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e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | March 22, 2010 {1154}

This series includes:

• Conference charges laity, clergy to ‘witness to world’


• Foundation announces new church recognition award
• Special Sunday celebrates gifts, contributions of Native Americans
• Youth invited to ‘surge’ into summer


Conference charges laity, clergy to ‘witness to world’

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — Jesus charged his apostles as “witnesses to these things” (Luke 24.48). Three days of prayer, lectures, seminars and network-building at the annual National Workshop on Christian Unity April 19-22 at the Tampa Hyatt Regency will give laity and clergy the tools to accept that same charge today.

The ecumenical gathering, themed “Witnesses to the World,” features Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as preacher at the opening prayer service, Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory as keynote speaker, and the Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton as Bible study leader. Chilton will explore the development of the Eucharist in the New Testament as the gathering point of the church’s unity. One day of the event is devoted to strategizing about local and regional ecumenism.

The General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns of The United Methodist Church is an official sponsor of the event. The workshop is the only ecumenical training event officially recognized by the church bodies involved in the ecumenical movement. United Methodists have historically played a major role in the National Workshop on Christian Unity. More information and registration details are available at
The Rev. Betty Gamble, associate general secretary of the commission, coordinates a new United Methodist ecumenical network called United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training (UMEIT — pronounced “you might”). It is a network of United Methodists comprising Conference Committee on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns members and chairs, but it is also open to anyone who has an interest in ecumenism and/or interreligious concerns.

Created during the 2009 National Workshop on Christian Unity, UMEIT is designed to support, facilitate and encourage ecumenical and interreligious ministries in annual conferences, districts and local congregations. It provides a forum to compare notes on ecumenical and interreligious activities and provide leadership development seminars with noted scholars and church leaders.

More information on UMEIT is available at by putting UMEIT in the search function.


Foundation announces new church recognition award

By Foundation for Evangelism Staff

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — The Foundation for Evangelism announces the new Culture of the Call Church Award. 

This award will recognize one local congregation of The United Methodist Church each year with a history of supporting young people in answering their call into full-time Christian service. These churches have ordained clergy, deacons, campus ministers, youth ministers and others who credit the teaching, nurturing and sustaining support of the congregation among their greatest assets in beginning their professional journey. The award highlights churches that, like the Foundation for Evangelism, are helping develop generations of leaders with a passion for evangelism.

“We are pleased to recognize and honor one United Methodist Church with this award each year, but the real benefit for the connection will be the identification of common qualities and practices of churches from which leaders are emerging,” Executive Director Jack Ewing said. “These will be shared widely within The United Methodist Church.”

The Foundation for Evangelism has been recognizing excellence in evangelism in The United Methodist Church for many years with such national awards as the Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church and Harry Denman Evangelism awards. The Culture of the Call Church Award will be the third such award. 
Details about the award and how to be considered are available at or by calling 800-737-8333. The deadline to submit applications is April 10.  


Special Sunday celebrates gifts, contributions of Native Americans

By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ray deZafra walked through the doors of Houston’s Third Sunday Native American Fellowship and found a part of himself that had been missing since his early childhood.

Adopted at age 5, Ray was raised in a culture that did not match his genetic identity as a Potawatomi Indian, and he lost touch with his Native American heritage. The consequences of that denial made him feel as if he were always on the outside. Then, he had a chance to explore his roots while attending the Third Sunday Fellowship and began to feel he belonged — not only to the Potawatomi Tribe, but also to a community of Christians. “All my life I’ve been seeking the truth,” deZafra said.

Third Sunday Fellowship used the offering collected on Native American Ministries Sunday to create a Web site that invites local Native Americans to join them for worship. Funds also enabled the fellowship to invite Native American guest preachers and provide hymnals in the native language of churchgoers.

In today’s economy, contributions to Native American Ministries Sunday, held April 18 this year, are critical to The United Methodist Church, honoring its commitment to ministries that support more than 20,000 Native Americans.

The offering helps develop and strengthen Native American ministries within annual conferences, enabling conferences to keep 50 percent of the receipts to develop and strengthen their ministries. If there are no Native American ministries in a conference, 50 percent of the funds collected there are used to expand the number of target cities in the Native American Urban Initiative. The other half provides scholarship for Native Americans attending United Methodist schools of theology and other schools approved by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church.

More information about resources to help churches celebrate Native American Sunday are available at Churches that cannot celebrate the Sunday on the scheduled date may do so on any Sunday that is more convenient.

The Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) works within the Florida Conference to strengthen Native American ministry. More information about CONAM is available at

The Native American International Caucus proposed Native American Awareness Sunday in a petition to the 1988 General Conference. Delegates subsequently approved the new churchwide Special Sunday with offering. The 2000 General Conference changed the name of the observance to Native American Ministries Sunday.

The Sunday is one of six special Sundays observed each year. The other five are Human Relations Day (Jan. 17), One Great Hour of Sharing (March 14), Peace with Justice Sunday (May 30), World Communion Sunday (Oct. 3) and United Methodist Student Day (Nov. 28).


Youth invited to ‘surge’ into summer

By Stephanie Drum**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Ministries with Young People (MYP) at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center are offering youth the chance to learn how to “do no harm, do good, stay in love with God” and live simply at this year’s summer youth retreats. The first of the weekend and weeklong retreats is June 17-21 and June 20-24.

Dynamic worship and Christian youth leaders will work to energize Christian youth as they learn to “Live Simply … Simply Live.” Youth will explore the three simple rules for living and how they apply in daily life.

The MYP SURGE 2010 summer retreats give youth the chance to establish lasting bonds with others as they worship together, learn how to put their passion for Christ to good use and connect with others through volleyball tournaments and small groups. Youth will also connect with the MYP staff and college students from across the Southeast through growth groups and activities based on this year’s theme.

Youth will experience the music of “This is Luke,” the SURGE worship band, and messages from Olu Brown, Andy Lambert, Jasmine Smothers, Celia Whitler, The Wayne Kerr Band and other Christian speakers.

“I’m so excited for SURGE 2010,” said Rev. Carolyn Poling, MYP director. “We are not just going to learn about the three simple rules, but we are going to put them into action. We are called to not just be hearers of the word, but doers also. This summer at SURGE, youth will have that opportunity.”

Program registration starts at $80 per person for a weekend and $90 per person for a week. More details and registration information are available at and or by calling call 800-222-4930.


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

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Drum is communications specialist at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C.