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Opportunities — Jan. 6, 2008 {0781}

Opportunities — Jan. 6, 2008 {0781}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


Jan. 6, 2008     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0781}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Confirmation classes gather for spring retreat
n ‘Jesus is the Lighthouse’ is theme for 2008 couple’s retreats
n Scholarship at Candler School of Theology offered to Florida students
n Vacation Bible School training offered in February

n Church and Society grant deadlines approaching
n Peace Conference helps churches find voice in violent world
n United Methodist mission agency resumes summer intern program
n Conference focuses on children’s ministry
n offers on line workshops


Confirmation classes gather for spring retreat

By Joel Pancoast**

FRUITLAND PARK — Confirmation retreats offer confirmation classes sound teaching on the confirmation vows they will be asked on Confirmation Sunday.

Classes have a chance to take advantage of that opportunity Feb. 29-March 2 during the Spring Confirmation Retreat at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park.

During the weekend confirmands will play games and be challenged on the low initiatives course of the camp’s ropes course. They’ll also have a chance to get to know other confirmands from around the state, as well as bond as a class.

Students will delve into their curriculum during small group time and worship together as a group with the other confirmation classes.

Adult leaders are required to attend with each confirmation class. The ratio should be one adult leader for each six youth of the same sex.

Retreat attendees can stay for the entire weekend or leave Saturday night. The cost for Friday night through Sunday morning is $80 per person (package A). The cost for Friday night through Saturday night is $60 per person (package B).

Registration information and a schedule of the retreat is available online at by clicking on the events tab on the Warren Willis Camp page. The registration deadline is Jan. 17

Questions about the retreat or others offered at the Warrren W. Willis Camp may be directed to Joel Pancoast at or 352-787-4345. 


‘Jesus is the Lighthouse’ is theme for 2008 couple’s retreats

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference United Methodist Men’s couple’s retreats begin in February and are an opportunity for couples to get away for a time of relaxation and spiritual renewal.

The year’s retreats are themed ‘Jesus is the Lighthouse’ and will take place at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.

The first retreat is Feb. 29-March 2, with the Revs. Geraldine McClellan and John Riley as keynote speakers. Enrichment leaders are the Revs. Don Taylor and Nancy Walton. Music and worship Leaders are Lenee Schroeder and Diane and Jeff Anders.

The second retreat is March 14-16, with the Revs. Riley Short, Candace Lewis and Charlie Reeb as keynote speakers. Enrichment leaders are the Revs. Don Taylor and Debbie Mak and Debbie and Jesse Garrett. Music and worship leaders are John and Margie Anderson.

The cost is $264 per couple, including housing and meals, for those staying at the Life Enrichment Center. The cost at the family campground is $30 per person, plus $42 per campsite, not including meals. For those staying away from camp the cost is $30 per person, plus a $5 per day use fee. This fee also does not include meals. Meals for participants staying at the family campground or offsite are available for $41 per person at the Life Enrichment Center. The cost for anyone attending Saturday only is $53 per person, which includes all Saturday retreat sessions and lunch and dinner.

The complete brochure with registration form and more information about each leader is available at


Scholarships at Candler School of Theology offered to Florida students

By Kelly McLendon**

ATLANTA, Ga. — Answering a call to ministry means more than raising one’s hand and saying, “Here am I.” It also means choosing a seminary, often moving to a new place and finding a way to finance the education.

Emory University’s Candler School of Theology hopes to ease the transition for members of the Florida Conference interested in ordained ministry. The Sherman Scholarship Fund, established by Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Sherman of Jacksonville, Fla., provides full-tuition awards to United Methodist students who demonstrate academic ability and commitment to biblically-based evangelical ministry in local congregations. 

Preference for these awards is given to students from the Florida Conference. Recipients’ annual conferences and congregations are encouraged to provide an additional $2,600 to support their promising candidates for ministry.

Established in 1984, the Sherman Scholarship Fund has supported more than 600 students in their study at Candler, allowing them to pursue their education unburdened by the cost of tuition.  In any given year, up to 25 of Candler’s incoming Master of Divinity students are awarded a three-year, full-tuition Sherman Scholarship. By using the matching fund method, the Shermans have been able to help local churches and annual conferences do more to help their promising young pastors.

Matthew Kern, a current second-year Sherman Scholarship recipient, says the scholarship has assisted him academically, as well as financially. “It really does help me focus on school because I don’t have to worry as much about how I will repay loans when I am done,” he said. “It frees me to concentrate on my work.” 

Kern, a Florida resident and graduate of the University of Central Florida, says he knows “he’s a Florida boy at heart” and plans to return to the Florida Conference after graduation to serve a local church.

Candler School of Theology is one of 13 United Methodist seminaries in the United States. Its mission is to educate — through scholarship, teaching and service — faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world. Candler offers programs leading to masters of divinity, theological studies and theology degrees and doctor of theology degrees.

For nearly two decades Emory University has been named one of the country’s top 25 national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Those interested in attending Candler School of Theology and applying for the Sherman Scholarship should apply to Candler by Feb. 1 and submit their Sherman Scholarship application by March 1

More information is available by contacting the Rev. Shonda Jones, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, at 404-727-6326 or


Vacation Bible School training offered in February

By Caryl Kelley
LAKELAND — The Alabama-West Florida Conference is offering training for Vacation Bible School (VBS) in two locations.

The first training is Feb. 2, 9 a.m. to noon, at First United Methodist Church of Pensacola. The training will be offered again Feb. 3, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Whitfield United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala.
Those attending will receive a 20 percent discount on Cokesbury VBS curriculum.
More information is available by contacting the Rev. Leigh Meekins at or Traci Ward Herndon, Alabama-West Florida Conference, at 334-356-8014 or


Church and Society grant deadlines approaching

By General Board of Church and Society Staff

WASHINGTON — Deadlines to apply for General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) grants are approaching. Jan. 10 is the deadline to apply for an Ethnic Local Church grant, and Feb. 28 is the deadline for Peace with Justice grants.

GBCS helps local churches and organizations advocate and establish social justice ministries.

To qualify for a Peace with Justice grant, applicants must work toward achieving at least one of the following objectives:

  *  Assist United Methodists in understanding and responding to violence and militarism,
  *  Involve United Methodists in efforts to end conflicts and violent aggression around the world,
  *  Promote just national and international policies and actions (governmental and non-governmental) seeking to restore communities and respond to the disproportionate effect of injustices on racial and ethnic persons, and
  *  Support policies that promote systematic economic justice and the self-development of peoples.

The purpose of the Ethnic Local Church Grant is to strengthen ethnic local churches through education, advocacy, or leadership training and development as they engage in social justice.

Jan. 10 is the deadline for the March funding cycle. Aug. 10 is the deadline for the October cycle.

More information and a grant application are available at


Peace Conference helps churches find voice in violent world

By General Board of Church and Society Staff

WASHINGTON — The Lake Junaluska Peace Conference Jan. 31-Feb. 2 will provide an opportunity for dialog on finding the church’s voice in a violent world.

Held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., the conference, “Finding the Church’s Voice,” is designed to encourage participants to be advocates for peace and justice and reconcilers in their communities.

Featured speakers include Dr. Peter Storey, former Methodist bishop in South Africa; Dr. Jan Love, dean of Candler School of Theology; Bishop Ken Carder, former bishop and current professor at Duke Divinity School; and Jim Winkler, general secretary, United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

Storey was the Methodist bishop of the Johannesburg/Soweto area and president of the South African Council of Churches and the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. In 1984 he co-led an ecumenical delegation to the United Nations, U.S. Congress and Europe urging intensified pressure on apartheid.

Love is the former chief executive of the Women’s Division of The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries. She is the author of two books on international relations.

Bishop Carder served as a bishop of the Mississippi and Nashville areas of The United Methodist Church. He is a professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School.

Winkler is chief executive of the General Board of Church and Society, the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church. He has preached and led workshops and training events in Russia, Nigeria and the Philippines.

Other speakers will include Bishop James Swanson, Holston Annual Conference; Celeste Zapalla, Gold Star Mother; and Richard Hays, professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School.

In addition to the speakers, participants can choose to attend two workshops on Friday afternoon from among eight scheduled, including “Just Peace,” “The Local Church as Peace Advocate,” “Moving Toward Peace Through Worship, Art and Song,” “Peace in Palestine,” “Peace Making Through the United Nations,” “Preaching on Difficult Issues,” “Walking the Talk — the Churches and South Africa’s National Peace Accord,” and “Building Communities of Nonviolence.”

Conference sponsors include the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops; Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church; Candler School of Theology, Emory University; Gammon Theological Seminary; Duke Divinity School; Asbury Theological Seminary; General Board of Church and Society; World Methodist Council; Lake Junaluska Conference Center; Lake Junaluska Peace Committee; and Haywood County Peace Fellowship.

The registration fee is $50 per person and $25 for students. Space is limited. Interested individuals may register at to

Lodging reservations at Lake Junaluska may be made by calling 800-222-4930.


United Methodist mission agency resumes summer intern program

By Elliott Wright**

NEW YORK — The mission agency of The United Methodist Church is resuming a program that places young adults in mission settings in the United States for 10 weeks of summer service and education.

A total of 12 young adults ages 18 to 25 will be selected for 2008 as the program is reintroduced after nearly a decade of inactivity. The sponsor is the Mission Personnel Program Area of the General Board of Global Ministries.

The young people selected to take part will receive a $1,000 stipend, travel to and from their place of assignment, and room and board.

“I am so pleased that we are reviving the Summer Internship,” said the Rev. Edith Gleaves, deputy general secretary for the mission personnel unit. “In the past, this program served as a strong introduction to mission service for young adults and some participants went on from there into the longer term young adult missionary programs and to other professional roles in the church.”

Gleaves noted a particular interest in internships among ethnic and minority students in the past.

The revival of the summer program is part of a renewed emphasis on short-term young adult mission service at the mission board. The Rev. Suzanne Field-Rabb is the newly named executive secretary for youth and young adult ministries.

The 2008 summer interns will be placed with United Methodist institutions and churches across the United States.

“Working in new, often unfamiliar environments offers young people opportunities to experience first hand how mission functions in a world of diversity,” Field-Rabb said. “Each placement involves some element of social justice, which allows interns to become engaged with the church in action in eradication of injustice.”

Successful applicants must be able to dedicate 10 weeks to the program. Orientation begins in New York City June 1. Service runs June 8 to Aug. 2, followed by a week of debriefing in New York.

Participants must have completed at least one year of higher education. An online application form is available at

The deadline for applications is Feb. 1. Phone interviews will take place in March. Notifications of acceptance will be made in March or April, and placements will be announced in May.

The Summer Internship was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, with 26 placements in 1996. The program went dormant in 2000 when the mission board shifted funding to several multiple-year mission opportunities designed to appeal to young adults. Those programs were themselves allowed to run their courses when a financial crisis hit the organization early in the current century.

More information on the internship is available by contacting Elliott Wright at


Conference focuses on children’s ministry

By Mary Alice Gran**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Large churches with a need for a renewed priority for children, a longing for an understanding about how children grow as disciples, and a children’s ministry team eager for a shared learning experience are invited to attend the 2008 Children’s Ministry Forum. 

Themed “But Now I See,” the forum will be held Feb. 26-28 at the First United Methodist Church of Richardson, Texas, in the Dallas area.

The conference is for children’s ministry leaders in large United Methodist congregations with more than 350 in worship.

The keynote speakers are Kirbyjon Caldwell, Kathleen Baskin-Ball, Gloria Scott and Clayton Oliphint.

In this event, which is sponsored by the Large Church Initiative of The United Methodist Church, participants will experience six workshops, intensive pre-conference seminars, varied resource vendors, worship and conversations with other leaders.

The goal is that participants return home with renewed energy, new skills, fresh understandings and a shared experience, taking ministry with children to a higher level.

More information is available at

### offers online workshops

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Pastors and laypeople who facilitate or would like to facilitate Disciple Bible Study in their church are invited to attend Maximizing Disciple in Your Church, a workshop by Bishop Richard Wilke, a retired United Methodist Bishop and author of Disciple, and Lisa Buffum, Disciple facilitator.

With the use of a DVD featuring Wilke, participants will explore the need, purpose, structure and expectations of Disciple. The DVD also includes 10 challenges to leading Disciple in a church and helpful hints. There will be a new assignment every three days to give participants time to watch a short video and read a section of the book. Discussion will focus on helping Disciple Bible Study flourish in the congregation. 

The intent of the workshop is to assist currently trained Disciple facilitators and potential facilitators in the growth and use of the Disciple program within the church.

The course is Feb. 4-15. Interested participants must enroll by Jan. 28 to receive texts in time for the workshop. The cost is $100, which includes required texts and shipping.  There is a class participant minimum of 10 people.

More information about this course and to learn about other online courses offered by can be found at To enroll in a workshop, participants must first register at as a user to the Web site, then log in to find enrollment information.

The Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship is committed to both content and community in meeting the continuing educational needs of clergy and laypeople. Using the Blackboard Academic Suite, participants have 24-hour access to the workshop in which they are enrolled, logging on in the convenience of their own home or office to participate in the workshop, download resources and engage in discussion threads. Online workshops are designed to increase communication opportunities with both instructor and fellow participants.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
   Gran is director of Older Children’s Ministries with the Discipleship Ministries Division of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   McLendon is director of communications at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta, Ga.
   Pancoast is program manager at Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park.
   Wright is communications/general media contact/public information officer for the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church in New York.