e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
Opportunities — Dec. 29, 2006
An e-Review News Item
This series includes:
Florida United Methodists invited to donate their backyard citrus
By Society of St. Andrew Staff
Anyone can help bring Florida backyard citrus to the hungry. Citrus trees often produce more fruit than one family can eat. That’s why the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) is offering Florida United Methodists an opportunity to keep good citrus from going to waste.
Anyone who lives in Brevard, Hillsborough, Lee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas or Seminole counties (or another area) and has citrus trees with leftover fruit is asked to let SoSA know by calling 800-806-0756. SoSA will arrange for volunteers to glean the fruit and ship it to feeding programs throughout Florida.
SoSA is also sponsoring its annual citrus drive Jan. 20 in Orange and Seminole counties and Feb. 3 in Volusia County.
Anyone in those counties with grapefruit or orange trees is asked to pick the healthy fruit and bring it to one of the drop sites that will be scattered throughout the area. The fruit will then be distributed to food banks, homeless shelters and other feeding programs throughout Florida.
Volunteers and youth groups are needed to help residents who are not able to pick their own fruit and serve in a variety of other ways.
Those interested in donating fruit, volunteering or obtaining more information may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SoSA operates a statewide, volunteer-driven gleaning network in Florida that coordinates with local farmers, thousands of volunteers and food-providing agencies. Florida is one of the top five states in agriculture by volume, and the Florida Gleaning Network salvages more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce each year.
The Florida Gleaning Network also coordinates volunteers from across the state who enter fields after farmers have finished harvesting and pick up the tons of good produce left behind. SoSA volunteers represent groups from various church denominations, synagogues, youth groups, civic organizations, individuals and inner city residents.
More information about backyard gleaning in the Orlando area, Brevard County or Florida can be found at http://www.endhunger.org/citrus/, http://www.endhunger.org/brevard/ and http://rd.bcentral.com, respectively. More information is also available by contacting Nicole Eastwood at 407-650-1956.
More information about the Society of St. Andrew is available at http://www.endhunger.org/florida.htm.
UMVIM presents ‘Mission: Possible’ to celebrate, train volunteers
By Caryl Kelley**
LAKELAND — The Florida United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) will hold a mission rally Jan. 26-27 for all clergy and laity.
Participants will celebrate what has been happening in their local church missions in 2006 and train for the 2007 mission year.
UMVIM is a hands-on mission experience for all Florida United Methodists. Children, youth and adults may participate in hundreds of mission experiences, from Vacation Bible School and Christian witnessing to construction of chapels and parsonages on a global context.
The UMVIM rally, titled “Mission: Possible,” will be held at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, near Leesburg. “Special agent” speaker for the rally will be Nick Elliott, a member of the South Carolina Conference and executive director of UMVIM for the Southeastern Jurisdiction since 1999.
In keeping with the theme attendees are invited to attend the Friday night opening session disguised as a missionary and ready to “brief and de-brief” fellow missionaries on current mission activities in their local churches.
Training classes for the weekend are: Lemonade — $.25 cents; Tips and Tricks of the Trade; Breaking Through Customs; Oops, It Happened Again; The Chosen One; Brainwashing the Masses; Quit Your Whining; and You Want Me to Do What?
The cost for the rally is $75 per person. Registration begins at 4 p.m. Friday with the first “briefing” at 7 p.m. The rally will conclude Saturday at 5 p.m.
A brochure with registration information is available at http://www.umvim-fl.org/images/UMVIM-Rally-brochure.pdf More information about the rally may be obtained by contacting Sue Macchiarella at 386-767-8544 or email@example.com. More information about United Methodist Volunteers in Mission can be found at http://www.umvim-fl.org.
Workshop for volunteers wishing to teach English offered in Tampa
By Donna Ratzlaff**
TAMPA — Individuals and groups interested in ministries to immigrants are invited to attend a 15-hour workshop for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutors Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 at Pinellas Park Library.
Interested individuals must attend both sessions to receive a ProLiteracy America (http://www.proliteracy.org/) ESOL tutoring certificate and receive a student assignment.
The workshop is free to anyone willing to tutor at a United Methodist Cooperative Ministries site. Others are asked to pay a workshop fee of $35. Workshop hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both Saturdays. Space is limited.
The registration form for the training can be found at http://umcm.info/clientimages/26120/2006umcmvoldatasheet.pdf. More information is available by contacting 727-442-6881.
