Opportunities — April 27, 2008 {0840}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — April 27, 2008

April 27, 2008  News media contact: Tita Parham* 
tparham@flumc.org    Orlando {0840}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n C.R.O.S Ministries seeks summer camp volunteers
n United Methodist video examines ‘white privilege’
n Florida churches serve as host site for Willow Creek summit

n Heritage Sunday celebrates 100th anniversary of social creed
n Churches invited to participate in Peace with Justice Sunday
n Slavery, human trafficking discussed at young adult forum
n Anti-hunger advocates gather in nation’s capitol
n Older adults explore new ways to walk with God
n Welcoming ministry online course now available
n Choirs invited to focus on their music
n Open House can be year-round state of mind
n Midnight Oil offers downloadable training videos


C.R.O.S Ministries seeks summer camp volunteers

By Lindsay Zimmerman**

LAKE WORTH — Christians Reaching Out to Society (C.R.O.S. Ministries), an outreach ministry of the Florida Conference, is seeking individual and group volunteers to help with its summer camp program.

CROS Camps offers three camping opportunities at no cost to low-income families in Palm Beach County.

C.R.O.S. was founded in 1977 to enable people of all faiths to work together to identify needs and collaborate with community groups in creating solutions. Churches, synagogues, community groups and private individuals throughout Palm Beach County who share this common goal support C.R.O.S. Ministries.

Volunteers who enjoy working with children are needed at each of C.R.O.S. Ministries’ three day-camp sites in Lake Worth, Delray Beach and Belle Glade June 9-July 25. Individuals and groups can choose to help in the morning or afternoon whenever available. Volunteers are also needed for C.R.O.S. Ministries’ overnight camp, Camp Outreach, Aug. 4-9 in Clewiston.
Interested individuals and groups can request an application or more information by contacting Ruth Mageria at rmageria@crosministries.org or 561-233-9009, extension 105.


United Methodist video examines ‘white privilege’

By Kathy L. Gilbert**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In a church fellowship hall, a long line of people are beginning to realize that many of them live with “an invisible, unearned advantage” based on the color of their skin.

They listen and respond as the Rev. Marion Miller, pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, reads a list of commands in an exercise on “white privilege” in the United States.

“If you should need to move,” she asks, “can you be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area you can afford and in which you would want to live? If this is true, take one step forward.”

“If you can go shopping alone most of the time pretty well assured you will not be followed or harassed, take another step forward.”

“If you can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of your race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with your cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut your hair, take three steps forward.”

By the end of the exercise, all of the white participants are steps ahead of the people of color in the line.

“Sensitizing white people to an invisible system of advantage is a healthy beginning in the journey,” said Blenda Smith, conference lay leader of the Wyoming Annual (regional) Conference and a white board member of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.

To help people in the journey, a DVD called “Truth and Wholeness: Replacing White Privilege With God’s Promise” has been developed by the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race and the denomination’s Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.

“We pray that the DVD will bring understanding and insights to white people who live with an advantage that is truly invisible to them,” Smith said. “People have no reason to change systemic, invisible circumstances until they actually come to see and accept their reality.”

Barbara Isaacs, a white staff member of the Commission on Religion and Race, said many whites do not feel privileged.

“It is the truth of our everyday white lives that we fail to see,” she said. “We do not understand the daily reality of friends and colleagues who are not white — how they are constantly treated differently by sites of economic, political and social power.”

The DVD was given to every United Methodist annual conference delegation attending the 2008 General Conference meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, April 23-May 2. It also will be used during the April 29 morning worship service at the churchwide legislative assembly. Isaacs said conferences can burn a copy of the DVD for every church.

Florida Conference churches may order a copy of the DVD by contacting Caryl Kelley, Florida United Methodist Communications, at 800-282-8011, extension 115, or ckelley@flumc.org. The deadline for ordering is May 20.

In addition, Isaacs and Smith are developing an accompanying study guide to be made available on both commissions’ Web sites later this year.

