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Opportunities — Jan. 28, 2008 {0790}

Opportunities — Jan. 28, 2008 {0790}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Jan. 28, 2008

Jan. 28, 2008     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0790}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Wesley Study Retreat scholarship deadline nears
n Communications Road Show hits Orlando this February
n Healthy Church Academy offers churches steps to fruitfulness
n Professional church secretaries prepare for annual seminar
n February Conference Table strives to ask ‘right questions’ about young adults
n Online volunteer ESOL tutor workshop offered
n Sinclair Scholarship deadline nears
n Hanging hands reminds Florida legislators to care for children
n Passionate worship is focus of first ‘Methodist Way’ conference
n Summer camp pastor, nurse positions available

n Hunger ministry offers annual Lenten devotions
n Online training courses on connectional giving, General Conference offered
n Southeastern Jurisdiction offers third Caring for Creation conference
n One Great Hour of Sharing helps rebuild lives
n General Board of Discipleship sponsors free Bible study
n Communications scholarship, fellowship deadlines approach
n Evelyn Laycock featured at Lake Junaluska spring retreat
n Denzel Washington thanks United Methodists for support of Black College Fund
n Southeastern Jurisdiction sponsors retreat for confirmation classes
n Registration opens for Christian Educators Fellowship, Preaching From the Center 2008 Conference
n Grands Camp held at St. Simons Island


Wesley Study Retreat scholarship deadline nears

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND — The application deadline for scholarships for clergy interested in participating in the Wesley Study Retreat is Jan. 31.

A selection committee appointed by the Wesley Study Retreat trustees annually chooses as many as five clergy applicants to receive retreat scholarships. The scholarships cover most of the cost of transportation, hotels and meals for a 10-day trip to England for the clergyperson and his or her spouse, if married.

The current actual cost of the trip is approximately $3,000 per person, and participants are asked to contribute $600 each toward the cost. Each traveler is also responsible for the cost of several meals not included and any incidental expenses.

As stated in the resolution, which was established and passed by the Florida Conference in 1991, “The purpose of this retreat (is) to educate, inspire and challenge clergy in the Florida Annual Conference to rediscover their understanding of the Wesleys, so as to better equip themselves for evangelistic outreach through proclamation and social action.”

Through a gift from Mr. and Mrs. B.W. Simpkins, longtime United Methodists, perpetual funding is provided for clergy and their spouses to travel to England to experience firsthand the Wesley’s contribution to the Christian church. The Simpkins believed the experience would enable clergy to capture the spirit of the Wesley’s evangelistic preaching, gifts and skills for themselves.

The selection committee works to choose representative applicants on the basis of age, years of service, gender and ethnic background, as well as expressed interest in and goals related to this type of educational experience. Applicants must have completed at least five years in full-time pastoral appointments and have at least five years of service remaining before retirement.

The program schedule includes visits to selected Wesley sites of religious/historical interest, presentations and lectures, as well as unscheduled time for personal study, sightseeing and leisure. Additionally, the group leader will provide opportunities for devotional reflection and community building. Those wishing to earn continuing education credit may do so by submitting a written report to their district superintendent upon returning.

The retreat is scheduled between May and September. At least every two years the retreat is scheduled during the summer months, recognizing that many spouses are teachers or have other employment that could limit travel to those months.

Applications may be made online by visiting the Center for Clergy Excellence home page on the Florida Conference Web site at and selecting the Wesley Study Tour link at the bottom of the page or by contacting the office at 800-282-8011, extension 134.


Communications Road Show hits Orlando this February

By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — In an effort to provide resources to local churches on a more direct basis, Florida United Methodist Communications began hitting the road in 2008, offering training workshops on a variety of communication tools.

The next stop is Feb. 9 at Peace United Methodist Church in Orlando.

“The Communications Road Show” is visiting four areas of the Florida Conference, offering the same five workshops at each venue. It is designed to assist and improve communications in a local church setting.

The Road Show’s purpose is to offer people throughout the conference tips and “best practices” on how their communications ministries can be improved. Each Road Show stop will offer workshops for clergy and laity, church administrators, church volunteers in communications ministry, and those just thinking about getting started.

