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Opportunities — June 29, 2006 {0512}

Opportunities — June 29, 2006 {0512}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0512}

An e-Review News Item

Leadership training event offered for lay speakers

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The tenth annual Conference Leadership Training event for Lay Speaking Ministries will be held at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, near Leesburg, Aug. 25-27.

Several advanced courses will be offered. Prospective Lay Speakers may take one of the advanced courses offered upon completion of the basic course in their district, becoming a Certified Lay Speaker.

The 10-hour courses offered at the training event are Boundaries, Cultivating Christian Community, Dancing with Words, Dimensions of Prayer – Cultivating a Relationship with God, and Spiritual Disciplines for the Journey.

The cost for each course is $45. Costs for lodging and six meals are $105 per person, double occupancy; $135 per person, single occupancy; $60 for commuters; and $85 per person or $130 for two people staying at the campground. The cost for those staying at the campground without the meals is $35.

The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Geraldine McClellan, superintendent of the North Central District. The Rev. Dr. Keith Ewing will lead the worship and communion service.

More information may be obtained from Gayle Hogan, conference director of Lay Speaking Ministries, at 352-567-5383 or, or John Borden, training director, at 813-685-6491 or

Interested individuals may go to for more information and a training event brochure available for download.

Lost in Grace to present Methodism in fun way

By Cintia Furtado Listenbee**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Church vans drop off approximately 3,000 excited young people at Lake Junaluska Assembly every summer. Rev. Marty Cauley says this year people will be surprised with the content of the new program Lost in Grace.

“We want to give them a wow experience when they come,” the SEJ Ministries with Young People director said. “Everything is different. It’s fun and it’s also spiritually grounded. Workshops are much more content and skill oriented,” he said.

A World Methodist Museum tour, liturgical dance and a workshop for young men are some of the new content the program will feature. Cauley says the combination of creative worship, fun and fellowship will take the summer experience to another level. Nilse Furtado, assistant director, said youth will learn about their Wesleyan heritage in a fun way.

“Lost in Grace is about acknowledging that God’s grace is truly amazing, regardless of who we are and what we have done. The program will focus on Prevenient, Justifying, Sanctifying and Perfecting Grace,” Furtado said.

Part of the fun will be the many surprises stored for youth attending the summer programs. “Our worship services are going to be themed around the different type of graces that we encounter. Every day youth come to worship they will receive a present that will represent the type of grace studied that day,” Cauley said.

Organizers say there is still time to register for events at

Enthusiasm grows for congregational development school, still time to register

By Mary Beth Coudal**
“This is the most exciting event in our denomination!” raved Mary Brooke Casad. The North Texas Conference director of mission was describing the upcoming School of Congregational Development. 

Casad will be among hundreds of United Methodists from around the country and the world who will gather Aug. 3-8 at the School of Congregational Development in San Diego, Calif., to learn about church vitality and transformation.

“It’s where the Spirit is moving and the energy is flowing — all centered on our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ,” the veteran of six schools added. “Most find that it’s a good combination of the practical and inspirational, but mainly it’s a place to connect to God and others and learn from each other about effective ministry.”

The Rev. Sam W. Dixon Jr., deputy general secretary of the Evangelization and Church Growth Program Area of Global Ministries, called the upcoming School of Congregational Development, “the preeminent training event for United Methodist clergy and laity interested in starting new churches, expanding their churches to another site or reinvigorating their current congregation.”

The school is sponsored by the Joint Committee for Congregational Development, the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. All United Methodist clergy and laity are invited to attend. The planning team expects this school to be the largest one ever.

People visiting Southern California for the event will be particularly impressed by the strength of the United Methodist congregations and rich diversity of the United Methodist people there, said Jim Conn, director of new ministries for the California-Pacific Annual Conference (Cal-Pac).

On Sunday, participants will worship in one of 10 churches. “There’ll be an opportunity to visit a congregation across the border in Tijuana (people will have to bring their passports), a Korean congregation, a Vietnamese congregation, a Spanish language congregation, as well as some very large, effective, primarily Anglo-population churches. Not only will they experience worship, but they will have a chance to dialogue with the pastors and the people,” Conn said.

“The conference leaders are working very hard to welcome leaders from all over the connection to beautiful San Diego for a time of worship, prayers, learning, connections and fellowship,” said The Rev. Keith Andrew Hwang, executive director of connectional ministries, Cal-Pac.

