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e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | Aug. 21, 2009 {1071}

This series includes:

• Outreach ministry offers tutor training
• Marriage encounter weekend helps couples connect
• Workshop explores spiritual journaling
• Conference offers training for Alpha course leaders
• Retreat for small churches focuses on I.D.

• Workshop teaches appreciation for African-American music
• Conference for Native American women focuses on physical, spiritual health
• Bread for World Sunday gives churches chance to fight hunger
• Retreat gives women ‘tune-up’ before Advent
• United Methodists asked to make a difference for students
• Women’s commission offer resource in Spanish
• Network offers course on religion and science
• User-friendly handbook details church mission, beliefs, structure
• GodFilms produces short films for Christian conversation


Outreach ministry offers tutor training

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND, Fla. — United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast Inc. is offering ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) training classes in several locations in September to prepare participants to help immigrants and refugees improve their English-speaking skills.

The classes will be held Sept. 1 at Hope Lutheran Church, 1801 62 Ave. N., St. Petersburg, and Sept. 11 and 26 at Pinellas Park Library, 7770 52 St. N., Pinellas Park. A Sept. 19 location is to be determined. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More details are available at

United Methodist Cooperative Ministries is an outreach ministry of the Florida Conference. It helps local congregations respond to critical needs in their communities and provides direct services to refugee and immigrants, including providing English language classes, Children of the World Preschool for refugee and immigrant children, family support services, and after-school tutorial.

Individuals interested in volunteer opportunities may contact Jan Setzekorn, director of literacy services, at 727-442-6881 or


Marriage encounter weekend helps couples connect

 By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Married couples looking for a chance to get away from jobs, children, chores and phones so they can focus on each other are invited to attend a Marriage Encounter weekend Sept. 18-20 in the Tampa area or Nov. 6-8 in Pensacola.

United Methodist Marriage Encounter offers weekend experiences for both engaged and married couples. These opportunities allow couples to learn to communicate about such topics as how to tell the difference between a thought or judgment and feeling and how this can prevent misunderstandings and arguments; how to share any feeling in a safe, non-threatening way; and how to see something from an entirely different viewpoint, yet grow closer.

The weekends also provide a chance for couples to look deeply into the relationship they have with each other and God and share their feelings, hopes and dreams.
The weekends are not retreats, marriage clinics or a substitute for counseling. The emphasis is on communication. The weekends are held in a hotel setting, enabling couples to spend time away from the distractions and tensions of everyday life.
A brochure and registration form are available at

Individuals who would like to participate in the September weekend may call toll free 866-633-3862 or Jim and Carol Reese at 727-799-0927 for specific location information. Information on the Pensacola weekend is available by contacting Lin and Jerry Wilson at

More information about Marriage Encounter is available at


Workshop explores spiritual journaling

By Florida Conference Staff

LAKELAND, Fla. — Anyone who has ever thought about journaling, but always ended up staring at a blank sheet of paper, or who loves to journal, but would like to develop new techniques to broaden the practice, are invited to attend a spiritual journaling workshop Oct. 17.

The workshop is offered as part of the Florida Conference’s Spiritual Formation Gatherings — day or weekend retreats designed to meet the interests and needs of those seeking a deeper walk in their spiritual journey. 

The daylong journaling workshop will introduce participants to journaling through guided imagery, Biblical stories, dialogue and dream remembrances to connect participants to their internal creativity and healing abilities.

Melinda Trotti, director of justice and outreach ministries for the Florida Conference, will lead the workshop. Trotti was previously interim director of the Florida Conference Life Enrichment Center and director of Epworth Camp and Retreat Center in New York. She has studied journaling through the Progoff Intensive Journaling Workshop and has completed the spiritual director’s training through the Haden Institute.

This workshop will be held at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland at 72 Lake Morton Drive. All Gatherings are 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

The cost for the workshop is $25. Participants are asked to bring their lunch.

Individuals interested in attending may register or obtain more information by contacting Heidi Leab at or 800-282-8011, extension 192.


Conference offers training for Alpha course leaders

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — Individuals who would like to learn how to teach an Alpha course in their church or community are invited to the National Alpha Conference in the Orlando area Oct. 20-21 at Northland Church, 530 Dog Track Road, Longwood.

The Alpha course is a 10-week experience in which people from all backgrounds come together for a conversation about the relevance of Jesus Christ in their lives.