“The two agencies partnering on this is another example of the church’s commitment to confront racism that is still being experienced today,” said Erin Hawkins, top executive of the Commission on Religion and Race.

“I think this will be an important tool to help white leadership see the impact that privilege has on all people.”

“Truth and Wholeness” follows up on the Service of Repentance for the History of Racism in The United Methodist Church, held at the 2000 General Conference, and The Service of Appreciation For Those Who Stayed, held at the 2004 assembly.

Bishop Clarence Carr, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, accepted the corporate act of repentance from The United Methodist Church at the 2000 General Conference. “I am not going to be a judge, but I want you to know that we will be fruit inspectors,” Carr said, suggesting that the church will be monitored on its efforts to change.

“The next logical step for the 2008 General Conference is for white people to begin understanding what ‘white privilege’ is and how it affects people of color and themselves,” Smith said.

The 16-minute video features diverse interviews ranging from a teenager in Indianapolis to a professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington.

When white people become truthful and share their feelings, “the healing process with the racial-ethnic persons and their communities will begin,” said the Rev. Taka Ishii, New York Annual Conference. 

Ishii, a board member of the Commission on Religion and Race, previewed the DVD during its board of directors meeting in March. The video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.

“We’ve seen recently how different perspectives rooted in our personal experiences can affect the way we see the world, and how we live out our lives,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top staff executive of United Methodist Communications. “Race plays a key role.

“We hope this video will provide a way to reflect upon perceptions of privilege and lead beyond reflection to dialogue that builds new awareness about our everyday experiences in a multi-ethnic society,” he said.

“A powerful story in the DVD is when Dr. Sondra Wheeler shares her story about the African-American mother who has to school her newly licensed 16-year-old son about how polite he had better be to a policeman because she believes with good reason that just being an African-American boy behind the wheel of the car is enough to put him at risk,” said the Rev. DeeDee Azhikakath, Desert Southwest Annual Conference.

A typical response by some white people was defensiveness, according to Smith.

“The sense of ‘I have earned everything I have’ is a common reaction by some white people who have worked hard to attain better lifestyles,” Smith said. “However, that perception indicates a lack of understanding the effects of hundreds of years of history — be it African-American slavery or global colonialism by white people.

“When a society has a long history of invisible, unearned advantage, it is hard for people to suddenly accept a new reality.”

More information is available at http://www.info@gcorr.org.


Florida churches serve as host site for Willow Creek summit

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — Real-life leaders don’t wait for the perfect time or the right situation to use their gifts. Instead, they see opportunities to reach out, serve others and push the Kingdom forward.

In the same way, the best leaders don’t wait for quantum leap moments to improve their leadership skills. They’re always looking for ways to stretch their minds, broaden their horizons, and expand their hearts, knowing the most dependable process comes through a steady pursuit of ongoing input.

The 2008 Leadership Summit will  be broadcast Aug. 7-8 via satellite from Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago to more than 140 locations across North America. State-of-the-art technology allows leaders to train together through one event in many locations. Guests who cannot attend the event live at the Willow Creek campus can gather with local leaders in several locations in Florida, including Grace United Methodist Church, Cape Coral; CrossRoad United Methodist Church, Jacksonville; and VanDyke United Methodist Church, Lutz.

A complete list of locations is available at https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/2008/locations.asp.

The summit is designed for those who use their gifts in and through the local church. Participants will join tens of thousands of Christ-following leaders from around the world at more than 130 host locations across North America.

Speakers include Bill Hybels, senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church; Brad Anderson, vice-chairman and chief operating officer (CEO), Best Buy Inc.; Wendy Kopp, CEO and founder, Teach for America; Catherine Rohr, CEO and founder, Prison Entrepreneurship Program; Efrem Smith, senior pastor, The Sanctuary Covenant Church; John Burke, lead pastor, Gateway Community Church; Craig Groeschel, senior pastor, Lifechurch.tv; Chuck Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship Ministries; Gary Haugen, president and founder, International Justice Mission; and Bill George, Harvard professor and former CEO, Medtronics.

