Opportunities — March 13, 2005 {0260}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


March 13, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
tparham@flumc.org     Orlando  {0260}

An e-Review News Item

“In Search of Security” events encourage dialogue, honesty about fear

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — The United Methodist Council of Bishops is inviting all United Methodists to participate in a denomination-wide conversation about fear and security and the Christian response to these two contemporary issues.

A study and discussion guide titled “In Search of Security” was developed by a task force of the Council to address the issue and facilitate the dialogue. Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker is chairman of the task force.

Every bishop is providing opportunities for United Methodists in his or her area to be part of the discussion. Two forums will be held in the Florida Conference: Saturday, April 9, in the Student Center at Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; and Thursday, April 21, in the Jim Rogers Auditorium at Florida Southern College, Lakeland, 7-9 p.m.

Every United Methodist is urged to participate in this dialogue to help shape the United Methodist denomination’s witness to the world in the midst of fear.

Individuals may also participate in online conversations through the Florida Conference Web site discussion board. The two events will also be streamed live via the Florida Conference Web site, with remote participants providing input through e-mail.

To read the “In Search of Security” document developed by the United Methodist Council of Bishops go to http://www.umc-gbcs.org/news/viewnews.php?newsId=761. Additional information and the online discussion boards may be found at http://www.flumc.org/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/lw/000398.htm or by visiting the Florida Conference Web site at http://www.flumc.org and clicking on the “In Search of Security” banner. The site includes a bulletin insert that can be downloaded, printed and distributed to church members.

Conference-wide meeting to discuss hurricane claims scheduled

By Randy Casey-Rutland**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference Risk Management committee has scheduled a conference-wide gathering April 22 at First United Methodist Church, Sebring, to discuss hurricane claims matters, both past and future.

Participants are asked to check-in at 9 a.m., with the meeting running from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided for a modest cost. The location was chosen to minimize travel for churches most affected by the 2004 hurricanes.

Every conference church affected by the hurricanes is encouraged to participate in this meeting.
The goals are to: 1. Provide churches with a better understanding of how the conference Risk Management program works; 2. Provide an environment for churches to constructively share their concerns and frustrations; and 3. Identify “lessons learned” and how they can be applied to future mitigation.

This meeting will focus on insurance issues only, not on storm recovery ministry issues. It is not a Conference Table meeting, but it may have the same “look and feel” as a Conference Table gathering.

More details will be provided in the coming weeks.

Florida bishops participate in, members invited to legislative briefing

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — Florida Impact is sponsoring an inter-religious legislative briefing in Tallahassee April 6-7 to advocate for programs and budget priorities that serve the interests of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

Called “One Voice for Children,” the event is designed to enable participants to explore “in theory and practice ... the Judeo-Christian traditions of economic justice and apply these to actual legislation,” according to the event brochure

Bishops Timothy W. Whitaker and Larry M. Goodpaster of the Florida and Alabama-West Florida conferences, respectively, will participate in a news conference to release the state’s hunger report April 7. All United Methodists and the public are invited to attend that session and the two-day event in its entirety.

Activities during the first day include a legislative briefing on issues of economic justice, a tour of the governor’s mansion, and dinner with a keynote speaker and cultural entertainment. The second day of activities includes visits to legislators and monitoring floor sessions and committee meetings, the hunger report news conference, a sending-forth ceremony, and an open house sponsored by Florida Impact.

Children’s Week activities precede the briefing and begin April 3 (http://childrens-week.org/events.htm).

The registration deadline for the legislative briefing is March 22. The registration fee is $40 and includes four meals. To download a copy of the event brochure, including registration form, visit http://www.flimpact.org. For more information contact Florida Impact at 850-309-1488.

Florida Impact works to reduce hunger and poverty in Florida. It educates and enlists Floridians in securing justice for and with those whose economic rights have not been realized. The organization works to increase access to food programs by conducting aggressive outreach strategies and public policy advocacy.

Summer Camp Boosters searches for past team members, volunteers for work weekend

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — The Florida Conference Summer Camp Boosters is sponsoring a Summer Leadership Team Reunion during the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4, and a work weekend during Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30.

