Opportunities — Oct. 5, 2004 {0176}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


Oct. 5, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
mwacht@flumc.org     Orlando  {0176}

An e-Review News Item

Igniting Ministry offers welcoming training online

By National Igniting Ministry staff

Thousands of church leaders have already received tools and skills to help them live the welcoming promise "Open hearts, Open minds, Open doors." But millions of other United Methodists throughout the United States have yet to experience the lifestyle-changing message of this training, often because of time, budget and travel constraints.

Beginning Oct. 11 those barriers will be gone with "Igniting Ministry 101," a new online learning opportunity. Designed to help local churches sharpen their welcoming skills, this basic course will deliver the key elements of Igniting Ministry training. By the end of the four-session course, participants will understand the motivation and research behind the national advertising of the denomination, explore the importance of developing a welcoming lifestyle for themselves and their church, and create an action plan to help build welcoming into their congregation's culture. 
The course is highly interactive and includes quizzes, discussion areas, audio clips, videos and links to more information.

The cost of the course is $12 per person. Enrollment information is available at http://www.training.umcom.org/. For additional questions call Igniting Ministry Training at 877-281-6535, extension 3.

Resource helps create vibrant worship experiences
By Kathy Gilbert**
NASHVILLE — Handbells or guitars? Robes or jeans? Traditional sermon or a theatrical production? How many ways are there to worship?
That's the question being met head-on by the United Methodist Publishing House's new Worship Connection, a one-stop place to find the latest worship-related resources. Worship Connection includes a Web site, http://www.worshipconnection.cokesbury.com, specialty catalogs and teaching conferences.
The Publishing House developed the program after a survey conducted in 2003 found that one in three clergy cite major changes in their worship services in the last five years, while half of the pastors at large churches [more than 500 members] cite major changes, said Susan Salley, a Publishing House executive and one of the developers of Worship Connection.

The survey also showed half of clergy are dissatisfied with the variety in their worship services, and one in three are dissatisfied with worship quality, style or the resources available to help, she said.
"Pastors are looking for new ideas, new tools, help with change management and dependable advice on new technology," she said. "We hope that through access to help, we can make finding worship resources easier and more inspiring."

The survey included 800 telephone interviews with pastors, more than half of whom report coordinating two or more services. Of those with multiple services, 57 percent change worship styles for the services, which greatly impacts resource needs and planning.

One in three are already able to project slides, video or PowerPoint. An additional 20 to 30 percent would like to be able to project slides, images or video.

Regardless of the current approach to worship, when asked, "What would you like to do that you aren't doing now?" the answers were similar in topic, Salley said. Twenty-five percent would like to update, change or expand music offerings, 25 to 30 percent want to add more media options, and 10 to 15 percent want to change or update worship style.
"The biggest obstacle to using new worship offerings is access to and understanding equipment," Salley said.

Since the site was launched May 1, visits have grown to 18,000 a month, she added.
Worship Connection Teaching Conferences will debut this fall, providing an opportunity to visit congregations on the leading edge of dynamic worship experiences and led by worship leaders who are using creative styles in their churches.
Scheduled events include: Nov. 4-6 in Shreveport, L.a., at Grace Community United Methodist Church; March 15-19 in South Carolina (details being planned) at the Worship-Focused Conference with Black Methodists for Church Renewal Annual Meeting; April 7-9 in Leawood, Kan. (greater Kansas City area), at the Church of the Resurrection; and May 5-7 in New York City at Christ Church.

"We've seen new customers for both traditional resources like the United Methodist Worship and Music Planner and for new media resources like video clips and other worship-related software," Salley said.

Cokesbury stores are partnering with conferences to demonstrate media options for all styles of worship service. The first demonstration was sponsored by the Philadelphia store at the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference this summer.

"Through our teaching conferences, we'll connect phenomenal worship leaders, musicians and pastors, writers and thinkers in a hands-on setting," Salley said. "The best help we can give is this opportunity for conversation, exploration and sharing."

More information and registration details for the teaching conferences are available at http://www.worshipconnection.cokesbury.com.

Florida Southern College presents annual Christmas Gala

By Mike Crawford**

LAKELAND — Florida Southern College (FSC) will hold its annual Christmas Gala in appreciation of Florida United Methodist churches Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. on the FSC campus in Branscomb Auditorium.

