Daily Digest - January 20, 2015

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"Reopening schools is better than letting our children stay home for another semester or year." — Linda Brooks, a parent in Liberia, where schools were closed because of Ebola.

Closed for Ebola, Liberian schools to reopen in February

MONROVIA, Liberia (UMNS) — Students will return to their classrooms in February, a positive sign that the Ebola outbreak is coming under control in this West African country that at one point was reporting 300 new cases each week. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a United Methodist, ordered all schools closed on July 30 in an attempt to contain the deadly epidemic. Julu Swen reports.
Read story and post a comment

UMTV: Taking church to a tattoo parlor

WILDWOOD, Fla. (UMNS) — The Rev. Michael Beck is an unconventional pastor committed to reaching new people for Christ in unconventional places, including holding Bible study in a tattoo parlor. “God took a mess and makes a message,” he says of his own life.
Watch video

Judicial Council sets docket for April meeting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) — The United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, has posted a seven-item docket for its April 15-18 spring meeting at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. The council’s meetings are closed except for oral hearings. No decisions have been announced yet regarding possible hearings in April.
See docket

Church and Society agency realigns staff

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Three top staff at the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, charged with advocating for the church’s social teachings, will be taking on new titles and assuming more responsibilities. They are John Hill, who will oversee advocacy and grassroots organizing, and the Rev. Cynthia Abrams and Mark Harrison, who will both become special assistants to the agency’s top executive.
Read press release

At 109, bishop’s widow has lived life of adventure

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Louise Baird Short, widow of Bishop Roy Short, loves The United Methodist Church and she loves travel. Short, who has attended every General Conference since 1959, celebrates her 109th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 17. In a profile for the Tennessean, the oldest living bishop’s spouse — also older than any bishop — reflects on a life of travel and ministry.
Read story

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.

Tuesday, Jan. 20
Deadline to register for five online courses offered by United Methodist Communications — United Methodist Communications will offer the following courses Jan. 21-March. 4: “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century,” "Connectional Giving," “Moodle 100 — Basic Training," "United Methodism 101,” and “Welcoming Ministry 100." Costs vary. "Connectional Giving" is free. Details.

Free webinar "Nominations Committee Develops Leaders" — 6:30 p.m. CST. Nominations committees in healthy congregations will identify, train and support spiritual leaders throughout the year. This webinar from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries is an overview of the year with tips for helping people find their ministry. Details.

Wednesday, Jan. 21
Live webcast of inaugural Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-based Organizations in International Affairs — 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York. Sponsors include the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, Seventh-Day Adventists, United Methodist Women and the World Council of Churches. The theme is "Human Dignity and Human Rights." To watch livestream.

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

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