Opportunities — March 30, 2005 {0272}



e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
      
 

Opportunities — March 30, 2005

March 30, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
407-897-1184   
tparham@flumc.org     Orlando  {0272}

An e-Review News Item

Location changes for 'In Search of Security' dialogue at B-CC

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — The location of the "In Search of Security" dialogue event April 9 at Bethune-Cookman College (B-CC) in Daytona Beach has been changed from the President's Dining Room to the Student Center.

Called "In Search of Security: A Conversation," discussion will take place at B-CC, Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to noon, and Thursday, April 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Jim Rogers Auditorium at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The events will also be shown live on the Florida Conference Web site, with remote participants providing input via e-mail.

The events are in response to a document titled "In Search of Security," published by the United Methodist Council of Bishops. The 32-page document, which can be accessed through the conference Web site, is "simply meant to stimulate discussion," according to Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker.

Each United Methodist bishop will be providing opportunities for United Methodists in his or her area to express their views on fear and security.

For more information about the events and other opportunities to participate in the dialogue visit the Florida Conference Web site at http://www.flumc.org and click on the In Search of Security link or http://www.flumc.org/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/lw/000398.htm; or contact Joanna Proferes at jproferes@flumc.org or 800-282-8011, extension 151.


United Methodists have resource on life and death issues

By Linda Bloom**

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — United Methodists have a resource for considering the type of issues raised in the Terri Schiavo case, according to the chief executive of the denomination's social action agency.

Schiavo is the brain-damaged Florida woman at the center of a long dispute between her husband and her parents over whether her feeding tube should be disconnected to allow her to die. After her husband prevailed and the tube was recently disconnected, her parents continued their petitions in the court and Congress passed a law allowing federal courts to intervene in the case.
 
"The Terri Schiavo case is heart wrenching, and it calls us to examine the difficult issues related to quality of life and our own participation in life with life decisions," said Jim Winkler, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. "We extend our thoughts and prayers to all who are intimately involved with the decision, knowing that God is sovereign over life and death and God's love for us is abundant."

Winkler said a good resource for church members is the resolution, "Faithful Care for Persons Suffering and Dying," passed by the 2004 United Methodist General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body. The resolution can be found online at http://www.umc-gbcs.org/issues/resolutions.php?resolutionid=194.

Congregations can make available to members the necessary information and forms about an Advance Directive, also known as a Living Will, Winkler noted. Forms are offered free of charge for each state by The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a nonprofit organization based in Arlington, Va. Forms are available by sending an e-mail to consumers@nhpco.org or by calling 800-658-8898.


Health & Wholeness Ministry needs 'buddies' for camp

By Larry Rankin**

LAKELAND — The Florida Annual Conference Health & Wholeness Ministry has provided two one-week camp sessions for young adults who are mentally and physically challenged for more than 15 years.

The heart of the camp program, held at the Warren W. Willis Camp in Leesburg in June and July, is the buddy. A buddy is anyone with a heart to attend camp and be paired with a camper all week. Campers may only attend if there are enough buddies, so fewer buddies recruited means fewer campers may attend. 

Special needs camps are highly sought, and The United Methodist Church is one of the few churches that provide this quality experience.

For more information contact Sarah Beth Priest, the camp director, at 386-763-3186 or sb10@msn.com.


Spiritual Formation team offers next monthly gathering

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — Conference laity and clergy are invited to attend upcoming sessions of the newly formed Spiritual Formation monthly gatherings.

Featured for the next three sessions are: "Spiritual Disciplines — Practices That Lead Us to the Heart of God," May 20, lead by Martha Clark; "Spiritual Growth through the Wisdom of the Monastic Movement," June 17, lead by the Rev. Dr. Glenn Galtere; and "Witnessing Together the Expression of Soul in the Sand Tray," Aug. 19, lead by Dr. Trudy Corry Rankin.

The monthly sessions are designed to inform and/or transform individuals who intentionally desire spiritual growth/formation. Each session is held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) in Leesburg. The cost is $30, and participants are asked to bring their lunch.

To register for the monthly gathering, contact Carol Sue Hutchinson at chutchinson@flumc.org. For more information about the gatherings visit http://www.flumcspiritualformation.org. To register for or for information about the fifth annual Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation April 24-29 at the LEC visit http://www.fl5dayacademy.org or contact Hutchinson by e-mail or at 800-282-8011, extension 140.
 
To share ideas or volunteer to serve contact Martha Clark, Spiritual Formation team leader, at shieldsandmartha@verizon.net or 813-988-4655 or Dr. Trudy Corry Rankin, coordinator of the Formation gatherings, at trudrank@worldnet.att.net or 863-682-2810.


Laity encouraged to attend Southeastern Jurisdictional retreat

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Hundreds of laity from across the southeast will gather July 21-24 at Lake Junaluska, N.C., for the 2005 SEJ Laity Retreat.

