Opportunities — Feb. 12, 2007 {0623}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Feb. 12, 2007

Feb. 12, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
tparham@flumc.org    Orlando {0623}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

 n Nominations urgently needed for General, Jurisdictional Conference delegates;
 n Foundation, conference sponsor pre-retirement seminar;
 n Applications now being accepted for the Harry Denman Evangelism Award;
 n Pine Castle church offers encounter with Holy Spirit;
 n United Methodists invited to walk for children;
 n Couples ‘seek ye first’ at United Methodist Men’s spiritual retreats;
 n Churches invited to celebrate children;
 n Applicants sought for Lockmiller church school awards;
 n Nominations now being accepted for annual conference youth address;
 n Scholarships available to Georgia-Florida Credit Union members;
 n 2008 Conference Table gatherings feature young, older adult ministries.

 n 2007 Peace With Justice grants now available;
 n One Great Hour of Sharing offering resources available;
 n United Methodists celebrate Charles Wesley on pilgrimage to England;
 n Leaders of large churches gather for national conference;
 n ‘Discernment events’ assist laity in finding God’s will for their lives;
 n St. Louis hosts 2007 national Methodist musician’s convocation;
 n Ministry commission puts recommendations, survey online; 
 n Agency makes student loans, scholarships available;
 n Free e-mail listserv offered for musicians and worship leaders.


Nominations urgently needed for General, Jurisdictional Conference delegates
As of Feb. 7, only 16 lay and 31 clergy nominations have been received for election as a delegate to the 2008 General Conference, to be held in Fort Worth, Texas. The Florida Conference is entitled to elect 26 delegates to General Conference — 13 laity and 13 clergy — as well as an additional 26 delegates to the 2008 Jurisdictional Conference, held in July at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
The deadline to receive nominations is midnight Feb. 15. Individuals interested in nominating themselves or someone else may visit http://www.flumc.org and click on the “Nominations Form” button.

Only people who are official nominees will be considered for election during the voting process at the 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event June 6-9 in Lakeland.

The role of delegates to both conferences is featured in “Former General, Jurisdictional Conference delegates share tips to help 2008 delegates prepare,” e-Review FUMNS #609, at http://www.flumc2.org/FCNN/articles/000030/003089.htm.

Foundation, conference sponsor pre-retirement seminar

By Suzanne McGovern**

The Florida United Methodist Foundation and the Florida Conference will cosponsor the pre-retirement planning workshop “R-10 and Counting” for clergy and spouses who have 10 or fewer years before retirement. 

The seminar will be held March 26-28 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, near Leesburg.

Speakers will include experts on a variety of subjects facing retirees, including financial planning, estate planning, Social Security, pensions, living arrangements, health and wellness, and more. Speakers include the Rev. Peter Hang of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits; Carla Bryant, an estate planning attorney; the Rev. Tom Marston, president of the foundation; and John Peterson, the foundation’s vice president of planned giving.

The seminar is limited to 27 participants, with couples counted as one participant. All participants will receive an $85 scholarship underwritten by the Preacher’s Relief Board. With the scholarship the $225 fee for a couple becomes $140; for single participants the $175 fee becomes $90.

Fees include accommodations for two nights, five meals and workshop materials. The registration deadline is Feb. 28.  Individuals may register or learn more about the seminar by visiting http://www.fumf.org or contacting the foundation at 866-363-9673.

Applications now being accepted for the Harry Denman Evangelism Award

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — United Methodists are encouraged to nominate clergy and laity for the 2007 Harry Denman Evangelism Award.

The Denman award began in 1980 to recognize both clergy and laity whose outstanding spiritual efforts have led others into a relationship with Christ.

Harry Denman was born Sept. 26, 1893, in Birmingham, Ala. He is most remembered for his leadership of the Board of Evangelism of the Methodist Church.

The application deadline is March 1.

The award is sponsored by the Florida Conference Office of Congregational Transformation. The nomination form and more information is available on the Florida Conference Web site at http://www.flumc2.org/page.asp?PKValue=399.

