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Opportunities — Sept. 29, 2005 {0375}

Opportunities — Sept. 29, 2005 {0375}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Sept. 29, 2005

Sept. 29, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0375}

An e-Review News Item

School of Ministry offers new options for relaxation, fellowship

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — The year's School of Ministry will focus on transformative worship, but it will also offer new options to transform body and spirit.

Held Oct. 3-5 at the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) in Leesburg, the event will feature new ways to relax and enjoy time with other attendees.

For the first time ever at a retreat, massage therapists will be on hand to provide massages and help attendees unwind. Retreat participants will also have access to the LEC's exercise room and bicycles and the pool and canoes at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp across the street from the LEC. A coffee bar will also be set up during free time Oct. 3 so participants can enjoy a coffee break together.

It's part of efforts by the staff of the camps and retreat ministry sites "to create hospitable environments where people can be most open to God's transforming spirit," according to Melinda Trotti, the new camping and retreat leader and staff person for program development.

"We need to be asking, 'What can guests do here that they cannot do anywhere else — your local church or home or neighborhood?' " she said. "We want to emphasize the chance to focus not only on one's spiritual renewal and the chance to come on retreat and release everyday stress, but also on the holistic understanding of health — physical, emotional, spiritual."
Those interested in the massage options are encouraged to wear loose clothing (massage is done with the client fully clothed). Guests may sign up for a specified time and will be asked to pay the massage therapist directly. Those interested in canoeing or swimming in the pool should bring appropriate attire.

For questions regarding these new options contact Trotti at or call 352-787-4654.

Round Table discussion targets Haitian immigration issues

By Rev. Tamara Isidore**

TAMPA — Congregations and individuals are invited to attend a special Round Table on Immigration Oct. 8, 3-5 p.m., at Faith Community Haitian United Methodist Mission, 6522 43rd St., Tampa, 33610.

Panelists will discuss the recent incidents of immigration officials visiting Haitian homes and churches, making arrests, then deporting individuals. The children of those arrested are United States citizens and able to remain, with grandparents or other relatives taking on the responsibility of raising many of the children.

Round Table panelists will include attorneys, conference representatives, social workers, laypersons and pastors. The purpose of the Round Table is to review the current situation on immigration in Florida for Haitian people and problems that result from this situation, discuss possible short- and long-term solutions, and establish some actions steps to alleviate some of the problems.

The Round Table is part of a weeklong anniversary celebration at the church. A dinner will follow the discussion.

All interested individuals are invited to participate and encourage others to attend. For more information contact Isidore at 813-899-2845.

United Methodists invited to meet East Angolan students

By Janice Buchholz**

LAKELAND — Florida Conference United Methodists are invited to learn more about Francisco Cautama and Alcides Martins through a one-hour live Web cast for conference churches Oct. 15, 10-11 a.m.

All clergy and laity are invited to "meet" the young men via the Internet and find out who they are and their mission for the East Angola Annual Conference.

The Florida Conference is serving as host to Cautama and Martins for one year while they attend Florida Southern College (FSC) and visit churches across the conference. The pair arrived in Lakeland in mid-August after traveling for two days from their native East Angola. They have successfully moved into an apartment on the FSC campus and have begun taking English classes and working in the conference offices in the afternoon. Throughout the year they will be visiting churches to share their stories.

Participants may access the Web cast at and click on the Web cast button. Specific questions for Cautama and Martins should be submitted to before and/or during the interview. For those who cannot join the Web cast live, it will be archived for demand streaming Oct. 18.

The Web cast will be available for both dial-up and broadband. Users will need Windows Media player, which is normally installed as part of the Windows Operating System. For best results users should update their player to the current version at

A bulletin insert to inform church members about the Web cast is available at

For more information contact Icel Rodriguez at or 800-282-8011, extension 182, or the Rev. St. Clair Moore at or 941-747-4361.

Irish Methodist minister comes to Florida

By Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin**

LAKELAND — The Rev. Gary Mason, an Irish Methodist minister in Belfast, and a team of four will be visiting several Florida Conference churches in October.

They will speak about the Irish Methodist Church and its role in the reconciliation movement in Northern Ireland. The team will lead the chapel service at the Florida Conference Center Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. and tour the facilities following the service.