More information on this year’s speakers is available at https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/2008/speakers.html. Individuals interested in attending may register at http://www.willowcreek.com/events/registration/reg1.asp?event_id.


Heritage Sunday celebrates 100th anniversary of social creed

By Robert Williams**

MADISON, N.J. — Upon the recommendation of the General Commission on Archives and History, the 2006 General Conference changed the date of Heritage Sunday from Sunday nearest April 23 to May 24 or the Sunday preceding.

April 23 reminded the church of the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church on April 23, 1968. But May 24 reminded the church of John Wesley’s “heartwarming experience” at a Moravian prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street in 1738. Organizational merger seemed less important to the General Commission than the power of faith in the lives of people leading to transformation of society.

In 1908, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church adopted a Social Creed for the first time, standing squarely in the legacy of John Wesley’s ministry to the poor, the prisoner and the needy in society.

This year Heritage Sunday, which honors that history and Wesleyan heritage, is celebrated May 18.

Worship and liturgical resources to celebrate Heritage Sunday are available on the General Board of Church and Society Web site at http://www.umc-gbcs.org. Appropriate hymns can be found in “The United Methodist Hymnal” from pages 425 to 449, which is the section on Social Holiness. Especially important in the years leading up to the Social Creed was the Frank Mason North hymn “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life,” written in 1903. In “The Faith We Sing” songbook, the hymns on Social Holiness are pages 2170 to 2190.

Articles to help with preparation for a Heritage Sunday celebration are available at http://www.gcah.org by clicking on “Of Interest/Noteworthy.”


Churches invited to participate in Peace with Justice Sunday

By Erik Alsgaard**
LAKELAND — United Methodist churches are invited to celebrate “Peace with Justice Sunday” May 18 by receiving a special offering that enables the denomination’s voice in advocating for peace and justice to be heard at home and around the world.
Peace with Justice Sunday gifts empower people to advocate for human rights, buy fair-trade products, care for the environment, eradicate poverty, feed the hungry, seek affordable housing and model nonviolence. The Special Sunday offering funds global outreach through the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) and annual conference-related peace with justice ministries that transform lives.
Half of the Peace with Justice offering goes to GBCS for grants to special programs. The other half remains with the Florida Conference for Peace with Justice ministries. Alma Manney is the Florida Conference Peace with Justice coordinator, and the conference Global Mission and Justice committee determines how the conference money will be used. More information is available by contacting Melinda Trotti, director of the conference’s Justice and Spiritual Formation Ministries, at
More information about ministries supported by the Peace with Justice Sunday offering is available by contacting the Peace with Justice Program, General Board of Church and Society, at 100 Maryland Ave. N.E., Washington, DC 20002-5614;
www.umc-gbcs.org/grants; or 202-488-5600.
More information on how local churched can promote Peace with Justice Sunday is available at


Slavery, human trafficking discussed at young adult forum

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Christian young adults ages 18-35 will gather June 12-15 at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., for the 2008 Young Adult Ecumenical Forum (YEAF). The focus is slavery and human trafficking in the 21st century.

The purpose of the forum is to educate and call to action an ecumenical network of young adults on the issues of human trafficking and slavery, both internationally and at home.

By meeting with denominational lobbying offices, participants will learn how to most effectively communicate with governments, corporations and other organizations that can end human trafficking. Participants will also leave with new contacts and resources to take on leadership roles within their own community and continue action locally.

The cost is $125 and includes registration, housing and meals. Housing will be provided at nearby American University.

A registration form is available at http://yaef.net/files/2008finalapplication.pdf. The deadline to register is May 16. More information is available http://www.yaef.net.


Anti-hunger advocates gather in nation’s capitol

By David Beckmann**

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of anti-hunger advocates will gather in Washington, D.C., June 16-17 for Lobby Day, one of the most important anti-hunger events of the year.

Organized by Bread for the World, Lobby Day is a unique opportunity for participants to use their voices to personally address members of the U.S. Congress on the issues of global hunger and poverty.

