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Today, in Holston Conference News Briefs for April 25:

Wednesday on the Web

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TOP STORY: UM media spots address Virginia shootings

The region surrounding Virginia Tech is receiving a faith-based message of comfort and hope from the people of The United Methodist Church through television and radio spots and newspaper ads addressing the college campus massacre.

Beginning this week and running for one week, more than 300 television spots and radio tags are reminding listeners and viewers in southwestern Virginia that The United Methodist Church in Virginia is praying with them. The spots invite people to visit the Roanoke District Web site for a listing of practical suggestions about how to talk with children about the shooting to help them feel safe in a sometimes violent world. The site also helps visitors search for a local United Methodist church.

Read the UMNS article about the media campaign

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It's not too late: Give it up for Nothing But Nets

Today people of the United Methodist Church were encouraged to skip lunch — and use that money to buy life-saving bed nets to protect African families from malaria.

It's not too late to give a donation online at It's also possible to give by writing a check to your local church, designating "Project 560" on the memo line. A $10 donation will pay for the cost of a bed net, sending it to a family in Africa and teaching how it can be used to protect children from mosquitoes at night, when bites are most likely.

Tonight, Nothing But Nets will be featured during a two-hour "American Idol" special, "Idol Gives Back," designed to increase awareness and raise funds for organizations serving children living in poverty in Africa and the United States.

Read more about the anti-malaria campaign

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Holston staff numbers: Let's try this again

Last week, we made an error that interfered with readers' ability to link to a list of staff phone numbers. All Holston staff in Knoxville now have direct phone lines, but only a few offices have released their numbers for publication. All other calls should be directed to (865) 690-4080 locally or (866) 690-4080 toll-free.

See the list of available phone numbers now

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Open doors, yeah, but good luck getting up the stairs

Your church's sign may say, "Welcome," but the steps to your sanctuary may say, "You must be able to walk up stairs to enter." The advertisement in the newspaper may say, "All are welcome," but in reality you have to hear well and see well to participate fully. Before churches can become welcoming communities, their facilities must be accessible to people with disabilties. The United Methodist Church offers an Accessibility Survey and other resources.

Access the site now

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Children's ministry: A summer event at a nearby camp

These camps will be hosting "Children's Day" beginning next month in Holston:

May 12: Wesley Woods, Ahistadi
May 26: Buffalo Mountain
June 2: Dickenson, Lookout, Laurel

For more information, e-mail Anita Henderlight or call (866) 690-4080.

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Older adult ministries: Grant money available

The Margaret Grizzell Loving Trust has approximately $55,000 available each year for Holston churches and groups providing educational, recreational, and spiritual programming for older adults. Application deadline is May 30. For an application form, e-mail the Holston Conference Foundation office or call (865) 690-8124.

See the Foundation site

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SEJ-UMM quadrennial event coming in August

United Methodist Men are invited to bring their families to the Southeastern Jurisdiction Quadrennial Gathering and Training, to be held Aug. 10-12 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The theme is "Getting into the Word, Going into the World!" Cost is $40 per family before June 10.

Register online now

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Wrong for Imus, wrong for hip-hop: Who said that?

"If it is wrong for Mr. Imus, it is wrong for our young hip-hop artists who feel that they have to put down and degrade black women to sell records. The sad fact is some in the black community have started to embrace some of this language."

— The Rev. Chester Jones, top executive at the General Commission on Race and Religion, in a "Commentary" for the United Methodist Reporter.

Read the "Commentary" now

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New event announcements appear here. Visit our upcoming events page for other events. Be sure you have the newest Acrobat Reader or you may not be able to view PDFs.

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