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e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | Nov. 6, 2009 {1102}

This series includes:

• Foundation offers clergy retirement seminar
• College offers funding training, research for churches
• Credit union offers shelter from credit card rate increases


• Christmas card purchases help end hunger
• Candler produces Advent DVD exploring scripture, art
• Congregations give hope to African children through ZOE Ministry animals
• Elders for Today conference discusses civil rights issues
• Resources available for Souper Bowl of Caring
• Discipleship board needs church photos
• Worship, music director sought for 2012 General Conference
• TARP provides hurricane damage repair, restoration


Foundation offers clergy retirement seminar

By Suzanne McGovern**

The Florida United Methodist Foundation is offering its pre-retirement planning seminar for clergy and their spouses Jan. 11-13 at the Radisson WorldGate Resort at 3011 MainGate Lane in Kissimmee. 

The registration deadline is Dec. 12.

The two-day “R-10 and Counting” event is designed for couples who are planning to retire within the next 10 years. It offers workshops and speakers on a variety of topics, from funding retirement to estate planning and lifestyle and wellness issues. 

It is sponsored by the foundation and the Florida Conference human resources office and Center for Clergy Excellence. A scholarship to help offset conference fees is provided automatically to all participants by the Preacher’s Relief Board.

The seminar is limited to 25 participants with couples counted as one participant. Registration fees are $175 per couple or $125 for singles and cover two-nights’ lodging, four meals and workshop materials.  

Online registration is available at More information is available by contacting The Florida United Methodist Foundation toll free at 866-363-9673.


College offers funding training, research for churches

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference is now a member of the Rollins College Philanthropy Center, which means local churches and special ministries related to the conference now have access to the center’s resources and training classes at the membership price.

The center works with the Crummer Graduate School of Business to strengthen the impact, effectiveness and leadership of nonprofit organizations. It operates a research library providing information about funding sources and offers workshops throughout the year on a variety of topics, including board development, fund raising, volunteer coordination and becoming a 501c3.
More information about the center and the courses offered is available at and click “calendar.”

Individuals who would like to take a class should contact Sherri Lingle in the conference Connectional Ministries office at


Credit union offers shelter from credit card rate increases

By Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union Staff

Customers who have credit cards from any of the major credit card issuers might notice a sharp increase in their interest rate and fees within the next few months.

That warning was issued by Keystone United Methodist Federal Credit Union, which serves United Methodists in the Western Pennsylvania Conference, and was echoed by the Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union.

As credit card companies race to beat the deadline for new regulation that will go into effect in February as result of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD), credit card issuers have been raising interest rates dramatically. A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Safe Credit Cards Project shows interest rates on credit cards rose by an average of 23 percent from December 2008 to July 2009.

“We’re very concerned about our members,” said Keith Pritchard, chief executive officer of the Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union. “These rate increases can cause some serious financial hardships at a time when many people are struggling just to make ends meet.”

The Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union wants Florida United Methodists to be aware that they are eligible for membership in the credit union. It, like most credit unions, has lower interest rates, lower fees and less punitive policies for credit cards. Membership in the credit union is open to every United Methodist in the Florida Conference, as well as North and South Georgia.

“We’ve never practiced at-will policy change,” Pritchard said, “and we don’t intend to start now.”

Individuals who are concerned about their credit card or would like to change to the credit union’s credit card program, man contact the Georgia Florida United Methodist Federal Credit Union at 770-565-3794 or 800-282-9368 or visit


Christmas card purchases help end hunger

By Kari Bert**

WASHINGTON — Bread for the World has a vision of a world without hunger, and its hoping congregations will catch that vision this Advent season by participating in its Christmas card project.

Those interested in helping hungry and poor people this holiday season can share their passion by sending Bread for the World Christmas cards to their friends and family. A pack of ten cards can be purchased for $10.

The first of three designs is a photograph by Michael Busselle of women carrying water in Jaiselmer, India. Women and girls in developing countries walk an average of four miles daily to fetch water, significantly reducing the time they have for other work or to attend school.

The second design features an infant wrapped in an emerald colored cloth. It was taken in the Andes mountains of Ecuador by Margaret W. Nea, a professional photographer and longtime Bread member.

The third design features a shepherdess in front of a mountain landscape in Afghanistan. It was taken by photographer MNI Chowdhury for Majority World, a group that supports the work of indigenous photographers from developing countries.

More information about the cards and how to order them is available on the Bread for the World Web site


Candler produces Advent DVD exploring scripture, art

By Laurel Davis Hanna**

Candler School of Theology at Emory University is offering “A Thrill of Hope: The Christmas Story in Word and Art,” a new DVD production designed for use in Sunday school classes, Bible studies and other church group gatherings.

A participant study guide with suggested discussion questions accompanies the DVD, making it easy to use for group Bible studies during Advent.
This 50-minute DVD presents the familiar story of Christ¬mas as told in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. Each passage of scripture is illustrated and interpreted in the artwork of John August Swanson, along with commentary by members of Candler’s faculty.

“A Thrill of Hope” is divided into six seven-minute sections or “chapters,” each one featuring a passage of scripture from the Christmas story: The Annunciation to Mary, The Nativity, The Shepherds, Epiphany, The Presentation in the Temple and the Flight into Egypt.

Each $30 set includes the DVD and five study guides; additional guides are available for $5 each. There is a $5 shipping and handling charge if the materials are mailed.

Individuals may order “A Thrill of Hope” at


Congregations give hope to African children through ZOE Ministry animals

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — In many African countries, children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic are left with the responsibility of raising their brothers and sisters. In response, ZOE Ministry is giving hope to these vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya and Rwanda through programs of empowerment and relief.

The “Giving Hope Empowerment Project” equips orphans and child-led families with essential life skills, such as mentoring, vocational training, income generating activities, training in animal husbandry and farming, and HIV/AIDS education so they may live free from the cycle of poverty and dependency within two to three years of participating in the program.

Congregations and individuals can help by honoring their friends and family members with a gift of a farm animal in their name, helping transform a child’s life this Christmas. ZOE distributes animals in the most practical and efficient way possible so that animals will thrive in their environment. A goat at $40 may be the best investment in Maua, Kenya, but four chickens at $10 each would be better for children in a region that is more arid.

Information about the cost of ZOE animals is available at Individuals may also make a donation on the site by selecting the donate link. Checks should be made payable to ZOE Ministry, with “Christmas Animals” noted on the memo line. Gifts should be mailed to N.C. Conference/Raleigh Area, P.O. Box 60053, Charlotte, NC 28260-0053.

Gift acknowledgement cards are available for download from the Advent & Christmas Resources link on ZOE’s home page at

ZOE Ministry is an official project of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.


Elders for Today conference discusses civil rights issues

By Becca Stinson**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The first annual Elders for Today conference will be held in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 5-8 to promote discussion on past and present civil rights issues.

The conference, held on the Scarritt-Bennett campus, will bring together people who experienced the civil rights era of the 1960s and those interested in learning about the era, engaging them in an interactive conversation about past and present social justice issues.

The happenings of the 1960s changed the lives of many people, and the conference will lead participants through activities to explore what the lasting impact of the movement has been on cities such as Nashville, a people and the lives of individuals.

The conference will provide participants with a historical perspective of the movement, using Nashville’s civil rights history as a spring-board, and a variety of creative methods of sharing individual memories and experiences, including music, writing, technology and art. It will also encourage participants to discuss how the civil rights movement continues to impact America today.

The standard room cost is $250, including a three-night stay (no television or Internet access), all meals and snacks, tuition fee, amenities and taxes. Other room options are available on the conference registration form.

More information, including a brochure, complete list of workshops and the registration form, is available at or by calling 615-340-7557. The deadline to register is Dec. 21.


Resources available for Souper Bowl of Caring

By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Souper Bowl of Caring, held annually in January the weekend of the Super Bowl football game, enables communities to participate in the fight against hunger and poverty.

The 2010 event is Feb. 7, and resources to help groups participate are now available.

During Souper Bowl of Caring youth mobilize their congregations, schools and community organizations to positively impact their communities by collecting money or food on or near Super Bowl weekend, with 100 percent of the collections donated to the charity of each group’s choice. The program can be done with limited resources and adapted to meet the needs of a youth group or congregation.

After groups register, they receive a starter kit to help them prepare for the event. The Souper Bowl of Caring Web site walks groups through participation in the initiative. Its online resource center provides a variety of resources to help educate groups about the problem of hunger and in planning and promoting the Souper Bowl of Caring event.

Detailed information is available on the Souper Bowl of Caring Web site at


Discipleship board needs church photos

By Dean McIntyre**

The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship is looking for church photos that can be included in its weekly Church of the Week feature on the board’s Web site.

Churches are asked to submit their photos with their church name, address, phone, e-mail and Web site address. They are also invited to include a statement of up to 50 words about their church.

Due to privacy law restrictions, pictures including people may not be published unless a release form signed by those individuals is provided with the photos. A release form, with guidelines for submission, is available at

Past featured churches may be viewed on the church photo gallery at

More information is available by contacting the General Board of Discipleship at or 877-899-2780, extension 7073, or visiting


Worship, music director sought for 2012 General Conference

By Diane Degnan**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Commission on the General Conference is seeking a worship and music director for The United Methodist Church’s 2012 General Conference. The deadline to apply is Feb. 1, 2010.
The top legislative body for the 11.5 million-member denomination will meet April 24-May 4, 2012, in Tampa. The worship and music director is responsible for the overall worship and music program management at General Conference and oversees liturgy and music throughout the assembly, including inviting choirs and worship groups from across the church to participate.
Those interested in applying may view the position description at
Applications should include a brief resume and short audition video highlighting music leadership abilities in a variety of settings. The position description provides technical requirements for the audition video. Application materials should be sent by Feb. 1 to the Rev. Alan J. Morrison, General Conference business manager, at P.O. Box 340029, Nashville, TN, 37203-0029.
The General Conference, which meets every four years, is a two-week assembly of 1,000 delegates from around the world who gather to set church policies and make pronouncements on social and moral issues of the day. General Conference is the only organization that speaks for The United Methodist Church.

More information is available by contacting Morrison at


TARP provides hurricane damage repair, restoration

By Laurie Byland**

BATON ROUGE, La. — Last September, residents of South Louisiana braced themselves as Hurricane Gustav barreled along the coastline, hoping it wouldn’t be another Katrina. 

The eye of the storm came ashore in the coastal community of Cocodrie, La., in Terrebonne Parish. Though Cocodrie is just 80 miles southeast of New Orleans and received its share of damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, residents claimed Gustav was the worst storm they had ever seen.  During the height of the storm, Terrebonne Parish experienced winds at 110 miles per hour and a storm surge of 12 feet. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Ike brought more wind, rain and flooding to the area.

Though the damage from the storms was especially severe, it was not an uncommon occurrence for residents. Year after year families face the threat of hurricanes devastating their homes and changing the course of their lives. This threat became a reality for thousands of residents following the storms of 2008. Less than half of all residents of Terrebonne Parish carried adequate flood insurance to cover the damage done to their homes, and many of them were unable to make the needed repairs on their own. 

In response to the need, First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge, La., created Terrebonne Area Restoration Project (TARP), providing home repair and restoration at no cost to homeowners.  

TARP provides the opportunity for teens to serve their neighbors while growing in their faith through devotionals and worship and meeting friends from across the country who also have a heart for service. Volunteers participating in TARP are asked to commit one week of their summer to the project to make a difference that will last a lifetime for area families. 

Last summer, more than 300 teens from 14 states across the country traveled to Terrebonne Parish to serve. Through their 11,470 hours of service, 15 homes were restored. The need still remains, however. Homes need repairs, and lives must be rebuilt, and TARP needs help to do it.  

TARP is now accepting registrations for summer 2010. The project begins June 6 and continues through July 31. More information is available at or by contacting Laurie Byland at 225-383-4777 or


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

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Bert is senior manager of development and membership at Bread for the World in Washington, D.C.
   Byland is director of Terrebonne Area Restoration Project (TARP) in Baton Rouge, La.
   Degnan is director of the United Methodist Communications office of public information in Nashville, Tenn.
   Hanna is director of communications at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service in Lakeland, Fla.
   McGovern is vice president of communications at the Florida United Methodist Foundation in Lakeland, Fla.
   McIntyre is director of music resources at the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship
in Nashville, Tenn.
   Stinson is a marketing associate at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn.