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Opportunities — July 28, 2007 {0710}

Opportunities — July 28, 2007 {0710}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — July 28, 2007

July 28, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0710}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Florida churches to be satellite sites for Willow Creek summit
n New basic disaster ministry training offered
n Registration deadline for fall mission/immersion trip to Haiti is Aug. 15
n Disciple training seminars held in Orlando
n Workshop provides hope, health for the small church
n Foundation announces new speakers for stewardship summit
n Conferences show how to open doors of opportunity
n Methodist Men “Seek Ye First” at October retreats
n Midnight Oil presents seminar on creative worship, design
n Conference offers new online course

n Sending a net can save a life
n United Methodist Association of Communicators establishes scholarship
n World Communion Sunday offerings support vital ministries
n Wesley Theological Seminary explores new doctor of ministry degree programs


Florida churches to be satellite sites for Willow Creek summit

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The 2007 Willow Creek “Lead Where You Are” leadership summit will be simulcast Aug. 9-11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.

Host sites include three Florida Conference churches: Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Coral, CrossRoad United Methodist Church in Jacksonville and Van Dyke United Methodist Church in the Tampa area.

This annual seminar for pastors and laity features speakers Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, Bill Hybels, Michael Porter, John Ortberg, Floyd Flake, Carly Fiorina, Warren Bennis and Richard Curtis. More information about the speakers is available at

Directions to Florida’s simulcast hosting sites are found online at Registration for any of the satellite seminar locations can be done on line at

The cost for the seminar varies, depending on whether a church is a Willow Creek member. A detailed list of costs for all satellite locations is available at

New basic disaster ministry training offered

By Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Staff

LAKELAND — The new disaster ministry training is an introduction to the unique and important role the faith community plays in disaster mitigation, preparation and response in the United States.

Basic disaster ministry teaches people in the faith community how to identify and address unmet needs of all survivors, particularly people who were vulnerable before a disaster, and how to provide a larger vision of life that includes emotional and spiritual care, as well as physical rebuilding to assist in long-term recovery.

At the conclusion of the training, participants will have a practical foundation for how to effectively respond to disaster in any community in cooperation with other churches, emergency management officials and the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry. Participants will understand the importance of communication and collaboration in meeting the needs of disaster survivors and of being the church in the midst of a crisis.

This one-day training is based in part on “Community Arise: A Disaster Ministry Curriculum,” which was developed by Church World Services in collaboration with other faith-based organizations, including the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Lutheran Disaster Services, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Catholic Charities and others.

The training is being offered in two locations, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Aug. 11 at First United Methodist Church of Lake City and Aug. 18 at First United Methodist Church of Moore Haven.

There is no cost for this training, but participants must register. Registration closes one week prior to the date of the training event.

Individuals may register for the training online at or by contacting the disaster recovery office at 800-282-8011, extension 149, or

Registration deadline for fall mission/immersion trip to Haiti is Aug. 15
By Florida United Methodist Communications Staff

The Florida Conference Haiti/Florida covenant design team is planning a medical mission/immersion trip to Haiti this fall.

The trip is scheduled for Oct. 9-15. The cost, including room and board and airfare from Miami, is projected to be $850. The team is limited to no more than 11 people. The deadline to register is Aug. 15.

More information is available by contacting Icel Rodriguez at 800-282-8011, extension 182, or e-mailing

Disciple training seminars held in Orlando

By Sue Barnes**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cokesbury and Disciple Seminars have announced that Disciple training will be held Aug. 23-24 at First United Methodist Church of Orlando at 142 E. Jackson Street.

The training event includes four offerings: “Christian Believer” and “Disciple: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study” Aug. 23 and “Jesus in the Gospels” and “Beyond Disciple I” Aug. 24.

Disciple is a program of disciplined Bible study aimed at developing strong Christian leaders. “Disciple: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study” gives equal time to the Old and New Testaments, emphasizing the wholeness of the Bible as the revelation of God.

Disciple also aims at transformation, not just information, and calls on people to submit themselves to examination by Scripture. Disciple invites participants to bring their experiences and struggles to the Scripture over this 34-week study period.

“Beyond Disciple I” is a one-day offering that allows participants to become confident leaders in all three of the subsequent studies.

