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According to Axios, COVID cases are on the rise in all but six states and Washington, D.C., as the Omicron subvariant continues to spread across the U.S. Case rates and hospitalizations are still well below pandemic highs, prompting NIAID director Anthony Fauci to say this week that the nation is out of a “full-blown explosive pandemic phase.” There were roughly 51,000 new daily cases over the last week, up 51% from two weeks ago. The highest reported case rates were in Vermont, where there were 45.5 new cases per 100,000 people. Rhode Island and New York had 35.4 and 33.3 new cases per 100,000 people, respectively. Cases were increasing in all three states. The lowest reported case rates were in Mississippi where there were 3.0 new cases of COVID per 100,000 people. Georgia and Alabama reported 3.4 new cases and 3.6 new cases per 100,000 people, respectively. Mississippi and Georgia had declining case rates while Alabama saw a slight uptick. COVID deaths are still falling. There were 362 deaths a day on average, down 23% from an average of about 470 deaths a day two weeks ago. But the decline in deaths slowed a bit. The U.S. is approaching 1 million deaths from COVID since the start of the pandemic.
According to Christianity Today, Methodist congregations that know their future is not in the United Methodist Church officially have a new place to land: the Global Methodist Church. Launching on May 1, the new denomination plans to uphold traditional, conservative Wesleyan theology but run on a lighter, leaner infrastructure that emphasizes grassroots accountability and ministry connections. After years of delays, with the next opportunity to vote on a proposal to split scheduled for 2024, some UMC congregations in the US are starting the disaffiliation process and plan to join the GMC as soon as they can. And though many leaders in Africa—where Methodism is growing rapidly—align with the movement’s conservative stances on LGBT issues, they’re more inclined to wait. At least one regional body, in Europe, has already decided to switch all its congregations over to the Global Methodist Church; in the US, the denomination’s top court has yet to rule on whether regional bodies can disaffiliate together under current church law. For now, US churches are opting to join the GMC one by one.
According to Yahoo News, As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hits its 64th day, a former NATO commander urged the West to prepare for a “worst case” scenario: war with Russia. Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday visited areas around Kyiv that were formerly held by Russian forces. “The war is evil,” he said while standing beside destroyed apartment blocks in the town of Borodyanka. In response to comments made by the U.K. foreign secretary over the West’s needing to “double down” on its support for Ukraine, former NATO commander Richard Shirreff told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program it was “absolutely the right approach” and that “it’s got to be followed through with significant resources, and it’s got to be done right across the alliance as a whole.” Shirreff, formerly a NATO deputy strategic commander for Europe, went on to caution that the Kremlin is likely to respond to this aggressively and that the West should be prepared for a worst-case scenario. “The worst case is war with Russia,” he said. “By gearing itself up for the worst case, it is most likely to deter [Russian President Vladimir] Putin because ultimately Putin respects strength.”
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!