Workshops include “Web Casting,” “Getting Started With Your Pod Cast,” “Planning for Print,” “Web Development 101” and “Crisis Communication for Clergy.”

Each Road Show is held on a Saturday and begins at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and light snacks. There will be a brief opening worship before the first round of workshops begins. A lunch, available for $10, will be served from noon until about 12:45 p.m. (those who want lunch must request it when they register; payment for lunch will be collected at the door). The second round of workshops, which are the morning’s offerings repeated, will begin after lunch. The day will end no later than 3 p.m.

After the Orlando Road Show there are two additional dates: March 8 at First United Methodist Church, Sebring, and April 12 at First United Methodist Church, South Miami.

Details and registration information are available at


Healthy Church Academy offers churches steps to fruitfulness

By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — The Healthy Church Academy (HCA) provides tools for new church development and congregational transformation to Florida Conference churches.

Life-long learning for laity and clergy is provided with the goal of helping Florida United Methodists be effective in their efforts to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Several classes offered by the academy will take place in February and March.

HCA 101 is a four-day, 32-hour workshop and the foundational course for all congregations, regardless of age or size. The course looks at four basic questions: What does it mean to be a healthy church? How do you know you can have a healthy church? What is my call (both laity and clergy) to help lead a church into health? What does it take to start a new congregation (from the old)?

The course, which takes its theme from 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” is best when participants include church leadership teams, clergy and laity. Continuing education credits are available.

The next HCA 101 is Feb. 15-16 and March 14-15 at Asbury Theological Seminary, 8401 Valencia College Lane, Orlando. The class is in session 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Tuition is $120 per person — a 50 percent savings from the normal cost of the four-day course. Some financial assistance is available.

Individuals interested in registering for the class may do so at Information about the faculty, hotels near Asbury and a recommended reading list is also available on that Web page.

Questions regarding HCA 101 and upcoming classes on stewardship and relational evangelism may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, dean of the academy, at


Professional church secretaries prepare for annual seminar

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The 34th Annual Florida Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) Seminar will be held Feb. 15-17 at the United Methodist Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, near Leesburg.

The weekend provides one-half of a continuing education unit for certified United Methodist church secretaries. The cost, which includes lodging and meals, is $135, double occupancy, and $170, single occupancy. These amounts include a two-night stay at the Life Enrichment Center, five meals and other expenses related to the program.

Registration forms and a check made payable to “Florida United Methodist Church Secretaries” may be sent to Louise Urquhart, registrar, at United Methodist Temple, 2700 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, FL 33803.

Questions about the seminar or about the Florida Chapter of PAUMCS may also be directed to Urquhart at 863-688-3114, or 863-687-8868 (fax).

More information about PAUMCS is available at by choosing the Administration Tab at the top of the page and scrolling down to PAUMACS. 


February Conference Table strives to ask ‘right questions’ about young adults

By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — The next Florida Conference Table, the 19th in the series, will take place Feb. 16 at Harvest United Methodist Church in Bradenton.

Titled “Young Adults: Reframing the Questions,” the session will begin at 10 a.m. and end no later than 4 p.m. Those who are not able to attend may tune in to the session through a live webcast accessible at

“One of the main reasons to have this Conference Table is that this is an issue that we have ‘talked around,’ but not necessarily sat down and conversed about,” said Kelly Moore, formerly interim director of the Florida Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry. “Several people at many levels are interested in this topic, but I think we are having the wrong conversations about it.”

The event includes worship, led by Florida Conference Bishop Timothy Whitaker, and ample opportunity for conversation, learning and sharing about best practices and resources for ministry to young adults. A charge of $7 will apply for those who wish to eat lunch at the church.

Online registration is available at More information is available by contacting Moore at or 800-282-8011, extension 183.


Online volunteer ESOL tutor workshop offered

By Amanda Crew**

CLEARWATER — United Methodist Cooperative Ministries (UMCM) is proud to offer many ways to become an ESOL tutor. ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutors have the unique opportunity to give the gift of the English language to adults new to the country.

