saturday, Aug. 1-2 — The Lake Junaluska Singers will be in concert Aug. 1, and David Troy Francis on Aug. 2 will perform Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and American hymns at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in North Carolina. Details.

Webinar “Plan Your Year Round Stewardship Campaign,” Tuesday, Aug. 5 — 7-8 p.m. ET. Course teaches how a congregation can develop a holistic process that will help people grow in faith and give generously, led by the Rev. Paul B. Nickerson, former pastor and now owner of Nickerson Coaching. $10. Details.

Free webinar “Planning for Advent,” Thursday, Aug. 7 — 7:30 p.m. CT. This webinar will provide an overview of key themes of the Season of Advent and the Scriptures of the season. Details.

Annual meeting of MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans), Thursday, Aug. 7 to Sunday, Aug. 10 — Gathering will be at Hacienda Hotel LAX in Los Angeles. The Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, lecturer at New York Theological Seminary and expert on faith-rooted advocacy, will be the main speaker. Bishops Minerva Carcaño and Warner Brown will preach. Details.

Free webinar “S.O.S. for Teachers Schedule, Organization, Safety,” Thursday, Aug. 7 — 7-8 p.m. ET, Help for a successful Christian education season, led by Jane Kintzi, a consultant at the Parish Resource Center. Details.

Lion & Lamb Christian Festival, Friday-Sunday, Aug. 8-10 — A number of United Methodist entities, including the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference, are sponsors of this gathering at Fort Wayne, Indiana. $25 before Aug. 8. Details.

Shreveport, Louisiana Skeeter Run, Saturday, Aug. 9 — The first of six 5K and one-mile run/walks in the Louisiana Annual (regional) Conference to support Imagine No Malaria, the denomination’s initiative to eradicate preventable deaths from the disease. The other five runs will take place across the state on Saturday, Oct. 11. $20 registration. Details.

Deadline to apply for Ethnic Local Church Grants, Sunday, Aug. 10 — The grants, distributed by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, aim to strengthen ethnic minority local churches through education, advocacy or leadership development as they engage in social justice. Details.

United Theological Seminary’s Preaching Retreat, Tuesday-Thursday, Aug. 12-14 — “The Promise of New Testament Apocalyptic” will be the theme of the retreat at the seminary’s campus at 4501 Denlinger Road, Dayton, Ohio. The event aims to help pastors and students gain competence in preaching apocalyptic texts in the New Testament. Details.

Deadline to apply to join regional Healthy Families, Healthy Planet advocacy training, Friday, Aug. 15 — The free United Methodist training in advocating for women and girls will be Saturday, Sept. 6 with an optional session on Monday, Sept. 8 in Peoria, Illinois. Applications are required. Details and application.

Deadline to register for Just Save One conference to equip HIV and AIDS Ministries, Friday, Aug. 15 — The gathering will be Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 11-13 at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver and sponsored by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund. Details.

Online courses from in August and September — Aug. 18-Sept. 2: Come to the Table (study of United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament of Holy Communion); Aug. 18-Sept. 2: Come to the Waters (study of United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament of Baptism); Aug. 18-Sept. 2: Biblical Storytelling I; Sept. 8-23: Life Together in the United Methodist Connection; Sept. 8-23: Living Our United Methodist Beliefs; Sept. 8-19: Becoming an Even Better Sunday School or Small Group Teacher; Sept. 15-26: Youth Ministry 101; Sept. 22-Oct. 3: Active Learning for Today's Children. Details.

Seven Levers Workshop: Missional Strategies for Conferences with Bishop Robert Schnase, Saturday, Aug. 23 — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT at Collierville United Methodist Church, 454 W. Poplar Ave., Collier, Tennessee. $10. Details.

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.