Daily Digest: January 7, 2014

“At a time when society is divided and many are wearied by political corruption and stagnation, our church has an opportunity to be a moral force.”—The Rev. John Calhoun, a United Methodist missionary in Ukraine.

Merry Christmas to Eurasia Episcopal Area

MOSCOW (UMNS) — Merry Christmas to our fellow United Methodists in Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and other parts of the Eurasia Episcopal Area. Thanks to a trick of calendars, many United Methodists in the former Soviet Union celebrate Christ’s birth twice. They celebrate the Nativity on Dec. 25 in the Gregorian calendar, which the rest of the denomination uses. Then they celebrate again on Jan. 7, which is Dec. 25 in the Julian calendar used year-round by their Russian Orthodox neighbors in the west. For these United Methodists, one Christmas observance is typically more worshipful; the other more light-hearted. Isn’t Christ’s coming into the world worth celebrating multiple times?
Learn more about the differing calendars

United Methodists and the political crisis in Ukraine

KIEV (UMNS) — The Rev. John Calhoun, a United Methodist missionary in Ukraine, offers insight into how United Methodists are responding to the protests against the nation’s government. Calhoun, writing for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, shares how United Methodists in the country are divided about whether Ukraine should have closer ties to the European Union or Russia but still share common goals.
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Fire destroys Nebraska church

SYRACUSE, Neb. (UMNS) — “God is bigger than a fire. Bigger than the weather. And bigger than a building. We are a blessed people.” Those were the words the Syracuse United Methodist Church posted to its Facebook page after a fire discovered the evening of Jan. 5 destroyed the 102-year-old church building. The Nebraska City News Press reported wind gusts up to 32 miles an hour when the fire started.
See Facebook posts
Read Omaha.com story

‪Beer on tap at SMU games‬‬

‪DALLAS (UMNS) — Southern Methodist University, a United Methodist-related school, made headlines by adding beer sales at its newly renovated basketball arena. The Dallas Morning News reports. ‬
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Emory named top ‘green school’ in U.S.

ATLANTA (UMNS) — United Methodist–related Emory University has been named the nation's top "Higher Education Institution" by the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools in its annual “Best of Green Schools 2013” report. The list recognizes leadership in raising the bar for creating healthy, safe and resource-efficient schools.
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History of Hymns: ‘That Boy-Child of Mary’

DALLAS (UMNS) — Thomas Stevenson Colvin (1925-2000) was a Scottish minister and missionary who served in Africa at a time of rising nationalism and African independence from colonial powers. In many cases, Colvin wrote Christian texts for existing African tunes. "That Boy-Child of Mary" uses a melody from Malawi. C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology shares a hymn’s history each Thursday on the website of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
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A simple plan for reading Scripture in 2014

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) — Bishop Ken Carter of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference invites United Methodists to join him in reading the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles throughout 2014. He also asks that participants invite “one person to experience this spiritual practice with you.”
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A resolution to pray each day

SUMMERFIELD, N.C. (UMNS) — Sarah McKinney of the Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference is committed to helping her family and her congregation, Glencoe United Methodist Church, find new ways to pray throughout 2014. In January, she will use resources developed by the World Council of Churches for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. She invites other United Methodists to join her.
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