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e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | Jan. 29, 2010 {1133}

This series includes:

• Response after Haiti earthquake: Give, prepare, plan
• Couples retreat offers spiritual renewal
• Teams train for early response to disasters
• Africa University representatives speak at Florida churches
• Summer Mission Intern applications now accepted
• Five-day Academy fills spiritual hunger

• Retreat for African-American youth explores Christian vocation
• Methodist clergy invited to evangelism seminar in Brazil
• Fellowship offers music, worship arts scholarships
• Retreat encounter energizes prayer life
• Hunger agency seeks youth advocates


Response after Haiti earthquake: Give, prepare, plan

By Tita Parham

ORLANDO — A major earthquake hit Port-au-Prince Jan. 12, killing thousands and causing widespread destruction. Many Florida Annual Conference Haitian congregations are also feeling the effects as members work to connect with and help family members and friends in Haiti cope with the disaster.

The Florida Conference has a long-term relationship with the Methodist Church of Haiti, formalizing those ties with the signing of the Haiti/Florida Covenant in June 2006. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) also has close ties with the Methodist Church there and is responding to the devastating earthquake with funding, material resources and prayers.

Churches and individuals can help by raising funds for relief efforts and giving to either UMCOR or the Methodist Church of Haiti. General humanitarian aid is being provided by UMCOR through its Gifts to Advance Special #418325. Every dollar UMCOR receives for this Advance goes directly to help the people of Haiti. Checks, with #418325 in the memo line, can be mailed to UMCOR at P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087, or dropped in church offering plates. Donations can also be made online at
Monetary donations may also be sent to the Methodist Church in Haiti. Every dollar collected will go directly to the Methodist Church in Haiti to help rebuild lives and buildings. Checks may be made payable to “FAC Treasurer,” with “2010 Methodist Church in Haiti Relief, #100190” in the memo line. Individuals may send checks directly to the Florida Conference at 1140 McDonald Street, Lakeland, FL 33801. Florida Conference United Methodist churches may send these checks through their normal apportionment giving channels, utilizing lock-box #207.
Churches can also consider preparing and sending health kits for short- and long-term recovery efforts to Sager-Brown, the UMCOR depot in Louisiana. Information on making kits is available at

It is unsafe at this time for mission teams to enter Haiti, but churches can begin planning now to sponsor or send a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team later in the year to assist in disaster recovery and humanitarian aid. Churches may visit the UMVIM Web site at for updates or to register a team to go to Haiti. The Southeastern Jurisdiction UMVIM ministry is also collecting contact information at for individuals interested in traveling to Haiti. Contacts listed there will be activated as soon as UMVIM has news about the possibility of scheduling trips to Haiti.

The General Board of Discipleship is offering prayers, hymns and liturgies for use during worship services at
More information about the United Methodist response is available at http://, and


Couples retreat offers spiritual renewal

By Erik Alsgaard**

LAKELAND — Couples waning to spend quality time together and strengthen their faith are invited to attend the 2010 Couples Spiritual Retreats March 12-14 and 19-21.

The retreats are sponsored by the Florida Conference United Methodist Men and held at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. The theme for each weekend is “In Jesus’ Name.”

The retreats feature worship, plenary gatherings and breakout sessions, including “A Jewish Love Story,” led by Ed Diaz, which looks at the wedding customs of Jesus’ day and how they are interwoven with Jesus’ return. John Riley will ask the question, “Are there many doors to the hallway of heaven or just one?” The Rev. Harold Lewis, director of the Florida Conference Black Congregational Transformation office will explore “Was Jesus at your wedding?” The Rev. Charley Reeb will dig deeper into Jesus’ prayer life by looking at the Gospel of Luke, and the Rev. Debbie Nelson will explore how the trinity impacts everyday life.

Registrations must be submitted by Feb. 15. Costs vary depending on length of stay, location of accommodations onsite and how many meals will be needed.

