Opportunities — Dec. 7, 2007 {0772}



e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
      
 

Opportunities — Dec. 7, 2007

Dec. 7, 2007     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011  
tparham@flumc.org    Orlando {0772}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

Conference-related:
n United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team leader training set
n Applications for summer camp leaders now being accepted
n Summer camp alumni sought for camp reunion
n Communications Road Show begins in January
n East Central District sponsors weekend of learning


Global/national:
n Pre-General Conference on-line training offered
n Worship resources available for Human Relations Day
n Ethnic Young Adult Summer Internship application deadline approaches
n Wesley Theological Seminary announces new Doctor of Ministry programs
n Members urged to give to Global AIDS Fund for Christmas
n Project assists deaf people living with HIV/AIDS
n Society of St. Andrew provides way to honor family, friends
n Conference promotes justice for earth
n General communications agency searches for local church communicators
n New contemporary music, worship listserv now offered


Conference-related:

United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team leader training set

By Florida Conference Connectional Ministries Staff

LAKELAND — United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is a fellowship of believers, lay and clergy, men and women, adults and youth, who step out in faith to serve the needs of communities around the world and around the corner.

The common characteristic of a UMVIM team member is a desire to serve others and a willingness to share the gospel as part of a work or medical team or as individual volunteers.
 
The Florida Conference UMVIM team is available to support any team’s preparation for mission. Teams are formed from one church or from several and are multi-generational and multi-ethnic.
 
Team leaders determine the destination, schedule, team size and other aspects of their trip at the request of local churches in areas with need for teams. There are hundreds of mission opportunities available at the local, conference, national and international levels.
 
For those who are ready to take their leadership skills to the next level, UMVIM team leader trainings have been scheduled to prepare volunteers to lead Mission Teams. The training dates are Jan. 11-12 at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park, April 11-12 at the Riverside Retreat in LaBelle, and Oct. 17-18 at Lakewood United Methodist Church in Jacksonville.
 
Individuals interested in registering for the January session may do so online at http://www.flumc2.org/page.asp?pkvalue=970. For all trainings, check-in begins at 4 p.m. the first day and ends at 5 p.m. the second day. The cost of the training is $50 per person and includes one night’s accommodations, three meals and all training materials.
 
More information is available by contacting Sue Macchiarella, Florida Conference UMVIM chairwoman, at 386-767-8544, ext. 103, or sue@jesusatcovenant.org.

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Applications for summer camp leaders now being accepted

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND ¬— The Florida Conference’s summer camp ministry touched the lives of nearly 4,000 children, youth and adults in 2007. That success was made possible only with the help of a leadership team of nearly 100 young adults who spent their summer months making each day of camp a positive experience for campers.

These important leaders are now being sought for the 2008 summer camp program, and churches are encouraged to begin recruiting high school seniors and college students for the summer camp team.
 
Those accepted on the leadership team will develop leadership skills, explore vocational possibilities and begin to better understand the broader mission of the church. It is a 24-hour-a-day job with campers, five days a week.

Some of the qualities sought in team members are:

  • A sacrificial spirit;
  • A passion for developing relationships with and sharing the story of Christ with children and youth;
  • A seeking faith in Christ;
  • Openness to other theological interpretations;
  • An ability to work as part of a team; 
  • A flexible spirit willing to make and adapt to change;
  • Knowledge of appropriate behavior, language and activities; and
  • Specialty skills (such as computers, sailing, photography, dance and instruments).

Each selected team member will serve May 29-Aug. 10 and receive room and board and a minimum of $1,675 for the summer. Team orientation May 29-June 8 is required.

High school graduates through college students are eligible to apply by visiting the summer camp Web site at http://www.umsummercamp.org and clicking on the “Warren Willis Camp Summer Leadership Team Applications Now” button. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

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Summer camp alumni sought for camp reunion

By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — 2008 marks 60 years of summer camping at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park.

To celebrate the milestone, a special camp reunion will be held Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

Anyone who has served on the summer leadership team, been a camper or adult volunteer, or loves camp is invited to attend this special event.

In order to invite past summer leadership team members to the celebration, the camp is asking church laity and clergy to forward contact information on any past team members to Heather Pancoast, assistant director of the Warren Willis Camp, at heather.pancoast@flumc.org; 352-787-4345, extension 2; or 4990 Picciola Rd., Fruitland Park, FL 34731.

More information about the event, including registration, will be available after the first of the year. Interested individuals may also visit http://www.umsummercamp.org.

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Communications Road Show begins in January

By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — In an effort to provide resources to local churches on a more direct basis, Florida United Methodist Communications will be hitting the road in 2008, offering training workshops on a variety of communication tools.