Themed "Together in Ministry," the four-day event is designed specifically for church laity and features worship, singing, Bible study and informative workshops.

Two special "tracks" will be offered — one for young adults and another for lay leaders. The leadership track is designed for district and church lay leaders and individuals who want to grow as leaders in their congregations. Sandy Zeigler, director of Lay Leadership Development for the General Board of Discipleship, will lead the session. The young adult track will provide opportunities for networking with other young adults and resourcing on issues of concern for young adults in the church. The session will be lead by staff from the Division on Ministries With Young People.

Retreat leaders include Clarence Brown, superintendent of the Charlottesville District in the Virginia Conference; M.J. Kim, who was born in Korea to the first conference lay leader in Korean Methodism; Heath Jones, who, after retiring from teaching math and physics for 20 years, has focused his time on Christian education in his local church; Christine Harman, director of Discipleship Development in the Kentucky Conference; and Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster of the Alabama-West Florida Conference.

A special children's program that offers age-appropriate learning activities in the newly renovated Children's building will also be provided. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in the retreat mission project by bringing hand towels and washcloths to be donated to the United Methodist Committee on Relief distribution center in Louisiana for tsunami relief. 
 
The program fee for the retreat is $40 for adults and $30 for children and youth. On-site registration is $50. To register call 888-829-1231 and request a mailed registration form or visit http://www.sejumc.org and look for SEJ Laity Retreat under the calendar of events link. For more information e-mail ahewitt@sejumc.org.


Disciple Bible Study training offered in Tampa

By Sue Barnes**

TAMPA — Cokesbury is offering one-day and two-day Disciple training seminars in Tampa at Hyde Park United Methodist Church Aug. 11-12.

One-day training seminar options include three programs: Disciple 1: "Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study," an in-depth 34-week study of the Bible on Aug. 12; "Christian Believer," a 30-week study of the classical doctrines of the Christian Faith on Aug.11; and "Jesus in the Gospels," a concentration on the portraits of Jesus that emerge from the four Gospels on Aug.12. 

Clergy and laity interested in leading one of these programs at their church are encouraged to attend.

A two-day training seminar option for Disciple 1 is also available Aug. 11-12. This longer training is designed for those who have never participated in the Disciple program or who would like a more hands-on training experience.

Each one-day seminar is $100, and the two-day Disciple 1 seminar is $150. All seminars include lunch and training materials.

Disciple, now in its 18th year, has reached more than 1.5 million people worldwide. Disciple begins with a 34-week foundation study, "Becoming Disciples through Bible Study," and continues with the second, third and fourth Disciple phases, each going deeper into selected portions of the Bible.

The Disciple study encourages members to bring their experiences and struggles to scripture; develops a congregation nourished by scripture and committed to live as disciples; shapes a congregation's identity as people of God through a shared knowledge and understanding of the whole biblical story; and connects the biblical story to a congregation's ministry and mission.

For more information about Disciple or to register for training visit http://www.disciple.cokesbury.com or call 800-251-8591.


Study guide explores biblical subject matter in "The Lord of the Rings"

By Kathy L. Gilbert**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A new six-week study guide from United Methodist Communications explores the biblical themes running through J.R.R. Tolkien's epic, "The Lord of the Rings," and Peter Jackson's award-winning films of the books.

The study guide was developed by UMC.org, the United Methodist Church's official Web site, a ministry of UMCom.

From Frodo's lush beloved Shire to the terrifying land of Mordor, The Lord of the Rings takes the viewer on a spiritual adventure of good versus evil. The study guide examines the themes and characters of the complex trilogy and relates them to the Christian tradition.

"One of the challenges Christians face is how to talk about faith in language that makes it understandable to persons who don't know the words of faith today," says the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive with United Methodist Communications. "When it is possible to use popular culture to point to values that complement the teachings of faith, we should do so. When popular culture conveys values contrary to the values of faith, we should, likewise, point out our different perspective."

The Lord of the Rings: Exploring a Holy Trilogy study includes a printable leader's guide, student guide and participant handouts. The CD is $29.95. In addition, the study can be purchased in a package bundle with public performance licensing for $169.95; the license alone is $150. The license permits groups to view "The Lord of the Rings" DVDs and use them in public presentations, as long as admission is not charged.

" 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy is so much more than just another blockbuster movie," says Lynne DeMichele, writer of the guide and a former communicator with the denomination's Indiana Area. "I think it is a masterpiece, and it has so much to teach us."

The new resource uses the films to get people thinking about what is important, she says.

"It is such a powerful way to reach people who haven't heard or listened to the message of Christ. It is a wonderful, beautifully made populist tool to use to introduce to someone who might be resistant or didn't think they were interested in Christianity or things some would label as 'churchy.' "

DeMichele notes that Tolkien was a "very public Christian" who made no secret that he purposely infused his stories with spiritual content.

