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Opportunities — Dec. 23, 2004

Opportunities — Dec. 23, 2004

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Dec. 23, 2004

Dec. 23, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0214}

An e-Review News Item

Seminar scheduled for maintaining, dying churches

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — A seminar designed for pastors and lay leadership of maintaining and declining churches will be held Feb. 12 at Lakeside Fellowship United Methodist Church in Sanford.

Called Leading Turnaround Churches, the event will be led by Gene Wood, pastor and author of "Leading Turnaround Churches and Leading Turnaround Teams." Wood has served as a pastor of four churches in 26 years and was successful in transforming each church.

Featured topics focus on learning to assess turnaround potential; recognizing the 10 characteristics of turnaround leaders; identifying and dealing with powerbrokers, problem members and the politics of change; providing strong leadership and casting a vision people will embrace; building a winning team

Registration is 8:30-9 a.m. The training is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Refreshments and breaks will be provided. Books will be available for purchase. The cost is $60 per church and covers the training and materials.

Interested participants may register by phone by calling 407-893-7300 or e-mailing the Rev. Linda Mobley, director of the Orlando District's Healthy Church Initiative, at

Social action internships available for ethnic young adults

By Linda Bloom**

WASHINGTON (UMNS) — Young adults are encouraged to apply for a summer internship program with the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

Applicants for the Ethnic Young Adult Summer 2005 Internship Program must be between the ages of 18 and 22 and be of Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American or Pacific Islander heritage, reflecting the denomination's five ethnic caucuses.

The 11 young adults selected will have the opportunity to gain experience in public policy and be placed in governmental and nongovernmental offices, faith-based advocacy agencies and grass-roots organizations in Washington.

Candidates must be active in their local churches and show leadership in faith-based social justice issues. They also must be willing to interpret-or tell about-the ministry of the Board of Church and Society after the internship. The denomination's Inter-Ethnic Strategy Development Group sponsors the program.

The eight-week internship, from June 6 to Aug. 1, offers a $1,500 stipend. Round-trip airfare and accommodations in Washington are included. Feb. 1 is the application deadline. For applications call Neal Christie at 202-488-5611 or e-mail

United Methodists urged to join 'Week of Prayer'

By Kathy Gilbert**

NEW YORK (UMNS) — United Methodists are invited to join with Christians around the world in a week of prayer for peace.

The United Methodist Church's top ecumenical officials are encouraging congregations to set aside Jan. 18-25 to participate in the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Bishop William B. Oden, ecumenical officer for the denomination's Council of Bishops, and the Rev. Larry D. Pickens, top executive of the churchwide Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, sent a letter to bishops and other church leaders asking them to encourage participation in this annual observance.

"For more than 90 years, Christians have set aside time for prayer and reflection on their unity in Christ," Oden said. "We encourage United Methodists to join in this important celebration and observance."

The theme for the 2005 observance is "All Things are Yours...You Belong in Christ...and Christ, the Unique Foundation, Belongs to God," reflecting Paul's letter to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:1-23.

"This is a foundational way for Christians to join together to promote peace," Pickens said. "Christians across the world will come together in celebration of our unity in Christ."

The United Methodist Church has historically been involved with Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute in promoting this week of prayer. The annual week of prayer began in the Episcopal Church in 1908.

Each year, the theme and texts are prepared by an international group appointed by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The churches in Slovakia prepared this year's materials. Churches in Slovakia survived four decades of a political system that allowed them to exist but hindered their growth. Since then, the churches have experienced more than a decade of renewal and emergence.

Free resources to assist congregations and ecumenical organizations in planning and celebrating the Week of Prayer are available from the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute of New York City at Resources include bulletin and pulpit announcements, suggestions for Scripture references, and tools for communicating messages about the Week of Prayer in local communities.

Head mission executive endorses day of prayer for Middle East

By General Board of Global Ministries staff

NEW YORK — The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief mission executive of The United Methodist Church, has added his voice to an ecumenical call that Dec. 22 be observed as a "day of fasting and prayer for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land."