UMCM has been providing ESOL classes since 1994 and serves more than 450 adults and 200 children annually in Pinellas County through volunteer ESOL tutors. In the past two months, UMCM has offered two accessible workshops to volunteers in the community.

UMCM will be hosting an online workshop Feb. 20-April 30 for potential volunteers. The online workshop gives flexibility to volunteers with busy schedules, while providing important information to become a successful tutor. 

The online workshop is open to Pinellas County residents; however, volunteers from the surrounding area are welcome to register. Participants must register before Feb. 20.

More information and registration details are available by contacting UMCM’s online trainer, Marti Lane, at

People successfully completing the workshop will receive a ProLiteracy America ESOL Tutor certificate and will be qualified to teach at any of UMCM’s literacy sites.


Sinclair Scholarship deadline nears

By Florida United Methodist Foundation Staff

LAKELAND — At this time every year, the Florida United Methodist Foundation accepts applications for the Sinclair Scholarship. The deadline to apply is March 25.

The award is available exclusively to United Methodist youth who will be incoming college freshmen in the fall of 2008. To qualify, candidates must be planning to attend a Florida or United Methodist college or university.

Applications are evaluated on the basis of academic achievement, church and community service, and financial need. Youth leaders are especially encouraged to apply. 

The foundation publicizes the scholarship on its Web site and through an e-mail blast to pastors and youth directors at churches conference-wide. It relies on local churches to help identify deserving candidates, and a publicity poster that can be posted in youth departments and/or other locations where members gather is available. A copy of the 2008 Sinclair Scholarship poster may be downloaded at

More information is available at or by calling the foundation at 888-363-9673, extension 103.


Hanging hands reminds Florida legislators to care for children

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Hanging of the Hands is a highlight of Children’s Week in the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. It is an event celebrating the children of Florida.

Paper hand cutout decorations made by children across the state are hung in the Capitol Rotunda to remind legislators of the children they serve. 

The official Hanging of the Hands ceremony will take place at the State Capitol Rotunda March 30 at 1 p.m. Churches are asked to contribute paper cutouts of the hands of the children who participate in their ministries. All artwork must be submitted no later than March 27 to Children’s Week, c/o Kids Incorporated, 1170 Capital Circle NE, Tallahassee, FL 32301.

Florida Conference Bishop Timothy Whitaker and United Methodists from throughout the Florida Conference will gather during Children’s Week March 29-April 2 to learn about issues relating to children and speak to legislators about the needs of children. The schedule will include worship, workshops, visiting the Capitol building, meeting with legislators, a banquet and a press conference.

Instructions on how to make and send hand cutouts and information on how to participate in Children’s Week are available at

Other events taking place in Tallahassee during the week are found at

Interested individuals may registrar by contacting Marie Sharpe at 407-678-8785 or

The cost for program and meals is $25. The deadline to register is March 1. Hotel Reservations can be made at La Quinta Inn, 2850 Apalachee Parkway on a first come-first served basis. The room rate is $110, plus tax, per night, for up to four people in a room. Reservations can be made by calling 800-531-5900 and asking for the Room Block #0641GRJVJO for UMC Conference Event.


Passionate worship is focus of first ‘Methodist Way’ conference
By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — Hundreds of people learned about the five practices of The Methodist Way at the 2007 Florida Conference Event. Coming this spring will be the first of five, two-day conferences to take laity and clergy deeper into understanding 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 worship ministries are encouraged to attend this conference. Interested individuals may register at

Those planning to attend the workshop may register at the rate of $80 per person until 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 or by visiting The Methodist Way Web site at


Summer camp pastor, nurse positions available

By Heather Pancoast**

FRUITLAND PARK — The Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp is a residential camp located on the shores of Lake Griffin in Fruitland Park, Fla., that draws more than 3,500 campers, both children and youth, each summer.

A team of 100 college counselors and approximately 250 adult volunteers lead the summer camp program.

In preparation for this year’s summer camps, camp leaders are seeking a team pastor to minister to the college counselors serving on the 2008 Leadership Team. The team pastor will be responsible for facilitating the spiritual growth of the counselors through small groups, devotions, weekly worship, one-on-one counseling and other avenues, depending on the applicant’s gifts and skills.

Applicants must be college graduates and in seminary or seeking a vocation within The United Methodist Church. They must have leadership experience and a passion for college students.  A United Methodist background and experience at a Christian residential camp is preferred. Applicants must be able to serve May 29-Aug. 10

Each summer camp staff also hire two nurses to serve the campers, team members and adult volunteers. The summer camp nurse schedule can be for the entire summer or for one week only. A job description, with more information about time of service, qualifications and compensation, is available at Applicants should choose the Warren W. Willis Camp link and then staff/volunteer employment opportunities.

Individuals interested in applying for either the camp nurse or team pastor position may visit the summer camp Web site to print the application or request one by calling 352-787-4345.

Applications for either position, along with a resume, should be sent to Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp, 4990 Picciola Rd., Fruitland Park, FL 34731; 352-787-8650 (fax); or Heather Pancoast at


Hunger ministry offers annual Lenten devotions

By Carol Breitinger**
BIG ISLAND, Va. — The Lenten season, which begins Feb. 6, is a time when Christians ponder Jesus’ sacrifice. Daily contemplation and reflection during the 47 days of Lent offer an opportunity for a deeper understanding of what that sacrifice meant to Jesus and all people.

“I Wonder …” is the theme of this year’s Lenten Devotions program provided by the Society of St. Andrew, a national nonprofit, hunger-relief ministry and Advance Special #801600.

The devotions program is a collection of the personal “wonderings” and insights of ordinary people as they read, think and pray about the symbols, people and places that shaped Jesus’ final days. The daily devotions encourage readers to think about how they might be Christ to others. The program also challenges readers to take seriously the scriptural injunctions to care for the poor and provides an opportunity for people to take action through the Society of St. Andrew’s hunger-relief ministry.

The devotions booklet is divided into five sections: the journey begins, symbols of Lent, stories and miracles, significant people and events of Holy Week.
A Good Friday fast, written by Ken Horne, executive director of Society of St. Andrew, is a separate booklet that complements the Lenten devotions or can be used as a stand-alone activity for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. 

All materials are free, and a sample packet can be ordered for review before placing a congregational order. Orders can be placed online at, by e-mail at or by phone at 800-333-4597. 

The Society’s Lenten Devotions program continues to grown in popularity each year. Last year donations from participants provided just under 4 million servings of fresh, nutritious food to families across the nation who don’t get enough to eat. Because Society of St. Andrew maintains an extremely low administrative and fund-raising cost, nearly 93 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to saving fresh produce from going to waste and providing that food to the hungry.

Society of St. Andrew helps feed hungry individuals and families with excess fresh produce saved through its Potato and Produce Project, Gleaning Network, Harvest of Hope and Hunger Relief Advocate programs. More information is available at


Online training courses on connectional giving, General Conference offered

By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Communications (UMCom) Training Center offers an array of learning opportunities to help United Methodists be better church communicators or better communicate about the church, as well as training on topics of general interest.

One course is “Turning Connectional Living into Connectional Giving.” This online course focuses on how to turn connectional living as United Methodists into connectional giving that supports the shared ministry and mission of The United Methodist Church. It is a four-part exploration of why United Methodists give, the connectional nature of the church, the apportioned and designated funds of the church, and how church members can make a difference in the world.

Facilitated discussion forums are hosted throughout the course, which will takes place March 5-April 16.

Another course is “Exploring General Conference.” It focuses on how General Conference operates and affects the lives of United Methodists everywhere. It is designed for anyone attending General Conference, including communicators and delegates, and United Methodists interested in learning more about how the denomination makes decisions.

Facilitated discussion forums are hosted throughout this course, as well. It is offered Feb. 20-April 2.

Individuals may register for either course at

A complete list of online learning classes offered by UMCom is available at


Southeastern Jurisdiction offers third Caring for Creation conference
By Southeastern Jurisdiction Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — What will be the legacy left to today’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren? What will be the legacy the church leaves to future generations?

