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Florida United Methodists recognized nationally, regionally in 2008

Florida United Methodists recognized nationally, regionally in 2008

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Florida United Methodists recognized nationally, regionally in 2008

An e-Review News Item | Dec. 19, 2008 {0955}

During 2008, several Florida Conference United Methodists were elected to national offices or recognized beyond the conference.

Florida women elected to jurisdictional team

At the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s 2008 quadrennial meeting of United Methodist Women, Anna “Annie” Woods, a member of Indian River City United Methodist Church in Titusville, was elected vice president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Leadership Team for the next four years. Judith Pierre-Okerson, a member of Norland United Methodist Church in Miami, was elected a Women’s Division director for the next quadrennium.
Fifty-three members of the Florida Conference United Methodist Women joined 1,156 other women in Hampton, Va., for the gathering, which was themed “Called By Name,” based on Isaiah 4:1-3a and John 10:3-4.

Of note at the gathering were approximately 500 first-time attendees and an offering of $10,360 given for mission initiatives.

Florida man heads national association

During the National Association of Conference Presidents (NACP) of United Methodist Men, John Dowell, a member of First United Methodist Church in Tampa, was elected NACP president.

During the meeting the men also set plans for their 2009 national gathering to be held in Nashville after a long tradition of meeting at Purdue University.

“I’m more excited than I’ve ever been before about men’s ministry,” said David Adams, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. While noting the long history of ministry through chartered groups of United Methodist Men, he said, “We need to be invitational and provide many entry points for men.”

To help churches launch new efforts in men’s ministry, the commission has established a process whereby men can become “Men’s Ministry Specialists.” These specialists will be certified by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry following the recommendation and mentoring by their pastors, training experiences in men’s ministry, a course in United Methodist history and polity, and experience in leading a local or regional event. There will also be an opportunity for persons who have completed courses in Lay Speaking Ministries to receive additional training to become Men’s Ministry Specialists.

Florida pastors receive jurisdictional recognition

The Rev. Dr. Kevin M. James, pastor at Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in Tampa, received the 2008 G. Ross Freeman Leadership Award from the Southeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Men (SEJ UMM.

The award program was created by action of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men in June 2001. The purpose of the award is to strengthen United Methodist Men’s fellowship in local churches by honoring pastors who inspire men in ministries of evangelism, missions and spiritual growth.

Annually, the jurisdictional awards committee selects a pastor from each conference in the jurisdiction to receive the award. The committee is charged with the responsibility of leading the search to identify pastors who are encouraging the ministries of men, reviewing the work of the annual conference selection committees and facilitating a smooth operation of the annual program.

The Rev. Jerry Van Dyken, pastor at First United Methodist Church in Naples, was the 2007 Florida Conference award recipient.

Florida representative serves on Lake Junaluska board

During its first ever meeting this year, the new Lake Junaluska board of directors formed committees and elected officers.

The board is the outcome of the recent restructure of the Southeastern Jurisdiction. During the next four years the board will be responsible for setting the mission and development of the nearly 100 year-old Southeastern Jurisdictional Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center.

The Florida Conference member elected to the board is Frank Furman, a member of Christ Church United Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale, who will serve as chairman of the residential services, nominating and executive committees.

Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center is an agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. Each year Lake Junaluska is host to more than 250,000 guests for spiritual leadership, worship, and recreation and leadership development experiences.

Child-care association honors Florida director

The National Association of Child Care Professionals announced that Gail Greene, director of the day school at Van Dyke United Methodist Church in Lutz, was chosen as the 2008 National Child Care Director of the Year.

Greene supervises a staff of 36 teachers and support staff at the Van Dyke school. Knowing that staff training and adequate compensation directly impact quality of care, Greene advocated for and attained equitable compensation, medical/dental and retirement benefits for full-time staff, and stipends for staff training, conferences and college classes. She also introduced missions and community involvement within the preschool by offering four serving opportunities each school year.

“Gail Greene personifies the commitment to early childhood excellence of the members associated with the National Association of Child Care Professionals, and we congratulate and salute her as the winner of the 2008 National Child Care Director of the Year
Award,” said Sherry Workman, executive director/CEO of the National Association of
Child Care Professionals.

Greene earned a bachelor’s degree in speech/language pathology, a Florida state teaching certificate, Florida Director’s Credential-Advanced and a Child Development Associate Certificate. In 2007 Greene was named Hillsborough County Director of the Year.

Education board elects officers

At the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s (GBHEM) fall meeting, Nora Madan, a member of Wesley Hispanic United Methodist Church in Coral Gables, and Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, president of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, were elected secretary of the board and chairwoman of the board’s strategic plan advisory committee, respectively.

The Rev. Jerome King Del Pino, GBHEM’s general secretary, told new and returning board members they will be working with staff to answer the question of what it takes to form and nurture leaders with vision.

“What are the lengths to which this board is willing to go in order to have leaders capable of reaching for a future with hope?” Del Pino asked. “God has plans for us, plans for welfare and not for evil. We need to develop and maintain a sense of urgency about our task. … We can no longer play it cool.”

The board also approved the 2009 budget, worshipped together and celebrated the retirements of two assistant general secretaries, the Rev. Patricia W. Barrett and the Rev. Robert F. Kohler.

The following individuals contributed to this report: Leah Pittard, communications coordinator for Florida Conference United Methodist Women; Rich Peck, General Commission on United Methodist Men; Cintia M. Listenbee, communications specialist for Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center; Ginger Meyners, National Association of Child Care Professionals; and Vicki L. Brown, associate editor and writer for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

News media contact: Tita Parham, 800-282-8011,, Orlando

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.