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e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | July 28, 2009 {1055}

This series includes:

• Asbury Seminary Florida holds open house
• Faith communities learn to respond after disaster
• Lay speaking training features classes, Roger Swanson
• Conference Table focuses on clergy excellence
• Event offers “deep-sea change” for discipling effectiveness
• UMVIM offers mission training
• United Methodist Women offer ‘room at the table’
• Stewardship summit looks at future in church finance
• Leaders, members get practical tips at “Weaving a Web” Internet training
• United Methodist Men invited to ‘walk with Jesus’
• New e-learning module now available

• Workshop offers tips on communicating with media
• Workshop explores African-American Methodist history
• Evelyn Laycock leads journey through Paul’s letters
• Lake Tahoe retreat heightens team worship design skills
• Youth, young adults explore ways to serve in ordained ministry


Asbury Seminary Florida holds open house

By Janelle Vernon**

ORLANDO, Fla. — Asbury Theological Seminary is offering a free open house for people interested in Master of Arts degrees in counseling and pastoral counseling Aug. 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on its Orlando campus at 8401 Valencia College Lane, Orlando, 32825.

Applications are being accepted, and the $50 application fee will be waived for open house attendees.  

Attendees will attend class, tour campus and meet with counseling faculty and students.  Lunch will be provided. 

Those who are interested in attending may call Asbury before Aug. 6 at 800-227-2879 to register.

Asbury Seminary is a multi-denominational graduate school of theology committed to teaching historic Wesleyan Christianity through the most dynamic means available. Degrees include Masters of Arts, Divinity and Theology and Doctors of Ministry and Philosophy. Students can earn one-half of a Master of Arts or two-thirds of the Master of Divinity online. Enrollment at Kentucky, Florida and virtual campuses exceeds 1,600 men and women representing 86 denominations and 42 countries.

More information is available by visiting or contacting Janelle Vernon at 859-858-2309 or


Faith communities learn to respond after disaster

By Pam Garrison**

LAKELAND, Fla. — Laity and clergy are invited to attend a basic disaster ministry training based, in part, on “Community Arise: A Disaster Ministry Curriculum.”

“Community Arise” is an introduction to the unique and important role the faith community plays in disaster mitigation, preparation and response in the United States. Basic disaster ministry teaches people in the faith community how to identify and address unmet needs of all survivors, particularly people who were vulnerable before a disaster, and how to provide a larger vision of life that includes emotional and spiritual care, as well as physical rebuilding to assist in long-term recovery of those in need.

Church World Services developed the Community Arise curriculum in collaboration with other faith-based organizations, including the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Lutheran Disaster Services, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Catholic Charities and others.

At the conclusion of the training, participating churches will have a practical foundation for how to effectively respond to disaster in any community in cooperation with other churches, emergency management officials and the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery. Participants will understand the importance of communication and collaboration in meeting the needs of disaster survivors and the importance of being the church in the midst of crisis.

The Community Arise training will be offered several times in Florida, including Aug. 8 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Indialantic, Aug. 15 at CrossRoad Church United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Aug. 22 at Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Coral, Sept. 24 at Florida State University Wesley Foundation in Tallahassee (tentative), Sept. 26 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Bradenton and the evenings of Sept. 29 and 30 at Community of Faith United Methodist Church in Davenport.

There is no cost for the training. Check-in starts at 9:30 a.m. the day of the event. Lunch will be provided; donations are welcome.

Individuals wanting more information or to register may visit


Lay speaking training features classes, Roger Swanson

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND, Fla. — The annual training event for lay speakers Aug. 21-23 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park features five courses and a keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Roger Swanson.

Swanson served from 1999 to 2002 as director of Florida Conference Operation Evangelization, the precursor to today’s Congregational Transformation office. Swanson also served as a pastor and staff person with the denomination’s General Board of Discipleship.

Courses offered include “The Way of Transforming Discipleship,” by Kathy Walther; “John Wesley,” by the Rev. Dr. E. Keith Ewing; “You Can Lead in Worship,” by the Rev. Joe Allinder; “Religion and Science,” by the Rev. Dr. John D. Sink; and  “Creative Bible Teaching,” taught by the Rev. Todd Weber.

