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Opportunities — Sept. 23, 2007 {0743}

Opportunities — Sept. 23, 2007 {0743}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Sept. 23, 2007

Sept. 23, 2007    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0743}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Contemporary music showcase seeks artists and bands
Riverside Retreat holds Riverfest open house
n Creativity conference takes concepts from the experts
n Adult Appalachian Trail Hike set for October
n Lay speaking training events held across the conference
n Training event for large churches expects to make world of difference





n Methodists called to stand up against global poverty
Dalai Lama visits Atlanta’s Centennial Park
Southeastern Jurisdictions holds diversity conference
Racial and ethnic clergywomen to explore gains, obstacles
n Elder hostel program at Epworth by the Sea highlights Wesleys





Contemporary music showcase seeks artists and bands

By Joey Herres**

TAMPA – Ignition, a contemporary music showcase, will be held Oct. 5-7 at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church, 2902 W. Fletcher Ave, Tampa.

The event is designed as a showcase of artists and bands that want to be heard or are considering contemporary Christian music as a career path. It is also a conference/workshop with industry song writers and producers.

The Ignition Conference is open to bands, urban and hip-hop groups, vocalists, solo artists and worship teams.

The Ignition event creates an environment where artists can meet, share ideas and team up to better impact their world. In addition, event organizers hope this event will help connect artists to local ministries, merchandizing companies and recording studios.

The showcase evaluation portion gives artists and bands the chance to play in front of industry professionals who evaluate their performance, offering guidance and valuable feedback.

The registration form can be downloaded from The conference cost is $89. Interested individuals may call 530-896-0559 for information about band entry registration and costs.

More information, including a printable promotional flier, is available by contacting Joey Herres at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church at

Riverside Retreat holds Riverfest open house

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference’s Riverside Retreat Center in LaBelle will hold Riverfest, a family open house and festival, Oct. 6.

Riverside Retreat, LaBelle Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Public Archaeology Network are sponsoring the event.

Families can enjoy a day of hayrides, nature hikes, exhibits of local artifacts, and talks with local authors and artisans. A local pottery exhibit, health and wellness information, spear throwing, palm frond weaving and children’s activities will also be included in the day’s activities. Food will be available at a small cost.

The focus of the event is to provide a site where the community can gather to learn new things, find out about organizations and programs in their area, and have fun. Everyone is invited to explore the facility and all Riverside Retreat has to offer. All activities are free and open to the public, 10 a.m.-4 p.m..

Riverside Retreat is located at 7305 CR 78 (North River Road), LaBelle, 33935. More information about Riverside Retreat is available at by choosing the link to Riverside Retreat Center. More information about the event is available by contacting Martha Pierce, Riverside Retreat director, at 863-675-0334 or

Creativity conference takes concepts from the experts

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Church leaders who want to see how the masters of creativity work their magic and how that can be applied in the church will have an opportunity at the Church and Creativity Conference Oct. 9-11 at First United Methodist Church, Kissimmee.

Participants will visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios with a team of experienced Christian creative experts that will help each person get in touch with their creativity through the work of the Holy Spirit. Participants will learn new ideas and fresh approaches, with a chance to learn from each other through a time of sharing and networking.

Attendees will develop insights into the basic philosophy of creativity, gain an understanding of how creativity and spirituality are closely related, learn about the philosophy of creativity and service behind Walt Disney World and Universal Studios from current industry staff, develop applicable methods of creative thinking and planning from experts in the field, receive expert individual advice from conference leaders, and share in the creative community of conference attendees.

Conference leaders include Dr. Bob Tuttle, professor of World Christianity at Asbury Theological Seminary; the Rev. Dr. Jeff Stiggins, director of the Florida Conference’s Congregational Transformation office; the Rev. Dr. Scott Baker, pastor at First United Methodist Church, Kissimmee; Dr. Bob Pierson, executive director of Leadership Nexus; and a team of talented Christian staff from Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

The conference price is $232, with a special price of $132 for seminary students. In order to make this a more unique and personal experience, the event is limited to 150 persons.

Registration information or additional information about the event may be obtained by e-mailing Pierson at

Adult Appalachian Trail Hike set for October
By Joel Pancoast**
FRUITLAND PARK — Adult hikers can enjoy a week hiking the Appalachian trail and meeting other hiking enthusiasts from across Florida Oct. 22-28 during the Florida United Methodist Adult Appalachian Trail Hike.

Backpacking hikers will spend five days and four nights on the trail, while day hikers can stay at Vogel State Park in Georgia, taking shorter hikes on different trails in the area.

Participants must be at least 18 years old and in good physical shape. All hikers must have a completed physical done within a month of the hike. Medical forms for day and overnight hikers are available at An application form, a list of “essentials for the trail,” and day hiker information and packing list are also available on the site.

The cost for the hike is $125. Hikers will meet at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park. Transportation to the hiking location in Georgia is provided.

