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e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | March 24, 2009 {0989}

This series includes:

• Congressman advocates for immigration reform March 28
• Summer camp interns needed at retreat centers
• Christian education program accepts applications for awards, grants
• Summer Mission Intern applications now accepted
• Applications for Institute of Preaching now accepted
• Workers with youth, children hike Appalachian Trail
• Seminary offers preview weekend in Orlando
• Parents, youth discuss human sexuality
• United Methodist credit union offers scholarships
• Riverside Retreat offers summer camps, food retreat
• Conference offers intentional discipleship workshops
• Annual Conference members invited to golf tournament

• Darfur live broadcast set for March 29
• Retreat center offers training event for African-American pastors
• Event highlights power of partnerships for all churches
• Seminary sponsors symposium on ministry study
• Communications agency, conferences offer Web training
• Special Sunday supports Native American ministries
• Artisan’s escape celebrates creativity
• Courses enhance skills for communications ministry
• Workshop offers ecumenical training
• Young adult seminar explores justice issues for women, children
• Student scholarships, loans now available
• Student forum helps ‘break barriers, build bridges’
• Vacation Bible school mission project fights hunger
• Rural life center offers summer mission opportunities
• Mountain T.O.P. summer volunteers still needed
• Center holds support program for beginning clergy
• Revised baptismal ritual now available


Congressman advocates for immigration reform March 28

By Tita Parham*

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Chicago, will be part of a town-hall meeting in Orlando March 28 to talk about immigration reform.

The congressman will meet with residents and local leaders at Iglesia Pabellón de la Victoria, 12355 S. John Young Parkway, at 10 a.m.

The stop is one of 19 on a national campaign to renew the immigration debate.

More details about the stop and others are available at,0,1997317.story.


Summer camp interns needed at retreat centers

By Kenneth Dodd**

FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. — The Florida Conference Life Enrichment Center (LEC) in Fruitland Park and Riverside Retreat in LaBelle are looking for high school graduates, college students and post college adults to serve as summer camp interns during the camps and retreats held at both locations this summer.

Interns will be asked to work for 10 weeks with the children, youth and adults who attend summer programs at the LEC. Two of those weeks will be dedicated to training. Interns are expected to participate in all aspects of the programs, which vary from the intergenerational Grandparents and Me camp to day camps for at-risk children and youth. Interns will be required to complete and pass a background check.
Interns will help supervise campers and co-teach small group sessions with either another adult or intern. Small group sessions include activities, discussion and Bible study. The curriculum is provided. Interns will also lead and participate in group games, co-lead craft and skill groups, participate in and supervise campers during daily morning devotions and evening vespers, have time for one-on-one conversation and ministry with campers, and supervise pool activities (lifeguards only).

Interns are expected to be flexible, have a clear understanding of liability and safety issues, be able to work with other team members, be able to responsibly fulfill their duties, and be able to share their faith journey with campers and other interns.

Room and board is provided throughout the summer assignment. Meals are provided by the camp facility; housing is in modern, air-conditioned buildings. A salary of $1,800 per intern is provided.
Lifeguard, CPR and first aid training take place May 21-27. Program training will begin June 15; camp programs run June 22-Aug. 8.

Applications are available by contacting Ken Dodd at or 352-787-0313, extension 4108. The deadline to apply is March 30.


Christian education program accepts applications for awards, grants

By Melinda Trotti**

LAKELAND, Fla. — Applications for grants and awards from the Alice W. Lockmiller Christian education program are now being accepted.

Through a charitable trust managed by the Florida United Methodist Foundation Inc., the late Alice W. Lockmiller created a Christian education program with three goals in mind: to increase the participation of children in membership in The United Methodist Church; to offer training opportunities for teachers and leaders of United Methodist children’s ministries; and to create ministries within the church that focus on nurturing parents and their children.

The program supports these goals in three ways: providing an annual cash award to the church that has the most effective children’s ministry; providing an annual cash award to the teacher/leader who has been most effective in ministering to children; and providing grants to churches to support and/or develop programs that are effective in reaching, nurturing and encouraging children to remain active in the life of the church.

Annually, $1000 will be given to a church with an excellent program for children and youth in the community surrounding the church, $500 will be given to an educator of youth and/or children, and a designated amount will be given to United Methodist churches for ministries that reach into the community to meet the needs of children and youth and their families in economic and/or social distress.

The Coalition for Advocacy and Ministries with Children (The Children’s Coalition) will coordinate the process of receiving applications and determining awards. The funds offered are for one-, two- or three-year grants of $500 to $10,000 for new or expanding programs. The ability for replication of programs in other churches is given strong consideration. Churches may be asked to act as mentors to other churches wanting to implement similar ministries in their settings. Any funds not used during one calendar year will be rolled into the next year.