Registration begins at 3 p.m. Aug. 21. More information is available by contacting Gwen Dube, Florida Conference director of Lay Speaking Ministries at

Directions to the Life Enrichment Center are found at


Conference Table focuses on clergy excellence
By Sherri Lingle**

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida Conference Table titled “Clergy Excellence” will take place Sept. 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Community of Faith United Methodist Church in Davenport. 

This session will offer a space for Christian conferencing around issues of clergy excellence — what it is, why it is important and what helps or hinders it.

The Conference Table concept was established by a resolution at the 2002 Florida Annual Conference Event. The first Conference Table was held in August of that same year.

The October gathering will differ from previous Conference Tables in that it will utilize an “open space technology” format. This method for discussion is based on the idea that the circle is the fundamental geometry of open human communication and participants are the best ones to shape the actual agenda and process of a session.

Participants will plan the meeting’s program onsite based on the issues of importance to them in that time and space. Each person will be responsible for his or her own learning and input into the meeting. Attendees will decide what topics to discuss, how they will be discussed and design an action plan to help address the issues raised. Two United Methodist laity familiar with the process will serve as facilitators.

Lunch is available for $10; participants are asked to pre-register for lunch, payable the day of the event. There is no charge for this event.
The session will not be Web cast as previous Conference Tables have been due to the unique format that will be utilized.

Individuals may register at More information is available by contacting Sherri Lingle at or 800-282-8011, extension 132.

Directions to the church are available at


Event offers “deep-sea change” for discipling effectiveness

By Jeff Stiggins**

LAKELAND, Fla. — Dan Glover and Claudia Lavy, authors of “Deepening Your Effectiveness: Restructuring the Local Church for Life Transformation,” will lead a workshop on disciple-making Sept. 11 and then again Sept. 12, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day.

Their premise for the session is that becoming a Christian disciple is supposed to be life altering — a process of maturation and transformation. The church, they say, is to intentionally support that development, both individually and corporately. Sometimes, though, pitfalls and barriers in life and 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 about the topic is available at

The workshop locations are First United Methodist Church in Port Orange, 305 Dunlawton Ave., Port Orange, FL 32127, Sept. 11 and First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda, 507 W. Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, FL 33950, Sept. 12.
Registration information is available at and on under the “upcoming events” link. The cost of the one-day workshop is $45 per person, including lunch and snacks.

More information is available by contacting Vicky Tica in the Office of Congregational Transformation at or 800-282-8011, extension 340.


UMVIM offers mission training

By Pam Garrison

LAKELAND, Fla. — Clergy or laity who feel ready to take their leadership skills to the next level and would like to discover the keys to successfully lead a mission team will benefit from the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) leader training Sept. 11-12.

Held at the Warren W. Willis Camp in Fruitland Park, the training is designed to prepare volunteers to lead Volunteer In Mission teams to projects in the United States and around the world.

Sue Macchiarella, Florida Conference UMVIM chairwoman, and trainers from the Southeastern Jurisdiction of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission will lead the sessions.

Participants will stay in dorm-style lodges with bunk beds and should bring a sleeping bag or bedroll, linens, pillow and personal items. The cost is $55 per person, including lodging, three meals (dinner Friday evening and breakfast and lunch on Saturday) and all training materials.  Check-in on Friday begins at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m. and training at 6:30 p.m. Training ends at 5 p.m. Saturday. 

More information is available by contacting Garrison at Individuals my register at


United Methodist Women offer ‘room at the table’

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — The 2009 weekend of spiritual inspiration, growth and renewal sponsored by the Florida Conference United Methodist Women at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park Sept. 11-13 features the theme “There is Room at the Table.”

The Rev. Kathleen Stone will lead the weekend. Stone serves as chaplain for the United Nations as part of the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Sue Dixon and Tia Lingle, a mother and daughter team from First United Methodist Church in Palatka, will lead the music.

