Daily Digest: August 09, 2013

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"If I'm merely coming to church for community, I can get that at the local civic group. If I'm coming to church merely to do a social service project ... I can get that 100 other ways. You have to have some theological reason." - Bishop Mike Lowry on why evangelistic emphasis is a factor in church growth.

2012 numbers show vitality amid declines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Reports from 56 of 59 U.S. annual conferences indicate a continued drop in key statistical measures, but some conferences are bucking the trend by showing growth in membership, worship attendance or both. These conference leaders share their advice.
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Wesley professor joins U.S. State Department

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - A United Methodist professor is taking on a new position at the U.S. State Department, and he'll be reaching out to religious groups worldwide. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Aug. 7 formally introduced Shaun Casey as special adviser to the Secretary of State for faith-based community initiatives. Casey is a professor of Christian ethics at United Methodist-related Wesley Theological Seminary and a member of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon,Va.
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Women pastors, large churches

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A new e-book titled "Breaking Through the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women Pastoring Large Churches," edited by the Revs. HiRho Y. Park and Susan Willhauck, collects essays by women pastors who have led congregations with 1,000 or more members. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is the publisher.
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Communications 'transformative' for Malawi

LILONGWE, Malawi (UMNS) - The Rev. Neelley Hicks says the ability to send text messages or create a consistent power supply for communication can be "life-saving."
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Florida Conference offers faith stories

LAKELAND, Fla. (UMNS) - The Florida Annual (regional) Conference has a new web feature called "Telling Our Stories," in which United Methodists share their stories of Christian faith. This week's comes from Jensen Bennett, of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Tampa.
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Out of tragedy, friendship

PHOENIX (UMNS) - The Yarnell Hill fire tragedy earlier this summer led the Rev. Beverly Worden Devine and Epworth United Methodist Church to form a friendship with local firefighters. She writes about the experience.
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Learning from sororities

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Rev. Mike Baughman says running a church-related coffee shop has taught him that the church could learn a thing or two from sororities and workout centers.
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