“The Communications Road Show” will visit four areas of the Florida Conference, offering the same six workshops at each venue. It is designed to assist and improve communications in a local church setting.

The Road Show’s purpose is to offer people throughout the conference tips and “best practices” on how their communications ministries can be improved. Each Road Show stop will offer workshops for clergy and laity, church administrators, church volunteers in communications ministry, and those just thinking about getting started.

Workshops include “Web Casting,” “Getting Started With Your Pod Cast,” “Planning for Print,” “Web Development 101,” “Data Management 101” and “Crisis Communication for Clergy.”

Each Road Show will be held on a Saturday and begin at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and light snacks. There will be a brief opening worship at 10 a.m., and the first round of workshops will begin at 10:30 a.m. A lunch, available for $10, will be served from noon until 1 p.m. (those who want lunch must request it when they register; payment for lunch will be collected at the door). The second round of workshops, which are the morning’s offerings repeated, will begin at 1 p.m. The day will end no later than 3 p.m.

Locations of the Road Show and dates are: Jan. 12, First United Methodist Church, Lake City; Feb. 9, Peace United Methodist Church, Orlando; March 8, First United Methodist Church, Sebring; and April 12, First United Methodist Church, South Miami.

Details and registration information are available at http://www.flumc.org/roadshow.

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East Central District sponsors weekend of learning

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — Lay Leadership Academy will join Lay Speaking Certification for a Weekend of Learning March 7-8.

Courses are open to all laity and clergy, and anyone who has previously completed the Basic Lay Speaking Course and completes of one of the courses offered during the weekend event will receive a certified lay speaking certificate. The courses will serve as the three-year renewal requirement for the lay speaking certification.
 
Each 10-hour course, taken over two days, runs March 7, 5-9 p.m., and March 8, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The cost is $45 for each course, including materials, meals (dinner Friday and breakfast and lunch Saturday) and snacks. Preregistration is required.

In addition to the lay speaking courses, the weekend will feature “United Methodist Heritage,” led by the Revs. Dr. Wayne Wiatt and Gary Shockley, and “Teaching Adults,” led by Barbara Bruce and Kim Shockley.

Additional details and registration information are available by contacting Lynn Campbell at 407-699-8155 or office@tumcfl.org or Kim Shockley at the East Central District office at 407-896-2230 or kshockley@flumc.org.


Global/national:

Pre-General Conference on-line training offered

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The United Methodist Communications (UMCom) training center in Nashville, Tenn., offers an array of learning opportunities to help church leaders better communicate about the church, as well as training on topics of general interest to all church members.

“Exploring General Conference” is a four-session online course from United Methodist Communications that gives church members an “up close and personal” look at General Conference, the denomination’s official decision-making body, in preparation for the 2008 quadrennial gathering in Fort Worth, Texas, April 23-May 2.

The goal of this online course is to give participants a basic working knowledge of the church’s legislative process through General Conference. Participants progress through the five modules in this course and will develop an understanding of the history of General Conference, its role and purpose; how delegates are elected to General Conference, their role and responsibilities; how petitions, the general church budget and other important matters are decided through General Conference; the various social issues facing The United Methodist Church and the denomination’s stance on these issues; and the highlights of the 2004 General Conference and what’s ahead for the 2008 General Conference.

This highly interactive course, which includes video, audio, online quizzes, facilitated discussion forums, Web site links and online written content, is intended for anyone who would like to know more about how the denomination’s top decision-making body operates. Exploring General Conference is offered without cost by United Methodist Communications.

Individuals interested in taking the course may visit http://training.umcom.org for more information and to register. The session runs through Dec. 26.

A suggested prerequisite to this course is United Methodism 101 at http://www.umcom.org/pages/news.asp?class=1&Type=2&ID=932&product_id=0. This is a basic online course about The United Methodist Church and its history, structure and beliefs. It is designed for new United Methodists and anyone wanting to know more about the denomination, as well as long-time United Methodists who would like to check their basic knowledge of the church.

This interactive course provides a basic overview and understanding of United Methodism and seeks to inspire students to complete additional study.

Facilitated sessions include a threaded discussion board. Non-facilitated sessions include all the course material, interactive media, and questions and responses from previous students and facilitators. The sessions included are: Introduction, History of the Church, Theology and Beliefs, Structure and Connectionalism, and Present and Future Challenges to the Church.

Interested individuals may register for either United Methodism 101 or Exploring General Conference at http://moodle.umcom.org/moodle/login/index.php.

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Worship resources available for Human Relations Day

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Six times throughout the year, United Methodist congregations celebrate churchwide special Sundays with offerings. Support is critical to the survival of the important ministries represented by the special Sundays and for sharing God’s gifts around the world.

