|By Donna Barley
ORLANDO - For
two years, impending hurricanes have prevented the Florida Conference Health and Wholeness
Ministry Team from holding its first-ever conference-wide event. That event finally took
place Jan. 27 at St. Lukeís United Methodist Church here.
More than 85 people attended the "Tending His Sheep: Increasing
Ministry Outreach Through Health and Spirituality" to share, learn and network for
the purpose of promoting health- and wholeness-related ministries.
Toni Parrish, co-chair of the ministry team, was pleased with the
results. "I praise God for the wonderful turnout for our first conference-wide
event," she said. "Surely the presence of God was felt during our time
Dick Mailman, a member of Community United Methodist Church in
Casselberry and a nationally-recognized motivational speaker and trainer for the Orlando
District's Lay Speaking Ministry, was the keynote speaker. Mailman, who is legally blind,
encouraged participants to provide time, love and compassion to persons with any
Participants learned about a variety of health-related ministries
from pastors and professionals serving in those ministries. Fourteen workshops covered
such topics as ministry to the deaf and homebound, elder care and mental health support,
and spirituality and grieving.
One of the most popular workshops featured parish nursing. Ginny
Pearcy, a parish nurse at First United Methodist Church, Deltona, taught participants how
to begin a parish nursing ministry, including the faith and scriptural bases behind parish
nursing and its history.
Patrice Antony, a geriatric physical therapist and member of St.
Lukeís, presented ìThe Caregiver Challenge.î The two-hour workshop focused on a variety
of topics, from the caregiverís role and the dilemmas caregivers face to tips for
assisting the disabled.
Dr. Caroline Njuki, the General Board of Global Ministriesí
assistant general secretary for
Health and Relief, shared a national and international overview of
health and wholeness ministries, and the American Association of Critical Nursesí
Metropolitan Orlando chapter provided contact hours for registered nurses and licensed
In addition to the workshops, more than 20 exhibitors from
conference churches and special ministries and health-related organizations shared their
The Rev. Dr. Larry Purvis, senior pastor of Olympia Heights United
Methodist Church in Miami, and the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, director of the conferenceís
Missions and Ethnic Local Church Concerns offices, led the closing Celebration and
Covenant Service with communion. The two challenged participants to go forth and serve
"In...ministries with persons with special needs, we can either
assume the ministry of charity - giving coins and scarcely looking at these special
persons - or we can be in the ministry of transformation where even healing is possible
through the mighty acts of God manifested through his faithful disciples," Rankin
Parrish said the team will follow up with participants this summer
to see what ministries have been started as a result of the training. It is also working
on plans for a second event.
For more information on the Health and Wholeness Ministry Team,
contact co-chairs Parrish at THPDeaf@aol.com or June
Johns at 321-452-8783.
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© 2001 Florida United Methodist Review Online