The team will be visiting St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Orlando, Oct. 14-15 (Lynette Fields, 407-876-4991); St. Petersburg's Pasadena Community, St. Luke's and First United Methodist churches Oct. 15-16 (Rev. Cliff Melvin, 727-381-2499, or Clark Edwards, 727-894-4661); First United Methodist Church, Port St. Lucie, Oct. 19 (Rev. Renee Lawrence, 772-878-1155); and the North East District and Orange Park United Methodist Church Oct. 21-23 (Dr. Rick Neal, 904-396-3026, or Dr. LeeAnn Inman, 904-264-2241).

For more information contact Rankin at or 800-282-8011, extension 131.

President of Bethlehem Bible College visits conference churches

By Rev. Fred Gardner**

SUN CITY CENTER — Dr. Bishara Awad, founder and president of Bethlehem Bible College, Bethlehem, will be speaking at several Florida Conference United Methodist Churches in October.

Awad's mission is to train young people as pastors, educators and community leaders. His teaching and administrative career spans 40 years. Awad will share about the ministry of the Bethlehem Bible College and the condition of the Palestinian people in the midst of the on-going conflict.

All clergy are encouraged to attend a luncheon at noon Oct. 26 at the Sun City Center United Methodist Church. The cost of the luncheon, co-sponsored by Educational Opportunities Inc., is $5 per person. The luncheon will be followed by a session that is open to laity at 2 p.m. in the church sanctuary.

During his tour Awad will also speak at First United Methodist Church, Cape Coral, Oct. 23 and Pine Island United Methodist Church Oct. 24.

For more information contact Gardner at

Candler schedules evening in Florida

By Peter Paulsen**

ATLANTA — Candler School of Theology is hosting a recruitment dinner at First United Methodist Church of Lakeland Oct. 27, 7-9 pm. 

The evening will include sharing with prospective students, alumni/ae, and Candler faculty and staff. Dr. Brent Strawn, assistant professor of Old Testament, will be the speaker.

Prospective students will learn more about Candler, theological education, admissions and scholarships.

Candler alums are encouraged to attend and bring prospective students with them. 

To register for the dinner, visit by Oct. 14. 

For more information call the Candler Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at 404-727-6326.

East Central District offers Early Response Team training in Orlando

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — Teams from local churches interested in receiving training on early response after a disaster are invited to attend an Early Response Team training Oct. 29 at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Rd., Orlando, 32819.

The MERCI Center in North Carolina is coordinating placing and using volunteer teams in areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Coordinators strongly recommend teams be trained as early response teams.

After intensive training early response teams enter a disaster zone after search and rescue operations have ended, according to the United Methodist Committee on Relief Web site. The teams deploy geographically and do what's needed to make homes safe and secure, such as tarping roofs, removing water and mud from homes, and removing trees and other debris.

The fee to attend the training is $15 per person. To reserve seating contact the Florida Conference Storm Recovery Center at 800-282-8011, extension 149.

UMCOR tips for volunteers: make 'AIST,' not haste

NOTE: Individuals or teams from the Florida Conference are also needed for relief efforts in Florida. Those interested in local opportunities, as well as those in other states, are encouraged to contact the Florida Conference Storm Recovery Center at 800-282-8011, extension 149.

By Linda Beher**

NEW YORK — Volunteers thinking of traveling to Port Arthur, New Orleans or Gulfport to help with hurricane relief should think before they act, say disaster response officials at United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

Hurricanes Rita and Katrina swept through these areas Sept. 24 and Aug. 29, erasing whole towns and flooding low-lying areas for miles inland.

Rule Number One: "Don't become part of the disaster" by just showing up, cautioned Kristin L. Sachen, UMCOR Emergency Services Office head. It pays to act with "AIST, not haste," she said.

AIST is an acronym that can guide volunteers who want to work effectively in relief efforts.

"A" stands for affiliate with a national disaster response group like UMCOR early response teams or United Methodist Volunteers in Mission.

"I" means having a specific invitation to work. Volunteers who enter a disaster zone without a plan add to the burdens of the community already in trauma.

"S" relates to knowing where the specific setting, or assignment, will be. Volunteers can be most effective when they are going to an agreed-upon work area that is ready to receive them and supervise their efforts.