Each year, a particular emphasis is chosen for judging grant applications. The emphasis for 2009 is ending childhood hunger, particularly through the implementation of one or more of the points in the Ten Point Plan to End Childhood Hunger in Florida, available at

The deadline to submit applications is April 6, with awards to be announced by April 17. Applications are available by contacting Melinda Trotti, director of Florida Conference Justice and Spiritual Formation Ministries, at


Summer Mission Intern applications now accepted

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND, Fla. — Applications for the Florida Conference’s 2009 Summer Mission Intern program are now being accepted.

Summer mission interns serve in a variety of mission settings throughout Florida, with a focus on community day camps and United Methodist outreach agencies. A $2,000 stipend, as well as room and board, is awarded to each intern for their service June 1-Aug. 8. Students and young adults ages 18 to 28 are eligible to apply.

Four summer mission interns participated in last year’s pilot project, dividing their time between Christians Reaching Out to Society, a conference outreach ministry; Grandparents and Me Camp; an outreach day camp sponsored by Carver Heights Ministries, a ministry for disadvantaged children and their families that is supported by the conference and United Methodist Volunteers in Mission at the Life Enrichment Center; and two two-week overnight camps at the conference’s Riverside Retreat In LaBelle.

The goal this year is to have 10 interns, according to the Rev. David Berkey, executive director of the Florida Conference Camps and Retreat Ministries.

“We’re seeking to meet the need for staff at the many day camp programs offered by our outreach ministries, as well as to provide an immersion experience for college students seeking to follow a Christian vocation,” Berkey said. “There will also be opportunities for training, personal spiritual growth and community building among the interns in the times we gather together.”

The application is available online at Applications should be sent to Berkey at 1140 E. McDonald Street, Lakeland, FL 33801, or by fax to 863-688-7233. More information is available by contacting Berkey at or 800-282-8011, extension 140.

The deadline to apply is April 15.


Applications for Institute of Preaching now accepted

By Erik Alsgaard
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Institute of Preaching is a 10-month program focused around three short retreats that allow a group of clergy from the Florida and Western North Carolina annual conferences to improve their preaching.

Leadership Education at Duke Divinity is now taking applications for the 2009-2010 Institute of Preaching. The deadline to apply is April 17.
While many programs in preaching focus only on style or techniques, the Institute of Preaching takes a comprehensive approach. Pastors examine not only their sermon content and delivery, but also the contexts in which they preach and the integrity of their life and work.
All full-time elders and local pastors who have at least five years of experience serving in either the Florida or Western North Carolina conferences and do not anticipate a change of appointment in the coming year are eligible to apply.
An application and more information about faculty, dates and location are available at under “Programs and Training,” “For pastoral leaders” and then Institute of Preaching. Interested clergy may also call 919-613-5323.


Workers with youth, children hike Appalachian Trail

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Florida Conference Camps and Retreat Ministries has designed an Appalachian Trail hike especially for people who love the outdoors and work with Florida Conference youth and children.

The May 4-9 hike is a time for youth workers to get away and to connect with other people in the conference.

Participants will be hiking the Appalachian Trail in the North Georgia/North Carolina mountains. The exact section of trail be hiking is still being determined. Joel Pancoast, who has been leading trips on the Appalachian Trail for seven years, will be the trail guide. Pancoast is Wilderness First Aid certified. 

The cost for the hike is $150 per person. The registration form is available at by choosing “attend,” “adult hiking trips” and then “youth worker hike.” The registration deadline is April 20.

Interested individuals may contact Pancoast at 352-787-4345 or for more information.


Seminary offers preview weekend in Orlando

By Brian Johnson**
ORLANDO, Fla. — Asbury Theological Seminary is coordinating a preview weekend April 17-18 on its Orlando campus and April 24-25 on the Wilmore, Ky., campus for people considering a call to seminary.
The weekend offers opportunities for guests to meet with faculty, financial aid consultants, academic advisors and students. Guests join the community in worship, sharing meals and attending class. The event is free, and Asbury will reimburse up to $50 of hotel costs for long-distance travelers.
Asbury Seminary was founded in 1923 “to prepare and send forth a well-trained, sanctified, Spirit-filled, evangelistic ministry to spread scriptural holiness around the world,” according to its Web site. Total current enrollment at its Orlando and Kentucky campuses exceeds 1,600 students, representing more than 90 denominations and 38 countries.

The Florida campus offers Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, counseling and pastoral counseling degrees. Also located on the Florida campus is the Latino/Latina Studies Program (LLSP), a three-year curriculum designed to provide theological education in Spanish and from a Hispanic perspective. Areas of specialization include theology, pastoral studies, missions and evangelism, leadership, and worship.
Details and registration information for the preview weekend are available at More information about the seminary is available at


Parents, youth discuss human sexuality

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Fifth-grade students and their parents or guardians are invited to participate in a comprehensive, faith-based study of human sexuality at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park April 24-26.

The Rev. Dr. James H. Ritchie Jr., a pastor, religious educator and writer who developed the  “Created By God” curriculum that will be used at the retreat, will facilitate the program.

Through six sessions of active learning, Ritchie will spend time with both children and adults. Adult leaders will accompany the children in mixed gender small groups, and parents will go through a series of workshops, forums and discussions. Scripture, worship and music are woven throughout the study.

The cost of the retreat is $100 per person. Registration information and details about the schedule and class sessions are available at by choosing “attend,” then “spring and fall retreats” and “Created by God.”

Interested individuals may contact Joel Pancoast at for more information.


United Methodist credit union offers scholarships

By Renea Hazelbaker**

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union will award three $1,000 college scholarships 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.


Riverside Retreat offers summer camps, food retreat

By Martha Pierce**

LaBELLE, Fla. — The theme of this year’s summer camps at the Florida Conference Riverside Retreat in LaBelle is prayer.

With a focus on 1 Thessalonians, in which the writer encourages God’s people to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances” (5:16-18), campers will learn how living a prayer-filled life can help them see God at work in every aspect of their lives and live as God’s people in the world.

Campers will learn about prayer through reflection on five biblical texts, from one another, by trying different prayer forms, through worship and in the variety of activities that occur during camp.
Riverside Retreat is located on 150 acres of native Florida countryside. With one half mile of riverfront on the Caloosahatchee River, the retreat center offers space to enjoy the experience of hiking or kayaking and nature and bike trails.

Children and youth campers will also have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities, such as volleyball, basketball, biking, fishing, swimming, kite flying, the challenge course, star gazing and others. Campers will also participate in nature studies and crafts.

Children’s camp is July 5-10; youth camp is July 12-18. The cost for each camp is $340.
Riverside Retreat is also offering “How’d That Get On My Plate!” Camp, which explores what people eat from beginning to end.

Trained staff will share their skills in food preparation and container gardening, biblical information about various herbs and vegetables, the social effects of choices in food purchasing, and more.  

Participants will first stay at Riverside Retreat May 29-31 to get acquainted with one another, begin studies and plant a container garden. They will prepare their own meals, learning the many skills involved in cooking. They will return Aug. 1-6 for a week of harvest, preparation and exploration. During that week, daily tours will take them to explore egg and dairy farms and ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization).

Morning devotions and evening worship will focus on the biblical mandates to care for all of creation. As campers enjoy crafts, swimming, kayaking other camp activities, they will be shown how all of life is interconnected. Prayer and worship will be woven throughout their time at the camp, helping them build personal relationship with God.

The camp is for sixth- through 11th-graders. Participants must be able to attend both the weekend event in May and the full week in August. The cost of the camp is $390.

Registration information and other details are available by contacting Riverside Retreat at 863-675-0334 or Martha Pierce at

Information about the facilities at Riverside Retreat, located at 7305 CR 78, LaBelle, FL 33935, area available at


Conference offers intentional discipleship workshops

By Jeff Stiggins**

LAKELAND, Fla. — As part of the continuing spotlight on the five disciple-making practices of fruitful congregations, the Florida Conference will be focusing on “Intentional Discipleship” through two series of two, one-day workshops: May 15 and 16 and Sept. 11 and 12

The workshops will help local church leaders delve deeper into their understanding of fulfilling the commission in Matthew 28 to “Go and make disciples … and teach them to obey all that I have commanded you.” 

The first workshop May 15 will be at Grace United Methodist Church at Fort Clarke, 9325 W. Newberry Rd., Gainesville, 32606. It will be held again May 16 at First United Methodist Church in Boca Raton, 625 N.E. Mizner Blvd., 33432 (east campus). The workshop will look at what it means to be a “simple church” strategically focused on making disciples.

“Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples” is the name of a book written by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger that calls congregational leaders to return to the simple Gospel-sharing methods of Jesus. Based on case studies of 400 American churches, Rainer and Geiger show how the process for making disciples has often become too complex or even lost among all the religious activities that pack many congregations’ busy calendars. 

During the workshop, which will be led by Geiger, participants will hear how “simple churches” that focus on their intentional discipling process are thriving, while many congregations with hectic calendars are not. Geiger will help congregational leaders begin to look at their own church calendars in light of Christ’s call for us to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

The second series, “Deepening Your Effectiveness,” will be held Sept. 11 at First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, 305 Dunlawton Ave., 32127, and repeated Sept. 12 at First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda, 507 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, 33950.
“Deepening Your Effectiveness: Restructuring the Local Church for Life Transformation” is the title of a book written by workshop leaders Dan Glover and Claudia Lavy. Their premise is that becoming a Christian disciple is a life-altering process of maturation and transformation. The church, they say, should intentionally support that development, both individually and corporately. Sometimes, though, pitfalls and barriers in life, even within the church itself, can damage committed, but unequipped, followers.

