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Opportunities — Aug. 26, 2007 {0728}

Opportunities — Aug. 26, 2007 {0728}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Aug. 26, 2007

Aug. 26, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0728}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Fall Confirmation Retreat offers insight on membership vows
n United Methodist Women hold spiritual enrichment retreat
n ‘Road show’ helps churches jumpstart their outreach effectiveness
n Laity, clergy asked to consider needs of older adults
n North West District holds lay speaker training
n Disaster Recovery ministry seeks HAM radio operators

n National conference offers tips for starting health ministry
n Sing, celebrate rhythms of Christian year
n Weaving a Web of connections
n Bible study looks at parables through Middle East eyes
n Resources for Laity Sunday available
n Children's Sabbath manual available
n Church asked to advocate against torture
n Christians from around the world join journey of justice
n Grants available to help churches engage youth with vocational call
n United Methodist asked to share favorite, least favorite hymns




Fall Confirmation Retreat offers insight on membership vows

By Camps and Retreat Ministries Staff

FRUITLAND PARK — The Warren Willis United Methodist Camp is offering its Fall Confirmation Retreat Sept. 14-16.

The confirmation retreats are an opportunity for local church confirmation classes to receive sound teaching on the vows they will be asked on Confirmation Sunday. Participants will also have the chance to bond with other confirmands from around the state while completing the low initiatives portion of the camp’s challenge course and diving into their curriculum during church small-group time. The retreat also features games and worship.
Confirmation groups are encouraged to attend the entire weekend, but if that is not possible, to depart Saturday night.
The cost for the retreat is: Package A – Friday night through Sunday morning, $80 per person; and Package B – Friday night through Saturday night, $60 per person.

More information, a weekend schedule and a registration form are available at
Questions should be directed to Joel Pancoast at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp at 352-787-4345 or

The Spring Confirmation Retreat is Feb. 29-March 2, 2008.

United Methodist Women hold spiritual enrichment retreat

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — “Secure in The Potter’s Hands” is the theme for the 2007 Florida Conference United Methodist Women’s Spiritual Enrichment Retreat Sept. 14-16.

All United Methodist women and their guests are invited to attend. Also included within the weekend is a mini-retreat for high school- and college-aged young women. It runs Saturday noon to Sunday noon.

The retreats will be held at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. The costs are $115 per person for room and meals for the full weekend, $55 for commuter meals, $40 for children 3 and older, and $60 for room and meals for the mini-retreat, with a limited number of scholarships available for the mini-retreat.

The Rev. Barbara Awoniyi, pastor of New Life United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, is the full retreat leader. Sue Terrell and Shirley Rowe will lead music. Child care is also available.

The Rev. Candace Lewis, pastor of New Life Community United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, will lead the mini-retreat. There will also be special music, and comedienne Matir Kirk will share her gifts of humor.

More information and a registration form are available on the Florida Conference United Methodist Women’s Web site at

Additional information on the full retreat is available by contacting Helen Sweatt at 727-867-5232 or and on the mini-retreat for young women by contacting Joyce Waldon Bright at 407-282-7366 or

‘Road show’ helps churches jumpstart their outreach effectiveness

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Churches that want to discover how the four laws of effective outreach can enhance ministries to their communities are invited to attend the Outreach Road Show at First United Methodist Church of Orlando Sept. 20, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The Four Laws of Effective Outreach Road show is a leading workshop on the foundation principles of effective outreach. The principals are: Law 1 – creating an identity for outreach; Law 2 – attracting visitors; Law 3 – connecting newcomers; and Law 4 – equipping members to be inviters.

Workshop participants will receive free outreach tools and product giveaways; engage in interactive discussion, sharing ideas and networking for outreach; become better informed about the trends that impact ministry; gather creative outreach ideas to help them develop ministries; and network with other outreach-oriented church leaders.

