Daily Digest — September 29, 2015

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“I’m not sure the denomination as a whole has opened their eyes to this. We’re very dependent on part-time pastors.” – Retired United Methodist Bishop Alfred Gwinn, who chaired the 2008-2012 Ministry Study Commission.

Part-time local pastors filling more pulpits

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (UMNS) – Part-time licensed local pastors, many of them bivocational, are growing in number as more small churches conclude they can’t afford a full-time clergy leader. The UMNS series “Trending Local: The Rise of United Methodist Local Pastors” continues, with articles by Sam Hodges and photos by Mike DuBose.
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Teacher of the Year leads 3 United Methodist  churches

WARDENSVILLE, W.Va. (UMNS) – The Rev. Michael Funkhouser, the 2013 West Virginia Teacher of the Year, leads three rural United Methodist churches as a part-time local pastor. “Teaching made me a better minister and ministry made me a better teacher,” he said. Sam Hodges shares Funkhouser’s story, with photographs by Mike DuBose.
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U.S. faith leaders: Take in more Syrian refugees

WASHINGTON (UMNS) – The U.S. must act on the refugee crisis, said church leaders who gathered Sept. 28 near the U.S. Capitol to press Congress and the Obama Administration to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees. The resettlement of Vietnamese refugees provides a precedent, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño pointed out. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Pastor expects trial for same-sex wedding

LANSING, Mich. (UMNS) – The Rev. Michael Tupper notified his bishop on Sept. 28 that he would not agree to a just resolution after helping to officiate at the same-sex wedding of his friend, the Rev. Benjamin Hutchison.  His decision opens the way for a process that could culminate in a church trial. “I don’t believe God wants me to get ‘off the hook,’” he said.  Heather Hahn reports.
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Planting seeds of hope for Hispanic Ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) – The Rev. José Palos, founding director of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, shares his perspective on the progress of planting Hispanic ministries. The Rev. Gustavo Vasquez of United Methodist Communications offers a Q&A.
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Back-to-Church Sunday yields record attendance

QUITMAN, Texas (UMNS) – Quitman United Methodist Church members are still celebrating the joy of inviting people to church – some who visited for the first time and others who returned after long absences. The Texas Conference details how a midsized church saw its attendance boom with nearly 100 more people.
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Churches, sinners and halls of fame

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (UMNS) – “A lot of us like to say and claim that churches are for the broken.” But in practice, that’s often not what we do, writes the Rev. Joseph Yoo. The United Methodist pastor offers a reflection for Ministry Matters on the ways churches may be making the least and lost feel unwelcome.
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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.

Thursday, Oct. 1
Webinar "New Ways of Doing the Christmas Pageant" – 7-8 p.m. EDT. Once upon a time, these were full-scale productions requiring lots of children, numerous rehearsals, and elaborate props and costumes. Many churches today want to continue the tradition of offering their congregations a Christmas pageant, but lack the children and resources to do it. This webinar with Debbie Kolacki, a Christian educator and United Methodist lay servant, suggests ways to do intergenerational pageants. Details 

Friday, Oct. 2
Installation of MaryAnn Baenninger as Drew University's president – 11 a.m. EDT in Madison, New Jersey, Baenninger will be inaugurated as the United Methodist-related university's 13th president. Details of inauguration schedule

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

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