Daily Digest: August 26, 2014

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“The question is: Is there a middle ground that will allow most of the traditionalists to stay and yet satisfy most of the progressives?” – Great Plains Area Bishop Scott Jones.

Downtown Napa earthquake damage includes church
NAPA, Calif. (UMNS) – A 97-year-old United Methodist church was among the historic buildings in downtown Napa damaged by the Aug. 24 earthquake that struck northern California. First United Methodist Church of Vallejo suffered superficial damage in what is being called the strongest earthquake to hit the area in 25 years.

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Church’s top communication exec to retire next year
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – The Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications for more than 14 years, announced Aug. 25 that he plans to retire in about 10 months. United Methodist Communications is the agency charged with sharing the denomination’s message around the globe.

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Bishop: Beware costs of sexuality debate
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – The United Methodist Church’s intensifying debate around human sexuality has substantial financial implications for the global church, a bishop warned the denomination’s finance agency.

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New forum on human sexuality and the church
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – “Sharing in Faith” is a new online forum where United Methodists can share perspectives on human sexuality and better understand one another’s journeys on this issue. United Methodist Communications is providing this forum for first-person perspectives. The idea is not to persuade or dissuade people, but to help them understand one another as persons of faith dealing with a challenging issue.

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McElvaney, social justice advocate, dies at 86
DALLAS (UMNS) – The Rev. William McElvaney, a retired United Methodist pastor and seminary president known for social justice advocacy, died Sunday, Aug. 24. McElvaney made news earlier this year by defying church law to officiate at a same-sex wedding for two longtime members of Northaven United Methodist Church, where he was pastor emeritus.

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Post-war trauma, mistrust, fuel Ebola crisis
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – A posse of young boys armed with slingshots blockades a road to prevent a Red Cross vehicle from bringing medical supplies into a village wracked by Ebola. In another area, residents throw stones at an arriving health team. The Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, says in a blog post that these reports remind him of conversations with survivors of horrific conflict.

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Grieving for the people of Iraq
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – The National Council of Churches USA grieves not only for Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq, but also for the suffering of all people there. The council also condemns the killing of kidnapped U.S. journalist James Foley.

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Free clinic provides care at Ebenezer Convention
HARARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) – Staff from United Methodist hospitals and clinics in Zimbabwe provided free services through a mobile dental clinic at the Ebenezer Convention, a gathering of about 55,000 United Methodists. People lined up at the mobile clinic to get dental check-ups, extractions and fillings. The clinic also checked blood pressure and treated ailments such as sore throats during the Aug. 15-17 event.

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Coming Wednesday: A UMNS special report on immigration
MCALLEN, Texas (UMNS) – A United Methodist delegation recently visited the Rio Grande Valley to get a first-hand look at the border crisis caused by a surge of unaccompanied minors and families crossing into the United States. UMNS reports on what delegation members saw and how that shapes recommendations for a deeper United Methodist response on immigration issues. The coverage will include stories on a United Methodist Women-supported community center in Laredo, Texas, and on United Methodists who do full-time ministry on the border, and what this summer has meant for them.

An item for the weekly digest and Monday daily digest had an incorrect link. Details of the free United Methodist Board of Discipleship webinar "Creating a Single Board Leadership Structure," Thursday, Aug. 28 - 6:30 p.m. CT can be found here.

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