The appeal for the special observance in churches throughout the world was initially made by 25 Roman Catholic bishops in the Middle East and Africa. It has been endorsed by the Lutheran bishop of Jerusalem and by other groups, including the (Catholic) Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

The bishops' statement said of the Middle East conflict: "The situation has dragged on many years now and requires, today more than ever, action to put an end to the sufferings of all inhabitants of this land, Jews, Christians and Moslems, who have become equally incapable of ending the conflict, fettered as they are in a spiral of cruel and irrational violence. Both peoples, Palestinian and Israeli, are on the verge of perishing, the strong as well as the weak, those who use violence, as well as those who wait patiently for a peaceful solution."
Day, who visited the Middle East a few weeks ago, strongly endorsed a part of the statement to all Christians: "We do not call you to take one side against the other. On the contrary, we want you to help both sides find the way to reconciliation. We are calling for an awakening in the Churches of the world, for a strong voice to be raised to promote peace in this Holy Land, where both peoples are in need of outside help in order to find peace and reconciliation."

That point was also stressed by Bishop Dr. Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jerusalem, which includes Palestine, Jordan and Israel, in his endorsement of the appeal.

"All United Methodists, all Christians," Day said, "can take time, even a few minutes, on Dec. 22 to pray for peace, justice and reconciliation in a region that is so important to the church and to all humanity, but is so often the scene of terror and violence."

The Catholic bishops urge all churches to "recognize their duty toward the Holy Land" and to "join together in common and concerted action to sensitize their governments, their people and the international community" to the urgent need for a Middle East solution. They said they believed "the manger of Bethlehem will hear the yearnings and every suffering person" and turn the hearts and minds of people and politicians toward peace.

Society of St. Andrew offers Lenten devotional

By Carol A. Breitinger**

The Society of St. Andrew invites individuals and congregations to participate in a program of spiritual reflection, prayer and giving called "Jesus, remember me..." A Lenten Devotions Program.

Through the program each participant will receive a devotional booklet of reflections and prayers and be asked to share in the Society of St. Andrew's hunger ministries by making a personal Lenten sacrifice that will be used to feed hungry Americans.

This year's Lent devotion reflections ask Christians to think about those whom Jesus touched with healing and wholeness, as well as remember and respond to Jesus' commands to care for the poor and needy in our world. An optional Good Friday Fast is available to supplement the devotions or as a stand-alone program of spiritual renewal and giving.

The Society of St. Andrew has free, no obligation, sample starter kits available for review before placing a congregational order. Starter kits can be ordered online at, by e-mail at or by calling 800-333-4597. Orders should be placed by Jan. 24 to ensure delivery before Ash Wednesday, Feb. 9. All materials are free.

The Society of St. Andrew (Advance #801600) is a Christian national nonprofit hunger-relief ministry feeding the hungry through its PotatoProject, Gleaning Network, Harvest of Hope and Hunger Relief Advocate Initiative programs. For more information about the Society of St. Andrew and its hunger-relief programs visit

Young people lead fight against hunger, poverty Super Bowl weekend

By Brenda W. Hellams**
The Souper Bowl of Caring, a youth-led, grassroots movement, is rallying churches in Florida to join thousands of others across the country in the fight against hunger Sunday, Feb. 6.

Nationwide, young people from 15,000 congregations, schools and other organizations are expected to participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring. Each participating group will then donate their collection directly to the charity of their choice. Collections are reported to the Souper Bowl of Caring headquarters so national totals can be announced to the media. No monies are sent to Souper Bowl headquarters.

Souper Bowl youth raised more than $4.26 million in 2004 on Super Bowl Sunday to help hungry people.
"We encourage more Florida youth to follow the lead of their peers, who are stepping forward to help their neighbors," Founder and Executive Director Brad Smith said. "We want to transform Super Bowl weekend into our country's largest weekend of giving and serving."

In 2004, 2,500 United Methodist churches participated nationally, and in Florida, 56 United Methodist churches participated, raising $20,500. The 2005 goals for Florida are 1,000 churches participating, including 150 United Methodist churches, and 2,000 young people serving at a charity at the Souper Bowl of Caring Service Blitz Saturday, Feb. 5.

Efforts are already underway to achieve these goals, including the naming of J. Wayne and Delores Weaver, owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, as honorary chairs in Jacksonville and Wayne Huizenga Sr. and Wayne Huizenga Jr., owners of the Miami Dolphins, as honorary chairs in South Florida.