The Mini-retreat for Teen and College University Women will be held beginning at noon that Saturday and ending at noon on Sunday. Led by Mary Kirk, the session will focus on the theme “Likeness and Images of God for True Identity!”

All attendees are invited to participate in the talent show Saturday evening.

The cost for the weekend, including room and meals, is $125 per person. The cost for commuters, with meals, is $62 per person. A link to the retreat brochure with a registration form is available at The registration deadline is Aug. 22.

More information is available by contacting Helen Sweatt at


Stewardship summit looks at future in church finance

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Anyone involved with stewardship, finance, administration or other areas of church leadership is encouraged to attend the Stewardship Summit, sponsored by the Florida United Methodist Foundation, Sept. 26, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at Harvest United Methodist Church in Bradenton.

The keynote speaker for the third annual summit, titled “Spirituality and the Global Economy,” is Gary D. Moore, founder of The Financial Seminary, a non-profit ministry dedicated to building bridges between the financial and moral communities. A former Wall Street money manager, Moore considered attending seminary, but, instead, has dedicated his life’s work to helping people integrate personal financial management into a moral and spiritual framework. His address will provide a theological perspective on “managing God’s money.”

Themes for his presentation include, “Gods, Prophets and Priests of Wall Street,” “Counting America’s Blessings” and “A Look at the Future: Economically, Politically and Spiritually.” Moore is the author of numerous books on the role of religion in economics.

Foundation staff will present “A New Vision of Stewardship,” a practical guide to implementing best stewardship practices in local churches. All speakers and workshop leaders will participate in a question and answer session on stewardship following lunch.

The Stewardship Summit is open to laity and clergy from any church, mission, institution or agency of the Florida Conference. The cost is $50 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch and materials.

Interested individuals may download a brochure, register, pay online or get directions to Harvest United Methodist Church at

More information is available by contacting Suzanne McGovern, vice president of planned giving and communications at the Florida United Methodist Foundation, at


Leaders, members get practical tips at “Weaving a Web” Internet training

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — “Weaving a Web of Connection: Internet Technology for Effective Ministry” Oct. 3 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park is a one-day interactive training event presented by United Methodist Communications in partnership with the Florida Conference.

This regional event covers the basics of starting a Web ministry in a local church, district or conference organization and is designed to assist local churches and other organizations in using Web and Internet technology for effective ministry. It is open to all laity and clergy who want to learn how to use today’s digital technology to reach seekers and visitors and stay connected with members.

The training is ideal for pastors, staff, volunteers, webmasters/webservants and communications teams. It is largely geared for beginner and intermediate skill levels, but advanced and professional techies will not be disappointed.

More information about the session is available at through “support center, training, Web ministry, and then Weaving a Web of Connections.” The training event overview and schedule are also available from the site.

The cost for the training, including registration, class materials, continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack, is $75. Interested individuals may register at The registration deadline is Sept.27.

The Life Enrichment Center has limited rooms available for Oct. 2. The cost is $55 per person, single occupancy, and $33 per person, double occupancy.

More information is available by contacting Erik Alsgaard, Florida Conference director of communication, at or 800-282-8011, extension 505.


United Methodist Men invited to ‘walk with Jesus’

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida Conference United Methodist men are being called for a special walk at the annual United Methodist Men’s fall spiritual retreats three weekends in October.

Men will be gathering at the conference retreat and camping center in Fruitland Park under the theme “A Walk with Jesus.”

Featured speakers and musicians include Roger Watts, Chuck Engelhardt, Don Taylor, John Riley and Lenee Schroeder Oct. 9-11; Denny Hieberg, Brad McClain and Mark Jaeger and the praise team from Aloma United Methodist Church in Winter Park Oct. 16-18; and Bob Laidlaw, Don Taylor, Riley Short, Bill Owens and Ross Kimura Oct. 23-25.

Costs for the weekend, including room, meals and program, are $140 per person staying at the Life Enrichment Center, $120 per person staying at the Warren W. Willis Camp and $44 per person staying at the family campground. The cost of the program alone for those staying at the campground and preparing their own meals is $30 per person.