"T" means to train for response. Those without training may not be equipped to handle the emotional impact of loss and need they will see in hurricane-devastated areas. UMCOR early response teams and leaders of UMVIM teams receive intensive training.

There may be plenty for volunteers to do in their local churches to support the relief effort. Packing health kits, assembling school kits, boxing up bedding and arranging for shipment are critical tasks early in an emergency response.

"The greatest gaps for volunteers to fill often happen after the cameras stop rolling," said the Rev. Mary Gaudreau, UMCOR consultant from the Oklahoma Annual Conference. That may mean later involvement in the long-term recovery process — allowing dedicated volunteers to get the training they need to be effective responders.

United Methodists can contact their Volunteer in Mission coordinators for more information. A list of these coordinators is available at, or e-mail Mission Volunteers at to learn more.

How churches and members can help

* Gather supplies for Florida and other affected statesFor Florida: Migrant workers in South Florida were hard hit by Hurricane Katrina. Florida City United Methodist Church/Florida City Hispanic Mission is collecting rice and beans, non-perishable foodstuffs, diapers, health kits, new men's blue jeans in small and medium sizes, new men's t-shirts (or clean t-shirts in good condition) and baby clothes. Call Diane Gutierrez at 305-247-0911 to arrange for delivery of items. Health kit items can be found at For other states: The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) no longer needs donations of bottled water, but other items are in short supply, including health kits, school kits, new sets of twin sheets, new pillows, new blankets and new air mattresses. Health and school kit items and packaging instructions may be found at Items can be sent to the Florida Conference Disaster Response Depot in Madison (call to make delivery arrangements: 850-869-0882 or 850-929-4938) or UMCOR's Sager Brown Depot, P.O. Box 850, 131 Sager Brown Road, Baldwin, LA 70514-0850 (please also provide $1.00 per kit to cover distribution costs and send it to Sager Brown UMCOR Advance #982730, "Contain Your Joy"). Donations of clothing will not be accepted by either the Madison or Sager Brown depot because there are not enough volunteers to sort the clothes.

* Organize volunteer teams — Teams are needed to work in both Florida and other affected states. Those who are interested in being part of a team should contact the Florida Conference Storm Recovery Center (SRC) at 800-282-8011, extension 149.

* Donate — to UMCOR Advance No. 982523, "Hurricanes 2005 Global," or UMCOR Advance No. 901323, "Hurricane Rita" appeal. Contributions can be made online at, at local churches or by phone at 800-554-8583. Checks should include the Advance number and name on the memo line. Checks given at local churches should be made payable to the local church. Checks mailed directly to UMCOR at P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068 should be made payable to UMCOR. Checks to support recovery in a specific region should reflect that.

The SRC can be reached at 800-282-8011, extension 149.

Churches answer UMCOR appeals for assistance

By United Methodist Committee on Relief

NEW YORK — Churches throughout the United States are responding to help the nearly 1 million people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

"It's going to take everybody in this country doing something," said Tom Hazelwood, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) domestic disaster response executive, to the Disaster News Network. "This whole country is affected by what's happened. I don't know of a single church that's not doing something. They're all involved.

United Methodists are stepping up to the challenge and ministering to many people who are in crisis. Approximately 56 United Methodist churches in Mississippi and Louisiana alone are acting as shelters for displaced people and relief workers. Dozens more churches are supporting local shelters by providing food, transportation, Internet and phone usage, as well as meeting other needs.

Hurricane Rita has displaced many people a second time. UMCOR is encouraging congregations, rather than individuals, to consider hosting evacuees. UMCOR has published tips for congregations thinking of this possibility. Read more at

Lake Junaluska helps Katrina Victims through Relief Concerts

By Cintia Furtado**

LAKE JUNALUSKA — After seeing the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in the Southeast and helping relief efforts in his native Mississippi, Jimmy Carr, the Southeastern Jurisdiction's (SEJ) executive director, wanted to offer more aid.

Carr has organized a series of relief concerts at Lake Junaluska in October.

"This is an opportunity for persons in the area, as well as around the jurisdiction, to assist our brothers and sisters on the coast of Mississippi, Alabama and New Orleans," he said.

The first relief effort is Lakefest Youth Concert Oct. 9 at 7 p.m., featuring Monday Morning.

"Our big, honking, audacious God-sized goal is to raise $10,000 for flood relief and fill a U-haul truck with flood buckets, health kits and bottled water in one worship-filled, power-packed night," said Marty Cauley, SEJ Ministries with Young People director.

The money raised at Lakefest will be donated to the United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR). Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. Cases of single-serve bottled water, flood buckets and health kits will be collected and taken to Mississippi the following week.

A portion of the proceeds from the traditional Junaluska Singers Fall Concert Oct. 14 and 15 will also be donated to Hurricane Katrina victims. A special offering will be raised toward relief efforts at Gulfside Assembly, the SEJ Conference Center in Waveland, Miss.

For more information about Lakefest concert and to get a list of what is to be included in the flood buckets and health kits that will be selected visit or, call 828-454-6699 or e-mail Tickets may be charged by phone.

Tickets for the Junaluska Singers Relief Concert are on sale now at the Administration Building on Assembly grounds or may be charged by phone at 828-452-2881, extension 0. Tickets are $11 for adults and $6 for children 8 and younger.

UMVIM plans Grenada mission trip

By Amy Daniel**

SARASOTA — The Florida United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) has commissioned a volunteer construction mission trip to the island of Grenada Feb. 8-22, 2006.

An organizational meeting will be held Oct. 16, 2 p.m., at St. John's United Methodist Church, 6611 Proctor Road, Sarasota, 34241. The church is a half mile east of Interstate 75 and has a blue roof.

Grenada is about 12 miles in length and width and located 100 miles north of Venezuela. Nearly 90 percent of the island was damaged as a result of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and it sustained additional damage from Hurricane Dennis this year.

A team of volunteers is being formed to work on replacing the roof of the Methodist-sponsored Woburn School there and rebuilding the adjacent cooking facility.

American-Airlines has given an estimate of $630 for round-trip transportation. Future fuel surcharges could impact the final cost. Room, board and transportation around the island will cost approximately $30 per day.

Trip organizers are the Rev. Elmer Dickson and Bob Fellows. For more information contact Fellows at or 941-504-8212.

New retreat offered at South Florida Camp

By Martha Pierce**
ALVA — The Florida United Methodist Camps and Retreat Ministry is offering a mid-winter retreat for sixth-graders and older Dec. 27-31 at the South Florida United Methodist Camp in Alva.

The retreat will be directed by a trained Master Naturalist, who will focus on the ecology of Southwest Florida, utilizing the camp's 150 acres as the environment of study.

Activities such as archery and kayaking will be interspersed with hiking, nature crafts and Bible studies. Nightly campfires will be the center of worship times.

The camp is limited to 35 youth. The cost is $125 per person. Registration is Dec. 27, 1-2:30 p.m. The camp will end between 10 a.m. and noon Dec. 31.

For more information call the South Florida Camp at 863-675-0334.

Article suggests making the most of holidays

By Dean McIntyre**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day can be richer and more meaningful if ways are found to mark the time, celebrate the themes and explore as individuals, families and churches what it means for God to be born in human flesh.

Advent consists of the four Sundays before Christmas Day, and there are nearly two more weeks after Christmas Day until Epiphany, the 12 days of Christmas. Without minimizing the importance of Christmas Eve or morning, how can Christians make the journey along the way and following more significant?

The article, "Christmas Before and After: Celebrating The Journey" gives readers insight into making the most of these special days. It is also the cover story of the September-December issue of Cokesbury's Church Music Workshop magazine.

For more information or to read the article visit

The Advance ships new DVD to every pastor

By William T. Carter**
NEW YORK — The Advance for Christ and His Church (The Advance) has shipped a new DVD, "Here I Am, Lord," to every, conference district and mission leader and pastor in the United States.

The DVD, included in a bright red "Partnership in Missions" box with several other new resources, features the witness and ministries of 32 United Methodist missionaries serving in 12 countries.

The Advance, established by the 1948 Methodist General Conference, is an official program of The United Methodist Church. It offers donors an opportunity to support a project or missionary of their choice and assures them 100 percent of their gift will go to the ministry they select. The Advance includes projects and missionaries in more than 80 countries.

With nearly four hours of content, "Here I Am, Lord" presents individual missionary stories, from three to 10 minutes long. The DVD's menu allows the viewer to hear and see a story by selecting a missionary's name or by choosing the country in which a missionary serves. Some stories are available in Spanish or Korean.

The DVD answers such questions as, "Who are our missionaries?" "From where do they come?" "What do they do?" For example, we see a pastor from Puerto Rico starting new congregations in Honduras. We see an agriculturalist from Iowa developing the Africa University farm in Zimbabwe. We see a Filipina surgeon ministering in a remote mission hospital in Nepal. We see Congolese evangelists making disciples for Christ in Tanzania. We see U.S. teachers serving in Appalachia.

"Every annual conference will find one of their favorite missionaries or favorite Advance projects on this DVD," said Dr. William T. Carter, Advance director. "For the local church, 'Here I Am, Lord' is an adaptable, ready-to-use resource. It can inspire young adults who seek relevance and meaning in life. It shows us how and where we, as a church, answer God's call to mission — and asks us to join God's mission through the Advance for Christ and His Church."

The DVD can be used for church school classes and other age-level ministries; finance and missions committees; minutes for mission before taking a special offering for the Advance; new-member and confirmation classes; sermon illustrations for district and annual conference training events; meetings of and training for United Methodist leaders; and seminary polity courses.

For more information about the Advance or the "Here I Am, Lord" DVD, contact the Advance Office at 212-870-3790 and ask for number 002. To learn how to support United Methodist missionaries, contact the Missionary Support Office at 212-870-3797.

New resource for pastors premieres on the Web for NCC users

By J.A. Buchholz

OAKLAND — An innovative sermon-preparation technique is now available to pastors on a new Web-based service.

The Web site,, is a project of Faith Voices for the Common Good in cooperation with the National Council of Churches (NCC).

"Like a clergy discussion group or a seminary brainstorming session, Gather Heart helps participants generate their best ideas," Project Director Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock said.

A pastor can work online with others each week to create materials quickly. Although the inspiration and interpretation is collaborative, participants maintain individual creative control over what they produce. In the process, they discover new ways to engage congregations on issues of importance to society.

Visitors to the NCC Web site may try Gather Heart free of charge for four weeks to learn how it can enhance their preaching and sermon preparation. Gather Heart is offering a month-long series during September on courage, generosity, peace and interfaith understanding during the current concern regarding terrorism and war.

Candler celebrates Reformation Day

By Peter Paulsen

ATLANTA — Candler School of Theology, Emory University, celebrates Reformation Day Oct. 19 with special events culminating in an evening concert.

The theme for this 18th annual Reformation Day at Emory is "The Meaning of the Reformation." A rich array of lectures and music is scheduled, including an evening concert that introduces to Atlanta Emory's new Jaeckel Organ, a 14-ton, custom-built instrument.

For more information, visit Note the links to posters for Reformation Day and the Kessler Reformation Day Concert.

UMCOR unveils 2006 calendar, "Harvest of Hope"

By United Methodist Committee on Relief

NEW YORK — The United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) 13-month wall calendar, Harvest of Hope, highlights the agency's work around the world.

Each page features programs that "sow seeds of mercy and compassion and reap a harvest of hope in our world," according to a recent release announcing the calendar.

For $10, plus postage and handling, individuals will receive the Harvest of Hope calendar and a CD containing a computer screensaver using the calendar's images, a slideshow presentation and bulletin inserts to print and share with others.

Quantities are limited. Visit to place an order.


*Parham managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Beher is communications specialist for United Methodist Committee on Relief. McIntyre is director of Music Resources at the General Board of Discipleship. Pierce is manager of the South Florida United Methodist Camp. Paulsen is director of communications at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Isidore is pastor of Faith Community Haitian United Methodist Mission. Furtado is communications specialist for the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Rankin is director of the Florida Conference's Global Mission and Health and Wholeness ministries and dean of the Healthy Church Academy. Daniel is an administration assistant for the South West District. Gardner is a pastor at Sun City Center United Methodist Church. Carter is director for the Advance for Christ and His Church.