A brochure that can be shared with church members is available at Additional information and registrations forms are available at


Teams train for early response to disasters

By Pam Garrison**

LAKELAND — Individuals interested in serving as early responders to disasters are invited to attend the Early Response Teams (ERT) training Feb. 19-20 at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park.

ERTs are specialized, self-contained teams that enter a disaster zone at the invitation of local emergency management. In addition to providing a caring Christian presence, ERTs remove debris and provide temporary repairs to make a dwelling safe, sanitary and secure. The teams are registered with the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry, which coordinates team placement with emergency management officials to get help where it is needed most after a disaster. 

Because this is a specialized training requiring a higher level of expertise and commitment, participants must complete “Community Arise Basic Disaster Ministry Training” before being trained in early response.

Participants will be housed in dorm-style lodges with bunk beds at the camp and should bring their own sleeping bag/bed roll, linens and personal items. Dress is casual and comfortable for a rustic camp environment. 

Individuals may register online at Registration ends Feb. 17.

The cost is $30 per person or $40 per couple and includes lodging, three meals (dinner Friday evening, breakfast and lunch on Saturday), all training materials, a T-shirt, credentials and background check.


Africa University representatives speak at Florida churches

By Stephan Drachler**

HARRISBURG, Pa. — More than a dozen Africa University graduates, faculty, board members and volunteers will urge United Methodists to support the Zimbabwe-based university when they visit churches in the North Central, North East and East Central districts of the Florida Conference in mid-March.

University representatives are confirmed to speak at 17 United Methodist churches in the three districts March 20-21, said James Salley, Africa University’s associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement. Elaine Jenkins, director of planned giving, is coordinating the events, he said.

“Africa University is a vital part of our mission to Africa,” said Florida Conference Bishop Timothy Whitaker. “It is graduating men and women who are becoming key leaders throughout Africa. When other universities closed during Zimbabwe’s recent economic and political crises, it remained open.”

United Methodist-related Africa University is based in central Zimbabwe. Its 1,190 students come from 28 African countries. The university’s advisory development committee will meet in Jacksonville March 23. The development office is located in Nashville.

Congregations that will serve as hosts for representatives of the university include Community United Methodist Church in Lake Como, Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church in Daytona Beach, Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Gainesville and Jacksonville’s Arlington, Avondale, Crossroad, Faith, First, Ft. Caroline, Glynlea Grace, Lake Shore, Lakewood, Mandarin, Mt. Moriah, Murray Hill, New Life Community and Riverside Park United Methodist churches.
United Methodist Bishop Ernest S. Lyght of Charleston, W.Va., chairperson of the Africa University board development committee, said this visitation is particularly focused on showing the benefits of long-term planned giving to help sustain the university.

“It is a great thing to share God’s blessings in this way,” Lyght said. “To me, there is no better feeling than to know I’ve planted seeds of hope for Africa’s bright future.

“The United Methodist Church is committed to Africa, and Africa University is a key focus of our ministry. As it prepares a new generation of leaders, it needs the support of United Methodists in the United States. The best way for many to help is to look at the long term, both for their lives and for the continuation of the university.”

With its main campus in Old Mutare, central Zimbabwe, Africa University opened its doors in 1992. The university currently offers bachelors and masters degree programs in six faculties — agriculture and natural resources, education, humanities and social sciences, health sciences, management and administration, and theology. The Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance offers postgraduate diploma and masters programs.

More information on ways to support the mission and ministry of Africa University is available by contacting Elaine Jenkins at 615 340-7428 or


Summer Mission Intern applications now accepted

By Erik Alsgaard

LAKELAND — Applications for the Florida Conference 2010 Summer Mission Intern program are now being accepted.  

Summer mission interns serve in a variety of outreach ministry settings throughout Florida, with a focus being on community day camps and United Methodist district outreach agencies.

A $2,000 stipend is awarded to each intern for 10 weeks of service, which generally runs June 7-Aug. 13, depending on the service placement. Internship applications are accepted from students and young adults ages 19-28. The deadline to apply is April 9.