Retreat reservations and information are available by contacting Don Heishman at P. O. Box 93370, Lakeland, FL 33804-3370, 863-815-3692 or 877-815-3692. A 20-minute retreat promotional DVD is available by sending an e-mail to or calling toll free 877-815-3692.


New e-learning module now available

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — A new church council module has been added to the online e-Learning section of the Florida Conference Web site at

The on-line class is for church council members and covers all aspects of the church council, from the role of chairperson to council member. The module also provides information on visioning and how to connect that vision with ministries and budget. 

The purpose of Florida Conference Online e-Learning is to provide opportunities for leaders in local congregations to gain information and knowledge in this convenient form. It is only one of many tools needed to be a knowledgeable leader in a local congregation.

Other e-Learning classes include training for staff-parish relations, finance (including stewardship) and trustees committees, as well as membership secretaries and lay leaders and members. Also offered are modules on teacher training and worship, titled “Come Let Us Worship,” and two Bible studies — “Where’s the Fruit?” and “Walking in God’s Presence.”
Questions, feedback on the process or suggestions for other courses may be sent to the Rev. Carol Sue Hutchinson at or


Workshop offers tips on communicating with media

By Diane Degnan**

The “Spokesperson Skill Development: Communicating Through The News Media” workshop Sept. 16-17 in Nashville, Tenn., is a must for anyone who speaks to the news media.

This highly interactive one-and-a-half day seminar sponsored by United Methodist Communications will help participants develop basic skills for communicating effectively with print, radio and television reporters. Participants will learn to create a positive image of their organization, control their message and use hands-on learning methods to become more confident and articulate spokespeople.  

Participants will receive individual coaching to help them successfully utilize interview techniques and build confidence, as well as numerous on-camera experiences, answering reporters’ questions during realistic scenarios. The interviews are followed by individual and group critiques.

Participants will learn how to:

• Communicate with a purpose;
• Take control of media interviews;
• Create compelling, quotable messages and sound bites;
• Anticipate reporters’ questions and deliver key messages in response;
• Reduce the chances of being misquoted or taken out of context;
• Turn negatives into positives;
• Build confidence and credibility;
• Present effectively on television and in person, including use of body language, eye contact, voice and dress to support one’s message; and
• Develop techniques for handling difficult questions.

Participants will receive a video of their on-camera interviews, as well as a CD containing helpful guidelines, tips and other useful information. As an added value, take-home training materials for front-line and administrative staff on how to handle media calls will be provided.

Before the training, each participant will be asked to complete an individual needs assessment questionnaire, to help in understanding each person’s experience and role in the organization.

This training is specifically designed to be relevant for conferences, local churches and other church-related organizations. The cost of this course is $349. Participation is limited, so early registration is suggested.

More information is available by contacting Diane Degnan at 615-742-5406 or Participants may register online at


Workshop explores African-American Methodist history

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — The African-American Methodist Heritage Center (AAMHC) is sponsoring its second regional learning event Oct. 2-4 at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Ga.

The event, themed “The Journey: History as a Bridge to the Future,” offers participants the opportunity to learn about and have a greater appreciation of African-American contributions to The United Methodist Church. 

Participants will take home tools to equip them in uncovering little-known historical contributions of African-American pioneers in their own local churches. Numerous ways of preserving and sharing information will be presented.

Plenary session titles include “Why Preserve Our History? Importance and Nature of African-American Methodist Roots,” “What Is Our Story? The Developing Story of African-Americans in Methodism Before, During and After the Central Jurisdiction,” and “How Do We Tell Our Story? The Nuts and Bolts of Writing and Preserving Church History.”

Delivering keynote addresses will be the Rev. Dr. William B. McClain, preaching professor at Wesley Theological Seminary; Angella Current-Felder, executive director of the office of loans and scholarships at the denomination’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry; and Dr. Robert J. Williams, general secretary at the General Commission on Archives and History.

Individuals may register for the event or request a brochure with the schedule, registration details and more information on leaders and presenters by contacting the Rev. Sherrie Dobbs Johnson, executive director, AAMHC, at or 973-494-3322.


