Daily Digest: August 29, 2014

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“God works on us. And I get to work with a lot of wonderful, passionate people.” – Susan Hellums, border area mission coordinator.

Border trio answers call to help immigrants
McALLEN, Texas (UMNS) — The Rev. Javier Leyva, Susan Hellums and Cindy Andrade Smith are Rio Grande Valley natives and committed United Methodists who have helped steer the denomination's humanitarian response to the summer surge of Central American immigrants. Leyva was just three weeks into a new appointment when he got sent back to the Valley to oversee the work.

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Quake damage leaves Napa sanctuary off limits
NAPA, Calif. (UMNS) — Because of earthquake damage, the historic sanctuary and parking lot of First United Methodist Church has been “red tagged” to prohibit entry until further notice. The good news: The building is not in danger of collapse. A drone helped assess the damage, reports Jonathan Bloom of San Francisco’s ABC 7, who interviewed the Rev. Lee Neish, the pastor.

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Watch ABC 7 report

Responding to worst Ebola outbreak in history
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The cross-border Ebola epidemic continues to spread and claim lives. The World Health Organization said this morning that the death toll could reach 20,000, and the virus is reported to have surfaced outside Nigeria's capital city. The Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications, shares how his agency is responding to the crisis.

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Liberian missionary talks about Ebola crisis
MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Priscilla Legay Jaiah, a missionary with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries serving in her home country of Liberia, talks about the toll of the Ebola epidemic in a short video. The Liberian government has declared a 90-day state of emergency, she reports, which means schools, businesses and markets are closed. The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has killed 1,552 people so far, says the World Health Organization.

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The church responds to Ebola

Historic site honors pioneering woman
RENSSELAER, Ind. (UMNS) — The Indiana Annual (regional) Conference on Aug. 24 dedicated the newest United Methodist Historic Site, a group of places significant in the life of the Rev. Helenor M. Alter Davisson, the first woman ordained in the American Methodist tradition. The Rev. Dan Gangler has the story.

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Read a profile of Davisson from the United Methodist Commission on Status and Role of Women

First-ever portrait of pioneer circuit rider unveiled
RENSSELAER, Ind. (UMNS) — It took a photographic restoration expert, a forensic artist, several historians and archivists and a skilled portrait painter to give a face to the legend of Rev. Helenor Alter Davisson. The new portrait was unveiled at the dedication of the historic site. The portrait will be displayed at the World Council of Methodism’s museum at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women’s Susan Keaton has the story of the portrait’s creation.

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