Most often when people talk about things that will be left to family members, they are talking about money, land or jewelry. Churches talk about debt-free buildings.
If people do not deal with how they leave Earth, what is left to the future will be of little consequence.

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center and United Methodist Women of the Southeastern Jurisdiction are offering the third Caring for Creation experience at Lake Junaluska April 3-6.  Leadership for this experience will offer challenges and directions for what United Methodists can do to take better care of Earth.

Presenters include John Hill from the General Board of Church and Society and Glenda Strauss-Keyes, who will share the work of Fr. Thomas Berry. Maren Symonds will share the story of how people get their food, and Jeff Barrie will speak about the new Kilowatt Ours production. Closing worship will include a sermon by Bishop Ken Carder.

Workshops will present practical information on actions everyone can take. Dr. Robert Cabin’s report on an international conference on sustainability will be eye opening for many. All of the workshops will open new avenues for participants that are interested the biblical challenge to care for Earth.

The cost for the event if registering before March 1 is $75 per person and $195 for a team of three. After March 1 the cost is $95 per person and $225 for a team of three.

More information is available at Included are links to downloadable presentations, a sermon focusing on creation and the environment, and the event brochure, which includes housing information, a schedule, leadership for the conference, workshops and a registration form.


One Great Hour of Sharing helps rebuild lives

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Beyond being communities in Wisconsin, what do Prairie du Chien, Milwaukee, Ladysmith, Adams County, Siren, Randolph, Fond du Lac, Richland County, Stoughton and Viola have in common?

The answer is that “since 1998, persons in these communities have been assisted with funds from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in rebuilding their lives following the devastation of natural forces … wind, hail, floods and fire,” says the Rev. Jane Follmer Zekoff, former director of Connectional Ministries for the Wisconsin Conference.

On the fourth Sunday in Lent, March 8, United Methodists will come together for One Great Hour of Sharing.

This special offering enables UMCOR to keep its promise that 100 percent of all designated gifts goes entirely to specific causes. One Great Hour of Sharing means UMCOR will provide hands-on care for people affected by storms, war, disaster and disease. Often UMCOR is the first to arrive on the scene and the last to leave, around the world.

Through the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering, worshipers can share the goodness of life with those who hurt.

More information about this special Sunday offering is available at There are also links to an overview and history of One Great Hour of Sharing, a children’s sermon and other worship resources.


General Board of Discipleship sponsors free Bible study

By Dean McIntyre**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — “Turn aside and see” is the theme of a Bible study event sponsored by The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church (GBOD).

This event invites and helps participants hear God’s call through a one-day study and discussion of Exodus 3 and 4.
The event will be offered March 8, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The day begins with a gathering at 8:30 a.m. The event is free and includes a copy of the Bible study and lunch.
The event will be offered simultaneously in five different locations across the United States. It will be held at First United Methodist Church, Tempe, Ariz.; St. Luke United Methodist Church, Indianapolis, Ind.; Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.; Brentwood United Methodist Church, Brentwood, Tenn. (near Nashville); and St. Luke’s Community United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas.
The Bible study is designed for pastors and church staff, laity, and individuals or teams from churches. Anyone may attend.
Participants in this day-long event will have experienced a deep scripture study and reflection to help them identify God’s call through scripture, note excuses that hold the congregation back from answering God’s call, identify ways to answer God’s call despite current reality and excuses, receive materials to lead a study in their congregation, and receive an introduction to other opportunities for training local church leaders.
Travel and lodging, if needed, will be at the expense of participants. Information on area hotels will be provided by GBOD.
More information is available by contacting Mary McDonald, GBOD Congregational Leaders Team, at or 877-899-2780, extension 1760.
The GBOD Web site is


Communications scholarship, fellowship deadlines approach

By United Methodist Communications

LAKELAND — Interested communicators have until March 15 to apply for scholarship and fellowship opportunities from United Methodist Communications.