The cost for the workshop is $39 per person. A registration form is available at Event information is available at

First United Methodist Church of Orlando is located at 142 E. Jackson Street, Orlando, 32801.

Laity, clergy asked to consider needs of older adults

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — This fall a special workshop on ageism will be offered for all clergy and laity.

Titled “The Aging Revolution,” the workshop is required for all active clergy, but all conference laity are invited and encouraged to attend.

The idea for the workshops came from the Beyond 50 Ministries’ report given at the 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event. The workshop addresses the needs of “this major segment of the membership of our churches that we can’t ignore” said the Rev. Charles Weaver, assistant to Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker.

A workshop will be held in most of the conference’s districts and led by the Revs. Gary Bullock, pastor of The Villages United Methodist Church, and Warren Langer, pastor of Sun City United Methodist Church.

The first workshop will be in the East Central District Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Asbury Theological Seminary, Orlando.

Other dates and locations include:

* Sept. 25, North East District, Lakewood United Methodist Church, Jacksonville;
* Sept.  26, North Central District, New Covenant United Methodist Church, The Villages;
* Sept.  27, North West District, First United Methodist Church, Perry, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.;
* Oct. 8, South Central District, First United Methodist Church, Zephyrhills, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.;
* Oct.  10, Atlantic Central District, First United Methodist Church, Port St. Lucie, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.;
* Oct. 12, South West District, First United Methodist Church, Punta Gorda; and
* Oct.  17, Gulf Central District, Palm Harbor United Methodist Church.

Laity interested in attending the workshop should contact their district office for more details. District office contact information is available at

North West District holds lay speaker training

By Joyce Estes**

TALLAHASSEE — All conference laity are invited to participate in training classes for both basic and advanced lay speaking Oct. 12-13 at Killearn United Methodist Church in Tallahassee in the conference’s North West District.

Starr Clay will teach Basic Lay Speaking: Commitment to the Call, and Howard Rasmussen will teach Advanced Lay Speaking: Teaching Adults to Teach. Both leaders are from Killearn United Methodist Church.

Classes run 6-9 p.m. Oct. 12 and 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 13.

The registration fee is $25 per person, which includes books, lunch and snacks. Participants are encouraged to register early so they can receive the materials that will be used in the classes.

Participants may register by contacting Joyce Estes, co-director of the district’s lay speaking ministries, at 850-899-0866 or or Amy Bowman, North West District administrative assistant, at 850-386-2154 or

Killearn United Methodist Church is located at 2800 Shamrock South, Tallahassee, 32309.

Disaster Recovery ministry seeks HAM radio operators

By Bill Roy**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference Disaster Recovery ministry is seeking assistance from Florida United Methodists who are licensed HAM radio operators and would be willing to work with the conference in disaster or emergency situations.

HAM radio remains the most reliable means of communication in times of disaster. Disaster Recovery is putting together a network of radio operators to be used in case of emergency. The operators will set an agreed upon time to be on the radio to test their equipment.

The Disaster Recovery team hopes to establish this conference-wide network before an emergency to be ready any time a disaster occurs. Network operators could then communicate the needs of churches within their geographical area.

Operators who would like more information or to register to be part of the network should send their name, call sign, home church and e-mail address to Bill Roy at

Operators may also visit


National conference offers tips for starting health ministry

By Deborah White**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Starting a health ministry can be as simple as cultivating a healthy environment at church to support positive lifestyle choices, says the Rev. Pam Harris, M.D., a physician and United Methodist clergywoman.

Harris, associate medical director of Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care, started the health ministry at Leawood (Kan.) United Methodist Church where she serves as minister of health. Previously, she started and led the health ministry at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood.

She will be among the speakers at the third annual National Congregational Health Ministries Conference Sept. 23-26 in Wichita, Kan., sponsored by the General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits. 

Harris will lead workshops about laying the foundation for health ministry and using planning tools to develop action plans. She recommends looking beyond the typical health ministry model of health education and medical screenings.

“We’re trying to get folks to think about expanding the view of health ministry to look at whole person care — body, mind, spirit, all together and all in balance,” she says.

“Everyone knows if you want to lose weight you need to decrease calories and expend more energy. Nobody loses any weight by knowing that,” she adds. “Very often people need to do some work in time management, stress management, mental/emotional and spiritual care.”

Harris offers a few tips for starting a health ministry. Find out what people want, present it in a non-threatening way, make it fun and provide support.

“Congregational assessment is one of the most critical things,” she says.

Don’t limit leadership to medical professionals. Other members of the congregation may have a passion for healthy lifestyles. Encourage church members to participate together in a health event in the community, such as a fund-raising walk or run. Offer healthy food alternatives, such as a bowl of fruit for fellowship hour or salads and vegetables trays at church dinners. Learn about resources available from groups such as the American Heart Association or American Cancer Society.

“Many groups have people who will provide education. You don’t have to do it yourself,” she says.

Two scholarships per annual conference are available for the health ministries conference, which has a registration deadline of Sept. 1. Individuals may register or learn more by visiting and click on “Events and Education” or calling Anne Green at 847-866-4560.

Sing, celebrate rhythms of Christian year

By Cintia Listenbee**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Choir Music Weekend Sept. 28-30 at Lake Junaluska brings together choral training, hand bells, workshops on various subjects, worship and fun in one of this country’s most beautiful locations.

Most events are for choir directors alone, but Choir Music Weekend is designed primarily for the choir member. Workshops taught by respected and experienced leaders will focus on vocal/choral techniques, handbells, holy crafts, small choir reading sessions and Bible study.

Participants will learn skills and music they can take home and use in their local worship ministries, including eight anthems “Sunday-ready” for worship. Individual choir members or entire choirs participating in the weekend will be able to teach the anthems in a shortened rehearsal time to those who are not able to attend.

Four different directors will teach the anthems, offering four different perspectives and instruction on how to be a better singer. Participants will learn on several levels what it means to serve God through the ministry of music.

The program cost is $30 per person. Online registration and a downloadable form are available at Housing rates at Lake Junaluska facilities area available at

More information is available at

Weaving a Web of connections

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND — Local churches looking to expand their presence on the Web or interested in the latest Internet technology for ministry are invited to join local church, district and conference volunteers, staff, webmasters/servants, communicators, editors and pastors for “Weaving a Web of Connections,” a training event Oct. 12-13 at Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Co-sponsored by the Alabama-West Florida Conference and United Methodist Communications, the event will feature workshops titled Web Ministry 101, Dynamic Content and Design, Developing a Team Approach to Ministry, Web Ministry as Part of Your Church’s Total Communications Plan, Welcoming the Seeker Through Web Ministry, and Using Template-Based Design from E-Zekiel.

Panel discussion and a keynote speaker, along with plenty of time for questions and networking, are provided. Vendor exhibits include United Methodist Communications’ TechShop, E-Zekiel, 7Villages and Big Heart Design.

The $50 training fee includes all meals, breaks, sessions and materials. The registration deadline is Oct. 1.

Interested individuals may register online at by selecting “Weaving a Web of Connections” or by calling 888-346-3862.

Space is limited to 100 people. Overnight accommodations have been arranged with the Hampton Inn on Pensacola Beach, less than five miles from the church, for a special rate of $129 per night for up to four people per room. Reservations should be maid directly with the hotel at 850-932-6800.

More information is available at or by e-mailing

Bible study looks at parables through Middle East eyes

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Dr. Evelyn Laycock will lead a Bible study titled “Looking at the Parables Through Middle East Eyes” Oct. 15-18 at Epworth By the Sea, St. Simon’s Island, Ga.

Laycock served as director of the Lay Ministry Center for the Southeastern Jurisdictional Administrative Council in Lake Junaluska, N.C., for 10 years. During this time she traveled extensively, holding classes, workshops, retreats and seminars. She continues to teach and lead groups in her commitment to a ministry of praise.

