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e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service


An e-Review News Item | April 9, 2010 {1162}

This series includes:

• Applications for children’s ministry grants being accepted
• Recertification available for early response teams
• Academy offers training in disaster response
• Outreach ministry holds benefit dinner, auction
• Workers with youth, children hike Appalachian Trail
• Basic training offered for disaster volunteers
• Black clergy invited to dialogue
• Laity, clergy gather for annual mission school

• Churches invited to participate in Earth Day simulcast
• Justice conference considers ‘sustainable faith’
• United Methodists encouraged to ‘sleep out’ to end malaria
• Lake Junaluska partners with Alban Institute for emerging worship conference
• Churches take week to pray for peace in Palestine
• Churches celebrate peace, justice May 30
• Musicians, leaders of worship arts gather for conference
• Grands Camp held at St. Simons Island
• Liturgical dancers gather for workshop
• United Theological Seminary offers three-year online divinity degree


Applications for children’s ministry grants being accepted

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — Churches seeking funding for their children’s ministries are encouraged to apply for a grant from the Alice W. Lockmiller Christian Education Program.

Two cash awards are given annually, one supporting a church’s children’s programs and the other for a children’s leader/teacher. The deadline to apply is April 19, and awards will be announced May 5.

Through a charitable trust managed by the Florida United Methodist Foundation Inc., the late Alice W. Lockmiller created a Christian education program designed to support United Methodist churches in their efforts to increase participation of children in the Christian membership of The United Methodist Church, offer training opportunities for teachers/leaders of children’s ministries and create ministries that focus on nurturing parents and their children.

Those goals are supported through an annual cash award of $1,000 to the church that has the most effective children’s ministry and $500 to the teacher/leader who has been most effective in ministering to children, as well as grants to churches to support and/or develop programs that are effective in reaching, nurturing and keeping children within the life of the church.

The Coalition for Advocacy and Ministries with Children (The Children’s Coalition) oversees receiving the grant applications and determining awards. Funds are given as one-, two- or three-year grants for new or expanding programs. The ability to replicate the program in other churches is a strong consideration in awarding the grants. Churches may be asked to act as mentors to other churches that would like to offer similar ministries. Any funds not used during one calendar year will be rolled over into the next year.

Each year, a particular emphasis will be chosen for judging grant applications. The emphasis for 2010 is ending childhood hunger, particularly through the implementation of one or more of the points in the Ten Point Plan to End Childhood Hunger in Florida at

Grant applications are available at and should be sent to Melinda Trotti, director of Florida Conference Outreach and Justice Ministries, at More information is available by contacting Trotti at 800-282-8011, extension 504.


Recertification available for early response teams

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — Volunteers who took Early Response Team (ERT) training and whose credentials expire June 2010 are invited to become recertified.

Recertification sessions are April 19 at Vamo United Methodist Church in Sarasota, April 20 at Sanlando United Methodist Church in Longwood, April 22 at New Covenant United Methodist Church in The Villages and June 5 at the Florida Conference Center in Lakeland.

The training includes a background check, updated safety information, information on communication in disaster, how teams are deployed and more.

The cost for the training is $25. Check in begins at 9:30 a.m., with lunch provided.
Individuals may register at More information is available by contacting Pam Garrison, manager of the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry, at or 800-282-8011, extension 148.


Academy offers training in disaster response

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — United Methodists from throughout the Southeastern Jurisdiction who are interested in disaster ministry are invited to the 2010 Annual Disaster Response Academy April 26-29 at the Warren W. Willis Camp in Fruitland Park.

Sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdiction of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the training offers a variety of courses led by UMVIM and UMCOR personnel designed to provide information and knowledge to volunteers who want to enhance their skills in disaster response.

Training tracks include: Incident Coordination System, UMVIM Team Leadership Training, Disaster Team Leader Training, Connecting Neighbors and an overview by UMCOR personnel of the components of a holistic recovery.

The training will conclude with a tabletop exercise on the final day, followed by lunch and a time of worship and communion.

The cost is $160 per person and includes three nights’ lodging, meals (starting with lunch on Monday and ending with lunch on Thursday) a T-shirt, a certificate of completion and training materials.
Participants will stay in dorm-style lodges with bunk beds and are asked to bring a sleeping bag/bedroll, pillow, towels and personal items. Dress is comfortable for a rustic camp environment.

Individuals may register online at

Those who prefer to register by mail and pay by check or money order are asked to send full payment with the church name, personal contact information (name, address, phone, cell phone and e-mail), T-shirt size and any special dietary requirements to Florida Conference, Attn: Disaster Recovery Ministry, 1140 McDonald St., Lakeland, FL 33801. Checks should have SEJ Disaster Academy and be made payable to Florida Conference.

