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In Brief — Nov. 22, 2004 {0197}

In Brief — Nov. 22, 2004 {0197}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief — Nov. 22, 2004

Nov. 22, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0197}

An e-Review News Item

Council approves request for recipients of 2005 conference offering

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — The Florida Conference Council on Finance & Administration recently approved a request from Bishop Timothy Whitaker that the offering collected at the 2005 Florida Annual Conference Event be distributed to both the Eastern Angola Conference and the 2005 Children's Harvest.

ANGOLA, Africa — Quéssua was the spiritual and educational center of the United Methodist Church here and included a church, elementary schools for boys and girls, a college, a school of domestic sciences and a theological seminary. Florida Conference offerings are helping rebuild the church and other buildings in the complex that were damaged or destroyed during Angola's civil war. Photo by Michael Wacht, Photo #04-0112.

Whitaker requested that 80 percent of the offering be designated for the Eastern Angola Conference of the United Methodist Church in support of the partnership begun between the two in early 2003. The money will be used to finish rebuilding that conference's Quéssua United Methodist Church, which was destroyed during the country's 27-year civil war. Any remaining funds will help rebuild other structures in the Quéssua complex, such as the seminary located there, according to the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, director of the conference's Missions ministry team. 

The remaining 20 percent will go to the 2005 Children's Harvest to support the conference's outreach ministries in their efforts to meet the needs of children and families. Children's Harvest is a ministry of the conference's Council of Bishops' Initiative on Children and Poverty (BICAP) task force. The outreach ministries have been the recipients of the Children's Harvest's efforts in past years because of their ministries to children and families, according to Rankin.

Last year's annual conference offering raised $64,258 for the Eastern Angola Conference. An additional $50,307 was collected for the 2004 Children's Harvest and used to provide enough backpacks and supplies for 5,000 school kits for children served by conference outreach ministries.

Partnership efforts with the Eastern Angola Conference began at the request of the denomination's Council of Bishops, which asked the Florida Conference to shift its attention to that conference after completing fund-raising for the Bishop Cornelius L. and Dorothye Henderson Secondary School in Mozambique. Today, the Eastern Angola Conference has 35 churches in five districts, most led by local pastors. Church members and pastors are working to rebuild the many church facilities damaged during the war.

Florida church receives Igniting Ministry recognition

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — The DeLand District's Flagler Beach United Methodist Church was recognized earlier this month for its work with the Igniting Ministry campaign by the national Igniting Ministry office in Nashville.

The church received a Welcoming Certification from Igniting Ministry, recognizing the church as an official "Welcoming Congregation" for 2004 and bringing the number of Florida Conference churches to receive the recognition to 26.

The certification means the church has cultivated hospitality skills to both attract visitors to the church and help them become active members of the church family. In addition to the certificate, the national office has placed a special designation next to the church's listing on the national Find-A-Church database at

A Welcoming Congregations checklist and information about the certification process can be found at

United States: a million volunteer hours and counting

(UMCOR Hotline) — Volunteers have volunteered more than a million hours in recovery projects in the regions of the United States pummeled by multiple hurricanes and tropical storms earlier this fall.

In Florida alone, up to 1,000 new volunteers have signed up with the United Methodist Storm Recovery Center for work details over the next year.

In Western Pennsylvania and Ohio, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) grants are assisting cleanup after heavy flooding and high winds swept north, damaging homes and businesses and displacing people in their wake. The United Methodist annual conferences of these states have shown great leadership in mobilizing volunteers to help clean up, secure roofs, and begin the long process of rebuilding.

UMCOR expresses its profound thanks to all volunteers. Generous donations to UMCOR Advance #982410, Hurricanes 2004, will continue the long-term efforts in all these regions.

Phone plan offers savings for United Methodist churches, agencies
NASHVILLE (United Methodist News Service) — A new plan negotiated by the United Methodist Publishing House with AT&T provides an opportunity for churches, organizations and agencies to save on long distance and local telephone service.

Mike Cunningham, director of information technology at the Publishing House, says the plan "is a good deal for the church."

The Publishing House has had an agreement with phone providers for about 10 years, Cunningham said. This new plan with AT&T will save money for local churches that have bills as low as $15 or $20 a month, but it will especially help customers who have $200 or more a month in telephone charges.

Currently, the plan has 300 participants. Most of the United Methodist general agencies are in the plan, as well as some conference and district offices and local churches.

"I would really like to see all the conference and district offices become part of this plan," he said. "The more people we have in the plan will mean we can drive down prices even further the next time we negotiate."

The plan:

n  Reduces long-distance telephone rates. 
n  Offers teleconference and Web-meeting services at reduced rates. 
n  Manages T-1 circuits for connecting to the Internet. 
n  Offers savings of up to 30 percent on AT&T local service. 
n  Eliminates recurring charges for toll-free numbers.
n  Eliminates all monthly recurring charges.

Reduced long-distance telephone rates range from 2.7 cents to 4 cents per minute, depending on the type of service used. In-state rates vary by state.

For more information call 866-546-7784 or e-mail organization name, contact name, contact telephone number and address to


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