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Opportunities — Jan. 9, 2005 {0221}

Opportunities — Jan. 9, 2005 {0221}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities - Jan. 9, 2005

Jan. 9, 2005    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0221}

An e-Review News Item

Church agency offers bulletin inserts to aid in relief effort

By Jan Snider**

(UMNS) — Two church bulletin inserts are available to help United Methodist congregations raise money for the tsunami relief effort and provide a message of hope.

United Methodist Communications, in cooperation with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), is making the inserts available.

“We do want people to contribute, but even more important is for the church to deliver a message of hope,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive of the denomination’s communication agency.

UMCOR has issued urgent pleas for funds to aid in the relief and recovery efforts after the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. A dozen countries suffered devastating losses, with death counts estimated at nearly 150,000. Many survivors are struggling to get clean water, food, shelter and medicine. UMCOR is working with partner agencies to respond to these needs quickly.

A national print ad from the United Methodist Church ran in USA Today Jan. 3. The ad featured a photograph of weathered hands in prayer with a simple appeal for donations. The bulletins also support this message, but provide detailed information on how to donate to UMCOR.

“It is a time that is unsettling,” Hollon said. “It is a time when people are in great suffering and other people want to respond. Through the bulletin inserts and the print ad in USA Today, what the church is saying is that, within the love of God, no one is alone.”

Two bulletin inserts are available. One features the same image used in the USA Today ad, and the other depicts a multitude of hands reaching up toward relief workers. Both versions feature the same text, as well as an image of a Thai girl playing between the candles during a candlelight memorial service in Thailand. 

In addition to, the church bulletins are available through Interpreter magazine’s Web site at and at

Donations to UMCOR’s “South Asia Emergency” relief work can be placed in local church offering plates or sent directly to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Designate checks for UMCOR Advance #274305 and “South Asia Emergency.” Online donations can be made at For credit-card donations call 800-554-8583.

Spiritual Formation team offers monthly gatherings

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — The Florida Conference Spiritual Formation Team is offering a series of monthly gatherings for laity and clergy beginning this month.

The first session, titled “The Wesley Tradition of Faith,” will be held Jan. 28 and facilitated by Dr. Paul Chilcote.

The sessions were born out of discussions by Spiritual Formation team members at a Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation and are designed to inform and/or transform individuals who intentionally desire spiritual growth/spiritual formation.

The January gathering, and all subsequent monthly sessions, will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg. The cost is $30, and participants are asked to bring their lunch. To register contact Carol Sue Hutchinson at

The next two sessions are Feb. 26, “Faith and Art,” led by Chuck and Peggy Hoffman, and March 18, “A Day of Silence,” led by Charles Butler.

For more information about the monthly gatherings visit For information about future Five-Day academies visit
To share ideas or volunteer to serve contact Martha Clark, Spiritual Formation team leader, at or 813-988-4655 or Dr. Trudy Corry Rankin, coordinator of the Formation gatherings, at or 863-682-2810.

Women’s Retreats kick off this month

By Tita Parham**

ORLAND — The 21st annual Florida United Methodist Women’s Retreats kick off Jan. 21-23 at the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg.

The January session is the first of four weekends developed under the theme “Vessel of the Potter,” based on Isaiah 29:16 and Romans 9:21.

“This year we will be looking at our lives as Vessels of the Potter,” said Mary Best, committee chairwoman of the retreats, in retreat literature. “We will see how God can shape us into useful and purposeful women.”

The retreats are designed to provide women an opportunity to intentionally get away from responsibilities with children, families and jobs in order to relax, pray, worship and meet other women from across the conference in a retreat setting. Each weekend features its own keynote speaker, music team, Bible studies, and enrichment and devotional leaders.

Additional weekends will be held Feb. 4-6, Feb. 18-20 and March 4-6. The program cost is $35 for each. Housing costs vary.

For registration information contact Betty Pierson or Sarah Hammond at or, respectively, or call the Florida Conference Center at 800-282-8011, extensions 101 or 179.

Florida Christian Ashram comes to Florida

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Laity and clergy are invited to a time of spiritual renewal at the Florida Christian Ashram Feb. 28-March 3 at the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg.

Ashram is an Indian word meaning “away from work.” Ashram retreats offer individuals the opportunity to get away from routine responsibilities and focus on spiritual growth and renewal. The goal is that participants “will leave the retreat with a deeper understanding of the ways of Christ and of the reality of God in their lives,” according to retreat literature.