The deadline to register is April 16.

Questions may be directed to Sue Macchiarella, conference UMVIM chairwoman, at 386-767-8544 or, or Pam Garrision, UMVIM staff liaison, at 800-282-8011, extension 148, or


Outreach ministry holds benefit dinner, auction

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — South Florida Urban Ministries invites all clergy and laity to its seventh annual Black Tie and Blue Jeans Benefit Dinner and Auction April 30, 6-10:30 p.m., at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami.

Funds raised will support the outreach ministry’s efforts to empower underprivileged children and families in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to move from poverty to financial stability. The nonprofit is the urban ministry and social justice agency of the South East District of the Florida Conference.

The ministry provides after-school enrichment programs through its Branches ministry to 150 children each day during the school year, leadership development seminars and the annual OASIS Spring Break camp to hundreds of youth, and an economic development program that has expanded to include the United Way Center for Financial Stability, which offers a variety of tools and resources to help working individuals and families achieve greater financial stability and independence. Other economic services include business development training courses, one-on-one business consulting and business support services. The ministry also offers hunger relief services; during Thanksgiving more than 1,000 volunteers packaged and delivered more than 4,500 meals.

The agency competed for and won a $1 million grant contract from the Miami-Dade Building Better Communities Program to renovate the former Lakeview United Methodist Church to become the South Florida Urban Ministries Community Center, which will house the ministry’s offices and program services.

Every dollar donated through the dinner and auction will be used to leverage grants, other fund-raising activities and contracts in support of these ministries.

Individuals who would like more information or to request an invitation may contact Isabelle Benditte at 305-442-8306 or or visit


Workers with youth, children hike Appalachian Trail

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — The Florida Conference Camps and Retreat Ministries has designed an annual Appalachian Trail hike especially for people who love the outdoors and work with Florida Conference youth and children.

The May 3-8 hike is a time for youth workers to get away and connect with other people in the conference.

This year, participants will be hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail from Winding Stair Gap to Wesser, N.C. Joel Pancoast, who has been leading trips on the Appalachian Trail for seven years, will be the trail guide. Pancoast is Wilderness First Aid certified.

The cost for the hike is $160 per person. The registration form is available at by choosing “attend,” “adult hiking trips” and then “youth worker hike.” The registration deadline is April 26.

Interested individuals may contact Pancoast at 352-787-4345 or for more information.


Basic training offered for disaster volunteers

By Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry Staff

LAKELAND — Church teams that want to assist their communities after a disaster are invited to attend one of three “Community Arise: Basic Disaster Ministry Training” sessions in May.

The course 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. It also teaches 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.

At the conclusion of the training, each church team will have a practical foundation for how to effectively respond to disaster in its community in cooperation with other churches, emergency management officials and the disaster recovery ministry of the conference. 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 conference disaster recovery ministry offers a one-day training based, in part, on “Community Arise: A Disaster Ministry Curriculum.” Church World Services developed the 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.

Sessions will be held May 1 at Port Charlotte United Methodist Church, May 8 at Memorial United Methodist Church in Fernandina Beach and May 22 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Palm Beach Gardens.

There is no cost for this training. Teams may register at

More information is available by contacting Pam Garrison, manager of the Florida Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry, at or 800-282-8011, extension 148.


Black clergy invited to dialogue

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — All black clergy are invited to join Florida Conference Bishop Timothy Whitaker for a day of dialogue May 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church, 300 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

The day is facilitated by the Florida Conference Center for Congregational Excellence. There is no cost, and lunch will be served.

More information is available by contacting the Rev. Harold D. Lewis, director of Black Congregational Excellence, at or 800-282-8011, extension 346.


Laity, clergy gather for annual mission school

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — The theme “Faith, Hope, Love in Action” incorporates the three study emphases that will be featured in July at the 2010 School of Christian Mission at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Clergy, mission and justice leaders, Bible study leaders, church council members, youth group leaders, and members of United Methodist Men, Women and youth groups are encouraged to attend. Participants will study one of three tracks during a weekend school July 23-25 or during a weekday school July 20-23.

