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Opportunities — Feb. 29, 2008 {0806}

Opportunities — Feb. 29, 2008 {0806}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — Feb. 29, 2008

Feb. 29, 2008     News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0806}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Training offered for church leaders wanting to start day camps
n Starke church offers Harvest of Hope event
n Two Cornerstone Family Ministries’ events highlight children’s needs
n Retreat for 5th-graders offers faith-based study of human sexuality
n University of Florida sponsors first annual sacred music workshop
n Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union offers scholarships

n SoSA offers free Vacation Bible School mission project resources
n Lay pastors gather to equip, strengthen ministry
n Special Sunday celebrates gifts, contributions of Native Americans.
n Lake Junaluska and Alban Institute form partnership
n Lighten the Burden event raises AIDS awareness
n Congregations invited to apply for Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant
n Professional United Methodist Church Secretaries Certification Institute held at Candler
n New courses offered at 2008 Christian Communications Ministry Institute
n Sign the pledge, call the president


Training offered for church leaders wanting to start day camps

By Melinda Trotti**

LAKELAND — A day-long training event for local church leaders interested in starting summer day camp programs at their church will be offered March 8 at First United Methodist Church of Pine Hills, 1400 N. Nowell St., Orlando.
The day will feature the nuts and bolts of how to start and develop a program, curriculum, working with different ages, medical and liability issues, registration forms and permission slips, personnel, and more. There will also be time for discussion and resources to strengthen day camping ministry for churches that have had day camp ministries for several years.

Each church represented will receive the American Camping Association’s Day Camp From Day One and an eight-week summer camp curriculum, La Frontera.

The East Central District Church and Community Office and the Florida Conference’s Justice and Spirituality Ministries and Camp and Retreat Ministries are sponsoring the training.
Meg Neitz and Joanna Carroll of Carson Simpson Farm in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference will help lead the session. The two expanded a program serving 20 children to one serving 150 children.

Claribel Baron, director of day camping and after-school ministries at Christians Reaching Out to Society (CROS) Ministries, will discuss medical issues related to summer day camps. The Rev. David Berkey, executive director of the conference’s camp and retreat ministries, will facilitate a panel discussion over lunch, while Melinda Trotti, former director of the Life Enrichment Center, will present issues around liability and personnel. Marilyn Beecher, Church and Community Worker for the East Central District, will lead the closing session.

An online brochure is available at Individuals may register by calling Jeannie Jacques at 800-282-8011, extension 340. There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided. More information is available by contacting Melinda Trotti at 800-282-8011, extension 755.


Starke church offers Harvest of Hope event

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — For the first time, Society of St. Andrew is holding a Harvest of Hope event in Starke March 7-9. This intergenerational event features worship, hunger education, fellowship and service through gleaning.

Harvest of Hope is a program of the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA), an Advance Special of The United Methodist Church. SoSA is a Christian ministry dedicated to gleaning America’s fields and feeding America’s hungry. It provides healthy, nutritious produce to society’s most vulnerable through innovative, cost effective programs.

More about Harvest of Hope is available at

The event is for ages 10  and older. At least one adult (21 or older) must accompany every five youth. Teams may contain fewer members. Larger groups may be accepted if space permits. At least one adult of each gender must attend if the group consists of both girls and boys.

The tuition cost is $75 per person, which includes lodging at the Montgomery Center, 88 S.E. 75th St., Starke. The fee also includes participants’ meals and program materials.

More information and an application can be found on SoSA’s Web site at or by e-mailing Lauren Holcomb, Harvest of Hope director, Society of St. Andrew, at SoSA’s local Florida contact is Barbara Sayles at


Two Cornerstone Family Ministries’ events highlight children’s needs

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Cornerstone Family Ministries (CFM), founded in 1892, is a not-for-profit human services agency that helps more than 20,000 families each month by providing child care, education, nutrition, housing and cultural arts.

Two upcoming events will help meet those needs: the annual Wonder Walk and a golf classic.

The funds raised by the 28th Annual Wonder Walk March 8 go specifically to programs that help children. The walk is open to all ages and can include walkers, skaters or bicycle riders. It begins at Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 W. Platt Street, in Tampa and ends at Bayshore Boulevard. Anyone wanting to participate can find more information at under “events” or by calling Cornerstone at 813-248-6259, extension 225

Those who raise more than $35 will receive a Wonder Walk T-shirt. Breakfast is available 8-9:30 a.m., and lunch is 11 a.m.-noon. Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m.

