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Opportunities — June 28, 2007 {0696}

Opportunities — June 28, 2007 {0696}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — June 28, 2007

June 28, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0696}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Seminar shows how to ‘get the dollars to stop here;’
n Life Enrichment Center becomes Spanishtown this fall;
n Training event for large churches focuses on range of ministry.

n Event offers ‘cues and clues’ to developing, implementing small groups;
n ‘Elevation!’ retreat provides continuing education for lay, clergy worship leaders;
n Conference focuses on justice issues;
n Racial/Ethnic Clergywomen’s Consultation scheduled;
n Resource provides help with prison ministry;
n Dillard University seeks reconstruction assistance;
n Wesley Seminary program begins suicide prevention program;
n Program calendars serve as useful leadership resource.


Seminar shows how to ‘get the dollars to stop here’

By United Methodist Cooperative Ministries Staff

CLEARWATER — Pastors, church staff and laity who want to know how to “get the money to stop” at their church are invited to a two-session grant writing seminar offered by United Methodist Cooperative Ministries (UMCM).

The half-day seminars will be held Aug. 16 and 21, 9 a.m.-noon.

The first session will focus on how to find the funds needed to expand church ministry. The second session will focus on how to write a successful grant and keep what is awarded.

The cost of this two-day seminar is $30 per person. The sessions will be held at Skycrest United Methodist Church, 2045 Drew Street, Clearwater, FL 33765. 

Advance registration is required by calling United Methodist Cooperative Ministries at 727-442-6881. Checks should be made payable to UMCM, with Grants Seminar in the memo line, and mailed to United Methodist Cooperative Ministries, 1625 Union Street, Clearwater, FL  33755.

United Methodist Cooperative Ministries is a social outreach ministry of the Florida Conference’s Gulf Central District that serves portions of Manatee, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and west Citrus counties, with main offices in Clearwater and two satellite locations in St. Petersburg.

Life Enrichment Center becomes Spanishtown this fall

By Icel Rodríguez**

LAKELAND — Individuals who would like to enhance their Spanish-speaking skills are invited Oct. 22-28 to Spanishtown, also known as the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park during the rest of the year.
Spanishtown is an immersion program that brings “pilgrims” (Spanish students) and “guides” (Hispanic mentors) together for a week of “all Spanish, all the time.”

It includes five hours each day of one-on-one conversation, devotionals, group dynamics, ministry opportunities (visiting/volunteering at the Immokalee farm workers association and the Florida Conference immigration clinic in Orlando), and sharing traditions and culture.
Any church participant, lay or clergy, from any Christian tradition may apply for admission to the program. Certain proficiency in Spanish is required. Typically, this means the equivalent of two or more years of high school or college Spanish. Anyone who can carry on a simple conversation in Spanish about interests, family or life experience is ready for Spanishtown.
The best way to really learn a language is to speak it, according to organizers. Spanishtown offers the environment for those who have been studying Spanish to overcome shyness and fears and be able to communicate with confidence.
The main goal of Spanishtown is to equip church participants for effective cross-cultural ministry in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ. The program is endorsed by the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church and by Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary.
The cost of room, board and tuition is $750. Continuing education credit units can be earned. Interested individuals may obtain more information by contacting Icel Rodríguez at 800-282-8011, extension 182, or
Spanishtown is a cooperative effort of the Florida Conference’s Connectional Ministries and Congregational Transformation offices and camps and retreat ministries.

Training event for large churches focuses on range of ministry

By Lynette Fields**

ORLANDO — A five-day event next year at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando will provide leaders of large churches a range of experiences, from comedy to music to Latin flair, all with the goal of helping them strengthen their ministries, locally and globally.

Under the theme “Making a World of Difference,” churches whose worship attendance numbers 350 or more will gather in Orlando Jan. 21-25 for the United Methodist Large Church Initiative National Training Event.

The conference is sponsored by the Large Church Initiative and the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. Its host is St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Sessions will be held both at St. Luke’s campus and at the DoubleTree Hotel at the entrance of Universal Orlando.

The theme is based on Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Throughout the week, planned activities will take participants on a ministry journey that mirrors the experience of the early disciples — from their homes and local churches (Jerusalem) to their communities (Judea and Samaria) and then to the world (ends of the earth).

The conference begins with a reception commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and featuring Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, president of Bethune-Cookman University, and the Bethune-Cookman Concert Chorale.

The second day’s focus is on striving for health, individually and as congregations. The Rev. Gil Rendle from the Alban Institute will be one of the featured plenary speakers, and Orlando’s SAK Comedy Lab will provide an entertaining approach to teamwork among church staff and lay teams.

