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Opportunities — Feb. 2, 2006 {0435}

Opportunities — Feb. 2, 2006 {0435}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Feb. 2, 2006

Feb. 2, 2006    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0435}

An e-Review News Item

United Methodist Men holds 30th annual couples retreats

By J.A. Buchholz**

LEESBURG — The Florida Conference of United Methodist Men is offering its annual spiritual couples retreats March 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26 at the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg.

Each weekend will feature an enrichment session that includes small-group discussions with retreat leaders and an opportunity for participants to interact and further explore the topics of the conference.

The cost is $240 per couple, which includes the program fee, housing and meals.

The worship leader for the March 10-12 weekend is John Riley, who has spoken to more than 8,000 audiences in 11 countries for more than 20 years. Pam Grist, an educator and a member of Blakely First United Methodist Church in Blakely, Ga., will lead the enrichment session. Lenee Schroeder, known for concert ministry, will provide the music. Donna Allen, a gifted communicator, will contribute her musical and dramatic talents.

The worship leader for the March 17-19 weekend is the Rev. Jacquie Leveron, pastor at First United Methodist Church in Deltona. Dr. Tom and Peggy Farmer, who have been involved with retreats and conferences dealing with marriage and the family, will lead the enrichment session. Tom Farmer's focus for his doctor of ministry degree is human sexuality and Christian marriage. Peggy Farmer is a Pinellas County public school teacher and has previously been named Teacher of the Year. Schroeder and Jeff and Diane Anders, who have been involved with full-time music ministry for 17 years, will provide the music.

Ed and Gwen Diaz, whose biblical insights come from years of equipping believers to share their faith, will lead the enrichment session at the March 24-26 weekend. Branches Worship Band from Rockledge United Methodist Church will provide the music.

The money charged to attend the retreats will cover the cost of the weekend. There will also be a special offering taken during the weekend. This has been a tradition from the beginning of the retreats, enabling the funding of many worthwhile projects. One of the largest is the scholarship fund for seminary students. More than $480,000 has been awarded to seminarians in the Florida Conference to date. These funds are given with the understanding the recipients will return to Florida to serve churches in the Florida Conference after ordination.

More information, brochures and applications for the weekends are available at

Credit union offers scholarships

By Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union

The Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union will be awarding three $1,000 college scholarships this year — one each to a United Methodist between the ages of 17 and 24 in the North Georgia, South Georgia and Florida conference.

A scholarship application form is available at

The board has a twofold purpose in establishing the scholarship, according to Keith Pritchard, president of the credit union: "giving something back" to the United Methodist community which comprises its membership and making a new generation of United Methodists aware of the services provided by the credit union.

Pritchard says the credit union offers a number of services of interest to young adults, including credit cards, debit cards along with checking accounts that have no service charges, savings accounts, car loans, and home banking and federal student loans.

Along with basic information provided on the scholarship application, applicants must write an essay on why church members should belong to the credit union and the benefits the credit union offers.

Membership in the credit union is open to any United Methodist lay- or clergyperson in Georgia or Florida. Following the Georgia credit union's merger last year with the Florida credit union, membership now totals 4,100, with $18 million in assets.

Native American retreat offers training for all

By Cintia Furtado**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Southeastern Jurisdiction Agency for Native American Ministries (SEJANAM) is offering development opportunities for ministers and laity during its annual retreat.

Scheduled for Feb. 9-11 at Lake Junaluska Assembly, the event will offer basic training for effectiveness and growth of the 23 Native American congregations and three ministries in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

The worship leader will be Celia Whitler. Speakers include: the Rev. Sylvia Collins, coordinator of the Native American Cooperative Ministry, a ministry of 14 Native American churches within the Rockingham District of the North Carolina Annual Conference and pastor of Branch Street United Methodist Church; Dr. Evelyn Laycock, former director of SEJ Lay Ministries; Rev. Dr. Sam Wynn, pastor of St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C.; Mollie M. Stewart, coordinator of local church ministries for the Hinton Rural Center; and Bishop Richard Looney, president of The Foundation for Evangelism.

This year's retreat will offer a track for youth that focuses on spiritual gifts, calling into ministry and worship. "Going Native for Christ" is a weekend of fellowship, fun and skiing.

For more information contact Anne Bridges at 828-452-2881, extension 697, or

Frazer conference teaches how to empower laity

By Lenore Vickrey**

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — How does a United Methodist church get more than 90 percent of its laity involved in ministry? How could it pledge a $10 million budget and reach more than 300 persons on profession of faith every year?

The "Every Member in Ministry Conference," presented by Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church, 6000 Atlanta Highway, in Montgomery, Ala., March 3-5, will provide answers to those questions and more.

The event, held twice each year, is designed to help church leaders learn how to empower their members to discover their spiritual gifts, equip them to use their gifts in specific ministries and turn them loose to do ministry. More than 60 workshops are taught by Frazer staff and volunteers who are actively involved in ministries, from children's worship and computers to urban ministry and marriage preparation.
The seminar begins Friday at 5 p.m. with registration and supper, followed by an opening session with Frazer's senior minister, the Rev. Dr. John Ed Mathison. Saturday workshops will be held 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with breaks for lunch and supper. A special praise and worship service will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. A question and answer session with lay leadership kicks off Sunday's activities, followed by regular Sunday worship services.

The cost is $195 per person or $160 per person for groups of 10 or more.

Frazer Memorial has more than 8,400 members. In 2005, 666 new members joined, with 319 of those on profession of faith. The church's budget for 2006 exceeds $10 million.

For a downloadable brochure and registration form go to Frazer's Web site at or call Jane Bridges at 334-272-8622.

Mission teams heads to Biloxi, Miss., for hurricane recovery work

A disaster recovery work team will be working with the Interfaith Recovery Group "Hope Unites," of which the United Methodist Church is a member, April 1-8.

The cost is $300 per person.

For more information contact United Methodist Volunteers in Mission district coordinators Al Lee at 239-936-7965 or Ray Bartholomew at 239-574-8754.

New SEJ event focus on environment awareness training

By Cintia Furtado

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — A new year brings new challenges for the church, including the awareness of environmental challenges. "Caring for God's Creation," a new event offered by the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ), will train the religious community to take action in environmental care.

Climate change, energy use and ecology are among the many topics discussed during the April 20-22 conference.

"In a time when many are complacent about the environment, a new emphasis can assist the church in taking leadership. Local church members will learn effective ways of being stewards of creation, allowing them to be the best disciples possible," said Jimmy L. Carr, SEJ executive director.

Loy Lilley, event coordinator, said the church needs to take immediate action in learning about the environment.

"The earth is our home and we need to learn how to take better care of that home given us by God," said Lilley, who is also the Good Word Resource Center director. "You will learn how to take better care of creation by reducing use, reusing and recycling and how your church can do that also."

The event will offer opportunities to visit the Corneille Bryan Native Garden and participate in a tour of the wetlands on assembly grounds and various workshops.

More information on the event and a brochure are available at or

General Board of Church and Society offers scholarships for event

By General Board of Church and Society

The General Board of Church and Society is offering a limited number of scholarships to United Methodist persons of color and/or United Methodist college and seminary students to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days, March 10-13, 2006, at the Doubletree Hotel in Crystal City, Va. (near Washington, D.C.)

These scholarships will cover the $140 registration fee. Scholarship recipients will need to assume the costs of lodging and travel to Washington, D.C.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a time for people of faith to become better equipped to put their faith into action on world issues. More information and online registration is available at

GBCS is eager to make this event as racially, ethnically and economically diverse a gathering of advocates as possible.

Interested individuals should request scholarship assistance before registering by contacting the Rev. Neal Christie by Feb. 10 at 202-488-5600.

United Methodist General Conference to be held in Richmond, Va. in 2012

By Stephen Drachler**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Richmond, Va., will be the site of the 2012 international gathering of The United Methodist General Conference, according to the denomination's Commission on the General Conference.

The gathering of 1,000 delegates from the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia will be held at the Richmond Convention Center April 25-May 4, 2012. In addition to delegates, nearly 4,000 other persons are expected to attend and participate in the conference.