“Jesus In The Gospels” invites believers to look at Jesus in each of the four Gospels and ask the question “Who is the Jesus that you see?” This study will deepen discipleship through better understanding of the biblical texts and their message during 30 weeks of study.

The goal of “Christian Believer” is to make available the substance of the Christian faith that the church has confessed as a way of connecting to God and living faithfully. This 30-week study of the classical doctrines of the Christian faith aims at presenting, explaining and interpreting Christian doctrine as the basic teaching of the church on the basis that informed believing leads to committed discipleship. 

Interested individuals may register or find more information by visiting or calling 800-251-8591.

The cost for a one-day seminar is $100. All resources purchased at the training events will be available at a 10 percent discount.

Workshop provides hope, health for the small church

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The Rev. Dr. Jeff Stiggins, executive director of the Florida Conference’s Congregational Transformation office, will lead a workshop for clergy and laity from small churches Sept. 7-8 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.

Stiggins invites participants to join the Small Church Advisory Team for small churches with big ministries.

Joy Banks, minister of music at Simpson Memorial United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, will lead the worship music.

The cost for the workshop is $52.50 per person. Scholarships are available.

More information on the event, registration and scholarships is available by contacting Sherri Lingle at or 800-282-8011, extension 132.

Foundation announces new speakers for stewardship summit

By Suzanne McGovern**
LAKELAND — Two new speakers have joined the roster of The Florida Conference’s First Annual Stewardship Summit, sponsored by The Florida United Methodist Foundation. 

Open to all lay and clergy, the event is Sept. 15 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando.

The Rev. Dan Dick, research coordinator and project manager for the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church, will be the keynote speaker. 

Dick is a consultant for conference and congregational planning, a certified spiritual director, mediator and stewardship specialist. He is the author of eight books published by Discipleship Resources, including “Beyond Money – Living the Life of the Christian Steward” and “Revolutionizing Christian Stewardship for the 21st Century.” He is a former director of stewardship ministries for the Northern New Jersey Annual Conference.

Rev. Melvin Amerson, stewardship director for the Texas Annual Conference and stewardship consultant for the Texas United Methodist Foundation, will present workshops on stewardship in African-American churches. 

Amerson is a specialist in helping pastors and churches create a climate for giving. He has written two books on stewardship for Discipleship Resources: “Stewardship in African-American Churches – A New Paradigm” and “Celebrating the Offering,” a new book due out in December. 

Titled “Making Stewardship a Two-Way Conversation,” the Stewardship Summit will run from approximately 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker will convene the conference with opening worship at 9 a.m. The keynote address will follow at 9:30 a.m. 

Morning and afternoon breakout sessions include “Changing Demographics,” “Reporting/Accountability,” “Stewardship in African-American Churches” and “Stewardship Q&A.”

Florida Conference Treasurer Mickey Wilson and Florida United Methodist Foundation President Tom Marston will be among the workshop presenters.

More information is available by contacting the foundation toll-free at 866-363-9673.

Conferences show how to open doors of opportunity

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Van Dyke United Methodist Church is offering church members an opportunity to take advantage of the open doors that present themselves everyday through the Real Ideas Conference Oct. 5-6.

Doors of opportunity may lead to spiritual growth and changed lives, but most often they stay shut out of fear, anxiety or complacency. Now is the time to start opening doors, and church leaders are called to fearlessly lead the way and help others walk through the open doors of opportunity.

Attendees will discover new doors and gain the courage to march boldly through them with the leading of Jesus Christ. The conference is designed for pastors, staff, leaders and influencers. Attendance is not limited.

There will be three general sessions, four breakout times and more than 30 different workshops. Lunch on Friday is included.

This conference is priced so that churches can bring all of their staff, leaders and volunteers. The early, reduced rate date is Aug. 15. The cost is $65 each for up to four people and $55 each for groups of five to nine people. After Aug. 15 the cost is $90 per person. The early rate for groups of 10 or more is $45 each. After Aug. 15 it is $70 each.

Workshop titles include: “Worship Planning,” “Babies and Jesus,” “Marketing your Ministry,” “Sharing Christ Naturally,” “Overcoming Tech Burnout” and many more. A complete list of workshops titles and online registration is available at

Van Dyke United Methodist Church ( is located at 17030 Lakeshore Rd., Lutz, 33558. More information is available by contacting Karen Peel 813-968-3983, extension 145.