“Being a summer mission intern is a great opportunity to be Christ’s hands and feet, in service to a hurting world,” said Melinda Trotti, director of the Florida Conference’s justice and outreach ministries. “The focus is on service in communities experiencing poverty, but the program includes time and support for reflection on vocational and spiritual goals.”

Training is provided to the interns at pre-summer and mid-summer retreats, as well as in-service training by the agencies. Conference and agency staff provide supervision and mentoring throughout the summer.

In 2009, the second year of this program, 12 interns from 10 different colleges and universities participated at placements with Christians Reaching Out to Society (C.R.O.S. Ministries), the East Central District outreach ministries in Orlando, Sons of Thunder Day Camp in Titusville and the North East District outreach ministries in Jacksonville. The goal this year is to expand the program to 20 to 25 interns, with new placements in Naples, Miami and Holiday.

The Florida Conference Summer Mission Intern program is a partnership between the Florida Conference’s ministries of justice and outreach and camps and retreats.
The application is available at Applicants can download and print the application and mail it to David Berkey, executive director of the conference camps and retreat ministries, at 1140 McDonald Street, Lakeland, FL 33801; or fax it to 863-688-7233. More information is available by contacting Berkey at or 800-282-8011, extension 140.


Five-day Academy fills spiritual hunger

 By Caryl Kelley

LAKELAND — Clergy and laity seeking a time of deep spiritual reflection are invited to attend the Florida Five-day Academy for Spiritual Formation April 18-23 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.

The academy is an opportunity for intentional spiritual growth in a disciplined, accepting community and a place where community silence enhances personal prayer and reflection. It is designed for participants to experience a time of spiritual renewal and discovery through academic presentation, personal reflections and communal sharing in covenant groups.

The faculty includes Larry Peacock, an ordained United Methodist pastor, spiritual director, retreat leader and author. Peacock has served churches in England, Michigan and California. 

After completing The Upper Room’s Two Year Academy for Spiritual Formation, Peacock became the retreat leader for the Upper Room Academy in California and received additional training as a spiritual director. He now works with Upper Room as a member of the Academy Advisory Board and as a faculty speaker across the country. 

The faculty also includes the Rev. Dale Clem, a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and Duke Divinity School and pastor at Monte Sano United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Ala. Clem has also led pilgrimages to Turkey, Greece and Israel.

The cost to attend the Academy is $575 per person. More information and details are available by contacting Ann Anderson, the retreat leader, at


Retreat for African-American youth explores Christian vocation

By Caryl Kelley**

LAKELAND — The Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center is offering The Ebony Youth Christian Vocation Exploration Retreat April 9-11 for African-American youth in grades nine to 12.

The purpose of the weekend is to provide a space for 100 African-American youth from the Southeastern Jurisdiction and beyond to spend time with other African-American youth and discover, explore and celebrate the various forms of ministry available within The United Methodist Church. Adult spiritual mentors will guide the youth in discovering their spiritual gifts and exploring God’s call on their lives.

Registration information, with a link to forms and a flier, is available by choosing the “registration” link at

The registration fee of $90 per youth and the completed application materials must be postmarked on or before Feb. 12 and sent to the Rev. Harold Lewis, director of the Florida Conference Black Congregational Transformation office, at The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, 1140 McDonald St., Lakeland, FL 33801.

More information about registration and applications is available by contacting the Rev. Dr. Carl Arrington, director of African-American ministries at the Lake Junaluska Retreat Center, at 828-454-6739 or

Housing accommodations are available at the Lake Junaluska Retreat Center by calling 1-800-222-4930.


Methodist clergy invited to evangelism seminar in Brazil

By Dr. Winston Worrell**

ATLANTA, Ga. — Methodist and Wesleyan clergy and laity are invited to attend the international Brazil Evangelism Seminar Aug. 17-24 in San Paulo, Brazil.

