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Opportunities — April 29, 2005 {0284}

Opportunities — April 29, 2005 {0284}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — April 29, 2005

April 29, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando  {0284}

An e-Review News Item

OCT offers Natural Church Development coaches training event

By J.A.Buchholz**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference Office of Congregational Transformation (OCT) is offering the first phase of the Natural Church Development coaches training May 12-14 at the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) in Leesburg.

Natural Church Development is a system and process designed to strengthen the ministry of the local church. Coaches will assist congregations as they enhance their ministry and begin the transformation process.

Coaches must have a heart for transformation, be life-long learners and commit to participating in a number of training events.

The cost of the event is $230 for commuters, $335 for a double room and $380 for a single room.

The second phase will be July 8-9 at the LEC. The two phases are required in the coach certification process.

This is the last phase-one training before a more comprehensive training is implemented. Register as soon as possible through the Florida Conference Healthy Church Academy. The course number is HCA 1101. For more information visit or contact Margaret Carter at 800-282-8011, extension 146.

Churches celebrate Cuba/Florida Covenant on Aldersgate Sunday

By Renee Kincaid**

LAKELAND — After the Cuba/Florida Covenant was signed at both the 1997 Florida and Cuba annual conferences by Bishop Cornelius L. Henderson and Bishop Gustavo Cruz, Aldersgate Sunday was designated as the celebration of this renewed covenant of prayer, love and fellowship among Cuba and Florida Methodist churches.

Since then, many brothers and sisters have traveled between Cuba and Florida to reaffirm the two conferences' Wesleyan ties and common bond in Jesus Christ. The covenant follows Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 3:9 " ... we are partners in the work of service to our God."

Those who have gone to Cuba in covenant caravans have come back with a greater awareness of what dedicated service and adoration to the Lord is. Those Cuban brothers and sisters visiting churches in Florida have shared experiences of love, enthusiasm and fellowship.

On Aldersgate Sunday May 22, Florida Conference United Methodists will celebrate and rejoice that the loving partnership with the Cuba church is strong and growing, for the glory of God.  Many churches will have special speakers and testimonies that Sunday on the meaning and spiritual ramifications of the Cuba covenant commitment.

A brochure has been printed for this occasion and will be distributed among churches in the different Florida districts. Other activities, such as luncheons and fundraisers, will take place throughout the state.

For more information about the Cuba/Florida Covenant or ways to celebrate the covenant on Aldersgate Sunday contact Kincaid at or the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin at or 800-282-8011, extension 131, or visit

Churches prepare for Golden Cross Sunday this September

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference Health and Wholeness Ministry is encouraging churches to observe Golden Cross any Sunday in September.

The 2004 United Methodist Book of Discipline states that Golden Cross Sunday should be observed annually by every annual conference. The Sunday offering provides Christians an opportunity to help friends through emergency aid funds, seed money grants and other Health and Wholeness Ministries.

The Rev. Virginia Pearcy, chairwoman of the conference's Health and Wholeness Focused Task Team, said 60 percent of Golden Cross funds are dispersed to district superintendents for emergency use in their districts, 20 percent to Golden Cross applicants and 20 percent to conference United Methodist entities, such as the Florida United Methodist Children's Home, Asbury Arms and the Methodist Place.

Pearcy said the funds can "come back" to local churches in a variety of ways. She said applications approved in recent years have been used to financially assist a day-care center for seniors, train parish nurses to minister within their own congregation, financially assist with the purchase of an external defibrillator placed in a large sanctuary for emergency care, provide handicapped accessible renovation to three rest rooms in a church and provide wheelchair accessibility for a sanctuary.

Pearcy said applications for Golden Cross Sunday funds are accepted May 1 to September 1.

A bulletin insert about Golden Cross Sunday and the Golden Cross grant application are available on the Florida Conference Web site under the Health and Wholeness task team link at

For more information contact the Health and Wholeness Focused Task Team, P.O. Box 3767 Lakeland, FL  33802; 800-282-8011, extension 182; or Pearcy at

Bishop Fannin speaks at historical society dinner

By Nell Thrift**

LAKELAND — Bishop Robert E. Fannin will speak at the 15th annual Florida Conference Historical Society dinner June 3, 5:30 p.m., at Trinity United Methodist Church in Lakeland.

Elected bishop from the Florida Conference in 1992, Fannin served 12 years in the Birmingham Area. Since his retirement in 2004 he has been bishop-in-residence at Florida Southern College.  His topic will be “What We Know Determines Where We Go.”

Everyone interested in the heritage of Methodism in Florida is invited to attend.

Reservations for the dinner, which costs $12.50, must be made by May 20. Checks payable to the Florida Conference treasurer should be mailed to Historical Society, P.O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802.

