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Conference resource center relocates to North Central District

Conference resource center relocates to North Central District

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Conference resource center relocates to North Central District

Jan. 20, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0431}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

The Florida Conference Resource Center has an extensive collection of audio-visual program materials available to all conference churches.
The Florida Conference Resource Center has found a new home.

Late last year the center's collection of videos and DVDs was moved from the conference center in Lakeland to the North Central District office in Gainesville.

The Rev. Dr. Anne Burkholder, director of the Florida Conference Connectional Ministries office, said the relocation makes the resources more accessible to the district's large number of small churches. Sixty-two of the district's 96 churches are considered small-membership churches of 200 members or less.

Burkholder, the Rev. Geraldine McClellan (the district's superintendent) and other Connectional Ministries staff felt those churches would benefit from having the resources close at hand.

Housing the resources there also complements the work of the district's Resource Ark, which will display the materials. The Resource Ark provides a computer bank for small churches without computer access and will begin offering classes on conflict management, spiritual formation and visioning in the coming months.

"The majority of small-member churches did not know these resources are available to them," McClellan said. "They thought they had to purchase the materials and not rent them. Now, they are more aware and have the resources at their fingertips."

The Rev. Dr. Terry Markins, former Leesburg District superintendent and now director of the Resource Ark, said the impact the resources could have on the district's small churches is indeed powerful.

"Small churches don't have the avenues of larger churches," he said. "Now, they can enhance their ministry. We want churches to have exposure to these things."

The resource center was designed to provide program ideas and materials for church members and leaders planning studies for small groups, special programs or Sunday school classes. Over the years it has expanded to include resources on a broad range of issues facing the church.

Although housed in the North Central District, the materials are available to all conference churches.

McClellan said she hopes every congregation will "take full advantage of the resources available to strengthen the church and build a strong leadership base."

"There are so many resources for laity, clergy, children and youth ministries," she said. "All of these resources can make a large difference. The possibilities are overwhelming."

Resources will continue to be mailed throughout the conference at $5 per item, plus shipping and handling. A catalogue of available materials is posted on the conference Web site at

LAKELAND — Caryl Kelley worked as director of the Florida Conference Resource Center for a little more than 16 years, developing the center's collection and acting as resource to church members looking for program materials. Photo by Greg Moore, Photo #06-300.

Burkholder emphasized the conference will continue to support the resource center by periodically adding resources to the collection. Caryl Kelley, the center's former director, will also be available to provide assistance on an as-needed basis.

Kelley assumed leadership of the resource center, which was part of the conference communications department, in March 1989. At that time it was called the Florida Conference Audio Visual Library. Prior to that Kelley worked on a part-time basis from 1976 to about 1981 primarily in the circulation department, maintaining church officer lists and the subscription list for the conference newspaper.

Kelley will continue working in the communications department, expanding her responsibilities with e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service and creating a conference version of InfoServ, the official information service of The United Methodist Church. InfoServ is located in Nashville and part of United Methodist Communications. It responds to more than 200 questions a day by e-mail, fax and telephone and points users in the right direction to locate people and necessary resources.

The Florida Conference is the second largest conference in the United States and receives a significant number of requests for information. Burkholder felt an InfoServe-type service in the conference would be beneficial to church leaders and members.

Burkholder said Kelley's knowledge of the church through her conference work and as a life-long member of a United Methodist church makes her well-qualified to develop the InfoServ ministry.

Kelley said she remains committed to helping the North Central District staff and volunteers make the resource center as successful as possible and will serve as a resource when needed.

"With proper advertisement, the center can be fully utilized by all churches, but I'm sure there are still some that do not know of this great treasure of resources available to them," she said. "When churches are looking for a program resource they should call the conference resource center first for suggestions."

Markins said the Resource Ark is working hard to increase the resource center's visibility and viability.

"I think the resource center is an excellent opportunity for churches," he said. "We hope churches across the conference will access it on a regular basis."

The Florida United Methodist Resource Center and the North Central District office are located at 509 NE 1st Street, Gainesville, FL 32601. The center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Individuals may visit the center and check out materials or obtain materials by mail.

Churches should contact Schuan Chisholm or Eloise Rothe at 352-376-6353 or by e-mail at or for assistance.


This article relates to Connectional Ministries.

*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.