Daily Digest - May 6, 2021

“I truly believe the churches can make a significant impact and contribution to stop this pandemic. The church is called to be a steward of that health or shalom.” Dr. Nezer A. Soriano, a health board coordinator for the church in the Philippines.

NEWS AND FEATURES

Church leaders urge stronger pandemic response
MANILA, Philippines (UM News) — Amid increasing COVID-19-related cases and deaths, the Philippines United Methodist Board of Church and Society is urging government action and coherent direction. “As a faith community, it is incumbent of us to be the voice of Filipinos who go through severe devastations brought by the pandemic,” said the Rev. Aniceto R. Villalon Jr., executive director of the board. Gladys P. Mangiduyos reports.
Read story

Greater New Jersey Conference
Soul Café feeds body, mind and spirit
MAGNOLIA, N.J. — In the three years since it began, the one constant at Soul Café Supper & Service has been adapting to change. The ministry of Magnolia United Methodist Church began as a community food pantry and worship service, but has branched out into helping neighbors with home repairs, distributing books and performing baptisms. Heather Mistretta reports.
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Great Plains Conference
Kansas church is old hand at outdoor services
LENEXA, Kan. — Many United Methodist churches have given outdoor worship a try in the COVID-19 pandemic. Lenexa United Methodist Church, near Kansas City, is marking its 35th year of holding warm-weather worship services in a nearby park. David Burke reports.
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Eastern Pennsylvania Conference
Red dresses mourn missing women
POTTSTOWN, Pa. — Red dresses were hung in trees to symbolize missing indigenous women at the Pottstown Powwow at Riverfront Park. The event also included music, dance, drumming and food. The National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was April 29-May 5. John W. Coleman has the story.
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The Tennessean
Church opens doors to Muslims for prayers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Islamic Center of Nashville is undergoing a remodel. Needing space for Friday prayers during Ramadan, the center found help from nearby Belmont United Methodist Church. The congregation offered up its community center. Holly Meyer has the story.
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WRBL-CBS
Lightning strike damages historic church
ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. — A lightning strike during May 4’s severe weather is thought to be the cause of a fire that gutted the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church. Firefighters were able to salvage much of the building and no one was hurt. Elizabeth White has the story.
Read and watch story 

PRESS RELEASES

Christmas Covenant
A call to prayer and remembrance
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Central conference and U.S. leaders will participate in a virtual prayer service on May 8 to remember lives lost to the pandemic, pray for the sick and lift up the justice and compassion ministries of The United Methodist Church. Bishops Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Rodolfo Juan, Christian Alsted, Harald Rückert and James Swanson are among those taking part. The service will be livestreamed on the Christmas Covenant’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Read press release 
Watch livestream 

COMMENTARIES

UM News includes in the Daily Digest various commentaries about issues in the denomination. The opinion pieces reflect a variety of viewpoints and are the opinions of the writers, not the UM News staff.

Online communion should not be here to stay
ATLANTA (UM News) — While administering communion online was necessary due to the coronavirus, seminary student Chase Crickenberger feels it should be suspended once churches can meet in person again. The church would risk further marginalizing shut-ins and others by denying them a physical experience of the Body of Christ, he writes.
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RECENT HEADLINES

Holocaust research leads to spiritual journey

Judicial Council releases more decisions

EVENTS 

Thursday, May 13
Webinar on issues facing Native American communities


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Daily Digest - June 15, 2021

Groups help alleviate hunger in Zimbabwe; Ask The UMC: Is our time of death predetermined?; Church stretches outreach to India

Daily Digest - June 14, 2021

Cicadas show up for church, testing clergy; Bishop Taylor to retire; Church hosts memorial for Pulse victims

Daily Digest - June 11, 2021

Churches have a role in overcoming vaccine hesitancy; Where is John Wesley's birthplace?; Top stories from the week