The conference features training on how to facilitate the Alpha course and a program that can be tailored to participants’ needs, from wanting to learn about the Alpha course to improving or expanding an existing Alpha ministry. There will also be time for worship, ministry and a chance to meet others with similar passions.

Speakers include Nicky Gumbel, senior pastor of Holy Trinity church in Brompton, London; Christian songwriter and worship leader Brenton Brown; and Bear Grylls, host of television’s “Man Vs. Wild.”

The conference rate is $159 per person, $109 per person for groups of six to 10, $89 per person for groups of 11 or more and $79 per person for students.

Scholarships of $250 will be awarded to any campus ministry staff member, student, young-adult church leader or high school graduate who agrees to help launch a campus Alpha course within the 2010 school year, be willing to make prayer a strategic part of launching a course, register for the course on the Alpha Web site and attend both days of the national conference.

Scholarships will be limited to three per church or ministry on any single campus and distributed to qualified applicants upon the conclusion of the national conference. Scholarship money can be applied to cover travel and conference expenses.

The deadline to register for scholarships is Oct. 2. More information is available at

Housing information and online conference registration is available at


Retreat for small churches focuses on I.D.

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — “Identity Theft: Retrieving Your I.D. (Intentional Discipleship)” is the theme of the next Small Church Retreat Sept. 18-19 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.

Speakers include the Rev. Emily Oliver, Florida Conference director of discipleship; the Rev. Harold Lewis, Florida Conference director of Black Congregational Transformation; and Rebecca Lehman, certified lay speaker. Patricia Oglesby will lead music.

Registration begins at 3 p.m. Sept. 18, with dinner following at 5:30 p.m. and a general session at 7 p.m.

The cost of the retreat, including meals, is $100 per person, single occupancy, $70 for double occupancy and $35 for commuters.

Registration information is available by contacting Heidi Leab at or 800-282-8011, extension 192.


Workshop teaches appreciation for African-American music

By Stephanie Drum**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The “Explo! African American Music and Worship” weekend at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center Oct. 1-3 will bring together clergy, musicians, ministers of music, singers, choirs and worship leaders from across The United Methodist Church for fellowship, networking and the chance to learn from each other.

Each participant will receive a free copy of “Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation.” This collection contains arranged accompaniments and medleys that can help any church learn the musical styles used in many black churches today.

“Zion Still Sings!” includes a collection of songs from African-American spirituals, black gospel, traditional hymns, new hymns and urban rap. It is the first publication to include contemporary black church music, but this songbook is not just for African-American churches. It contains arranged accompaniments and medleys that can help any church learn these unique musical styles.

Monya Logan, one of Explo!’s guest speakers, served on the editorial committee of “Zion Still Sings!” and has served for 12 years as minister of worship and arts at the St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, which has 11 choirs. She will demonstrate how to use this new music resource to energize worship services.

“Because ‘Zion Still Sings!’ is such a comprehensive book, covering all the different kinds of music from the African-American church experience, it will help participants learn about the great music of our church from past to present,” said the Rev. Dr. Carl Arrington, director of African-American Ministries at Lake Junaluska, and a speaker during the weekend. “People will discover ways to use this great legacy of music to reach out to all ages of people, especially learning how to use the contemporary trends in music to reach our youth and young adults.”

Other guest speakers include the Revs. Tyron Gordon, senior pastor at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church, and Dr. Safiyah Fosua, director of preaching ministries at The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship.

Early event registration ends Aug. 31. Limited scholarships are available. More information is available by contacting Pam Naplen at 828-454-6656 or visiting


Conference for Native American women focuses on physical, spiritual health

By Stephanie Drum

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Southeastern Jurisdictional Agency for Native American Ministries (SEJANAM) and Lake Junaluska are cosponsoring the first Native Women’s Gathering and Conference Oct. 16-18

One of the overall goals of the event, themed “Re-Defining Our Place: Native Women Speak,” is to raise awareness about the issues and needs of Native American women, while providing spiritual broadening and understanding. Organizers hope women will leave the conference with strengthened skills on personal safety, security, health and wellness; clearer personal tools for dealing with social and cultural issues unique to the Native American community; and deepened relationships with Jesus Christ and each other.

