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Opportunities — Oct. 22, 2005 {0386}

Opportunities — Oct. 22, 2005 {0386}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Oct. 22, 2005

Oct. 22, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0386}

An e-Review News Item

Documentary on child survival, narrated by Brad Pitt airs on PBS
By The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

WASHINGTON, D.C. — "Rx for Survival - A Global Health Challenge" is a six-hour PBS television production narrated by actor Brad Pitt that will air Nov. 1-3. 

United Methodists are urged to widely promote this documentary in their local churches and communities and with family and friends.

The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) has signed on as a supporter of this initiative, due to its long-standing commitment to children, in the hopes this production moves those in the United States to take action to eliminate poverty and disease.

" 'Rx for Survival' is the most ambitious global health media education effort ever mounted for Americans," say producers of the documentary, WGBH (Boston)/NOVA Science Unit and Vulcan Productions. 

While the historic vignettes feature actors and sets, the documentary sequences were filmed in more than 20 countries around the world to capture the real-life drama of today's struggle to overcome poor health and rampant disease. The series includes sequences filmed in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central America, the Pacific Rim, the Indian sub-continent and the United States.

More than 10 million children die from preventable deaths every year, according to UNICEF. Millions would have had a better chance at life if they had received five basic and inexpensive health interventions: vaccines, vitamins, antibiotics, oral rehydration medicine to prevent death from diarrhea, and insecticide-treated netting.

Child survival is one area of global health in which every American can take simple steps that make a dramatic difference.

Major funding for the program is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Merck Company Foundation. For additional information on the documentary and related statistics, go to,, and
For additional questions contact Linda Bales, GBCS director of the Louise and Hugh Moore Population Project,  at 202-488-5649.

United Methodists encouraged to observe United Nations Sunday

By Rev. Liberato C. Bautista**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — United Methodists are invited to observe United Nations (UN) Sunday Oct. 23 or any other Sunday that is more convenient for a local church.

UN Sunday this year is one day before the 60th anniversary of the formation of the United Nations, the international organization dedicated to peace, sustainable development, security and human rights. The UN was created by the nations of the world to promote social progress and better standards of life for all. Foremost, it was created to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war."

The United Methodist Church is present at the United Nations through the denomination's Office for the United Nations, a joint ministry of the General Board of Church and Society and the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries. Throughout the years these two boards have brought to the attention of this global body some of the key biblical, theological and ethical considerations pertinent to the critical issues brought before the United Nations.

At the 2004 General Conference, the United Methodist Church urged governments to implement the eight Millennium Development Goals that are to end extreme hunger and poverty. This year's observance focuses on these goals.

The theme, "To the Least of These, Do Justice," comes from Matthew 25:40 and Micah 6:8. The goals are a plea for and on behalf of "the least of these." It is a plea born not out of their helplessness, but because it is the just, kind and humbling way. It is what Jesus would do.

The resources produced for the observance are a combination of biblical, theological, ethical and prayerful materials that bid every United Methodist to combine the edifying power of prayer and the transforming result that concrete actions bring. The resources include a litany, sermon suggestions based on the lectionary, and a set of eight meditations based on the eight millennium goals.

Annual efforts also include participation in the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. This year youth will collect coins to benefit health and nutritional needs of the world's children. Half of the collection will fund programs in the United States, particularly assisting the children affected by Hurricane Katrina.

For more information about UN Sunday and the United Methodist Church's presence at the United Nations, visit

CROP WALKS assist in ending hunger locally, globally

By Lesley Crosson**

NEW YORK — Church World Service (CWS) Executive Director John McCullough has seen the many faces of hunger, and he says, "I have also seen the remarkable ways impoverished people, with a little help, can become self-sustaining."

This fall tens of thousands of people in communities across the United States will be doing something Americans usually do for recreation or exercise: they'll be walking miles and miles through the streets of their communities to raise money to fund the domestic and international poverty and hunger relief efforts of CWS, the disaster relief, development and refugee assistance ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations in the United States. 

The event, which takes place on different Saturdays and Sundays in various parts of the country throughout the year, is called CROP WALK. The walk itself is also symbolic. It is a way of showing solidarity with people in developing countries around the world. In addition, local groups receive some of the funds raised to support hunger-related agencies and groups in their own communities.

More than $150 million has been raised by CROP WALKS in the past 10 years. The reach of those funds is global, with a portion funding CWS poverty- and hunger-fighting activities in some 80 countries.