“Prayer as a Change Agent” is one example of the many workshops offered at the school. “The thrust of the workshop is that prayer can really make an impact in ministry,” said The Rev. John Southwick of the Research Office of Global Ministries and veteran of 10 schools.

Interested individuals may visit for registration details and information.

2006 retreat scheduled for deacon and diaconal candidates

By Sharon G. Rubey**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 2006 Deacon/Diaconal Formation retreat Sept. 22-24 at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn., is for people exploring the ordained ministry of deacon, deacon candidates and diaconal ministers applying for ordination.

Its goal is to help candidates better understand the nature and function of the ministry of the deacon and is sponsored by the Division of Ordained Ministry (DOM), General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).

The retreat will also help individuals better understand and articulate their call and prepare them for commissioning as a probationary member.

Topics to be explored are: meaning and identity of the deacon, role of the deacon in worship and in partnership with the elder in administering the sacraments, the history and meaning of the Order of Deacon, the prophetic role of ministry, vocational practices and responsibilities.

The retreat will be limited to 70 participants, and priority will be given to those who will be meeting with their board of ministry in 2007 for probationary interviews.

The DOM will pay room and meal charges. Participants will cover transportation and the $25 fee for the continuing education registration and program materials.

Participants are encouraged to seek financial assistance from their church, employer or conference board. The conference board is encouraged to support interested individuals by offering travel assistance.

A limited number of transportation scholarships of $100 may be available for those who cannot attain assistance elsewhere. The deadline for the scholarship application is Aug. 15. A transportation scholarship application will be mailed upon request and receipt of registration form.

A reproducible registration form is available at The registration deadline is Aug. 12 (no exceptions).

More information may be obtained by contacting the DOM Enlistment/Candidacy Office at 615-340-7394 or

Gathering of United Methodists works to fight AIDS

How can United Methodist churches work together to lighten the burden of AIDS and HIV? The “Lighten the Burden” conference Sept. 8-9 in Washington, D. C., will attempt to show them how.

The event is designed to equip clergy and lay leaders who want to join in the global response to the AIDS crisis and offers valuable opportunities for learning, skill building and networking. The two-day agenda includes an array of speakers, workshops and discussion groups.

Author and teacher Musa Dube, associate professor at the University of Botswana, will convene the opening worship. Dube has served as a consultant for the World Council of Churches on Theological Institutions and HIV/AIDS curriculum. She is based in Gabarone, Botswana, and is author of “Preaching to the Converted: Unsettling the Christian Church” and “The HIV and AIDS Bible: Selected Essays.”

Bishop João Somane Machado of the Mozambique Annual Conference will give participants a close-up view of the pandemic through his ministry in Southern Africa. Machado is a leading advocate in The United Methodist Church for the eradication of HIV/AIDS and Malaria.

The closing service of commitment will be led by the Rev. Mpho Tutu, an Episcopal priest who is currently a clergy resident at Christ Church, Alexandria, Va. She is the executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage, which honors the life and ministry of her father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She chairs the board of the Global AIDS Alliance.

The event is sponsored by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee. Registration is $60. The deadline to register is Aug. 15.

Interested individuals may visit for registration information and details.

Faith Trust Institute teaches pastors to address domestic violence

By Linda Bales**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Formerly the Center for Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence, the Faith Trust Institute “offers a wide range of services and resources, including training, consultation and educational materials, to provide communities and advocates with the tools and knowledge they need to address the religious and cultural issues related to abuse.”

Clergy are encouraged to register for a training Aug. 28-30 in Seattle, Wash., that is designed specifically for religious leaders and focuses on preventing domestic violence. Space is limited.

This three-day workshop will present a framework for understanding violence against women and addressing the religious and pastoral issues it presents. Participants will meet in separate groups to address their own traditions’ issues, together to learn from each other and with secular advocates to develop collaborative strategies.

Prospective participants need to complete an application. If accepted, all expenses will be paid by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women.

Interested individuals should contact or call 206-634-1903, extension 14, to receive an application and additional information. Information about Faith Institute is found at

Conference on theology of peace announced

By Howard Hallman**

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Methodists United for Peace With Justice (MUPWJ) is sponsoring a conference on “Building a Wesleyan Theology of Peace for the 21st Century” in San Francisco, Calif., Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

The conference will explore how the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Wesleyan heritage provide guidance for dealing with war and becoming peacemakers. Discussion will be based upon the Wesleyan Quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, reason and experience. Participants will also consider how disciples of Jesus Christ can serve as peacemakers for transformation of the world.