Pine Castle church offers encounter with Holy Spirit

By Pine Castle United Methodist Church Staff

ORLANDO — All Florida Conference laity and clergy are invited to attend “Arise! The Holy Spirit Encounter,” March 4-9 at Pine Castle United Methodist Church, 731 E. Fairlane Avenue, Orlando, 32809.

“Expect six days of seeking the face of God as the Holy Spirit leads us in times of prayer, worship, preaching, teaching, healing, deliverance and prophecy,” organizers said in a Feb. 5 release. “God’s answer for today is not another ‘new way’ of doing church, but God Himself anointing and empowering us with his presence to bring transformation. We will connect with other believers of like mind and heart, confirming that we are not alone in God’s call to see transformation of our culture through Jesus Christ.”
Children and youth are welcome, and the event is free. A love offering will be taken. Participants are responsible for their own meals and lodging.
Speakers include Harry and Cheryl Salem of Salem Family Ministries, Tulsa, Okla.; John Mulinde, founder and director of World Trumpet Mission, Kampala, Uganda; the Revs. Blake Lorenz, senior pastor of Pine Castle United Methodist Church, and Jim Bradshaw, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, Sanford; Ray Owens, Family Discipleship Ministries, Dalton, Ga.; Sue Lowery, Happy Family Church, Bradenton; and Pine Castle United Methodist Church’s Marilyn Wright, retired pastor and lay leader, and Beverly Lorenz, pastor of women’s ministries.

Owens will teach youth and Lowery will teach children’s sessions.
Worship leaders include former Miss America Cheryl Salem, Angela Courte, worship band Simple Fool and Sharrett Henderson, the church’s worship pastor.
Interested individuals may register online at http://www.theholyspiritencounter.org or call 407-438-2700 for information.

United Methodists invited to walk for children

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — Cornerstone Family Ministries, formerly Tampa United Methodist Centers, will hold its 27th Annual Wonder Walk for Children’s Services March 10, 8 a.m. to noon.

Individuals and church members are invited to gather at Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 Platt Street, Tampa, and walk or stroll Bayshore Boulevard for one to six miles.

Cornerstone Family Ministries, founded in 1892, is a nonprofit human services agency that helps more than 20,000 families each month by providing child care, education, nutrition, housing and cultural arts. The ministry’s Rosa Valdez and Cuscaden Early Intervention Centers serve more than 170 at-risk children. The Wonder Walk proceeds go specifically to help programs that help children.

Walkers will receive breakfast snacks, a T-shirt and a barbeque lunch for collecting a minimum of $35 in pledges. Walkers may sign up the day of the walk. Participants may walk, skate or ride bikes anytime during the walk time. Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. with featured special guests. More walker information is available at http://www.cornerstonefamilyministries.org/files/Walker%20Information.pdf

Individuals may make a general donation toward the Wonder Walk or to support a specific walker at https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/CornerstoneFamilyMinistries/OnlineGiving.html. Donations for a specific walker must include the walker’s contact information in the comments section of the donation page, including the walker’s church or organization.
A printable Wonder Walk poster is available for download at http://www.cornerstonefamilyministries.org/files/poster.pdf. More information about the walk is available at http://www.cornerstonefamilyministries.org/wonder-walk.aspx.

Couples ‘seek ye first’ at United Methodist Men’s spiritual retreats

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — This spring’s United Methodist Men’s couples retreats will offer a chance for couples to gather at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park near Leesburg under the theme “Seek Ye First.”

During three weekends beginning March 9-11, couples will be able to get away from their routines, spend time together in a relaxing environment, be in the company of other Christian couples and experience uplifting music and messages by people who have a pretty good idea of what most couples face on a daily basis.

Week one, March 9-11, features John Riley, an inspirational speaker, and the Rev. Dr. Riley Short, retired United Methodist pastor from Lakeland. Lenee Schroeder and Jeff and Diane Anders will lead the music team. Don Taylor will provide enrichment at each weekend. He will share about the church’s Jewish roots and how they relate to Christianity today.