The theme of the conference is “That the World May Know Jesus Christ: Developing Missional Congregations” and will focus on God’s witness through the worldwide Methodist and Wesleyan movement. It focuses on Jesus Christ as the Savior of all humanity — for every person, race, culture and people in every millennium — and urges churches to dynamically discover new methods of evangelism and mission for and by varying cultures around the world.

The conference will be preceded by an optional tour in Sao Paulo Aug. 13-17.

The early bird registration and seminar fee of $250 is due March 1. The regular rate of $295 is due June 1. The room and board costs of $450 are due June 1. The optional pre-seminar tour cost of $275 is due by March 1.

Lay and clergy may register at or email at Original forms and fees can be mailed to Candler School of Theology at Emory University,1531 Dickey Drive, Cannon Chapel 301, Atlanta, GA 30322.

Details about the seminar are available at


Fellowship offers music, worship arts scholarships

By Dean McIntyre**

The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts is offering the Memorial, Thom Jones and Robert Schilling scholarships for music and other arts.

The deadline to apply is March 1. Applications are available at

All applicants must be students planning a career in church music and/or worship arts and meet the following requirements: 1). Must be a music degree candidate intending to pursue a career in sacred music, either entering as a freshman or already enrolled in an accredited university, college or school of theology, or be pursuing academic education in worship or the arts related to worship; 2). Be a member of The United Methodist Church for at least one year immediately before applying, or, if a member of another Christian denomination, be employed in The United Methodist Church for at least one year immediately before applying and give evidence of strong Christian character and participation in Christian activities of the church and/or campus; and 3). Demonstrate evidence of exceptional musical or other artistic talent, effective leadership ability and outstanding promise of future usefulness to the church in the areas of music and/or worship.
United Methodist students that do not meet these criteria should contact the scholarship office at the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry at 615-340-7346 or visit


Retreat encounter energizes prayer life

By Epworth By the Sea Staff

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Individuals who would like to make a difference in their church, life and the lives of those who have yet to find faith in Jesus are invited to attend “A Prayerful Encounter” with Terry Teykl March 5-7 at the United Methodist center at St. Simons, Ga.

The retreat includes worship, teaching, ministry and prayer. Sessions focus on reaching the lost through prayer, ways prayer can alleviate control issues and allow God to inhabit lives and churches, and prayer as a ministry

The costs are $337.96 per person, single occupancy, and $272.08 per person, double occupancy. Rates include lodging for two nights at Pitts/Booth Motel, six meals (Friday supper through Sunday lunch), the registration fee and tax.

Online registration is available at Registration forms may be printed and faxed to 912-634-0642 or mailed to Epworth by the Sea, P. O. Box 20407, St. Simons Island, GA 31522.

A brochure is available at More information is available at or by calling 912-638-8688.


Hunger agency seeks youth advocates

By the Rev. Jim McDonald**

WASHINGTON — Two years ago, 75 young leaders visited the nation’s capital for intensive training in advocacy for hungry and poor people. Since then, they have served as powerful agents of change in their communities.

Now, Bread for the World is looking for another group of 20- to 30-year-old advocates to join the 2010 class of Hunger Justice Leaders.

Selected participants will attend an advocacy training workshop — all expenses paid — in Washington, D.C., June 12-15. They will then commit to going back to their communities to lead advocacy efforts.

Those who participate will gain skills in advocacy, team-building and community organizing; connect with like-minded young leaders from across the United States; explore the biblical foundations of faith and justice; and speak out on Capitol Hill by visiting members of Congress.

Interested individuals may apply at The application deadline is March 12.


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 Florida United Methodist Communications in Lakeland, Fla.
   Drachler is a media relations consultant in Harrisburg, Pa.
   Garrison is coordinator of volunteer and spiritual logistics for the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry.
   Kelley is subscription manager, photographer and contributing writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service in Lakeland, Fla.
   McIntyre is director of music resources at the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn.
   McDonald is managing director of Bread for the World in Washington, D.C.
   Worrell is director of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute of the World Methodist Council at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.