Main Menu

Biweekly Digest (March 26, 2004)

Biweekly Digest (March 26, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Biweekly Digest

March 26, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140   Orlando  {0047}

March 15 - March 26, 2004 
Biweekly Digest PDF version click here

Gleaning team rescues fallen homeowner
[March 16, 2004 {0041}

TITUSVILLE - After gleaning fruit trees at four homes Jan. 31 Marjorie Pocock didn't expect anything to be different when she and her team from Mims United Methodist Church here arrived at the home of an elderly woman who lived alone. Pocock knocked on the door to inform the woman the group was there to pick the fruit from her orange trees and only heard a faint tapping noise in response. After a second try with the same result, Pocock sent her husband to a neighbor's house for a spare key. The neighbor didn't have a key, but called the woman's house. There was no answer. Pocock called 911, and police and rescue workers responded. Police entered the woman's home and found her on the floor where she had fallen that Thursday. She had been lying on her floor from the time of the fall until the team found her that Saturday. Rescuing the woman was just one of the day's successes, albeit an unexpected one. Pocock and the other volunteers who participated in the Society of St. Andrew's gleaning project picked 130,000 pounds of fruit in Brevard County and 138,000 pounds in Orlando. The following weekend 130,800 pounds was collected in Charlotte County. The citrus was given by Society of St. Andrew to those in need throughout the state as part of the organization's ongoing gleaning ministry. More information on the Society of St. Andrew is available at   full story

Tampa couple travels to Iraq as part of Christian Peacemaker Team
[March 18, 2004 {0043}]

TAMPA - Rose and Haven Whiteside are not your average grandparents. When most grandparents were celebrating last Christmas with their families, the Tampa residents, both in their early 70s, were boarding an airplane for a one-month stint as part of a Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Iraq. They returned Jan. 31. CPT offers organizational support to people committed to faith-based non-violent alternatives in situations where violent conflict is an immediate reality or supported by public policy. Before going to Iraq the couple was sent on a short-term mission to Columbia where they worked with full-time teams from the group. "The theory is to be there beside people where there is conflict, to be unarmed, not taking sides," Haven Whiteside said. "It works. Some of the violence was reduced." The couple returned from Columbia in 2003 and headed for Iraq. "We're not foolhardy people," Haven Whiteside said. "...We never dreamed we'd be going to Iraq, but, lo and behold, that's where we ended up." The couple left, each with one carry-on bag and the prayers of their Hyde Park United Methodist Church members who prayed for them on a daily basis and followed their progress on the CPT Web site. "This trip greatly enriched our lives," Whiteside said. "I just want people to know if God is calling you, follow Him. It can be a wonderful experience. We had an unusual experience, but I wouldn't trade it for the world."   full story

United Methodist Haitians are hopeful for homeland
[March 22, 2004 {0044}]

LAKELAND - The photographs and news reports depicting destruction and violence in Haiti are excruciatingly accurate, according to the Rev. Montreuil F. Milord. He and other Haitian United Methodists in Florida are urging all United Methodists to lift up the country in prayer and provide assistance. Milord, pastor of South Dade Haitian Mission in Miami, said he aches seeing his homeland in turmoil. "It's heartbreaking," said Milord, a native of the western part of Haiti. "We are praying the good Lord will open doors for this troubled land." Violent opposition and turmoil have plagued the country since rebel groups called for the resignation of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in mid-February after months of political unrest. Aristide left Haiti in early March after being pressured by rebels and the American government to step down. Because of the situation United Methodist Volunteers in Mission teams working in Haiti returned to the United States, and immediate future teams were canceled or postponed. The Methodist Guest House in Port-au-Prince is closed until the political situation improves. Hospital supply closets are bare and relief agencies such as the American Red Cross have little, if anything, to offer, Milord said. Grace Haitian United Methodist Church in Miami is collecting needed food and medical donations to help restock bare medical and pantry shelves. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is also doing what it can to help during the current crisis. More information on the United Methodist Church's response is available on UMCOR's Web site at and the General Board of Global Ministry's Web site at More information locally can be obtained by contacting the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, director of the Florida Conference's Missions Ministry office, at   full story

Clergy wellness program stresses preventive care
[March 24, 2004 {0046}]

MELBOURNE - A pilot wellness program aimed at improving the emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of clergy will kick off in the Melbourne District this August. Ginny Pearcy, Florida Conference parish nurse coordinator, said the health fair at the 2003 Florida Annual Conference Event was so successful the conference's Health and Wholeness Ministry Team members decided they wanted to do something that would have a long-term positive impact on the lives of clergy. The Melbourne District clergy approved the wellness program in February. The voluntary program will place an emphasis on the emotional, physical and spiritual health of participants. It will provide daily devotionals to stress the importance of personal meditative time, a pedometer to encourage 30 minutes of walking per day and a water bottle for emphasis on daily water intake. Overall goals of the program include fewer insurance claims as a result of better health, lowered premiums paid by the conference, higher productivity by clergy as a result of improved emotional, physical and spiritual health, fewer clergy on disability leave, reduction of pain and suffering and improved quality of life, improved family dynamics due to lessening of the stresses of disease and illnesses, and improved effectiveness of clergy in pastoral roles.   full story

For full stories, as well as Features and Commentaries, go to:


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