Gulf and South Central district churches announce opening of immigration clinic
By Tita Parham
TAMPA — All Florida United Methodists are invited to attend the grand opening of the conference’s second Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) legal clinic Jan. 27, 5 p.m., at Faith Community Haitian United Methodist Church, 6522 North 43rd Street, Tampa, 33610.
The clinic is a cooperative effort between churches in the conference’s Gulf and South Central districts, the conference’s refugee and immigration ministry and United Methodist Committee On Relief’s (UMCOR) Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) program. It will provide free legal services to the area’s needy refugees and immigrants.
The conference’s first clinic, the Refugee and Immigration Counseling Center, opened May 2005 in the Orlando area at First United Methodist Church of Pine Hills.
JFON is a national network of legal clinics for immigrants run by volunteers and local churches. The UMCOR program provides free legal services for immigrants working toward citizenship or trying to understand the legal issues and requirements of immigration. The goal is to help people who can’t afford a lawyer or legal services take the next step in their legal process.
The new clinic’s sessions will be held at Faith Community Haitian United Methodist Church in Tampa. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended. The clinic will be open the third Saturday of each month from 1-5:30 p.m. Interested individuals may schedule an appointment by calling the church at 813-899-2845 or United Methodist Cooperative Ministries at 727-442-6881.
The clinic will depend on a host of volunteers to greet clients, translate and interpret, care for children, assist attorneys, and provide refreshments. The required training for volunteers begins at 10 a.m. Jan. 27. Volunteers will receive a free lunch. The clinic opens at 2 p.m., giving volunteers an immediate opportunity to practice what they just learned.
In addition to the Creole dinner featured at the grand opening there will be youth performances and special addresses and greetings from Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, district representatives, the director of Florida’s JFON clinics, the UMCOR-JFON representative and local attorneys.
More information about the opening event may be obtained by contacting Donna Ratzlaff, executive director of United Methodist Cooperative Ministries, at 727-442-6881 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting http://www.umcmsuncoast.org/ and clicking on downloadable brochures and posters for the clinic opening.
UMCOR resources on immigration and refugees in PDF format can be downloaded from http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/work/immigration/church-resources/.
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is found at http://www.nnirr.org/. The Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church is a member of this network.
E-Review Florida United Methodist News Service articles reporting on Florida’s immigration clinics can be found at http://www.flumc2.org/FCNN/articles/000026/002656.htm and http://www.flumc2.org/FCNN/articles/000026/002657.htm.
Clergy kids are ‘upside down and inside out’
By Caryl Kelley
LAKELAND — This year’s Clergy Kids weekend retreat for children of Florida Conference clergy will be held at Warren W. Willis Camp in Fruitland Park Jan. 26-28.
The weekend is designed to let clergy kids be kids and get together with other kids who experience living in a clergy family.
Activities include shows, bonfires, organized games and worship. Contemporary music and participation in Sunday morning worship are hallmarks of the weekend.
Children and youth are grouped by age level, ranging from infant-preschool to 12th grade. The weekend will provide time for the various age groups to meet individually and participate in activities designed for their age level, as well as intergenerational activities for the whole group.
The weekend begins Friday at 7:30 p.m. with roller skating. Participants should bring their own skates. The entire weekend is full of special themed activities that will have kids “upside down and inside out.”
The cost for the weekend is $70 per child or a maximum of $210 per family. Scholarships are available.
Registration is due Jan. 15. More information about the weekend may be obtained by contacting Amy Vigil at AVigil2655@aol.com or 904-389-0130 or Rhonda Kleckner at RCKleckner@hotmail.com or 352-237-2161.
The Clergy Kids design team tries to keep cost of the weekend affordable, but costs are rising. Churches or individuals can help by volunteering time or by sponsoring a clergy kid. Donations can be sent to the Florida Conference Treasurer at P.O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802. Note the contribution is for “Clergy Kids.”
Center for Clergy Excellence tackles lack of younger adults entering ministry
LAKELAND — The average age of a United Methodist clergyperson is 57. The number of ordained elders in the church under the age of 35 has dropped from 3,219 in 1985 to fewer than 900 today.
As Dr. Lovett H. Weems, director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership in Washington, D.C., wrote recently, “The issue of enlisting younger quality clergy must be seen side by side with the quality and vitality of the church itself.”
The Florida Conference Center for Clergy Excellence will address this issue at its Feb. 6 Summit on the Recruitment and Development of Young Clergy.
This day-long event seeks to develop strategies and priorities for recruiting and developing younger clergy. Weems will present information in the morning on clergy age trends in the church, while the Rev. Susan H. Hay, director of Ministries with Youth from the General Board of Discipleship, will speak on the topic “Who are the Millennials?” A time of response and observation will follow, with clergy from the Florida Conference under the age of 35 serving as panelists.
