Daily Digest - December 17, 2019


"We keep everything we say and do in this season and especially on Christmas Eve filtered through the eyes and ears of someone who has never been to church." — The Rev. Chip Freed, lead pastor of Garfield Memorial Church, a multi-ethnic United Methodist congregation near Cleveland.

NEWS AND FEATURES

What should a Christmas welcome look like?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — New research shows more spiritual seekers are interested in visiting a United Methodist church. As congregations prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, Heather Hahn reports on different ways churches say "Welcome home" on Christmas Eve.
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New church expands reach in Burundi
MUREHE, Burundi (UM News) — Ten times as many worshippers can now attend Sunday services at Saint Paul United Methodist Church in this village in southern Burundi. United Methodists in the country raised $145,000 to build a new, much larger church. Pepi Mbabaye has the story.
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Church in Malawi aids cyclone survivors
NTCHEU, Malawi (UM News) — Nine months after Cyclone Idai hit parts of Malawi, leaving 87,000 homeless, the Malawi United Methodist Church is continuing to distribute relief items to survivors in the Ntcheu District. Many in the area lost their crops to flooding. More than 1,000 families from seven villages received food supplies during the church's recent outreach campaign. Francis Nkhoma reports.
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Florida Conference
Pastor has vision for Haitian island

LAKELAND, Fla. — A pastor in Haiti dreams of training 20 ministers, establishing 20 churches and starting 20 schools. The Rev. Jean-Jacques Agones' ministry on the island of La Gonave is being assisted by Carlson United Methodist Church in LaBelle, North Naples Church in Naples and other Florida United Methodist churches. Suzanne McGovern has the story.
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South Georgia Conference
Advent candles spark church fire

BAXLEY, Ga. — Baxley First United Methodist Church was damaged by fire Dec. 15, but no injuries were reported. Church leaders say the fire was an accident that started in the pulpit area where candles on an Advent wreath were left burning unattended. Kara Witherow reports.
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Texas Conference
10 steps to hosting a live Nativity

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The Christmas story literally comes to life every year at Christ Church United Methodist Church — when actors and animals spring into action for the live Nativity on Christmas Eve. Along the way, organizer Maggie Wood has learned a few tips to assist other churches who are considering hosting their own living Nativity. Lindsay Peyton has the story.
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PRESS RELEASES

RCCongress 2020
United Methodists part of once-a-decade event

WASHINGTON — More than 500 religion communicators, including United Methodists, are expected to participate in Religion Communication Congress 2020 March 17-21 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. The theme is "Communicating Faith in the Public Square." An interfaith panel discussion on communicating and promoting religious declarations will include Jim Winkler, a United Methodist and top executive of the National Council of Churches.
Read press release
More about RCCongress 2020 and how to register

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EVENTS

Thursday, Dec. 19

Poet's Corner featuring John Harn

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