Methodist Men “Seek Ye First” at October retreats

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The 2007 Men’s Spiritual Retreats, sponsored by the Florida Conference United Methodist Men, will be held Oct. 12-14, 19-21 and 26-28 at the Life Enrichment Center and Warren W. Willis Youth Camp in Fruitland Park.

Each retreat follows the same schedule, beginning Friday and ending Sunday morning with worship. The complete schedule is available at

Retreat leaders for Oct. 12-14 are Ed Diaz, co-founder of Walk Thru The Bible Ministries and seminar leader for the past 30 years; the Rev. Scott Smith, lead pastor at Community of Faith United Methodist Church in Davenport; and Don Taylor, division director of Search Ministries, which provides training for Christians in Lifestyle Evangelism. Leading the music is “Higher Ground,” the contemporary praise band from First United Methodist Church of Coral Springs.

Retreat leaders for Oct. 19-21 are John Riley, a challenging, inspirational speaker; the Rev. Denny Hieberg, lead pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Gainesville since 1994; and Dr. Jerry Dooling, who has served six churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference and as superintendent of the Dothan (Alabama) District.

Retreat leaders for Oct. 26-28 are the Rev. Dr. Riley Short, retired senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Lakeland, and his son, the Rev. Phillip Short, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Stuart.

Ross Kimura, music pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Largo, will be music leader for the second and third retreats. A native of Hawaii, Ross has lived in New York City, where he studied at Julliard School of Music.

A bulletin insert that may be downloaded, copied and shared in local churches is available at The registration form is available at's%20Reg%20Form.doc.

The cost of the retreat varies depending on lodging: $128 per person, including room, meals and program, at the Life Enrichment Center; $109 per person, including room, meals and program, at the Warren Willis Camp; and $40, plus a program fee of $30 per person and $41 per person for meals, at the family campground.

A promotional DVD to encourage men to attend the retreats is also available. It includes a three-minute promotional clip that can be used during announcement times. A 19-minute segment that gives an overview of a weekend retreat can be used in men’s meetings, Sunday school classes or church dinners. Copies of the DVD are available by contacting Don Heishman at the United Methodist Men’s office at 877-815-3692 or by requesting one online at

Midnight Oil presents seminar on creative worship, design

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Church worship leaders and design teams can get the full seminar treatment with a Midnight Oil two-day event that combines the newest and best thinking for creative worship and media design — from an overview and foundational principles to the nitty-gritty of how-to.

The seminar is Nov. 2-3, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day, at Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 West Platt St., Tampa, 33606.

Len Wilson and Jason Moore, partners at Midnight Oil Productions, LLC, will lead the seminar. Their goal is to further the vision of worship for the digital age through ideas, resources and seminars that work for local churches.

The one-day seminar “Creative Worship: Culture Art Team Technology” will help participants learn how to work in teams to utilize culture, art and technology to connect people to God in worship.

The next-level seminar, “Design Matters: Create Powerful Media for Worship,” takes a closer look at creating powerful media for worship with an in-depth and hands-on examination of principles for design, ways to utilize media in worship, tools of the trade and more.

A brochure on the seminars is available at: A brochure PDF can be downloaded from

Participants may register for a single day or get a discounted rate for both days online at

Directions to the church are available at More information is available by contacting Warren Pattison at Hyde Park United Methodist Church at 813-253-5388.

Conference offers new online course

By Connectional Ministries Staff
LAKELAND — The Florida Conference recently launched the latest installment of its e-learning online courses. This new module offers training for local church membership secretaries.

Leaders in local churches may access the new course, as well as others, through the Florida Conference Web site at

Other e-Learning modules currently available offer training for staff parish relations committees, finance committees and trustees. A Bible study titled “Where is the Fruit?” is also available. The courses can be found under the “Learning Modules” option on the left side of the Web page.
The conference’s online learning ministry offers leaders in local congregations opportunities to gain information and knowledge in an easily accessible and convenient way. Coordinators also hope the ministry will provide learning resources to a greater number of people. The online courses are an option for church members who can’t attend or wait for similar training offered in their districts or around the conference. The courses also help reduce travel time and costs.
The training modules are designed for novice computer users, as well as those who have more experience using the latest technology, and the site provides an online tutorial to help participants get started.