The third day of the conference will focus on how local churches can make a difference in their communities and highlight innovative ways congregations have developed partnerships between cultural groups and with nonprofit and public organizations. The Rev. Dr. Gary Mason of the East Belfast Mission in Belfast, Northern Ireland, will share how congregations can reach communities that are experiencing great conflict.

Discussions during the fourth day will consider global connections. The Rev. David Beckmann of Bread for the World will share stories about the work of his organization and its efforts to eliminate world hunger.

The conference will end with an international dinner at the Latin Quarter at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk. The closing speaker is Bishop Peter Storey from The Methodist Church in South Africa.

Individuals needing more information or wanting to register may call the Large Church Initiative hotline at 407-876-4991, extension 412, or visit


Event offers ‘cues and clues’ to developing, implementing small groups

By Southeastern Jurisdictional Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Churches wanting to develop small groups in their church will learn some “Cues and Clues” to small group development at a three-day event July 26-28 at the Lake Junaluska Assembly and Conference Center.

Participants will discover the many types of small groups that enable a church to be in ministry with and to people as they grow in their faith journey.

Rob Huckaby, administrative pastor at Brentwood United Methodist Church, will lead the “Cues and Clues” event. Prior to joining the Brentwood staff, Huckaby served as a Christian educator in the North Carolina Conference. He has provided leadership in many areas in a variety of situations at local, district, annual conference and jurisdictional levels.

Program fees for the event are $90. The commuter fee for those staying off-campus is $5 per person, per day. A continuing education unit (CEU) is an additional $5. A CEU credit of 1.7 hours will be given for full-time participation. Program fees are in addition to housing costs.

A $35 per person reservation deposit is taken at the time the registration is made. This is applied to the final bill. Housing and meal packages have been arranged for this event. Single room (plan A) is $184. A double room (plan B) is $138 each, and a triple (plan C) is $122 each. Packages include the room and six meals. There is also a $1 common area fee per person, per day applied to final bill.

Housing information is available by calling 800-222-4930. Registration is done separately from housing. A brochure and more information is available at

‘Elevation!’ retreat provides continuing education for lay, clergy worship leaders

By Peace by Peace Productions Staff

LAKE TAHOE, Cal. — Recent studies consistently report that vital and authentic worship leadership is a crucial aspect of the vitality of congregations.

A new series of training events at Lake Tahoe will offer clergy and lay persons an immersion experience in the theological, spiritual and practical dimensions of their task as worship leaders.

The first session, titled “Elevation!,” is Oct. 29-Nov. 2 at Zephyr Cove Conference Center in Lake Tahoe.

Dr. Marcia McFee, director of this continuing education opportunity, has been a lecturer in the field of worship, as well as consulting with churches and conferences across the country, for 15 years. She is the author of a book on worship design and will be the director of worship for the 2008 General Conference.

“Clergy persons report a need for coaching in skills to enhance what they began in seminary,” McFee said. “And gifted lay persons have expressed their desire for a deeper theological grounding that reflects their denominational tradition — whatever the worship ‘style.’ ”

Leaders will be able to participate in the event as a stand-alone experience or as the first in an on-going professional development process.

“Elevation!” will include sessions on sensory-rich worship design, dynamics and flow, order and spontaneity, the spirituality of worship leadership, and enhancing sacramental rituals. Participants will hone skills related to particular roles, such as visual design, accompaniment, congregational song leadership, writing and ritual action. Significant time for spiritual renewal in the beauty of the Sierra Mountains is an integral part of the retreat. Continuing education units are available.

Registration information is available at or by calling toll free 877-387-7977. Those who register before July 15 receive a discount.

Conference focuses on justice issues

By General Board of Church and Society Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A conference designed for people who have a passion for working toward peace and justice will be held Nov. 1-4 in Fort Worth, Texas.

“Living Faith, Seeking Justice” will gather people from around the world to learn and share with each other about their work, ministry, ideas, successes and failures. General session speakers, workshops, a “Cityscape” space that will highlight art that reflects justice, and site visits to area ministries will illustrate a commitment to justice and peace.

Speakers include United Methodist clergy, activists and others working to bring mercy with justice to those who need it most in this country and around the world.

Workshops will be grouped into five categories: health and wholeness, gender justice, peace with justice, economic and environmental justice, and civil and human rights.

Individuals who would like more information or to register may visit

Racial/Ethnic Clergywomen’s Consultation scheduled

By General Board of Higher Educations and Ministry Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) of The United Methodist Church will sponsor the Racial/Ethnic Clergywomen’s Consultation early next year for United Methodist racial/ethnic clergywomen who reside in the United States.