Evelyn Laycock leads journey through Paul’s letters

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Dr. Evelyn Laycock will present a study titled “Life Changing Letters From Paul” Oct. 5-8 at Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, Ga.

The journey through these letters will include an examination of them in the light of the first century and comparison of their relevance to the present age.

A brochure with schedule, costs and registration form is available at

Details and registration information are available at or by calling 912-638-8688.

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


Lake Tahoe retreat heightens team worship design skills

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — It’s a common phenomenon: pastors and music directors regularly expressing a desire for a more symbiotic working relationship.

“As worship becomes more sensory-rich, the degree of collaboration needed between worship staff and team members rises," said Marcia McFee, who served with Mark Miller as co-designer of 22 worship services for the 2008 United Methodist General Conference.

McFee will lead “The Worship Design Studio Planning Retreat” Oct. 11-14 at Zephyr Point Conference Center in Lake Tahoe, Calif. The retreat is geared toward small local church teams and will focus on striking a balance between form and freedom, allowing room for authentic encounters with God. Sessions will deal with liturgy, music, improvisation, design, understanding working styles and more.

Participants can heighten their skills of worship design and leadership and deepen their spiritual journey as worship leaders. Worship teams will be guided through the entire liturgical year. The workshop is limited to 10 teams only. The time is balanced between seminar sessions and spiritual renewal time, from hiking or skiing and boating on the lake to reading and reflecting.

The cost includes a registration fee of $500 per team of two to six people and $70 per person per day for housing and meals, based on double occupancy (private rooms are available). A brochure is available at

Details and registration information are available at visit The registration fee must be paid to hold a spot. Housing and meal payments are due by Sept. 1.

More information is available by contacting McFee at 877-387-7977 or


Youth, young adults explore ways to serve in ordained ministry

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND, Fla. — Youth and young adults who feel God’s call to ministry are invited to explore that calling at EXPLORATION 2009 Nov. 13-15 in Dallas, Texas.

“Today more than ever, the denomination needs to sponsor events that invite, train and support young people as they answer their call to ministry,” said the Rev. Meg Lassiat, director of Student Ministries, Vocation and Enlistment at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), which sponsors EXPLORATION. “Research done in 2005 found that just 850 United Methodist elders, or 4.69 percent, in the United States are younger than 35.”

The national event, the ninth since GBHEM began sponsoring it in 1990, is for high school seniors through young adults aged 24 who are considering a call to ordained ministry as a deacon or elder in The United Methodist Church.

“By attending EXPLORATION, youth and young adults will have the opportunity to explore a variety of ways to serve in ordained ministry,” Lassiat said.

Efforts are being made to communicate regularly with annual conferences so clergy and other leaders will have the opportunity to support their young people and encourage them in their discernment for ministry, Lassiat added.

The event will include speakers, worship, workshops and small group interaction to help students hear, discern and respond to their call to ordained ministry.

The ordained ministry of deacons and elders offers opportunities for service in a variety of settings, including the local church, campus ministry, hospital or military chaplaincy, camp and retreat ministry, mission at home and abroad, teaching in college or seminary, social work, counseling, music or youth ministries and many others.

At Exploration, participants will learn how they can discern God’s call in their life, the nature of ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church and the steps to ordained ministry. Participants will also participate in workshops on topics that speak to their own questions and interests, meet others from across the country who are considering their call to ministry and have an opportunity to talk with people engaged in a variety of ministries.
More information is available by contacting Lassiat at


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 communication for the Florida Conference in Lakeland, Fla.
   Degnan is a staff member in the public information office at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.
   Garrison directs volunteer coordination and spiritual logistics for the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery ministry, Lakeland, Fla.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service in Lakeland, Fla.
   Lingle is lead administrator in the Florida Conference Connectional Ministries office in Lakeland, Fla.
   Stiggins is executive director of the Florida Conference Office of Congregational Transformation in Lakeland, Fla.
   Vernon is a staff member in the communications office at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky.