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Opportunities — July 28, 2008 {0890}

Opportunities — July 28, 2008 {0890}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Opportunities — July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
800-282-8011    Orlando {0890}

An e-Review News Item

This series includes:

n Past team leaders, campers sought for anniversary celebration
n Foundation offers second annual stewardship summit
n Fall Volunteers in Mission team leader training dates set
n Training offered in church health, leadership development

n UMCOR Sager Brown Depot in urgent need of flood buckets
n Free resources help jump-start open house month
n Blue Ridge storytelling festival goes to Lake Junaluska
n Laycock to speak on Psalms
n Christian educators, clergy invited to national conference
n UMCOR sponsors ‘change world’ conference


Past team leaders, campers sought for anniversary celebration

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND — 2008 marks 60 years of summer camping at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park.

To celebrate the milestone, a special camp reunion and celebration will be held Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-31.

Anyone who has served on the summer camp leadership team, been a camper or adult volunteer, or loves camp is invited to attend this special event.

More information about the event, including registration, is available at by clicking on the anniversary celebration link under announcements on the right-hand side of the page. The deadline to register is Aug. 15.


Foundation offers second annual stewardship summit

By Suzanne McGovern**

LAKELAND — “It’s Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate” is the theme of the 2008 Stewardship Summit Sept. 13, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, Lakeland. 

The summit is open to all Florida Conference churches and may be of particular interest to pastors, lay leaders, trustees, business administrators, finance and stewardship chairpersons, and anyone involved in stewardship or discipleship education.

Dr. Clif Christopher, an ordained pastor and stewardship consultant, will speak about the climate for giving in the 21st century and how churches must be ready to adopt new ways of teaching stewardship in order to help local congregations make the connection between faith and money. 

According to Christopher, churches cannot rely on traditional stewardship practices in an era when more than 1.8 million nonprofit organizations worldwide are competing for charitable dollars.

In addition to his keynote address, Christopher will address capital campaigns in a breakout session titled “Success vs. Failure in Capital Campaigns,” one of six breakout sessions offered at the one-day conference. Other scheduled workshops will focus on such topics as planned giving and connectional giving, how churches can make it easy to give, incorporating stewardship into worship, and creating a congregation of generous givers. 

Attendees are invited to share their challenges and successes during a question and answer session following lunch.

The Florida United Methodist Foundation is sponsoring the summit. The registration fee is $50 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch and materials. The deadline to register is Aug. 22. Four Lakeland area hotels are offering special rates for attendees.

Registration forms and additional details are available on the Florida United Methodist Foundation Web site at under the “Register for Stewardship Summit” link or by calling the Foundation toll free at 866-363-9673.


Fall Volunteers in Mission team leader training dates set

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is a hands-on mission experience open to all Florida United Methodists.

Children, youth and adults may participate in hundreds of mission experiences, from vacation Bible school and Christian witnessing to construction of chapels and parsonages in a global context — building relationship across culture and language in the process.

Those who are interested in taking their leadership skills to the next level are encouraged to participate in an upcoming UMVIM team leader training designed to prepare volunteers to lead mission teams.

Anyone with the love of God and a passion for relating with God’s people can participate on an UMVIM mission. The Florida Conference UMVIM team is available to support any team’s preparation for mission. Teams can be formed from one church or from several. They can be multigenerational and multiethnic.

The fall leadership training date is Oct. 3-4 at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 6133 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, 32217. A representative from the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry will be available to talk with attendees about how they can serve during times of disaster.

The cost of the training is $50 per person and includes one night’s accommodations, three meals and all training materials.

Participants will be staying at the church and will need to bring a cot or air mattress, bedding (sleeping bag/bedroll and pillow), towels and personal items.

Individuals may register at by clicking on “register for this event.” The training begins with check-in at 4 p.m. the first day and ends at 5 p.m. the second day.

Individuals with questions or needing additional information about the training are asked to contact Sue Macchiarella at or Pam Garrison at or 800-282-8011, extension 148.

More information about UMVIM is available at


Training offered in church health, leadership development

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Church leaders and members involved in church planting, health and leadership development are invited to The Gathering, a national training event led by ChurchSmart Resources’ authors and trainers.

Held Nov. 12-14 at Anona United Methodist Church, 13233 Indian Rocks Road, Largo, 33774, the Gathering will offer resources, ideas, teaching, fellowship, networking, worship and celebration to renew souls and enhance vision.

The presenters are all church planters, pastors and denominational leaders who understand the challenges local church leaders face in ministry today. They will share with participants every good idea, concept or principle they have found effective in their ministries so all attendees will be encouraged and more effective in their ministries.

Participants will choose a different track each day of the workshop from eight tracks that offer practical learning.

Ministry teams may stay a few extra days to strategize together. Space can be reserved at the church for teams to meet together after the conference.

The cost is $150, which includes the training, lunch, snacks, and books or assessments related to the chosen tracks.

The seminar tract topics are:

  • Church Health — which offers an opportunity to assess the Natural Church Development (NCD) process;

  • Church Planting — providing fresh ideas on how to know God, love others, grow the Kingdom, and think about the church and culture in new ways;

  • Leading Turnaround Churches — led by Gene Wood, who has helped four different sized churches in four different states through the “turnaround” process;

  • Leadership Development — led by Paul Ford, a Birkman consultant and developer of numerous assessment tools, who will help leaders better understand their personality strengths, spiritual gifting, team style and primary functions of stewardship;

  • Leadership Impact — led by Terry Walling, who will help leaders discover God’s purpose for their lives by understanding their past, embracing their personal calling and becoming intentional in gathering the right people around them;

  • Spiritual Leadership Formation — led by Jim VanYperen, who will help attendees understand what it means to be a called out, called together community that takes bold steps to become fully devoted followers of Jesus;

  • Small Churches, Big Impact — led by Martin Giese, who will help churches with average weekly worship attendance of less than 100 understand the unique characteristics and leadership needs in the small church ministry environment; and

  • Church Life and Practical Ministry Issues — which will focus on finding the right leaders for a variety of ministry tasks and the role of elder boards, small groups and evangelism.

Several tracks repeat so participants can participate in a variety of sessions. There will also be three plenary sessions with Bob Logan titled “From Followers to Leaders” and three plenary sessions led by Jack Stephenson, Terry Walling and Tom Clegg walking participants through the themes of each day.
More information about the daily schedule, room reservations or registering for the training is available on ChurchSmart’s Web site at by clicking “training” and then “scheduled seminars.” Interested individuals may also call 800-253-4276.


UMCOR Sager Brown Depot in urgent need of flood buckets

By Melissa Hinnen**

BALDWIN, LA. — The United Methodist Committee on Relief’s (UMCOR) Sager Brown Depot has nearly depleted its supply of flood buckets after shipping thousands of buckets in response to recent floods. This low inventory is a serious concern, especially when the Atlantic hurricane season has essentially just begun.

The many emergencies over the past months have depleted response supplies, with 6,624 flood buckets shipped to emergencies around the country. Increasing the supply of flood buckets has become the most urgent need at the depot as communities in the Midwest continue the clean-up process from recent floods. In 2007, Sager Brown distributed 4,008 buckets.

The five-gallon buckets are filled with supplies that help people begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up after a flood or hurricane. The Sager Brown Depot and other United Methodist depots in the connection collect, package and ship buckets to flooded areas all over the United States.

Congregations and individuals are urged to send completed buckets, bulk materials or a contribution of $45 to purchase supplies. A list of flood bucket contents can be found at

Donations to purchase supplies can be made to UMCOR Material Resources Advance #901440. Individuals may give online at, by putting their donation in their offering plate at church, or by mailing a check to UMCOR at P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087.

Instructions to pack and ship supplies are available at


Free resources help jump-start open house month

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — September is open house month and back-to-school time. Churches that plan to reach out to the community during this period will find help with Igniting Ministry.

Igniting Ministry continues to reflect The United Methodist Church’s commitment to welcome strangers into its churches. Several resources can help jump-start that goal.

An easy way to reach out to the nearby community is through door hangers. A welcoming faith community can be the answer to the prayers of individuals and families around the church, and a door hanger campaign can be a simple way to connect with the neighborhood.

The “Share your gifts” message on one door hanger reads, “Come visit us — no strings attached.” This design is one of 25 available free to any church. All designs are also customizable for any local information.

Beginning the week of Sept. 1, the “Gift” Open Hearts message will begin airing on television. The ad invites viewers to embrace the Wesleyan tradition of giving themselves to others. It offers The United Methodist Church as a faith community of people with similar interests.

Downloads matching the television ad that can be used in worship and bulletin inserts can be found at by clicking on “Welcoming and Media.”

Tips and worksheets for churches that want to go from good to great on welcoming and a “Basic Welcoming” handbook, which gives church teams tools to help assess where their welcoming efforts are today and where they may want to make future changes, are also available for download at this site.

More information about Igniting Ministry is available at


Blue Ridge storytelling festival goes to Lake Junaluska

By Southeastern Jurisdiction Communications Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Handed down from generation to generation, folk tales, fables and stories weave a bright tapestry of words that can transport people to another time and place.

The Asheville Storytelling Circle and Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center will present the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge StoryFest Sept. 27.

Activities for the day of storytelling include a “story swap” under the lakeside tent, performances by members of the Asheville Storytelling Circle and an afternoon storytelling performance by nationally-acclaimed teller Donald Davis, who was born in a Southern Appalachian mountain world rich in storytelling. 

“I didn’t learn stories, I just absorbed them,” he says as he recounts tales learned from a family of traditional storytellers who have lived on the same Western North Carolina land since 1781. 

Davis says he grew up hearing fairy tales, scary mountain lore, ancient Welsh and Scottish folktales, and nourishing true-to-life stories of his own neighbors and relations.

Attendees will also hear stories from Mitch Capel, a North Carolinian also known as “Gran’daddy Junebug.” Capel is a master storyteller who has been described as a “word magician,” “a national treasure” and “unexpectedly powerful.”

Both Davis and Capel have been featured tellers at the prestigious National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. Capel is co-founder of the National African-American Storytellers’ Retreat and has been a featured teller at the National Black Storytelling Conference.
Special lodging, meal and storytelling festival ticket packages are available starting at $148 per person/double occupancy.

Individuals who need more information or want to make a reservation may call 800-222-4930. Camping is available. Storytelling Festival area is handicapped accessible.


Laycock to speak on Psalms

By e-Review Staff

Dr. Evelyn Laycock will present “Echoes of Faith: The Psalms” at  Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, Ga., Oct. 13-16.

Attendees will study the Book of Psalms and learn from Laycock, a noted Bible teacher who has served for 35 years as professor of religion at Hiwassee College.  Laycock holds both a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Emory University.

The event has been approved for 1.3 hours of continuing education credit for clergy.

Information about the session’s agenda and accommodations are available at or by calling 912-638-8688.


Christian educators, clergy invited to national conference

By Ellen Thompson**

All professional and volunteer Christian educators and all lay or clergy preachers are invited to the Christian Educators Fellowship (CEF) and Preaching from the Center (PFTC) joint national conference, titled “Blessed to Be a Blessing,” Oct. 23-27 in Albuquerque, NM, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Albuquerque Convention Center.
The featured keynote speaker is well-known environmental writer Bill McKibben, and more than 100 workshops will be offered. Individuals may register for workshops from either the CEF or PFTC event.

Other highlights of the event include daily Bible studies led by Osvaldo Vena, associate professor of New Testament at Garrett Theological Seminary; daily worship; trips and tours in the Albuquerque area; a large “discovery center” with dozens of vendors; and pre-conference learning options. Additionally, CEF will celebrate its 40th anniversary at the opening celebration.

Christain Educators Fellowship is a networking organization for any person involved in Christian education ministries. Preaching from the Center is an annual conference sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship.

Full conference details are available at More information is available by contacting Ellen Thompson, director of the Christian Educators Fellowship, at or 866-629-3113.


UMCOR sponsors ‘change world’ conference

By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is sponsoring the Change the World Conference at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, Oct. 24-25, in Tipp City, Ohio.

The conference focuses on engaging the church in the world through mission and ministry.

The keynote speakers at the two-day conference include Adam Hamilton, pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan.; Brian McLaren, evangelist and preacher; Jim Wallis, author, speaker and international commentator on public life, faith and politics; and Mike Slaughter, pastor of Ginghamsbug United Methodist Church.

Nearly 30 “breakout sessions” or workshops will be offered, including two led by UMCOR staff. A high school track and a ministry by strengths intensive will also be available. Interested individuals may learn more and register at

UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. More information about UMCOR’s ministries is available at

Donations to any UMCOR project can be made by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. Donations can also be given online by clicking on any of the “Give Now” links.

UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors.


*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
   Hinnen is the staff writer for United Methodist Committee on Relief communications.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   McGovern is associate vice president of planned giving and communications at the Florida United Methodist Foundation in Lakeland, Fla.
   Thompson is director of the Christian Educators Fellowship in Nashville, Tenn.