Daily Digest - July 21, 2015

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"We're just trying to get through the shock and the pain and anger, and trusting in God that this all happened for a reason." — Liz First, lay leader of Cassopolis (Michigan) United Methodist Church, whose gay pastor was forced to resign last week.

Gay pastor’s removal brings sadness, defiance

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (UMNS) — The Rev. Benjamin David Hutchison, an African Methodist Episcopal pastor, was forced to resign last week from his supportive United Methodist congregation after his district superintendent received a complaint that Hutchison was openly gay and in a relationship. On Friday, Hutchison had married his longtime partner, Monty Hutchison, with nearly 30 United Methodist pastors in attendance. Nine of those pastors are now facing a complaint for officiating at the wedding in defiance of church law, said one of the pastors facing a complaint. Heather Hahn reports.
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Annual meetings stir human sexuality debates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists talked of many things at their annual regional meetings but some of the most passionate discussions revolved around what scripture and the denomination’s lawbook say about human sexuality. The conferences are preparing legislation they will take to the 2016 General Conference. Kathy L. Gilbert has the story
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Slideshow 2: 2015 Annual Conferences

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Each year, clergy and lay members attend their conference's session for worship, fellowship and to conduct business. Kathleen Barry, with help from conference volunteers, assembled a slideshow with highlights from many of the 2015 meetings around the global United Methodist Church. This is the second of two slideshows.
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UMCOR assists families caught in Afghan conflict

NEW YORK (UMNS) — Armed conflict between national security forces and Taliban combatants in Afghanistan has displaced or trapped more than 20,000 families in the Kunduz province, where the hardship was compounded by recent severe flooding. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is partnering with Community World Service to provide emergency food supplies to 365 of these families, a total of 2,555 individuals.
Give to UMCOR International Disaster Response  

Claflin University receives top honors

HAMPTON, Va. (UMNS) — United Methodist-related Claflin University was named the 2015 HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) of the Year at the annual AARP HBCU Awards presented by Hampton University, taking awards for best college and best alumni association. Claflin and other colleges in South Carolina were lauded for standing with their communities in the hours following the historic removal of the Confederate flag.
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Fargo church has mother-daughter pastors

FARGO, N.D. — As church leaders developed the job description for the pastor of discipleship position at Fargo's First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Marilyn Spurrell, senior pastor, knew she had a match. But how would church leadership respond? Meredith Holt reports for the Jamestown Sun.
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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.

Saturday, July 25
Circuit 7 Mission Workday — Starting at 8 a.m. CDT with breakfast at Jim Falls United Methodist Church, 13883 County Highway S.S., Jim Falls, Wisconsin. Jim Falls, Holcombe and Anson United Methodist churches each year do day of service in their neighborhoods including work at food pantries, homeless shelters and park cleanup. Work sites are selected from suggestions from the three churches and include members of the churches and non-members selected by the three congregations. The project also includes collecting shoes for the Souls for Soles project. To help, contact Michelle Stoffel at 715-828-5041 or [email protected].

Early-bird deadline for "Therefore, Go!" evangelism conference — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT Saturday, Aug. 1 at Sidney United Methodist Church in Sidney, Nebraska. Bishop Scott J. Jones is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. The day includes times for worship and workshops. Lunch is included in the fee, which is $25 per person for registration until July 25. The cost increases to $35 per person after July 25. Hotel accommodations of $109 per night, plus tax, have been arranged with Hampton Inn in Sidney. Details

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

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