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Biweekly Digest

Biweekly Digest

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Jan. 16, 2004  News media contact:  Michael Wacht*[Jan. 12, 2004 {0003}] 
407-897-1140 Orlando  {0009}

Jan. 5-16, 2004
Biweekly Digest PDF Version
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General Commission on Religion and Race audits inclusiveness of Florida Conference
[Jan. 9, 2004 {0001}]

LEESBURG  - Representatives of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) were impressed with what they learned about the Florida Conference and its commitment to eliminate racism and be inclusive of ethnic and racial minorities. GCORR heard reports from conference agencies, boards and ministries Dec. 12 and 13 at the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg. It was one of several conference audits the agency conducts each quadrennial. Two GCORR staff members also met with minority representatives in Lake City, Leesburg and Miami prior to the December meeting. Erin Hawkins, GCORR associate general secretary, said the conference is beyond other conferences in its efforts at inclusiveness. "The Florida Conference has a distinct uniqueness to it because of its ethnic diversity," Hawkins said. "There are still many concerns that are shared across the connection, but the Florida Conference is ahead of the curve because of the great leadership of Bishop [Timothy W.] Whitaker. There is an energy and commitment here that I have not seen in other conferences."  full story

Church helps homeless come out of the cold
[Jan. 12, 2004 {0003}]
KISSIMMEE - Members of First United Methodist Church here are not content to be snug in their beds when temperatures dip below 40 degrees. And they want to do more than give money to homeless shelters, so they became one. For more than 20 years the church has opened the doors of its fellowship hall to serve as a shelter for homeless men and women. Church members volunteer to work four-hour shifts beginning at 3 p.m. and ending at 7 a.m., when men and women leave after a hot breakfast. The church also holds a worship service called Sunday Night Alive each Sunday at 6 p.m. "We are committed to being the downtown church and ministering to the complete community. There is a significant amount of homeless people in this area," said the Rev. Grant Siegfried, pastor at the church. "We find ourselves called to reach out to them. We perceive them as individuals, as if we are ministering to Christ himself." full story
Hispanic ministry kicks off radio program
[Jan. 14, 2004 0005}]

ORLANDO - The Florida Conference's Hispanic Ministry is once again taking its message to radio. The Hispanic United Methodist radio program "The Upper Room" began airing in November and can be heard every Sunday in Spanish at 3 p.m. on Radio Luz 1270 AM. The program operates as a mini-worship service with music, scripture reading, a prayer for those who are sick and a sermon. Five United Methodist Hispanic missions in the Central Florida area rotate responsibility for each week's program. The Rev. Edwin Santos, director of the Conference Council on Ministries' Hispanic Ministry team, said the radio program is another venue for the church to reach the increasing number of Hispanics in the Orlando/DeLand area.   full story

Henderson School classrooms ready for students
[Jan. 15, 2004 {0007}]

LAKELAND - Three classroom buildings at the Bishop Cornelius L. and Dorothye Henderson Middle School in Muxungue, Mozambique, Africa, are ready for the 2004 academic year. The three classroom buildings, each containing two classrooms, a teacher residence hall and a bathroom building, were completed late last year. The Florida Conference gave $250,000 in honor of the late Bishop Cornelius L. Henderson and his widow, Dorothye, to build a middle school in north Mozambique. The money was raised as part of the conference's commitment to the Council of Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty and Hope for the Children of Africa.  full story

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*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.