The date for observing Human Relations Day is the Sunday before the birthday observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 2008 Human Relations Day falls on Jan. 20. If that date conflicts with a local church’s calendar, an alternate date may be selected for the congregation’s observance of Human Relations Day.

The purpose of Human Relations Day is stated in the 2004 Book of Discipline, Par. 264.1: “This Sunday occurs during Epiphany, the season of manifesting God’s light to the world. Human Relations Day calls the Church to recognize the right of all God’s children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other. The purpose of the day is to further the development of better human relations.”

The 1972 General Conference established Human Relations Day to promote support for the Community Developers, United Methodist Voluntary Services and Police-Community Relations programs. Begun in 1968, the three programs had received support from the churchwide Bishop’s Fund for Reconciliation. In 1989 the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program replaced the Police-Community Relations Program to respond to the growing population of youth offenders and their need for creative redirection.

Church worship resources for use on Human Relations Day can be found at http://umcgiving.org/content/sundays/HRD_nav/human.asp. There are also scripture readings, suggested hymns, prayers and a litany.

Human Relations Day is featured in the November/December 2007 issue of the Interpreter. Offering envelopes and posters may be ordered from United Methodist Communications’ customer service department at 888-346-3862 or http://www.umcom.org. More information and resources are available at http://umcgiving.org/content/default.asp.

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Ethnic Young Adult Summer Internship application deadline approaches

By General Board of Church and Society Staff

WASHINGTON — Feb. 1 is the deadline to apply for a 2008 Ethnic Young Adult Summer Internship in Washington.

The eight-week internship, sponsored by the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) and the Inter-Ethnic Strategy Development Group, celebrates diversity and highlights its importance in the church today.

The program draws ethnic young adults, ages 18-22, from across the United Methodist connection for a hands-on professional experience. Interns are placed with a variety of non-profit advocacy, public policy and grassroots organizations. Past placements include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, congressional offices, the National Council of Churches and TransAfrica Forum.

Weekly seminars explore issues that concern specific ethnic/racial communities and encourage dialogue in the intersection of personal faith, ethnic identity and various social issues.

Participants also have the opportunity to spend a weekend in New York City. The GBCS office at the United Nations hosts an itinerary including meetings with such U.N. officials as ambassadors and special advisers.

Applicants must represent one of the five ethnic caucuses of the United Methodist Church — black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander.

Interns live together in apartment-style housing with one or two roommates and are required to attend church together on Sundays and meet for Bible study and devotions at their residence every Wednesday.

The sponsors provide round-trip transportation to and from Washington, housing, commuter stipend to offset costs for travel to work sites and $1,500 during the internship.

More information may be obtained by contacting the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary of GBCS, at 202-488-5611 or nchristie@umc-gbcs.org.

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Wesley Theological Seminary announces new Doctor of Ministry programs

By Melody Twigg**

WASHINGTON — Wesley Theological Seminary announces the approaching application deadline of Feb. 15 for two unique Doctor of Ministry tracks beginning in Washington in May 2008 — “Life Together” and “Missional Evangelism.”

“Life Together: Spirituality for Transforming Community” is designed to help pastors lead through periods of intentional growth and change, with special attention to the local congregation as a transformed and transforming community. Participants will explore how groups (congregations, ministries and communities) are transformed through the use of classical and contemporary texts and the spiritual disciplines of the church.

Graduates of this track will be better equipped to lead congregations from aggregates to community, from self absorption to mission, and from accommodating practices to welcoming practices grounded in a biblical spirituality.

Jesus called the apostles to “Go and make disciples.” The “Missional Evangelism” track examines the biblical and theological foundations of the church’s focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ. Participants will explore best practices that are sensitive to post-modern sensibilities, taking into account local church story, size and context. Many of today’s best practices manage to combine ancient passion and vision with 21st century awareness.

Topics addressed in this program include Historical Models of Missional Evangelism, Salvation in the New Testament, Preaching to Those on the Edge of Faith, God’s Welcome: Hospitality for a Gospel-Hungry World, and Making Disciples Across Class and Culture.

Other upcoming Doctor of Ministry tracks include “Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling” and “Arts and Theology” beginning January 2009.

“The Doctor of Ministry program is a natural continuing education step for dedicated clergy who want to pursue focused study,” said Dr. Lew Parks, director of the Doctor of Ministry program. “Beyond earning the degree, Doctor of Ministry graduates function as resource persons for the local and regional church.”

