Daily Digest: August 18, 2014

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“The ultimate concern is this: Under no pretense does someone deserve to lose their life, and in this case to have innocence stripped. Innocence is not defined by court law, but by the fact all life is sacred. In our faith tradition, that is enough to stand on.” – The Rev. F. Willis Johnson, pastor of Wellspring Church, a United Methodist congregation in Ferguson, Mo.

Church leaders strive to be peacemakers in Ferguson
FERGUSON, Mo. (UMNS) — Since Saturday night, the Rev. F. Willis Johnson has devoted his entire ministry to fostering peaceful – and meaningful – responses to the death of an unarmed black teenager shot by police and the violent clashes that followed. He led prayer vigils and counseled protesters. He also reached out to other United Methodist leaders, who joined him in helping a community in pain.

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UMCLEAD bloggers mourn shooting death
FERGUSON, Mo. (UMNS) — “We believe that a transformed community is possible, but we must do our part. We will be present with one another. We will attend worship services and vigils to honor Mike Brown,” wrote a collective of St. Louis area bloggers who contribute to UMCLEAD.com. The blog post was in response to the police shooting of an unarmed teenager. UMCLEAD’s purpose is to be engaged in conversation around leadership, theology, worship, mission, and innovation within The United Methodist Church.

Read the blog

Ukrainian United Methodists feel strain of war
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Members of two United Methodist churches in Eastern Ukraine continue to feel the impact of fighting between rebels and Ukrainian military forces. In an Aug. 14 letter, Bishop Eduard Khegay of the United Methodist Eurasia Episcopal Area wrote that the congregation in Lugansk has been particularly hard hit.

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Poverty: The Common Vector
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — While the Ebola outbreak continues, media coverage, at least on television, seems to be waning. Print media continue to provide stories that enlarge understanding about the crisis and its effects on people across the region. But this too will fade, and that’s part of an ongoing problem, writes the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, in a blog post.

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Interfaith leaders laud ceasefire, call for talks
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr., president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, is among the U.S. Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders welcoming the most recent ceasefire agreement in the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas and calling for renewed negotiations toward a two-state peace agreement. Jim Winkler, top executive of the National Council of Churches and a United Methodist, also endorsed the Aug. 14 statement released by the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East.

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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 [email protected] and put Digest in the subject line.

Free webinar “What Every Teacher Needs to Know,” Tuesday, Aug. 196:30 p.m. CT, The United Methodist Board of Discipleship offers tips for effective leadership in small groups and other classes. Details

Free webinar “The Importance of Preaching for Children,” Thursday, Aug. 21 10 a.m. CT, a United Methodist Board of Discipleship one-hour interactive webinar discussion on preaching to reach listeners of all ages and abilities. Details

Deadline for “Revitup! … For a Lifetime in Ministry” event for young clergy, Friday, Aug. 22 — Event Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 15-17 in Atlanta for young clergy, ages 25-39, sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The focus is on financial and leadership skills. $149. Details.

Seven Levers Workshop: Missional Strategies for Conferences with Bishop Robert Schnase, Saturday, Aug. 23 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT at Collierville United Methodist Church, 454 W. Poplar Ave., Collier, Tennessee. $10. Details

Symposium on “Understanding Human Trafficking: From Awareness to Action,” Saturday, Aug. 23 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, sponsored by Frankfort District United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women at Frankfort (Kentucky) First United Methodist Church, 211 E. Washington St. $16. Details

Deadline to register for workshop “Small Churches Can Have A Big Impact: Making your Voice & Vote Count!” Monday, Aug. 25 — Event is at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 6. Ohio West Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer will be the keynote speaker at this workshop at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, 3081 Columbus Pike, Delaware, Ohio. $20-25. Details on PDF.

Webinar “Planning Your Fall Financial Campaign,” Tuesday, Aug. 26 — 7-8 p.m. ET This ecumenical webinar features advice on how to customize a stewardship campaign by meeting people where they are on their journey of faith.  $10. Details.

Free webinar “Reaching Younger People — What Churches Are Doing,” Tuesday, Aug. 26 6:30 p.m. CT, Ministries with Young People director Chris Wilterdink and Betsey Heavner of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship will show examples of changes churches are making to engage people under 35 and develop multigenerational ministry. Details.

Free webinar “Creating a Single Board Leadership Structure,” Thursday, Aug. 28 6:30 p.m. CT, Tips from United Methodist Board of Discipleship for reorganizing leadership for vital ministry. Details.

Deadline for early-bird discount on 2015 United Methodist Program Calendars, Sunday. Aug. 31 – Order before date and receive 10 percent discount. Use Promo Code CAL15EP

Game Changers Summit, Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 3-5 United Methodist Communications invites local churches to attend a conference at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The event will focus on how congregations can use technology to strengthen international development. Details

National Hunger Action Month, September — United Methodist partner, the Society of St. Andrew, offers resources to make September a time to take a stand against hunger including a daily prayer calendar, study guides and children’s sermon ideas. Resources.

Deadline to register for online course “United Methodism 101,” Wednesday, Sept. 3 – United Methodist Communications will offer the course Sept. 3-Oct.15. $9.99. Details.

Free webinar “Working with Exceptional Children: ADHD and the Autism Spectrum,” Thursday, Sept. 4 — 7-8 p.m. ET United Methodist Christian educator and certified special education teacher Elizabeth Christie will provide information, strategies and activities for working with those with ADHD and autism. Details.

Converge 2014: A Gathering of Pastors for Pastors, Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 8-10 — The event for clergy and church staff will be at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Joplin, Mo. Erwin Raphael McManus, founder of MOSAIC community of faith in Los Angeles, will be the keynote speaker.$70, discounted from what’s on the website. Details.

Deadline to register for six online courses from United Methodist Communications, Tuesday, Sept. 9 — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses Sept. 10-Oct. 22.“Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” “Connectional Giving,” “Moodle 100: Basic Training,” “Tools for Increasing Your Church’s Vitality,” “Web Ministry 100: What is Web Ministry?” and “Welcoming Ministry 100.” Costs vary. Connectional Giving is free. Details.

Worship Design Studio Planning Retreat, Sunday-Wednesday, Sept. 14-17 — At Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, the Rev. Marcia McFee will guide participants through the entire liturgical year (starting with Advent) in order to map out worship themes and general plans for each season. Details.

Hispanic/Latino/a Heritage Month, Monday, Sept. 15–Wednesday, Oct. 15 — The United Methodist Board of Discipleship shares worship resources.

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