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Opportunities — Jan. 21, 2005 {235}

Opportunities — Jan. 21, 2005 {235}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Jan. 21, 2005

Jan. 21, 2005    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0235}

An e-Review News Item

United Methodist Communications encourages Web site donations

By Chuck Russell**

NASHVILLE (UMNS) — People are encouraged to participate in the historic relief effort under way for the survivors of the recent tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean by giving through the Web.

Through a partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, United Methodist Communications has created an online donation button churches can place on their Web sites so members may donate online with ease.

There are two ways to place this button on a site. First, Web administrators can go to and register to receive JavaScript that can be placed on any page of the site. For this option the advanced editor and html option must be used and the script must be dropped into the body of the page.

Ezekiel users may go to, and from the Ezekiel administration page: use the site manager, select the home page, then click panels and look for the Tsunami Donation selection. This is the same procedure used to place the Upper Room and other syndicated items on a site. 

Tips for promoting giving online include:

Sending an e-mail announcement to members and asking them to send an e-mail to others who might be interested in donating.

Placing an insert in worship bulletins and making a pulpit announcement so church members are aware of their ability to donate online via the church's Web site.

Referring individuals directly to

One Great Hour of Sharing offering 'essential' to aid work, exec says

By United Methodist News Service

NASHVILLE — As soon as news of the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean hit the airwaves, the United Methodist Committee on Relief responded.

"Being there" is UMCOR's priority. On behalf of the United Methodist Church, UMCOR provides relief wherever catastrophe strikes. Coordinating efforts with faith-based partners around the world, the agency rushes to disaster areas with aid such as food, clothing, shelter and medicine. After immediate needs have been met, UMCOR stays to help survivors rebuild.

As of Jan. 20 United Methodists had contributed more than $4 million to support relief for survivors of the Dec. 26 tsunami. Money continues to pour in, and every dollar given to "South Asia Emergency — UMCOR Advance 274305" goes directly to aid for the affected region. The same is true for all other UMCOR Advance giving.

Such 100 percent giving is possible because UMCOR's administrative costs come from other, undesignated sources, including the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering collected in local churches.

"The heartbreaking disaster that has devastated our sisters and brothers in Asia and Africa underlines that the One Great Hour of Sharing offering on March 6 is absolutely essential to UMCOR," said the Rev. Paul Dirdak, the agency's chief executive.

"UMCOR receives no World Service funds or any other apportionments," he said. "United Methodists' gifts to this special offering keep UMCOR's delivery system in place so we can respond quickly and effectively to disasters such as South Asia."

Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing underwrite UMCOR's costs of doing business. Gifts over and above those used to cover administrative costs are channeled where they are most needed — to assist the most vulnerable people whose need is greatest.
The administrative costs equal 2 percent of the relief agency's total budget, according to UMCOR.

"Jesus promised to be with us always, 'to the very end of the age,' " Dirdak continued. "Jesus extends this call to United Methodists to 'be there' as well — to be the hands and heart of the church wherever people are suffering. Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, channeled through UMCOR, enable our great church to answer that call."

Information about UMCOR programs is available at online. One Great Hour of Sharing resources can be ordered by calling 888-346-3862 or going online to

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.

Theological seminaries offer workshop for church leaders

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — Church leaders who strive to better understand and approach the unique challenges of ministry today are invited to attend "Being Prepared for Ministry" March 6-8 at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in St. Petersburg.

The conference is sponsored by Columbia Theological Seminary and Candler School of Theology at Emory University and brings historical, biblical and theological perspective to the challenge of ministry in the contemporary context.

Conference leaders will address the demands of ministry, discernment of vocation, elements and requirements of life-giving ministry, risk of burnout and depletion on the part of the minister, and ways of sustaining ministry throughout one's professional life.

Speakers include Dr. Roberta Bondi, professor of church history at Candler School of Theology at Emory Univeristy; Dr. Catherine Gunsalus Gonzalez, professor of historical theology emerita at Columbia Theological Seminary; Dr. Justo Gonzalez, retired professor of historical theology at Candler School of Theology at Emory University; the Rev. Dr. Dent C. Davis, dean and vice president of Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary; the Rev. Beth Luton Cook, director of continuing education at Candler School of Theology; and the Rev. Dr. Duncan Ferguson, director of the Center for Spiritual Life at Eckerd College.

The cost is $225 per person for applications received by Feb. 1 and $250 after the application deadline. The cost for five meals is $75, with commuters paying on a per meal basis. Lodging is $79 per night, plus tax, with a $100 required deposit.

For more information contact Eckerd College Center for Spiritual Life at 727-864-7522.

Ministry offers training for workplace chaplains

By Tita Parham**

ORLANDO — Individuals who would like to minister to others in the workplace are invited to attend one of two introductory seminars in industrial mission presented by the Northeast Florida and Tampa Bay chapters of Industrial & Commercial Ministries (ICM).

