Daily Digest - December 19, 2014

“The news that Cuba and the United States are now ending a half-century of hostility is welcome indeed during this season of Advent.” — Jim Winkler, National Council of Churches.

Ecumenical applause for new U.S-Cuba relations

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Both the National Council of Churches and Church World Service applauded the new diplomatic agreement between the United States and Cuba and the return of Alan Gross, imprisoned for five years in Cuba. The Rev. John McCullough, a United Methodist pastor and CWS top executive, led a delegation of U.S. faith-based advocates to Cuba in early November to support the release of Gross.
Read NCC story
Read CWS story

Swift evacuations show lessons learned from Haiyan

BAYBAY, Philippines (UMNS) — One legacy of a deadly 2013 typhoon that killed more than 7,000 in the Philippines was that it helped residents prepare for a similar storm this year. Many credited the low Typhoon Hagupit death toll of 27 to the successful evacuations of about 1 million Filipinos to safer areas. Gladys P. Mangiduyos reports.
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Commentary: Artists join Ebola fight in Liberia

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Public awareness campaigns, including murals that share key health messages about the deadly Ebola virus, have contributed to a decline in confirmed cases in Liberia. Three of Liberia’s locally renowned artists have collaborated on a mural for Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency. Nyamah E. Dunbar reports.
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George Whitefield: Friend to Methodism

SUGAR LAND, Texas (UMNS) — This week marks the 300th anniversary of George Whitefield's birth. The Rev. C. Chappell Temple, lead pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, shares the story of this evangelical leader who was a friend of the Wesley brothers and inspiration to Benjamin Franklin.
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More on Whitefield from Religion News Service

History of Hymns: “Silent Night”

DALLAS (UMNS) — The story of “Stille Nacht” is one of the most endearing and enduring in Christian hymnody. C. Michael Hawn in his Discipleship Ministries column shares more about the Catholic priest who wrote the original hymn and what the carol’s first verse literally means in English.
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Advent quiz: We three kings?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Bible does not mention kings visiting the baby Jesus, but Magi. Who do scholars speculate the Magi actually were? Take today’s quiz, then come back every day through Christmas for more questions and great information!
Take today's quiz
UMC.org Advent quiz

Merry Christmas!
United Methodist News Service will not publish a Daily Digest Dec. 22-Jan. 5. The Daily Digest will return on Tuesday, Jan. 6. The staff at United Methodist News Service wishes you a blessed Christmas season.

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