Applications are being accepted through Feb. 15. Details are available at http://www.wesleyseminary.edu, and program questions can be directed to Dr. Lew Parks at lparks@wesleyseminary.edu or 202-885-6481. Those interested in application materials and more information may contact Wesley Theological Seminary’s admissions office at 4500 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016.

Admissions may be reached at 202-885-8659 or 800-882-4987 or admissions@wesleyseminary.edu.

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Members urged to give to Global AIDS Fund for Christmas

By Linda Bales**

WASHINGTON — In one day, 8,000 people around the globe die of AIDS. Another 14,000 contract the HIV virus.

Even though more and more money is being appropriated to treat, care and prevent the spread of AIDS, there are millions of people who don’t realize they carry the virus.

The HIV virus invades the body without its victims knowing in many cases. Innocent victims, primarily women and children, fall prey to it. Many countries have few resources for treatment or care. Stigma and discrimination only compound the direness of this health crisis.

United Methodists cannot be a fickle people in the midst of such a reality.

The church, not unlike society at large, needs strong leadership to tackle this pandemic. This need for universal leadership is the theme of the 2007 World AIDS Day, which is on or near Dec. 1 each year. It is crucial for people in church and society to choose to accept leadership where there is none. And it is crucial to strengthen those already leading in the HIV response, whether nationally or in their cities and villages and in churches themselves.

An important role of the church is to provide safe haven and care for the millions of orphans created by this crisis — orphans like 13-year-old Margaret Masawi of Zimbabwe, who dreams of becoming a teacher. Young as she is, she heads a household and cares for her two younger brothers. Margaret and her brothers are three of the 980,000 children in Zimbabwe who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Their parents died four years ago.

In sub-Saharan Africa where Margaret lives, young women are becoming infected with HIV at a stunning rate, and 75 percent of the HIV-positive young people ages 15-24 are female. Margaret, however, has a good chance of avoiding the same fate as her parents because of a United Methodist project that pays her school fees. Staying in school can save girls’ lives.

Each congregation can be part of the solution to the AIDS crisis by supporting the United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund. This fund is an effort to channel much-needed resources to projects around the globe addressing the crisis. These projects aim to lessen the burden of AIDS by awareness-building, sharing information on risk reduction, voluntary testing and counseling, prevention of mother to child transmission, care in the hospital and in the home, treating opportunistic infections, providing anti-retroviral drugs and support of orphans.

United Methodists are asked to consider giving to the United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund, Advance Special (#982345), as an alternative method of Christmas giving. One hundred percent of contributions go directly to HIV/AIDS projects, and 25 percent of what’s given remains in annual conferences for distribution. Contributions may be placed in church offering plates, with the Advance number in the memo line; church treasurers will then forward it on the General Board of Church and Society.

Brochures for the Global AIDS Fund are available at General Board of Church and Society by contacting Donna Brandyberry at dbrandyberry@umc-gbcs.org or 202-488-5641.

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Project assists deaf people living with HIV/AIDS

By Judith Santiago**

Once a year, a small group from the community of the deaf meets with HIV/AIDS survivors to share their personal journeys.

The United Methodist Deaf Shalom Zone, a ministry of Christ United Methodist Church in Baltimore, provides sign language interpreters so the deaf people with HIV/AIDS can have communication access at the Quality of Life Retreat they attend, which is held in Maryland or the Washington area.

"HIV/AIDS cases are four times higher in the deaf community than in the hearing community," said Carol Stevens, the shalom zone coordinator.

Quality of Life Retreats, an independent ministry, is open to anyone and has four retreats each year designed to empower participants with life strategies that help them live with HIV/AIDS. The program received additional funding this year from the United Methodist Baltimore-Washington Annual (regional) Conference and the denomination's Board of Global Ministries.

"My experience at the Quality of Life Retreat was so great. It helped me to find myself, my inner place, my spiritual home, my peace, my purpose in life," signed the Rev. Harry Woosley Jr., leader of the deaf AIDS community in Baltimore. "I want to help others to find life like I have."

Since the retreat, Woosley has been educating three high-risk groups about AIDS: deaf-blind people, a group of deaf inner-city young people and deaf people living in group homes.

Each retreat aims to offer a safe, loving environment in which participants can be themselves, free of fears and inhibitions, and can openly discuss their deepest concerns and challenges about living with HIV/AIDS.

Participants can interact with other HIV-positive people and learn strategies for long-term survival.

Agencies that provide services to hearing individuals are often inaccessible to the deaf, so The Deaf Shalom Zone includes case management services for deaf people living with HIV/AIDS. Case managers assist people who have contracted the disease but have no health insurance, medical care, medication or financial support and help them gain independence.

More information about the Quality of Life Retreats is available at http://www.qualityofliferetreatshiv.org.