The Ashram movement was founded by Dr. E. Stanley Jones, an evangelist and author, while serving as a missionary in India. The gatherings are led by an interdenominational group of ministers, lay leaders and musicians. Two features of the Ashram are the Hour of the Open Heart, during which the agenda for the retreat is set and participants discern the needs of the group and ask God’s help in meeting those needs, and the Overflowing Heart, held at the end of the retreat and a time of sharing how the needs have or have not been met.

The retreat also features an evangelism hour led by Bishop Richard Looney, president of the Foundation for Evangelism, an affiliate of the General Board of Discipleship, and Bible study led by Dr. Evelyn Laycock, former director of the Lay Ministry center for the Southeastern Jurisdictional Administrative Council at Lake Junaluska.

Registrations and deposits must be received by Jan. 23, with balances made Feb. 11. The total cost for single occupancy is $234 for laity and $202 for clergy. Double occupancy costs are $190 for laity and $162 for clergy. Fees include rooms, linens and nine meals.

For more registration information contact Karen L. Wenck at 941-625-2753.

New resource for grief ministry available

By Joel Bretscher**

“Journeying through Grief” is a set of four short books from Stephen Ministries that pastors, congregations and lay people can give to grieving people at four crucial times during the first year after a loved one has died. Each book looks at what the person is likely to be experiencing at that point in grief and offers care, assurance and hope.

Written by Kenneth Haugk, pastor, psychologist and founder of Stephen Ministries, the books provide a simple, yet significant way to reach out to the bereaved again and again, helping them feel valued and cared for throughout the difficult first year.

Each set is $9.95 and includes the four books, four mailing envelopes and a tracking card that makes it easy to know when to send each book. Also available is a “Giver’s Guide” with ideas for using the books and four sample letters to personalize and adapt to send with each book.

For quantity discounts, to learn more or to order, visit or call Stephen Ministries at 314-428-2600.

Willie Nelson CD benefits United Methodist mission initiatives

By Mark Terwilliger**

In October 2003 Willie Nelson appeared on the first General Board of Global Ministries Telethon for mission, titled “In Mission Together for Christ and the World.” Nelson’s Gospel Collection CD was later introduced at the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.

Nelson and his sister, Bobbie, who has been his pianist throughout his career, grew up in a Methodist church in Abbot, Texas. Willie says gospel songs have always been dear to his heart. That’s why he sings one or two gospel songs on every one of his shows.
In the course of deliberations for the show, Nelson explained that gospel songs were so much a part of his life that he had put together a collection of gospel songs which he would be glad to make available to the General Board of Global Ministries, GBGMusik, to use in sales that would benefit missions of The United Methodist Church. Proceeds from the sale of this CD and songbook benefit the 11 new mission initiatives of the United Methodist Church, including Senegal, Cameroon, Russia, Honduras, Latvia, Lithuania, Nepal, Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

Some of the songs included on the CD are “Give me that old-time religion,” “Just a closer walk with thee,” “Just as I am, without one plea,” “How great thou art,” “I’ll fly away” and “What a friend we have in Jesus.”

Nelson also gave GBGMusik permission to release a songbook including the songs from the recording “Farther Along: Willie & Bobbie Nelson, The Gospel Collection, Singer’s Edition.”

The Willie Nelson “The Gospel Collection” CD may be ordered by check or money order, made payable to “GBGM” in the amount of $18, which includes shipping and handling. A companion songbook is also available for $5.95. The CD and songbook can be purchased together for $21, which also includes shipping and handling. Checks or money orders should be sent to GBGM CD Offer, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 350, New York, NY 10115. Ordering information can also be found at or by calling 866-588-4246.

Church’s 2004 books of discipline, resolutions, now available

By Kathy Gilbert**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The first copies of the English-language United Methodist 2004 Book of Discipline and the 2004 Book of Resolutions are on bookshelves in Cokesbury stores now.

The books are revised every four years by the denomination’s top legislative assembly, the General Conference, which met last spring. The Book of Discipline contains the church’s law, Constitution and other polity. The Book of Resolutions collects all of the denomination’s current statements on social issues. Both books also include the church’s Social Principles.

The United Methodist Publishing House edits and prints the revised books after each General Conference. The assembly is the only body that speaks officially for the denomination.

