Daily Digest - April 30, 2013

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"When I arrived, people treated my church as Lazarus already in the tomb and 'he stinketh.' The most amazing thing to me is that all the leadership who bought in and did the hard work of rebuilding were in the pews when I got there... . They are the real agents of resurrection." - The Rev. Jeremy Scott, pastor of Evangelical United Methodist Church in Billings, Mont.

Church vitality: How do you define it?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Leaders across the denomination are pondering that question even as they seek to increase the number of highly vital churches. This is the first in an ongoing series of reports.
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UMTV: Vital church makes disciples

FORT MYERS, Fla. (UMNS) - The Rev. Jorge Acevedo leads a growing multi-campus congregation in Florida. Acevedo has written a book and offers seminars on how other churches can become vital. Here's a look at Acevedo's own congregation and what is keeping people coming back to Grace Church.
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UMTV: Church thrives on diversity

CLEVELAND (UMNS) - In a white, upper middle-class suburb of Cleveland, people drive miles to join one of the most multicultural churches in the state of Ohio. Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church casts a wide net in every direction to welcome all ages, races and socio-economic groups under one steeple.
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Finance agency board holds first 2013 meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, held its first meeting for 2013 on April 22-23. During this meeting the board continued its implementation of a new council structure and received reports on the status of projects and work conducted by the staff of GCFA, such as shared administrative services among the general agencies and annual (regional) conferences. The board of directors also celebrated the 90-percent participation level in the apportionment covenant.
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Audits of bishop funding due July 31

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - During its meeting, the General Council on Finance and Administration approved requiring that each United Methodist episcopal area turn in an audit of its 2012 use of the episcopal office allowance from the Episcopal Fund by July 31. If an episcopal area does not meet that deadline, the board voted to allow payments from the Episcopal Fund related to the office allowance to stop until the area's records are in order. General Council on Finance and Administration is still working with some areas to complete their 2011 audits. The Episcopal Fund - paid for by congregational giving - supports the salaries, housing, travel and other expenses of active bishops as well as the salaries and benefits of some of their support staff. The fund also provides for retired bishops, surviving spouses and minor children of deceased bishops.

Campaign to promote general church endowment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The Permanent Fund of The United Methodist Church is celebrating 125 years as a general endowment fund supporting the ministries of the denomination. The General Council on Finance and Administration is launching a campaign to continue to build this permanent base of support for the ministries. The agency is also partnering with Abingdon Press and the United Methodist Publishing House to release a special edition of "Enough" by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, lead pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan.
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Churches offer free haircuts - and more

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (UMNS) - Mark Burgess has been job-hunting for two years, and he knows the importance of first impressions. He's grateful for Showers of Blessing, a morning of free showers, haircuts, continental breakfasts and other services run by a coalition of area churches. "They're really nice people," he says. "They make me feel good." The Santa Maria Times has the story.
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Teen talks about win in C-SPAN contest

SPANISH FORT, Ala. (UMNS) - In his "Message to the President" documentary that won third price in C-SPAN's StudentCam competition, Trevor Warren, 18, sought to present a balanced, but compassionate, view on immigration. "This is an issue that is less about numbers and statistics and more about actual people," he said. Warren was honored at Providence United Methodist Church. Gulf Coast News Today has the story.
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John Wesley Fellows named

DURHAM, N.C. (UMNS) - Three United Methodists have been awarded John Wesley Fellowships to support their doctoral studies, A Foundation for Theological Education announced April 26. John Wesley Fellowships, designed to promote the renewal of theological education by supporting promising scholars who are committed to Christ, the church and academic excellence, provide $12,500 per year for four years. The foundation has a commitment to the renewal of United Methodist theological education in a more evangelical direction. The recipients are Natalya Andromeda Cherry, Nathan Jameson Jones and Clifton Stringer.
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