In Kenya, East Africa, CROP WALK dollars are helping dig wells in villages where walking is a matter of day-to-day survival. The wells provide a reliable, local source of clean water so women and children don't have to spend a large part of their days getting water for drinking, cooking, washing and agriculture. Less time spent walking may mean more time in a classroom.

Closer to home, CROP WALK funds help feed local families who might otherwise go hungry by helping fund local hunger-fighting initiatives, such as food pantries and soup kitchens, in communities across the nation.

According to a 2003 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 11.2 percent of U.S. households at some time during the year did not have access to "enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members."

There are many reasons people do not have enough food. Poverty, failed crops, loss of jobs, and natural or human-caused disasters are just a few of them.

Disaster victims are also helped by CWS. Thousands of people displaced by genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and now living in camps in Sudan and Chad are receiving food, medicine and supplies provided by CWS. When an earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Indonesia and other countries in the region, CWS was able to immediately provide more than $3.5 million for temporary shelter, food and health support, while planning for the transition to long-term recovery for some 50,000 displaced people.

For more information about CROP WALK or to locate a local walk, visit

Society of St. Andrew offers Advent devotions
By Carol A. Breitinger**
BIG ISLAND, Va. — "Sharing Christmas" is an Advent devotions program designed to help people prepare their hearts through prayer and reflection for Christmas and the coming of Jesus.

This free, comprehensive program, available from the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) Advance Number 801600, helps individuals and church congregations focus and reflect on the Christmas story. Through selected scriptures, it also challenges readers to share in the work and mission of the baby in the manger who is Immanuel, "God with us."

Throughout the scriptures Jesus commands that Christians everywhere care for the poor and hungry in their midst. As part of this devotional program, readers are asked to help feed the hungry in Jesus' name through the national hunger-relief ministry of SoSA. Along with the "Sharing Christmas" booklet's daily scripture readings and short devotionals to reflect upon during Advent, a coin bank is provided for each participating individual or family to make donations to SoSA. Each dollar contributed will provide about 100 servings of fresh, nutritious food to hungry Americans.

The "Sharing Christmas — Devotions for Advent" introductory kit is available upon request. All materials are free. Call 800-333-4597, fax to 434-299-5949 or e-mail Additional information about SoSA is available online at

UMCOR asks United Methodists to help provide relief in Pakistan, Central America

By UMCOR Hotline

NEW YORK — The mudslides in Central America buried entire villages and killed hundreds, and a powerful earthquake rocked Pakistan and neighboring countries, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions. 

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding to these events through local partners already operating in affected areas.

The new UMCOR bulletin insert, "A Message of Hope: When the Earth Shakes and the Mountains Give Way," tells how UMCOR is providing hope in these seemingly hopeless situations. It also explains how United Methodists can be a part of this response.

The insert is available at Churches are urged to print and share it with others.

United Methodists are also asked to consider a special offering to ensure that UMCOR can continue to work with vulnerable people in these two devastated locations. Cash gifts will help UMCOR continue to support the immediate relief and long-term recovery of those affected by these disasters. Individuals may give to the following UMCOR Advances: UMCOR Advance #232000, Pakistan Earthquake; UMCOR Advance #501300, Central American Emergency; and UMCOR Advance #982450, International Disaster Response (Gifts to this Advance go to where they are most needed.)

To find out more about UMCOR's ministries visit Individuals can donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; 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.

Asbury Seminary in Orlando dedicates facilities

By the Rev. Dr. Steve Harper**

ORLANDO — Florida United Methodists are invited to Asbury Theological Seminary's Florida campus Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. for the official dedication of the Piper Academic Center.

Thanks to the generosity of Paul and Shirley Piper, the second floor of the campus building has been completely constructed, along with additional renovations on the first floor.

President Jeff Greenway will speak at the dedication service. A reception will immediately follow. The campus is located at 8401 Valencia College Lane, Orlando, FL 32825.

Florida Southern College holds annual Bible Symposium

By Florida Southern College Public Relations Staff

LAKELAND — The Florida Southern College Department of Religion and Philosophy sponsors its annual Bible Symposium Oct. 27 and 28.