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Society of St. Andrew provides way to honor family, friends

By Caryl Kelley
 
LAKELAND — As families are celebrating Christmas, many Americans will be experiencing first-hand the reality of hunger and poverty. This Christmas, the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) will give hope to the hungry by honoring loved ones with a gift donation to feed the hungry.

Each $12 gift donation to SoSA provides about 800 servings of fresh, nutritious food to hungry families. And each person honored will receive an exclusive Christmas gift donation card announcing a generous gift was made in his or her name.

The Christmas gift donation card, the 13th in the series, features an inspirational message and original art depicting God’s “light” come to Bethlehem in the form of the infant Jesus. The full-color card has been designed exclusively for and donated to the Society of St. Andrew by Virginia artist Annis McCabe. This card announces each gift to feed the hungry in the name of the chosen honoree(s). Each donor will also receive the same card with thanks from SoSA and confirmation of the number of people that were honored. The card may be viewed at http://www.endhunger.org/card/thecard.htm.

Cards may be ordered at http://www.endhunger.org/card/order.htm. SoSA will send the cards and envelopes to each donor to personalize and mail or will send them on each donor’s behalf in time for Christmas. The minimum gift donation for each card is $12. All gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law.
 
More information about SoSA is available at http://www.endhunger.org.

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Conference promotes justice for earth

By Southeastern Jurisdiction Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — What will be the personal legacy for grandchildren and great-grandchildren? What will be the legacy churches leave for future generations?

Most often when people consider what will be left to family, they are talking about money, land or jewelry. Churches talk about debt-free buildings. An upcoming conference focuses on how people are leaving the planet.

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center and United Methodist Women of the Southeastern Jurisdiction are offering the third “Caring for Creation” conference at Lake Junaluska April 3-6. Leadership will offer challenges and directions that help attendees better care for the earth.

Activities include presentations by John Hill from the General Board of Church and Society and Glenda Strauss-Keyes on the work of Fr. Thomas Berry, the story of how people get food by Maren Symonds, Jeff Barrie’s presentation of the new Kilowatt Ours production, and closing worship with the sermon by Bishop Ken Carder. All are designed to inspire and challenge participants to move forward in helping faith communities work to better care for the earth.

The workshops will present practical information for action. Dr. Robert Cabin’s report on an international conference on sustainability will provide eye-opening facts and information. All of the workshops will open new avenues for participants, whether they are interested in the biblical challenge to care for the earth or inexpensive solar solutions for home or church.

Information is found online at http://www.lakejunaluska.com by clicking on events and scrolling to the date for links to the brochure, which includes information on program fees, leadership, registration, schedule and housing. More information may be obtained by contacting Loy Lilley at llilley@sejumc.org.

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General communications agency searches for local church communicators

By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Local church communicators are few, but growing in numbers. United Methodist Communications (UMCom) is developing a list of local church communicators (paid and volunteer).

Churches are asked to send contact information for local church communicators to Mary Lynn Holly at mholly@umcom.org. Individuals are asked to provide the communicator’s name, church where he or she serves, e-mail and postal service addresses, telephone number, and whether the person is a staff person (paid) or volunteer and working full or part time.

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New contemporary music, worship listserv now offered

By Dean McIntyre**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ruach is the Hebrew word for wind, spirit or breath. It can literally mean the breath of God. In early Christian use, Ruach was synonymous with the Holy Spirit, often personified as a dove and described as a rushing wind.
 
Ruach is also the name of a new interactive listserv sponsored by The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church (GBOD).

Ruach’s purpose is to foster discussion, debate, research, exchange of information and networking around issues of contemporary music and worship. Contemporary here is used, not in the sense of contemporary Baby Boomer worship and music, but in the sense of newer, more modern worship and music, including alternative styles, emerging worship and young people’s music.

Ruach is designed for musicians, directors, singers, composers, pastors, worship planners, leaders, publishers and students. The list is intended for and funded by The United Methodist Church, but membership is open to all without charge.
 
Ruach is fully moderated, meaning all messages will be screened for appropriateness of topic and content. Messages will not be edited, though they may be returned without posting. Ruach members will always practice respect, tolerance, civility and grace in all list communications.

Individuals interested in joining Ruach may do so at http://www.gbod.org/worship/default.asp?act=reader&item_id=45515&loc_id=17,728.

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*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is Florida United Methodist Conference Communications Director, Lakeland, FL
   Bales is director of the Louise and Hugh Moore Population Project at the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   McIntyre is director of Music Resources at the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn.
   Santiago is a staff member with the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
   Twigg is on staff in the Office of Admissions at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.




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