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Opportunities — Dec. 3, 2004

Opportunities — Dec. 3, 2004

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Dec. 3, 2004

Dec. 3, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0203}

An e-Review News Item

Healthy Church Academy classes kick off in January

By the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference's new Healthy Church Academy (HCA) will begin offering classes in January 2005.

HCA will offer 10 courses at least twice during the year in locations across the conference. All classes are designed to provide participants with tools they need to transform existing congregations and develop new churches, as well as challenge attendees in their spiritual and discipleship development and growth. Courses are geared toward both laity and clergy.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available upon request. All who complete courses will be recognized with a certificate of merit.

Costs for the classes cover basic expenses, with no apportioned dollars used. The support of conference clergy and laity will ensure the continuation of classes in 2005 and into 2006. Churches may wish to consider including the cost of courses in their budgets in areas designated for church growth and transformation.

Individuals may register for classes through the HCA Web site at Participants must register for one of the three offerings of HCA 101 "Growing a Healthy Church," a prerequisite for the other courses.

For more information visit the HCA's Web site or Larry Rankin at or 1-800-282-8011, extension 131.

The Healthy Church Academy is provided by the Florida Conference's Office of New Church Development, Office of Congregational Transformation and Conference Equipping Network in partnership with Asbury Theological Seminary Orlando, Florida.

Tapestry Conference offers new focus on older adults

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Clergy and laity interested in "tapping the greatest resource in Florida" are invited to attend the Tapestry Conference Feb. 1-3, 2005, at New Covenant United Methodist Church, The Villages, in the Leesburg District.

The gathering is sponsored by the conference's Older Adult Ministry Task Force and designed to provide ministry tools to "challenge, equip and inspire leaders for ministry with, by and for older adults," according to event literature. The goal is to inspire church leaders to develop ministries that celebrate older adults and provide opportunities for them to be fully involved in the ministry of the church.

A variety of speakers and workshops will be offered, including "Birthing Senior Volunteers," by the Rev. Warren Langer of Sun City Center United Methodist Church; "Creative Aging," by Marian Palmer, senior consultant and registered music therapist; "Taking the Church to Shut-ins," by Nancy Metz and the Rev. David O'Hare; and "We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto," by the Revs. Gary Bullock and Lois Barnum of New Covenant United Methodist Church.

The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Richard Gentzler Jr., older adult ministries coordinator for the General Board of Discipleship. Gentzler works to help congregations rethink prejudicial stereotypes about older adults and recognize their value in ministry.

Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker will lead a celebration service the first evening.

The cost is $60 per person for registrations received by Dec. 15 and $70 per person for registrations received by Jan. 15. The cost includes four meals and event participation. For more information contact New Covenant United Methodist Church at 352-750-4529 or

Have a heart: transform a life with an UMCOR alternative gift

(UMCOR Hotline) — The United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) Christmas Wish List puts some of its ongoing projects into "gift" sizes.

One dollar will provide a hot meal for a Haitian school child (UMCOR Advance #418790); $440 could replace a zinc roof on a family home damaged in the long civil war in Liberia (UMCOR
Advance #150300). A new bulletin insert that describes the variety of alternative gifts is available for download at

Other options include: purchasing coffee, tea, cocoa and other fair trade products from UMCOR's partner Equal Exchange (orders may be places online at; helping fund the fair trade program and combining immediate food crisis relief with long-term solutions by giving to UMCOR Advance #982920 Hunger/Poverty Program; providing a school kit for a child in Afghanistan, Bosnia or Haiti by making the kit or donating a cash gift of $12 per kit.

Instructions for making schools kits and a pattern for the school bag are located at A school kit donation can be made to UMCOR Advance #901440, Material Resource Ministry, and designated "School Kits." More information about the UMCOR fair trade Coffee Project is available at

For more information about these gift ideas or UMCOR ministries e-mail or visit

Advance offers opportunity to give during season

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Seventeen dollars can buy a pair of Wellington boots for a new sanitation ministry launched by the Methodist Church of Ghana; $50 can buy a windup solar radio for a village in sub-Saharan Africa; $150 can buy an employment interview outfit for a woman served by a women's facility in San Francisco; $300 can detect and remove a land mine.