Individuals wanting more information or who have questions are asked to contact Joel Pancoast, program manager at the Warren W. Willis Camp, at 352-787-4345, extension 3, or

Lay speaking training events held across the conference

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Lay speaking training prepares lay people to be in ministry through caring, communication and leadership.

Individuals interested in that opportunity are invited to attend one of several Lay Speaking Training events scheduled in the conference’s districts this fall.

The South Central District will offer its training Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. Classes run from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Both days are required for each of two courses, which will run simultaneously.

The basic course textbook is “Lay Speaking Ministries” by Jack Gilbert and Nan Zoller. This course qualifies participant as local church lay speakers and focuses on basic skills for communicating, leading and caring. Topics include God’s call for proclaiming the gospel through worship, witnessing, teaching, preaching, leadership, service, personal faith, lifestyle and speaking. Pat Steed and Zanda Moore, both certified lay speakers, will teach the course.

The advanced course on the United Methodist Social Principles uses the textbook “Justice in Everyday Life” by Neal Christie and Howard J. Mason. The course qualifies a local church lay speaker as a certified lay speaker and fulfills the every-three-years educational requirement for continuing certification. Participants will consider and explore the denomination’s social principles and delve into existing issues surrounding matters of faith and practices. Janice Bingham, who has a master’s in religion and is a retired school counselor, will teach the class.

Classes will be held at Hillsborough United Methodist Church, 9008 Harney Road, Tampa.
Participants should select one course. The course fee of $35 includes textbook and lunch both days.

Checks should be made payable to “South Central District” and mailed with a registration form to Karen Morin, P.O. Box 533066, Orlando, FL 32853-3066. Individuals needing more information may contact Morin at 813-390-3299 or

The North East District lay speaker training classes will be offered Oct. 19-20 at St. James United Methodist Church, 400 Reid St., Palatka, 32177. The schedule is 7-9 p.m. Oct 19 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct 20.

In addition to the basic course for lay speaking, two advanced classes are available: “Lay Speakers Lead in Worship” and “Lay Speakers Lead Small Groups.”

The registration fees are $25 for the basic class and $30 for the advanced classes, including books, lunch and snacks. Participants are encouraged to register early. A registration form may be obtained by calling Gwen Dube at 904-751-4912 or

More information about the conference lay speaking ministry and leadership training events is available at

Training event for large churches expects to make world of difference

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


Methodists called to stand up against global poverty

By Mark Harrison**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Board of Church and Society invites all United Methodists to make a difference in the fight against global poverty, all on one day this October.

The Millennium Campaign of the United Nations and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty are organizing the “Stand Up Against Poverty Campaign.” It’s an effort encouraging individuals to stand up Oct. 17 and symbolically show their support of efforts to end poverty and hold governments and leaders accountable for promises to end poverty by 2015.

Millions of people from around the world will participate in the global advocacy event to set an official Guinness World Record — the greatest number of people ever to stand up against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals.

To achieve this goal, the General Board of Church and Society is urging council and organization members to host events around the country that day. The board hopes United Methodists will use this opportunity to speak out on behalf of their related priorities: Darfur, ending hunger, fighting HIV/AIDS and others. Churches are encouraged to coordinate an event for the public, gather their members, have a “stand-up moment” during regular meetings and services, or host a simple dinner for friends to show their support. Events must fall between 9 p.m. GMT Oct. 16 and 9 p.m. GMT Oct. 17.

More information about registering an event to be counted is available at More information about the General Board of Church and Society’s Peace With Justice Program is available by contacting Mark W. Harrison at

Dalai Lama visits Atlanta’s Centennial Park

By Emory University Staff

ATLANTA — Emory University presents an afternoon with the Dalai Lama Oct. 20-22.

The Dalai Lama will deliver a public talk titled “Educating the Heart and Mind: A Path to Universal Responsibility” Oct. 22. More information is available at

The venue for the Saturday event will be Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. Gates open at 1 p.m., with musical entertainment beginning at 3 p.m. The main program begins at 4:45 p.m. and ends at 6:15 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Thousands are expected to attend. Organizers recommend attendees arrive early. All seating is lawn seating (no chairs provided or allowed) so participants should take a blanket or cushion.

Reserved section seating is possible for those who sponsor the event. More information about sponsorship opportunities is available at

Southeastern Jurisdictions holds diversity conference

By Southeastern Jurisdictional Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The United Methodist Church strives to be a church for all of God's children, but many congregations struggle to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Leaders also frequently find themselves ill equipped and unprepared to guide their congregation through a change for inclusiveness and assure a diverse church for all.

The Southeastern Jurisdiction and Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center will present an innovative conference Dec. 13-15 that addresses these challenges. Designed to inspire and equip, the “Transforming Lives by Embracing God’s Diversity” conference will show United Methodists how to be more ethnically inclusive through relevant and well-researched techniques and methods. These skills help build diverse congregations and can be used to address other areas of conflict and differences within the church.

Event leaders include Herb Walters, founder of Rural Southern Voice for Peace; Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Conference; Retired United Methodist Bishop Woodie White; Bishop James Swanson Sr. of the Mississippi Conference; and Sylvia Peterson, a native of Mexico and director of Centro Latino in North Carolina.

The registration fee is $50 per person if received before Nov. 16. It is $75 after that date. Housing costs vary according to facility chosen. A brochure including registration details, a schedule, a registration form, rates at Lake Junaluska housing facilities and leadership information is available at

A link to an online registration form is located at

More information about the multicultural event may be obtained by contacting Carl Arrington, director of African-American Ministry, at or 828-454-6739 or Tammy McDowell, administrative assistant, at or 828-454-6681.

Racial and ethnic clergywomen to explore gains, obstacles

By Vicki Brown**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A gathering of racial-ethnic clergywomen will celebrate the gains they have made in The United Methodist Church and address challenges they still face during a Jan. 3-5 conference in Los Angeles.

The consultation, “Rising From Our Common Ground,” follows up on the findings of the 2004 study of the status of racial-ethnic clergywomen in the denomination, according to the Rev. HiRho Park, an executive with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. The board sponsored the study.

“The study found that racial-ethnic clergywomen experience no substantive support from the denomination, struggle with lack of opportunities for appointments and visible leadership roles, and receive salaries that are lower than those of their male and female European-American peers and their male racial-ethnic peers,” Park said.

“The Status of Racial-Ethnic Minority Clergywomen In The United Methodist Church” study also found that racial-ethnic clergywomen feel a lack of support from the denomination and that “they pay an unexpectedly high price for being faithful to the call,” according to the study’s authors.

One of the Seven Vision Pathways set by the denomination’s Council of Bishops is to expand racial-ethnic ministries in the United States and Park said the consultation will address that issue.

Other goals of the consultation include:
• Affirming the ministries of racial-ethnic clergywomen and their leadership in the church.
• Engaging in dialogue among racial-ethnic clergywomen and seeking strategies to reinforce actions for change.
• Theologizing and articulating the experiences of racial-ethnic clergywomen.
• Sensitizing the church to racial/ethnic clergywomen’s issues. 
The last gathering of racial-ethnic United Methodist clergywomen was held in 1982. There are more than 1,000 active racial-ethnic clergywomen in The United Methodist Church today.

“This event is more significant since our denomination celebrated the 50th anniversary of clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition in 2006,” Park said. “It is time for us to seriously reinforce actions for change.”

Julienne Melveaux, president of Bennett College for Women, one of the 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges, will be the banquet speaker. Melveaux is an economist and will discuss economic issues related to racial-ethnic women and children, including immigrants. Bishop Minerva Carcaño will preach at the opening worship service and Bishop Linda Lee will preach the closing sermon.

One session will address networking, solidarity and accountability related to future racial-ethnic clergywomen’s leadership in the church. Representatives from church agencies and the Council of Bishops have been invited to attend.

Interested individuals may register for or obtain more information about the Racial-Ethnic Clergywomen’s Consultation at

The 2004 study is available online at

Elder hostel program at Epworth by the Sea highlights Wesleys

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Epworth by the Sea, the Methodist Conference Center for the South Georgia Conference, is offering a unique elder hostel program March 16-21.

The conference center is at St. Simon’s Island, near Brunswick, Ga.

Elder hostel programs offer in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning experiences for almost every interest and ability. Programs include activities dealing with history, culture, nature and music, as well as outdoor activities, such as walking and biking, individual skills, crafts and study cruises.

The subject of the elder hostel program is John Wesley in Colonial Georgia: St. Simons Island and Savannah (program #8165). John Wesley came from England to the colony of Georgia in 1736 as an Anglican minister to the colonists. He found his ministry thwarted by many residents. Participants will discover where Wesley lived and ministered on St. Simons, and they will spend a day in Savannah to see where Wesley landed and served the new colony.

All participants will also enjoy a historic district tour and southern lunch. The Rev. Dave Hanson of St. Simons Island will lead the study.

A second course will explore great hymns of the faith, including many written by Charles Wesley, with participants examining hymn texts and joining in group singing. The Rev. Ken Fansler and pianist Mary Lu Norris of South Carolina lead this experience.

The elder hostel Web site is A description of lodging accommodations at Epworth by the Sea is available at The cost for the Wesley program is $485/double occupancy or $550/single occupancy.

Interested individuals may register by calling 877-426-8056 and giving the program number and date. A complete program listing or answers to questions may be obtained by contacting Cindy Doehring at or 912-638-8688.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
   Fields is executive director of Servant Ministry at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando.
   Harrison is program director for Peace With Justice, General Board of Church and Society, Washington, D.C.
   Herres is director of contemporary worship and arts at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church, Tampa.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   Pancoast is program manager at Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp, Fruitland Park.