Week two, March 16-18, features the Revs. Charley Reeb, pastor at Tuskawilla United Methodist Church in Casselberry, and Joyce Payne, general evangelist of The United Methodist Church. Lenee Schroeder and the Rev. Julian Graham will lead the music team.

Week three, March 23-25, features the Revs. Dale Locke, pastor of Community of Hope United Methodist Church in Royal Palm Beach, and Max Wilkins, pastor of The Family Church in Gainesville. The group Promise, from Community United Methodist Church, Casselberry, will lead the music team.

A brochure with details and a registration form is available on the United Methodist Men’s Web site at http://www.ummflconf.org.

Costs for the weekends vary. For those staying at the Life Enrichment Center the cost is $254 per couple, including program, room and five meals. For those staying at the Family Campground the cost is $100 per couple, including program and campsite, but no meals. For those staying off campus the cost is $60 per couple for the program fee only. Meals are available for those staying at the Family Campground or off campus for $82 per couple for all five meals or $35 per couple for Saturday lunch and dinner only.

Additional information is available by calling 877-815-3692.

Churches invited to celebrate children

By Jason Zaborske** and Tita Parham

United Methodists throughout the state are encouraged to participate in the 12th annual Children’s Week March 25-April 1.

The statewide celebration is designed to give advocates, families and legislators the opportunity to learn about important issues affecting the health and well-being of children in Florida. All activities are free and open to the public. During the past 12 years, the only broad-based promotion of children and family issues in Florida has been Children’s Week.

Children’s Week is primarily supported by dozens of non-profit and faith based organizations and comprises more than 30 community events and activities. In previous years thousands of parents, children, legislators, professionals, community leaders and concerned citizens have participated in the event, sharing their experiences and information about children’s issues in dozens of communities across the state and at the state capitol.

Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker and other religious leaders will advocate for laws and budgets that ensure a high quality of life for children at a press conference March 27 at the capitol building. United Methodists are encouraged to attend.

Other events during the week include “Hanging of the Hands,” Children’s Week dinner/reception, “Hanging of the Hands” dedication ceremony, Children’s Capitol for a Day, Capital Steps for Kids, Children's Week information booths, Downtown GetDown, Springtime Tallahassee, and Parents and Children’s Day. A full listing of events is available at http://www.childrensweek.org/events.htm.

Other ways churches can get involved:

•  Whitaker is asking all churches to choose March 4 or another convenient time to plan worship services that feature children. Churches may offer times of prayer for children and their families, display children’s special talents or encourage them to participate in the worship service.

•  Hanging of the Hands — Churches are invited to ask their children to create paper cut-outs of their hands and paste them on 8.5 by 11 sheets of colorful paper to display around the church as a visible symbol of children in the church family. They may also be sent to Tallahassee to be displayed in the capitol rotunda during Children’s Week. The deadline is March 23. They should be sent to Children’s Week, c/o Kids Incorporated, 1170 Capital Circle NE, Tallahassee FL 32301.

•  Churches are asked to share how they have celebrated children in worship by sending an e-mail with photos to Tita Parham, editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service, at tparham@flumc.org.

A bulletin insert offering details about the week is available on the Florida Conference Web site at http://www.flumc2.org/page.asp?PKValue=573 for churches to download and use to encourage members of their congregations to participate in Children’s Week. More suggestions on ways to participate are available at http://www.childrensweek.org.

The Children's Week Partnership Packet (in PDF) is found at http://www.childrensweek.org/downloads/2007CWPartnershipPacket.pdf. Local events taking place throughout the state during February and March area listed at

The Florida Conference’s episcopal office, United Methodist Women and the Connectional Ministries office are helping sponsor Children’s Week through the conference’s Council of Bishops’ Initiative on Children and Poverty (BICAP) task force.

More information about the conference’s efforts is available by contacting Pam Davis at psbdavis@hotmail.com or 954-0698-6784; the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin at lrankin@flumc.org or 800-282-8011, extension 131; or Zaborske at 850-251-7274 or Jason@childrensweek.org.

Applicants sought for Lockmiller church school awards

By Carol Sue Hutchinson**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference is now accepting applicants for this year’s Alice W. Lockmiller Awards for excellence in church school teaching and encourages church members to consider nominating teachers they feel should receive this award.

Two awards are given each year during the annual conference event in honor of Alice W. Lockmiller’s mother, Glennora Haines Weihe, who was church school superintendent at Belleview United Methodist Church from 1909 to 1934.

One award is for the church school that has shown the most growth during the previous calendar year. Church school is defined as any Christian education ministry within the local church. The second award is for a church school teacher within the Florida Conference who has displayed excellence in the use of creativity within the classroom and curriculum.

The goal of the awards is to increase in a substantial way the participation of children in the Christian membership of The United Methodist Church and focus the efforts of local churches and the annual conference on attracting children of all ages and retaining them in the membership of The United Methodist Church.

Applications can be downloaded from the conference Web site at http://www.flumc2.org/page.asp?PKValue=1109. All applications need to be sent to the conference office before April 1. Applications should be sent to Florida United Methodist Conference, Connectional Ministries Office, Attention: Carol Sue Hutchinson, P.O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802.

Nominations now being accepted for annual conference youth address

By Kelly Moore**

LAKELAND — Members of the 2006 Florida Annual Conference Event passed a resolution calling for a youth member or members to address the annual conference in 2007.

To select that person or persons, the 2007 annual conference planning committee is asking any rising 10th graders through recently graduated seniors to submit an essay focusing on the idea of passing the Christian faith from one generation to the next.

The essay should be no longer than 1,000 words and should include references to Luke 1:46-55 and Psalm 145:4.

The submission deadline is April 2. All submissions should be mailed to Annual Conference Youth Address, Connectional Ministries Office, Florida United Methodist Conference, P.O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802 or faxed to 863-688-7233.

The Conference Council on Youth Ministries will review the submissions and choose three representatives no later than April 16. These three representatives will give a five-minute presentation before the annual conference June 8 in the evening. The annual conference planning committee will pay travel and lodging expenses, and the conference’s Connectional Ministries office will award each representative a $150 scholarship.

More information may be obtained by contacting Moore at kmoore@flumc.org or 800-282-8011, extension 183.

Scholarships available to Georgia-Florida Credit Union members

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union will award three $1,000 college scholarships this year, one each to a 17- to 24-year-old United Methodist in the North Georgia, South Georgia and Florida conferences.

Applicants must be credit union members to qualify. Interested individuals should complete an application and write a 500-word essay that answer the questions, “Why should United Methodist church members belong to the Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union and what benefits does the credit union offer them and the United Methodist community?”

The scholarship application is found at http://www.unitedmethodistcu.com/promo/scholarship_07.pdf

Completed applications and essays are due April 30. More details are included on the Georgia Florida Credit Union Web site at http://www.unitedmethodistcu.com/.

More information is available by contacting Renea Hazelbaker in the Florida Conference branch office at 866-687-2136.

2008 Conference Table gatherings feature young, older adult ministries

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The Conference Table on Young Adults that was originally scheduled for March 3 at Harvest United Methodist Church in Bradenton has been postponed. It has been re-scheduled for the winter of 2008. The focus will be, “How do we create a place for, welcome the leadership of, and shape ministry together with young adults?”
Also, the Conference Table on Older Adults is scheduled for late fall 2008.


2007 Peace With Justice grants now available

By General Board of Church and Society Staff

WASHINGTON — The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) helps local churches and organizations advocate and establish social justice ministries.

According to the 2004 Book of Discipline, the purpose of the General Board of Church and Society shall be to: “ ... relate the gospel of Jesus Christ to the members of the Church and to the persons and structures of the communities and world in which they live. It shall seek to bring the whole of human life, activities, possessions, use of resources, and community and world relationships into conformity with the will of God. It shall show the members of the Church and Society that the reconciliation that God effected through Christ involves personal, social and civic righteousness” (paragraph 1003.4).

In order to achieve its purpose, the board shall “encourage Christian lines of action that assist humankind to move toward a world where peace and justice are achieved” (paragraph1003.4).

Funding for this program is generated by local churches and annual conferences from the Peace With Justice offering taken on Peace With Justice Sunday, which “witnesses to God’s demands for a faithful, just, disarmed, and secure world.” Fifty percent of the offering is retained in the annual conferences, and the remainder is forwarded to the general church.

Applicants must work toward achieving at least one of the following four objectives: assist United Methodists in understanding and responding to violence and militarism; involve United Methodists in efforts to end conflicts and violent aggression around the world; promote just national and international policies and actions (governmental and non-governmental) seeking to restore communities and respond to the disproportionate effect of injustices on racial and ethnic persons; and support policies that promote systematic economic justice and the self-development of people.

More information on the grant program and a downloadable PDF application for the Peace With Justice Grant is available at http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/pp.asp?c=fsJNK0PKJrH&b=2280385.

The deadline to apply for a Peace With Justice grant is Feb. 28.

One Great Hour of Sharing offering resources available

By United Methodist Committee on Relief Staff

The One Great Hour of Sharing Special Sunday is March 18. This offering, collected annually for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), is essential to the organization’s work. UMCOR receives no World Service funds or United Methodist apportionments.

Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing underwrite UMCOR’s “costs of doing business,” so 100 percent of every dollar donated to a specific UMCOR project can be spent on that project instead of administrative costs. Offering gifts are channeled where they’re most needed — to assist the most vulnerable people with the greatest needs.

One Great Hour of Sharing began as a special effort of the Episcopal Church in 1946. In 1949 the observance became ecumenical, and today several denominations, including The United Methodist Church, participate.

The yearly observance is planned by denominational representatives and related to Church World Service and Witness, the relief agency of the National Council of Churches. Originally one special worship hour during the year was reserved for people of faith to contribute over and above their regular offerings. Today different denominations celebrate One Great Hour of Sharing at various times throughout the year, but the cooperative spirit remains.

Congregations can join United Methodists worldwide by making a special offering through One Great Hour of Sharing to support humanitarian aid through UMCOR. Churches can be assured that when catastrophes cause suffering, the church will be in the lead to ease the pain.

“The One Great Hour of Sharing offering … is a gift of stability to UMCOR,” says the Rev. Paul Dirdak, the agency’s chief executive. “Our ability to respond and remain until the job is done is in direct proportion to the generosity of United Methodists at this time of offering.”

One Great Hour of Sharing worship resources, including a Call to Awareness and a Litany of Hope and Promise, are found at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/give/oghs/worship/. One Great Hour of Sharing poster is at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/media/oghs/oghsposter.pdf.

United Methodists celebrate Charles Wesley on pilgrimage to England

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — United Methodists and other Christians around the world will mark the 300th anniversary of Charles Wesley’s birth in 2007 by going back to Charles Wesley’s Methodist roots July 31-Aug. 10.

Duke Divinity School and the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) have partnered to offer a 10-day pilgrimage in England. Participants will be immersed in the ministry, theology and spirituality of this important Methodist founder.

Leaders of the group are Dr. Paul Chilcote, visiting professor of the practice of evangelism at Duke Divinity School and president of the Charles Wesley Society; Dr. Steven Manskar, director of accountable discipleship at GBOD; and Dr. Tim Macquiban, principal of Sarum College in Salisbury, England.

The pilgrimage is designed to acquaint participants with the historical background and religious heritage of the Methodist movement and the life and witness of Charles Wesley.

The cost for the trip is $2,098 for reservations made before April 2. After April 2 it will be $2,398. This includes 10 nights lodging, three meals each day, ground transportation (not including to and from airports) and all admission and lecture fees.

Interested individuals should visit http://CharlesWesley300.gbod.org for more information, the itinerary and to place reservation, or they may call 877-899-2780, extension 7059, or e-mail cdgroup@gbod.org.

Leaders of large churches gather for national conference

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala., will be the site of the annual The Large Church Initiative Conference April 16-20.

This event is for pastors, staff, key lay leaders and their spouses of larger membership churches. The event is sponsored by the Large Church Initiative and The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church.

National speakers and bishops will provide keynote addresses and lead worship, and Workshop Affinity Groups will take place each day. The sessions will be led by a facilitator who will guide participants in discussing their best practices, as well as the ups and down, ins and outs, triumphs and disasters of different positions on a church staff. This is the time to gain insight from others in a similar situation.

Pre-conference activities are free of charge to registered attendees. The registration cost is $280 per person. Group rates are $260 for each person in a group of two to five people and $240 each for six or more. Participants must register at the same time to receive the discount. Registrations made after April 1 will be $325 per person.

This event has been approved for three CEUs and 3.3 CEUs for those participating in the pre-conference workshop. Questions regarding the event may be directed to Jane Bridges 334-272-8622.

Individuals may register online at http://www.frazerumc.org/LCI. A complete brochure with listing of leadership, workshop descriptions, housing suggestions and registration form is found at

‘Discernment events’ assist laity in finding God’s will for their lives

By Elliott Wright**

NEW YORK — To “discern” means to recognize or identify. United Methodist young laity — women and men — seeking to discern God’s will for their lives will have that opportunity in late April.

A Young Adult Deaconess and Home Missioner Discernment Event, open to people aged 20 to 39 living in the United States, will take place in New York City April 27-29. A regional event for the Southeastern Jurisdiction is June 8-20. The location is yet to be determined.

Space is limited for the New York event, and the deadline for application is March 9. All costs, including travel within the United States, lodging and meals, will be covered by the event sponsor, the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission agency of The United Methodist Church.

The discernment event will include Bible study, worship, conversation, reflection and information on the deaconess and home mission relationship to the church. It will be held at Alma Mathews House, a facility of the women’s division of the mission board.

Applicants will be notified by March 26 if they are accepted. The application form can be found at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/media/mpdocs/deaconessapp042007.doc.

Deaconesses, who are laywomen, and home missioners, who are laymen, are called by God to a full-time vocation in service with those who are marginalized and in need. This community of laity has responded to the call of God in their lives and has been commissioned by The United Methodist Church to full-time ministries of love, justice and service.

The Office of Deaconess was established in 1888 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and provides laywomen the opportunity to serve in a lifetime lay relationship in servant ministry. The Office of Home Missioner was established at the 2004 United Methodist General Conference providing laymen with an opportunity to serve in a lifetime relationship to the church. This is the first opportunity for laymen to be in an official lifetime relationship in ministry since the termination of diaconal minister by the 1996 General Conference.

Individuals interested in more information on the April or regional events or becoming a deaconess or home missioner should contact Becky Louter at blouter@gbgm-umc.org or 212-870-3850.

More information is also available by contacting Wright at 212-870-3921 or ewright@gbgm-umc.org.

St. Louis hosts 2007 national Methodist musician’s convocation

By Dean McIntyre**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist musicians are invited to remember and reclaim their call to ministries of music, preaching and worship arts at the Biennial National Convocation of The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (FUMMWA) July 16-19 in St. Louis, Mo.

Registrations for the area are now at two-thirds capacity for the event. The convocation sold out in 2005, and indications are it will do so again this year. Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to register early. Convocation information is available at http://www.FUMMWAConvo.org.

Speakers and leaders will include outstanding resources in the areas of dance, congregational singing, preaching, visuals for worship, choral music, organ music, age level music, handbells, contemporary worship and more. Multi-sensory worship, concerts, music reading sessions, dynamic worship spaces and fellowship with be featured.

The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) will lead Preaching from the Center for pastors and preachers as part of the event, with teaching, preaching and speaking by Tom Troeger, Barbara Lundblad, Cleophus LaRue, Bishop Scott Jones and GBOD’s Safiyah Fosua, Taylor Burton-Edwards and McIntyre, directors of invitational preaching, worship and music resources, respectively.
Hotel accommodations can be made at http://www.millenniumhotels.com/stlouis by entering the group code FUMMWA where prompted or calling 800-325-7353 and asking for “The Fellowship” rate.

The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts is an affiliate organization of The General Board of Discipleship.

Ministry commission puts recommendations, survey online

By Vicki Brown**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A draft report by the Study of Ministry Commission for the 2008 General Conference proposes eight recommendations about the ordering of ministry, including the creation of three classifications of ordained elders and separation of ordination from full conference membership.

The report, which is framed in the historic form of Methodist conferences as “minutes of several conversations,” is available at http://www.gbhem.org along with an online survey for reactions to the report.

“The commission is determined to draw on the collective insight and wisdom of all United Methodists in preparing this important report. And so we offer this initial draft of the report for examination and comment,” said Bishop William H. Willimon, who leads the denomination's Birmingham (Ala.) Area and chairs the Study of Ministry Commission. “The commission will consider all contributions in preparing the final document.”

The commission is inviting people to read the report and take the online survey by logging onto the Web site and clicking on the Study of Ministry button.

A catalyst for discussion

The Rev. Mary Ann Moman, a commission member and staff executive with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Division of Ordained Ministry, said the draft reflects the commission's work in addressing the General Conference request to bring clarity to the ordering of ministry.

“We are pleased with the Wesleyan model of questions and response. It is our expectation that this teaching document will become the catalyst for The United Methodist Church to discuss these important issues,” Moman said.

The commission recommended classifications of itinerant elder, associate elder and local elder. Itinerant elder is essentially the same as the current classification of elder. All three could administer the sacraments, but associate elders and local elders could do so only in the charge to which they are appointed.

Additional key points

The other recommendations:

•  Pastors-in-charge who are not ordained as elders will be licensed lay pastors. This will incorporate certified lay ministers, student local pastors, part-time local pastors and full-time local pastors who have not completed either the denomination's Course of Study or a master of divinity degree. 

•  Every licensed lay pastor shall be authorized, blessed, and sent out annually for his or her appointment through a liturgy to be conducted at annual or district conference each year.

•  The United Methodist Church must sustain the traditional Wesleyan understanding that the authority to celebrate the sacraments derives from ordination as an elder by the presiding bishop upon election by an annual conference. Therefore, licensed lay pastors shall not administer baptism or Holy Communion in the charges to which they are appointed. Itinerant elders designated as presiding elders shall be assigned by the cabinet to circuits of local churches served by licensed lay pastors to administer the sacraments on a regular, rotating basis. The bishop may grant provisional authority to administer the sacraments to certain licensed lay pastors under exceptional circumstances, in order to advance the mission of the church in a particular place. Deacons are not ordained to administer the sacraments but to assist in their administration and to lead the congregation in extending the table of Holy Communion into the world.

•  Deacons and itinerant elders will be ordained at the conclusion of educational and examination requirements rather than at the end of a probationary process. This realigns ordination and conference membership, granting sacramental authority to at least an additional 2,000 pastors under appointment in any given year. Under the commission’s proposal, these ordained elders and deacons will have full authority for ministry. Elders will continue on trial to become full members of the Order of Elders, while deacons will also be on probation for a period.

•  Elders shall be ordained to Word, Sacrament and Order, while deacons are ordained to Word and Service.

•  All deacons and itinerant elders will be reviewed every five years by a group of peers from within their respective annual conference orders.

•  The commission will propose that 2008 General Conference authorize a study of the diaconate during the 2009-2012 quadrennium, including a review of how the office is being practiced across the connection and what challenges remain in fulfilling the potential of the office of deacon.

Concerns at General Conference

The draft incorporates issues identified by the commission, as well as comments from the focus groups and results from an earlier survey.

The 2004 General Conference established the commission because of questions, concerns and uncertainty regarding the two ordained clergy orders — deacons and elders — and local pastors. Both the 2000 and 2004 General Conferences received a large number of petitions related to certified lay ministers, local pastors, deacons and elders. The Study of Ministry Commission was established to “theologically discuss and clearly define the ordering of our shared life together in The United Methodist Church.”

Agency makes student loans, scholarships available

By Vicki Brown

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — College students who need additional funds for the current semester can apply for a United Methodist student loan.

“We are accepting applications for loans for the winter/spring semester right now,” said James Harding, assistant executive director for loans administration and operations for the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. “Often, students find that they get to the spring semester and the money they thought would cover everything they needed doesn’t go quite as far as they thought it would.”

About $2 million is available for student loans in 2007 through the board’s Office of Loans and Scholarships.

A college student who has been a member of a United Methodist church for one year is eligible to borrow up to $2,500 in any calendar year at a 6 percent interest rate, lower than the current federal Stafford Loan rate of 6.8 percent or ParentPlus at 8.5 percent, Harding said.

A student who wants to borrow must be attending an accredited degree program full time and have a 2.0 grade-point average. Since loans are based on a calendar year, even a student who borrowed the maximum $2,500 in fall 2006 is eligible for another loan. However, a student who borrows $2,500 for the winter/spring semester would be unable to borrow again for fall 2007.

United Methodist student loans can be used for any college-related expenses — child care, transportation, meals — not just direct costs such as tuition and books, Harding said.

In 2006, the Office of Loans and Scholarships provided nearly $1 million in financial aid to college students and, since 2000, about $13.8 million to 5,671 United Methodists attending college.

While scholarships for the winter/spring 2007 semester already have been awarded, applications are being accepted for fall 2007, Harding said. United Methodist scholarships and requirements are listed on the Web site.

Last year, the Board of Higher Education and Ministry awarded $3.5 million in scholarships to 2,800 students.

Much of the money for both loans and scholarships is collected through special offerings such as United Methodist Student Day on the last Sunday each November. Ninety percent of collections go to the board’s scholarship programs, while 10 percent is for student loans. Each United Methodist-related college gets money from the offering for scholarships, and each participating annual conference gets 10 percent of Student Day receipts to award to merit scholars.

Details on loans and scholarships, along with application information, are available at http://www.gbhem.org/gbhem/loans2.html. Individuals may contact the Office of Loans and Scholarships by telephone at 615-340-7346 or by writing umloans@gbhem.org or umscholar@gbhem.org.

Free e-mail listserv offered for musicians and worship leaders

By Dean McIntyre

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The General Board of Discipleship sponsors a free interactive listserv for those interested in worship and music in the church.

Methodist Musicians List allows subscribers to discuss issues, share resources, network, ask questions, solicit help and comment on anything related to church worship or music. The discussion is often lively, sometimes controversial, but always civil. Subscribers receive all messages posted to the list and are free to respond, post new messages or simply “lurk” as a silent observer.

Interested individuals may subscribe at

More information is available by contacting McIntyre at music@gbod.org or 877-899-2780, extension 7073, or visiting http://www.umcworship.org.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Zaborske is Children’s Week statewide coordinator at United Way of Florida, Tallahassee. Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Hutchinson is director of congregational life ministries for the Florida Conference Connectional Ministries office. McGovern is associate vice president of planned giving/communications for the Florida United Methodist Foundation. Wright is communications general media contact for public information at General Board of Global Ministries. McIntyre is director of music resources at General Board of Discipleship. Moore is interim director of youth, young adult and campus ministry for the Florida Conference Connectional Ministries office. Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of Interpretation at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

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