These are just some of the many ways individuals can support ministries that are part of the Advance for Christ and His Church and give a meaningful gift to someone in need this Christmas.

There are nearly 2,000 approved General Advance projects in more than 100 countries, each of which is related to an annual conference, central conferences, partner church or interfaith organization. Each ministry is screened by the General Board of Global Ministries and authorized by the General Council on Ministries, according to the Advance Web site. The General Council on Finance and Administration assures the accounting and transmission of every Advance gift, 100 percent of which goes to the ministry.

The Advance is called second-mile giving because the first mile, or priority, is for local churches to support their World Service and other apportioned funds and conference benevolences, according to the Advance Web site. The Advance is designated giving because it is a way for individuals, churches and groups to select specific ministries to support voluntarily.

The Advance began in 1948, and United Methodists and their predecessors have given nearly $900 million to ministries in the United States and countries worldwide since then.

A complete listing of the General Advance projects is available at or by calling 212-870-3790. 

Donations can be placed in local church offering plates or sent to Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068. All checks should have the Advance project and number designated. Checks placed in offering plates should be made out to the local church, while those sent to New York should be made out to "Advance GCFA." Credit-card contributions can be made by calling 888-252-6174.

For more information e-mail or visit

Churchwide funds support HIV/AIDS ministries

NASHVILLE (United Methodist News Service) — The United Methodist Church ministers in many ways to people living with HIV/AIDS around the world-especially in Africa, where the disease has become a pandemic.

Those ministries are supported through the churchwide giving program, the Advance for Christ and His Church, and include:

n  AIDS Campaign, Vehicle, Cameroon (#14333S)-Supports the transportation of materials for workshops on AIDS prevention and control.

n  AIDS Awareness, Nigeria (#13712A)-Pays for workshops, travel expenses and teaching resources to minister with people who already have AIDS and to prevent AIDS through education.

n  AIDS Awareness and Children Impacted by HIV/AIDS, Africa (#101218)-Provides education about AIDS control and prevention; care for children with AIDS.

n  AIDS Orphans Trust, Global (#982842)-Provides daily necessities, school fees, and moral and spiritual support.

n  AIDS Orphans Project, Uganda (#187000)-Focuses on enabling AIDS orphans to live with their extended families.

Donations can be placed in local church offering plates or sent to Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068. All checks should have the Advance project and number designated. Checks placed in offering plates should be made out to the local church, while those sent to New York should be made out to "Advance GCFA." Credit-card contributions can be made by calling 888-252-6174.

Other HIV/AIDS-related ministries can be found in "Partnership in Missions: Catalog of General Advance Specials." Free copies can be ordered by calling 888-346-3862 and asking for item 100082. Additional information is also available at the Advance Web site,

This information was provided by Barbara Dunlap-Berg, a United Methodist Communications staff executive in charge of promoting the Advance for Christ and His Church.

Healthy Congregations Task Team seeks members

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Individuals with a passion for providing relevant ministry to those who are mentally or physically challenged or deaf or disabled, as well as to all people by promoting healthy living are invited to serve on the Conference Equipping Network's newly formed Healthy Congregations Task Team.

The task force is part of the Florida Conference's Health and Wholeness Ministry Team, which works to raise awareness among United Methodists about the needs and challenges of people who are mentally and physically challenged and encourage churches to develop ministries that are sensitive to and inclusive of people with special needs.

Individuals may apply to serve on the Healthy Congregations Task Team at

For more information contact Ginny Pearcy R.N., chair of the Health and Wholeness Team and coordinator of the conference's parish nurse ministry, at 435 Sunset Lane, Merritt Island, Fl 32952, or


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Rankin is dean of the Florida Conference Healthy Church Academy. Parham is editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.