Future courses will focus on teacher training, leader development and responsibilities of lay leaders, among other topics.

Interested individuals my obtain more information about the courses, provide feedback on the process or suggestions for courses by contacting the Rev. Carol Sue Hutchinson, director of the Connectional Ministries office’s Congregational Life Ministries, at or 800-282-8011, extension 140.


Sending a net can save a life

By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The people of The United Methodist Church have joined the United Nations Foundation, NBA Cares, Sports Illustrated and others in support of Nothing But Nets, a global effort to end malaria, a leading killer of thousands of children in Africa each year. 

A donation of only $10 can save a life by paying for a bed net to protect children and adults while they sleep. 

Anyone wishing to donate or purchase a Nothing But Nets Game Plan Kit to help a church or organization raise funds to save lives may visit Donations can be made online at

The Nothing But Nets Game Plan Kit is $15 and includes a DVD with downloadable resources (video, guidelines, posters, sermon starters and more) and a “jersey” (T-shirt). Nothing But Nets Game “Jersey” T-shirts are $20 each (of which $10 buys a net). 
Resources may be ordered online at More information is available by e-mailing, faxing 615-742-5499 or calling toll free 888-346-3862.

United Methodist Association of Communicators establishes scholarship

By Carolyn W. Dandridge**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Helping Hand Scholarship has been established for local church and foreign communicators. Officers and members of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) fund the scholarship.

UMAC is a voluntary, professional organization designed to provide recognition, fellowship and vocational enrichment for professional and volunteer church communicators. Employees or volunteers in the ministry of communications from any United Methodist church, conference or general agency are eligible for UMAC membership. The membership also includes staff working in communications that are not employed by The United Methodist Church.

The scholarships are offered in recognition of the commitment and work of UMAC’s past president Dawn Hand. She was a conference director of communications for The United Methodist Church and the UMAC Communicator of The Year in 2004. Scholarships will be awarded to one United Methodist working in the communications ministry at the local church level and one Central Conference Communicator working at the district, conference or local church level.

The Helping Hand Scholarship promotes commitment and excellence by aligning a United Methodist communicator with more than 200 professional general agencies, conferences, districts and local church communicators. It also provides an opportunity to develop partnerships and relationships to enhance their communication ministry within The United Methodist Church.

The Helping Hand Scholarship helps recipients broaden their exposure by allowing them to network and work closely with industry experts. This relationship fosters training and exposure to cutting-edge technological advances unique to the field of communications. The recipients will experience an up-close and personal look at theological and practical perspectives of convergent communications. Each scholarship recipient will be assigned a mentor for the duration of the annual UMAC meeting.

Volunteers and paid staff communicators serving The United Methodist Church are encouraged to apply. The scholarship awarded to a representative from the Central Conference will not exceed $3,000. The award to a local church communicator and/or a young adult serving in communications within the United States will not exceed $1,000. The scholarships are awarded annually.

Applicants must demonstrate a clear purpose of how the UMAC experience will enhance their communications ministry and provide commentary on a commitment to continue the relationship with UMAC.

To apply for the scholarship, applicants should provide evidence of their present work in the communications ministry and enclose with the application one letter of recommendation from the applicant’s pastor or conference or denominational official. They should also include a statement (250 words) about their interest in UMAC and their planned use of the experience and send at least two samples of their communications work within The United Methodist Church. A recent photograph (digital or print) should be included. It should be suitable for publicity use if they are awarded the scholarship.

When submitting hard copies via mail, applicants should submit one original and two copies of all material along with their completed application form.

The deadline for application submission is Aug. 31 for Central Conferences and Aug. 15 for those in the United States.

The UMAC Scholarship Committee will review all applications received by the deadline. Notifications of the scholarship winners will be submitted to the UMAC executive committee and announced by Sept. 15. Two scholarships will be awarded for attendance to the UMAC annual meeting Oct. 23-26 in Charleston, S.C. The theme for the annual meeting is “Cast Your Nets.”