The six-week series explores each of the three movies — "The Fellowship of the Rings," "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" — in two lessons. DeMichele ties the discussion topics to scenes easily found on the DVDs.

There are many books written on the Gospel that relate to popular culture, such as The Gospel According to the Peanuts, she says. "While that may seem silly on the one hand, the Gospel message is so powerful it does resonate throughout all sorts of literature and creative expressions. 'The Lord of the Rings' is no exception."

"In every character, in every being, if there is a spark of humanity, there is always a possibility for redemption, and we see that time and again in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy."

The study guide is intended for adults and youth. Matt Carlisle, executive producer of UMC.org, said he hopes the guide will draw youth, young adults and adults together for meaningful discussions.

"UMC.org is developing resources and study guides that relate real life with faith journeys," he says. "Perhaps groups can get together and watch the movies on Saturday night and then come to church on Sunday to discuss what they have seen."

The study guide is intended for ecumenical use as well as for different age groups, he says.

" 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy captured the imagination of millions around the world," Hollon says. "Through reflection and study, we can provide information that shows how this important cultural expression both complements and differs from the teachings of Christian faith. There is a longstanding tradition in the Christian faith of dialogue between faith and culture. In our day, this dialogue occurs by reflecting on such expressions as 'The Lord of the Rings.' "

DeMichele adds, "I hope that people will use the study to provide a new way of getting at timeless Christian truths expressed through a myth in the same way they are expressed through the great stories of the Bible."

The guide is being distributed through EcuFilm, 888-346-3862. It can be ordered online at http://www.umc.org.


Society of St. Andrew offers Vacation Bible School program that teaches children about hunger

By Carol A. Breitinger**

ORLANDO — Churches can challenge their Vacation Bible School (VBS) students to "Dare to Share God's Love" this summer through the Society of St. Andrew's free VBS mission program that teaches students about hunger in America and how Jesus expects his followers, even children, to do something about it. 

Through scripture lessons and activity sheets, students will learn how they can make a difference in the fight against hunger.

The goal of "Dare to Share God's Love," which is designed to supplement a church's VBS program, is to feed the hungry by raising at least $50 for the Society of St. Andrew's hunger relief work, a nickel at a time. Each nickel donated to the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) is enough to deliver a pound of salvaged fresh, nutritious potatoes to the nation's hungry through SoSA's Potato Project. For each $50 donation about 1,000 pounds of salvaged potatoes will go to feed hungry children and adults right here in America.

The Society of St. Andrew (Special Advance Number 801600) is a Christian nondenominational hunger-relief ministry headquartered in Virginia, with regional offices in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Texas and Gleaning Network offices in 20 states and New England.

Money raised by Vacation Bible Schools throughout the nation will help the Society of St. Andrew's Potato Project deliver tractor-trailer loads of salvaged potatoes across the United States to agencies feeding the poor. SoSA's potatoes go to food banks, Salvation Armies, soup kitchens, Native American reservations and other agencies to feed those who are homeless or have shelter-related needs, seniors, children, and families in need.

"Dare to Share God's Love" materials are free of charge and can be ordered online at http://www.endhunger.org/bible_school.htm, by phone at 800-333-4597 or by e-mail at church@endhunger.org.

For more information about the Society of St. Andrew and its hunger-relief programs visit http://www.endhunger.org, call 1-800-333-4597 or e-mail sosausa@endhunger.org.


Aldersgate Emmaus celebrates 25th anniversary

Aldersgate Emmaus is celebrating its 25th anniversary April 9 at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Youth Camp in Leesburg.

Once a year the Aldersgate community gathers from throughout Central Florida to worship, participate in workshops, hear a speaker and give praise to Jesus Christ for the Emmaus experience.

This year marks 25 years of The Walk to Emmaus in Central Florida. The celebration will begin at 10 am and end at 3 pm. Anyone who has attended The Walk to Emmaus or Chrysalis is welcome.

Workshops this year include Sponsorship, Gatherings, Chrysalis Flight (for high school students), Chrysalis Journey (for college students), Mime/Clown Communion Training, Music Training and a forum for clergy. The day will end with worship and communion in the youth chapel. There will also be a silent auction to raise money for the scholarship funds of both Emmaus and Chrysalis.

There is a $10 per person registration fee, which includes a box lunch to be enjoyed on the grounds, before April 4. After that date, participants will be welcome, but no meal will be available. Babysitting is available by reservation only for $10 per child, which includes a meal, a snack, crafts and sitter.

Registration forms and more information are available at http://www.aldersgateemmaus.org.


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*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Bloom is director of the New York office of United Methodist News Service. Rankin is director of the Florida Conference Council on Ministries' Missions Ministry team and dean of the Florida Conference Healthy Church Academy. Breitinger is communications director for the Society of St. Andrew in Orlando. Barnes is on staff with Cokesbury Seminars. Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.




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