The summit will take place at Peace United Methodist Church, 13502 Town Loop Blvd., Orlando, 32837, beginning at 10 a.m. Lunch at the church is $10, payable at the door. Individuals interested in attending may register by visiting http://www.flumc.org/YoungClergySummit. More information is available by contacting Winnie Dean at email@example.com or 800-282-8011, extension 134.
Couples ‘seek ye first’ at United Methodist Men’s spiritual retreats
By Caryl Kelley
LAKELAND — This spring’s United Methodist Men’s couples retreats will offer a chance for couples to gather at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park near Leesburg under the theme “Seek Ye First.”
During three weekends beginning March 9-11, couples will be able to get away from their routines, spend time together in a relaxing environment, be in the company of other Christian couples and experience uplifting music and messages by people who have a pretty good idea of what most couples face on a daily basis.
Week one, March 9-11, features John Riley, an inspirational speaker, and the Rev. Dr. Riley Short, retired United Methodist pastor from Lakeland. Lenee Schroeder and Jeff and Diane Anders will lead the music team. Don Taylor will provide enrichment at each weekend. He will share about the church’s Jewish roots and how they relate to Christianity today.
Week two, March 16-18, features the Revs. Charley Reeb, pastor at Tuskawilla United Methodist Church in Casselberry, and Joyce Payne, general evangelist of The United Methodist Church. Lenee Schroeder and the Rev. Julian Graham will lead the music team.
Week three, March 23-25, features the Revs. Dale Locke, pastor of Community of Hope United Methodist Church in Royal Palm Beach, and Max Wilkins, pastor of The Family Church in Gainesville. The group Promise, from Community United Methodist Church, Casselberry, will lead the music team.
A brochure with details and a registration form is available on the United Methodist Men’s Web site at http://www.ummflconf.org.
Costs for the weekends vary. For those staying at the Life Enrichment Center the cost is $254 per couple, including program, room and five meals. For those staying at the Family Campground the cost is $100 per couple, including program and campsite, but no meals. For those staying off campus the cost is $60 per couple for the program fee only. Meals are available for those staying at the Family Campground or off campus for $82 per couple for all five meals or $35 per couple for Saturday lunch and dinner only.
Payment for the retreats must be received by Jan. 15. Additional information is available by calling 877-815-3692.
Lake Junaluska offers symposium on challenge of immigration
By Southeastern Jurisdictional Staff
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — “Our Call to Hospitality” is the title of a symposium sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdiction and The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society. It is a biblical response to the challenge of immigration and will be held Feb. 1-3 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.
As society grows increasingly multicultural United Methodists are faced with a broad range of reactions and feelings to both immigration and immigrants, some positive, many negative.
What does the Bible say — and what should The United Methodist Church say — about the challenge of immigration? What can United Methodists learn from scripture about those many consider strangers, foreigners, outcasts? How might United Methodists best respond as citizens, neighbors and people of faith?
A variety of speakers and workshops will address those issues. Plenary speakers include Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, Florida Conference; Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, Northern Illinois Conference; Dr. Joan M. Meruskin, Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program and author of “The Bible as an Immigration Handbook”; Dr. Francisco Canas, executive director, National Plan for Hispanic/Latino/a Ministries; and the Rev. Dr. Clark Jenkins, pastor, St. Andrew-by-the-Sea United Methodist Church, Hilton Head, S.C.
Workshops include Causes and Consequences of Immigration, Personalize Christian Hospitality, Immigration and Race, Economic Impact of Globalization, A Primer on Immigration Law, We Live in a Different World, A Young Adult Perspective on Immigration, Protecting the Migrant Workforce, and Capturing Hearts and Minds: Advocacy for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The general registration cost is $50 ($65 after Jan. 20). Those wishing to attend are encouraged to participate regardless of their ability to pay. There is a “pay what you are able” option for those who cannot afford the full registration amount. One continuing education credit will be awarded for this event.
Details and registration information are available at http://www.umc-gbcs.org/hospitality.
Bethlehem pastor seeks host churches
By the Rev. Julie Stephens**
LAKELAND — The Rev. Jonathan Esawi, a Christian Palestinian, and his wife, Hilda, are traveling throughout Florida speaking to congregations about their ministry and would like to visit as many churches as possible.
Esawi was born in the Holy Land, but educated in the United States and received an appointment in Bethlehem in 1983.
