Daily Digest - April 18, 2013

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"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston. Through the darkness, we come together in search of the light. The people of The United Methodist Church join with all of those in Boston affected by this recent tragedy. To understand. To heal. To find hope." - The text of a United Methodist ad appearing in Boston-area media.

Boston service urges: 'Choose love over fear'

BOSTON (UMNS) - A little more than 24 hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring scores of others, United Methodists in Boston opened their doors and gathered to grieve, pray, cry out to God and find a way toward healing in the midst of the pain of the city. Alexx Wood, director of communications for the New England Annual (regional) Conference, covered the prayer service.
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United Methodists offer comfort after Boston bombings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - As investigators search for answers, the people of The United Methodist Church offer prayer, comfort and resources for healing in the aftermath of Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon. Among those words of comfort are United Methodist ads in Boston-area media.
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Church fire guts building, not spirit

ATHENS, Ga. (UMNS) - After a fire April 15 gutted their church building, members of the historic Oconee Street United Methodist Church looked forward to continuing to reach out to the community. "Although the church building is gone, and some planned projects are on hold for now," said member Sally Curtis AsKew, "(we) will rebuild and move forward."
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Many United Methodist worshippers still waiting for a sign

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - For the parishioners shepherded by the Rev. Lisa Jordan, believing is seeing - literally. Jordan, a United Methodist pastor and chaplain at Gallaudet University, was among the leaders at a meeting of the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries, which met at the Florida United Methodist Center. Committee members brainstormed about ways to improve the denomination's efforts to include people who can't hear well in worship services everywhere. Susan Green of the Florida Conference Connection shares how United Methodist ministries are reaching and in some cases failing to reach the deaf and hearing impaired.
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VBS essential to family outreach

D'IBERVILLE, Miss. (UMNS) - Vacation Bible school is always fun for kids, but do churches maximize its potential as an outreach effort? Jasmine Haynes shares how churches in the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference use VBS to draw in children and parents beyond the summer months.
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Tom Hazelwood hangs his hat on humor

NEW YORK (UMNS) - After 15 years of disaster response with the United Methodist Committee on Relief that included the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and too many tornadoes to count, you'd think the Rev. Tom Hazelwood would run out of reasons to laugh. Writer Susan Kim shares some examples of Hazelwood's humor.
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Chabadza! Zimbabwe-Norway project pays off

CHIRUMHANZU, Zimbabwe (UMNS) - Chabadza, the Zimbabwean tradition of lending a helping hand, results in a partnership between the United Methodist Church in Norway and Zimbabwe. The partnership includes a medical facility for mothers and babies and other projects. Eveline Chikwanah of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area shares the story.
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Standing with Syrian refugees

AMMAN, Jordan (UMNS) - During Lent, the Rev. Alex Awad, a United Methodist missionary and dean of students at Bethlehem Bible College in Jerusalem, led a team of Palestinian staff and students to serve among Muslim and Christian Syrian refugees in Amman and Mafraq. He wrote about the experience for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. The board's United Methodist Committee on Relief is continuing to assist Syrian refugees.
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Running with God - praying with Boston

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (UMNS) - After the tragedy in Boston, people can take action to honor the dead and the survivors, says the Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, the Northeastern Jurisdiction's staff member for Young People's Ministries. That can mean "signing up to come together with people to run in an event in honor of the victims, to join hearts and hands both in mourning loss and insisting upon hope," she writes. It can also mean "engaging in silent solitary prayer for peace throughout the world."
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