Daily Digest - January 21, 2022

“The academy unites the community. It builds relationships and instills discipline. It gives us a source of entertainment, which takes us away from the streets where we may be lured to use dangerous drugs, and provides a safe environment.”Tatenda Chikwanha, a member of Glen View Football Academy in Zimbabwe.


TODAY’S HEADLINES

United Methodists help young addicts kick habit

HARARE, Zimbabwe (UM News) — United Methodists Raymond and Elizabeth Maravi started a soccer academy in Zimbabwe to help fight drug and substance abuse in their neighborhood. The youth training program now has 66 members, some of whom have gone on to play professionally. In Liberia, church ministries also are taking aim at drugs in an effort to keep children off the streets. Eveline Chikwanah and E Julu Swen have the story.
Read story

Kentucky Conference
Churches bless homeless with winter kits

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two Louisville churches teamed up Jan. 15 to hand out about 70 filled backpack kits to the homeless. The kits, assembled by Kentucky Conference staff, included gloves, socks, winter hats, hand-warmers, travel-size first aid kits, hand sanitizer and face masks. Alan Wild reports.
Read story

The Associated Press
Congregations still struggling from COVID-19

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A United Methodist church has put its property up for sale because it never recovered from support lost during the coronavirus pandemic. Biltmore United Methodist Church was already in danger before the pandemic because of shrinking membership and a struggling preschool. Many other churches from different denominations are in similar straits. Holly Meyer and Haleluya Hadero have the story.
Read story


PRESS RELEASES

Council of Bishops
Bishops call for equal voting rights

WASHINGTON — The Council of Bishops executive committee is calling upon United Methodists to use their influence in their states, legislative districts and local precincts to enable voter registration and to encourage elected officials to provide the resources necessary to support the fullest possible participation in elections.
Read press release
Read statement


COMMENTARIES
UM News includes in the Daily Digest various commentaries about issues in the denomination. The opinion pieces reflect a variety of viewpoints and are the opinions of the writers, not UM News staff.

Open letter to a dying church
DALLAS — Jessica Vittorio writes about how the challenges her local church faces relate to the wider struggles in The United Methodist Church. “If we do not begin having open, honest and transparent conversations within our congregations and denomination about our struggles … then it is more likely than not that my children and future generations will never have the privilege of experiencing God through The United Methodist Church,” she writes.
Read commentary


RESOURCES

Institute for Discipleship
Take a class on crafting dynamic worship 

WINFIELD, Kan. — Worship leaders can get some tips on planning a dynamic praise and worship service for the Easter season through a class offered by BeADisciple.com. The two-week online course begins March 14 and will be led by Darla Thieler, a United Methodist certified lay preacher. Cost to attend is $60.
Read press release
Register for course


EVENTS

Tuesday, Jan. 25-Friday, Feb. 25

Navigating Next: Equipping Leaders for Their Next Season of Ministry

Monday, Jan. 31
Annual Directors of Connectional Ministries Meeting


TOP STORIES FROM THE WEEK

Bishops, others denounce WCA’s vaccine plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — The Wesleyan Covenant Association announced plans to raise money to ensure General Conference delegates in Africa, Eurasia and the Philippines have access to vaccines. However, bishops and other United Methodist leaders challenge the ethics of that plan. Heather Hahn reports.
Read story
Read press release
Read central conference bishops’ statement (PDF)

Wesleyan Covenant Association, Good News
Advocacy groups dispute criticism of vaccine plan

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Three Wesleyan Covenant Association leaders from Zimbabwe, the Philippines and Bulgaria joined in a statement disputing bishops’ criticism of the group’s initiative to vaccinate General Conference delegates. Good News, another theologically conservative advocacy group that is part of the initiative, also disputes criticisms from General Conference organizers. 
Read Wesleyan Covenant Association statement
Read Good News statement 

James Salley on growing tomorrow’s African leaders
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — James Salley, who has been with Africa University in Zimbabwe since it was in the embryonic stage, reflects on the history and future of the United Methodist-related institution. Jim Patterson has the story.
Read story

Claremont School of Theology ordered to sell campus
CLAREMONT, Calif. (UM News) — Claremont School of Theology faces a court order saying it must offer its California campus for sale to The Claremont Colleges, a neighboring consortium of schools — and for a price likely to be millions below fair market value. Sam Hodges reports on this latest challenge for the financially embattled United Methodist seminary.
Read story


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Daily Digest - May 19, 2022

Ministry helping sexual violence survivors receives award; Teams respond after spring tornadoes; Bishop Carcaño remains under suspension

Daily Digest - May 18, 2022

Asking the hard questions about race; Small church gives big for Ukraine; Digging through trash to encourage recycling

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Strangers and sojourners; Pastor played saxophone from the pulpit; Resources for responding to racism