The Leadership Team Reunion is for anyone who has served on the Summer Camp Leadership Team and their families. It will be housed at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp.

“It is an incredible time to reconnect with old friends and share in the joy that being back at camp brings to anyone who’s been on team before,” said Heather Pancoast, assistant director of the Florida Conference Summer Camps. 

The last Team Reunion was held in 1998 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer Camping Ministry.

Coordinators would like to inform as many past team members as possible about the event. Anyone with names and/or contact information for past team members is encouraged to e-mail that information to Pancoast at hpancoast@flumc.org; send it to the The Florida United Methodist Conference Center, P.O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802, c/o Mike Standifer; or call 800-282-8011, extension 138.

Each summer the camp Leadership Team gathers a week prior to the beginning of the Summer Camp ministry to train and prepare for the start of the summer camps. Individuals interested in being part of that preparation are invited to attend The Camp Boosters Work Weekend.

The purpose of weekend is to clean and make any necessary repairs to the facilities so they will be ready for the thousands of campers who will be spending a week at camp this summer.

“Anyone who loves camp and has a passion for the ministry there is invited” to participate, Pancoast said.

Housing and food during the work weekend are free for individuals who attend and stay at the Warren W. Willis camp. Those who prefer to stay at the Life Enrichment Center must make reservations by calling 800-862-6889 and will be charged the normal nightly rate. Details related to the team reunion will be provided closer to the event date.

For more information about either event contact Pancoast at 800-282-8011, extension 138, or hpancoast@flumc.org.

Youth chapel damaged, commercial roofers needed

By the Rev. David Berkey**

LEESBURG — Commercial roofers are needed immediately to repair the roof of the youth chapel at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp here.

The roof was damaged during the hurricanes that hit the state last year, and camp staff have been unsuccessful for several months at completing the repairs using local roofers.

Repairs are needed to the right ridge of the roof and must be completed prior to the summer camp season. Workers will be provided housing and food. The camp will pay for contract work or gladly welcome volunteers. A Florida roofer’s license is required.

Interested individuals should contact Gordon or Kelly at the camp at 352-787-4345 or the Rev. David Berkey, executive director of the Florida Conference Camps and Retreat Ministries, at dberkey@flumc.org.

Coordinators extend deadline for Denman Award nominations

LAKELAND — The deadline for submitting nominees for the Denman Evangelism Award has been extended to April 1.

The award is sponsored by the Florida Conference Office of Congregational Transformation and The Foundation for Evangelism, Lake Junaluska, NC. It was established in 1980 by The Foundation for Evangelism to recognize and honor pastors and lay persons who are doing the vital work of responsible evangelism in ways that are in keeping with United Methodist history and tradition.

Many conferences have established two annual Denman Awards, one for a lay person and one for a clergy person. Those eligible for the awards include laity and clergy who are effective in developing disciples of Jesus Christ. This can involve personal witnessing, public speaking, or inspiring individual persons or the local church to be actively involved in effective evangelism. The size of the local church with which the person is affiliated, the age or gender of the person, and the length of time of involvement are not primary criteria for selection. One’s work in the area of evangelism is the focal point of consideration.

Individuals or groups within a congregation may make nominations, such as the group responsible for evangelism or the Leadership Council in the local church. In choosing the recipients, the selection committee will, over time, try to keep a balance between small and large membership churches. The recipients will be presented at the annual conference event and in the Annual Conference Workbook Supplement.

To nominate someone online or to print a nomination form, go to http://www.flumc.org/OCT/denman/index.htm. Nominating considerations and steps to nominate someone are also listed there. Nominations must be in the Office of Congregational Transformation by April 1.

Enrollment is open for Healthy Church Academy

By the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin**

LAKELAND — Healthy Church Academy (HCA) is now offering courses throughout this year and 2006 to help congregations grow and transform.

HCA was developed by the Florida Conference’s offices of New Church Development, Congregational Transformation and Connectional Ministries.

Ten courses are open for registration in 2005 and an additional five courses are offered in 2006. They are repeated in different parts of the conference, most in local churches, and designed to help new congregations form and existing ones transform.

All of the courses are relevant to every church; however, individuals may choose those that are more relevant. All courses for 2005 and 2006 are linked to the life cycle of a congregation and its Natural Church Development (NCD) minimum factor (the NCD Quality Characteristics reveal a minimum factor for a church). Individuals may choose courses that best address their congregation’s minimum factor. 

The only course individuals are required to take is HCA 101, Growing a Healthy Church. Participants may register for an HCA 101 class while taking other courses during 2005. HCA 101 will be offered in March and September, in addition to the first class held in January. 

Courses open for registration in March and April include:

HCA 101: Growing A Healthy Church March 18-19 (32 hours, 3 CEUs) at Grace United Methodist Church, Gainesville. This covers all aspects of a healthy church, provides an introduction to all the subjects covered in HCA and strengthens all of the NCD Quality Characteristics (1-8). (This required course may be taken in March and September while taking other courses during the year.) 

HCA 401: Leadership Development, April 6-7 (16 hours, 1½ CEUs) at the Life Enrichment Center, Leesburg (offered in November). Se ofrece el curso en español. This course identifies leader competencies required for various levels of leadership in the local church, enables learners to discover how to apply leader competencies in their situations and strengthens NCD Quality Characteristic 1.

HCA 201: The Church as a Global Mission, April 8-9 (16 hours, 1½ CEUs) at the Life Enrichment Center, Leesburg (offered in November). Mission is moving the Good News from a concept to a living witness. This course is designed to help laity and clergy motivate their congregations to become missionary churches. It strengthens NCD Quality Characteristics 2, 7 and 8.

For a list of courses, descriptions, online registration, the faculty, locations, tuition, lodging and more information about HCA visit http://www.flumc.org/hca.

Where is God in this tragedy?

By Linda Green**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When people experience tragedy or loss, the questions often asked are: Why did God allow it to happen? Why did it happen to me? Where was God?

Those questions swirl in the aftermath of any catastrophe such as the Dec. 26 tsunami that struck Asia and Africa.

United Methodist Communications has produced a new resource to help individuals, study groups and congregations address those hard questions and understand how God is present in difficult times. The resource, “God, Why? Teachings from the Tsunamis,” offers insights from bishops, theologians, pastors and others in a two-session, small-group study format.

The communications agency, in cooperation with the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, developed the resource as a DVD/CD package that includes video, a study guide, worship materials and other resources.

The resource will give people practical, spiritual answers to questions about God’s activity when disasters occur, says the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive at United Methodist Communications.

Through the video, the church is making a prophetic statement, Hollon says. “At a time of great loss and great instability, I believe it’s very important for the church to be heard. The church speaks a word of hope. It helps to say that with God’s help, we will get through this trauma, and that is a very important word that we deliver to the people not only in the church but to people in the world.”

In the video, Bishop Gregory Palmer of the Iowa Area notes “there is danger in trying to lay claim to certain hard fixed answers, particularly in the face of tragedy.” If any lesson can be learned from the tsunami and other tragedies, it is that humans live in a fragile world — and a world that is awesome, Palmer says.

The Rev. Randy Day, top executive at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, cites Jesus’ teachings as a guide for responding to people affected by the tsunami. “And so we’ll reach out in the sense of love and justice and try to touch as many lives as we can, and try not to be overwhelmed by numbers and by our own emotions.”
The United Methodist Church, through its United Methodist Committee on Relief, will assist the survivors in culturally sensitive ways, Day says in the video. “We’re going to be there to help people rebuild their lives, to rebuild these local churches and then relate to these communities with a sense of vision, with a sense of hope.”

Making sense of events such as the tsunami is “extremely challenging,” says the Rev. Joon-Sik Park, associate professor at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. “I don’t think anyone has an answer or anyone knows the answer. No one could explain the presence of suffering and evil in God’s world. We all struggle to find the presence of God in all that.”

Asking why God lets bad thing happen to good people is the “wrong question,” says Bishop Judith Craig, bishop in residence and visiting professor of church leadership at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. “I don’t think the ‘why’ question is the question to ask. I prefer the ‘where’ question. Where is God in all of this?”