The 2004 texts went to the printer in September, and printed copies began arriving at the end of November, said Harriett Olson, senior vice president of publishing, United Methodist Publishing House.

“The end of November/beginning of December ship dates are slightly earlier than earlier quadrennia, and the new software — as well as the synergy of the team working on the project under the leadership of Marvin Cropsey — contributed to our ability to achieve this,” she said.

The completed volumes represent several months of hard work by the Publishing House, beginning shortly after General Conference ended in May.

“The work on the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions is a big project for the United Methodist Publishing House every four years,” Olson said. “Actually, it’s several big projects.”

The Publishing House oversaw the production and design of a new petition management system used by the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. “Like any new system that is used for the first time, we now have a better idea of how the system could be revised to offer even better support to the legislative process.”
Approved actions of the General Conference are incorporated into the two books.

“In the case of the Book of Discipline, this may involve reordering sections of the work, tracing changes throughout the text (as when an organization’s name is changed), or seeing that the paragraph in question has the exact amendments that were adopted by the conference,” she said. “Sometimes this involves attention to the record of what the (legislative) committee has done, what developed during the floor debate and any reconsideration that may have taken place.”

Members of the Committee on Correlation review, approve or amend each change for the Book of Discipline. If uncertain about how the change should read, the members may contact the legislative committee chairperson or secretary. Complicated matters go to the whole Committee on Correlation for resolution. The committee also is responsible for omitting any passages of the book that the church’s supreme court, or Judicial Council, found unconstitutional during the four years between General Conferences.

Olson said the work on both books is shared with the other general agencies for their review. After the final text is formatted and sent to the printer, work begins on translating both books into Spanish and Korean.

“This quadrennium, we will have CD-ROM, e-book and online versions available in January,” she said.

Central conferences — regional units of the church in Africa, Asia and Europe — are authorized to translate and adopt changes to parts of the Discipline that facilitate the ministry in their areas, Olson added. “We try to support the work of these conferences by responding to requests for various ways to get access to the Discipline text.”
The Book of Discipline has a diverse customer base in the denomination, including district superintendents, pastors, church libraries, conference leaders, leaders of staff parish committees and administrative councils, general agency staff and seminarians.
After each General Conference, the Publishing House also revises another local church resource, Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, Olson said. These booklets are prepared for leaders in congregations and may be purchased as a set for reference in the church library or resource center, in multiple copies for members of a committee or council, or individually, to help a new chairperson get acquainted with his or her responsibilities.
The Discipline and Resolutions are available as a two-pack for a discounted price ($29) and with the United Methodist Directory as a three-pack ($39). For more information, visit

Jan. 16 marks first Special Sunday of year

By United Methodist Communications Staff

Human Relations Day Jan. 16 is the first of six Churchwide Special Sundays with offerings held each year.

Offerings taken by United Methodist congregations that day provide a secure foundation for children of all ages. Monies given support such ministries as more than 30 church-based community developers working in racial- and ethnic-minority communities in the United States and Puerto Rico, a multiracial network of grassroots social justice organizations related to United Methodist Voluntary Service that provide vital outreach, and Christ-centered Youth Offender Rehabilitation projects that give teenagers a chance to succeed.

The six Sundays enable United Methodists to offer refuge in times of disaster, promote peace and justice, provide scholarships and student loans, reach out to the community, teach skills to encourage self-sufficiency and share the love of Jesus Christ with God’s people everywhere.

The support of United Methodist congregations celebrating the Special Sundays is critical to the survival of these important ministries and for sharing God’s gifts around the world.

The additional Sundays are One Great Hour of Sharing March 6, Native American Ministries Sunday April 10, Peace with Justice Sunday May 22, World Communion Sunday Oct. 2 and United Methodist Student Day Nov. 27.

For more information on the special Sundays visit

2005 worship and music planning calendar available

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — The General Board of Discipleship has posted its 2005 worship and music planning calendar on its worship-preaching-music Web site at

The calendar includes lectionary citations, sacred and liturgical days, seasons, civil days, holidays and observances.

For more information on worship or music resources contact Dean B. McIntyre, director of music resources for The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, at or 877-899-2780, extension 7073.


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Bretscher is director of communications for Stephen Ministries. Terwilliger is the Global Praise business manager for the General Board of Global Ministries’ office of Mission Evangelism. Gilbert is a staff writer in United Methodist News Service’s Nashville office. Parham is editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Snider is a freelance producer for United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn.