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Opportunities — Oct. 16, 2007 {0753}

Opportunities — Oct. 16, 2007 {0753}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Oct. 16, 2007

Oct. 16, 2007     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0753}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Early Response Team training offered
n National worship team training provided at Umatilla church
n Halifax Urban Ministries gathers food for Thanksgiving food baskets
n Women ‘practice the presence’ in 2008
n Church leaders learn how, why ‘everything must change’ at upcoming conference
n Registration opens for first conference on ‘The Methodist Way’
n Five-day Spiritual Formation Academy brochures available online

n United Nations Sunday highlights goals to end poverty
n 2007 United Methodist Student Day worship resources available


Early Response Team training offered

By Pam Garrison**

LAKELAND — Early Response Teams (ERT) are self-contained teams registered with the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry that enter a disaster zone at the invitation of local emergency management officials.

ERTs offer a Christian presence and are trained to provide various types of physical, emotional and spiritual assistance to disaster survivors. The conference disaster recovery ministry coordinates team placement with emergency management to get help where it is needed most after a disaster.

ERT training focuses on types, phases and levels of a disaster and explains what is meant by early response. It also covers spiritual and emotional care, support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), faith-based response in disaster, and team leadership needs and equipment. Attendees receive a disaster response manual, T-shirt and certification credentials identifying them as early responders for the Florida Conference.

The next training for ERTs is Oct. 26, at 6 p.m., through Oct. 27 at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park.

The cost for the training includes three meals (dinner Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday) and lodging at camp cabins (dorm style with bunk beds). Attendees should bring bedding, towels and personal items. Early registration before Oct. 19 is $25 per person and $35 per couple. Registration after Oct. 19 is $35 per person and $45 per couple. Registration closes Oct. 24 and is limited to the first 50 registrants.

Individuals may register at More information is available by contacting Pam Garrison at 800 282-8011, extension 148, or

National worship team training provided at Umatilla church

By Elaine Vaughn**

UMATILLA — A national worship team training experience will take place via a first-ever satellite simulcast in Umatilla Nov. 2-3

Held at First United Methodist Church of Umatilla, 250 W. Guerrant St., 32784, Worship Summit 2007 features top-notch worship leaders and artists, including Michael W. Smith, Paul Baloche, Darlene Zschech and Don Moen, sharing their skills and insights.

The event is open to all worship leaders and teams.

Nov. 2 will feature a four-hour special session dedicated to exploring the newest technologies for worship and how they can be applied to worship experiences, no matter the size of the church or budget. This includes information about audio, video, lighting and other technical aspects related to worship.

Nov. 3 will include a full day of worship and insights from today’s foremost voices in worship. This will be practical, targeted training to help worship teams sharpen skills and focus.

The cost for the event is $109 at the door. Box lunches will be available at the church for $5.

More information about the schedule, leaders and registration is available at Individuals may also register by calling the church at 352-669-2741 or e-mailing Elaine Vaughn at

Halifax Urban Ministries gathers food for Thanksgiving food baskets

By Marilyn Beecher**

ORLANDO — Halifax Urban Ministries (HUM) and Greater Orlando Food Outreach are making plans to supply families with food for Thanksgiving dinner.

They will be collecting and distributing food through their west Volusia distribution program or from their office sites in the Daytona area and will give away supplies for 800 dinners at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. They need churches to collect food from a list they will provide and volunteers to help with distribution.

The purpose of Halifax Urban Ministries is to respond to the needs of hungry, homeless and low-income people in Florida’s Volusia and Flagler counties. Halifax Urban Ministries cares for people in need by providing emergency services, with the objective of keeping them from becoming homeless.

Greater Orlando Food Outreach will have distribution points in Lake, Osceola, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties. It will provide bags of all the traditional foods, except the turkey.

Churches can register for the number of bags they need. Each church will then be responsible for picking up the bags at the central site and distributing them to families. Churches may want to add a $10 Publix or Winn-Dixie gift certificate to cover the cost of a small turkey.

Churches or individuals interested in helping may contact Marilyn Beecher at, Halifax Urban Ministry at 386-252-0156 or, and Greater Orlando Food Outreach at 407-849-0079 or

Women ‘practice the presence’ in 2008
By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The 2008 Florida Conference Women’s Retreats provide women a time to intentionally take a break from the responsibilities of their home, children, families and jobs; to set their feet on holy ground; and to meet Jesus Christ face-to-face.

The theme for the 2008 retreats is “Practicing the Presence.” Through Bible study and worship participants will learn how to live daily and in the moment in God’s presence.

The four weekend retreats begin Jan.18-20, and each includes enrichment classes, hymn sings and a “make it-take it” class.

The keynote speaker for the first weekend is the Rev. Sheryl Marks-Williams, the music leader is Higher Ground, and the Bible study leader is the Rev. Alexis Talbott. Devotional leaders are Marilyn Thomas and Deb Davis.

Weekend two is Feb. 1-3. The keynote speaker is the Rev. Deborah Nelson, the music leader is Diane Anders, and the Bible study leader is Sarah Baldridge. Devotional leaders are Mary Ashcraft and Diane Shepard.

Weekend three is Feb. 22-24. The keynote speaker is the Rev. Carol Sue Hutchinson, the music leader is Sue Sommer, and the Bible study leader is Annjeanette Munnings. Devotional leaders are Carol Iseman and Carol Cameron.

Weekend four is March 7-9. The keynote speaker is the Rev. Jackie Leveron, the music leader is Maureen Still, and the Bible study leader is the Rev. Beth Fogle-Miller. Devotional leaders are Martha Pierce and Maureen Corristan.

Costs for the weekend include a program fee, housing and meals and vary depending on whether attendees stay at the Life Enrichment Center, the Warren Willis Camp or the Family Camp Ground.

Complete information about each weekend, including a brochure and online registration, is available at

Church leaders learn how, why ‘everything must change’ at upcoming conference

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference’s Connectional Ministries office is sponsoring a stop on Brian McLaren’s “Everything Must Change” tour in 2008.

Included on the tour are events in 11 cities. The only stop in Florida is Feb. 29-March 1 at First Baptist Church in St. Petersburg.

McLaren says the church is in ‘’deep shift” as leaders and members try to discern how to be a Christian in today’s church and world. The tour and associated resources strive to answer such questions as:

• What does it mean to be a follower of God in the way of Jesus in today’s world?
• What does it mean to be a faith community engaged in the holistic, integral mission of God in our world today?
• How do we, as individuals and faith communities, respond faithfully to the crises facing our world?
• What is our duty to God, ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our enemies and our planet in light of Jesus’ radical message of the kingdom of God?
• How can we engage in personal formation and theological reformulation for global transformation?

The on-site tour experience will include:

• Opportunities to hear and respond to new material from McLaren;
• Q&A and dialogue;
• Book-signing and -release party for McLaren’s newest book, “Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope,” available at a special introductory price;
• An experience for reflection guided by Linnea Nilsen Capshaw using the art exhibit “Nude Truths: An Odyssey in Poetry, Painting and Prose” in digital and book form, showing how to experience the individual and communal deep shifts needed for ‘everything to change.’
• New music, liturgical experiences and other resources attendees can use in their faith communities, created with Tracy Howe (
• Networking and conversation groups about faith, art, justice, mission, spiritual formation, worship and community; and
• Stories of deep personal life change and the resulting community and global impact.

A portion of the gathering’s proceeds will go toward helping a local peace/justice mission or charitable project chosen with the help of the host and a global project chosen with the co-sponsors.

This is a “green event.” Organizers will seek to minimize waste of resources and energy. Attendees are encouraged to carpool to the gathering closest to them.

Participants also have the opportunity for off-site dialogue and are encouraged to prepare for the tour by going online to FirstShift experience at or Practice DeepShift at for a more intense six-month process for new and established churches. There will also be opportunities to follow-up with coaching and connecting after the event.

Event details, registration information and costs are available at

Registration opens for first conference on ‘The Methodist Way’

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND — Hundreds of people learned about the five practices of The Methodist Way at the 2007 Florida Conference Event. Coming in spring 2008 will be the first of five, two-day conferences to take laity and clergy deeper into understanding about each of the five elements and how each is related to the others.
The first conference, “Passionate Worship: Divine Inbreaking,” will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville April 11-12 and repeated at United Methodist Church of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach April 14-15.
Both locations will feature four presentations based on the different movements of worship, plus 21 breakout groups featuring such topics as basic worship planning, worship as spiritual formation, worship in the emerging culture, care and feeding of a praise team, and connecting worship to the outside community. There will also be opportunities for participants to meet with other worship leaders and pastors to network and share resources.
Pastors, worship leaders, worship teams and anyone involved in making worship happen at their local church are encouraged to attend this conference. Interested individuals may register at

Those planning to attend the workshop may register early at a rate of $65 per person until Oct. 31. The rate is $80 per person Nov. 1-Feb. 29 and $95 per person March 1-April 10. There is one student rate of $65 per person. A special team rate is also available for teams of five or more at $65 per person until Feb. 29 and $80 per person March 1-April 10.

More information is available by contacting Kelly Moore at 800-282-8011, extension 183, or or by visiting The Methodist Way Web site at

Five-day Spiritual Formation Academy brochures available online

By Carol Sue Hutchinson**

LAKELAND — The Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation is an opportunity each year for laity and clergy to come together for a week of renewal and refreshment for their spiritual journey.

The next academy is March 30-April 4, 2008, at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. The 2008 brochure is now available online at

The agenda for each day includes time with the academy’s two speakers, prayer, work with a covenant group, personal quiet time and many other activities that create an atmosphere for participants to learn, grow and deepen their relationship with Christ.

Registration is limited to 65 participants. Registration information is now available in a downloadable pdf format at

The total cost for the academy is $525, including tuition, meals and lodging in single occupancy rooms with a bath and all linens provided. Tuition may be paid in full with registration or as a $125 non-refundable deposit with registration and three payments of $134 on Oct. 31, $133 on Jan. 15 and $133 on March 20. Alternative payment schedules are available upon request.

Churches or districts may help with scholarships if financial assistance is needed. Some conference scholarships are available.

More information about scholarships and the academy is available by contacting Sherri Lingle in the Florida Conference discipleship ministries office at 800-282-8011, extension 132, or


United Nations Sunday highlights goals to end poverty

By Liberato Bautista**

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The theme of United Nations Sunday Oct. 28 is “Millennium Development Goals: Midpoint to 2015, No Turning Back on Compassion, Human Rights and Justice.”

The date of United Nations Sunday is close to the day the United Nations charter was ratified — Oct. 24, 1945 — but local church commemorations may be scheduled on any other Sunday that is convenient.

Information on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is available at

The United Methodist Office for the United Nations has prepared resources for use in the commemoration of the founding of the United Nations. Local churches and Sunday school and adult groups may use these resources, which include a biblical and theological exposition on the eight millennium development goals (MDGs) and articles dealing with how groups within The United Methodist Church and the wider Wesleyan family are promoting the goals. Also included is information on what legislative actions must be taken to achieve the goals and thus fight global poverty — in the United States and around the world.

During the month of October, there will be a focus on the joint campaign by the United States Fund for UNICEF and the General Board of Church and Society to undertake Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. More information about Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and to learn about the general board’s sponsorship is available at

Individuals needing more information about United Nations Sunday may contact the Rev. Liberato Bautista at the General Board of Church and Society New York United Nations office at 212-682-3633, extension 3112, or

2007 United Methodist Student Day worship resources available

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Six times throughout the year United Methodist congregations celebrate churchwide Special Sundays with offerings. This support is critical to the survival of the important ministries being highlighted and for sharing God’s gifts around the world.

A special fund was established in 1866 for the advanced education of Sunday school children and the educational preparation of people for the ministry and missionary service. The 1940 General Conference established Methodist Student Day with a churchwide offering.

The last Sunday in November is designated as United Methodist Student Day. This year that Sunday is Nov. 25. If the designated date conflicts with a local church’s calendar, an alternate date can be selected for the congregation’s observance of United Methodist Student Day.

Free resources that can be downloaded and used in worship services are available at Included are prayers, suggested hymns and Bible readings, and several success stories from students who have received Methodist scholarships through the Student Day funds giving.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for Florida Untied Methodist Communications.
   Bautista is assistant general secretary, General Board of Church and Society New York United Nations office.
   Beecher is director of the East Central District’s Church and Community Connection.
   Garrison is volunteer coordinator and spiritual logistics manager, Florida United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry. 
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service. 
   Vaughn is administrative assistant at First United Methodist Church, Umatilla.