Opportunities — April 9, 2006 {0469}



e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
      
 

Opportunities — April 9, 2006

April 9, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011  
tparham@flumc.org    Orlando {0469}

An e-Review News Item

Clergy invited to learn to preach with presence

By Tita Parham

Clergy who would like to provide more relevant messages, as well as learn to become better listeners and counselors, are invited to attend the “Preaching With Presence” workshop April 18, 9 a.m., to April 20, mid-afternoon.

The session is sponsored by the conference’s Center for Clergy Excellence (formerly the Board of Ordained Ministry). It focuses on enhancing preaching skills and will be led by Jeri Burgdorf and supported by Cole Powers, both of Media Images Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.

More than 300 clergy throughout the conference have participated in this workshop in previous years. Based on past evaluations, pastors who were considering leaving the ministry because of its stresses said the session so enhanced their preaching abilities and self-esteem they decided to remain in the ministry. Many also said they count this workshop as one of the most helpful tools to improve their preaching.

Reservations and advance payment ($115 per clergyperson) are required and can be made through Winnie Dean at wdean@flumc.org or 800-282-8011, extension 134.


Construction volunteers urgently needed in Big Pine Key

By Lin Arnold-Skrovanek**

LAKELAND — Big Pine Key needs help. That’s the word from the Rev. Greer Jensen, pastor of Big Pine United Methodist Church, located on Big Pine Key in the middle Keys.

Greer told The Florida Conference Storm Recovery Center there is an urgent for volunteers to work with Habitat for Humanity to help finish homes before the hurricane season begins June 1.

The homes are for low-income and special needs families, as well as senior citizens.
Habitat has been working with volunteers from various areas and faith organizations rebuild homes after Hurricane Wilma flooding. The organization currently has 50 open cases.

Teams are asked to volunteer by contacting the Florida Conference Storm Recovery Center as soon as possible at larnold-skrovanek@flumc.org or 863-688-5563, extension 198.

Volunteer team applications are posted on the Florida Conference Web site at http:// www.flumc.org under the forms and surveys button. Disaster response volunteer team application forms are listed on the site. Volunteers are asked to complete the form and fax it to the Storm Recovery Center at 863-688-7233.
 
Volunteer teams will be scheduled where needed after applications have been received. Teams will be notified with contact information and accommodations.


Living Justice Seminar held in New York City

By Becky Dodson Louter**

NEW YORK — United Methodist women ages 20-39 are invited to explore new directions and social justice issues through the Living Justice Seminar June 24-28 in New York.

The Deaconess Program Office is coordinating the event through the support of the Women’s Division and Mission Personnel Program Area. The group size is limited to a maximum of 20 with all participant expenses (travel in the United States, lodging and meals) provided.

The same event in 2005 included participants from across the continental United States and with backgrounds as varied as their geography. The group included individuals serving in youth ministries, social services, local church ministries and civic organizations, as well as those serving as educators and therapists and attending colleges or seminaries.

Activities for this year’s event will focus on refugee and immigration issues. Participants will study scripture and explore opportunities for working in areas of social and economic justice, bridging church, community and personal life. They will experience ministries of love, justice and service in New York City and meet other women whose faith, conviction and commitment brought them forward for service. Participants will also explore the rich history of the deaconess movement in The United Methodist Church and discover ways to put their faith into action through relationship with The United Methodist Church.

Interested persons can receive an application for the seminar or obtain additional information by contacting Becky Dodson Louter with the Deaconess Program Office at deaconess@gbgm-umc.org or 212-870-3850. The deadline for returning the application is April 30.


Lake Junaluska mission event empowers people to connect with God’s call

By Landon Taylor**

DECATUR, Ga. — The Southeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Volunteers in Mission invites interested individuals to attend its upcoming event, Connect, June 28-30, at Lake Junaluska, N.C.

The theme is “Passion and Purpose — How can I Connect my desire to answer God’s call with needs around the world.”

Keynote speakers include Bishop Will Willimon of the North Alabama Conference, Bishop Hope Morgan-Ward of the Mississippi Conference and Dr. Wilson Bonfim of Evangemed in Brazil.

Workshops will be offered on a variety of mission topics, including, but not limited to, mission experiences for the novice, team leadership, cross-cultural service, volunteering as an individual and medical teams. International and domestic project leaders will be available to share information about their work and ways volunteers can participate.

Projects With a Purpose will provide time to network with international and disaster-related projects, giving participants an opportunity to gather information for planning mission trips or sign up to participate in an exploratory trip to a country or area.

YUMVIM (Young United Methodist Volunteers In Mission) Families are encouraged to bring children and grandchildren to participate in a program for children and youth that includes hands-on projects, music, worship and drama, and other mission oriented activities.

More information is available at http://www.umvim.org or by contacting Landon Taylor at 404-377-7424.


