Daily Digest - April 29, 2022

“Let us be the change and change the world together.” Isaiah Musabayana, on supporting students at two United Methodist mission schools he attended in Zimbabwe.


TODAY’S HEADLINES

Mission schools alumnus gives students a boost

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UM News) — More than 100 students received scholarships at two United Methodist mission schools thanks to a local businessman and former student. The assistance program awards the top students in each class. Kudzai Chingwe has the story.
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Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe
New wrinkles in aid to Ukrainian refugees 

ZURICH — United Methodist churches in countries near Ukraine are relying on volunteers as they work with Ukrainian refugees, but they’re also hiring Ukrainians for certain relief-related tasks. One United Methodist church in Poland is teaching Polish to Ukrainian refugees but also teaching Ukrainian to Poles who want to do their part toward better communications with the refugees. Urs Schweizer reports on the continuing United Methodist response, in a handful of European countries, to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 
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Texas Conference
Tackling the ‘preacher’s block’ problem

HOUSTON — Preacher’s block, like writer’s block, is a real problem, says the Rev. Jessica LaGrone. She devised a Zoom co-working group strategy to help hold one another accountable for getting focused work done on sermons. “It’s like study hall,” LaGrone says. “You get a sense that you’re not alone. But at the same time, there are no distractions.” LaGrone is dean of the chapel at Asbury Theological Seminary. Lindsay Peyton reports.
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Florida Conference
Conference tornado relief effort gets big grant

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Florida United Methodists, in coordination with other relief agencies, have received a $1.8 million state grant to help recovery from an F2 tornado that destroyed 74 homes in January. Immediately after the storm, the Florida Conference received a $10,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Joe Henderson reports.
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PRESS RELEASES

Council of Bishops
Bishops work for unity as one resigns
WASHINGTON — United Methodist bishops completed their spring meeting April 29 in a spirit of collegiality and love for one another and the worldwide United Methodist Church. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey passed the gavel to Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who succeeds her as Council of Bishops president. At the same meeting, the bishops also learned that retired Bishop J. Mike Lowry announced that he plans to resign his role as a United Methodist bishop effective May 1. Lowry stated he will join the Global Methodist Church on May 1 and continue his service on the new denomination’s Transitional Leadership Council. UM News plans to have a story Monday.
Read press release

Bishops Alsted, Rückert and Streiff
European bishops write open letter to WCA

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Three bishops in Europe have written an open letter to the Wesleyan Covenant Association questioning the group’s reaction to the Bulgaria-Romania Provisional Annual Conference’s vote to leave The United Methodist Church and join the Global Methodist Church. The letter, signed by Bishops Christian Alsted, Harald Rückert and Patrick Streiff, said that the decision was a clear violation of the process laid out in the Book of Discipline. “The reaction to the Bulgarian vote raises the question: What standards do leaders of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and of the Global Methodist Church want to uphold?”
Read letter
UM News: Bulgaria-Romania United Methodists vote to leave


EVENTS

Sunday, May 1

Native American Ministries Sunday

Monday, May 9-Friday-May 13
Communications Learning Week: Taking the Next Step


TOP STORIES FROM THE WEEK

Bishops urged to work for ‘big-tent’ church 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — In her final address as Council of Bishops president, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey urged as much unity as possible even as a new theologically conservative denomination plans to launch on May 1. The bishops also heard about the history of previous denominational separations. Heather Hahn reports.
Read story
Read press release

What happens when a new denomination launches?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — The Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative breakaway denomination, has set May 1 as its official start date. However, it will take time for any potential separations from The United Methodist Church to take place. Heather Hahn reports on some frequently asked questions.
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She 'dared to stand up for women of color'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — DeLaris Johnson Risher doesn’t look, act or talk like a trailblazing, fearless woman — but she is. In 1952, she and Leila Robinson Dabbs, both Black women, quietly integrated Scarritt College for Christian Workers in Nashville, two years before segregation in education was ruled unconstitutional. Risher looks back on those days and her long career, which includes being the first Black Methodist deaconess. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story.
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Ask The UMC
Celebrating a Native American trailblazer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — William Apess, born among the Pequot of Massachusetts, was the first Native American Methodist exhorter in New England and the first Native American licensed to preach by American Methodists. He also is credited as the first Native American to write and publish an autobiography. Ask The UMC has more on Apess as part of its Pioneers in Methodism series.
Read story
Read about other pioneers

UMC.org
The mysterious, connectional act of prayer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The acts of asking for prayer, praying for others and reciting prayers together are built into Christian faith tradition. Jesus modeled it, and Christians repeat it. But do they understand it? United Methodist spiritual leaders offer help unraveling the complexity of prayer. Crystal Caviness has the story.
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United Methodist Communications
Press freedom yields stories that inform, inspire

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — World Press Freedom Day is May 3, a day of support for and awareness of the importance of freedom of the press. For The United Methodist Church, World Press Freedom Day provides an opportunity to celebrate United Methodist News, the official newsgathering agency of the church. Tim Tanton, chief news officer, said telling the stories of the church is both a mission and sacred responsibility that inspires people as well as informs them. 
Read press release
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