Bread for the World has a particular interest in United Methodists participating in this important opportunity. The goal of the group’s 2008 Offering of Letters is more and better poverty-focused development assistance. This includes long-term investments in education, agriculture, nutrition, health and clean water — life-giving, empowering programs that make a significant difference in people's lives.

Participants are invited to join the evening worship program June 16 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill.  On June 17, participants will gather at Church of the Reformation, 212 E. Capitol St. NE, for the morning worship and Lobby Day briefing. The briefing will provide an opportunity for reflection on God’s call to justice for hungry people, information on the status of legislation related to Bread for the World’s 2008 Offering of Letters, insights from Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and effective ways of communicating the message to Congress.

Participants will then join others from each region and speak to members of Congress and their staff on current legislation for hungry and poor people around the world. The day will close with a reception and evening worship. 

Those interested in participating may register at http://ga4.org/ct/Z7wignn12XHp/.
More information on Lobby Day is available at http://ga4.org/ct/Vdwignn12XHR/ and on the Offering of Letters at http://ga4.org/ct/Cdwignn12XHG/.

The day’s schedule, transportation guide, background information and registration information is available at http://www.bread.org/take-action/lobby-day/2008/.


Older adults explore new ways to walk with God

By Susan McGuire**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The theme for the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Older Adults (SEJAOA) 2008 Wisdom and Grace Conference is “Sing to the Lord a New Song — Crafting a Legacy for the Next Generations.”

The conference, held at the Southeastern Jurisdiction conference grounds in Lake Junaluska, N.C., Aug. 11-15, will offer new ways for older adults to explore their gifts and graces, celebrate recovery, expand global awareness, mentor new disciples, understand and share in older adult ministries, and enrich the worship experience. 

More than 400 people typically attend the event, which includes worship, Bible study, workshops and fellowship. The conference is designed for older adults, as well as professionals and non-paid individuals working with older adult ministers in local congregations or residential settings.

The Rev. Dr. Tommy Gray, senior pastor of ClearBranch United Methodist Church in Argo, Ala., will lead worship. Gray started the church in his home 11 years ago when he was 30 years old.  Although a large Southern Baptist congregation moved in directly across the street, ClearBranch now averages more than 1,800 in weekly worship attendance and is one of the fastest growing United Methodist churches in the North Alabama Conference.

Dr. James “Mickey” Efird will be the event’s Bible study leader. For more than 45 years Efird has trained new pastors at Duke Divinity School and taught Bible studies in local churches.

Dr. Karen Scheib, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, is the event’s platform speaker. Scheib is author of “Challenging Invisibility: Practices of Care with Older Women” and several articles on ecclesiology and pastoral care and pastoral care and aging. She currently serves as co-chair of Emory University’s Religion and Health Collaborative, an interdisciplinary program that is a part of the University’s strategic initiatives

The Rev. Beth M. Crissman, an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference, will facilitate the professional track “Navigating the Transitions of Life: Empowering Others to
Get In — And Stay In — The Stream of God’s Will.” The session is for people who are employed in or leading older adult ministries.

The registration fee is $65 per person before June 1 and $85 per person after June 1. The professional track is $130 per person, and single day registration is $35 per person. A commuter fee of $10 per person, per day, is for anyone not staying in the Lake Junaluska hotels, cottages, apartments or campground or the home of a Lake Junaluska homeowner.

Lodging reservations at Lake Junaluska may be made by calling 800-222-4930.

More information about SEJAOA is available at http://reneweddisciples.com/ under the “Calendar & Events” link or at http://www.lakejunaluska.com/calendar.aspx under the Aug. 11-15 listing.

Questions about the event may be directed to Pam Naplen, the administrative assistant for event development, at pnaplen@lakejunaluska.com or 828-454-6656.


Welcoming ministry online course now available

By Igniting Ministries Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Igniting Ministry will soon be offering its “Open Hearts Welcoming Training” online course (IM001) to help church leaders explore the importance of developing a welcoming lifestyle — in their life and in church.

The next session is May 14-June 25.

