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Opportunities — May 21, 2005 {0298}

Opportunities — May 21, 2005 {0298}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — May 21, 2005

May 21, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando  {0298}

An e-Review News Item

New meal events give annual conference attendees chance to connect, relax

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND — Attendees to the "One Body One Spirit" 2005 Florida Annual Conference Event are invited to two new events taking place at this year's annual gathering. Both involve food and fellowship and the chance to connect.

Attendees are invited to the "Connections" lunch with the conference staff June 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Sikes Hall at the Lakeland Center. The Board of Lay Ministry is sponsoring the event and encouraging clergy and laity to "get connected" with friends and colleagues throughout the conference by having a casual meal together immediately following the clergy and laity sessions the first day of annual conference.

There is no agenda. The only requirement is to "have a good time," according to organizers.

The cost is $10 per person, with advance registration required.

Attendees are also invited to "One Celebration," a southern picnic supper June 4, 6 to 9 p.m., at Florida Southern College.

The evening will feature a variety of southern food specialties, as well as entertainment by Soul Journey from Palm Harbor United Methodist Church, the Soul Surfers of Daytona Beach and Belinda Womack, a Tampa Bay Christian/jazz recording artist. Blow up games and puppets for children and youth will also be provided.

The festivities will be held on the fields between the Ordway and Rogers buildings. Indoor air-conditioned seating will be available.

The cost for each event is $10 per person. Registration forms are available at The registration deadline for both events is May 27. The "One Celebration" meal is included in the Florida Southern College meal ticket. Delegates with meal tickets will redeem their ticket Saturday evening at the event and will not need to make a reservation.

Churches still have time to collect offering for East Angola, Children's Harvest

By Tita Parham
ORLANDO — For the past several months, churches have been collecting an offering to be given at the "One Body One Spirit" 2005 Florida Annual Conference Event. With a Sunday to go before the annual gathering June 2-5, churches still have time to participate in the offering.

Eighty percent of the offering will go toward projects related to the East Angola-Florida Partnership, launched in February 2003 after a three-person team from the Florida Conference visited the East Angola Conference of the United Methodist Church. Money raised at this year's gathering will help rebuild a theological school in Malange, East Angola, and bring two Angolan students to Florida this August to study at Florida Southern College and share their experiences at local United Methodist churches.

A focus of the conference's efforts has been helping the East Angola Conference rebuild Quéssua, an area that was once a thriving missionary and spiritual center of the United Methodist Church in Angola. The theological school is located there. Money raised by Florida Conference churches at previous annual conferences has already helped rebuild the church at Quéssua, provide bicycles for 35 pastors, and buy four sewing machines for the Malange Women's Training Center and medicine for the Quéssua Medical Clinic in Malange.

The remaining 20 percent of the offering will go toward the conference's Children's Harvest ministry to provide backpacks filled with school supplies for the state's at-risk children and youth. More than $50,000 was collected for Children's Harvest at the 2004 annual conference.

Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker has sent two letters to all Florida Conference churches announcing the offering for the children of Angola and Florida. Churches were also sent a DVD interpreting the partnership between the Florida and East Angola conferences. 

Black and white and color bulletin inserts are available to help promote the offering. They are posted on the Florida Conference Web site at: The Angola DVD was mailed to conference churches several weeks ago. Churches that did not receive one should contact the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin at or 800-282-8011, extension 131.

United Methodist Global AIDS Fund seeks to raise $8 million

By Diane Denton**

WASHINGTON —  The United Methodist Church hopes to raise $8 million over the next four years — $1 for every U.S. member — to help fight the global HIV and AIDS pandemic.

At its first meeting last week in Washington, D.C., members of the United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund Committee voted to use the first $50,000 in donations to expand programs aimed at preventing mother to child transmission. Existing programs in Zimbabwe, piloted by United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination's humanitarian service agency, will be used as "templates" for new efforts both in Zimbabwe and other countries such as India. To date, $120,000 has been received for the fund.

The committee also explored strategies for raising money and discussed ways to lessen the burden of AIDS through awareness building, sharing information on risk avoidance and reduction, voluntary testing and counseling, care in the hospital and at home, treating opportunistic infections, providing food and treatment, and support of orphans.

"As the HIV/AIDS pandemic escalates out-of-control globally, United Methodists have an opportunity to create life-saving programs of prevention and education within a climate of Christian compassion and care," said Donald E. Messer, Professor of Practical Theology and President Emeritus of the Iliff School of Theology. "Since the days of John Wesley, we have been on the frontiers of health and hope, love and life. United Methodists favor action, not apathy; compassion, not condemnation; and liberation, not stigmatization."