New York Times best-selling author speaks at Tampa church

By Tracey Sieverertson**

TAMPA — Jim Wallis, a nationally renowned preacher and faith-based activist, will speak at Hyde Park United Methodist Church here May 11 at 7 p.m.

Wallis wrote the New York Times best-selling book, "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It," which has been on the New York Times best seller list for more than 10 weeks. Wallis is a Christian leader for social change and the founder of Sojourners-Christians for peace and justice.

Wallis postulates in the book that the (conservative) right in America has hijacked the language of faith for its political agenda. He also points out the (liberal) left hasn't done much better by largely ignoring faith and continually separating moral discourse and personal ethics from public policy. Wallis calls for everyone to hold political leaders and policies accountable by integrating deep moral convictions into the nation's public life.

The Forum adult Sunday school class of the church is sponsoring the event. Political and religious leaders in the Tampa Bay area have been invited to join in the question and answer segment that will follow Wallis' presentation. A book signing will immediately follow in the church's bookstore.

Igniting Ministry campaign provides churches with new resources
By Diane Denton**

NASHVILLE — The United Methodist Church is making new resources available for local churches in support of the denomination's national "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." media campaign. Right now local churches can pre-order new ready-to-use marketing materials for use in their communities.

The first two themes, which are tied to television commercials that will air nationally on major cable and broadcast networks, are "The Journey" and "The Gift." "The Journey" explores the spiritual quest embarked upon by seekers who want answers to the hard questions in life. "The Gift" is about ways in which Christians pass on to others the spirit and significance of God's greatest gift, Jesus Christ.

Each set of materials, called an "Expression Package," includes a video for worship or small groups; training materials; a television commercial and radio spot; billboard, newspaper, cinema, web and direct mail advertising materials; worship graphics; a promotional product catalog; and other information.

The Igniting Ministry campaign is aimed at raising awareness of The United Methodist Church, reaching out to spiritual seekers, increasing attendance and renewing commitment among current church members. Research shows the campaign, which began in 2001, increased first-time attendance at test churches by 19 percent. Overall attendance at those churches grew by 9 percent between 2001 and 2004.

The campaign has been so successful church officials decided to significantly expand it and develop new components, such as additional tools (like this new resource), to help nearly 36,000 United Methodist congregations connect their local efforts with the national campaign.

Information about these resources has been mailed to United Methodist churches. The packages are priced at $59.95, with a 10 percent discount available on materials ordered by May 31. Shipping will begin in June. The materials are available in both DVD and VHS format.

To order, call 888-346-3862. Beginning in June, the materials will also be available through Cokesbury stores. For more information about the expression packages, visit

UMCOR seeks assistance filling need for kits

By J.A. Buchholz**

NEW YORK — United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) field offices have requested nearly 193,000 health kits for distribution in 2005 — that's more than UMCOR has ever shipped in the past.

New operations in Indonesia and Sri Lanka have placed demands on supplies of kits. Elderly refugees and children displaced from their homes in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are also beneficiaries. The kits provide much needed supplies for daily hygiene for vulnerable people who have little to call their own.

The 2005 requests for school kits are also at a record high. A rough estimate of 78,000 school-age children will receive school kits, but only if supplies allow.

For more information visit for specifications and shipping information. Checks should be made out to UMCOR with Advance Number 901440, Material Resource Ministry, Health Kits or School Kits in the memo area.

UMCOR has published a new electronic bulletin insert about the Medicine Box program and how congregations can participate. The insert is printer friendly and ready for download at

A typical medicine box contains 18 essential drugs and medical supplies — enough to treat illnesses and injuries in a population of about 1,000 people for three months.

UMCOR is providing emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about current UMCOR ministries visit

Churches encouraged to celebrate Peace with Justice Sunday

By United Methodist Communications

Seeing the face of Christ in others is not easy, but it is a commitment that the Rev. Deanna "Dee" Stickley-Miner embraces and encourages. As co-founder of Faith Communities Uniting for Peace, the United Methodist clergywoman works with Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs "to live from a vision of peace rooted in faith."

"We witness to peace not from a primary agenda of politics," she says, "but from a desire to be faithful to God's dream for creation. All faiths proclaim a vision of peace where all - not just some - are beloved of God."

Working together, Stickley-Miner asserts, members of Faith Communities Uniting for Peace have "developed mutual respect and dignity, moving beyond stereotypes and prejudices."

After the March 2004 Interfaith Prayers for Peace worship service and rally, "someone called me," Stickley-Miner recalls. "She did not know there were people advocating for peace from a place of faith. She said the event helped to provide a place for her voice and convictions." The caller plans to participate in future peace activities.

The offerings churches collect on Peace with Justice Sunday May 22 support peace with justice ministries globally through the General Board of Church and Society and assist annual conference-related work, such as Faith Communities Uniting for Peace in West Ohio.