The cost for the study includes lodging for three nights, nine meals, registration fee and taxes. Continuing education units are also available.

The cost is $308.21 per person, single occupancy, or $226.43 per person, double occupancy.

A brochure is available at Information about accommodations and online registration is available at or by calling 912-638-8688.

Resources for Laity Sunday available

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Oct. 21 has been designated as Laity Sunday in The United Methodist Church, and “One in Spirit, All in Ministry: In the Spirit of Stewardship” by Sandy Zeigler is the suggested theme for this year’s Laity Sunday message.

The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) Web site also provides a Laity Sunday worship service, including worship helps, a bulletin insert and poster, suggested hymns, scriptures, responsive readings and prayers. These Laity Sunday resources can be found at

There are many other useful items on the Web site for laity in the local church, including information about becoming a “Certified Lay Minister,” which is the new lay position for pastoral leadership. There are tools for lay members to annual conference, lay speaker certificates and a lay speaking ministries poster. There is also a guidebook for leaders of a lay retreat and a packet of job descriptions and suggestions for leadership training in local churches.

Complete details on Laity Sunday can be found at

Children's Sabbath manual available

By Linda Bales**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each United Methodist congregation is urged to plan a service or other event to lift up the needs of children in local communities and around the globe during the national observance of Children’s Sabbath Oct. 19-21.

This year’s Children’s Sabbath manual, published by the Children’s Defense Fund and titled “My Boat Is So Small: Creating a Harbor of Hope and Health Care for All Children,” has been designed to help churches achieve that goal.

The manual guides members in developing worship services, education programs, direct service activities and social justice initiatives for their congregation, organization or community.

According to the Children’s Defense Fund, this year’s manual focuses on how churches can create a safe harbor of hope and health care for all of the nation’s children, including the 9 million children in America without health insurance and the poor and minority children facing risks and disadvantages that often pull them into a “cradle-to-prison pipeline.”

This easy-to-use reference provides worship materials for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahá'í and other faith traditions and resources for an interfaith gathering. It also offers bulletin inserts, ideas for hands-on service and advocacy efforts, guidance for strengthening efforts for children throughout the year, and more.

Each manual is $8 plus postage and may be ordered at Individuals who would like to purchase in bulk or have additional questions may contact Kenneth Libby at 865-457-6466 or

Church asked to advocate against torture

By Rich Killmer**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Board of Church and Society is a participating member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), an interfaith coalition of more than 125 national, regional and local religious organizations committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of anyone without exception.

Congregation across the country are invited to be one of the 1,000 congregations to show Rory Kennedy's HBO documentary, “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” (recently nominated for four Emmy awards) as part of NRCAT’s “Spotlight on Torture” project Oct. 21-28. More about the NCRAT project is available at

More than 50 congregations in 25 states and Washington, D.C., hosted a screening of “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” during the initial phase of this project in June 2007. Comments from the facilitators were overwhelmingly positive.

The next phase of the project will see another 950 congregations across the country showing the film Oct. 21-28. NRCAT is encouraging congregations to participate in the project.

“Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” features the photos of torture at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, but it digs beneath the headlines to investigate the psychological and political context in which torture occurred and ask critical questions about impact and accountability.

NRCAT will provide each of the 1,000 congregations participating in the Spotlight on Torture project a copy of the DVD, along with a packet of supporting materials, including a detailed facilitator’s guide and handouts with background information and suggested action steps. NRCAT wants to help communities of faith move beyond an emotional response to the film’s intensity to a positive and constructive commitment to faithful action.
This film is for mature audiences only. The images and some of the interviews are extremely intense.

NRCAT has undertaken the “Spotlight on Torture” project because it believes “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” will help people of faith deepen their understanding of the nature of U.S.-sponsored torture. Due to the film’s intensity, it is important that audiences have the opportunity to talk about their thoughts and feelings through facilitated dialogue and consider possible anti-torture activities.

