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Opportunities — Dec. 22, 2008 {0956}

Opportunities — Dec. 22, 2008 {0956}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | Dec. 22, 2008 {0956}

This series includes:

• Speaker shows how native plants save lives
• Young leaders ‘get ready for the ride’
• Camping ministry offers spring confirmation retreats
• Five-Day Academy focuses on ‘desert spirituality,’ Luke’s Gospel
• Society of St. Andrew announces gleaning opportunities

• Dell offers discount for United Methodists
• Convocation builds bridges to future
• Young People’s Ministries focuses on spiritual formation 
• Youth feed hungry through Souper Bowl Sunday
• Wesley Theological Seminary offers Urban Fellows Program in nation’s capital
• New scholarship event offered by Candler School of Theology
• Church, academic leaders gather to strengthen connections
• ‘River Deep and Wide’ explores Gospel in interfaith, multicultural society
• Discipleship University opens for large churches
• Virginia teen lends voice to help African Methodist school students


Speaker shows how native plants save lives

By Mark Johnson**

KISSIMMEE — Individuals concerned with good stewardship of God’s creation are invited to a presentation by Jim Egan of the Marine Resources Council Jan. 15 at First United Methodist Church, 101 W. Dakin Ave., Kissimmee.

Egan’s presentation, “How Native Plants Save Lives: The Untold Story of Tsunamis and Hurricanes,” is especially compelling for anyone living in a hurricane-prone area.

The program begins at 6:30 p.m. and is part of the Pine Lily Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society in Osceola County, which meets at the church the third Thursday of each month.  Members learn the joy and value of gardening with native plants in an educational and social forum. Visitors are always welcome and all are invited. Refreshments will be served.

Details about the gathering are available by calling 407-935-0002, extension 110, or Mark Johnson at First United Methodist Church at 407-931-2225.


Young leaders ‘get ready for the ride’

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference Center for Clergy Excellence is sponsoring an event for young adult leaders ages 18-25 that helps identify, equip and encourage emerging United Methodist leadership. It also provides a space for God’s call to be heard and clarified.

“Scream: Get Ready For the Ride” features workshops on developing leadership abilities and discerning God’s plans, the opportunity to connect with individuals who are facing similar life experiences, worship led by Bryant Manning from the conference summer camp team and J.D. Walt of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., and an afternoon at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. 

Young adults will learn how to be more effective leaders, serve the church and world, and listen for God’s call on their lives. The event also helps attendees build community with other young adults from around the conference. Participants should have a commitment to grow as a Christian leader and a desire to see God’s plan.

Workshops include: Spiritual leadership — what makes a Christian leader different; discerning the leader’s call — how to know what God intends; discovering gifts, experiences, personality, talents and abilities and how to use them to lead; nurturing passions that drive the leader; spiritual leaders in community — the key relationships a leader needs; and feeding the leader’s soul — discerning how to lead out of spiritual resources.

Scream will be held in Orlando Feb. 20-22. The cost is $25 per person and includes the hotel stay, food during the event and an afternoon at Islands of Adventure.

More information and registration details are available at


Camping ministry offers spring confirmation retreats

By Joel Pancoast**

FRUITLAND PARK — Florida United Methodist confirmation retreats offer confirmands from across the conference the opportunity to receive sound teaching on the confirmation vows they will be asked on confirmation Sunday.

The next confirmation weekends are Feb. 27-March 1 and March 27-29.

The Revs. David McEntire and Michael Pestel will be the speakers for the first and second retreats, respectively. The Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp will provide housing, meals, challenge course facilitation, meeting spaces, the worship service and a special activity Saturday night.

Included on the agenda is time for playing games and worship. Confirmands will also have the opportunity to bond as a class on the low ropes course and dive into their curriculum during church small group time. The schedule also provides several individual church group times for groups to meet and cover the curriculum they are using. Groups can review confirmation lessons, cover new material or just get to know each other better. 

Confirmation classes can attend the entire weekend or leave Saturday night. The cost for package A (Friday night through Sunday morning) is $90 per person; package B (Friday night through Saturday) is $70 per person.

Registration forms are posted on the camp Web site at Churches are asked to print the form and mail it with their payment. 

Questions about how camp staff can best serve church youth ministries should be directed to Joel Pancoast at 352-787-4345 or


Five-Day Academy focuses on ‘desert spirituality,’ Luke’s Gospel

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Under the theme “Gimme That Old Time Religion (Through a New Song),” the 9th Annual Florida Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation begins April 26 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.

Registration begins at 3 p.m., and opening worship is at 5 p.m. The event concludes with lunch May 1.
This year’s faculty includes Drs. Roberta Bondi and Bill Mallard.
Bondi’s focus will be “Desert Spirituality and Prayer.” The suggested readings are “To Love as God Loves” by Bondi and “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers” (Cistercian studies) translated.
Mallard’s topic is “Spirituality in Luke’s Gospel.” The suggested readings are the entire Gospel of Luke in any preferred translation and “Luke,” a commentary in the Westminster Bible Companion Series by Sharon H. Ringe. It is requested that participants bring the commentary to the academy; suggested readings will be provided during the week.

The cost for the academy is $575, with a $150 non-refundable deposit required at registration.

Individuals may register at by clicking on the “Calendar” link at the top of the page and then choosing April 2009 and clicking on the “5 Day beginning April 26.”

Questions about the academy should be directed to Ann Anderson, the retreat’s leader, at, 904-381-9645 or 3521 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32205


Society of St. Andrew announces gleaning opportunities

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — For those who’ve wondered what happens to all the citrus that adorns the floats featured in the Citrus Bowl parade, here’s the answer: it’s donated to Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) to help feed the hungry.

This fruit is distributed through local food banks to individuals and families in need during the holidays.

Area citrus, like what’s used on the floats, ripened early this year due to unseasonably cool weather. As a result, local crops of grapefruit, tangerines, Hamlin oranges and navel oranges are ready for picking. All that’s needed is individuals willing to volunteer to glean it.

Cabbage is also be ready to glean in Zellwood, a little later than first thought because of the cooler weather.

Florida United Methodists interested in gleaning opportunities or SoSA events across the state or receiving a flier describing the gleaning and citrus drop-off spots in the Orlando and Brevard County areas for the 13th Annual Citrus Harvest for the Hungry may visit for more information.

College students who are looking for something different to do during their spring break can participate in the first Alternative Spring Break Harvest of Hope March 8-14 in Jacksonville. More information is available at by clicking on the Harvest of Hope link.

Additional information and ways SoSA can help churches or organizations with their outreach efforts is also available by contacting Barbara Sayles, director, Society of St. Andrew Florida office, at P.O. Box 536842, Orlando, FL 32853-6842 or 407-650-1956.


Dell offers discount for United Methodists

By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodists can save an additional 7 percent on computers and equipment when shopping for a new laptop or desktop computer this Christmas.

Dell and United Methodist Communications are offering churches, members, employees and volunteers an opportunity to get an additional 7 percent off the already low discounted prices available through the United Methodist Member Purchase Program. 

Details area available at by following the link for a home computer purchase.


Convocation builds bridges to future

By General Board of Discipleship Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 2009 Convocation for Pastors of Black Churches is designed to inform, inspire and encourage all pastors of black churches and those who support them.

The conference, held Jan. 6-9 at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston, Texas, is sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship and designed for African-American pastors, bishops, district superintendents, conference staff and leaders, seminarians, and pastoral candidates.

Attendees will learn from renowned pastors recognized for their leadership in black settings and develop strategies to aid pastoral leaders as a complement to their annual conference’s response to the “Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century” initiative.
Attendees will also discover the critical needs for growth in black churches and meet other clergy who will offer prayers and support for all who are in the journey of caring for God’s church in the black community.