The spiritual growth track, “For the Love of God: John’s Letters,” is an in-depth study of John’s letters that considers who wrote them, to whom they were originally written and what they mean to Christians today. The “Joy to the World: Mission in the Age of Global Christianity” issue study invites participants to consider why they are in mission and how to proclaim the Good News in Jesus Christ, while examining contemporary practices of world mission through models of mission rooted in scripture and history. The third track, “The Beauty and Courage of SUDAN: Why a Dream of Peace Is Possible” geographic study, includes an overview of the region’s history from biblical times, as well as its ethnicities, religions and languages. It also considers possible causes for conflicts in the region, the way Sudanese women are contributing to the peace process and culture as a whole, and the ways in which people of faith can embrace and affirm the Sudanese people.

There mission study for young adults is “Joy to the World: Mission in the Age of Global Christianity,” for youth in grades six to 12 “Embracing the World: Faith, Hope, Love in Action” and for children in kindergarten through fifth grade “Hugging the World: Faith, Hope, Love in Action.”

The costs for youth and adults are $105 for the weekend school and $150 during the week; for children they are $75 during the weekend and $100 during the week. Commuter fees are $30 and $35. Costs include a double occupancy room, meals and program fees.

The deadline to register is July 5. A late fee of $10 will be charged for registrations received after that date. More information and registration forms are available at Questions may be directed to Roberta Lau, dean of the school, at


Churches invited to participate in Earth Day simulcast

By Ben Laurro**

WILMORE, Ky. — On April 21 — the eve of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day — the non-profit organization Blessed Earth and other partners will hold the live, one-hour “Hope for Creation: A Live Simulcast Event” at 7:30 p.m. (EST).

Thousands of churches and religious leaders of various denominations are invited to participate in this faith-based gathering that will include musical performances, interactive audience participation and a preview of the Blessed Earth video series “Hope for Creation,” which explores the biblical vision for care of the planet.

The simulcast will be broadcast from Northland Church in Orlando, the 12th largest church in America, with its lead pastor Dr. Joel Hunter serving as the moderator. Dr. Matthew and Nancy Sleeth, founders Blessed Earth, are the hosts of “Hope for Creation,” which will include biblical teaching on caring for God’s creation, fellowship and a call to action regarding caring for the earth.

“This is not a political issue,” Nancy Sleeth said. “It has nothing to with national boundaries or church denominations. When we’re not using resources responsibly or being good stewards of the resources God has given us, we’re harming our neighbors and we’re not showing love and respect for God the creator.”

“The church has reawakened to the call to tend and protect the garden,” Matthew Sleeth said, referencing the Garden of Eden from the book of Genesis. “This is a night to spend together in the garden — worshipping God, dedicating ourselves to be good stewards, humbling ourselves in awe of what we have been given, and understanding our role in caring for the earth.”

Asbury Theological Seminary is partnering with Blessed Earth on the event. Churches, colleges, small groups, families and individuals are encouraged to register at and preview the event trailer.

Blessed Earth is an educational, environmental nonprofit organization that works to inspire and equip faith communities to become better stewards of the earth. Through outreach to churches, campuses and media, its staff and volunteers build bridges that promote measurable environmental change and meaningful spiritual growth.


Justice conference considers ‘sustainable faith’

By Joe Esposito**

ST. PETERSBURG — Those who value caring for the poor, human rights issues and sustainable living are invited to attend the A SUSTAINABLE FAITH: Justice in the Real World Conference April 23-24 at Albright United Methodist Church, 2750 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33713.

Sponsored by Missio Dei Community, the two-day event will kick off with a talk and an interactive workshop with best-selling author and social activist Shane Claiborne, who travels extensively speaking about peacemaking and social justice.

Writers Danielle Shroyer, Spencer Burke, Nick Fiedler and John Franke will join Shane. Workshop leaders include local practitioners Cheri Honkala, Bruce Wright and representatives from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Together, participants will explore the question: Can we be committed to social justice as a sustainable way of life? 

An optional trip to Immokalee to meet with migrant farm workers about their progress fighting for fair wages and working conditions will take place April 22.

Preregistration through April 18 is $65 for the weekend and $49 for students, pastors and social workers. Beginning April 19, the full registration price is $85 per person.