The two-day event will be held in the William M. Hollis Seminar Room beginning Thursday at 10 a.m., with registration at 9:30 a.m. Thursday's sessions conclude at 5 p.m. Friday's sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This year's theme is "Sex, Love and Marriage in Scripture and Tradition." The discussion of sexuality in the early Christian church, its place in the Biblical traditions and current developments in the debates will be led by five religious studies and biblical scholars: Dr. James L. Crenshaw, Robert L. Flowers professor of Old Testament, Duke Divinity School; Dr. L. William Countryman, Sherman E. Johnson professor in Biblical studies, Church Divinity School of the Pacific; Dr. Mary Rose D'Angelo, associate professor of theology, University of Notre Dame; Dr. Theodore W. Jennings Jr., professor of Biblical and constructive theology, Chicago Theological Seminary; and Dr. John J. Carey, Wallace M. Alston professor of religious studies, Emeritus Agnes Scott College.

The registration fee is $25 ($10 for retired persons). Students with appropriate identification are admitted free. Lunch on Thursday will be available in the Hollis Room for $5. For further information and reservations contact Beverly Johnson in the religion department at 863-680-4180 or
Founded in 1885, Florida Southern College is a private, comprehensive, United Methodist college with a liberal arts core. Its main campus is in Lakeland. It is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 10 Southern Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelors and by the Princeton Review as a "Best Southeastern College."

Harper to lead Mustard Seed Conference at Orlando retreat center

ORLANDO — Dr. Steve Harper, vice president of Asbury Theological Seminary's Florida campus, will be the retreat leader for the sixth annual Mustard Seed Conference at Canterbury Retreat Center in Orlando Oct. 28-30.

The theme is "The Greatness of Littleness." The retreat begins Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. and ends with lunch Oct. 30.

For more information and to register contact Jeanette Smith at 407-365-5571 or

Florida United Methodist Association of Preschools holds annual conference

By Fran Porter**
DELTONA — The United Methodist Association of Preschools (UMAP) will hold its annual fall conference Nov. 4-6 at the Warren W. Willis Youth Camp in Leesburg.

Themed "Building Excellence - Hand in Hand," the conference includes nationally-known speakers and musicians and provides the State of Florida's required 10 hours of annual in-service training through workshops on curriculum, spiritual growth, administration, church/preschool relations, music and worship. Members of the organization will also be available for consultation by local churches with regard to the establishment of and day-to-day operations of their weekday programs for children.

UMAP is recognized as a Gold Seal national accreditation association. UMAP has taken a giant step forward in its ability to connect and support early childhood weekday programs and child-care centers in the local church. The state of Florida has recognized the UMAP accreditation as Gold Seal. These centers have standards that reflect quality care and supervision. They also receive higher reimbursement for children of eligible families receiving subsidized care in recognition of their higher standard. Most importantly, they provide the best for children and families in the name of Jesus.

UMAP was formed under the Children's Ministries work area of the Florida Conference in 1982 to connect and support early childhood programs in United Methodist Churches. Since its inception UMAP has been an accrediting program that supports high standards of quality care, including Christian education and a healthy, supportive connection to the church. The UMAP Web site is a resource for churches offering connection and support for beginning programs or established ones.

Additional information is available at or e-mail Porter at

Gainesville church hosts second annual international gift festival

By the Rev. Kandace Brooks**

GAINESVILLE — Celebration United Methodist Church will host the second annual International Gift Festival at Wiles Elementary School Nov. 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Nov. 13, noon-5 p.m. 

Artists from more than 30 countries will be represented, and attendees will have the chance to purchase fair market goods consisting of unique hand-made home décor, jewelry, musical instruments, textiles and other goods. 

Celebration United Methodist Church raised more than $10,000 last year during the two-day event for artists in developing countries, many of whom were affected by last December's tsunami disaster.
This year Celebration will receive nearly $20,000 worth of materials from Ten Thousand Villages, the sponsoring company for the Festival. 

There is no admission for this event. For more information and a map to Wiles Elementary School visit

Spiritual Formation gathering focuses on prayer, the labyrinth

By Janice Buchholz**

LEESBURG — The Florida Conference Spiritual Formation Team is offering a gathering Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) in Leesburg that will focus on prayer and the labyrinth.

The cost is $30, and participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch. The guest speaker will be Lucy Wray, facilitator and spiritual director.

Formation gatherings are day or weekend workshop/retreats designed to meet the interests and needs of those seeking a deeper walk in the spiritual journey. All sojourners are invited to attend.

For more information contact Dr. Trudy Corry Rankin at 863 682-2910 or or visit the Spiritual Formation Web site at

Igniting Ministry offers grants, media assistance

Jackie Vaughan**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Grants are still available to local United Methodist churches planning Igniting Ministry advertising campaigns. 