Sanctioned by the Faith Based Subcommittee of the 2005 Super Bowl, the Souper Bowl of Caring is also supported by prominent religious, business and political leaders who are serving as advocates in Florida.
"The Souper Bowl of Caring is a small step in the fight against hunger," Smith said. "It is a way for young people to see that God can use them to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. Our hope is that they will continue contributing through volunteerism as they reach adulthood."

The Souper Bowl of Caring most often benefits local food banks, shelters, soup kitchens and other helping ministries, but world hunger organizations, denominational missions and other international ministries also receive some Souper Bowl dollars. Interested groups should visit or call 800-358-7687 to get information on how to participate. Free posters and other materials are available.

Mission agency begins recruiting young adults for service

By General Board of Global Ministries staff

NEW YORK — The General Board of Global Ministries is recruiting young adults for the Mission Intern and US 2 Programs in 2005.

For more then 50 years, the US 2 Program has offered young adults the opportunity to serve in mission in the United States. US 2 missionaries make a two-commitment to actively live out their faith while engaged in ministries that focus on social justice and work with people in communities pushed to the margins. Issues they address include homelessness, children at risk, illiteracy, substance abuse, racism, domestic violence, poverty and hunger.

The Mission Intern Program offers young adults the opportunity to serve in an overseas assignment and an assignment in their home country for a total of three years. Mission Interns have served in assignments that deal with issues of conflict resolution, community development, education and youth development.

Both programs emphasize leadership development and focus on spirituality as it relates to social justice. Young adults live with and learn from communities that struggle with injustice.

The application deadline is February 1, 2005. For more information please visit the following internet Websites: and and link to US 2 and Mission Intern Programs.

Applications are available online or by contacting the Young Adult Program Office at 212-870-3660 or MIRYAP1@gbgm Write to Barbara Wheeler at Mission Personnel, General Board of Global Ministries, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 320, New York, NY 10115.

United Methodist seminar program focuses on spiritual, vocational formation

By Susan Burton**

Individuals have the opportunity to learn about the United Methodist Seminar Program, provided by the General Board of Church and Society, Feb. 2-4 in Washington, D.C.

The United Methodist Seminar Program seeks to strengthen individuals' spiritual and vocational formation through custom-designed United Methodist seminars. Many find a place to develop a faith-filled understanding of difficult social issues, cultivate thoughtful insights to guide daily and vocational choices as Christian citizens, and discern ways in which to live in social holiness.
Titled "Thy Kingdom Come, Faith-filled Living in a Challenging Time," the upcoming information event will enable participants to learn how to deepen their ministry by integrating community engagement, advocacy, justice and vocational discernment into their faith journey.

Participants will learn about Washington, D.C., communities; meet with community advocates; learn about community-based learning opportunities; participate in sample simulations and exercises designed for youth and young adults to connect social issues, public policy and faith; obtain and exchange logistical facts and tips for planning a group trip to D.C.; and network with other church leaders and educators from around the country.

The cost is $75. This gathering is being co-sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship's Division on Ministries with Young People, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Campus Ministry Section and the General Board of Church and Society.

To register contact Susan Burton at 202-488-5609 or For more information visit, or

Society sets winter gleaning schedule

By Kathy Forth**  

ORLANDO — The Society of St. Andrew Florida Program has revised its gleaning schedule for January and February due to hurricane damage to citrus crops and different ripening times.

Gleaning events will take place Jan. 8, Boggs Grove, Clermont; Jan. 15, Holmes Grove, Mt. Dora; Jan. 22, Central Florida Citrus Harvest; Jan. 29, Brevard County Citrus Harvest; Feb. 5, Clark Grove, DeLand; and Feb. 26, Greene Grove, Oviedo

Groups interested in assisting with the gleaning events should contact Kathy Forth, Society of St. Andrew Florida program coordinator, at 407-650-1956.


*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. Bloom is director of United Methodist News Service's New York office. Gilbert is a staff writer in United Methodist News Service's Nashville office. Breitinger is communications director for Society of St. Andrew. Hellams is a Souper Bowl of Caring staff person. Barton is program director of the General Board of Church and Society's Seminar Program. Forth is Florida program coordinator for the Society of St. Andrew.