Proposing a “deep-sea change” from the typical church plan, Glover and Lavy offer experienced coaching in how to systematize disciple-making in a congregation. More information is available on their Web site at

Registration information will be posted soon at and on

The cost of each one-day workshop is $45 per person, including lunch and snacks. More information is available by contacting Vicky Tica in the Florida Conference Office of Congregational Transformation at


Annual Conference members invited to golf tournament
By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Members planning to attend the 2009 Florida Annual Conference Event at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach June 10-13 are invited to participate in the 2009 Celebrate Jesus Golf Classic.

The tournament will be held June 10 at Pelican Bay Country Club, 350 Pelican Bay Dr., Daytona Beach, 32119, starting with check-in at 8 a.m. and a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.

The cost is $85 per person, which includes a T-shirt and lunch.

Online registration and other information are available on the Celebrate Jesus Web site at or by calling 407-893-7305.

Sponsorship information is available by contacting the Celebrate Jesus office at P.O. Box 3386, Orlando, FL 32802-3386. Celebrate Jesus is a registered 501(c)3 organization.


Darfur live broadcast set for March 29

By Darfur Christian Action Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Darfur Christian Action announces the “Not on Our Watch” live broadcast March 29 from Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio.

The Enough Project and the Church Communication Network will present the broadcast. Featured speakers are author George Barna; the Revs. Suzette Caldwell, John Ortberg and Michael Slaughter; Enough project advisor Omer Ismail; and Enough project co-chair John Prendergast. 

The broadcast is free to sites with CCN satellite dishes. Churches that do not have CCN satellite equipment can learn how to view the broadcast at A list of host church sites is available at More information is also available at

Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda and Somalia. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates and policy makers to prevent, mitigate and resolve these crises.

More information about Enough and how to help can be found at, about Darfur Christian Action at and the Center for American Progress at


Retreat center offers training event for African-American pastors

By Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center has designed a workshop for African-American clergy April 20-22 that offers tools for building successful ministries while developing greater self-awareness of soul, spirit and mind.

Clergy attending the “Claiming Our Humanity for Ministry — Our Gifts to God’s Glory” will examine their strengths and challenges in order to create strategies and approaches to help them become stronger leaders and more spiritually attuned.

Participants will learn to strengthen their ministry effectiveness, stay inspired and motivated in their ministry, create a supportive network of colleagues, turn challenges into successes, and discover new ideas for ministry.

A brochure and online registration are available at

The Revs. Dr. Carl Arrington, director of African-American Ministries at
Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, and Clarence Brown, pastor of Annandale United Methodist Church in Annandale, Va., will lead the event.


Event highlights power of partnerships for all churches

By Bob Pierson**

TULSA, Okla. — Each year the United Methodist Large Church Initiative offers an event designed to help pastors and leaders of any size church. This year the Church Initiative 2009 is April 21-24 at First United Methodist Church, 116 NE Perry Ave., Peoria, IL 61603.

The theme is “Partnerships Play In Peoria,” and the focus is developing partnerships within the community that lead to ministries of transformation. The ministries of Peoria First United Methodist Church, as well as partnerships between Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, will be highlighted.

The focus will also be on partnerships between the large church and the ADVANCE and between larger churches with smaller churches, learning how to develop partnerships, and experiencing the fruits of ministries that are working for the transformation of the church and community.

Some of the featured speakers and presenters include the Rev. Mike Slaughter, pastor at Ginghamsburg Church, Tipp City, Ohio; Sam Dixon, deputy general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries and director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief; the Revs. Jan Davis, executive pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas, and Janet Forbes, pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Highland Ranch, Colo.; Joshua Smith of Joshua Smith Coaching Group in Washington, D.C.; and Joy Moore, associate dean of Duke University Divinity School. More information about all speakers is available at

The registration fee is $325, including lunches and dinners. The event will include a visit to First United Methodist Church in Springfield, Ill., and the Lincoln Museum, as well as a concert by Ken Medema and the Irving School Choir.

Registration information is available at Hotel accommodations are at the Holiday Inn City Center, 500 Hamilton Blvd., Peoria, IL 61602, which is one block from the church.

More information about The Large Church Initiative is available by contacting Mike Illuzzi at 309-673-3641, extension 120, or or Sue Heytman at 309-673-3641, extension 114, or


Seminary sponsors symposium on ministry study

By United Methodist News Service

EVANSTON, Ill. — A symposium on ministry study co-sponsored by United Methodist-related Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is April 22-24 at First United Methodist Church in Evanston.

The symposium will address key issues facing clergy, local pastors and their churches. Speakers and panelists include the Rev. Phil Amerson, the seminary’s president; North Carolina Conference Bishop Alfred W. Gwinn, chairperson of the denomination’s 2008 Ministry Study; the Rev. Mary Ann Moman, a staff executive of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry; and North Alabama Conference Bishop William H. Willimon, chairperson of the denomination’s 2004 Ministry Study.

