Daily Digest: May 24, 2013

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"When people come and share out of their generosity and abundance, there are simply no words, only tears of gratitude. Our phones have hardly stopped ringing with people wanting to help." - The Rev. Linda Harker, pastor of McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church, Norman, Okla.

Boy Scouts lift ban on gay members

GRAPEVINE, Texas (UMNS) - Boy Scouts of America leaders voted by a substantial margin today, May 23, to lift the organization's longstanding ban on openly gay youth in the Scouting movement. The change could affect ministries at 6,700 United Methodist churches in the United States. The discussion also has helped re-energize a longtime debate about human sexuality within The United Methodist Church.
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Oklahoma Tornado: $100,000 gift brings tears to all

NORMAN, Okla. (UMNS) - When word went out that McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church was taking donations for disaster relief, the congregation never dreamed that in one day, they would collect more than $100,000 without even a chance to pass the offering plate on Sunday.
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Dealing with disaster

Mental health: Crises challenge rural pastors

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UMNS) - United Methodists who serve churches in rural, town and country settings have a great opportunity to transform their corner of the world, writes the Rev. Roger Grace of United Methodist Rural Advocates.
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Bishop: Time to lobby senators over immigration reform

WASHINGTON (UMNS) -The Senate Judiciary Committee will send an amended immigration reform bill to the full Senate when it reconvenes in June. United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcao is calling for bishops and other United Methodists to use this crucial time to contact their senators because the bill has "weaknesses that would keep it from being the just and humane comprehensive immigration reform that we have all worked so hard for," she said. Carcao, of the California-Pacific Annual (regional) Conference, along with the other active bishops of The United Methodist Church, went to the U.S.-Mexican border.
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Philander Smith acts on social justice heritage

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - "Think justice" is what motorists on Interstate 630 see when they drive by Philander Smith College. The words on the side of the college's gymnasium reflect both the school's Wesleyan heritage and its modern-day mission.
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Tributes to victims killed at Alabama church

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (UMNS) - They had no property, sometimes no food, no job, and not a diploma between them, but Terry and Anthony Jackson leave behind a priceless legacy of generosity and service to others in the neighborhood around West Huntsville United Methodist Church. The Jacksons were attacked May 21 at the church while working at the food pantry. The Alabama Media Group explains what happened and how the church is struggling to cope.
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Health Center gets national award

GLENVIEW, Ill. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits announced that the agency's Center for Health was among 65 U.S. employers honored by the National Business Group on Health with the 2013 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award, presented at the annual Leadership Summit in Washington on May 22.
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Celebrate Aldersgate Day May 24

NEW YORK (UMNS) - John Wesley's Aldersgate experience on May 24, 1738, is identified as a turning point in his spiritual growth, a time in which the faith he preached so boldly became real for and in him. But when we remember "Aldersgate Day," what exactly are we commemorating?
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Offering supports justice, mercy for sojourners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (UMNS) - Fleeing an abusive boyfriend, "Maria"* arrived in Grand Rapids, Mich., by bus with her young daughter one night, scared and desperate. She had fled her native Mexico because of violence, and now she was on the run again. Despite lacking legal immigration status, she needed to find safe harbor and someone who felt her fragile life was worth protecting. At a local victim services agency staffer Nikole Krueger helped Maria get settled. Then she introduced her to West Michigan Justice for Our Neighbors, a ministry funded in part by the United Methodist Peace with Justice Sunday offering, where immigrants with little income receive help in seeking legal status or U.S. citizenship. United Methodists across the connection can support Peace with Justice grants with a special offering this Sunday, May 26.
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Learn more about Peace with Justice Sunday


Churches reflect on military sacrifices

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - While some recall Memorial Day parades and picnics of their childhood and visits to cemeteries to lay flowers on loved ones' graves, many people today view the holiday as little more than the end of a relaxing, three-day weekend. Christ United Methodist Church in Lafayette, Ind., however, is one of many congregations that include Memorial Day in their weekend plans.
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12 ways to observe Memorial Day

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