"This is my happy place. I get here and something peaceful comes over me." — Rita Thomas of Suncreek United Methodist Church, speaking of being part of mission teams in Juárez, Mexico.
Mission teams glad to be back in Juárez
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico (UMNS) — In 2007, United Methodist mission teams helped build about 200 homes for the poor at Proyecto Abrigo (Project Shelter) in Ciudad Juárez. But drug-cartel related violence in the border city halted those trips for nearly three years. Now the violence is way down, and some mission teams are returning. Sam Hodges reports.
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Religious leaders train for post-Ebola support
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) — Faith leaders in Sierra Leone, both Christian and Muslim, are hoping to become a major voice in healing the country in the aftermath of Ebola, assisted by a new training tool. Phileas Jusu has the story.
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Gift cards encourage godly talk
OCEAN, N.J. (UMNS) — Two New Jersey pastors handed their congregations $10 gift cards to Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts and asked them to go out, meet people in coffee shops, and share with them coffee and conversation about God. Jeff Wolfe of the Greater New Jersey Conference relays the pastors’ tips on this caffeinated form of evangelism.
A tally of Upper Room prayer requests
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — In 2014, the Upper Room Living Prayer Center received 273,580 prayer requests. Many of those were received and answered by United Methodist Men organizations. Rich Peck of United Methodist Men reports.
Lecture scheduled on Russia and Ukraine
WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Church and Society will host the lecture “Russian and Ukraine: Is Reconciliation Possible?” and a response from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 19 at the United Methodist Building. Konstantin Sigov, a Russian Orthodox intellectual at Ukraine’s National University of Kyiv-Mohyla, will deliver the lecture. Elena Glazov-Corrigan, a Moscow native and an associate professor of Russian literature at Emory University in Atlanta, will deliver the response. Space is limited so reservations are requested by Tuesday, March 17.
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Higher education agency names communications head
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry has named Ebony Lincoln as director in its office of communications, previously named the office of interpretation. She will begin work on March 30.
Are churches really welcoming?
BALTIMORE (UMNS) — The pastor and parishioners might consider themselves open and welcoming, but there are ways — both subtle and unsubtle — that church members can signal to newcomers they aren’t welcome. As congregations prepare to welcome Easter visitors, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership shares a column by two Catholic priests on the sort of behavior church regulars should avoid if they want to reach the lost.
Lent Quiz: What does INRI mean on a crucifix?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — If you pay close attention, you will often see letters above Jesus' head on the cross. What do they represent? Learn more by taking our daily Lenten quiz.
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Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put Digest in the subject line.
Thursday, March 12
Free webinar “Disciples Discipling Others: An introduction to Class Leaders as Discipleship Coaches” — 1 p.m. CDT. The Rev. Steve Manskar, who heads Wesleyan leadership for United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, will lead the discussion. Details.
Free webinar “AUDIT is Not a Four-Lettered Word” — 6:30 p.m. CDT. The annual audit of your church's accounting practices does not have to be a stressful or expensive endeavor. The Rev. Ken Sloane of Discipleship Ministries will lead the discussion on how audits can serve stewardship. Details.