More information and a link to the conference registration are available at The registration form can be completed online or downloaded and printed. The registration page also includes hotel information.

The costs for the conference are $275 per person, $100 for the spousal rate (participants must attend with their spouse) and $150 for the seminarian rate. A letter of recommendation from the dean of academics must accompany registrations in order to receive the seminarian rate. The registration fee does not include transportation, lodging or meals.

The host for the conference is Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. All conference attendees are invited to worship at the church Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Bishop Violet Fisher will preach. Transportation will be provided from the hotel.

A special offering, to be given to Africa University and the United Methodist Black College Fund, will be received during the worship service. All convocation registrants are invited to collect an offering in their local congregations to bring to the event.

Questions about the conference can be directed to the Rev. Candace M. Lewis, pastor at New Life Community United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, at


Young People’s Ministries focuses on spiritual formation 

By Jeanette Pinkston**
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Young People’s Ministries, a ministry of The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship (GBOD), will host a series of leadership development workshops, beginning with a free pilot event in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 23-24.
Spiritual Formation is the theme for the 2009 events, called The ‘Source, which will be held in 11 cities around the country.  The ‘Source targets church leaders who work with youth and young adults.
The Young People’s Ministries leadership events were so popular last year the agency was invited to host The ‘Source in twice as many locations in 2009.
“The ‘Source is one of the ways GBOD is responding to ‘developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world,’ which is one of the denomination’s four areas of focus,” said the Rev. Michelle McCorkle, director of leadership development for youth and young adults.
Two events will be held in each jurisdiction, including one in Orlando, Fla., April 24-25. Additional cities include: Ann Arbor, Mich., Feb. 20-21; Fullerton, Calif., March 13-14; Sioux City, Iowa, May 15-16, Kansas City, Mo., May 29-30; Denver, Aug. 28-29; Boston, Sept. 18-19; Baltimore, Sept. 25-26; London, Ky., Oct. 16-17; and New Orleans, Dec. 11-12. Each event begins Friday at 6 p.m. and ends Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Designed especially for lay volunteers, the event offers practical training for those who work with young people and allows participants to experience spiritual practices that can be utilized for effective ministry.
“The ‘Source provides a great opportunity for volunteer leaders to get some good tools and skills for their ministry with youth,” McCorkle said.
Registration is $59 and includes lunch on Saturday. Individuals may register at
A downloadable PDF for sharing with campus ministers, youth ministers and young adult ministries is also available at


Youth feed hungry through Souper Bowl Sunday

By Emily Heeg**

JACKSONVILLE — Florida’s youth can make a difference for those in the United States who are hungry. All Florida United Methodist churches are invited to participate in the Souper Bowl of Caring Feb. 1.

Last year, United Methodist youth from across the country raised nearly $1 million for people in need as part of a larger effort that raised more than $10 million worth of food and monetary donations.

On Souper Bowl Sunday youth will collect $1 donations in large soup pots as worshippers leave church. Each group will donate its money directly to the charity of its choice — no money is sent to Souper Bowl of Caring headquarters. Organizers simply ask that groups report their collection amount so a national total can be determined.

Groups should register at or call 1-800-358-SOUP (7687) to receive free promotional materials. They then collect donations on or near Super Bowl Sunday and report their results at Finally, they donate 100 percent of the collection to the charity of their choice.

More information about Souper Bowl of Caring is available at or by calling 800-358-7687.


Wesley Theological Seminary offers Urban Fellows Program in nation’s capital

By Melody Twigg**
WASHINGTON — Wesley Theological Seminary invites applications for its new Urban Fellows Program, a contextual education opportunity for outstanding Master of Divinity students who sense a call to become leaders in urban ministry.
It is an exciting time to live in the nation’s capital, as a new administration lays the groundwork for change, and a critical time to work in urban ministry, as an economic crisis falls heavily on the cities. Mentored by top urban pastors and leaders and engaged in dynamic internships, Wesley’s Urban Fellows will learn to engage the poor and the powerful, meet the needs of diverse cultures and answer their call to applied ministry in the complex social systems of the inner-city. Urban Fellows will seek faithful solutions to the challenges of homelessness and gentrification, addiction, failed schools, inaccessible health care systems, unemployment, and illiteracy.
The Urban Fellows program begins in conjunction with the expansion of Wesley’s urban ministry program to downtown Washington. The seminary, in partnership with two historic churches, will have a downtown presence of classrooms, faculty and a student intentional living community at 900 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. The area is characterized by tourism, power and poverty: expensive condominiums, low-income residential neighborhoods, the convention center, homeless shelters and law firms. Capitol Hill, the White House, Smithsonian museums and the vibrant Chinatown business district all lie in the surrounding blocks.
Interested students are encouraged to apply to the Urban Fellows program as part of their admissions process to Wesley. Applications for admission, available at, must be submitted by Feb. 1.

Urban Fellows are required to be full-time Master of Divinity students taking a minimum of nine hours each semester. Special scholarships are available. Finalists for the Urban Fellows program will be invited to interview with members of the Urban Ministry Faculty Committee.
More information about Wesley Theological Seminary, the Urban Fellows program and intentional living community is available at or by contacting the admissions office at 202-885-8659 or


New scholarships event offered by Candler School of Theology

By Elaine Justice**

ATLANTA — Emory University’s Candler School of Theology has created a new scholarship event called Leadership Candler that will bring together an outstanding group of prospective Master of Divinity students from across the country and the world. They will be considered for the school’s most prestigious scholarships, including the Robert W. Woodruff Fellowships in Theology and Ministry and the Margaret A. Pitts Scholarships.

Thirty-five applicants will be invited to visit campus the weekend of March 1-3 with all expenses paid to experience Candler firsthand, says Shonda Jones, Candler’s assistant dean of admissions and financial aid.

While on campus, applicants will participate in activities designed to help them “discern their vocations more clearly, offer insights on how to deepen their education and develop practical skills for creative and faithful leadership,” Jones said.

The weekend will include visits to classes, conversations with faculty, a campus tour, interaction with current students and staff, group discussions, interviews with scholarship committees and opportunities to spend time with future classmates.

“This program seeks to help students who have strong potential and deep dedication become the leaders God is calling them to be,” said Jan Love, dean of Candler. “Their future contributions to the church and the world should not be encumbered by an undue financial burden of educational debt. The school will ensure substantial financial support to underwrite the costs of their theological education.”

Applicants must have demonstrated qualities of assertive and unselfish character; intellectual achievement; impressive skills in communication; significant leadership and creativity in school, church or community; and a clear potential for enriching the lives of fellow students.

Leadership Candler participants will be considered for the Woodruff Fellowships in Theology and Ministry, which offers full tuition, fees and a $10,000 stipend for three academic years. The fellowships are awarded to first-year students who typically have a 3.5 grade point average or higher in previous academic work. Candidates must have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 to apply.

The Margaret A. Pitts Scholarships offer full tuition, fees and a $7,000 stipend for three academic years. Pitts Scholarships are awarded to first-year United Methodist students preparing for ministry as ordained deacons or elders. To be eligible, students must have begun the candidacy process in The United Methodist Church. Candidates must have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 to apply.

Leadership Candler participants will also be considered for many other prestigious scholarships, including: Honor Scholarships, which offer full tuition for three academic years; Garrett Scholarships, which offer full tuition for three academic years for those preparing for pulpit ministries; and United Methodist Merit Scholarships, which offer full tuition for first-year students preparing for ordination in The United Methodist Church.

Applicants for Leadership Candler should submit the required materials no later than Feb. 1. Scholarship application materials area available online at


Church, academic leaders gather to strengthen connections

By Vicki Brown**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Leaders from United Methodist churches and higher education institutions will gather this spring at five “Bridging the Gap” events in each jurisdiction to discuss how the church and the academy can work together more closely.

One of goals of the events, organized by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), is to consider how to increase the number of United Methodist students enrolled in United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities.

Meetings are planned in the Southeastern Jurisdiction in Daytona Beach, Fla., March 27-29; the South Central Jurisdiction in Arlington, Tex., Jan. 22-24; the Western Jurisdiction in Stockton, Calif., Feb. 5-7; the Northeastern Jurisdiction in Syracuse, N.Y., Feb. 19-21; and the North Central Jurisdiction in Naperville, Ill., March 5-7.

“It is imperative that we take a look at our connectional infrastructure and invest in making it stronger,” said Wanda Bigham, interim associate general secretary, Division of Higher Education, GBHEM. “We have to reopen the lines of communication between our schools, colleges, universities and the church. That’s the hope for the future. It’s where our leaders come from.”

Ingrid McIntyre, director of Connectional Relations at GBHEM, said the events provide time for networking and connecting.

“We will talk about our roles in ministry with young people, how we can reach out to our United Methodist student leaders and provide current leadership tools that will be helpful in bridging the gap that sometimes inhibits our effectiveness,” McIntyre said.

One of the keynote speakers at three of the events is Duane Anders, who contributed to the book “7 Myths of The United Methodist Church,” written by Craig Kennett Miller. The book looks at the attitudes and beliefs that keep the church from fulfilling its call to create disciple-making faith communities. Beginning with the myth “We’re a Connectional Church,” the book challenges leaders to create environments of grace for people disconnected from the local church.

Anders, district superintendent of the Dayton North District of the West Ohio Annual Conference and lead pastor of Stillwater United Methodist Church, tells pastors in his district that if their churches are growing and the United Methodist churches in their region are not, they have not done their job.

During the events Anders will highlight United Methodist connectionalism and use his gifts of teaching and encouragement to connect the people of The United Methodist Church to United Methodist-related institutions. He will attend the Western, Northeastern and Southeastern events.
Breakout groups at each event include sessions on vocation and discernment, church relations, student leadership, loans and scholarships, and John Wesley and higher education.

Those who might be interested in attending include annual conference chairs of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, college and university presidents and deans, conference youth coordinators, youth ministers and volunteers, Christian education leaders, chaplains, college church relations directors, directors of admissions and financial aid directors, district superintendents, and directors of connectional ministries.

More information about these events is available at


‘River Deep and Wide’ explores Gospel in interfaith, multicultural society

By Jeanette Pinkston
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Academy for Spiritual Formation, a ministry of the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship’s Upper Room ministries, presents “A River Deep and Wide: Christian Spiritual Practices for the 21st Century,” April 20-25 at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville.
Based on the belief that Christian spirituality is “deep and wide” and the notion that challenges of greater diversity in American culture are an invitation to faithful Christian practice, the conference seeks to address the question of how the church will respond in a world of increasing multicultural and interfaith diversity. 
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,” Psalm 46:4a proclaims.
“This river is God’s grace; the source of Christian spirituality, which is what (participants) will explore at this conference from various cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives through worship, lecture, silence, art, dance and interfaith dialogue,” said the Rev. Jerry Haas, director of the Academy for Spiritual Formation.
The schedule, found at, begins with registration and check-in at 3 p.m. April 20 and concludes with communion and worship at 10:30 a.m. April 25.
Co-sponsored by Scarritt-Bennett Center, Weavings Journal and the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, “A River Deep and Wide” includes contemplative spiritual practices from Native, Africana, Hispanic and Euro-American perspectives.
Recognizing that this event may help lead the denomination to a 21st century global outlook, Bishop Hee-Soo Jung of the Chicago Area and a member of the event’s design team sees the event as a time of searching and shaping how The United Methodist Church is responding to the trend toward an increasingly interfaith, diverse, multicultural society. 
“We must discern and seek God’s direction as to how we can learn and serve in light of this changing context,” Jung said.
“A River Deep and Wide” will have intentional learning and celebration as a community, with nearly 40 workshops offered under the categories of “Deepening the River” during the morning sessions and “Widening the River” during afternoon sessions.
The design of the conference reflects the schedule used for the Academy for Spiritual Formation, with daily communion and prayer each morning and evening. Begun in 1983, the academy is entering its 26th year. This conference marks the beginning of its second generation.
Registration before March 1 is $225 per person or $175 for students. The schedule, registration information and a list of leaders and workshops are available at More information is also available by calling 877-899-2781, extension 7233.


Discipleship University opens for large churches
By General Board of Discipleship Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Large churches may now apply for Burning Bush, an opportunity for congregational leaders to build a comprehensive plan for discipleship.
Burning Bush is Discipleship University’s core curriculum and was officially launched Oct. 9. Created by the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, Discipleship University (DU) is designed to assist congregational leaders in focusing and aligning their efforts in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Burning Bush is a key strategy GBOD is using to address revitalization of congregations, thus supporting the denomination’s four areas of focus. It also supports the areas of focus by developing principled Christian leaders.
The first peer learning group included teams from four of the five United Methodist jurisdictions. They began a two-year process to design and implement a discipleship plan in their congregations.

“The highlight of the experience for me was watching congregations enthusiastic about making disciples and experiencing a sense of community and hope,” says Carol F. Krau, director of adult formation and discipleship with GBOD.

The second peer learning group will begin April 30 and is designed for large membership churches with a weekly average worship attendance of 250 or more. It will also meet for five sessions over two years. The sessions will focus on identity and purpose, hospitality and faith sharing, worship and spiritual practices, reconciliation and justice, and service and mission.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 15. The registration fee is $225 per team member (with three to five people on a team) each weekend. Application information, forms and details about Discipleship University and Burning Bush are available at
Interested individuals may contact Mary McDonald at 877-899-2780, extension 1760, or for more information.

Virginia teen lends voice to help African Methodist school students

By Caryl Kelley

ASHBURN FARM, Va. — Virginia resident Christine Coogle, a high school senior, has just released “Make We Merry,” a CD of Christmas music produced by Artist Owned Records of Ashburn. The CD project was undertaken to benefit the secondary school students that recently graduated from Humble United Methodist School in Mukono, Uganda. 

Last July Coogle traveled to the village of Mukono with four adult missionaries from Crossroads United Methodist Church in Ashburn, Va., to meet, visit and provide aid to the students.  

“The children were not the shy, young children I had anticipated meeting, but were bright, inquisitive boys and girls who spoke English exceptionally well and had an insatiable curiosity about the American way of life,” she said.

The team also came to understand the hardships of the students that had graduated and were no longer at Humble school. 

“These students had little food. Most of them were sick with infection and malaria, but had no treatment, and the dormitories and bathrooms were filthy,” Coogle said. “Despite having known them just a short time, I felt a fierce, protective love for those 16 students, many of whom are my age.”
It is Coogle’s goal to raise money for these students’ education. The proceeds from her CD and a benefit concert held Nov. 30 at her church will be given to The Humble Way, which will use the money to directly support those students who graduate from Humble School. 

More details on the Humble school and what is being accomplished with United Methodist support are available at, and

More information about Coogle, the concert and the CD is available at or by contacting Lee Coogle at 703-470-1329.


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

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.
   Brown is associate editor and writer at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Office of Interpretation, in Nashville, Tenn.
   Heeg is North Florida field director for Souper Bowl of Caring.
   Johnson is coordinator of Creation Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Kissimmee.
   Elaine Justice is a staff member at Emory's Candler School of Theology.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   Pancoast is program manager at Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park.
   Pinkston is on staff in the media relations office at the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn.
   Melody Twigg is a staff member at Wesley Theological Seminary.