A resolution passed by the 2004 General Conference, the denomination's legislative assembly, called for the creation of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund to be used to support programs offering HIV and AIDS education, prevention, treatment and care services in the U.S. and around the world. The resolution also established the Global AIDS Fund Committee to oversee the promotion, use, supervision and distribution of the fund.
AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death in the world, responsible for three million deaths a year. Seventy percent of the estimated 40 million people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 600,000 children each year are infected, and 14 million have been orphaned due to parents dying of AIDS.

Individuals who are interested in giving to the Global AIDS Fund can contribute through their local United Methodist Church or send gifts to: UMCOR Advance #982345 Global AIDS Fund, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Individuals may also call 800-554-8583 to make a credit card donation. One hundred percent of contributions will go directly to AIDS programs.

Society of St. Andrew encourages observance of National Hunger Awareness Day

By Carol A. Breitinger**

BIG ISLAND, Va. — This year's National Hunger Awareness Day is June 7, and the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA), one of the day's sponsors, is encouraging United Methodists to participate.

The effort is a grassroots movement to raise awareness about the solvable problem of hunger in America. Now in its fourth year, the day serves as a platform for domestic hunger relief organizations to raise awareness about hunger in America and the work they do.

Hunger Awareness Day is observed the first Tuesday of every June. Activities planned by partner sponsors, other groups and individuals to observe the day are listed on the National Hunger Awareness Day Web site at

SoSA has also prepared a free packet of resource materials churches can use to participate in the day and engage their congregations in helping the poor and hungry in their own communities. It includes a bulletin insert with responsive reading and information about the day, sample sermon titled "NIMBY," sample children's time presentation, short skit that could be done by youth, sample call to worship and prayer of confession, list of scriptures related to caring for the poor and bulletin insert presenting a Hunger Awareness Day Fast. The materials can be downloaded in PDF format from SoSA's Web site at

In conjunction with National Hunger Awareness Day, SoSA is coordinating dozens of events that will engage thousands of local volunteers in gleaning excess but nutritious produce that will be distributed to thousands of feeding agencies nationwide. 

SoSA also offers a new 12-unit hunger Bible study and Vacation Bible School (VBS) hunger mission program. The VBS materials are free. The Hunger Bible Study is available in hard copy for a donation of $10 or on compact disc for a donation of $5, or it can be downloaded free of charge from the SoSA Web site at

Society of St. Andrew is a national faith-based nonprofit organization salvaging fresh produce that will go to waste and donating it to food banks, church pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies that feed the hungry. For more information about SoSA (Advance Special, Number 801600) contact Kathy Forth, Florida program coordinator, at 800-806-0756 or visit

UMCOR promotes World Refugee Day June 20

UMCOR  Hotline

NEW YORK — June 20 is World Refugee Day, an international day of remembrance and recognition of those who find themselves in need of the kindness of strangers — people like Felix Roblero.

Roblero, a Guatemalan living in Mexico, was beaten and robbed of his money and documents. Already homeless, he now had no financial resources or proof of his identity. In a desperate situation, Roblero got help from a church program that receives support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) Global Refugee Response fund.

The church, he said, "treated me with compassion and respect, took care of my medical needs, fed me, clothed me and helped me to get in touch with my family."

Churches are encouraged to help rebuild the lives of many more people like Roblero by participating in and celebrating World Refugee Day in a worship service close to the date. Gifts may be given to Global Refugee Response, UMCOR Special Advance Number 982540.

UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. People may donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115; or by calling 800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted.

UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors. More information about UMCOR's ministries can be found at

Registration for online class United Methodism 101 begins again

By Julie Lewis**
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A new session of the online course, United Methodism 101, begins June 1 and ends July 20.

This basic course is an online class designed for new United Methodists and anyone wanting to know more about the denomination, as well as long-time United Methodists who would like to check their basic knowledge of the church. The highly interactive course with video, audio, online quizzes, discussion boards, links and online written content not only provides a basic overview and understanding of United Methodism, but will also inspire students to seek additional study.

The cost of this course is $12.00. For more information visit

Lay Speaking Ministries holds workshops in Tulsa
By J.A. Buchholz**
TULSA, Okla. — The "One in Spirit, All in Ministry" event promises to be one of equipping and leadership.

Held Aug. 12-14 at the Tulsa Southern Hills Marriott Hotel, the Lay Speaking Ministries worships center around Ephesians 3:19 "… that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Participants will be able to select one 10-hour session of spiritual gifts, preaching and in the spirit of discipleship.

Leading the various sessions offered is John Bodnar, director of Lay Speaking Ministries of the North Texas Conference; Dr. Glenna Kyker Brayton, team leader for the event and past Florida Conference director of Lay Speaking Ministries; Donna Echols, president of the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Speaking Ministries of New Mexico; Thalia Matherson, certified lay speaker of the North Texas Conference; and Sandy Zeigler, director of Lay Leadership Development at the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville.

The cost is $185 and includes lodging and Saturday lunch. It does not include course materials. The preaching course is an additional $15 for course materials and postage. Preparation is required before the first session.