Some of the subject areas that will be addressed include the psychology of cancer, domestic violence, substance abuse, tobacco and HIV/STDs. 

“We are excited about this gathering since it is the first of its kind for this quadrennium,” said SEJANAM Director Darlene Jacobs. “It will provide timely, highly relevant training around health and social concerns for Native American women across the Southeast Jurisdiction.”

The Rev. Cynthia Abrams, a member of the Seneca tribe and director of Alcohol, Other Addictions and Health Care Program at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, will kick off the event. The keynote luncheon speaker is the Rev. Carol Gallagher, an Episcopal Church minister and a Native American. The Rev. Donna Smith of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference and Louisa Locklear and April Oxendine of the North Carolina Annual Conference will lead worship.

The conference will also honor Native women leaders within The United Methodist Church for their outstanding leadership and contributions to Native ministries, their communities and The United Methodist Church. Those being honored include: Abrams; Cynthia Kent, former secretary of Native and Indigenous Ministries at the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries; Dr. Anne Marshall, chairwoman of the Native American International Caucus; and Suanne Ware-Diaz, assistant general secretary for the Commission on Religion and Race.

SEJANAM is the advocate for 23 Native American congregations and three other ministries in the Southeast Jurisdiction.

More information about the event is available at or by contacting Jacobs at 1-828-454-6724 or


Bread for World Sunday gives churches chance to fight hunger

By David Beckmann**

WASHINGTON — Bread for the World Sunday is an opportunity for churches to renew their commitment to ending the hunger and poverty that exists in the world today.

Worshipping communities across the country will join together in lifting up their voices on behalf of hungry people Oct. 18 and other Sundays in the fall.

Churches can order free resources to help in their observance of the Sunday. This year’s reflection, on Mark 10:35-45, is written by the Rev. John Buchanan, editor and publisher of Christian Century. A new song composed by Marty Haugen in honor of Bread for the World’s 35th anniversary, a call to worship, a litany, worship bulletin inserts and offering envelopes are available for church celebrations.

Resources and creative ideas for observing Bread for the World Sunday are available at

More information is available by contacting David Beckmann at 800-82-BREAD.


Retreat gives women ‘tune-up’ before Advent

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — “Waiting for God,” a retreat for women led by the Rev. Kathleen Kilbourne, is designed to give participants a “tune-up” to avoid break downs “on the road to Advent.”
The retreat, held Nov. 2-4 at Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, Ga., offers women a chance to learn how to welcome God’s coming into the world once again. Participants will explore how setting priorities in a discordant world will enable them to experience the true meaning of Christmas. 

Kilbourne is an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church and director of the Master of Arts in Christian Education program at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.

A brochure with registration form is available at
The cost of the retreat is $222.08 per person, double occupancy, and $283.44 per person, single occupancy.

Registration begins Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. The program concludes Nov. 4 after lunch.

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


United Methodists asked to make a difference for students

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND, Fla. — College costs continue to rise, but thanks to United Methodist Student Day offerings, students in each annual conference have a chance to attain higher education.

Any student attending United Methodist and other accredited colleges and universities can receive scholarships and loans funded through the special offering.

Individuals and churches can help make a difference for students by collecting an offering on United Methodist Student Day, traditionally celebrated the last Sunday in November. Donations can also be accepted at any time, however, and online by clicking on the “donate” button at the top of the page at

Participating annual conferences receive 10 percent of the offering for merit-scholarship awards to students of their choosing. Conferences may award scholarships to United Methodist students who reside in the conference and who attend or will attend a United Methodist-related college or university.

This Special Sunday had its beginnings in 1866, when a special fund provided for advanced education of Sunday-school children and candidates for the ministry and missionary service.

Support materials, including facts and figures, a children’s sermon, motivating stories about United Methodist Student Day and downloadable bulletin inserts, are available at Select “Special Sundays,” then United Methodist Student Day Sunday from the side menu. The printed resources are available free of charge by ordering online or calling 888-346-3862.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry administers the United Methodist scholarships and Student Loan Fund.


Women’s commission offer resource in Spanish

By Elaine Moy**

CHICAGO — The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women recently published a new resource titled “Mujeres Llamadas al Ministerio” (“Women Called to Ministry”).

This six-week study session about women in The United Methodist Church is designed primarily for use by local congregations and may be downloaded or copied.