Meeting under the theme “Rising From Our Common Ground,” the event will be held Jan. 3-5 at the Radisson Hotel at the Los Angeles Airport.

The goals of the 2008 event are to respond to one of the Council of Bishops’ seven vision pathways called expanding racial/ethnic ministries for United States conferences, address the findings of the 2005 study “The Status of Racial-Ethnic Minority Clergywomen In The United Methodist Church” by GBHEM, affirm racial/ethnic clergywomen’s ministries and their leadership in the church, engage in dialogue among racial/ethnic clergywomen, and develop strategies to reinforce actions for change.

More information on the consultation is available at

The last such gathering took place in 1982, according to the Rev. HiRho Y. Park, director of Continuing Formation for Ministry at GBHEM.

“This is a new beginning for racial/ethnic clergywomen,” she said, “as they come together seeking unity among them to rise up for the best of humanity.”

Resource provides help with prison ministry

By General Board of Discipleship Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — According to the United States Department of Justice, one in every 136 U.S. residents was behind bars in the summer of 2005.

To help address the alarming increase in that population, the General Board of Discipleship has published a new prison ministry toolbox to help congregations in this ministry.

The “Congregational Tool Box for Prison Ministry” was created in response to a 2004 General Conference action related to providing restorative justice materials for United Methodist churches.

“The tool box encourages people to look at the whole criminal justice system, while providing practical, hands-on suggestions for ministry in the reality of our current prison system,” said Betsey Heavner, the publication’s author and compiler.

The “Congregational Tool Box for Prison Ministry” ($8.00) is available for download at

Churches that are serious about beginning restorative justice ministries or retooling prison ministries will find helpful ways to care for those who are incarcerated and their families, provide for children, visit in prisons, and bring justice and reconciliation in their communities.

The publication updates the “Prison Ministry Guide” published in 1996 and targets Christian communities and individuals who recognize God’s call to be involved in ministries of justice and mercy.

The toolbox provides an overview of criminal justice issues and presents possible ways churches may engage in prison ministry. The 26-page resource includes chapters titled Introduction to the Problem of a Growing Prison Population, Raising Congregational Awareness for Ministering With Those in Prison, Getting Started With Prison Ministry and Seven Ways to Engage in Criminal Justice Work and Prison Ministry.

Dillard University seeks reconstruction assistance

By Linda Green**

Dillard University needs carpenters, landscapers, painters and “people to do whatever one does when the ceilings and walls are in disrepair,” according to its president.

The United Methodist-related university in New Orleans sustained massive damage when Hurricane Katrina roared across the Gulf Coast almost two years ago. The school is calling on people who know about construction, building codes and compliance to assist in making its facilities better than before.

“One of our goals has been not just to return the facilities to the pre-Katrina status, but to make all the facilities better than they have been,” said Marvalene Hughes, Dillard president. The campus grounds also need upgrading to “make them more appealing and a place where students sit and just spend their leisure time simply enjoying the beauty of the campus,” she said.

In particular, the school is focusing on remodeling its chapel, which Hughes described as the “heart of this campus.”

Immediately following the 2005 hurricane, the entire campus was under water for an extensive period. The 136-year-old university is about a quarter of a mile from the levees that broke, and ensuing flooding turned the campus into a lake eight to 10 feet deep.

Three buildings burned down and three others had to be demolished because of water damage, Hughes said. The university rebuilt each remaining building and was able to salvage other structures and declare them usable after “demucking” and certifying them free of mold or other environmental dangers.

In the two years since the hurricane, the university has addressed student housing, classroom space and dining areas and has modified recreational space.

Dillard has been fortunate to “have good insurance through EIIA and has recovered more than $100 million” from its damages, according to Wanda Bingham, the staff member at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry who directly relates to schools, colleges and universities.

EIIA, the Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators Inc., is the risk insurance company available to all of the church’s colleges and universities. The company was formed during the 1960s, when a number of historically black colleges and universities related to The United Methodist Church were unable to obtain property coverage from the commercial insurance market. The denomination assisted the colleges by combining their resources and buying insurance as a group.

“My estimation now is that we are about 55 percent back to our normal status, meaning that our construction is back at about that amount and that our student population is about at that number and so are faculty and staff,” Hughes said.

Dillard reopened on its own campus last September after using a downtown hotel for classrooms and housing.

Prior to Katrina, 1,900 students were enrolled at Dillard, and the enrollment during the spring term that just ended was 1,100 students. “I want to go beyond that. I have a five-year target for that,” she said.  

While Dillard has reached its anticipated goal since Katrina, it is preparing to aggressively recruit in order to attract former and new students. “We are continuing our construction, so that the space will be there and the campus will be more attractive than it ever was,” Hughes said. A May 18 story in the “Chronicle of Higher Education” indicates the enrollment outlook this fall for the colleges and universities in New Orleans is brighter and the institutions expect larger enrollments.
The university, its friends and supporters want to build a 21st century campus, Hughes said. Dillard has taken a master plan perspective and invested and raised $15 million to enhance its science labs, nursing labs and public health labs. “It took a lot of money, but we raised it. All of the labs are new,” she said.

The university is ready to enter the second phase of its recovery process, and it is focusing its attention on the chapel, “where the spirit exists” on campus, Hughes said.

Other areas of reconstruction include the administration building and the library. The administrative offices are currently in a rented space in downtown New Orleans.

The chapel is the only building that did not stand in water. Wind and rain damage to the roof allowed water into the building.

“The chapel needs a lot of internal remodeling and painting and doing whatever one does when the ceilings and walls are in disrepair,” Hughes said. In addition to being a worship facility, the chapel is also used for classroom and meeting activities.

“Even to get it back as it was will cost a lot of money for the interior, and then to move it to the stage where we really want it to be will cost about $2.6 million,” she said. It also needs gardeners and painters, she added.

Insurance covered the cost of the chapel's roof but not the building's interior, according to Hughes. After engaging in an architectural bidding process, "we discovered that we are about $2 million off, so it (remodeling) is on hold," she said.

 The denomination's support is needed in restoring the chapel to its role as the hub of the university, officials said.

“The chapel needs extensive renovation and I believe the love and labor of United Methodist VIM teams could really bless the school and students,” said Cynthia Hopson, director of the Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns, the local church apportionment fund that supports the African-American academic institutions related to The United Methodist Church.

She encourages United Methodists to “pray, send money and students so the school can return to its previous glory” and she expressed “confidence that rebuilding Dillard will be a critical part of a renaissance in New Orleans.”

Bingham agrees. “I think a great deal of the growth in enrollment in future years will be linked to the recovery of New Orleans.”

Wesley Seminary program begins suicide prevention program
By Ingrid McIntyre**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A major step in bringing the vast resources of religious groups to bear on the task of suicide prevention has been launched by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. 

Beginning with the 2007 fall semester, Wesley will offer a six-course Suicide Awareness Ministry certificate program.
Faith-based communities can play an essential role in suicide prevention. That reality becomes increasingly clear with the number of suicides reaching 30,000 a year and suicide attempts nearing one million.
“We are convinced that laity, clergy and non-professionals working in suicide prevention can be trained to create teams within each local congregation,” said professor Susan Willhauck, director of the Equipping Lay Ministry program at Wesley. 

“Washington is an excellent location for the studies to take place,” she added. “Over a dozen organizations in the area are at work on various phases of research, clinical, pastoral care and advocacy related to suicide prevention.”
Students will have the opportunity to learn directly from members of these groups as they probe biblical, historical, theological and ethical perspectives. They will also become better informed with their own community’s stand on suicide.
Among the program planners and instructors is Dr. James T. Clemons, author of “What does the Bible say about Suicide?” and editor of “Sermons on Suicide.”  He is professor emeritus of New Testament at Wesley, where he taught for 28 years.
Details, application and registration on the Equipping Lay Ministry Program are at More information about the certificate program is available by contacting Sula Tyler at 202-885-8720 or

Program calendars serve as useful leadership resource

By Diane Denton**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The 2008 official program calendar of The United Methodist Church is available now through United Methodist Communications in a variety of formats, including desk, wall and pocket calendars.

United Methodist Communications produces this annual calendar as a leadership resource. It includes a variety of information church leaders need to keep close at hand, such as agency addresses and telephone numbers, notations of churchwide observances, events and Special Sundays, and a monthly planning checklist to keep users on track all year long.

The theme of the 2008 calendar is global health. A new United Methodist global health initiative seeks to raise awareness and understanding of global health issues, engage participation and create support across the denomination for expanding health ministry, and significantly reduce illness and mortality related to diseases of poverty, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Individuals interested in purchasing a calendar or needing more information may call toll-free 888-346-3862 or visit


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
** Rodríguez is associate director for Global Mission and Justice Ministries of the
Florida Conference
    Fields is executive director of Servant Ministry at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando.
    Denton is director of the public information office at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.
    Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
    Ingrid McIntyre is enrollment counselor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.