In the wake of the tsunami and other tragedies, “God’s all over the place,” Craig says. “I think God’s in the tears of the parent that’s been separated from a child. God’s in the shout of joy of a child that finds a parent. God’s in the midst of the shattered messes of what were once homes. God’s in the framework of a new home that’s being built and helped by people who don’t even speak the same language.”

The DVD/CD resource contains:

•     Short video stories of hope amid tragedy.
•     A musical PowerPoint presentation of images from South Asia.
•     Eighty free-to-use images of the damage caused in Indonesia.
•     A collection of news feature stories for use in the local church.
•     Bulletin inserts to help raise awareness and funds for United Methodist relief efforts.
•     Graphics for church Web sites.
•     Worship resources.
•     A study guide.
•     A three-minute inspirational message (from the “be there” UMCOR project)
•     Seven-minute highlights of UMCOR’s work (from the “be there” UMCOR project).

The Rev. Lilanthi Ward, a native of Sri Lanka and pastor of Anderson Hill United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, stresses the importance of Christians showing God’s love to those affected by the tsunami.

“In the worst of times, in the best of times, God’s promised never to leave us,” she says. “And even though we may not feel God’s presence, that doesn’t mean that God’s not there.”

For information about the project or to preorder copies of the $19.95 DVD and CD, call customer service at United Methodist Communications at 888-346-3862 or visit the denomination’s Web site at http://www.umc.org.

Peace gathering explores ‘the beloved community, formed at the table’

By Mark Conrad Mancao**

WASHINGTON — JUSTPEACE and the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church (GBOD) will cosponsor their annual event from 1 p.m. April 5 to 12 p.m. April 7 at the GBOD's Denman Building in Nashville. This year's event is called The Beloved Community, Formed at the Table, a Gathering on Holy Communion, Holy Conferencing and Reframing the Talk of Schism.

In the midst of important differences that have emerged as conflict among many members of the Church — for some there is a movement toward schism — how can members become the "beloved community"? The 2005 Gathering is an opportunity for practitioners of conflict transformation and others to constructively explore this question together. Framed by practices of Holy Communion and Holy Conferencing, the heart and soul of the Gathering is the worshipful journey through conversation in circles, sharing stories and best practices, and generating a collective wisdom. Attendees are asked to bring their individual training, experience and wisdom around this question to the table and generate together creative and constructive ways for moving beyond schism. The group plans to share what is learned from this event with the Church and others.

Presentations are planned throughout the Gathering to stimulate sharing around the key topics. The main presenters include Daniel Benedict, Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, Jan Love, Tom Porter and David Brubaker. The group will explore how the Church can embody Holy Communion by receiving the Word of reconciliation and practicing the ministry of reconciliation, which includes naming and addressing conflicts and differences, but always concludes with offering each other bread. The Gathering will be a time to reflect upon how Holy Conferencing is practiced: Does this include consensus decision-making on some issues? What does restorative justice teach on addressing the harm and brokenness experienced in the Church and in the World?

This Gathering is open to everyone and is the fifth annual event for JUSTPEACE, a movement of individuals who are committed practitioners on the journey of the ministry of reconciliation. 

To register and receive lodging recommendations, interested individuals should e-mail Mark Mancao in the JUSTPEACE office at mcmancao@justpeaceumc.org, state their interest in attending the Gathering and provide contact information (name, title, mailing address, phone fax, e-mail). Individuals should also provide two or three sentences about themselves and why they are interested in this year's event. This information will be shared in the 2005 Gathering Directory that all participants receive. 

The registration fee is $250 and includes dinner April 5, lunch and dinner April 6, and snacks during the Gathering. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging. Checks should be made payable to JUSTPEACE and sent to 100 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. For more information on JUSTPEACE e-mail Mancao, call 202-488-5647 or visit http://www.justpeaceumc.org.

Resource provides offertory prayer for every Sunday

NASHVILE, Tenn. — The Connectional Giving Team at United Methodist Communications developed a new resource for local church pastors called “Mission Moments and More.”

This electronic resource provides a mission moment for worship, nuggets for the church newsletter and an offertory prayer for each Sunday of the year focused on United Methodist connectional giving. The weekly resources will focus on the apportioned funds, the six churchwide special Sundays with offerings and the Advance for Christ and His Church.

