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Weekly Digest - November 24, 2015


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Nov. 23–Nov. 24. 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

Honoring memory, mission at Sager Brown

BALDWIN, La. (UMNS) — The new Dixon-Rabb Hall at the Sager Brown supply depot, which will allow the United Methodist Committee on Relief to respond quickly to any major disaster, is a fitting tribute to the two colleagues who lost their lives during the 2010 Haiti earthquake while engaged in mission. Linda Bloom has the story.
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2015 report: Women lag far behind men in media coverage

UNITED NATIONS (UMNS) — Women make up half the world’s population, but one would not know that based on the lack of women’s voices in the media. Representatives of United Methodist Women, the World Association for Christian Communication and UN Women were part of the Nov. 23 launch of the Global Media Monitoring Project’s 2015 report. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Amid hysteria, a call for hospitality

OAKLAND, Calif. (UMNS) — Retired Bishop Roy I. Sano says United Methodists can be the voice of reason to counter the fearful rhetoric against Syrian refugees. He personally can attest to the costs of such fear as one of the 110,000 Japanese Americans interned by the U.S. government during World War II.
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Churches ready to sponsor Syrian refugee families

TOPEKA, Kan. (UMNS) — At least 35 United Methodist congregations in Kansas and Nebraska have agreed to sponsor one or more Syrian refugee families when immigration to the U.S. becomes possible, Bishop Scott J. Jones, Great Plains Conference, announced at a Nov. 20 press conference. Todd Seifert, the conference’s director of communications, reports.
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Ebola resurfaces in Liberia

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Three new cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Liberia after the West African nation was twice declared Ebola-free, according to Ministry of Health authorities. Julu Swen has the story.
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On #GivingTuesday, think United Methodist Church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist agencies and ministries are taking part in #GivingTuesday on Dec. 1, offering an opportunity to make a difference. United Methodist News Service compiled a list of some ways to give through the denomination.
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United Methodists and confession

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ( — Sin is a constant struggle but when we confess our sins, we become, in the words of John Wesley, “more and more dead to sin, [and] more and more alive to God.” Joe Iovino writes for about the United Methodist understanding of confession.
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Religious leaders appeal to Massachusetts governor

BOSTON (UMNS) — United Methodist Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, New England Conference, was among the eight religious leaders who signed a letter written by the Massachusetts Council of Churches urging Gov. Charlie Baker to reconsider his statements regarding Syrian refugees.
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United Methodists join open letter on refugees

HOUSTON (UMNS) — Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Conference and the Rev. Tommy Williams of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church here have joined other Christian leaders to welcome Syrian refugees. The challenge of human migration “will not go away and, in fact, is an opportunity for our communities to show our moral courage in the face of fear,” says the letter published in the Houston Chronicle.
Read letter
Visit #HuddledMassesWelcome website

UMCOR helps refugees with winter chill in Jordan

NEW YORK (UMNS) — As winter approaches, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is providing winterization kits — food parcels, blankets, and rugs — to some of the more than half a million Syrian refugees in Jordan. The kits are being distributed through UMCOR’s partnership with International Orthodox Christian Charities. David Tereshchuk reports for UMCOR.
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WCC addresses ‘violence in name of religion’

BOGIS-BOSSEY, Switzerland (WCC) — Violence in the name of religion echoed in the distance, demanding a response, throughout the November 2015 meeting of the 25-member executive committee of the World Council of Churches. As co-vice moderator of the WCC Central Committee, United Methodist Bishop Mary Ann Swenson was one of the meeting’s leaders.
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Perkins students, faculty protest fraternities’ actions

DALLAS (UMNS) — Students and faculty at Perkins School of Theology, part of Southern Methodist University here, held an interracial vigil and march after two SMU fraternities advertised a party with stereotyped African-American images.  Perkins’ dean, the Rev.  William Lawrence, was among the speakers. The Rev. Sheron Patterson of the North Texas Conference reports.
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Sally Geis, social justice advocate, dies at 87

DENVER (UMNS) — Sally Brown Geis, a well-known advocate for social justice and equality, died Nov. 16 at age 87. Geis, a committed lay member, served The United Methodist Church in various capacities including as a member of the Judicial Council, the church's highest court. Charmaine Robledo of the Mountain Sky Area writes about Geis’ contributions.
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A musical gift from Native American communities

NEW YORK (UMNS) — “Singing the Sacred: Musical Gifts from Native American Communities” includes Native American Christian music from the diversity of the people called “Native American.” The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries offers the new songbook and accompanying CD with 21 songs and hymns.
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Let us give thanks: A photo prayer

FORT WORTH, Texas (UMNS) — While November marks a celebration of thanksgiving in the U.S., finding time to thank God is part of Christians’ daily discipline. This video meditation features a shortened version of a prayer of thanksgiving by the Rev. Linda McDermott of First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth.
Watch video meditation

Advent Quiz: Test your knowledge!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — See how much you know about the traditions and symbols of the Advent season by taking our daily Advent quiz.
Take the quiz

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.

Thursday, Nov. 26
U.S. Thanksgiving — Whether you're going over the river and through the woods or to a community Thanksgiving service, United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers devotional and worship resources to mark the day. Details.

Sunday, Nov. 29
United Methodist Student Day — Offering during this Special Sunday provide scholarships for United Methodist young people to attend a college or university. Resources for Student Day.

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