Churches may learn more about the project and sign up to show the film at Additional questions may be sent to John Humphries, NRCAT’s director for program coordination and contact person for the Spotlight on Torture project, at or 860-216-7972.

More information about NRCAT is available at

Christians from around the world join journey of justice

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The General Board of Church and Society invites all United Methodists to join Christians from around the world for four days of transformational learning, preaching, collaboration and community building.

Any clergy or layperson who is working to join justice and mercy will nourish and equip their ministry at the “Living Faith, Seeking Justice” conference Nov. 1-4, in Fort Worth, Texas.

An event preview video can be seen at

Participants will gain resources, techniques and programs to teach and preach the Social Principles, train and equip others to understand and live out justice in their lives, and mobilize others to engage in advocacy and work that transforms the world in the ways of Christ.

The conference includes top speakers and justice leaders; culturally-diverse and biblically-grounded preaching and worship; workshops with proven exercises and strategies for justice ministries in a local church; and straight talk about the issues facing the church and the world. It will nurture and encourage leadership among laity, clergy, students and seminarians with creative arts and entertainment. Continuing education credits are available.

The conference will be held at the Hilton Fort Worth in downtown Fort Worth, Texas (

Individuals may register at

Estimated program costs are $175-$225 for individuals, $300-$400 for groups and $125 for students. Scholarships are available. The scholarship deadline has been extended. More information is available at

Grants available to help churches engage youth with vocational call

By the Lewis Center for Church Leadership Staff
Washington, D.C. — The Fund for Theological Education (FTE) is offering competitive grants ranging from $5,000 to $12,000 to congregations to support programs that cultivate a sense of Christian vocation and the call to ministry among youth. 

Church-related organizations are also eligible to apply if their project is focused on building a “culture of call” within congregations. 

FTE will award $200,000 in grants over three years, beginning in 2007. 

The next deadline for grant applications is Oct. 15; application forms are available at

The grants are awarded through the Fund’s Calling Congregations initiative, which is a national, ecumenical effort funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc.

United Methodist asked to share favorite, least favorite hymns

By Dean McIntyre**
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodists are invited to participate in an online survey by telling the General Board of Discipleship their 10 favorite and 10 least favorite hymns. Participants may choose any 10 selections in any combination from “The United Methodist Hymnal” (1989) and/or “The Faith We Sing” (2000).

The survey consists of the alphabetical listing of both books’ contents and a check box for each title. Participants simply click on 10 selections. It may be helpful for those taking the survey to think about the selections prior to completing the survey, perhaps even by browsing through the hymnal and making a list.
After selecting up to 10 favorites, participants will then be asked to select up to 10 of their least favorite hymns and songs or titles that should not been included. Up to 10 titles may be selected from either or both books in combination.
The survey will not allow the selection of more than 10 titles. After choosing the selections, participants will be asked to respond to five demographic questions that help the general board in analyzing the survey. All participation information and responses are confidential and anonymous. No names or identifying personal information will be required.
This information will be used to help the General Board of Discipleship plan for future resources in congregational singing and in identifying changes and trends in musical style. The board is grateful for all participation and asks everyone to encourage their friends, children, congregations, Sunday school classes, students, professors, pastors, choir members, church staff — any United Methodist — to participate.
Individuals who would like to take the survey are asked to visit


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
** Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
   Bales is a program director at the General Board of Church and Society, Washington, D.C.
   Estes is co director of the North West District’s lay speaking ministries.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   Killmer is a staff member at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
   Listenbee is a communications specialist for the Southeastern Jurisdiction, Lake Junaluska, N.C.
   McIntyre is director of music resources for the General Board of Discipleship, Nashville, TN.
   Roy is an emergency response team coordinator for the Florida Conference
   White is associate editor of Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine.