Daily Digest: October 27, 2014

"When I looked at the Wesleyan doctrine of grace, I realized I really was at home, and that’s why I’m UM." — Montgomery (Alabama) Area Bishop Paul Leeland.

Top court affirms Schaefer’s reinstatement as clergy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UMNS) – The Rev. Frank Schaefer will remain a clergyman in The United Methodist Church, the denomination’s top court has ruled. The Judicial Council decision affirmed a June decision by a regional appeals committee to reinstate Schaefer’s ministerial credentials, modifying the penalty imposed upon the Pennsylvania pastor after he was found guilty last November of violating church law by performing a same-sex wedding for his son in 2007. In its decision, the Judicial Council also recognized the fact that “some within the church do not support this outcome today.”

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Read full text of decision

Take the rice bucket challenge for Ebola

NORTH CANTON, Ohio (UMNS) — The deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa has created another potential crisis – starvation. The East Ohio Conference has launched the Rice Bucket Challenge to help feed United Methodists in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Every $70 donated will buy one 110-pound bag of rice. Communicator Rick Wolcott has a report.

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Religion and race agency awards $1.2 million in grants

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race, at its fall board meeting, voted to award more than $1.2 million in grants for projects to increase intercultural competency among United Methodist leaders, vital conversations about race and systemic equity. This marks the first time the agency has distributed grants to the central conferences, church regions in Africa, Europe and the Philippines.

See list of supported projects

Bishop: Why I’m United Methodist

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (UMNS) — The Alabama-West Florida Conference is kicking off a series titled “Why I’m UM” in which videos highlight why conference members are part of the denomination. Bishop Paul Leeland kicks off the series. You can follow future testimonials on Twitter using the hashtag #whyimum.

Watch video

Hymns that change our lives

HOUSTON (UMNS) — Jonathan Aigner, a United Methodist worship leader in the Houston area, was recently asked which five worship songs he would want on a CD if he were trapped on a desert island. Aigner instead decided to answer with five favorite hymns that have shaped his — and many other Christians’ — faith.

Read blog and share your favorite hymns

Advent resources already available

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The season of Advent begins this year on Nov. 30. Various United Methodist-related groups are offering free resources to celebrate the start of the Christian year and prepare for Christ’s birth. They include:

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.

Tuesday, Oct. 28
Free webinar "Leading with Style" — 6:30 p.m. CT. Participants in this webinar will explore different leadership styles, discern their own approach to group engagement, understand the influence stress has on the ways they interact in group settings, and strategize ways they can help groups function most effectively. Details.

Native American Heritage Month — United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and Native American Comprehensive Plan offer prayer and worship resources.

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

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Native Americans joyful about SCOTUS decision; Growing up with institutional racism; COVID-19 again delays annual conference

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