More information is available at or


United Methodists encouraged to ‘sleep out’ to end malaria

By Diane Degnan**

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The United Methodist Church will mark World Malaria Day April 25 with a call to local churches to “Sleep Out to End Malaria” on the weekend April 24-25

The sleep out events — in which individuals sleep overnight under imitation bed nets — coincide with the denomination’s official launch of Imagine No Malaria, an initiative that seeks to raise $75 million to eliminate death and suffering from malaria in Africa by 2015.
“The United Methodist Church is committed to being a key player in the global movement to eliminate the worst effects of this deadly disease,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “This event is a unique way to raise awareness and build unity around the idea that we can make a sweeping difference on the African continent.”
The United Methodist Church is encouraging local churches to participate in Sleep Out to End Malaria as part of a unified action for World Malaria Day in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and the global malaria community.
Sleep outs provide a teaching opportunity for youth that helps them connect with families in Africa. Directions for holding a sleep out are available online at Included are instructions for making bed nets, ideas for using the event as a malaria fund-raiser, worship resources and more.
“Sleep Out to End Malaria” events are among the many service and awareness-building events planned by United Methodist churches worldwide during The United Methodist Church’s first-ever Rethink Church Change the World event April 24-25. Churches can register their event on a global map of Change the World events at
Imagine No Malaria is a collaborative ministry of the people of The United Methodist Church to eliminate death and suffering from malaria in Africa by 2015. With a goal of raising $75 million to improve health infrastructure and empower a sustainable victory over the disease, Imagine No Malaria is the church’s opportunity to rethink how United Methodists can reach beyond the church, opening doors to those who need it most. More information is available at http:/


Lake Junaluska partners with Alban Institute for emerging worship conference

By Andie Robbins**

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, in partnership with the Alban Institute, presents Emerging Patterns for Worship in the 21st Century May 24-27.

This four-day conference will feature opportunities to explore contemporary movements and patterns of spirituality that are emerging in Protestant worship, and participants will engage with worship leaders and ministry colleagues to gain deeper insight into developing culturally relevant worship.

“We are excited to join with The Alban Institute in offering this worship and learning experience,” said Jimmy L. Carr, executive director of Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. “This is a signature partnership event, and we hope that all who participate will be spiritually enriched.”

Participants will explore new patterns of worship with two well-known speakers and experienced worship leaders, including author, speaker and independent scholar Diana Butler Bass. Bass has written seven books on Christianity and worship, including her best-selling “Christianity for the Rest of Us,” which was named one of the best religion books of the year in 2006 by Publisher’s Weekly. It also won the Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Parish Clergy. Bass is a regular contributor to USA Today, Newsweek, Time, CNN, FOX, PBS and NPR on the subjects of religion, politics and culture. She also directed a study of mainline Protestant vitality from 2002-2006 funded by the Lilly Endowment and has taught at several universities and seminaries.

The conference will also feature Daniel T. Benedict, who served as worship resources director for the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church from 1993-2005 and now directs Strong Center Open Doors, a worship Web site and consulting ministry. Benedict has written and co-written several books, his most recent titled “Patterned by Grace: How the Liturgy Shapes Us.” He has also served on the Baptism and Holy Communion study committees and received certification in digital culture ministry from Perkins School of Theology. Benedict teaches online courses through Southwestern College’s Institute for Discipleship and is passionate about integrating liturgy and contemplative spirituality and teaching and resourcing worship leaders.

Susan Leonard Ray, senior pastor at Advent United Methodist Church in Simpsonville, S.C., will lead worship. Ray has served since 2005 as the principal designer of worship services for the South Carolina Annual Conference and is known for her integration of culturally-relevant worship practices with ancient, faithful practices, while still retaining qualities of the community environment. She best describes these practices not as “new” worship, but as “renewed” worship.

More information about the speakers, registration and cost, lodging, and directions can be found at or by calling Pam Naplen at 828-454-6656.


Churches take week to pray for peace in Palestine

General Board of Church and Society Web Site

The World Council of Churches (WCC) invites congregation to become part of the fourth “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel” May 29-June 4. The week is intended to foster joint international church actions for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

The week began as a way to demonstrate to governments that churches worldwide are watching the occupation, deeply concerned at its consequences and acting together for peace. The week is anchored in the Palestinian Christian community and built by participants around the world as a common international public witness.

During the World Week for Peace, churches in different countries will share with policy-makers, interested publics and their own parishes the urgent need for a peace settlement that secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples.

Participants are requested to plan their activities around prayer for churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem; education about actions that foster peace and facts that do not; and advocacy with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

Information about the week and how to participate is available by e-mailing Other questions may be directed to


Churches celebrate peace, justice May 30
By United Methodist Communications Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ever since attending camp at the Peace Center of United University Church in Los Angeles, Jessica has been better at handling tough situations. Instead of breaking down when someone hurts her feelings, the shy 12-year-old now knows how to stand up for herself and others.

Jessica is a graduate of Peace Kids, a unique program funded in part by the Peace with Justice Sunday offering.

“Camp has been very important to me because now I know how to help other people and act like Jesus,” Jessica said. “I tell my friends to be kind to each other, to teachers and to the Earth because we all should be peacemakers.”