Study guides are in PDF format, available in English and Spanish, and require Adobe Acrobat or Foxit PDF Reader. Guides may downloaded from The resource itself is available at

More information is available by contacting Elaine Moy at the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women at 800-523-8390 or by visiting


Network offers course on religion and science

By Katie Schechter**

WASHINGTON — “Religion and Science: Pathways to Truth” is the eighth and newest course from Wesley Ministry Network, an outreach of Wesley Theological Seminary that creates adult education courses for use in local churches.

The religion and science course asks questions about how religion and science interface in the 21st century and offers insights from leading scientists and theologians into living as scientifically informed believers. Dr. Francis S. Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project, hosts this unique and engaging course.

More information on this and other Wesley Ministry Network courses and ordering materials is available at
The mission of Wesley Ministry Network is to produce substantive adult education courses that bring the best of Christian scholarship to local churches. Courses are designed to be facilitated by local church members and include DVD-based lessons featuring top scholars.


User-friendly handbook details church mission, beliefs, structure

By Diane Degnan**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — United Methodist Communications announces the publication of the 2009-12 edition of The United Methodist handbook, a 48-page publication filled with comprehensive information about The United Methodist Church and the ways it lives out its global mission. The handbook is available at no charge.

“This handbook is an invaluable resource for church leaders, members and those who are new to the church,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “It captures the essence of what it means to be a United Methodist, showing who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

Themed with the mission of “making disciples for the transformation of the world,” the 2009-12 handbook prominently features The United Methodist Church’s “Four Areas of Focus,” key ministries affirmed and adopted by the 2008 General Conference. They include developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world, creating new places for new people and renewing existing congregations, engaging in ministry with the poor, and stamping out the killer diseases of poverty by improving health globally.

The handbook describes current needs within each area and outlines the denomination’s strategies for meeting those challenges.

The handbook also includes detailed maps of central and jurisdictional annual conferences that show more fully how the connectional church serves around the world; the mission and beliefs of United Methodists; and the church’s basic organization and history. Giving and online learning opportunities are highlighted, as well.

Copies of the handbook are available at or by calling 888-346-3862. 

GodFilms produces short films for Christian conversation

By GBOD Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) has created a new series of short films that encourages viewers to come to their own understanding of how God is at work in their lives.

“With GodFilms, GBOD is presenting a unique way for church groups and families to discover Jesus’ teaching,” said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, GBOD’s top executive. “With GodFilms, we are reaching people through storytelling — as an alternative to experts explaining an issue. The viewers themselves become teachers, as well as the learners. With each viewing comes a different experience because the group unwraps the meaning together with Biblical references and questions available from the discussion guide. The experts are not on the screen so much as they are sitting around the group.”

Each 10-12 minute DVD has a 32-page guide with references and study suggestions, but there is freedom for members of a group to explore their own questions. In addition to the DVD, the short films are also available as digital download files at 

“We wanted to tell stories that people could watch, analyze and discuss,” said Steve Horswill-Johnston, producer of GodFilms and executive director of communications and brand strategy for GBOD.

Horswill-Johnston, former head of the denomination’s television advertising effort, wanted to create an alternative to “talking head” videos. Instead, he envisions a more organic experience where groups can unwrap Jesus’ teaching in a new way.

“We use the medium for what it’s best at — telling stories,” Horswill-Johnston said.

The first series from GodFilms, called “Digital Diary,” is now available. One tells the story of Robby, a high school senior who struggles to understand his relationship with his family and the world around him. The second follows Laura, a single mother of two, who spends so much time working she loses touch with her priorities.

GodFilms plans to release two more films in the “Digital Diary” series before moving on to other areas. Each “Digital Diary” is available as a DVD or downloadable file at The DVDs are available at Cokesbury Christian Stores, Upper Room online bookstore and soon at

More information is available by visiting or calling GBOD’s communications office at 877-899-2780, extension 1726.


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

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Beckman is president of Bread for the World in Washington, D.C.  
   Degnan is a staff member in the public information office at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.
    Drum is communications specialist at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service in Lakeland, Fla.
   Moy is assistant general secretary at the General Commission of the Status and Role of Women in Chicago, Ill.
   Schechter is coordinator of development and media relations for the Wesley Ministry Network in Washington, D.C.
   Trotti is director of the Florida Conference’s justice and outreach ministries.