Young person or group sought for General Conference address

By United Methodist News Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Division on Ministries with Young People is seeking submissions for a young person or team of young people to address the denomination’s 2008 General Conference. The deadline for applying is July 1.

The denomination’s top legislative assembly, which meets every four years, will gather in Fort Worth, Texas, April 22-May 2, 2008. It will be the first time young people have been added to the agenda to address a General Conference.

The value of the voices of youth and young adults was affirmed when the 2004 General Conference voted overwhelmingly to add an address by a young person to the agenda for the 2008 General Conference. The 2004 conference also approved creating the Division on Ministries with Young People, housed at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

“There has been an incredible celebration of youth and young adults as we continue to dream a church,” said Jay Williams, young adult delegate from Western New York, as he proposed adding the address to the 2008 conference.

Youth and young adults served as vice chair people of legislative committees, led subcommittees and spoke many times on the floor throughout the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.

“There has really been a strong outpouring of love and support for young people. We have been encouraged to continue to be witnesses, to continue to dream and hope,” Williams said.

“For a young person to make an address to the 2008 General Conference shows the entire church that young people can be in leadership and have a voice,” said Julie O’Neal of Scottsdale, Ariz. Along with Williams, O’Neal was co-chairperson of the Shared Mission Focus on Young People, which preceded the new division. “We have some good things for the denomination to hear,” she added.

The Division on Ministries with Young People is requesting submissions of videotapes from people who would like to deliver the Young People’s Address. United Methodists between the ages of 12 and 30 are eligible. The deadline for the process is July 1. Those interested should send a 10-minute videotape featuring a presentation that addresses the concerns and dreams of young people in the United Methodist Church and a transcript of the speech, which can be in the applicant’s native language.

The Division on Ministries on Young People will select the speaker or speakers at its August meeting and notify successful applicants by Sept. 1. More information may be obtained by contacting Jay Clark at 615-340-7058 or jclark@gbod.org.

Videos and transcripts should be sent to Young People’s Address, Young People’s Ministries, P.O. Box 340003, Nashville, TN 37203-0003.


2006 International Clergywomen’s Consultation celebrates past and future

By Caryl Kelley**

CHICAGO, Ill. — Chicago’s Hyatt Regency McCormick Place will host the largest gathering of United Methodist clergywomen from around the world Aug. 13-17 during the 2006 International Clergywomen’s Consultation.

This year’s theme “The Spirit of God is upon us: Celebrating our courageous past, Claiming our bold future,” based on Isaiah 61: 1-3 and Luke 4: 16-19, reflects the biblical foundations of the empowering call to ministry for all participants.

Although the event is not limited to women, one of the major emphases for the 2006 Consultation is to nurture young women who are or might be called to be in ministry or are in the early years of ministry. This historic event will also spotlight the celebration of the 50th anniversary of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition.

Activities during the week include workshops, early morning spirituality groups, participants choir and band, special worship celebrations and times for quiet meditation. Free two- or four-hour afternoon guided tours of Chicago can be arranged at http://www.chicagogreeters.com.

Registration information, as well as a schedule of events, list of workshops, leaders and continuing education unit information, is available at http://www.gbhem.org/clergywomen/consultation2006. The registration deadline is May 15.

The Consultation is limited to the first 1,500 applicants. Early registration is encouraged. Online registration is available. The cost is $225 online or postmarked by May 15 or $275 online or postmarked after May 15. The rate for college or seminary students is $150. The fees include the Tuesday night banquet and program, CEUs and all Consultation activities. Instructions for reserving the hotel room are also on the Web site.

Those attending should check http://www.gbhem.org/clergywomen often for updates.


Candler announces fall conference: “Faith, Politics and Policy”

By Peter M. Paulsen**

ATLANTA — One month prior to national elections Candler School of Theology will address the topic of “Faith, Politics and Policy” at its annual fall conference Oct. 8-10.

Nationally known speakers include Jim Wallis of Sojourners; James Forbes of Riverside Church in New York City; Jim Towey, White House director of Faith-based and Community Initiatives; Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church; Susan Pace Hamill of the University of Alabama School of Law; and Robert Franklin, Candler School of Theology. They will join Candler faculty and state legislators in guiding conference participants through a critical and strategic look at the church’s role in shaping public policy and international relations.

More information is available by contacting Peter Paulsen at 404-727-4481.


Study guide on global poverty available from GBCS

By Mark W. Harrison**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Eradicating Poverty: A Christian Study Guide on the Millennium Development Goals” is a new study guide published by the National Council of Churches and available through The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS).

The Millennium Development Goals are a set of eight goals to end extreme poverty, hunger and disease by 2015, agreed to by world leaders in 2000. The United Methodist Church General Conference gave its support to the goals in 2004.

The goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development. More information about these goals is available at http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/.

The study guide is divided into six sessions for use in church school classes and other settings. Each session examines one or more of the Millennium Development Goals. An appendix to the guide examines the special economic and political challenges facing the African continent.

The 64-page guide “Eradicating Global Poverty: A Christian Study Guide on the Millennium Development Goals” is published by Friendship Press, 7830 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45237. The cost is $7.95. Orders may be places by calling toll-free 800-889-5733 or sending a fax to 513-761-3722. Orders can also be sent by e-mail to rbray@gbgm-umc.org

Millennium Development Goals cards urging United Methodist to work together to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger are available at http://www.umc-gbcs.org/store. The first 100 cards are free (there is a charge for postage). Additional orders of 100 cards are $3 plus postage.


TOOLS & BLANKETS kit offers resources for congregations

By Church World Service Newsroom

NEW YORK — From blankets, tents and emergency supplies in the wake of disaster to material assistance, education and training, and small-enterprise loans as part of sustainable development programs, Church World Service (CWS) Tools & Blankets Program provides the right “tools” at the right time.

Congregations may have recently noticed an updated kit on the CWS Tools & Blankets Program. Tools & Blankets offers a “rainbow of caring,” and gifts make possible the provision of the moisture-repellant CWS Blanket, fishing nets, shelter kits and even a water buffalo — all tools needed to promote sustainable development worldwide.

The new congregational materials include a CWS Tools & Blankets Guide with a “how to do it” action Pack, a four-page education/worship resource, including Minutes for Mission, prayers, children’s sermon and skits, bulletin inserts, and materials on the CWS Web-based “Build a Village.” There is also a poster, offering leaflet and a new Tools & Blankets DVD or video, plus a CD-Rom of all the resources, including children’s activities and ideas for special offerings on Valentine’s, Mother’s and Father’s days.

The materials draw on the humanitarian agency’s work in Indonesia, where CWS has been active since the 1960s and especially since the 2004 tsunami. CWS programs enhance agricultural production, work for access to safe water and health care, and promote education. CWS pre-positions supplies, blankets and tents as part of its proactive response to emergencies. CWS is able to respond quickly and remain engaged through the Tools & Blankets offerings, often taken on Mother’s and Father’s days across the country or anytime a congregation might collect a special offering.

Through the Church World Service Tools & Blankets Program, congregations are able to become “repairers of the breach.”

“What I would like to say to the people who support the TOOLS & BLANKETS Program is thank you. Thank you so much,” said Evi, a staff member of CWS Indonesia. “Recovery is a process. … By working together, we can make it possible.”

Congregations are invited to work with CWS in the United States and around the world to supply Tools & Blankets, comfort and hope to those in need. More information is available at http://www.churchworldservice.org/tools-blankets/index.html.


Site offers online resources for youth, young adult workers

By United Methodist News Service
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Youth and young adult workers now have a place on the Internet to find United Methodist resources to help them in their ministry.

The Resource Hub is an online database created by the Division on Ministries with Young People at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. It includes more than 500 resources gathered from the general agencies of the church, said the Rev. Micki McCorkle, director of leadership development with adults who work with young people.

“People have been asking for one place they could go and find resources from the church to help them with their ministry,” she said. Currently, the database only contains United Methodist resources, but plans for the future include adding material from other denominations.

“Youth curriculum, devotional books, Bible studies and teaching resources on how to start or organize a youth ministry are some of the items you can find on the Hub,” McCorkle said.

The Division on Ministries with Young People is using technology to stay in touch with the global community. Some of its other projects include establishing virtual networks for youth, young adults and adult workers.

“We’re looking for people who want to be part of a global community of people sharing their spiritual journey,” said Julie O’Neal, a director with the division. “Anyone may join — it’s not just United Methodists.”

The division is also working on having original music written and performed by young people and/or adult workers, as well as devotional podcasts. The MP3 downloads are a way for people to do devotions and meditation at times convenient for them.

“They can just put it on their iPods and go and listen to devotions whenever they have time, whether they are in their car or in the park between classes,” McCorkle said.

“We are very excited with the opportunities that technology offers us to reach out,” she said. The division would also like feedback on the resources.

Individuals may view the Resource Hub or find more information on the virtual networks and the podcasts by visiting http://www.gbod.org/youngpeople/.
 


New Christian Web site software pre-released
 
By Jerome Smith**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Foundation for Evangelism is offering the technology ministry software pre-release “Web-Empowered Church (WEC).”

In announcing this release, Rubin Perry, director of Technology Ministry for the Foundation, said, “The Web-Empowered Church program seeks to provide new opportunities for ministry Web sites. The mission of WEC is to innovatively apply Web technology to empower the worldwide church for ministry.”

The ministry software is designed to help churches around the world with Internet technology, promoting evangelism, discipleship and Christian care.