Since September Esawi has been assisting Ron Armstrong of Holy Land Ministries, which operates a Christian school in Hebron, just 15 miles from Bethlehem. Hebron is Moslem, and there are no Christian churches in the city, yet parents are sending their children to the school. Esawi was a student at the school when he was a boy and says that is where he learned about Jesus.
Throughout his travels in Florida Esawi talks with churches about current conditions in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Diakonia Convocation expected to draw 600 United Methodist servant-ministers
“This is a forward-looking event,” said the Rev. Adrienne Ann Ilseman, a deacon in Northern Illinois and co-chair of the event design team. “Deacons are carrying God’s love into all corners of society in new and inventive ways.”
And there are more of these “servant ministers” every day. According to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Division of Ordained Ministry, 1,642 people are candidates to become deacons. If most of those candidates complete the process the number of deacons will double. Currently, there are a total of 1,587 deacons, 1,377 of them active and 210 retired.
Participants at the Orlando meeting will include diaconal ministers, probationary and ordained deacons, and people exploring this form of ministry. They will meet their United Methodist counterparts from around the world to network, share ideas, celebrate and learn about new opportunities.
Sabbath-keeping in restful and creative ways will be a focus. Time is scheduled for prayer, journaling, walking and other restorative practices. Practical workshops include a look at the future of the diaconate, training for public speaking, explorations of justice ministries and cross-cultural ministries, and more.
Participants will also walk to raise funds for Project Tariro, a ministry led by deacons that helps people in Zimbabwe live with HIV/AIDS.
Major speakers include the Rev. Joaquín García, a deacon who has been at the forefront of the diakonia movement in The United Methodist Church and ecumenically, and the Rev. Barbara García, a deacon with extensive local, conference and general church leadership experience who is executive assistant to the bishop in the Tennessee Conference. Bishops Sally Dyck
Deacons and diaconal ministers share God’s love with those in need and lead church people to pursue justice and peace. (Diaconate and related words come from the Greek word for servant.) They serve in a wide variety of settings, such as in congregations as ministers of education or music, or as social workers, attorneys who advocate for children, nurses, conflict mediators, grief counselors and teachers.
The United Methodist Church began consecrating laypeople as diaconal ministers in 1976 and ordaining deacons with full clergy rights in 1996.
The convocation’s early-bird registration deadline has been extended to Jan. 15. Until that date the registration fee is $260, which includes most meals, workshops and materials. Scholarships are available through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the organizer of the event, and most annual conference boards of ordained ministry have ministerial education funds available to ordained deacons.
Church musicians invited to gather in Nashville
By Dean McIntyre**
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (FUMMWA) invites all music directors, praise team leaders and members, pianists, organists, keyboardists, choir leaders and choir members — anyone who is involved in music in The United Methodist Church — to a retreat Jan. 25-28 in Nashville.
Sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church and Scarritt-Bennett Center, the retreat is limited to 50 participants staying in the dormitories at Scarritt-Bennett, plus commuters as coordinators are able to accommodate them. A listing of nearby hotels is available at http://www.gbod.org/worship/musiciansretreat/hotels.asp.
The cost is $295, including registration, materials, lodging and meals. The cost for commuters is $99, not including lodging or meals.
Details are available at http://www.gbod.org/worship/musiciansretreat/home.asp, including registration form and instructions.
More information or help registering is available by contacting Jeannie Musterman, registrar, at 877-899-2780, extension 7070, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Board of Church and Society invites members to join petition to end torture
General Board of Church and Society Staff
This statement reads: “Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. It degrades everyone involved — policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished ideals. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable. Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now — without exceptions.”
Individuals may endorse this statement by visiting the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church Web site at http://www.umc-gbcs.org/nrcat.
A devotional study on the theme of torture is also available on the site. Each week’s study invites readers to “reflect, learn and act” on the weekly topic. Some topics are “Jesus the Tortured One” and “Jesus Incarnated Among Those Tortured.” The devotionals can be used at any time.
General agency endorses Alliance for Fair Food, encourages members to do same
By John S. Hill**
Washington — At its most recent board meeting, the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church endorsed the Alliance for Fair Food, a network of religious and community organizations working to promote dignity and justice for farm workers.
Building on the historic agreement reached with Taco Bell last year, the Alliance is working to expand socially responsible purchasing by the fast food industry, specifically focusing attention on McDonalds. In March 2005 the agreement between the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and the parent company of Taco Bell provided nearly double the wages for tomato pickers and an enforceable code of conduct to improve working conditions in the fields. To date, McDonalds has been unwilling to develop a similar code or address the exploitative working conditions in the fields.