Class participants will create an action plan to help build welcoming into their congregation’s culture as they work to invite members of their community, through targeted advertising, to participate in church ministries. The class will also help participants understand the motivation and research behind Igniting Ministry, the United Methodist Church’s national welcoming and advertising campaign.

The class has four modules, which take about an hour each to complete. Participants work at their own pace and convenience, with four weeks of helpful online discussions.

The cost is free. Individuals who would like more information about the course or to receive an e-mail reminder when registration opens for the May session may e-mail training@umcom.org.


Choirs invited to focus on their music

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Many music retreats are for choir directors only, but one event this fall has the whole choir in mind.

Choir Music Weekend Oct. 3-5 at the Lake Junaluska Conference Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C., is designed primarily for choir members. Singers will be taught music from four different directors sharing four different perspectives and offering instruction on how to be a better singer. Participants will learn on several levels what it means to serve God through the ministry of music.

The session also brings together choral training, hand bells, workshops on various subjects and worship.

Each participant will learn eight new anthems taught by respected and experienced leaders so choirs are ready to share the anthems in their home churches.

The weekend also offers four workshop “tracks.” While participants may attend any workshop, like-minded participants can attend three consecutive workshops designed primarily for them. There is a track specifically for singers/choir members; for directors, focusing on areas not part of the standard music training; and for church musicians, offering workshops on handbells in worship and children’s resources. An additional track on spirituality includes crafts, discussions of the spiritual foundations of church music and journaling.

There is a registration fee of $30 per person. An anthem packet, including all worship anthems, is included in the fee. Participants registering after Sept. 14 cannot be guaranteed a copy of the anthem packet.

A registration form and brochure, including a schedule and information about the event’s leaders, are available at http:///www.lakejunaluska.com/choirmusic.aspx. Groups may send registration fees by one check, but registration forms must be completed for each person.

Lodging is available at the Terrace Hotel, Lambuth Inn, Lakeside Lodge and the Junaluska Apartments. Reservation information is available by calling 800-222-4930 or e-mailing reservations@lakejunaluska.com.


Open House can be year-round state of mind

By Igniting Ministries Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Each September, the national Igniting Ministry office works with conferences to encourage congregations to celebrate United Methodist Open House Month. This special time coordinates with the back-to-school airing of United Methodist Church television messages.

During the Open House month members are encouraged to make a concerted effort to emulate Jesus’ welcoming spirit with a special emphasis on inviting and welcoming newcomers.

Coordinating special events, worship festivals or other initiatives to welcome neighbors presents opportunities to intentionally recognize Christ in everyone -— and to remember that guests may look for Christ in the church members they meet.

The welcoming outreach of an Open House may start in September with “United Methodist Open House Month,” but can carry into the holidays as hay rides with hot cider, winter as a chili night, spring as an Easter egg hunt and mid-summer as a welcoming barbeque.

Items to help welcome neighbors, such as pens, welcome mats, mugs and banners, are available at the Igniting Ministry product store at http://secure.umcom.org/store/Catalog/CategoryInfo.aspx?cid=1.

Ideas on ways to participate in Open House month are available at http://www.ignitingministries.org, under “Welcoming,” then “Open House.”


Midnight Oil offers downloadable training videos

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Churches that want a quick and easy way to learn new concepts that can take their ministries to the next level, a refresher on the basics of media ministry or training on the latest in media technology in worship are invited to access Worship Media Sessions offered by Midnight Oil.

Worship Media Sessions is a new series of short, downloadable training videos that offers a quick way to raise the bar on using media in a ministry context.

Wherever Midnight Oil staff members go in their work with churches, they hear a consistent message: “We need more and better training!” and “Give us downloads.” Midnight Oil has combined these two felt needs into the new downloadable training videos.

The videos range from five to 28 minutes long and may be viewed on a computer. Topics range from making images and team building, to techniques for media ministry development, among others.

A list of videos is available at http://www.midnightoilproductions.com/.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
   Beckmann is president of Bread for the World in Washington, D.C.
   Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   McGuire is president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Older Adults.
   Zimmerman is development director for C.R.O.S. Ministries in Lake Worth.

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