The opportunities include the Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students for undergraduate study of religion journalism or mass communications, the Stoody-West Fellowship for graduate study in religious journalism and the Judith Weidman Racial Ethnic Minority (REM) Fellowship.

The $2,500 Perryman scholarship is for undergraduate study of religion journalism or mass communications. It is offered in recognition of the work of Leonard M. Perryman, a journalist for The United Methodist Church for nearly 30 years.

The scholarship assists an undergraduate United Methodist student, enrolled as a junior or senior in an accredited U.S. college or university, who intends to pursue a career in religion journalism or mass communications.

The Perryman Scholarship promotes excellence by helping students continue their studies in communication, including such media as audio/visual, electronic and print journalism.

The $6,000 Stoody-West Fellowship in religious journalism is offered in recognition of the work and lives of Dr. Ralph Stoody and Dr. Arthur West, leaders in public relations and information services in The United Methodist Church.

The fellowship will assist one United Methodist student in graduate study at an accredited U.S. college or university who intends to pursue a career in religious journalism.

The purpose of the fellowship is to enhance the recipient’s professional competence and thereby help perpetuate the standards exemplified by Ralph Stoody and Arthur West. Religious journalism is interpreted to include news writing for secular press, church press and for church institutions. The committee will consider appropriate news and journalism forms, including electronic and broadcast media, as well as print.

More information on the Leonard M. Perryman scholarship and the Stoody-West Fellowship can be found at

The Judith Weidman Racial Ethnic Minority (REM) Fellowship is a one-year fellowship offered by United Methodist Communications to help prepare a United Methodist young adult of racial ethnic minority origin for a communications career in an annual conference of The United Methodist Church within the United States.

One recipient is selected each year and placed in an annual conference where he or she is mentored by an experienced United Methodist communicator. The next fellowship term is July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009.

More information on the Weidman Fellowship, including qualifications and compensation, is found at


Evelyn Laycock featured at Lake Junaluska spring retreat

By Southeastern Jurisdiction Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — A spiritual retreat for adults who wish to experience a time of fellowship and enjoy the beauty of spring at Lake Junaluska is scheduled for April 22-25.

Along with the benefits of the retreat’s natural environment, participants will be inspired as Dr. Evelyn Laycock brings depth and meaning to scripture.

On free afternoons participants can enjoy a stroll around Lake Junaluska, visit the World Methodist Museum or the Foundation for Evangelism, explore the Native Garden, drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, take a short trip to the Biltmore Estate or Cherokee, or simply “rock” on the porch.

Laycock is a graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan College and holds Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Emory University. She is a former professor of religion at Hiawassee College and is a well-known Bible study leader and author.

The Spring Adventure Brochure is available from the Southeastern Jurisdiction Web site at It includes leadership information, a schedule and registration form. Registration must be made by mail.

Accommodations are reserved at the Terrace Hotel at Lake Junaluska. The cost for the retreat is $229 per person, double occupancy; $292 per person, single room rate; $208 per person, triple room rate; and $196 per person, quad room rate. This includes room, meals and program fee.

Program information is available by contacting The Intentional Growth Center at 800-482-1442 or

Founded in 1978, The Intentional Growth Center is a major unit of the Lake Junaluska Assembly and serves as an agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. Continuing education seminars and workshops are conducted annually, with special programs for older adults.


Denzel Washington thanks United Methodists for support of Black College Fund

By Dr. Cynthia A. Bond Hopson**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Actor Denzel Washington brings some star power to local United Methodist church services in a specially produced video available at

In the video, Washington tailors a greeting to United Methodist congregations and thanks them for a “legacy of support” on behalf of the 11 historically African-American colleges and universities long sustained by United Methodism’s Black College Fund apportionment.

The five-minute video also features excerpts from Washington’s new film, “The Great Debaters.” Set in Marshall, Texas, the movie stars Washington as Melvin B. Tolson, a brilliant, but volatile, debate coach. In 1935 Tolson inspired Wiley College students to form the school’s first debate team and challenge the University of Southern California (shown as Harvard in the film) in a national championship. Despite incredible odds, Wiley beat Southern California — and a score of other oratorical powerhouses.

