Daily Digest - December 18, 2014

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“Even in the relief stages, we’re doing a lot with consultation. That’s absolutely essential and critical with all our programs.” — Sharad Aggarwal, United Methodist Committee on Relief

10 years later, pointing to a good tsunami recovery

NEW YORK (UMNS) — In the decade following the devastating Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami, The United Methodist Church has participated in major rebuilding, community development and livelihood projects in Indonesia and Sri Lanka — thanks to a generous response by church members. Linda Bloom has the story.
Read story and view slideshow

Church damaged by arson but ministry continues

HAZEL, Ky. (UMNS) — Ten days before Christmas, Mason’s Chapel United Methodist Church lost its building to arson and vandalism. Lane Gardner Camp of the Memphis Conference reports that the fire did not extinguish the church’s outreach work.
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Agency cheers move on U.S.-Cuba relations

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society, which promotes the denomination’s social teachings, applauded President Obama’s efforts to begin re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. The agency noted General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, has long called for lifting economic sanctions.
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‘Pie Girl’ uses pastries to fund missions

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (UMNS) — Behind the cute nickname and sweet pastries that Cat Gleason makes and sells is a commitment to the ministry of St. Peter’s United Methodist Church. So far, she has raised more than $20,000 for the church’s missions. Jeff Wolfe has the story for the Greater New Jersey Conference.
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United Methodists share stories of beloved Nativity scenes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Christians cherish and adore Nativity sets made from the likes of olive wood, felt, clay, paper-mâché, porcelain, plastic and carved stone in a variety of shapes and sizes. The United Methodist Church’s official Facebook page asked readers to send in stories and photos of their favorite crèche scenes. Crystal Caviness shares some of the highlights.
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Seminary awarded $500,000 Lilly grant

EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) — Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has been awarded a grant of $500,000 by the Lilly Endowment Inc., as a part of its "Initiative to Strengthen the Quality of Preaching.” This initiative seeks to improve the quality of preaching among working pastors and preaching instruction for seminary students.
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Advent quiz: O Christmas tree

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Today’s question: The first Christmas trees were decorated with what items? Come back every day for more questions and great information.
Take today's quiz
UMC.org Advent quiz

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.

Thursday, Jan. 8
Free webinar "Stewardship and Finance: Getting it Right at the Starting Line" — 6:30 p.m. CT. This webinar focuses on the new member of the Stewardship Team, Finance Committee or Church Council — those who are looking to get started on the right foot. Details.

Saturday, Jan. 10
Deadline to apply for Peace with Justice grants — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society awards grants to United Methodist churches and ecumenical groups working through at least one United Methodist organization that witnesses "to God's demands for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world. Details.

You can see more educational opportunities and other upcoming events in the life of the church here.

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