More information and steps to begin the application process are available on the UMAC Web site at or by e-mailing Individuals may also receive an application packet by contacting United Methodist Association of Communicators Scholarships Committee Chairperson Carolyn W. Dandridge at General Board of Discipleship Communications & Branding Strategy, P.O. Box 340003, Nashville, TN, 37203-0003, or

World Communion Sunday offerings support vital ministries

By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Six times throughout the year United Methodist congregations celebrate churchwide Special Sundays with offerings. The support of church members is critical to the survival of these important ministries and for sharing God's gifts around the world.

In The United Methodist Church, the first Sunday in October is designated World Communion Sunday (WCS). This year the date is Oct. 7.

Originally a Presbyterian observance, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America established World-wide Communion Sunday in 1940 as a global, interdenominational event. Prompted by the impact of World War II, the Methodist Church received an offering on this Sunday for the Fellowship of Suffering and Service. It aided the work of the Methodist Committee on Overseas Relief (now UMCOR), the Commission on Chaplains and the Commission on Camp Activities.

In 1971 The United Methodist Church changed the name of the observance to World Communion Sunday and redistributed the offering to support the Crusade Scholarship Program (begun in 1944), the Ethnic Minority Scholarship Program and the Division of Chaplains and Related Ministries.

In 1980 Chaplains and Related Ministries was moved to World Service funding, but the World Communion Sunday offering continued to assist racial- and ethnic-minority persons pursuing various avenues of ministry.

Half of the offering provides Crusade Scholarships for international and U.S. (racial- and ethnic-minority) graduate students. Thirty-five percent of the receipts support ethnic scholarships for undergraduate students. Fifteen percent funds Ethnic In-Service Training Program scholarships for racial– and ethnic–minority persons seeking second careers in church-related vocations.

World Communion Sunday worship resources in English, Spanish and Korean are available to download at This includes a bulletin insert with litany, prayer, suggested hymns and scripture readings, and logos.

Wesley Theological Seminary explores new doctor of ministry degree programs

By Ingrid McIntyre**
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Applications are now being accepted for clergy who wish to be considered as candidates for upcoming doctor of ministry degree programs at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

The new focused programs are “Campus Ministries” and “Wesley and the Poor.”  The application deadline is Oct. 1.

The “Campus Ministries” track will strengthen people called to the mission field of the college or university campus. Unique challenges are named and studied, such as working in the shadow of secular science, witnessing in a pluralistic faith environment, meeting the respective needs of traditional and non-traditional students, connecting with local congregations and long-term financial support for ministry. In high-energy seminars and other settings, faculty and participants will forge innovative solutions and practices for campus ministry in the coming decades.
The “Wesley and the Poor” track will provide church leaders with a new vision and new tools for leading the church in ministry to and with the poor.

Data from a recent nationwide survey says nine in 10 Americans want churches to be more active in ministry to and with the poor.  Eight in 10 Americans want churches to be more active in giving poor people a voice in public affairs and in addressing poverty in concert with government agencies. The same survey shows an overwhelming trust in church leaders. 

Church leaders who stand in the heritage of John Wesley, who declared “the unfashionable truth” of the dangers of wealth, fingered the social sources at work in the misery of poverty and preached a responsible grace to the benefit of all persons, know they must do something. 

The full day seminars are Jan. 7-11 and 14-18, 2008.
Other doctor of ministry tracks offered include “Life Together: Spirituality for Transforming Community,” which begins May 2008, and “Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling” and “Arts and Theology” beginning January 2009
The doctor of ministry, a 30-academic-hour program, is a natural continuing education step for dedicated clergy who want to pursue focused study. Applicants must have a strong academic record in their master of divinity from an institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and been in active ministry for three years since graduation. Beyond earning the degree, the seminary hopes graduates function as resource persons for the local and regional church.
Details are available at Questions can be directed to Dr. Lew Parks, director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, at or 202-885-6481. 
Details and application materials are available by contacting the Office of Admissions at Wesley Theological Seminary at 4500 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20016-5690; 202-885-8659 or 800 882-4987; or admissions@wesleyseminary.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Barnes is a staff member at Cokesbury/United Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, Tenn.
Dandridge is a staff member in the General Board of Discipleship Communications & Branding Strategy office in Nashville, Tenn.
Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
McGovern is associate vice president of planned giving-communications for the Florida United Methodist Foundation.
McIntyre is enrollment counselor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Pinkston is media relations office director for the General Board of Discipleship, Nashville, Tenn.