Although church crowds may seem an odd audience for a Hollywood movie appeal, Washington notes “The Great Debaters” is a “David and Goliath story” tackling issues that leave many audiences feeling they’ve had a spiritual experience.

“My faith,” said Washington, “has made me realize there are things much more important than just making movies. It’s important for me to tell stories that people will benefit from: stories about life, about actions and about consequences.”

United Methodist pastors and leaders are encouraged to download the video at and show it to church school classes, during discussion groups, in worship services or at youth gatherings. In addition, the video may be shared with people who would benefit from its message and those who could share the word about the good work of historically black colleges and universities.

Worship resources and information on “The Great Debaters,” Wiley College and other institutions supported by the Black College Fund are available at and


Southeastern Jurisdiction sponsors retreat for confirmation classes

By Southeastern Jurisdiction Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The goal of the Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) Confirmation Weekends is to complement the teaching confirmands receive in their local churches by helping young people envision their place in the United Methodist connection and the world.

The weekends include interactive workshops, including one on diversity, which reflects on the values The United Methodist Church places on being inclusive. The workshop will also provide participants with practical, fun teaching.

Confirmation is more than a learning event; it’s also about worship. Every weekend a new worship band will lead youth in worship. Details about each band and worship leader are available at The new Worship Workshop enables confirmands to practically learn about the role of worship in the life of the church and their own lives.

Participants will also have an opportunity to visit the SEJ Heritage Center and World Methodist Council Museums. Confirmands will see the largest collection of artifacts celebrating the early beginnings of the Wesleyan movement.

A brochure with complete information about the weekends is available at


Registration opens for Christian Educators Fellowship, Preaching From the Center 2008 Conference

By General Board of Discipleship Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Registration has opened for “Blessed to Be a Blessing: Christian Education for the 7th Generation” and “Preaching from the Center,” a conference of Christian Educators Fellowship (CEF) and Preaching from the Center (PFC).
The combined conference is Oct. 24-27 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, NM.

For the first time, these two normally separate national events will be held jointly. Participants will be able to cross-register for workshops from either conference, and many events (worship, Bible study) will be shared. Entire ministry teams are encouraged to attend because the conference is designed for clergy and laity, professionals and volunteers, and those involved in any kind of educational ministry.

A pre-event, day of instruction with Dr. Ronald Allen is an optional session for those who are looking for a more intensive learning opportunity in preaching. Participants will be expected to read several chapters from one of Allen’s books.

Almost 100 different workshops will be offered at CEF/PFC 2008, ranging in length from 60 minutes to three hours. In addition, five pre-conference options are available to extend the learning experience. A variety of tour options are also available, giving participants a chance to explore Albuquerque.

Christian Educators Fellowship, a networking group for people involved in Christian education, age-level ministries, resource centers and other educational ministries, will celebrate its 40th anniversary during the event. Preaching from the Center is a conference sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship.

The brochure and full conference details, including speakers and workshops, are available at

Christian Educators Fellowship can be found at The General Board of Discipleship can be found at Both are based in Nashville, TN.

Grands Camp held at St. Simons Island

By Epworth By The Sea Staff

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The special bond between grandparent and grandchild will be honored and strengthened during the Grands Camp held at Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, Ga., June 27-30

Activities, planned especially for children ages 6 to 10, encourage interaction between the generations, while making lasting memories. 

Dolphin tours, a trolley ride to historic sites, crafts, sing-a-longs, searching for sea turtle nests on the beach at night are part of the planned activities. Devotions and an ecumenical chapel service will be integral to the intergenerational experience.

An agenda and registration information are available online at or by calling 912-638-8688.



*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
   Breitinger is director of communications for Society of St. Andrew, Big Island, Va.
   Crew is director of Public Relations and Communications for United Methodist Cooperative Ministries.
   Hopson is assistant general secretary for the Black College Fund, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Nashville, Tenn.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   McIntyre is director of Music Resources for the General Board of Discipleship, Nashville, Tenn.
   Pancoast is assistant director of the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp, Fruitland Park.