Orlando church becomes first Church of ONE in nation

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Orlando church becomes first Church of ONE in nation

July 12, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
tparham@flumc.org  Orlando {0701}

An e-Review Feature
By ONE Campaign Staff

OVIEDO — University Carillon United Methodist Church may be one among many United Methodist churches in the United States, but to ONE Campaign organizers the church is the only one of its kind.

It’s the first church in the country to be declared a Church of ONE.

On behalf of more than 150,000 Florida members of the ONE Campaign, ONE congratulated the Rev. Joe MacLaren and his congregation June 23 for proclaiming University Carillon United Methodist Church (UCUMC) a Church of ONE.

The Rev. Joe MacLaren announces University Carillon United Methodist Church will become the first Church of ONE. Photo by Carolyn Smith. Photo #07-0623.

With the designation, the congregation joins more than 100 Cities, States and Colleges of ONE from across the United States that are actively supporting the effort to fight global disease and poverty. In Florida, Oviedo, Orlando, Sarasota, Hollywood and Oakland City have been declared Cities of ONE.

The church received the designation in conjunction with a communitywide event held at the church. Featuring more than 25 nonprofit organizations, including the ONE Campaign’s Orlando chapter, the event was designed to give people the opportunity to visit with representatives from the organizations and discover ways they can help make a difference in the community.

The event also featured guest speaker Michael Stoops, director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, Los Angeles singer/song-writer Leland Grant, and the crew from O-Rock 105.9 FM, an Orlando radio station.
“There are 178 references in Christian scripture to the poor,” MacLaren said, after declaring the church a Church of ONE. “When Jesus announced his mission on earth to the people, he said, ‘The Lord’s Spirit has come to me, because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor. The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers … ’ (Luke 4:18, Contemporary English Version).”
Because ministering to the poor and marginalized was one of Jesus’ highest priorities, MacLaren said “it has to be a high priority for us, His followers.”

“That is why I am proud that University Carillon United Methodist Church is the first ever community of faith to align with the ONE Campaign,” he added.

The church’s leadership council approved the proclamation to become a Church of ONE June 4.
Joan Faulkner, the Florida ONE field organizer who led the effort to obtain the proclamation, said MacLaren and the church’s members embodied the message in Micah 6:8 when they declared themselves a Church of ONE: “He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
“Faith leaders and congregations are a crucial element in the fight to save lives in Africa and elsewhere in the poorest countries,” Faulkner said. “Fighting extreme poverty and disease is the right thing to do, and I hope citizens, elected officials and congregations from all different denominations across the state will consider joining UCUMC and millions of ONE members in the fight against extreme poverty and global disease.”
The church’s declaration comes on the heels of the high-profile launch of ONE Vote ’08, which brings together faith leaders, celebrity supporters, political figures and ONE members from across the country in a non-partisan campaign to energize presidential candidates and ONE’s 2.4 million members to make the fight against global extreme poverty a key foreign policy issue in the 2008 presidential election.
“The faith community plays a vital role in ensuring that America’s elected leaders remain true to the values our nation is based on, including helping others help themselves and in justice for all,” said Kimberly Cadena, spokesperson for the ONE Campaign. “The moral leadership Pastor MacLaren and his congregation demonstrated today affects both their local community and the lives of millions around the world in the poorest countries.

“Here in Oviedo, access to clean water and a basic education is sometimes taken for granted, but in Africa and elsewhere, those basics are only dreamt of. The world’s poorest people got powerful new allies in the fight against global disease and extreme poverty when the UCUMC congregation dedicated themselves to this effort.”
ONE is a campaign by Americans to rally Americans to help end poverty and promote health in Africa and elsewhere in poor countries. ONE is working to help save 15,000 lives a day, prevent the deaths of 5.4 million children, provide free access to primary education for out-of-school children and deliver access to clean water for 450 million people around the world. 
Through ONE.org and work in local communities, colleges and churches across the United States, ONE’s 2.4 million members are working to change the world by asking U.S. leaders to do even more to lead the world in bringing hope and opportunity to the world’s poorest people.
ONE is a coalition of millions of people and more than 100 of the nation’s leading relief, humanitarian and advocacy organizations.
More information about ONE is available at http://www.ONE.org.


This article relates to Church and Society.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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