Daily Digest: October 22, 2014

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"We come in expecting a celebration, a day of worship, but it always turns into a funeral." — The Rev. Emmanuel Shanka Morris says of pastoring a church with members mostly from Liberia or Sierra Leone.

Ebola grief: Every church service like a funeral

DALLAS (UMNS) — Across the United States, United Methodist churches with native Liberians and Sierra Leoneans are telling stories of grief and suffering, while trying to rally support for medical relief. Albert B. Travell, a member of First United Methodist Church in Arlington, Texas, had seven family members die from Ebola in July. Kathy Gilbert and Sam Hodges report.


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United Methodist-related hospital answers Ebola call

DALLAS (UMNS) — Methodist Health System in Dallas has agreed to provide space for specialized treatment of Ebola, should more cases materialize in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry announced the involvement of Methodist, among other health care systems. A Methodist Health System facility in Richardson, Texas, near Dallas, will offer an entire floor for Ebola treatment. “It is the right thing to do,” said Stephen Mansfield, president and CEO of Methodist Health System.

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Prayer for those affected by Ebola

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A litany for those suffering because of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was written by the Rev. Frederick Yebuah, a native of Ghana who is also clergy member in the South Carolina Conference. The full litany is available on the Discipleship Ministries website. United Methodist Communications excerpted a portion of the prayer and paired that with music and images from West Africa to create a meditation.

View meditation

Full litany

Immigrant shackled during labor gets visa to stay in U.S.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Juana Villegas, who made national headlines in 2008 when she was shackled to a hospital bed during labor following a routine traffic stop, was issued a U-visa Oct. 21, taking her one step toward U.S. citizenship. Victims of violent crime can get U-visas. A federal judge ruled Davidson County sheriff’s officials violated her rights.

Read story in The Tennessean

Read UMNS coverage

Commentary: Reasons not to go into ministry

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UMNS) — The Rev. Talbot Davis, pastor of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, gives reasons not to go into ministry, including personal validation and emotional healing. He wraps up his commentary by offering the best reason to choose a ministerial career.

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Great Plains votes to end clergy health benefits

WICHITA, Kan. (UMNS) — By a vote of 1,066 to 158, clergy and lay members of the Great Plains Annual Conference decided to end the conference health plan for local church clergy and enrolled lay employees in January 2015. That means many United Methodist employees in the conference, which encompasses Kansas and Nebraska, will need to get insurance from marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. Church pastors serving three-fourths- and full-time will receive a $14,232 “health care allowance.”

Read story from Great Plains Conference

How other conferences are using the Affordable Care Act

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.

Friday, Oct. 24
Conference call on "Health & Disability: Barriers to Inclusion" — 12:30 p.m. ET. Sharon McCart, chair of the DisAbility Ministries Committee of The United Methodist Church, will speak in the conference call presented by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Details.

Saturday-Monday, Oct. 25-27
Embracing Diversity: Developing Effective Ministries in a Multicultural World — Gathering at United Methodist Church for All People, 946 Parsons Ave., Columbus, Ohio, will focus on how to embrace diverse people and appreciate diverse gifts. United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is a sponsor. Details

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

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