The sessions are Feb. 18-19 at Orange Park United Methodist Church in the Jacksonville District and Feb. 21-22 at Temple Terrace United Methodist Church in Tampa.

ICM is an approved United Methodist outreach mission and ecumenical training and placement organization. It equips, places and supports clergy and laity as volunteer chaplains who provide a supportive presence, listening ear and effective Christian witness to people in the workplace.

For registration information for the Jacksonville session contact Dr. George Dzyndra at 904-771-4496. For the Tampa session contact the Rev. Christine King at 727-784-3424.

Renovare conference provides chance for rejuvenation

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — Individuals interested in spiritual renewal are invited to attend the Renovare conference Feb. 18 from 6 to 10 p.m. and Feb. 19 from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mandarin Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville.

The conference is sponsored by the Jacksonville District Christian Enrichment School of The United Methodist Church, Glynlea Grace United Methodist Church and Orange Park United Methodist Church. Child care will be provided both days.

Renovare is the Latin word meaning "to renew." The conference will feature Quaker Richard J. Foster, founder of Renovare and author of six books, including "Celebration of Discipline," "Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home" and "Streams of Living Water," which promotes personal spiritual renewal. James Bryan Smith, a United Methodist, and associate professor of religion/philosophy and department head at Friends University, will also be featured.

The cost for registration before Feb. 1 is $35 per person and $45 after the application deadline.

For more information contact the Rev. Pearl Boles at 904-264-2241, extension 209, or or Barbara Brice at 904-268-1972 or

Arts at St. Johns gets year underway

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — The Arts at St. Johns, located at St. John's Church, 4760 Pinetree Drive in Miami Beach, is designed to encourage, present and provide a forum for all forms of the arts, with a special emphasis on the diverse traditions of the communities in South Florida and the newly emerging art forms that represent the blending of cultures, races, beliefs and ethnicities in the global community.

It also works to encourage the arts as a medium for bringing social, spiritual and personal healing transformation and reconciliation.

Upcoming events include:

The Sunday Sunset Jazz Series from 4 to 7 p.m. Jan. 30 on the Lakeside Patio. The cost is $15 per person.

Actors Night Out with the Fantasy Theatre Factory at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 and 8. Local actors will read scenes from selected plays. There is no charge.

Sunday Sunset Jazz Series from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 13. Two bands, various artists, including Oscar Salas and Mo Morgen, will perform. The cost is $15 per person.

For more information call Mo Morgen at 305-751-0501or visit

United Methodist Men offers couples retreats

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — There is still time to enroll in the annual United Methodist Men's couples spiritual retreats at the Life Enrichment Center.

The dates for the "Why Me? Why Now?" seminars are Feb. 11-13, Feb. 25-27, March 11-13 and April 1-3.

Speakers for the first date include Ed and Gwen Diaz, who equip Christians to share their faith; the Rev. Dr. Kevin James, superintendent of the St. Petersburg District; and Dr. Jay Dennis, a popular conference and seminar speaker with a nationally syndicated weekly television show. Music will be provided by Sue Sommers and Scott Fullbright.

The cost for each weekend is $230 per couple, which includes the program, room and five meals. Guest speaker information for the other weekends, as well as registration forms and brochures, are available at or by calling 877-815-3692.

Stephen Ministries holds workshops

By Joel Bretscher**

Stephen Ministries will be holding two Stephen Series Caring Ministry Workshops in Florida in the coming months.

The first workshop will be Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church at Carrollwood in Tampa. For more information about the event contact Kathy Crouthamel at 813-961-8747. The second session is March 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Christ Church United Methodist in Fort Lauderdale. For more information contact Karen Longstreth at 954-771-7300.

These half-day events are an opportunity for pastors, lay leaders and caregivers to receive samples of Stephen Minister training in "How to Minister to Those Experiencing Grief" and "How to Care in a Distinctively Christian Way," as well as to learn about Stephen Ministry and how to bring the lay caring ministry to their congregations.

The cost of the workshop is $15 per person or $50 for a congregational group of four or more. To learn more or to register visit

To learn more about Stephen Ministry visit

Connectional Giving Team provides new missions resource

By Kent McNish**

NASHVILLE — The Connectional Giving Team at United Methodist Communications has developed a new resource for local church pastors titled "Mission Moments and More."

The electronic resource provides a mission moment for worship, nuggets for the church newsletter and an offertory prayer for each Sunday of the year focused on United Methodist connectional giving.

The weekly resources will focus on the apportioned funds, the six church-wide special Sundays with offerings and the Advance for Christ and His Church. 
Visit to view the current information.


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Russell is Internet Resource Consultant at United Methodist Communications in Nashville. Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Bretscher is director of communications for Stephen Ministries. McNish is a member of the Connectional Giving Team at United Methodist Communications in Nashville. Parham is editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.