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Opportunities — April 3, 2008 {0825}

Opportunities — April 3, 2008 {0825}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — April 3, 2008

April 3, 2008  News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0825}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n 2008 Florida Conference summer mission interns needed
n Spanishtown immersion program offers opportunities for conversation
n Internationally known event leader visits South Florida camp
n Father shares story of athletic journey with disabled son
n Jamaica Project provides opportunities for cooperative mission ministry
n Conference offering gives churches chance to give ‘The Methodist Way’
n School of Christian Mission asks how to live in ‘sacred harmony’

n Congressman Cleaver to keynote General Board of Church and Society luncheon
n Music, worship leaders gather for renewal, learning at Lake Junaluska
n SOULfeast offers place of spiritual nurturing
n Church business administrators gather at Lake Junaluska
n Pocket devotional gives ‘strength for service’
n United Methodists encouraged to subscribe to Interpreter Magazine 


2008 Florida Conference summer mission interns needed

By David Berkey**

LAKELAND — People who enjoy working in ministry with children at day and overnight camps are needed this summer.

Workers will share their gifts for nine weeks, June 8-Aug. 8, at various settings throughout Florida. The Florida United Methodist camping ministry is seeking college students and high school graduates with an aptitude for ministry with children and youth and enthusiasm for sharing Christian faith. Workers will be placed in groups of two to five to work in United Methodist outreach agencies or with the summer camp ministry at the Life Enrichment Center and Riverside Retreat. 

Training, weekly stipend and room and board will be provided. This is a partnership of the Florida Conference’s outreach, camp and retreat, campus, and justice and spirituality ministries. 

Interested individuals may request an application or further information from the Rev. David Berkey at, by visiting or calling 800-282-8011, extension 140. 

The deadline to apply is April 15.


Spanishtown immersion program offers opportunities for conversation

By Icel Rodriguez**

LAKELAND — Individuals who would like to enhance their Spanish-speaking skills are invited to Spanishtown April 28-May 3 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.
Spanishtown is an immersion program that brings “pilgrims” (Spanish students) and “guides” (Hispanic mentors) together for a week of “all Spanish, all the time.” It includes five hours each day of one-on-one conversation, devotionals, group dynamics, ministry opportunities, and sharing traditions and culture.
Any church participant, lay or clergy, from any Christian tradition may apply for admission to the program. Certain proficiency in Spanish is required. Typically, this means the equivalent of two or more years of high school or college Spanish. Anyone who can carry on a simple conversation in Spanish about interests, family or life experience is ready for Spanishtown.
Spanishtown offers an environment for those who have been studying Spanish to overcome shyness and fears and be able to communicate with confidence.
The main goal of Spanishtown is to equip church participants for effective cross-cultural ministry. The program is endorsed by the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church and by Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary.
The cost of room, board and tuition is $750. Continuing education credit units can be earned. Interested individuals may obtain more information by contacting Icel Rodríguez at 800-282-8011, extension 182, or


Internationally known event leader visits South Florida camp
By Martha E. Pierce**
LABELLE — Church leaders and members who are looking for novel ideas to motivate and excite their Vacation Bible School, camp, or other outreach or community programs are invited to attend the “Are You Ready for Summer?” conference, led by Mike Spiller, at the Florida Conference’s Riverside Retreat in LaBelle May 2-3.

Spiller has traveled the world to find innovative and stimulating game data for his many summer camps, teacher in-services and Games of the World workshops. He has worked with hundreds of schools and youth organizations in the Unites States, United Kingdom, Europe, South Pacific, Africa, South America and Central America. 
During the workshop, attendees will play and observe nearly 200 games, activities and special events. The goal is that leaders and staff will leave energized and ready to meet campers and students with fresh and exciting ideas. 
The cost of the overnight event is $140. Individuals interested in registering or needing more information may contact Martha Pierce at 863-675-0334 or


Father shares story of athletic journey with disabled son

By Nancy Jordan**

GAINESVILLE — Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who compete together in marathon races. If they’re not in a marathon, they are in a triathlon — that daunting, almost superhuman combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling and 2.4 miles of swimming.

Together they have climbed mountains and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.
It’s a remarkable record of exertion — all the more so when you consider Rick can’t walk or talk.

At Rick’s birth in 1962, the umbilical cord coiled around his neck and cut off oxygen to his brain. Dick and his wife, Judy, were told there would be no hope for their child’s development.

“It’s been a story of exclusion ever since he was born,” Dick said. “When he was eight months old, the doctors told us we should just put him away. He’d be a vegetable all his life — that sort of thing. Well, those doctors are not alive anymore, but I would like them to be able to see Rick now.”

For the past 25 years Dick has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines. When Dick runs, Rick is in the wheelchair Dick is pushing. When Dick cycles, Rick is in the seat-pod from his wheelchair, attached to the front of Dick’s bike. When Dick swims, Rick is in the small, but heavy, firmly stabilized boat pulled by Dick.

Rick’s own accomplishments, quite apart from the duo’s continuing athletic success, have included his 1993 graduation from Boston University with a degree in special education. A few weeks after graduation, Team Hoyt once again entered the Boston Marathon.

Rick now works at Boston College’s computer laboratory helping develop a system codenamed “Eagle Eyes.” It has mechanical aids — similar to a powered wheelchair — that, when computer-linked, can be controlled by a paralyzed person’s eye movements.

In addition to competing together athletically, the Hoyts also go on motivational speaking tours, spreading the Hoyt brand of inspiration to all kinds of audiences — sporting and non-sporting — across the country.

Dick Hoyt will be speaking at Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 N.W. 53rd Ave., Gainesville, 32653, May 14 at 7 p.m., to tell the inspirational story of TEAM Hoyt.

More information is available by contacting the church at 352-376-6615 or


Jamaica Project provides opportunities for cooperative mission ministry

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — Groups or individuals are invited to be part of a unique and meaningful mission experience building relationships, hope and new community centers in the “bush” region of Jamaica.

The Jamaica Project, an approved United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) project, is a cooperative ministry bringing together the Jamaican government, local community businesses, leaders and churches, and the resources of ReGenesis Ministries. ReGenesis Ministries is a nonprofit organization founded out of Peace United Methodist Church in Orlando and led by United Methodist clergy and laity.

The Jamaican government is donating properties — land and reclaimed buildings — to local communities. Over a period of seven weeks, mission teams, working with community leaders, will refurbish the properties for use by the community. Projects will include construction and repair, roofing, landscaping, painting, and more. Experience and construction skills are not a requirement for this project. Tools and materials are arranged by ReGenesis Ministries, and knowledgeable contractors will supervise all work teams.

Teams include adult volunteers, 18 or older, and families. An adult family member must accompany youth and children.

Trips are in week increments beginning May 19 and ending the week of July 21. Participants may choose to participate from among the seven weeks. The cost for each week is $900, including air travel from Orlando, ground transportation, lodging, meals and a few sight-seeing excursions in Jamaica.

A brochure with more details is found at by clicking on “New mission opportunity in Jamaica!”

More information may be obtained by contacting the Rev. Dr. Phil Maynard, executive director of ReGenesis Ministries, at or 321-217-6007.


Conference offering gives churches chance to give ‘The Methodist Way’

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND — The 2008 Florida Annual Conference Event May 29-31 will focus on the five elements of The Methodist Way: passionate worship, radical hospitality, intentional discipling, salty service and extravagant generosity.
An offering will be taken at the event that supports the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It’s also an opportunity for every church to practice extravagant generosity and all five areas of The Methodist Way.

Every congregation in the Florida Conference is invited to collect this offering and bring it to the 2008 event.

The offering will be divided three ways: 60 percent will be directed to the East Angola/Florida Partnership, 20 percent will support the Florida Conference’s immigration counseling ministry in Central Florida, and 20 percent will strengthen Florida children’s ministries with the Council of Bishops’ Initiative on Children and Poverty.