Churches that are planning to advertise in Lent and Easter 2006 may submit an application for a matching grant Nov. 1-Dec. 1. Applications can be downloaded from the Igniting Ministry Web site at

Matching grants were recently expanded from television advertising to include billboards, radio and cinema. Churches that have used television in the past, might want to consider experimenting with other forms of media.
Igniting Ministry staff are also available to help local church Igniting Ministry teams coordinate their advertising campaigns. Igniting Ministry offers assistance with media estimates, planning and placement.   
For more information e-mail or call toll-free 877-281-6535.

Book advocates faithful communication

By Religion Communicators Council

NEW YOK — A guide to assist churches in developing and implementing a variety of communication practices and tools is now available.

"Speaking Faith: The Essential Handbook for Religion Communicators" is a comprehensive tool to help church communicators accomplish their daily communication practices and for use in communication training.

The handbook provides real-world applications, from conducting a communication audit to writing a news release, and is the communications textbook for newcomers and long-time professionals who simply want to refresh their skills.

The handbook is a product of the Religion Communicators Council and costs $19.95.

Purchasing and additional information may be found at

Cokesbury offers conference for large churches

Cokesbury's Worship Connection will be co-sponsoring a worship conference with the Large Church Initiative Jan. 17-19 at First United Methodist Church in Grapevine, Texas. 

This conference is open to clergy, musicians, band members, lay speakers, worship committees/altar guilds and anyone interested in planning worship.

For complete details visit a local Cokesbury Christian Bookstore, call 800-672-1789 or go to For additional questions call Ellie Trimble, events coordinator, at 615-749-6193 or Betsy Hall, Worship Connection Team, at 615-749-6507.

New Emory program combines faith, healing

By Candler School of Theology Staff

ATLANTA — With the nation experiencing both a severe nursing shortage and a heightened sensitivity to issues of faith and religion, Emory University's schools of nursing and theology have joined forces to create an interdisciplinary program exploring the issues of faith and health.

The program, in the pilot phase this fall, will be fully implemented in fall 2006, and be available to master's level students in nursing, theology and public health.

Darla Ura, clinical associate professor at Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, developed the idea for the program a few years ago after completing coursework in parish and faith-based nursing at the University of St. Louis. After developing the initial concept, she approached Karen Scheib, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling at Emory's Candler School of Theology, about establishing a joint certificate program. The program is open to persons of all faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and others.

The new program seeks to provide students with an understanding of health and faith by introducing them to the principles and practices of nursing, religion, theology and public health and by teaching them how to integrate resources of faith traditions and health sciences. Students will also be advocates for social justice in religious communities and society around issues of health and health care and will help create sustainable community partnerships between faith-based communities and the health profession.

"Nurses' roles have traditionally been with healing of the body. However, in the past several years, emphasis has been placed on the whole person, realizing that an individual's spiritual and religious beliefs impact health and healing," Ura says. "The program in faith and health provides nurses the opportunity to expand their knowledge of faith practices and the impact that religion and spirituality has in the healing process of each patient. In this program both nursing and theology students will have the opportunity to study and care for individuals and communities; therefore, understanding the role each serves in a multidisciplinary context."

"The Faith and Health Program provides an exciting opportunity for a truly interdisciplinary approach to the study of the intersections of religion and health," Scheib adds. "All religious traditions have healing practices. In the Western Christian tradition there are close links between the understanding of salvation and health. In the West, nursing had its origin in the monastery. In contemporary U.S. culture, we are faced with a split between religion and health. Since religion is such an important fact of life in the U.S., it is vital that both religious professionals and health professionals understand the way in which the faith of a person from any religious tradition can hinder or help healing."

Students will be required to complete 13 academic credit hours, including three required courses on the topic of faith and health, and elective courses, two of which must be taken outside their school. They will also complete a practice component in a congregational setting that will allow them to address issues of faith and health and actively engage in those issues with the congregants.

For additional information about the program contact the Office of Admissions for the Candler School of Theology at 404-727-6326 or the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at 404-727-7980.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a sataff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Bautista is assistant general secretary for United Nations and International Affairs and the main representative to the United Nations of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church. Harper is vice president of Asbury Theological Seminary's Florida campus. Breitinger is communications director for SoSA. Porter is director of The United Methodist Association of Preschools. Crosson is a staff member with CWS. Vaughan is director of media grants and services for the national Igniting Ministry office. Brooks is pastor of Celebration United Methodist Church in Gainesville.