Opportunities — Sept. 14, 2004 {0165}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Sept. 14, 2004

Sept. 14, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
mwacht@flumc.org     Orlando  {0165}

An e-Review News Item
By J.A. Buchholz**

Churches encouraged to open doors as part of Open House Month
September is Open House Month, and churches across the country are embracing this annual time of inviting and welcoming guests.

Each September of the United Methodist Church's Igniting Ministry national media and welcoming campaign has been designated Open House Month at United Methodist churches nationwide. It's a time for church members to make a concerted effort to invite people to their churches and reach out to their communities.

One way churches can connect newcomers to their church is through a series of television ads featuring the United Methodist Church that began airing for a two-week period Sept. 6 on 15 cable television networks. Church members can refer to the ads as a conversation-starter when talking to and inviting unchurched friends and neighbors to church activities.

The ads were placed by the denomination's United Methodist Communications (UMCom) agency in Nashville, the group responsible for coordinating the Igniting Ministry campaign, and include one developed for Spanish-speaking viewers. The Hispanic spot, "No Estas Obligado" ("You Don't Have To"), is part of a rotation that also includes "Love Letter," "Rain/Fence," "Advice," "Rain/Footsteps" and "1,000 Hands." All together, the ads will air 429 times during their two-week run.

United Methodist commercials will also air during the Easter and Christmas seasons, which, along with the back-to-school timeframe, represent times people are most receptive to spiritual messages, according to UMCom's research.

Igniting Ministry is a four-year, $20 million effort begun in 2001. Last spring, the church's top legislative assembly approved another $25 million for the program and renewed it for four more years.

Churches are encouraged to visit the "Open House" section of the Igniting Ministry Web site at http://www.ignitingministry.org for ideas about ways to participate in Open House Month.

  Christian Peacemaker gives recount of experiences

Kathie Uhler will talk about her efforts as part of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron at 5 p.m. Sept. 19 in the Laurie Ray Chapel at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa.

Uhler will give a first-hand account of her experiences, as well as answer any questions.

Christian Peacemaker Teams provides an organized, non-violent alternative to war and other forms of intergroup conflict. It offers organizational support to people committed to faith-based non-violent alternatives in situations where violent conflict is an immediate reality or supported by public policy.

CPT participants are Christians. They engage in regular spiritual reflection, and public and private prayer is emphasized.

For more information about CPT visit http://www.cpt.org. For more information about the event contact the Rev. Vickie Walker at 813-253-5388, extension 223.

United Methodist Men provides tools to reach men

The Commission on United Methodist Men (UMM) is offering a free electronic newsletter to provide clergy with "tools" to help them reach out to men.

Power Tools, a free monthly e-mail newsletter launched in June, provides clergy and other interested people with ways to begin or expand men's ministries.

Despite the fact that only 30 percent of United Methodists are men and the number of members in U.S. churches is declining, pastors receive very little training in men's ministry, said the Rev. Kwasi Kena, a staff executive with the UMM, in a July memo announcing the resource.

Kena noted that when he was in seminary he took courses in Greek or Hebrew, church history, preaching, Christian education, children's ministry, youth ministry and sacred music, but courses in men's ministry or studies weren't offered.

Kena devised Power Tools to combat the discrepancy and provide ideas for reaching men. The first issue featured resources to start a men's ministry, resources to observe the newly created Men's Ministry Sunday, the four building blocks of a successful men's ministry, a men's ministry action plan, ways to get connected to United Methodist Men, information about T-Quest, a spiritual life resource for small groups, and information about Strength for Service to God and Country, a book of daily devotions for members of the Armed Forces.

The resource is available by e-mail at gcumm@gcumm.org and placing "Power Tools" in the subject line.

School of Ministry holds annual retreat

The 2004 School of Ministry for conference clergy is Oct. 4-6 at the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg.

Titled "The Theology of John Wesley and the Challenge of Responsible Grace," the weekend will feature presentations by Randy Maddox, Ted Runyon and Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker.