The East Angola/Florida Partnership encourages the practices of radical hospitality, salty service and extravagant generosity.

Angola is a country recovering from a 27-year civil war. Members of the East Angola/Florida Partnership team traveled to Angola in February. While they report there is rapid development across the country, human and spiritual needs are great. Previous annual conference event offerings have helped with the reconstruction of many buildings at Quéssua, the Angola conference’s spiritual center, including the sanctuary of the center’s United Methodist church and its vocational high school. This year’s offering will help complete construction of the theology school and provide scholarships for theological students in East Angola.

The debate over immigration has been at the forefront of the national political agenda for decades. Florida is a high profile immigration state. Florida Conference Justice For Our Neighbors is a part of a national network of immigration counseling centers sponsored by the United Methodist Committee on Relief. There are two counseling centers in Florida, one in Orlando and another in the Tampa Bay area. The centers are staffed by volunteers, mostly from local United Methodist churches, and provide quality legal counseling for individuals seeking to comply with immigration laws. A third center is projected for Ft. Pierce. The annual conference offering will support an immigration lawyer who will provide legal services at the immigration counseling centers. In these ways, this ministry encourages the practices of radical hospitality and salty service. 

The Council of Bishops’ Initiative on Children and Poverty has received offerings for the purchase of backpacks and school supplies for the past five years. Local outreach ministries and churches distribute, on average, 5,000 of the backpacks filled with supplies each year. The impact of this distribution goes beyond the backpacks, however, with churches and ministries using the items to practice radical hospitality, intentional discipleship, salty service and extravagant generosity. Backpacks and school supplies become a means for evangelization and Christian witnessing with children and their families. This portion of the annual conference offering continues this ministry.

Checks may be made payable to Florida Conference Treasurer, with “Annual Conference Offering” in the memo line. Offerings may also be sent to AmSouth Bank, P.O. Box 850001, Orlando, FL 32885-0207.


School of Christian Mission asks how to live in ‘sacred harmony’

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Native American traditions teach that all that comes from the heart and mind of God is sacred. Native traditions call on their people to value life as God values life. To believe in Jesus is to love as God loved and live as Christ lived, valuing all creation.

“Living in Sacred Harmony” is the theme for this summer’s United Methodist Women’s School of Christian Mission week July 22-25 and weekend July 25-27. “I believe in Jesus” is the spiritual growth study. The social action study is “Giving Our Hearts Away: Native American Survival.” The geographical study is Israel and Palestine.

Study leaders for the “I believe in Jesus” spiritual growth study are the Rev. Rodney Hunter, pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, Richmond, Va.; the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin, director of Global Life and Learning for the Florida Conference; Dr. Barbara A. Green, a retired public school teacher, speech therapist and administrator from Daytona Beach; and the Rev. Dr. Joanes Martin, pastor of Ft. Pierce Haitian United Methodist Church.

Leading the “Giving Our Hearts Away: Native American Survival” study is Louella Lowe, president of the South West District United Methodist Women. Lowe spent at least 20 summers in mission work on the Navajo Reservation, which extends into Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, and among the Houma Indians in the Louisiana bayous.

Michelle Shrader, a 2007 Duke Divinity School graduate, will lead the geographical study on Israel and Palestine. Shrader spent last year as the first graduate fellow through the Center for Reconciliation at Duke University.

Other study leaders are Judith Pierre-Okerson, chairwoman of the Florida Conference refugee ministry committee; the Rev. Delano McIntosh, a retired Florida Conference elder; Joyce Waldon Bright, president of the United Methodist Women’s group at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, Orlando; Alfred Osieu, a graduate student at Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University; Detricia E. Williams, a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church, Orlando.

Classes are offered for children and youth at both the weeklong and weekend schools. Child care is also available.

The school will be held at Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, one of the United Methodist Church-related historical black colleges and universities.

Participants of the school will have a chance to tour the campus and home of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. There will also be a talent show and other mission opportunities.

Costs for youth and adults for the week are $130 (double occupancy for meals and program), children are $85 (double occupancy, meals and program) and commuters (youth, adult and children) are $32 (meals not included).

For the weekend school, youth and adults are $80, children are $55 and commuters are $27, all with the same stipulations on occupancy, meals and program as the weeklong costs.

Registration forms are due July 8. Any registrations postmarked after July 8 will be charged a $10 late fee. 

More information and registration forms are available on the Florida Conference Web site at


Congressman Cleaver to keynote General Board of Church and Society luncheon

By Wayne L. Rhodes**

WASHINGTON — Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II will be the featured speaker at a General Board of Church and Society luncheon lunch April 28 during the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

The lunch is 12:30 p.m. in the Fort Worth Convention Center, where the denomination’s top law-making body will be meeting from April 24-May 2.

Cleaver, who grew up in public housing and has dedicated his career in public service to economic development and social concerns, will speak on the importance of social justice ministry.

An ordained United Methodist clergyman, Cleaver is serving his first term representing the Fifth District of Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives. He also serves as senior pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City.

Cleaver made history as the first African-American elected mayor of Kansas City. During his two terms, Cleaver championed programs and initiatives to create jobs and stimulate economic development, including infrastructure improvements, city planning and youth outreach. He is known for his ability to bring different groups together to attain constructive solutions for common problems. 

The cost to attend the lunch is $20 per person. Interested individuals may register online at Reservations by mail should include a check designated “Cleaver Lunch” on the memo line. Checks should be sent to the General Board of Church and Society, 100 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002, Attention: Clayton Childers.

More information is available by contacting Childers at 202-488-5642 or


Music, worship leaders gather for renewal, learning at Lake Junaluska

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (FUMMWA) presents “The Time of Your Life — Transforming the Rat Race Into a Journey,” a week designed for clergy, musicians, worship leaders, hand bell ringers, adults, youth, children and those involved in the arts and the church.

This event is June 22-27 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. All are invited to this week of fellowship, learning, worship and spiritual renewal.

The costs are $135 for Fellowship members and those attending with a member; $190 for non-Fellowship members, including a one-year membership in the Fellowship; $110 for children and youth; $30 for a guest or chaperone (includes program book, worship and evening concerts only); a $25 facility Fee for those not staying in Lake Junaluska housing (included in all housing rates); and a $75 daily rate. After April 30 there is a $25 per person registration increase.

Participants are responsible for making their own housing arrangements prior to registering. More information on all housing and to make reservations is available at Lodging reservations may be made directly with Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. Rates vary depending on location and range from $72 per day (per person double occupancy, including three meals a day) to $21 per day (per person for dormitory style lodging without meals).

Interested individuals may call Lake Junaluska’s reservations office at 800-222-4930. Information about leadership, class descriptions and daily activities is available at

Individuals may register at and pay by credit card or print an invoice for payment by check. Individuals may request a “paper registration form” by calling 800-952-8977 or e-mailing Group leaders must register groups online and make payments for all registrations within the group at


SOULfeast offers place of spiritual nurturing

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — All who hunger for a deepening spirituality are invited to attend SOULfeast at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C., July 20-24.

SOULfeast is for individuals and families and offers four days of worship, teaching, workshops and quiet time. It is for anyone who seeks Sabbath rest, engaging worship, fresh insight for their spiritual journey, rich community connection, resources to take home and quiet space.

Tracks for families/youth/children are woven into the event, which is sponsored by Upper Room Ministries in partnership with Lake Junaluska Ministry Events. The Web site offers a complete description of the event, including the workshops, leaders, a schedule and a promotional video.

The plenary leaders are Rudy Rasmus and Marjorie Thompson, who will lead participants under the theme “The Heart of Pilgrimage: Living by the Spirit.”

Rasmus is an author and pastor. For 15 years he has led St. John’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, with his wife Juanita.

Thompson is an ordained Presbyterian minister, teacher, retreat leader, writer and director of Pathways in Congregational Spirituality, Upper Room Ministries.

The event’s worship artist will be Marcia McFee, a consultant on worship and the arts. She has preached and led worship and workshops for churches and conferences across the United States, Europe and Asia. She is a graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology and received her doctorate in liturgical studies from Graduate Theological Union.

SOULfest worship will engage in a variety of styles —Taizé community, gospel, contemporary praise and worship, and favorite hymns — and be led by Marcia McFee, the Junaluska Singers and other guest musicians.

The SOULfeast youth and children’s teams will create spaces for children and youth to meet each other, connect with new friends, meet God, discover a personal rhythm of spiritual practice and enjoy fellowship.

Workshops titles include: “Writing from the Heart: Reflecting on Your Experience with God”; “Inside Out: Reflecting Jesus to the World”; “Discovering Soul Care”; “When You Come Unglued, Stick Close to God”; “Get Real! A Spiritual Journey for Men”; “Spirituality and Photography”; and “Beyond Words: Embodied Worship.”

Program fees are $125 before April 30 and $150 after for adults and $40 before April 30 and $50 after for children (rising first grade and older) and teens. Child care is available for children ages 2-5.

Registration can be by mail or online. Details are available at

Housing costs and reservation information is available by calling Lake Junaluska at 800-222-4930 or visiting Questions about the event should be directed to Pam Naplen, administrative assistant for event management, at or 828-454-6656.


Church business administrators gather at Lake Junaluska

By Southeastern Jurisdiction Communications Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The 55th annual Church Business Administrators Conference, sponsored by The Southeastern Jurisdictional Chapter of the United Methodist Association of Church Business Administrators (SEJUMACBA), will be held at Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center Aug. 3-6.

This event is open to SEJUMACBA members, church business administrators, pastors, staff/parish or pastor/parish relations committee members, or anyone who has an interest in keeping churches safe from predators.

The discussion topic at the event will be “Our Church, Our Refuge: Keeping Our
Churches Safe for the Whole Family.” The focus will be on how churches can prepare for and deal with a variety of unforeseen circumstances. This will be an informative week of intensive in-depth training, spiritual renewal and Christian fellowship in a relaxing environment that encourages rest and rejuvenation.

Participants may make housing reservations by calling the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center Reservations office at 800-222-4930, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Fridays, or by e-mailing

More information, including a copy of the brochure for conference, is available at


Pocket devotional gives ‘strength for service’

By General Commission on United Methodist Men Staff

Service men and women around the world are being inspired by the pocket devotional “Strength for Service.” More than 1 million copies of the book were first distributed during World War II and the Korean conflict before it went out of print. Fifty years later, work is underway to republish the book.

Since the re-release of “Strength for Service” in 2002, the book has been distributed to 300,000 people of all denominations. The books have been given to troops deploying to the Middle East and institutions caring for the wounded. With new deployments, however, thousands of troops have a need for the devotional.

The General Commission on United Methodist Men is committed to ensuring a copy of the devotional is placed in the hands of every military man and woman serving overseas.

To support this project, churches can have a “Strength for Service” Sunday to tell the congregation about the impact the book is making in the lives of those in active service. Posters and bulletin inserts are available at

More information about the project or ordering books is available at Copies of “Strength for Service” cost $7 each and can also be ordered online from Cokesbury at or by calling 800-672-1789.


United Methodists encouraged to subscribe to Interpreter Magazine
By Kathy Noble**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist Communications asks pastors who have not completed and returned the Interpreter Magazine enrollment form to do so as soon as possible. The form may be completed online at, sent by fax to 615-742-5499, e-mailed to or mailed to United Methodist Communications, Customer Service — Interpreter Enrollment, P.O. Box 440229, Nashville, TN 37244-0229.

Those enrolling online must contact Customer Service at 888-346-3862 to obtain the customer number and pass code. Customers may also receive a copy of a church's enrollment form by calling customer service.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
   Jordan is on staff at Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   Noble is editor of Interpreter Magazine out of United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.
   Pierce is director of the Florida Conference’s Riverside Retreat in LaBelle, FL.
   Rhodes is director of communications for the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C.
   Rodiguez is assistant director of the Florida Conference’s Global Mission and Justice Ministries.