For more information on this and other denomination-wide Sundays visit

'Cover the Uninsured Week 2005' held first week in May

Washington, D.C. — Now in its third year, Cover the Uninsured Week is the largest, nonpartisan mobilization in history on the issue of the uninsured. Hundreds of thousands of individuals from every sector of society will participate May 1-8 in community service and education events, including health and enrollment fairs, business seminars, campus activities, and faith-based meetings.

As in the past two years, participants include many members of the health-care field, including physicians, nurses, patient advocacy groups, hospitals, health plans, clinic administrators, medical students and educators, and others.

Public opinion research conducted by Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, as well as by the Kaiser Family Foundation, has shown that Cover the Uninsured Week has elevated the issue of the uninsured among opinion leaders in Washington, D.C., and throughout the nation. As the campaign kicks off its third year, organizers for the 2005 effort hope to reinforce its message that national leaders must act to make certain that all Americans have access to affordable and reliable health care coverage.

"We are concerned that millions of Americans are at risk for losing both private and public health care coverage, yet solving the problem of dwindling health care coverage is not getting the attention it requires," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which organizes Cover the Uninsured Week.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 45 million Americans have no health insurance, including more than 8 million children. The number of Americans who lack health care coverage is equal to the combined population of 24 states and the District of Columbia. Eight out of 10 uninsured Americans either work or are in working families. Nearly one in six Americans has lacked health care coverage for full year, and millions more go without coverage for months at a time. As the price of health care coverage continues to rise, fewer individuals, families, businesses, and government programs can afford to pay for coverage.

Cover the Uninsured Week has grown considerably since the campaign was first introduced in 2003. Last year, nearly 250 national organizations and more than 2,500 local organizations participated in the Week's events, which took place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Hundreds of communities across the country will hold events spotlighting the fact that too many Americans are living without health insurance and thus often go without needed care.

For more information about participating in the week visit

Youth workers encouraged to 'listen up'

By General Board of Discipleship

What are the principles behind a truly healthy youth ministry? Youth workers who would like a refresher are encouraged to read "Creating An Authentic Youth Ministry."

A new release from Discipleship Resources, "Creating An Authentic Youth Ministry" offers a gimmick-free approach to bringing new vitality to youth ministry.

The book examines six principles that will help churches develop a high-impact and lasting ministry with teens. It moves beyond traditional ideas of developing programs and planning activities, addressing topics such as authentic discipleship, authentic worship, teen and adult connections, community building, faith development, and how to equip youth to live as Christian disciples in their everyday lives.

Discipleship Resources is offering youth workers a 20 percent discount off the cover price. To obtain a copy visit Enter order code CAYM05WEB in step three of the checkout to receive the discount.

Logo design sought for 2008 General Conference

By United Methodist News Service

Entries are being sought for a logo design for the 2008 General Conference depicting the theme "A Future with Hope," from Jeremiah.

The Commission on General Conference is sponsoring the contest and will award $500 for the winning design. Deadline for entries is June 15.
The logo design must relate to the United Methodist Church, General Conference and the location of the 2008 conference, which is in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The logo for the 2004 General Conference, which was held in Pittsburgh, featured a representation of Pittsburgh's three rivers, the United Methodist cross-and-flame insignia and a globe, under the theme, "Water Washed and Spirit Born." The logo was designed by Tim Crouch, a United Methodist, at The Crouch Group in Denton, Texas.

Specifications for the 2008 General Conference logo submissions include: 
 n  Must be usable in both a print and electronic medium. 
 n  Must be a layered Photoshop PSD, Encapsulated Postscript EPS, or Illustrator file. 
 n  The resolution should be 300 dpi or greater.
 n  Both a vector and raster option must be submitted. Line art (bitmap), grayscale, and RGB color versions of each are needed.
 n  Image size should be 2,000 pixels on the long side. 
 n  May be submitted over the Internet or by mailing a CD.

The winning logo becomes the sole property of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. Entries should be sent to Business Manager of General Conference, 1200 Davis Street, Evanston, IL 60201, or by e-mail to

Gospel singer performs at Bethune-Cookman College

By J.A. Buchholz**

DAYTONA BEACH — Award winning gospel singer Yolanda Adams will perform at Bethune-Cookman College May 8 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $40, $49 and $53. Tickets are on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets, through the Ticketmaster charge-by-phone line at 407-839-3900 and also at Additional service charges may apply. For more information call 386-481-2778.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Sieverertson is owner of Tampa-based TLS Media Inc. Noble is publications team leader/editor for Interpreter Magazine. Denton is a representative of Igniting Ministry. Kincaid is secretary of the Florida Conference Cuba/Florida Covenant Task Force. Thrift is archivist for the Florida Conference.