Registration information and other details are available by contacting Barry Bryant at 847-866-3955 or


Communications agency, conferences offer Web training

By Cheryl A. Hemmerle**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist Communications, in partnership with the North and South Georgia Annual Conferences of The United Methodist Church, is sponsoring a one-day, hands-on training event for churches interested in developing a dynamic Web ministry.

This regional event, titled “Weaving a Web of Connections PLUS,” covers the basics of starting a Web ministry in a local church, district or conference and is ideal for pastors, staff, volunteers, webmasters/webservants and communications teams.

The session will be held at Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center in Norcross, Ga., April 25, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration information and details are available at by choosing the training option under the support link on the top menu bar. The cost is $75 per person and includes all training materials and presentations, continental breakfast, lunch and breaks.

An all-day, hands-on training with the Web site design and hosting service E-zekiel will also be held April 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The session is ideal for those considering this service or already using it.

Participants will spend the day with E-zekiel staff to explore the basics and receive customized instruction on creating a church Web site using E-zekiel’s service.

The cost is $75 per person and includes all training materials and presentations, lunch and breaks. More information is available at by choosing the training option under the support link on the top menu bar.

Individuals who register for both days will receive a $25 discount.


Special Sunday supports Native American ministries

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Native American Ministries Sunday is one of United Methodism’s six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings. 

This giving opportunity April 26 provides scholarships for United Methodist Native American seminarians who spread the gospel in native traditions, supports urban ministries with Native Americans, and helps develop and nurture conference-based Native American outreach.

Whether it's providing shelter for victims of domestic violence, filling food pantries, starting new churches or educating Native American seminary students, the special offering is one way United Methodists honor Native Americans.

Each annual conference retains 50 percent of the offering to strengthen and develop Native American ministries. If no Native American ministries exist in the conference, the entire offering is remitted to the General Council on Finance and Administration for Native American ministries in other areas.

The remaining 50 percent of the offering expands mission work with the Native American Urban Initiative and provides scholarships for Native Americans attending United Methodist and other approved schools of theology.

Donations to the Native American Ministries Sunday offering can be given online at any time at

Congregational support materials are available at by selecting connectional giving programs, Special Sundays, then Native American Ministries Sunday and support materials. Many downloadable resources are available, as well as a link to the online store where additional free printed resources can be ordered. Orders may also be placed by phone at 888-346-3862.


Artisan’s escape celebrates creativity

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Weavers, doll makers, knitters, scrap bookers, rug hookers, quilters, needlepointers, carvers and all artistic craftspeople are invited to gather at Epworth by the Sea, St. Simon’s Island, Ga., April 26-29.
Artists can work on projects individually or with the group. They can also learn new skills from instructors and other participants.

There will be a special demonstration by Steve Abolt, who is recognized throughout the country as one of the foremost makers of early to mid-19th century men’s clothing, most particularly U.S. military uniforms from 1810-1850.

Attendees can learn how to “Pray in Color” with Sybil MacBeth. Praying in color is both a process and a product. The process uses pen, paper and markers to create a time of stillness and listening. The product is a prayer drawing or icon — a visual reminder to continue to pray throughout the day. No artistic ability is necessary.

Participants will also have several optional afternoon workshops from which to choose.

Registration information and details are online at or by calling 912-638-8688. A downloadable brochure with schedule, class descriptions and registration form are found at

Rates are per person and include lodging for three nights, nine meals (Sunday supper through Wednesday lunch) and registration fees. The Pitts/Booth hotel accommodations are $425.16 per adult, single occupancy, and $333.12 per adult, double occupancy.

Registration begins Sunday at 4 p.m.; the program concludes Wednesday after lunch.


Courses enhance skills for communications ministry

By Christian Communications Ministry Institute Staff

PULASKI, Tenn. — The Christian Communications Ministry Institute (CCMI) offers four courses a year to help pastors, ministry coordinators, volunteers and full-time religion communicators hone skills for the modern information age.

The goal is to help Christians tell stories of their churches and ministries more effectively. Instruction is designed for people with little or no formal background in mass communication or United Methodist studies. Experienced church communicators have taken classes as part of their continuing education.
Begun in 2004, the institute is a joint effort of the Cal Turner Jr. Center for Church Leadership and the United Methodist Committee on Certification in Christian Communication. Completing four communication and two United Methodist studies classes through the institute will meet the minimum educational requirements for Certification in Christian Communication in The United Methodist Church. Classes are open to anyone who wants to become a more effective communicator, regardless of faith group.
Students may enroll in up to three of the four courses offered. Classes involve both online and in-person instruction. Students begin work each May. They complete online assignments and participate in online discussions before one week of in-resident instruction each July on the Martin Methodist College campus. They continue with online work after the on-campus session through January.

Communication core courses carry three units of continuing education credit. United Methodist studies and communication issue courses carry 1.5 units of continuing education credit.

Courses include Communication Theory, an introduction to mass communications theory, including a brief survey of mass communications history, various types of communications theory and impact on society. The class includes exploration and discussion of mass communications to do the work of the church through various types of communication. It also includes application of theory to the practice of public relations, especially in times of crisis, and to developing news releases.

The Advertising Integrated Communication Campaigns course is a survey of media planning, functions of advertising and public relations in an integrated communication mix; branding, image making and reputation management; media characteristics, media market measurements, media buying, positioning, market segmentation and publics; basic copy tips; and theories, research methods and techniques for planning, implementing and evaluating an advertising or public relations campaign.
The United Methodist Studies (Doctrine and History) course offers a brief overview of the history of The United Methodist Church with the majority of the time given to examining the “essential beliefs” of Methodism.

Classes meet July 19-24 on the campus of Martin Methodist College, 433 W. Madison St., Pulaski, TN 38478-2799. Those interested in being part of this year’s session should contact Martin Methodist no later than April 30 at 931-363-9898.

Tuition is $850 for the full program. Day courses are $375 each. Evening courses are $150 each. Participants may only enroll in one evening course. The cost of books and supplies will be in addition to other fees.

Questions, additional information or a request for a registration form should be directed to Tijunia Brooks, executive assistant for the Center for Church Leadership at Martin Methodist College, at or 800-467-1263, extension 3898.

Questions related to certification should be directed to Kathy Noble at, 615-742-5441.

More information about the Cal Turner Jr. Center for Church Leadership and the United Methodist Committee on Certification in Christian Communication is available at


Workshop offers ecumenical training

By Linda Bloom**

NEW YORK — United Methodists interested in broadening their understanding of ecumenical cooperation are invited to attend special training sessions in Phoenix.

The sessions are part of the National Workshop on Christian Unity April 27-30 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

This is the first time specific United Methodist programming is being offered, according to Wendy Whiteside, an executive with the denomination’s Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns. The workshop, sponsored by the National Association of Ecumenical Officers, is marking its 42nd year.

Blending the denominational focus into a workshop that already was in the travel budget of numerous annual conferences was important, not just for the sake of economy but to assist the many conference representatives new to the area of Christian unity, she said.

“They’ve got a lot of interest and enthusiasm, but they need some guidance,” Whiteside said.

The Rev. Stephen Sidorak Jr., top executive of the Commission on Christian Unity, has attended the national workshop for more than 25 years, most of that time in his previous role as director of state council of churches in Colorado and Connecticut. Last year, he said, he sensed some frustration on the part of United Methodists in attendance about the lack of specific denominational training.

He decided the commission needed to take an active role in arranging such training for the 2009 event. “I’m always looking for ways in which we can educate and mentor new ecumenical leadership, particularly the younger generation,” he added.

By providing such opportunities at the National Workshop on Christian Unity, United Methodists who participate have “the added benefit of exposure to the other major Christian traditions,” Sidorak explained.

As a whole, the workshop event:

    • Provides information, resources and networking opportunities for clergy, laity, theologians and ecumenical officers and staff.
    • Encourages an exchange of ideas and experiences among those concerned with Christian unity.
    • Makes the connection among local, regional and national practitioners of Christian unity.
    • Promotes the development and interaction of denominational networks.
    • Celebrates the unity that already exists among Christians and searches for ways to overcome divisions that remain.

Featured speakers include the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, a Presbyterian and president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches; Margaret Mitchell, professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School; Metropolitan Gerasimos of the Greek Archdiocese of San Francisco; and the Rev. Cecil “Mel” Robeck Jr., professor of church history and ecumenics and director of the David J. DuPlessis Center for Christian Spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

The United Methodist sessions begin April 27 and include a general orientation and discussion of responsibilities, resources and case studies related to Christian unity.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño of Phoenix, a former member of the Commission on Christian Unity, will speak at a luncheon April 28. Speakers at the afternoon session that day will include David Fraccaro, young adult ecumenical formation coordinator for the U.S. Conference for the World Council of Churches.

Sessions April 29 include a discussion of the denomination’s quadrennial goals and tentative plans for an evening film viewing. On April 30, following the workshop’s closing lunch, United Methodists will meet a final time to establish a network similar to what already exists for other denominations.

More information and registration details for the National Workshop on Christian Unity are available at


Young adult seminar explores justice issues for women, children

By Darlene DiDomineck**

NEW YORK — The Living Justice Seminar Program June 13-17 will focus on eradicating disease of poverty and the struggle for wholeness among women and children.

Organized by the General Board of Global Ministries’ Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner, the seminar is open to young adults ages 20-30 living in the United States.

