In Brief — July 16, 2004 {0113}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief — July 16, 2004

July 16, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0113}

An e-Review News Item
Florida churches receive Igniting Ministry recognition, grants

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Three Florida Conference churches were recognized as official "Welcoming Congregations" for 2004 by the national Igniting Ministry office in Nashville, and two other conference churches received grants to help them purchase local advertising that will supplement the national television commercials.

Vamo United Methodist Church in Sarasota and Jacksonville's Oak Crest, Southside and St. Paul United Methodist churches were awarded the Welcoming Congregations status, bringing the number of conference churches to receive the recognition to 24. St. Paul United Methodist Church received the certification for the third time.

The certification means the churches have cultivated hospitality skills to both attract visitors to the church and help them become active members of the church family.

In addition to the certificate each receives, the national office has placed a special designation next to each church's listing on the national Find-A-Church database at

First United Methodist Church, Sarasota, and Hernando United Methodist Church, Hernando, received a $708 and $1,416 matching grant, respectively, through the national Igniting Ministry office's 2004 back-to-school grant process. The amounts match dollar-for-dollar funds raised by the two congregations for advertising that will air during the end of summer when school sessions begin.

The national office offers limited matching grants to United Methodist conferences and local churches to help them offset local and regional Igniting Ministry television campaigns that coincide with the national placement of commercials. The grants are offered three times a year, and a maximum of $50,000 per applicant can be requested.

United Methodists approve four more years of 'Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.' 

By Nancye Willis**

PITTSBURGH (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church will share its "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." messages with a wider audience in 2005-08. But it will have to do so with less money than proposed.

Delegates to the 2004 General Conference, the church's top legislative body, overwhelmingly approved May 5 a proposal from United Methodist Communications to expand its successful media effort. The vote paved the way for the denomination's communications agency to add 18 weeks of additional airings of denominational TV advertising to its established schedule and to develop a youth component.

However, the amount of funding made available for the core TV advertising was reduced from a proposed $33.5 million to $22 million. Proponents of the increased airings argued that inflation had significantly reduced the amount of time that can be bought with the funds.

The youth strategy survived with its proposed $5.4 million funding intact. A proposal to reduce the amount to $3 million in view of tight finances was narrowly defeated by a vote of 488-440.

Delegates also defeated a proposed amendment that would have allowed shifting funds among the youth strategy, an expanded core program of television advertising and a communications initiative in churches outside the United States. 

Matching Grants will also be expanded during the next four years to include radio, outdoor and cinema advertising, providing additional options for those applying for grants. 

The Igniting Ministry campaign will begin its fourth year this September, which has been designated Open House Month each year of the campaign. Churches are encouraged to make a concerted effort to invite and welcome guests to their churches.


This In Brief relates to the Igniting Ministry and Welcoming Ministries.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Parham is editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Willis is editor of Public Information for United Methodist Communications

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