From the earliest days of the Internet, Christian churches have been going online. These Web sites have served to connect, inform and provide resources for ministry. As Web site technology continues to change, the church continues to look for new ways to make connections. The new “Pre-Release of Web-Empowered Church” software is a major step toward the vision of a connected church. Using the latest technologies of open source, a growing online development community, expanding ministry modules and with a focused heart for local church ministry, WEC provides a digital solution for ministry online and a passion to empower churches for local and worldwide ministry.

The WEC software is built upon the open source content management system called TYPO3. The pre-release of WEC includes installation support, Christian themes and templates, and ministry tools called ministry extensions, according to Mark Stephenson, WEC project director and director of Cyber Ministry and Technology at Ginghamsburg Church.

“Many more are in the works, but initially we have extensions that are ready to support prayer and related ministries that connect people with needs, daily devotions with personal private journals, sermons or classes using audio or video, and the option of synchronized changing charts,” he said. “These and future ministry extensions are designed to take churches to new levels in the application of Internet technology to ministry.”

Information about the software and ways churches can join the development process are available on the Web-Empowered Church Web site at http://www.webempoweredchurch.com; by contacting the communications office at The Foundation for Evangelism at 828-456-4312, jsmith@evangelize.org or P.O. Box 985 Lake Junaluska, NC 28745; or visiting http://www.evangelize.org.

The Foundation for Evangelism is an affiliate of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church.


New community opens for campus ministers

By Jerome Smith

College Union, a community of United Methodists in Campus Ministry, has launched a new Web community at http://www.collegeunion.org. The site is a Web journal and resource place designed “by people involved in campus ministry, for people in campus ministry.”

The Web site is designed for “best practices” in campus ministry. Areas of interest and resources include: small groups, missions, worship, virtues and choices, student leadership, spiritual formation, staff development, emerging trends, videos, and chat rooms. The site will be updated with current articles and resources added by an editorial board of individuals involved in campus ministry, as well as noted leaders of campus ministry, theologians and church leaders.

Dr. Steve Moore, project coordinator, said the Web site was developed from ideas generated at the Campus Ministry Summit held at Duke Divinity School last December. “A distinguished panel of individuals is serving as the editorial board for the Web site,” he said. “They will be writing articles, sharing ideas, finding helpful resources and connecting people with each other in the exciting work of ministry on campus.”

The editorial board leadership says the College Union is founded on three ideas. The site will be an organic community (life creating life), not a professional organization, and focused on transformation, not information. The focus will also be on the mission of making disciples for Christ, not simply maintaining the status quo.

CollegeUnion.org is a Web-based journal and forum for sharing ideas, resources and best practices about campus ministry and uses the new Web Empowered Church software. The College Union Online Community is sponsored by The Foundation for Evangelism, an affiliate of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church.


Igniting Ministry’s national television commercial asks “believe again”

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The national Igniting Ministry office has launched a new television commercial titled “Prayer” that began airing on cable networks the week of March 27. Along with it are tools to help church members reach out to people in their communities.

The “believe again” message of the new Prayer commercial also comes with a corresponding Prayer Expression Package, the third expression package from Igniting Ministry. It contains a do-it-yourself kit of ready-to-use graphics, advertising and training for community and congregational activities. Free downloads, a tour of the package and other advertising tips are offered at http://www.mediawarehouse.ignitingministry.org.

The Prayer theme is based on Nehemiah 1:11a, which serves as a model for individual and collective prayer experiences. Nehemiah’s story demonstrates the importance of prayer as a source of strength, guidance and comfort, while bringing together teachings about Prayer in easily identifiable categories. The materials address prayer as a means to learn more about ourselves, develop relationships with God and each other, and connect with seekers who long for a deeper experience of spirituality.

Lent is a key season to reach new people. Welcoming tips and resources for congregations are offered on the Igniting Ministry Web site at http://ignitingminstry.org. Igniting Ministry also celebrates and recognizes the efforts of local congregations to prepare actively and intentionally to receive newcomers. Churches can be certified as Welcoming Congregations. By attending training events or by using Igniting Ministry resources, United Methodists can develop new hospitality skills to help bring people through their church doors and give them a reason to stay.

Igniting Ministry will also be offering new Spanish-language newspaper, radio, door hanger, bulletin cover, worship and Web graphics through its MediaWarehouse until the beginning of July. The keyword search is “Oración.”

Igniting Ministry help and information is available at 877-281-6535 or im@umcom.org.


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*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Arnold-Skrovanek is manager of the Florida Conference Storm Recovery Center. Harrison is program director for the Peace with Justice ministry of the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C. Smith is director of communications for The Foundation for Evangelism in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Louter is with the Deaconess Program Office of the General Board of Global Ministries in New York. Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Taylor is communications specialist for the Southeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Volunteers in Mission in Decatur, Ga. Paulsen is director of communications for Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta.




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