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Weekly Digest - September 26, 2014


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Sept.22-26. 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

Lockdown: Door-to-door bid to stop Ebola begins
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — The usually busy and chaotic streets were virtually empty, creating an eerie ghost city. Friday was Day One of the nationwide three-day lockdown – a desperate effort to stop the deadly Ebola virus from spreading. Communicator Phileas Jusu writes about the lockdown.

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A new front in the Ebola crisis

New Ebola holding center opens in Ganta City

Life-saving Ebola messages in 160 characters or less

Church’s domestic violence response predates NFL news
MERIDIAN, Miss. (UMNS) — United Methodists have been confronting family violence long before the NFL’s response to players’ assault charges was making headlines. Still, advocates — including leaders of United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men — say church leaders can do more to address a problem seldom mentioned from the pulpit.

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Talking about ‘The Things That Make for Peace’
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Bell-ringing, dancing, music and calls to action opened an International Day of Peace symposium at the Church Center for the United Nations. Seventeen organizations, including United Methodist Women, invited participants to discuss “The Things That Make for Peace.”

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Churches join people's march for better earth
NEW YORK (UMNS) — United Methodists were among the faith groups that gathered together on a midtown Manhattan block and then joined hundreds of thousands in a two-mile march to draw attention to climate change.

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Interfaith leaders release climate change statement

U.N. ‘has its hands full,’ says United Methodist observer
NEW YORK (UMNS) — As world leaders flock to the United Nations this week, the Rev. Liberato (Levi) Bautista, head of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society’s United Nations office, reflects on the new U.N. session in a Q&A.

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Watch sexuality discussion live on Nov. 1
CHICAGO (UMNS) — The Connectional Table’s Human Sexuality Task Force plans to hold the second of three live stream events from 8 to 10 a.m. CT Saturday, Nov. 1. The panelists are members of the Council of Bishops who contributed to the book “Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church,” as well as the publisher and president of United Methodist Publishing House.

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Young adults can apply for 2015 mission program
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Generation Transformation applications are now available for 2015 mission opportunities for young adults aged 18-30 years. The program is an initiative of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

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Taking inviting pictures of your church
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Just as a house with great pictures does better on the real estate market, a welcoming image can help bring visitors to your church. Gavin Richardson, writing for United Methodist Communications, offers tips and techniques.

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DRC agricultural training means ‘decent income’
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Beatrice Monga, a mother of seven in Kamina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, was struggling to pay hospital and school fees when she learned about the agricultural training program offered by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Julia Kayser Frisbie writes about how the program helps participants earn “a decent income.”

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Bishop: Apple has failed us!
DES MOINES, Wash. (UMNS) — Greater Northwest Area Bishop Grant Hagiya, an avowed “enthusiastic fan” of Apple products, argues that the profitable company could be a better corporate citizen. He specifically calls on the company to use more of its cash reserves for the social good.

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North Georgia plans special conference session
PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. (UMNS) — Bishop B. Michael Watson called a special session of the North Georgia Conference for 10 a.m. ET Saturday, Oct. 25. The session will be to discuss the sale of the Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center property, which the conference voted earlier this year to close.

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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.

Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101,” Tuesday, Sept. 30 — United Methodist Communications will offer the course Oct. 1-Nov. 12. $9.99. Details.

Free webinar “Education in and for Mission,” Tuesday, Sept. 30 — 6:30 p.m. CT, how to provide “hands-on” experiences in Christian discipleship. Details.

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.

Free webinar “Covenant Discipleship with Children,” Wednesday, Oct 110 a.m. CT, the webinar explains covenant discipleship and why it’s important for children to go deeper in their understanding of loving God and loving neighbor. Details.

Deadline to apply for two discernment events for Deaconesses and Home Missioner Ministry, Wednesday, Oct. 1 — Events are Friday-Sunday, Nov. 7-9, in St. Louis and Friday-Sunday, Nov. 21-23 in Tempe, Ariz. A discernment event is an opportunity to explore a sense of call to lay ministry with a group of fellow discerners. Details.

Free “iKids Webinar 2 — The Digital Child and Digital Brain,” Thursday, Oct. 210 a.m. CT. This session will talk about the Three Laws of Digital Life and will focus on how brain development in children is influenced by digital media. Details.

Free webinar “Missional Advent — Living Advent Outside the Church,” Thursday, Oct. 2 — 6:30 p.m. CT. Explore ways we can follow Jesus to be the church in the world during Advent. Details.

Free webinar “Focusing on the True Meaning of Christmas with Children,” Thursday, Oct. 27-8 p.m. ET, ecumenical webinar shares how to teach children the true meaning of Advent and Christmas through crafts, games, drama, music and snacks. Details.

Moving Beyond Prejudice workshop, Saturday, Oct. 4 — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT, Paul Saltzman, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, will lead workshop at The Great Hall, McDaniel student center, Oklahoma City University. The Oklahoma Commission on Religion and Race is the sponsor. $25. Details.

“Builders, Boomers and Busters: Bridging the 21st Century” conference, Saturday, Oct. 48:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT, Older adult ministry experts will speak at St. James United Methodist Church, 321 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas. $25. 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 envelopes.

Early-bird registration deadline for Reach New Disciples Conference: “Taking Church to the Community,” Monday, Oct. 6 — Lewis Center for Church Leadership Conference is 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 1 at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington. $40. Details.

Class for the Native American Course of Study, a national school for Native American local pastors and local pastors who work in Native ministries “Personal and Social Ethics,” Monday-Friday, Oct. 6-10 in Window Rock, New Mexico. Details or contact the Rev. Fred Shaw at

Online courses from Upper Room in October, November and December Oct. 6-31: “A Quiet Pentecost;” Oct. 20-31: “Living into the Answers: A Workshop on Personal Spiritual Discernment;” Nov. 3-7: “Companions in Christ Small Group Facilitator Training;” Nov. 20: “Speaking Your Mind to God;” Nov. 30-Dec. 27: “Taste and See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas.” Details.

Webinar “Overcoming Obstacles to Change in Your Church Two-Part Series,” Tuesday, Oct. 7 and Monday, Oct. 20 — Both sessions are 7-8 p.m. ET, Practical strategies for overcoming six major obstacles to local church change. $20 for both. Details.

2014 Wright Lectures: Practical Approaches to Emerging Ministries, Sunday-Tuesday, Oct. 12-14 — Gathering will be at Menucha Retreat and Conference Center near Portland, Ore. Keynote speakers include the Revs. Jim Walker and Jeff Eddings, co-founders of Hot Metal Bridge, an emergent church in Pittsburgh that is a joint ministry of United Methodists and Presbyterians. Details.

South Central Jurisdiction Church Planting Convocation, Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 13-14, and New Church Leadership Institute, Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 14-16 — Gathering in Dallas to celebrate church-planting successes and equip church planters. Details.

Deadline to apply to be part of 2015 Generation Transformation, Wednesday, Oct. 15 — Generation Transformation, an initiative of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, offers mission opportunities for young adults aged 18-30. Details.

“Peg-leg Flamingos: Native American Youth Leadership Training,” Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 16-19 — The Native American International Caucus of The United Methodist Church will hold the gathering at Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The gathering is for seventh-graders through high school seniors. $70. Details on PDF.