Featured speakers will include United Methodist Bishops Beverly Shamana, San Francisco Area, and Ruediger Minor of Germany, who previously served in Russia.

The conference will take place at Temple United Methodist Church. The Rev. Schuyler Rhodes, pastor of the church, is conference coordinator. The San Francisco United Methodist Mission is local sponsor. A pre-conference dialogue for college and seminary students will take place the evening of Sept. 26 through lunch Sept. 28 at Edge Campus Ministry, San Francisco State University. More information is available at
MUPWJ is also encouraging the formation of study groups in local congregations and on college campuses to consider the theology of war and peace and is posting study material on its Web site at MUPWJ has also organized the Web-based Forum, enabling study groups and other interested persons to discuss the theology of war and peace. The Forum is accessible at
MUPWJ is an association of laity and clergy formed in 1987 in response to the United Methodist bishops’ call for prayer and action on nuclear weapons.

More information is available by contacting Hallman, chair of MUPWJ, at or 301 896-0013.

Dr. Gary Gunderson delivers keynote address at Congregational Health Ministries Conference

By Jim Truitt**

NEW YORK — Dr. Gary Gunderson will deliver the keynote address, “Boundary Leaders,” at the Congregational Health Ministries Conference in Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 8-11.

“A major challenge for religious communities today lies in harnessing the commitment and energy of religious people to address larger societal issues,” Gunderson says. “Key to such efforts are people who are willing to live and learn ‘at the boundaries’ where secular meets religious, public meets private and subcultures meet each other. A way of life on the boundaries, lived in community and faith, finds a broad menu of possibilities.”

His keynote speech will present concepts of boundary leadership and real-life lessons of how boundary leadership can be used to align faith and health assets and enhance the overall health of the community.

Gunderson is senior vice president of Health and Welfare Ministries at Methodist Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn., and director of Interfaith Health Program at Emory University. He is the author of “Deeply Woven Roots” and “Boundary Leaders,” as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles, and contributor to multiple books and texts.

This year’s conference theme is “Empowering Ministries of Health to Transform, Mobilize and Advocate.” It will include health ministries at all organizational levels, especially at the congregational level.

Individuals who would like more information about the conference may visit or contact Jim Truitt at or 253-630-1268.

New Social Creed to be set to music: board asks for suggestions

By Kathy L. Gilbert**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A “user friendly” Social Creed will make its way to the 2008 General Conference, and if the writers have their way, it will be set to rap, African, country and many other musical beats.

Bishop Susan Morrison and a small group of United Methodist Church and Society board members took on the task of rewriting the denomination’s Social Creed in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the creed and Social Principles. The anniversary will be celebrated at the 2008 General Conference, the church’s legislative gathering.

The original creed was written in 1908 and rewritten in 1972. Changes must be approved by General Conference.

“The current creed doesn’t roll off the tongue,” said Jim Winkler, top executive with the Board of Church and Society.

“We wanted to rewrite the creed for the new generation,” Morrison said. “We wanted to make it memorable so it would inform young people about their faith in language they use.”

If the creed is approved, Morrison and Winkler hope it will be sung in many different musical styles at the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. The revised creed can also be used as a litany, and plans include giving it a visual treatment on DVD.

“It has a freshness, it not cultural specific and it is global,” Morrison said. “I have a dream that at General Conference we will stop every once in a while and sing a new version of the creed.”

“You know how you can sing ‘Amazing Grace’ to the tune of ‘Gilligan’s Island’?” Winkler asked. “That is the vision I have for the creed, that it can be sung to many different tunes.”

Winkler will send the creed to different musicians and ask them to set it to music.

“It is positive in tone and outlook and it addresses issues of the 21st century,” he added.

The General Board of Church and Society needs help in putting the new creed to music or obtaining the names of people staff may contact to help with the project. Individuals may submit their suggestions to the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary, Ministry of Education and Leadership Formation for the General Board of Church and Society, at

Following is the working draft of the Social Creed as presented at the April 20-23 spring meeting of the Board of Church and Society in Washington:

God in the Spirit revealed through Jesus Christ calls us by grace to be renewed in the image of God, that we might participate in God’s love for the world.

Today is the day we accept that God embraces all hues of humanity, cares for the plight of the world’s children, and weeps as we undo earth’s goodness,
And so shall we.

Today is the day we accept that God values the health, healing, and wholeness of all life, delights in difference and diversity, and favors hospitality turning strangers into friends,
And so shall we.

Today is the day we accept that God cries at the flood of starving people, abhors the rapidly increasing disparity between rich and poor, and yearns for the just treatment of workers in the marketplace,
And so shall we.

