Daily Digest - January 11, 2013

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UMNS Daily Digest
Produced by United Methodist News Service
Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. The people of The United Methodist Church
Friday, January 11, 2013

"God used us to help rescue a girl. That is amazing." - Regan Kramer, associate director of Florida International University's Wesley Foundation.

College students fight 'modern-day slavery'

MIAMI (UMNS) - We typically don't think of slavery happening in the United States. Regan Kramer didn't either until she went to a conference that highlighted the problem of human trafficking. Now, Kramer and other leaders of Florida International University's Wesley Foundation have helped launch FIU 4 Freedom, which is raising awareness and saving lives.
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Human-trafficking awareness support in Mississippi

MERIDIAN, Miss. (UMNS) - As The United Methodist Church joins the United States in observing Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 11, Mary Ann Shook will be leading a ministry that brings comfort and hope to victims of this crime. Shook is the program coordinator for the East Mississippi Sexual Assault Crisis Center, an agency of the Wesley House Community Center in Meridian that the Mississippi Annual Conference supports. Tamica Smith-Jeuitt of the Mississippi Conference reports on Shook's ministry.
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From 'borderline bordello' to the pulpit

HOUSTON (UMNS) - For much of his young adulthood, the Rev. Rudy Rasmus said he profited from "other people's pain" at a motel he and his father ran that catered to prostitutes and their customers. Now the co-pastor of St. John's Downtown United Methodist Church tries to share Christ's unconditional love that changed his life.
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Bishop supports Illinois same-sex bill

CHICAGO (UMNS) - Chicago Area Bishop Sally Dyck announced her support on Thursday, Jan. 10, for a bill that would allow same-sex marriage inIllinois. At the same time, she noted she would follow church law that prohibits United Methodist clergy from officiating at such unions. Dyck's letter is the most recent development in a debate that has been simmering inside the church and in society for decades.
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Haiti moves forward after earthquake

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (UMNS) - Three years after the devastating Jan. 10 earthquake, more than 1 million of the 1.5 million earthquake homeless have new homes, and the country is looking toward long-term development again. The United Methodist Committee on Relief has played a significant role in the nation's recovery.
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Melissa Crutchfield: A role in relief

NEW YORK (UMNS) - When natural and man-made disasters happen anywhere in the world, UMCOR is ready to respond. Melissa Crutchfield has built a career on reaching out to people in crisis to help rebuild lives. UMTV offers this profile.
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Cokesbury store closings begin

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) - News of the Jackson Cokesbury store's closing on Jan. 12 has prompted many questions for shoppers. The most frequently asked question was not about the store itself but about the future of a popular employee, Osman Grice, who has worked at Cokesbury for more than 14 years. Cokesbury stores in Austin, Texas; Charleston, W.Va.; Harrisburg, Pa., and St. Louis also will mark their last day on Jan. 12.
Read about the Jackson store
See the store closing schedule and learn what's next for Cokesbury

Remember your baptism

MINNEAPOLIS (UMNS) - Baptism of the Lord Sunday on Jan. 13 calls United Methodists to renew their commitment to discipleship through ritual and remembrance. InterpreterOnline offers a history and the various ways United Methodist congregations observe the tradition.
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