The General Conference is The United Methodist Church's top legislative gathering. It meets every four years to consider changes to church law and take positions on theological and social issues related to the church's work around the globe. The next conference will be April 23-May 2, 2008, in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Commission on the General Conference considered Richmond, Orlando, Fla., and Tampa, Fla., as its three finalists during the site selection process.

With more than 340,000 members, the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference is the largest in the United States. It includes more than 1,200 local churches served by nearly 1,800 clergy. It covers the entire state, except for the southwestern corner, which is part of the Holston Annual Conference.

Gail Murphy-Geiss of Centennial, Colo., chair of the Commission on the General Conference, said Richmond was chosen because of the strong United Methodist presence in the region, its convenient location for many U.S. travelers and the city's easy-to-use convention facility.

One of the benefits of the 600,000 square foot convention center, she said, is the potential for holding worship in the nearby arena, while plenary sessions take place in the large convention hall. There is a United Methodist church nearby, and all hotels for delegates and visitors should be within an eight-block radius.

The site of the General Conference traditionally has rotated between each of the five U.S. jurisdictions of the church.

Asbury Theological Seminary announces new degrees

By Tina Pugel**

ORLANDO — The Asbury Theological Seminary Orlando campus announces that it will begin offering Master of Arts degrees in counseling and pastoral counseling at the Asbury Seminary Dunnam-Florida Campus.

Enrollment for the programs began this fall; the application deadline is March 1.

For more information on all degrees and admission visit or call 800-2-ASBURY and ask for admissions. The Florida Campus can be reached by calling 407-482-7500.

With Kentucky, Florida and virtual campuses, Asbury Seminary is a multi-denominational graduate school of theology committed to teaching historic Wesleyan Christianity through the most dynamic means available.

The extended learning program allows students to earn one-half of the Master of Arts or two-thirds of the Master of Divinity degree on-line. Total current enrollment exceeds 1,700 students, representing 86 denominations and 42 countries.

Church and Community Workers ministry seeks new employees

NEW YORK — The Church and Community Workers Ministry of The United Methodist Church is looking for two immigration lawyers and a construction supervisor for professional mission service in the United States. A specialist in ministry with Native Americans is also needed.

The program is open to applications for two or three new Church and Community Worker sites throughout the next year. The objective of this ministry, which is more than 100 years old, is to uplift the poor and disenfranchised and to work to change the social inequities of poverty, racial injustice and domestic violence. Workers need a strong Christian faith.

The lawyers need to be members of the bar or ready to sit the bar examination, and the construction specialist should already be licensed or prepared to obtain a license. Experience in relating to Native American culture is a prerequisite for the fourth opening.

The lawyers will relate to the Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) program of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). A construction specialist is needed to oversee the building and repair of affordable housing.

Forty-six Church and Community Workers currently serve a range of urban and rural ministries across the United States. Their ministries are historically and intentionally rooted in communities, but relate closely to United Methodist institutions, congregations or regional units in the United States. These missionaries can be clergy or laity. Their support is shared by the ministry to which they are assigned and the General Board of Global Ministries.

Inquiries about the missionary openings and the new site designations should be addressed to: Brenda Connelly, executive secretary, Church and Community Ministries, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 320, New York, NY 10115, or e-mail at

Society of St. Andrew seeks new employees

By Kathy Forth**

ORLANDO — The Florida regional office of the Society of St. Andrew, located in Orlando, is searching for two new employees.

The first position is for a program coordinator who is responsible for coordinating a statewide, volunteer driven field-gleaning program with growers, receiving agencies and satellite offices.

The second position is for a regional director who is responsible for managing development operations in Florida, budgeting, public presentation of the program, fund raising and grant writing.

For more information contact Dick Mead, Society of St. Andrew, at 407-650-1933 or


*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. Furtado is a SEJ Communications Specialist. Vickrey is communications director at Frazier United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala. Pugel is director of communications for Asbury Theological Seminary, Orlando campus. Forth is the Florida Program Coordinator for the Society of St. Andrew.