Work and inspiration for the resource came from Tracy Wood, Barbara Dunlap-Berg and Kent McNish from United Methodist Communications and the Rev. Wayne G. Reece, a retired pastor of the West Michigan Conference, who did much of the research.

For more information about the resource visit http://umcgiving.org/content/mission.htm. Strategic planning for local churches at http://www.missionalmarketing is an off-shoot of Percept. It includes communication and marketing pointers, among other items.

Employing non-appointed church staff: What The United Methodist Book of Discipline says

By Dean McIntyre**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pastors, church members, committee members and employed church staff often have questions about the employment of non-appointed lay staff in the local church.

A pamphlet developed by The General Board of Discipleship seeks to answer the most frequently asked questions and relates them to sections of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2004. No attempt is made to interpret the paragraphs or offer advice related to any specific situation.

Questions include: 1. Who determines what staff positions are required in the local church? 2. To whom is staff responsible? 3. Who determines the job description for staff? 4. Who sets staff salaries? 5. Shall staff receive benefits? Who sets the benefits of staff? 6. What about retirement benefits? 7. What about continuing education? 8. What about professional certification? 9. Are there guidelines for changing the employment status of staff? Who hires and fires staff? 10. When does the SPRC meet? May the staff member attend?

This pamphlet is available on The General Board of Discipleship worship-preaching-music Web site at http://www.gbod.org/worship/default.asp?act=reader&item_id=3615. A pdf of the pamphlet is available at http://www.gbod.org/worship/images/employ2004.pdf.

Florida Southern College hosts spirituality and wellness lecture

LAKELAND — The Florida Center for Science and Religion at Florida Southern College will hold its annual meeting on Spirituality and Wellness March 19 in Room 152 of the Polk Science Building on the Florida Southern College campus.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public. Lunch is available for $5. 

The meeting features presentations on spirituality and wellness, breakout sessions on the roles of faith communities and health professionals in wellness, and a keynote address by Dr. Keith G. Meador of Duke Divinity School and Duke University Medical School. Meador will discuss “Spirituality and Health in a Therapeutic Culture: Theological Considerations & Concerns.” 

The event is funded in part by Florida Southern College and the Local Societies Initiative of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science at http://www.metanexus.net.

For more information about the Florida Center for Science and Religion or the annual meeting visit http://www.fcsr.net or contact Dr. Sara Harding or Dr. Nancy Morvillo at 863-680-4185 or sharding@flsouthern.edu or nmorvillo@flsouthern.edu.

Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology celebrates its anniversary

By Pete Paulsen**

ATLANTA — The Program of Black Church Studies at Candler School of Theology, one of the most rigorous Black studies academic programs in the country, will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a series of events April 6-9.

Along with worship, a community health fair and presentations honoring Candler’s Black faculty, the Friday evening anniversary banquet will feature Dr. James H. Cone of Union Theological Seminary (NYC).

For more information and a registration form visit http://candler.emory.edu/ABOUT/BSCAnniversary.pdf.

Heritage Sunday date has been changed

By Dean McIntyre**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 2004 General Conference changed the date for observance of Heritage Sunday, a day for United Methodist congregations to reflect on their heritage, to celebrate where the Church has been and how it understands itself as it shapes United Methodists today, and to reflect on the meaning of Christian conferencing (Paragraph 265.1 in the 2004 Book of Discipline).

The new date will be Aldersgate Day, May 24, or the Sunday preceding that date: May 22 in 2005 and May 21 in 2006. These changes have been made to the General Board of Discipleship worship-music planning calendars on its Web site at http://www.gbod.org/worship/default.asp?act=reader&item_id=6337.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn. McIntyre is the director of Music Resources, The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship. Rankin is director of the Florida Conference Council on Ministries’ Missions Ministry team and also serves as HCA dean. Paulsen is director of communications, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Berkey is executive director of the Florida Conference Camps and Retreat Ministries. Mancao is director of administration for JUSTPEACE Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation. Casey-Rutland is treasurer and director of financial services for the Florida Conference.

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