Participants will enjoy various activities and complimentary food and drinks. There is no specified length or time of walking. Any physical effort supporting the event is appreciated.

The 5th Annual Rosa Valdez Charity Golf Classic will be held at the Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club April 28.

Practice and registration will begin at 10 a.m., followed by lunch and a putting contest. The shotgun start will be at 12:15 p.m., and the Wild, Wild West Roundup Dinner and Awards are at 5:30 p.m.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the children served by Cornerstone Family Ministries’ Rosa Valdez and Cuscaden Early Intervention Centers.

The Rosa Valdez and Cuscaden centers serve more than 135 children, from birth to 5 years old. These centers provide the children with a high-quality, pre-kindergarten education, as well as educational screenings and therapeutic services in conjunction with family support services.

More information about the outing or becoming a sponsor is available by contacting Stephen Langford at 813-248-6259, extension 222, or


Retreat for 5th-graders offers faith-based study of human sexuality

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND — Young people today need reliable, faith-based information about human sexuality. For many people, however, this is a difficult subject to broach.
A retreat at the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park April 25-27 is designed for 5th-grade students and their parents or guardians to explore this subject.

“Created by God” is a comprehensive faith-based study of human sexuality developed by Dr. James H. Ritchie, a pastor, religious educator, father and grandfather. Ritchie will be at the Warren Willis Camp for this “Created by God” weekend retreat that offers six sessions for parents and their children. The weekend also offers times of worship, game playing and communication skill building.
More information about the cost, content of the retreat and registration is available at under the events tab on the Warren Willis Camp page. A downloadable flier to hang in churches and a registration form for interested parents are also online.

More information about this retreat or other events at the Warren Willis Camp is available by contacting the camp office at 352- 787-4345 or e-mailing Joel Pancoast at


University of Florida sponsors first annual sacred music workshop

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Michael Burkhardt will be the guest clinician at the May 4-6 Inspiring Worship sacred music workshop, sponsored by and held at the University of Florida’s School of Music, Gainesville.

Other workshop leaders include Laura Ellis, associate professor of organ, harpsichord and carillon in the University of Florida School of Music; Brenda Smith, teacher of voice and diction; and Ron Burrichter, also professor of voice and choirs at University of Florida.

The class sessions will include “With People of Every Time and Place” — a festival of hymns; “Strategies for Lifelong Singing”; “Sacred Vocal Literature”; “Body, Mind, Spirit and Voice”; and “With Hearts, Hands (Feet) and Voices.” A closing “organ-plus” concert will feature students and faculty of the school.

The workshop fee is $75 per person. The pre-registration deadline is April 18.

More information is available at Questions about the workshop or a request for a registration brochure should be directed to Zach Klobnak at


Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union offers scholarships

By Renea Hazelbaker**

LAKELAND — The Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union will award three
$1,000 college scholarships again this year: one each for a student in the North Georgia, South Georgia and Florida conferences.

Individuals interested in applying must be between the ages of 17 and 24 and attend church in one of the conferences.

An application form is available at It and an essay pertaining to questions listed at the bottom of the application must be mailed to Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 6448, Marietta, Ga. 30065-0448, by April 30.


SoSA offers free Vacation Bible School mission project resources

By Carol Breitinger**

BIG ISLAND, Va. — In this Internet age children often speak a different language than adults. It’s full of Web site addresses, text messaging abbreviations and other “foreign words,” like ?4U, LOL, <3, 4EAE, 9, AYTMTB, AFC, CYE, MTF, B4N, PZ, SSIF and :). 

Each year the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA), Advance Special #801600, develops a Vacation Bible School mission project that can be incorporated into any Vacation Bible School-themed curriculum. This year’s mission project is titled “ – GAF/FAH.” GAF/FAH stands for Gleaning America’s Fields – Feeding America’s Hungry, SoSA’s mission nationwide. 

Children, teachers and parents may go to the SoSA Web site for more information about SoSA’s ministry and GAF/FAH. 

SoSA’s Vacation Bible School mission project engages students in mission as they “surf” (another online term) through the Bible to learn about hunger. The program is intended as a fun and energizing way to involve students in mission by feeding their hungry neighbors, as Jesus commanded.

Daily student activity sheets contain short scripturally based stories, facts about hunger and SoSA’s ministry, potato trivia, and pencil activities. For the first time, they include optional online activities kids can do at home with their parents on SoSA’s Web site.

In addition to the educational aspects of the mission project, the goal for each participating Vacation Bible School is to raise enough through student offerings for 1,000 pounds of fresh produce that will go to hungry people in the United States. At 5 cents a pound, that’s a goal of $50.

SoSA is a hunger-relief ministry that salvages excess fresh vegetables and fruits that are good and nutritious, but can’t be sold because of market factors. Instead of letting this food go to waste, SoSA ships it to agencies feeding the hungry throughout the nation, at a cost of a little more than 5 cents a pound.

Last year 182 churches used SoSA’s program, and participating children donated $40,822 — enough to provide more than 2.7 million servings of food. On average, each participating Vacation Bible School raised 4.5 times the goal of $50.
All materials are free and will be shipped beginning March 15. Sample kits can be ordered by calling Jennifer Vestal Moore at 800-333-4597; e-mailing; faxing 434-299-5949; or going online at

More information about Society of St. Andrew and its hunger relief ministry is available at, 800-333-4597 or

Now, here’s what those text messaging abbreviations mentioned above mean: ?4U – I have a question for you; LOL – laugh out loud; <3 – [sideways heart] love, friendship; 4EAE – forever and ever; 9 – parent is watching; AYTMTB – and you’re telling me this because; AFC – away from computer; CYE – check your e-mail; MTF – more to follow; B4N – bye for now; PZ – peace; SSIF – so stupid it’s funny; and :) – smile.


Lay pastors gather to equip, strengthen ministry

By Marie Parma**

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Lay pastors and clergy are invited to attend the Lay Pastors Ministry International Conference April 25-26 at Centenary United Methodist Church in Lexington, Ky. 

This time of equipping is designed to prepare or strengthen laity to intentionally work alongside church members in areas of pastoral care. It provides additional resources for churches that have existing lay pastors ministries and ideas on how to get started for churches exploring a model of ministry for congregational care. Guests from around the country are expected to attend.
This conference is Friday afternoon through Saturday and offers 25 different workshops and two plenary sessions.

Plenary leaders are the Rev. Greg Gallaher, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, Georgetown, Ky., and Mary Beth Ludt, Centenary United Methodist Church, Lexington, Ky.

Workshop titles include: “Keeping Your Leaders Sharp – Equipping Initially and Thereafter”; “What a Lay Ministry Will Do For Your Church”; “How Do You Respond When They Don’t Respond?”; “Worship, Prayer, Community and Care: Cultivating New Creation in Ordinary Soil”; “Making a Difference – One Life at a Time”; and “The Energizer Bunny and Other Impossible Dreams.”

The early registration fee is $115 by March 31. Late registration is $145 after March 31. The group rate is $100 per person with five or more from the same church, and the seminary student rate is $50. Fees include participation in praise and worship, two plenary sessions, regional sharing, five workshops, Friday evening celebration dinner, Saturday lunch and refreshment breaks.

This event has been approved for .8 continuing education units by the director of Continuing Education, Board of Ordained Ministry, Kentucky Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

More information, including the link to download the conference brochure, is available at under “event brochure and registration form.” Questions may be sent to Parma at or 334-272-8355.


Special Sunday celebrates gifts, contributions of Native Americans

By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Native American International Caucus proposed Native American Awareness Sunday in a petition to the 1988 General Conference. Delegates subsequently approved the new churchwide Special Sunday with offering. The 2000 General Conference changed the name of the observance to Native American Ministries Sunday. This year’s celebration is April 6.

Congregations are encouraged to participate in Native American Ministries Sunday the second Sunday after Easter. The gifts received fund urban ministries with Native Americans, provide scholarships for Native Americans attending United Methodist and other approved seminaries, and develop and nurture conference-based Native American ministries.

More information is available at On the page are links to an overview and history, children’s sermon, and other worship resources.

All Special Sunday resources, including Native American Sunday envelopes, can be ordered at


Lake Junaluska and Alban Institute form partnership

By Cintia Listenbee**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Two pioneers in Christian leadership have formed a new partnership to advance the holistic ministry of United Methodist leaders.

The Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center and the Alban Institute partnership bring 130 years of experience in church leadership training. Clergy and laity in The United Methodist Church will benefit from this union through three learning experiences in 2008.

Two seminars for congregations and a ministry summit are part of the first year of this partnership. They include the healthy congregations seminar titled “Leading your congregation to health, holiness, and hospitality,” April 13-16, led by Ed White, Alban senior consultant; 2008 Ministry Summit (formerly known as SEJ Ministers’ Conference), July 6-10, titled “Narrative Forms of Leadership and Congregation Formation,” led by a team of Alban consultants; and “Moving Churches from Maintenance to Mission – Building Disciple-making Communities,” Sept. 26-28, led by Ed White, Alban senior consultant.

Wayne Floyd, education program manager at The Alban Institute, said the partnership unites Alban’s 35 years of experience in consulting, continuing education and research with the long tradition of clergy education at Lake Junaluska.

“We would hope that people would go away with a deeper and richer sense of the way their own ministries contribute to the health and vitality of the congregations they serve and the ways in which congregational leaders among clergy and laity continue to have much to teach one another,” he said.

Roger Dowdy, director of ministry at Lake Junaluska, said the events will enrich the lives of churches all over the jurisdiction.

“Through this partnership, both clergy and laity in the Southeastern Jurisdiction will have access to three cutting-edge learning experiences in 2008, amidst the beautiful setting of Lake Junaluska,” he said.

More information is available by contacting Dowdy at; Pam Moser at; Pam Naplen at pnaplen@sejumc; or  828-452-2881 or


Lighten the Burden event raises AIDS awareness

By General Board of Church and Society Staff
WASHINGTON — The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund is sponsoring a seminar called “Lighten the Burden II” in Fort Worth, Texas, April 22 to draw attention to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Featured speakers at the daylong event include Bishop João Somane Machado of Mozambique, the Rev. Shane Stanford and Kay Warren.

Machado serves in a country that has declared HIV/AIDS a national emergency. The epidemic has reduced life expectancy from 41 years in 1999 to 38.1 years in 2004. On average, 500 new infections occur every day, 90 of them among young children through mother-to-child transmission. More than 90,000 of the victims are children under 15 years old, according to UNICEF.

Stanford, who is HIV-positive, is the featured preacher on The United Methodist Hour and serves as teaching pastor at Main Street United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Kay Warren launched the HIV/AIDS Caring Community at, an online community that offers resources and inspiration for churches involved in HIV/AIDS ministry. She and her husband, Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” were instrumental in presenting Saddleback Church’s first HIV/AIDS conference, “Global Summit on AIDS and the Church,” now an annual event.

The event, which will be held the day before the 2008 General Conference convenes in Fort Worth, will run from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Other speakers will be Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Conference; Don Messer, author of “Breaking The Conspiracy of Silence: Christian Churches and the Global AIDS Crisis”; and Bishop Fritz Mutti, who lost two sons within a year to HIV/AIDS. He and his wife serve as co-chairs of the Global AIDS Fund.

The registration deadline is April 11. Individuals who like to register or more information may contact Donna Brandyberry at 202-488-5641 or

The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund represents the commitment of the denomination to help end HIV/AIDS around the world. The $8 million goal represents a $1 commitment of every United Methodist in the United States. It supports education, prevention, care and treatment programs for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The fund does not overlook the crisis in the United States where about 1 million people are infected. The plan specifies that 25 percent of what each annual conference raises should be used in that conference for AIDS work, either locally or in global projects.

Anyone can support United Methodist Global AIDS Fund by giving to Advance #982345. There are several ways to give. Donations can be made online at Checks payable to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) and indicating the Advance number on the memo line can be placed in church offering plates. Checks can also be mailed to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Credit card donations can be made at 800-554-8583.


Congregations invited to apply for Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant
By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — For the past eight years, Lilly Endowment Inc. has provided grants through its National Clergy Renewal Program to more than 1,000 congregations to support extended times of Sabbath rest and renewal for pastors and their families. 

The Endowment is now receiving applications for the 2008 program. 

Congregations may request up to a total of $45,000. Of that amount, up to $15,000 may be used for congregational expenses associated with the renewal program. The remainder may be used for the pastor’s program expenses. 

A brochure and application are available at or by calling 317-916-7302. 

Applications must be postmarked by May 14


Professional United Methodist Church Secretaries Certification Institute held at Candler

By Cynthia J. Haralson**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist church secretaries, administrative assistants, general agency office personnel, and staff of episcopal, district and annual conference offices are encouraged to attend the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMC) Certification Institute July 20-25 at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

The institute provides advanced professional training and enrichment for United Methodist church secretaries from across the denomination. A participant who completes the program and meets the requirements set by the General Council on Finance and Administration is eligible to apply for certification as a Professional United Methodist Church Secretary.

The registration fee is $300, which includes course materials, a continental breakfast Monday through Friday, and several lunches and dinners (Sunday and Thursday). Travel, room, additional meals and any other incidentals are the responsibility of each participant. Arrangements have been made with Emory University for air-conditioned dormitory rooms at $38 for singles per day and $30 per person per day for doubles. These rates are as of October 2007.
A limited number of scholarships covering the cost of the registration fee are available. A written request explaining the need for the scholarship must be submitted.

More information is available by contacting Cynthia J. Haralson at 615-369-2386; 866-367-4232, extension 2386; or


New courses offered at 2008 Christian Communications Ministry Institute

By United Methodist Communications staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 2008 Christian Communications Ministry Institute at Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, Tenn., is offering new courses for Christian communicators.

Held July 27-Aug. 2, the institute will offer “Contemporary Religious Issues for Communicators,” introduced this summer as an alternative for “United Methodist Polity.” Other courses include “Writing for Mass Media” and “Communications Law and Ethics.”

United Methodist and other Christian communicators enroll in the institute to meet academic requirements for certification in Christian communication or for personal enrichment.

Students seeking to qualify for certification must enroll in the writing, law and ethics, and polity courses unless they have completed another polity course through a United Methodist seminary. Students enrolling for continuing education may take one or two of the daytime courses (writing and law and ethics) and/or one of the evening courses.

Fees are $850 for three courses (two day and one evening), $375 each for one or two daytime courses, and $150 for one evening course. More information is available by contacting Tina McGill at Martin Methodist College,, or Kathy Noble,

The institute is offered by Martin Methodist College in cooperation with the Committee on Certification in Christian Communications (a joint committee of United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Association of Communicators).


Sign the pledge, call the president
By General Board of Church and Society Staff

WASHINGTON — United Methodists are urged to tell President George W. Bush they support the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report that has passed the Senate. Bush has threatened to veto the bill that prohibits torture as a method of interrogation.

“There is wide agreement among people from across the political and theological spectrum that torture is not moral and is not effective,” said Bill Mefford, director of Civil and Human Rights Program at the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. “The United States Congress now agrees and it is up to us to remind the President to do the right thing.

“It is crucial for people of faith to remind the President that United Methodists do not torture.”

The bill requires all members of the intelligence community to abide by the restrictions of the Army Field Manual prohibiting torture and many of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” currently used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mefford said The United Methodist Book of Discipline, in paragraph 164A, states, “The mistreatment or torture of persons by governments for any purpose violates Christian teaching and must be condemned and/or opposed by Christians and churches wherever and whenever it occurs.”

Mefford encourages all United Methodists to sign the pledge against torture on the General Board of Church and Society Web site at and call the president at 202-456-1111 to urge him not to veto the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report.

“Unfortunately, many countries engage in acts of torture,” Mefford said. He pointed out there are reports by groups like Amnesty International of countries like China, Myanmar, Sudan and North Korea engaging in the torture of political dissidents.
“This has got to stop,” Mefford said, “but the United States is unable to effectively lead the fight against such brutality until it has repented of engaging in actions of torture”

After a person signs the pledge at and calls the president, Mefford encourages getting friends, family and church members to do likewise.

More information is available by contacting Mefford at 202-488-5657 or


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
    Breitinger is communications director for the national Society of St. Andrew office in Big Island, Va.
    Haralson is director of records and statistics and General Council on Finance staff representative to PAUMCS in Nashville, Tenn.
    Hazelbaker is a staff member with the Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union.
    Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
    Parma is southeastern regional director Lay Pastors Ministry Inc.
    Trotti is director of the Florida Conference Justice and Spirituality Ministries, part of the conference’s Global Mission and Justice Ministries.