The Alliance has developed a bulletin insert to help congregations highlight the plight of tomato pickers in Florida and provide opportunities for individuals and congregations to take action. The bulletin insert is available for download and printing at http://www.umc-gbcs.org/atf/cf/%7B325AB72F-313E-4CC3-BB1A-EF0A52968A8D%7D/Bulletin%20McDs%20Methodist.pdf.
More information on the Alliance and ways to get involved are available at http://www.allianceforfairfood.org.
Music directors seek gifted United Methodists for ’08 assembly
By United Methodist News Service
MADISON, N.J. — Local church choirs, ensembles and bands, instrumentalists, singers, dancers and dance groups, as well as visual, video, textile and performing artists from around the world, are invited to send audition tapes for a chance to perform at worship services at the 2008 General Conference.
Mark Miller, a co-music director for the 2008 conference, is seeking United Methodists interested in sharing their gifts in worship to submit a recording (DVD, CD, VHS, cassette, mpeg, mp3) plus a brief bio and other supporting materials by postal mail by March 30. Address them to Mark A. Miller, director of music, Drew Theological School, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, N.J., 07940, or send them by e-mail to email@example.com.
The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly will meet April 23-May 2, 2008, in Fort Worth, Texas. The 1,000-member international body meets every four years to decide issues of church law and polity.
Miller, of Plainfield, N.J., and Marcia McFee of Truckee, Calif., were selected by the Commission on the General Conference as co-music directors.
Miller is well known throughout the United Methodist connection as a worship leader, teacher and performer of sacred music. He is director of music and instructor of church music at the Drew Theological School, Madison, N.J. He also serves as the director of contemporary worship at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City and is a lecturer at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, New Haven, Conn. He has directed music for numerous United Methodist annual conferences and youth events. He has composed a number of hymns, including a collection, Amazing Abundance, Hymns for a Growing Church, published by Abingdon Press.
He received a master’s of music degree in organ performance from the Juilliard School in New York and a bachelor's degree in music from Yale University.
McFee is the principal of Peace by Peace Productions, where she serves as a consultant on worship, arts and preaching. She has preached, taught and led worship at numerous United Methodist gatherings in the United States, Europe and Asia.
In addition to consulting on worship, music and dance, McFee has been a guest lecturer on worship at six United Methodist seminaries and is the author of The Worship Workshop: Creative Ways to Design Worship Together, a book for worship teams and published by Abingdon Press. She earned a doctorate degree in liturgical studies from the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkley; a master’s degree in theological studies from Saint Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Mo.; and a bachelor’s degree in dance education from New York University. She is a recipient of the Hoyt Hickman Award for scholarship in the study of liturgy and effective worship leadership.
The music directors will work with the Council of Bishops and staff from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship to plan worship services for the General Conference. They also will lead hymn singing, coordinate additional music performances and venues, and audition and select vocal and instrumental musicians for the conference.
West Virginia camp offers summer youth mission opportunities
By Caryl Kelley**
LAKELAND — Asbury Woods, a United Methodist retreat center in Salt Rock, W.Va., is encouraging church youth groups that are planning now for a summer mission experience to see what the camp has to offer.
The mission’s vision is to offer compassionate help in the spirit of Christ to people in need, hoping to heal both hearts and homes.
Weeklong camps are offered for senior high youth and adults. One adult for every six youth is required. Weekend camps are open to middle school youth with appropriate adult supervision.
Several weeklong mission camps are scheduled for next summer. The weeks scheduled for 17-100 participants are June 10-15 and July 22-27. The cost for the camps is $400 per person, which includes all meals (except Wednesday evening), all work-site materials, devotional programming, on-site project manager and air-conditioned lodging with access to a swimming pool, chapel, fishing pond, campfire, hiking trails and basketball, softball and volleyball areas.
The weeklong camp for 10-16 participants is June 24-29. The cost is $250 per person, which includes all of the above except meals and programming.
Weekend camps for 10-16 participants are July 13-15 and Aug. 3-5. The cost is $100 per person, which includes all of the above except meals and programming.
Other dates are available by special request. More information may be obtained by contacting Bobby Hall at 304-733-4237 or Jan Sullivan at 304-736-9962 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seminary holds Summer Collegium for pastors of small churches
By Tristan Hodges**
More information about the 2007 Summer Collegium, including brochures to pass on to pastors who might be interested in applying and application forms, are available on the Summer Collegium Web site at http://www.vts.edu/education/collegium.
Interested individuals may e-mail questions to SummerCollegium@vts.edu or call 703-461-1752. The project manager of the Summer Collegium is Marilyn Johns, D.Min.
*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.