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In Brief — April 6, 2007 {0654}

In Brief — April 6, 2007 {0654}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief — April 6, 2007

April 6, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0654}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Russian bishop visits Florida, leads consultation on Russia Initiative;
n United Methodists invited to join in ‘Celebrating a Generous Church.’

Russian bishop visits Florida, leads consultation on Russia Initiative

By Erik Alsgaard**

Bishop Hans Växby. Photo courtesy of United Methodist News Service. Photo #07-0561.

LAKELAND — Bishop Hans Växby of the Eurasia Episcopal Area will visit the Florida Conference later this month, continuing his work on the General Board of Global Ministries’ (GBGM) Russia Initiative of The United Methodist Church.

Växby was bishop for the Nordic and Baltic regions of the denomination’s Northern Europe conference for 12 years until his last term expired in 2001. He then served as pastor of a local church in Helsinki before being elected bishop of the Eurasia Area in 2005.

Växby will be speaking at First United Methodist Church in Ocala, 1126 E. Silver Spring Blvd., April 25, starting with dinner at 6 p.m. On April 26 he will lead a mini-consultation on the Russia Initiative at 10 a.m. at Boca Grande United Methodist Church, 325 W. 3rd Street.

All laity and clergy are invited to attend the gatherings to hear about efforts with the Russia Initiative and how they may become involved.

The Russia Initiative began in the winter of 1991-1992 under the leadership of GBGM. Its primary purpose was to deliver food to the Moscow region in Russia. Following that project, GBGM expanded beyond aid programs to include the re-establishment of Methodism in the former Soviet Union.

The Eurasia Annual Conference was established in 1997 and expanded to four annual conferences in 2003. A fifth annual conference was added to the area in 2005. Today, Växby oversees 104 churches with 112 pastors under appointment.

Many U.S. United Methodist churches have participated in the Supportive Congregations Program, offering salary and local church program support for churches in the Eurasia Area. A Partnership Program, which supports mission outreach in areas where there is no Methodist presence, is also available. In addition, churches are invited to help support the Russia United Methodist Theological Seminary in Moscow, which was dedicated in 2005 and trains pastoral and lay leadership in an indigenous setting.

More information on Växby’s visit or the Russia Initiative may be obtained by contacting the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, director of the Florida Conference’s Global Mission and Justice Ministries office, at

United Methodists invited to join in ‘Celebrating a Generous Church’
By Diane Denton**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodists are invited to join in a town hall meeting called “Celebrating A Generous Church!” via teleconference April 17 at 2 p.m. (CDT).
The event brings key church leaders together to discuss findings from a new report titled “This is Our Story,” as well as talk about the four “provocative propositions” — leadership development, congregational development, ministry with the poor and global health. Participants will also hear stories about remarkable United Methodist churches having an impact in the world.
“This is Our Story” is a new report produced by the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) that portrays where the church is and where it’s going.
“The United Methodist Church is working together — congregations, annual conferences, agencies and bishops — in new and exciting ways to reach out and touch people in the name of Jesus Christ,” said Sandra Lackore, top executive of GCFA. “We’re seeing a renewed commitment to supporting ministries across the church.”
The denomination’s general agencies and commissions developed the “provocative propositions” in support of the Council of Bishops’ vision pathways. Chosen through careful research, the four proposals represent areas where the boards and agencies will work collaboratively in new, positive ways to focus the church’s spiritual and financial resources.
A portion of the event will be devoted to an interactive question and answer session with the audience and panelists.
Listeners are encouraged to congregate in small groups to participate in the call and then have their own discussion afterward as they are able.
Participating leaders include Lackore; Jerome DelPino, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry; Randy Day, General Board of Global Ministries; Karen Greenwaldt, General Board of Discipleship; Jim Winkler, General Board of Church and Society; and Larry Hollon, United Methodist Communications

Interested individuals may participate by calling toll-free at 800-868-1846 and entering the participant code 63761235
More information may be obtained by calling Diane Denton at 615-742-5406.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference. 
   Denton is director of public information at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.