Classical and contemporary holiday performances include the Concert Chorale, Southern Singers, Symphony Band and Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Woodwind Choir and vocal and instrumental ensembles.

The price is $10 per person with no charge for active and retired United Methodist ministers.  An optional lunch buffet will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Charles T. Thrift Alumni Center for $10 per person.

For more information contact Crawford, FSC director of church relations, at 863-680-6211 or mcrawford@flsouthern.edu.

Religion Communicators Council produces updated resource

By Linda Green**

NASHVILLE — The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) has a new edition of a handbook for all faith communities.

The seventh edition of the organization's resource, "Speaking of Faith: The Essential Handbook for Religious Communicators," is a 155-page, softbound book covering issues ranging from establishing a strategic communications plan to preparing crisis communication.

Divided into three sections, the handbook is aimed at helping communicators at all levels of the church meet the challenge of communicating religion through varied forms of media.

The handbook also includes an introduction by Diana L. Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard University; a CD with printable samples, worksheets and training materials; and bibliographies of additional resources.

United Methodists who wrote sections of the handbook include M. Garlinda Burton, the Rev. Daniel R. Gangler, Bret Haines and Kimberly Pace. The Rev. J. Richard Peck, a United Methodist Publishing House retiree, who also serves as communications officer for United Methodist Men, was editor. RCC's executive director, Shirley Struchen, a United Methodist, helped in the planning, review and production of the new edition.

RCC, a non-profit organization created to serve the religious community, was founded in 1929 as the Religious Publicity Council. It later was known as the Religious Public Relations Council, which opened its membership to people of all faiths in 1970.

The RCC handbook can be ordered in care of UMR Communications Inc., 2400 Lone Star Drive, Dallas, TX 75212. The cost is $19.95, plus $6 for shipping and handling. Checks should be made payable to RCC handbook.

For more information about the organization visit http://www.religioncommunicators.org.

General Board of Church and Society encourages churches to observe United Nations Sunday

By Alma B. Manney**

The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) of the United Methodist Church is promoting Oct. 24 as United Nations Sunday.

The theme of the celebration is "Migrant Workers: Uprooted, Rerouted and Re-Rooted." Materials are available both in print and electronically.

Today, one person out of 35 is a migrant. The number of people who are living and working in a country other than their own is estimated at 175 million, which represents 3 percent of the world's population, and the numbers include refugees, estimated at 16 million, according to the United Nations International Migration Report 2002.

For more information visit http://www.umc-gbcs.org.

General Board of Discipleship offers retreat, publishing information for musicians

By Dean B. McIntyre**

The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) of the United Methodist Church offers a number of resources for church musicians and composers. Included on its Web site are tips on how to become published, as well as details about an upcoming retreat for church musicians.

Visit http://www.umcworship.org for publishing information and http://www.gbod.org/worship/events/musiciansretreat/default.html
for retreat information.

The church musicians retreat is Jan. 20-23, 2005, in Nashville. It is designed to be a time to relax and be reinvigorated, meet and share fellowship with other United Methodist church musicians from around the nation, learn about music and worship, and connect with several of the national United Methodist agencies and leaders.

The retreat will include plenary speakers, choral and contemporary reading sessions, worship in The Upper Room, tour of The United Methodist Publishing House and The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (FUMMWA), lunch and time with staff of the United Methodist Publishing House and Abingdon Press, a free evening to experience Nashville cuisine and entertainment, and other activities.

The cost is $295 and includes three nights' lodging and eight meals. The commuter cost is $99 and includes one meal.

Visit the Web site address listed for complete event and registration information, including a leadership guide and schedule. For questions and information contact Jeannie Musterman, registrar, toll-free at 877-899-2780, extension 7070, or jmusterman@gbod.org.

The General Board of Discipleship features local churches

By Dean B. McIntyre**

The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) has entered its second year of featuring weekly photos of local United Methodist churches on the organization's Web site.

The site spotlights large, medium, small, urban, rural, new, old and ethnic churches from all over the United States.

For more information visit http://www.gbod.org/worship.


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Green is staff writer for the United Methodist News Service Nashville office. Manney is a GBCS peace with justice coordinator from the Florida Conference representing the Southeastern Jurisdiction. McIntyre is director of music resources for GBOD. Crawford is FSC director of church relations. Gilbert is a staff writer for the United Methodist News Service Nashville office.

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