Participants will focus on the health of women and children in the United States and around the world. The seminar will explore issues of maternal and infant health, the effects of malaria and HIV/AIDS, and the impact of sustainable agriculture on the health of women and children. Participants will look at the ways women and children work collectively to improve the health and wholeness of their communities. 
The program includes Bible study, worship, conversation, reflection and an introduction to the theme of global health. It will be held at The Alma Matthews House in New York City, a facility of the General Board of Global Ministries’ Women’s Division. 

Space is limited for the event, and the deadline to apply is May 1. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program by May 10. An application form, registration information and brochure are available at by choosing “Living Justice Event.”

The Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner will cover all costs, including travel within the United States, lodging and meals.

More information is available by contacting the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner at, or 212-870-3850.


Student scholarships, loans now available

By Vicky Brown**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Students who need financial help with college costs can now apply online for United Methodist scholarships or loans.

The Office of Loans and Scholarships at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is providing the scholarships.

“Historically our office is able to award around 3,000 students each year,” said Allyson Collinsworth, scholarships administrator. “We have received half that number of applications only two months into the application season. Last year at this time we had only received 400 paper applications.”

GBHEM awarded $4.57 million in scholarships to 3,371 students and $1.95 million in loans to 430 students for the 2008/2009 academic year.

“Scholarship deadlines vary for the more than 60 programs administered by GBHEM, but the final deadline has always been May 15. We are encouraging applicants, especially renewal students, to apply and complete the application early this year to ensure they are considered for funding,” Collinsworth said.

Applicants must submit an official transcript, letters of reference and an essay to the office in one packet to complete the file after the online portion is submitted. In addition to online applications, students can now repay their loans online and track the status of their applications.

More information about United Methodist loans and scholarships is available at under the Loans and Scholarships button.


Student forum helps ‘break barriers, build bridges’

By Vicky L. Brown

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist college students will have the opportunity to explore leadership and hone their skills May 21-24 at Student Forum 2009.

Student Forum is the national leadership conference of the United Methodist Student Movement (UMSM), sponsored by the Campus Ministry Section of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).

Student leaders from across the United States will gather at Centenary College in Shreveport, La. The theme of the conference, which is planned and organized by college students, is “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges." The conference will include leadership training, spiritual formation and networking.

The registration fee this year has been reduced to $75 per person. The fee includes all conference materials, lodging, meals and a $5 contribution to the UMSM Mission Fund.

Participants will take part in various community service projects in Shreveport and engage in legislative discussions during the event.

Although registration for Student Forum is open to all college students, each annual conference must identify three voting student delegates and six alternate student delegates to the annual Student Forum.

Online registration and more information are available at


Vacation Bible school mission project fights hunger
By Society of St. Andrew Staff

BIG ISLAND, Va.— The Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) invites churches to challenge vacation Bible school (VBS) students to fight hunger by participating in the society’s VBS mission project. 
Using the free material, each VBS student will learn about hunger in America and how even children can help in the fight against hunger.

SoSA provides reproducible age-appropriate worksheets designed to introduce children to hunger and poverty issues from a Biblical perspective and teach them about SoSA ministries. Colorful stickers for each participant and instructions for administering the program are also provided.

Each VBS that contributes $50 or more will be awarded a certificate. Materials may be ordered at


Rural life center offers summer mission opportunities

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — The mission of the Hinton Rural Life Center (HRLC) is to be an advocate for the small membership United Methodist church and assist them in becoming healthy and effective. They provide hands-on mission involvement for mission groups.

The center is located on 32 acres in the Appalachian Mountains, overlooking Lake Chatuge in Hayesville, N.C. Hinton offers all-inclusive weeks of worksite ministry and programs based on the age of participants.

The Senior High Youth in Mission opportunity is for students in high school youth groups who have completed eighth grade. These teams include adults mixed with youth from all church groups participating that week. The week’s program is planned by HRLC staff and includes time for worship, team building and recreation.

All Ages In Mission is for youth groups, college students and adults. During these weeks participants work with people from the same church, and work teams are divided evenly from the total number in the group. Each church group facilitates its own program.

Typical work for either group includes painting homes, repairing porches, building wheelchair ramps or working on a new home site. For all weeks, the HRLC staff leads an opening and closing worship service, as well as daily devotions.

The total fee for each mission week is $395 per person, which covers all housing, food, building materials and administrative costs.

More information and an application are available at


Mountain T.O.P. summer volunteers still needed

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Volunteers are still needed to help with the summer programs offered by Mountain T.O.P. (Tennessee Outreach Project), a non-profit, interdenominational, service project ministry dedicated to rural life home repair in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. 

Based on the philosophy of partnership, every family is given the opportunity to help alongside volunteers. Additionally, the importance of equally valuing the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of the families helped is emphasized. Currently, Mountain T.O.P. works in seven Tennessee counties.

The summer 2009 opportunities vary. Summer Youth Ministry project weeks run June 7-Aug 1. These weeks are for youth going into the eighth grade or at least 13 years old. There must be a ratio of at least one adult 25 years and older and one vehicle to every five youth.

The camp communities are divided into Youth Renewal Groups (YRGs), made up of seven to eight youth and adults, who serve families in service projects — building a porch, painting a room, repairing a fence and others. Summer staff members plan and coordinate all projects and provide materials.

All projects are considered minor home repair or maintenance. Adults that participate have a camper role equal to that of the youth. Each group provides coolers, first aid kits, tools and materials pro-rated according to group size. 

Three summer camp weeks offer the option of Day Camp for Youth Summer Ministry. If a group is attending one of those weeks, each individual in that group will have the option to participate in Day Camp or Service Project.

The camp communities will be a blend of volunteers. Everyone will participate in all evening activities; however, during the day some YRGs will go to work sites and others will go to day camp sites.

More information is available by contacting Mountain T.O.P. at 931-692-3999 or or by visiting

The participant fee is $375 per person, including all meals, lodging, project materials, programming and camp staffing.


Center holds support program for beginning clergy

By Hinton Rural Life Center Staff

HAYESVILLE, N.C. — Applications for the First Parish Project, funded by the Lilly Endowment and Hinton Rural Life Center, are now being accepted.

The project is a continuing education program aimed at developing and sustaining effective pastoral leadership in the small membership church. It is open to recent seminary graduates of all denominations who are 35 or younger and serving their first full-time pastorate in a small membership church.

Sessions for Group IV begin Sept. 14.

The program focuses on the transitions participants are undergoing, not only from seminary to their first parish, but into the world of the small membership church. Since many clergy will not have had much previous experience within this context, the program gives special attention to understanding, appreciating and coping with the unique dynamics of the small membership church.

Participants are recruited through contacts with judicatories, seminaries and pastors. Each group meets at Hinton’s retreat lodge in Hayesville, N.C. in the fall, winter and spring of each year for two successive years. Each group meeting lasts one week and includes didactic sessions on ministerial praxis by selected resource persons, worship occasions, colleague group formation, table fellowship and free time. Continuing education units are available.

A Hinton staff member is also available to visit each participant’s parish twice during his/her time in the program. The purpose of such visits it to lead participants’ congregations in a visioning/planning process that will help the congregation and pastor work together on such initiatives as community assessments, discerning congregational gifts and strengths, and identifying ministry priorities. In this way the program invests in the development of both the congregation’s minister and ministry.

Ministers can expect to gain useful knowledge about ministry in the small membership church, develop ongoing supportive relationships with a diverse group of colleagues who are going through similar experiences, enjoy being a participant in a community of worship and prayer, and enjoy Hinton’s setting and hospitality.

The total program cost is $900, to be paid in $150 amounts at each session. Additional expenses are covered by the Lilly Foundation grant that underwrites the program and Hinton Center.

A First Parish Project brochure and application are available at

More information is available by contacting Clarissa Youngblood Fuentes at 866-389-8336 or


Revised baptismal ritual now available

By General Board of Discipleship Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) worship Web site now offers the full baptismal ritual, revised to align with the changes that have occurred up to and including the 2008 Book of Discipline.
The new resource, called “The Services of The Baptismal Covenant in The United Methodist Church as Revised to Align with the 2008 Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions,” is available at; the HTML version is now online at
Persons looking for guidance on receiving new affiliate and associate members may visit,824.
While PDF and HTML versions of the full texts are now available, GBOD is still in the process of developing several other formats to deliver this resource, including a Word document and booklet-form PDFs for congregations to print to insert in their hymnals or pew racks as needed.
GBOD was granted permission by The United Methodist Publishing House to develop and publish online this new resource for congregations under the copyright of The United Methodist Publishing House.
In addition to the changes made to the ritual texts by the 2008 General Conference, the new resource updates language about membership and clarifys the terminology about how congregations receive baptized and professing members and people from other denominations. This clarification is based on “By Water and the Spirit” and changes to paragraph 225 in the 2008 Discipline. The changes also include instructions that offer guidance for the role of deacons in the sacrament. 


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.
   Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
   Brown is associate editor and writer for the Office on Interpretation at General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn.
   DiDomineck is a deaconess/home missioner in residence with the Office of Deaconess, Home Missioner and Home Missionary, General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, in New York.
   Dodd is program coordinator at the Florida Conference Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park
   Hazelbaker is a staff member with the Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union
   Hemmerle?is director of training?at United Methodist Communication in Nashville, Tenn.
   Johnson is admissions recruiter for the Orlando campus of Asbury Theological Seminary.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
   Manley is organizing director for Interfaith Worker Justice in Chicago, Ill.
   Pierson is executive director of Leadership Nexus in Tulsa, Okla.
   Stiggins is executive director of the Florida Conference Office of Congregational Transformation.
   Trotti is director of the Florida Conference Justice and Spiritual Formation Ministries