Daily Digest: August 25, 2014

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“Do you focus better on vital congregations — which I think lots of us want to do — by leaving more in the hands of conferences?” – Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner, president of the General Council on Finance and Administration.

Slight budget gains projected for agencies
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The denomination’s general agencies will soon start preparing budget proposals that will go before the 2016 General Conference, and for now they expect to have slightly more money. Church leaders approved a bottom-line budget of $611.4 million for general church funds in 2017-2020.

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Education, economy suffer in Ebola outbreak
MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Students and staff from Wesley College of Theology and Management in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia, have not been able to return to their classes because of restrictions and quarantines put into place by health and government officials.

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12-year-old girl preaches to 55,000 United Methodists in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) – A 12-year-old girl preached to thunderous applause from about 55,000 United Methodists attending the Ebenezer Convention, a gathering that included United Methodist delegations from around the world. Taurai Emmanuel Mafora, the Zimbabwe episcopal area communicator, has the story.

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United Methodists team up in Ferguson, Missouri
FERGUSON, Mo. (UMNS) – Television station KSDK in St. Louis broadcast a story highlighting a partnership between two United Methodist pastors and their churches to provide a safe place for children after school was cancelled due to violent protests following the police shooting of an 18-year-old African-American.

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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.

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

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.

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

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.

Early bird deadline for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Leadership Institute, Wednesday Sept. 3— Gathering is Wednesday-Friday, Sept. 24-26. The keynote speaker is Len Sweet, United Methodist scholar and best-selling author. Details

Free webinar “What Can a Congregation do to Change?” Thursday, Sept. 4 6:30 p.m. CT, Phil Maynard, author of “ Shift: Helping Congregations Back into the Game of Effective Ministry” will offer practical ideas for congregational transformation. 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.

GO On Tour, Saturday, Sept. 13-Saturday, Nov.15 — A worship concert featuring Christian hip-hop artist Tedashii and speakers from next year’s national United Methodist youth event YOUTH 2015, will visit each of The United Methodist Church’s five U.S. jurisdictions this fall. Tickets are $15. Details of 10-city tour.

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.

Catapult Conference, Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 15-17 — Conference on “launching leaders into kingdom mission” will be at Cornerstone Church, a United Methodist congregation, 2125 Hamilton Road, Auburn, Alabama. Details

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

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.

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 Sunday envelopes and posters.

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