Daily Digest: July 25, 2014

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“The Holy Spirit led us here. This was the family we were missing.” – Bryan Burroughs on why his family joined McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn.

United Methodist church vitality increases in U.S.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Between 2010 and 2012, the denomination more than doubled its percentage of “highly vital” congregations in the U.S. from 14.8 percent to 33.9 percent. Here’s what makes churches vibrant and why some United Methodist churches are growing.

Read story and post a comment

Path to Civil Rights Act took sacrifice, faith
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodist Edith Lee-Payne, who as a young girl heard the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speak at the March on Washington in 1963, wants people to remember the struggle and sacrifice that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Read reflection

Emergency food, prayers for Gaza
NEW YORK (UMNS) — Food insecurity in Gaza is one of the results of the current deadly conflict between Israel and Palestine. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is working with American Near East Refugee Aid to provide emergency food assistance to 650 Palestinian families. In a statement, Church World Service, a humanitarian aid group, said the conflict “threatens the dignity and hope for all people in the region.” United Methodist Missionaries Alex Awad and Kristen Brown have written a prayer of support for those caught in the conflict.

Call to prayer

Church World Service statement

Donate to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450

Call for Congress to address border crisis
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — A wide coalition of faith, human rights and development groups, including the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and the National Council of Churches, called on Congress to address the humanitarian crisis of tens of thousands of children from Central America who have been apprehended and detained at the U.S. border. The call came in a full-page ad in the July 23 edition of The Hill newspaper.

Read press release

See ad

Read New York Times story

D.C. gathering focuses on Korean Peninsula
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — An ecumenical event focusing on how to establish lasting peace and eventual reunification on the Korean Peninsula begins today and ends Saturday with a peace march to Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Bishop Hee-Soo Jung will speak. The 2012 General Conference called on the church to organize a peace march for reconciliation on the peninsula.

More on peace march and vigil

United Methodists rebuild 60 homes in N.J.
Ocean, N.J. (UMNS) — In the 20 months since Sandy swept across the Northeast, volunteer teams from 37 United Methodist annual (regional) conferences have helped rebuild 60 homes in New Jersey, and the work continues. More than 7,134 volunteers have assisted homeowners like Billy from Port Monmouth.

Watch Billy’s video

Hurricane Sandy: The church responds

3 ideas for using cell phones in worship
MOBILE, Ala. (UMNS) — What if we took advantage of that incredible little tool most people have at their fingertips? Learn from the Rev. Jeremy Steele, writing for United Methodist Communications, how cell phones can help people stay engaged and interact with worship services.

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