Daily Digest: June 27, 2014

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“For my friends that want to bury the past because parts of it are so ugly and painful, I remind you that those of us that claim Jesus are able to do so because we point back to a painful day on a hill called Calvary. It was there that God used the painful, degrading and ugly act of crucifixion as a tool of redemption."
– Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., of Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference, reflecting on an anniversary memorial service for slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

German United Methodists seek peace for Russia, Ukraine
FRANKFURT, Germany (UMNS) — United Methodists in Germany are encouraging their government to work toward a negotiated, peaceful settlement of the dispute between Russia and Ukraine. The denomination’s Eurasia episcopal area includes congregations and social ministries in both countries.

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UMCOR responds to border crisis
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – At the request of San Antonio Area Bishop James E. Dorff, the United Methodist Committee on Relief will expedite an emergency grant to help with the denomination’s response to the increased flow of refugees coming from Mexico into the United States. Many of those coming are unaccompanied children.

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Bishop Swanson: Remembering Freedom Summer
PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (UMNS) — Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., the first African-American bishop of the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference, writes about traveling to Mount Zion United Methodist Church to a memorial service for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who were murdered 50 years ago. Mount Zion’s building was burned to the ground in 1964 for the congregation's role in the civil rights movement .

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What’s a pastor to do about same-sex unions?
INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS) — After a federal judge overturned Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, Indiana Area Bishop Michael J. Coyner offers guidance to pastors on ministry to and with gay individuals. He cautions clergy that church law still bans officiating at same-gender weddings. However, he also cautions against the sin of religious hypocrisy.

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Pastor nurturing Native American, church relationships
OKLAHOMA CITY (UMNS) — The Rev. Chebon Kernell, an ordained United Methodist elder and member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, talks about his calling to ministry and his work as executive secretary of Native American and Indigenous Ministries for the Board of Global Ministries. Holly McCray of the Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference has the story.

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Chaplain to throw out pitch at Phillies game
PHILADELPHIA (UMNS) - Hundreds of United Methodists in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference will gather June 28 at Citizens Bank Park for the annual United Methodist Day at the Phillies. Brigadier Gen. Charles Bailey, a United Methodist and the U.S. Army's Deputy Chief of Chaplains, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He also will keynote a prayer breakfast and preach over the weekend. John W. Coleman of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference reports.

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