For more information email Kyker.brayton@juno.

UMVIM holds Southeastern Jurisdiction rally in June

By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Volunteers from around the country will gather to learn, celebrate and share about the United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) connection June 29-July 2 at Lake Junaluska.

Coordinators and leaders will be present to share about the places volunteers can serve. People who have "been there — done that" will lead workshops to improve skills for mission.

"Inspired worship and praise will lift up the name of Jesus as attendees hear powerful witnesses share about what amazing opportunities God has before the church in mission service," according to promotional materials.

Organizers have also planned activities for children. Young United Methodist Volunteers In Mission, a ministry designed for children age 5-12, will provide its own event running parallel with the rally. 

For more information, request a brochure by sending an e-mail to or visit

School of Christian Mission set for July

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference's School of Christian Mission will be July 19-22 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

The school's weeklong gathering is open to clergy and laity from the Florida Conference who want to learn and grow through study of the United Methodist Church's mission.

Each year's school focuses on a different geographical, spiritual and educational study. India and Pakistan form the topic of the geographical mission study. "Children of the Bible" is the theme of the spiritual growth study.

Themes and study resources come from the General Board of Global Ministries and its Women's Division. The studies are launched each June in regional schools of Christian mission where instructors are prepared for annual conference schools. Local churches and units of United Methodist Women will utilize the studies into the winter and spring of 2006.

"India and Pakistan" looks at the cultural, political and religious traditions and current realities of the two countries that share a border and have deep differences. The basic study book is written by Glory E. Dhamaraj, who grew up in Sri Lanka and was educated in India and the United States. She is now executive secretary for justice education of the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries. A study guide is included in the book.

A video, map and study supplements in Spanish and Korean are available for the India and Pakistan study.

"Children of the Bible," the spiritual growth study, is for adults, youth and children. The adult resource book contains a variety of materials built around the stories of 12 biblical children. The children's study, "Children of Biblical Lands," has a color student edition and a teacher's guide.

The adult resource book for public education emphasizes the value of public schools and ways in which citizens and Christians can help strengthen them.

For more information on the Florida Conference school, contact Judith Pierre-Okerson, dean, at 954-962-5811.

(Information about the focuses of study was provided by Elliott Wright, General Board of Global Ministries.)

Holy Land trip planned for next year
By Bill and Judy Tillman**

OVIEDO — Florida Conference United Methodists are planning a 10-day trip to the Holy Land Jan. 17, 2006.

Ron and Carol Christopher and Bill and Judy Tillman are organizing the trip, which will be led by Dr. Robert Tuttle, professor of World Christianity at Asbury Theological Seminary, Orlando. Tuttle will share insights gathered from previous trips he has made to Israel. He will also lead the group in daily devotions and conduct nightly seminars for those interested in increasing their knowledge of the Bible.

The trip will take participants to the land where Jesus walked and taught, along with visiting many areas referenced in the Old Testament. Members of the trip will participate in Holy Communion and brief worship services at various sites.

Educational Opportunities in Lakeland, a Christian-based travel service, is the tour facilitator and has been providing travel to Israel and other Christian areas in the Middle East for more than 20 years.

Tuttle has been a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary since 2000 and has extensive experience in leading groups to the Holy Land. He is an ordained United Methodist minister and served churches in North Carolina and Colorado before beginning his teaching career at Fuller Theological Seminary.  

Tuttle graduated from Duke University and earned graduate degrees at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and the Wheaton Graduate School of Theology. He completed his doctorate degree at the University of Bristol in England.

He has published numerous books and articles and is recognized as a leader in the education of clergy and lay persons. In addition to his teaching, Tuttle travels once a month to teach and preach at conferences, universities and local churches around the world. He has taught and/or preached in nearly every state in the United States and more than 30 countries.

The tour is limited to 42 people. For more information contact the Christophers at 407-359-2948 or the Tillmans at 407-482-7585 or visit and search the Holy Land trip itineraries for 2006. This trip is the first one leaving Jan. 17, 2006. 

SEJ Ministries provides worship arts week for youth and young adults
LAKE JUNALUSKA,  N.C. — The Southeastern Jurisdictional Ministries With Young People is offering a worship arts week for youth and young adults July 10-14 here.

This new event will help young people learn and express visual and performing arts in worship settings. Each participant will choose a Creativity Focus Group for the week. Mini studies on certain subjects will be available during workshop times.

Participants will help create worship services throughout the week, using the skills they've developed. Creativity Focus Groups include video production, drama, dance, worship music, creative space design and more.

For more information contact SEJ Ministries With Young People at or 888-525-3586.


*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. Lewis is online training developer for the Communications Resourcing Team at United Methodist Communications in Nashville. Breitinger is communications director of the Society of St. Andrew. Bill and Judy Tillman are Florida Conference United Methodists. Denton is assistant director of the Office of Public Information at United Methodist Communications in Nashville.