Today is the day we accept that God deplores the violence in our homes and streets, rebukes the world’s warring madness, and humbles the powerful on behalf of the powerless,
And so shall we.

God in the Spirit revealed through Jesus Christ calls us by grace to do those things that make for God’s Shalom in our homes, churches, communities, nations and world.

‘Hunger for the Word’ biblical reflections from Florida United Methodists, others available

By Jennifer Coulter Stapleton**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Drawing on the insights and stories of pastors, professors and others active in anti-hunger advocacy through Bread for the World, ‘Hunger for the Word: Lectionary Reflections on Food and Justice, Year C’ is now available from Bread for the World.

‘Hunger for the Word’ explores the scriptural witness with an openness to seeing how God’s Word can nourish people in the struggle to ensure all God’s people are fed. This new volume of provides weekly justice-oriented biblical reflections on the lectionary readings for Year C, which begins this fall with Advent.

Many authors from various denominations contributed to this volume, including the Revs. Fred Morris, president of Faith Partners of the Americas, and Vicki Walker, minister of outreach at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa.

In addition to the biblical reflections, each weekly entry includes ideas for children’s sermons and appropriate musical selections related to the day’s themes. The three volumes of ‘Hunger for the Word,’ including earlier books for Years A and B of the lectionary cycle, were edited by Bread for the World Senior Regional Organizer Larry Hollar. All three volumes are available at

Founded in 1974, Bread for the World’s members have lobbied Congress and the administration to bring about public policy changes that address the root causes of hunger and poverty in the United States and overseas.

Bread for the World ( is a nonpartisan organization supported by 45 denominations and many theological perspectives.

Pfeiffer University and Wesley Theological Seminary establish first Center for Deacon Education

By Natasha Suber**

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — To provide deacon education and ordination for people of the United Methodist faith in the Carolinas, Pfeiffer University and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., have established a Center for Deacon Education, the first of its kind that completely focuses on deacon ordination. The center is housed on Pfeiffer’s Charlotte campus at 4701 Park Road.

“We believe the ministry of deacon is a growing vocational calling in the life of our churches,” said Dr. Bruce C. Birch, dean at Wesley Theological Seminary. “We are committed to high quality preparation for those ordained to minister as deacons.”

After a pilot program proved to be successful, the two institutions decided to move forward with the center. All of the Basic Graduate Theological Studies courses will be offered in a two-year cycle. Courses will normally be taught in either an intensive format in January, during the summer or once a week during fall and spring semesters. Additionally, Wesley and Pfeiffer will explore ways to “form” and “educate” the Order of Deacon outside the classroom experience.

Courses offered through the Center for Deacon Education are specifically designed to prepare persons for ministry as deacons. In The United Methodist Church, the Order of Deacon leads the congregation in its servant ministry and equips and supports all baptized Christians in their ministry alongside the Order of Elder, which focuses on word, sacrament and order.

Although the program is United Methodist specific, organizers say participants of any faith can earn up to 25 graduate credits that can be transferred to any graduate seminary or program. The major appeal of this program is that participants can fulfill educational requirements for ordination while working in ministry.

“Anyone committed to earning this program can complete it without completely altering their jobs or their schedules,” said Dr. Ed Trimmer, head of the School of Religion at Pfeiffer. “A student could commute one day a week and complete these courses fairly quickly.”

Interested individuals may contact Kathleen Kilbourne at or by phone at 704-945-7315 for additional information or to register for classes. Those with questions about the partnership, academics or theoretical issues should contact Ed Trimmer at

Pfeiffer University is a United Methodist-related university providing undergraduate and graduate degrees in church vocational ministry, including a Masters of Arts in Christian Education. Wesley Seminary, located in Washington D.C. (http://www.WesleySem.Edu) is one of the largest of the 13 United Methodist seminaries and dedicated to preparing preachers, leaders and teachers for church and the work of Christ in the world.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. Listenbee is communications specialist, Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Coudal is a contributing writer for the General Board of Global Ministries. Rubey is director of Candidacy and Conference Relations, Division of Ordained Ministry, in Nashville, Tenn. Bales is a program director at the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C. Hallman is chairman of Methodists United for Peace with Justice, in Washington, D.C. Truitt is chairman of the General Board of Global Ministries’ Health and Welfare Leadership Team in New York. Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn. Stapleton is religious media associate for Bread for the World. Suber is director of communications, Pfeiffer University, Charlotte, N.C.