Daily Digest - September 23, 2013

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"We recycle people. So when you are too old to run the youth group &ellipsis; come and work in the food pantry. And when you're too old to do anything but pray, pray for us. Encourage us. Encourage other people." - The Rev. Russ Breshears, Oak Forest United Methodist Church, Little Rock, Ark..

Church vitality: Turning mission into members

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UMNS) - Ten years ago, the ministry of Oak Forest United Methodist Church appeared to be flatlining. Its neighborhood was struggling, and so was its membership. A core of mostly elderly worshippers was all that kept the lights on. However, this aging, urban congregation committed to improving its neighbors' health and ended up boosting its own vital signs as well.
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UMTV: Church turns mission into members

Annual conferences join to fight malaria

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - When the Rev. Kathy Crozier and her husband, Jim, traveled on a mission trip to Liberia in 2008, she expected the trip to change her life. What she did not expect was to contract malaria and that the ongoing battle for her health would commit her to fighting for the health of a continent through Imagine No Malaria.
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Bishop shares passion for fighting malaria

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) - "Sierra Leoneans fully understand the disease," says Bishop John K. Yambasu, "because malaria is endemic in the country. We live with it, sleep with it and wake up with it." The West Africa episcopal leader sees United Methodist hospitals and clinics as part of the health infrastructure of the nation.
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Malaria field coordinator sees her mission

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The mission of Imagine No Malaria field coordinators is reflected by Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger, assigned to the Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference: "I am a United Methodist with a passion to care for others and belief that the church can change the world. God has given me a spiritual gift of abundant hope and belief that anything is possible."
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How do you protect your church property?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The unexpected can occur without warning. Make sure your church property is protected. Paul Stephens, vice president of marketing and risk-management services for The Church Insurance Agency Corporation, a service provider to United Methodist Insurance, explains what you need to consider.
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Church fires: Damage, recovery, prevention

Looking ahead

Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have an item to share with others, email [email protected] and put Digest in the subject line.

Free bluegrass and Christian bluegrass open stage and jam session, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 - Millbrook United Methodist Church, 8360 Fox River Road, Millbrook, Ill.. Musicians can sign up on-site to perform that night. For more information, contact the Rev. Kent Svendsen at 815-786-4106.

Free webinar "Church Council: Incorporating Younger, Diverse Leaders," Tuesday, Sept. 24 - 6:30 p.m. CT, Healthy vital congregations bring together leaders who have different generational values and work styles. To register.

Free webinar "Guiding Children in a Violent World," Thursday, Sept. 26 - 10 a.m. CT, Looking at ways to guide children at different stages of life in varying circumstances, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

Free webinar "Principles of Vitality for District Superintendents," Thursday, Sept. 26 - 1 p.m. CT, Tools a D.S. can use to equip clergy for vital leadership, from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. To register.

"Learning to Walk in the Dark" lecture by the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, Thursday, Sept. 26 - 7 p.m. ET, lecture by Episcopal priest and best-selling author at Glenn Memorial Auditorium, Emory University in Atlanta. Details.

Free webinar "Lord, Teach Us to Pray: Ancient Practices Aid Modern Prayers," Thursday, Sept. 26 - 7 p.m. CT, Discussion of how walking labyrinths and using prayer beads can be meaningful to Christians today, presented by Interpreter magazine and The Upper Room. To register.

Magic City Miracle, Sunday, Sept. 29 - Noon to 4:30 p.m. CT, 200 service projects in Birmingham, Ala., sponsored by United Methodist churches and United Methodist Communications' Rethink Church. Volunteers welcome. Details.

"Navigating the Affordable Care Act," Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 1-2 - Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has collaborated with a number of Chicago-based organizations to host a healthcare education conference for religious and community leaders on its Evanston, Ill., campus. Details.

Sojourning Women, Bold Voices Then + Now, Friday-Saturday, Oct. 4-5 - Conference honoring 25th anniversary of Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. Details.

Hands4Detroit, Saturday, Oct. 5 - 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. ET, Effort to drive out hunger sponsored by area United Methodist churches and United Methodist Communications' Rethink Church. Volunteers welcome. Details.

World Communion Sunday, Oct. 6 - Worship resources from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, and stewardship resources from United Methodist Communications for giving to scholarships.

Deadline for tickets to AIDS Prayer Breakfast, 4:30 p.m. MT Monday, Oct. 7 - 8:30-10 a.m. MT Friday, Oct. 12, Bishop Fritz and Etta Mae Mutti will speak on "Dancing in a Wheelchair: How We Faced Losing Two Sons to AIDS" at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Tickets cost $10. Details.

Early-bird registration for Reach New Disciples Conference, Monday, Oct. 7 - 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET, Nov. 2, Wesley Theological Seminary's Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Washington. Details.

Free webinar "Long Range Planning as a Movement of Hope," Tuesday, Oct. 8 - 6:30 p.m. CT, Planning committees develop a strategic "big picture" that focuses beyond the walls of the church. To register.

Northeastern Jurisdiction Native American Ministries Committee meeting, Thursday-Friday, Oct. 10-12, - Drew University, Madison, N.J., discussions of ministry and concerns of Native peoples, time for fellowship. Details. To learn more or register, email Sharon Schmit at [email protected]

Explore United, Tuesday, Oct. 15 - 9 a.m. ET, United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, will have an open house for prospective students. Details.

Downtown Church Network, Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 16-18 - First United Methodist, Church Peoria, Ill., annual gathering for pastors and staff of United Methodist churches in cities with at least 100,000 people. Details.

Wesleyan Leadership Conference, Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 17-19 - Fourth annual conference, with a focus on evangelism, at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville. Open to all lay and clergy leaders. To register.

Creative Worship Workshop, Saturday, Oct. 19 - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Life Enrichment Center, Fruitland Park, Fla., for preachers, artists, musicians and worship planners, sponsored by the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Florida Chapter, and Mary Scifres Ministries. Details.

Deadline to register for Women, Theology and Ministry Annual Women's Forum: "Living Out Love," Tuesday, Oct. 22 - 11 a.m.4 p.m. ET, Friday, Nov. 1, featuring the Rev. Becca Stevens, Cox Hall, Emory University, $15. Details.

Webinar "Breaking Through the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women Pastoring Large Churches," Thursday, Oct. 24 - 7:00 p.m. EDT, editors of a new book that offers a glimpse into the daily lives and spiritual journeys of clergywomen who lead large churches will discuss the Lead Women Pastors Project of The United Methodist Church, $9.99. Details.

Convocation on the Black Church, Friday-Saturday, Oct. 25-26 - Presented by the Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference at Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson and Hinds Community College in Pearl. Details.

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