Daily Digest: July 01, 2014

"If ever we needed any encouragement to continue to focus on those things that make for an ever better Church which is a discipleship movement shaped for mission today, then these statistics provide that." – The Rev. Martyn Atkins on the British Methodist membership decline.

Court: Contraception mandate is violation
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 30 that requiring family-owned, for-profit corporations to pay for insurance coverage of contraception violates a federal law protecting religious freedom. The 5-4 decision limits the coverage of birth control without patients' cost-sharing, as mandated under regulations for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  United Methodists and other Christians across the theological spectrum have been watching the case.

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See decision

British Methodist membership drops
BIRMINGHAM, England (UMNS) – Latest statistics for the British Methodist Church show a significant drop in membership over the past decade, the Rev. Martyn Atkins, the church's top executive, reported June 30. The British Methodist Conference, which meets through July 3, will consider the entire statistics report July 2.

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Live link to Methodist Conference

NCC still concerned over Sudanese Christian
WASHINGTON (UMNS) – The National Council of Churches, one of a multitude of international government and religious organizations protesting the death sentence in Sudan of a Christian woman, expressed relief that Meriam Ibrahim's sentence has been vacated. But the council expressed ongoing concern that Ibrahim, 27, has been denied permission to leave Sudan and may still be in danger.

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Read CNN story

Indiana Conference launches campaign
INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) – More than 300 United Methodists in the Indiana Annual Conference are answering the call to establish a "New Point of Light." Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner has challenged Indiana United Methodist congregations to start a worship service, Bible study or other organized effort to reach new people with the light of Christ. Daniel R. Gangler shares the story of the overwhelming response.

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To contribute to campaign

Bishop McLee asks for leave of absence
NEW YORK (UMNS) – New York Area Bishop Martin McLee has been ill and is requesting the Council of Bishops for a leave of absence "in order to continue my healing and restoration." Under Paragraph 410.1 of the Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book, a bishop may be granted a leave of absence for no more than six months. The leave requires the approval of the McLee's college of bishops, the Northeastern Jurisdiction committee on episcopacy and the executive committee of the Council of Bishops.

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UMTV: Church soccer outreach
SEVILLE, Fla. (UMNS) – Caught up in World Cup fever? This video shares how Seville Trinity United Methodist Church is using soccer to connect with recent immigrants to the area.

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History of Hymns: 'Take this Moment, Sign and Space'
DALLAS (UMNS) – C. Michael Hawn of Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology compares this hymn of consecration, first published in 1989, to the hymn "Take My Life," published more than a century earlier. John L. Bell's more recent addition to worship music is No. 3118 in the United Methodist "Worship & Song."

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