Daily Digest - January 11, 2022

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“I have seen there is hope and more blessings in being a volunteer in the mission of God.”The Rev. César Lodiha Akoka.


Pastor passes along blessings to orphans, widows

KINSHASA, Congo (UM News) — It was from the many times God answered his prayers that the Rev. César Lodiha Akoka felt called to start the first Volunteers in Mission club in his home country and on the campus of United Methodist Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Through the clubs, he and more than 50 young adults reach out to marginalized people in their communities. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story. 
Read story

South Carolina Conference
Contemporary service draws newcomers

GREER, S.C. — As the pandemic led in-person worship to dwindle most everywhere, Sharon United Methodist Church started a contemporary service that struck a chord with unchurched neighbors. Sharon isn’t a big church, but it is in a growing community. Jessica Brodie has the story.
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New York Conference
Bishop asks for prayer following tragic fire

NEW YORK — New York Conference Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton calls upon all United Methodists throughout the connection to join in intercessory prayer and response after a Jan. 9 apartment building fire in the Bronx that killed at least 17 people, including nine children. “We know that when words cannot suffice, we must lean on faith, and fervent prayers are the ultimate balm,” Bickerton wrote. “May God’s mercy extend especially to the Bronx today.”  
Read statement 

Florida Conference 
Mary McLeod Bethune shapes church leaders today

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Mary McLeod Bethune was at home as a White House adviser, and her statue now has a home in the U.S. Capitol. The pioneering educator, civil rights advocate and committed Methodist left a legacy that still shapes church leaders today. Joe Henderson has the story.
Read story 
Ask The UMC: Black women pioneers in Methodism

Texas Conference
Bells ringing again at East Texas church

MARSHALL, Texas — For more than a decade, no bells had rung from historic First United Methodist Church of Marshall, in East Texas. Now, a new electronic carillon is regularly sharing hymns and other inspirational tunes. Lindsay Peyton tells how the church got its bell groove back.
Read story

Lewis Center for Church Leadership
How to organize an intergenerational MLK Day

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — For nearly 10 years, Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church has made the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday a time for intergenerational learning and service. Jessica L. Anschutz shares tips on how churches large or small might launch a similar effort to educate and inspire young people and connect with the broader community.
Read story


Texas Methodist Foundation
Boigegrain joins foundation board

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Methodist Foundation has six new board members. Among them are Barbara Boigegrain, who recently retired as longtime top executive of Wespath Benefits and Investments, and Colette Pierce Burnette, president of United Methodist-related Huston-Tillotson University in Austin. 
Read press release
UM News: Boigegrain ready for life after Wespath


Kairos Response, MFSA
Webinar looks at developments in Israel/Palestine

DETROIT — The advocacy groups United Methodists for Kairos Response and Methodist Federation for Social Action will present a webinar on developments in Israel/Palestine, at 1 p.m. U.S. Eastern time Jan. 12. The webinar hosts will discuss how laws can silence justice advocates. 
To learn more and register 

Gammon Theological Seminary
Training for ‘Navigating Next’ in the church

ATLANTA — Gammon Theological Seminary plans to present virtual leadership intensives Jan. 25-Feb. 25, to equip pastors and church leaders for what they will be “Navigating Next” in 2022. The free sessions are especially designed to address the “pain points” of pastors and church leaders in small churches. 
To learn more and register 

UM News reprint policy
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As a new year begins, UM News wants to share that local churches, annual conferences and other publications and media organizations are free to link to and reprint our articles. We ask that our photographers, writers and UM News itself be credited and that the content not be changed or presented in a way that alters its original meaning.


Churches face another test with omicron

Trailblazing Bishop Wilbur Choy dies at 103


Saturday, Jan. 22

Do No Harm: Understanding and Challenging the School-to-Prison Pipeline

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