Daily Digest: August 27, 2014

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“They walk toward the shining light.” – The Rev. Javier Leyva, describing how unaccompanied minors coming from Central America often surrender themselves to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Border trip brings immigration crisis into focus
McALLEN, Texas (UMNS) – United Methodists leaders spent three days in the Rio Grande Valley, learning firsthand about the summer border crisis that saw thousands of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America making their way across Mexico and into the United States. For Bishop Minerva Carcaño, the trip was a poignant homecoming, as well as a chance to strategize about the denomination's response, both in advocacy and humanitarian relief. First in a three-part series.

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Prayers going out to West Africa in wake of Ebola
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (UMNS) – Thousands of United Methodists in the U.S. with family and friends in West Africa are donating, fasting and praying for an end to the Ebola outbreak.

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A walk together in holy justice and peace
NEW YORK (UMNS) – “Peace and justice in the holy land cannot be expected until the contending parties there recognize the humanity, the existence of the other,” writes Thomas Kemper, top executive, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, in a reflection on the recent Walking with Palestinian Christians Conference.

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Shoebox Christmas is coming
SHEYENNE, N.D. (UMNS) – Soon, treat-filled shoeboxes will begin arriving at the Spirit Lake Ministry Center here. To children living on impoverished reservations, these treasure chests may be the only Christmas gift they receive. Last year, Mike and Libby Flowers gave away a record 6,552 shoeboxes to six reservations in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Nearly half came from outside the Dakotas Annual (regional) Conference.

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Candler centennial opens with Aug. 28 convocation
ATLANTA (UMNS) – The centennial celebration of Emory University's Candler School of Theology will begin Aug. 28 with an opening convocation in Cannon Chapel. Also in the works: a new book on its history, the dedication of a new building for Pitts Theology Library and a series of events throughout the academic year.

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Churches, wary of gaming, embrace casino workers
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (UMNS) – When gambling was proposed for Atlantic City 38 years ago, most religious denominations viewed it as a vice that could destroy families and communities. Now, many of the same churches are standing firmly by casino workers who are expected to lose their jobs in massive numbers. "There are going to be a lot of people hurting," said John R. Schol, bishop of the United Methodist Greater New Jersey Annual (regional) Conference. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the story.

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Bishop Looney named 2014 Distinguished Evangelist
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (UMNS) – The Foundation for Evangelism announced the selection of Bishop Richard C. Looney as the 2014 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church. After serving as the first bishop of the South Georgia Annual (regional) Conference, he chose to return to his pastoral roots accepting an appointment as pastor of a small, rural church in northeast Tennessee.

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History of Hymns: ‘O Jesus, I Have Promised’
DALLAS (UMNS) – You might think of this as the 19th century version of a pop song that suffers from too much radio play. At one point, this hymn by John Ernest Bode was so popular that bishops in the Church of England grew weary of it and discouraged its use at confirmation. Nearly 150 years since its composition, music scholar C. Michael Hawn describes Bode’s creation as one of the church’s “most enduring hymns of Christian discipleship” and one that confirmands can appreciate today.

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