"The mornings and evenings are filled with classes and worship that will challenge, inspire and help you feel renewed" event co-chairs the Revs. Durwood Foshee and Sylvia Russell said in the ministry brochure. "What a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in our historic roots! John Wesley believed that the Bible must keep us engaged with the world, but that our involvement in the world must always be grounded in scripture. As busy often-overextended please-everyone-we-can clergy, how do we keep that tension and balance?"

The retreat is designed to help clergy renew their calling through learning opportunities, fellowship, worship and music.
The cost for housing and meals is $133 for double occupancy and $160 for single occupancy.  Housing only is $74.25 for double occupancy and $101.25 for single occupancy. Registration is $25 by Sept. 19 and $35 after that date.

A brochure with complete information and a registration form is available on the Florida Conference Web site's Calendar/Event Brochures section at http://www.flumc.org/calendar.htm.

For more information contact the Rev. Durwood Foshee at schoolofministry@yahoo.com; Palm Coast United Methodist Church, 5200 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast, FL 32137; or at 386-445-1600.

United Methodists asked to observe Day of Peace

Believers around the world are urged to join the International Day of Prayer for Peace Sept. 21.

His Eminence Sunday Mbang, Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria and Chairperson of the World Methodist Council, is calling Methodists to join the international community in praying for peace.
The World Council of Churches and the United Nations encourage the International Day of Prayer for Peace.  Dr. Sam Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches and a Kenyan Methodist pastor, indicated to United Methodist News Service that the 24-hour observance is one way to combine the strength and witness of churches with the many forces in the international community, which are striving to promote peace and justice in the world.

Methodist leaders are asked to include prayers for peace in worship observances and prayer vigils Sept. 21, as well as the Sundays before and after the International Day of Prayer for Peace.

The observance is the World Council of Churches' effort to coordinate with the International Day for Peace, which was established in 1981 by the United Nations. Prayer is a central theme of the "Decade to Overcome Violence" program of the World Council of Churches. The decade's theme for 2004, chosen by Christians in the United States, is "The Power and Promise of Peace."

The General Board of Discipleship worship-preaching-music Web site at http://www.umcworship.org features topics for Day of Peace worship.

For more information visit http://www.overcomingviolence.org, the program's Web site.

Lake Junaluska will host heritage preservation workshop

Local church historians and others interested in local church history are invited to attend the Southeastern Jurisdiction's (SEJ) Historic Preservation Workshop Nov. 12-14 at Lake Junaluska.

Sponsored by the SEJ's Commission on Archives and History, it will feature "Research in Your Bathrobe: The Internet and the Historian," led by the Rev. Jim Pyatt, member of the Western North Carolina Conference and outgoing chair of the SEJ Commission on Archives and History; " Hands-On: Archival Technique and Research Basics," by Kim Boyd, director of the SEJ Heritage Center, and Nell Thrift, Florida Conference archivist; and "From Memory to History: Writing the Story of Your Church," by Dr. Harold Lawrence, clergy member of the North Georgia Conference and writer of church history.

Participants will attend the first session and choose one of the other two. The event will also include a keynote address, musical program and worship service.

A registration fee of $45 should be sent to the SEJ Heritage Center at P.O. Box 1165, Lake Junaluska, N.C. 28745. The deadline to register is Oct. 1.

Housing arrangements may be made at 1-800-222-4930.  For more information contact the Heritage Center at 828-452-2881, extension 781, or heritage@sejumc.org.

Say goodbye to summer with nature hike

There's no better way to greet fall than with the annual adult Appalachian Trail Hike.

The two options offered during the Oct. 18-24 event are backpacking on the Appalachian Trail or camping at Unicoi State Park in north Georgia, with day hikes in the surrounding mountains.

The cost is $120, and it covers transportation, meals while camping, insurance and community gear. Hikers must furnish a warm sleeping bag, tent (backpackers), sturdy hiking boots, personal gear and money for food while traveling.

The minimum age for the multigenerational group is 18. Requirements are a love of the outdoors, ability to enjoy physical activity that requires some exertion, especially for the backpackers, and a sense of humor.

For more information contact Mary Ann or Gene Cantwell, adult trail hike coordinators, at 352-394-2506 or macantwell@juno.com.


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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