Peace Camp director Susan Stouffer requested a Peace with Justice grant so no child who wants to attend the inner-city camp will be turned away.”

“Peace is possible, even though often our society says peace is just pie in the sky,” she said.

In today’s economy, contributions to the Peace with Justice Sunday offering are needed more than ever so The United Methodist Church can help Jessica and others like her learn conflict resolution, communication skills and mediation. They are the next generation to advocate for peace with justice.

Established by the 1988 General Conference, Peace with Justice Sunday supports programs that advocate peace and justice at home and around the world. Since half of the offerings collected by each annual conference is retained to fund local peace with justice programs, members can see a difference made locally. In addition, half of the offering is remitted to the General Board of Church and Society to help fund U.S. and global work in social action, public-policy education and advocacy.

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


Musicians, leaders of worship arts gather for conference

By e-Review Staff

LAKELAND — Individuals of all ages who lead worship arts ministries or who want to spend a week singing, dancing and ringing are invited to attend the Music & Worship Arts Week June 20-25 at Lake Junaluska, N.C.

 The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts sponsors the event, which features a youth handbell choir, hymn festival, daily worship, choral reading sessions, an organ recital on the Casavant organ at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville, a youth talent show, and choral, dance, instrumental and handbell concerts performed by event participants.

Registration information, costs of the conference and other details are available at The early registration deadline is April 30, with a $25 per person cost increase for registrations received after that date.


Grands Camp held at St. Simons Island

By Epworth By The Sea Staff

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The special bond between grandparent and grandchild will be honored and strengthened during the Grands Camp held at Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, Ga., June 25-28.

Activities, planned especially for children ages 6 to 10, encourage interaction between the generations, while making lasting memories.

A trip on the Lady Jane Shrimp Boat, visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, games, crafts and family time are part of the planned activities. Devotions and an ecumenical chapel service will be integral to the intergenerational experience.

A registration form is available online at or by calling 912-638-8688.

Liturgical dancers gather for workshop
By Andie Robbins

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Church members who lead a liturgical or sacred dance group or are interested in learning more about this aspect of worship or establishing a church dance group are invited to attend the Sacred/Liturgical Dance Workshop PLUS July 21-25 at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.

“The workshop provides an opportunity to learn more about liturgical dance and explore resources, which will in turn help others experience God in a new way, either as a dancer or in worship,” said Loy Lilley, director of the Good Word Resource Center and coordinator of the workshop.
Tiffany Kirkland, director of children’s ministries at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., will lead the workshop. Kirkland earned a bachelor’s degree in dance management from Oklahoma City University and graduated from Phillips Seminary. She has also led previous workshops in liturgical dance and is in the process of becoming a deacon in The United Methodist Church.
The workshop is open to adults, as well as middle and high school students, and child care for ages 2-11 is available for a fee. Participants will learn a minimum of four dances, grow in their understanding of this ministry, learn criteria for dance in worship and explore resources for dance ministry. The workshop will also provide a look at signing, ballet and other ways to enhance participants’ leadership in worship.
Before June 15, participants may register for a fee of $75; after June 15, the cost is $90. This year, an extra day has been added to the workshop so that participants will have a free afternoon to explore the local area and participate in some of the many opportunities in the Smoky Mountains. Workshop attendees will also be involved in Sunday morning worship at Stuart Auditorium.

A detailed schedule, registration form and more information about lodging and directions are available at or by calling Pam Naplen at 828-454-6656.


United Theological Seminary offers three-year online divinity degree
By JoAnn Wagner**

DAYTON, Ohio — Beginning in the fall, United Theological Seminary will offer a new online Master of Divinity degree that can be completed in three years. 

The program offers the same quality of education as a traditional degree with the added flexibility of attending class from any location with Internet access. It is also designed to include “Gathering Weeks” that enable students to spend only one week per semester on campus.

To earn the degree students must complete a minimum of 30 percent of the degree in a hybrid (partially online and partially face-to-face) or face-to-face format. Students should check with their own judicatories for ordination requirements.
Details about the program and a course schedule are available at by selecting the “3 Yr Online MDiv.” link.

United also offers many online courses for those who need a course or two for ordination or have an interest in a theological topic. A list of courses is available at or by contacting the admissions office at 800-322-5817.


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

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Degnan is director of the office of public information at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.
Esposito works with Missio Dei Community at Albright United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Fla.
   Laurro works with Blessed Earth in Wilmore, Ky.
   Robbins is a communications intern at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
   Wagner is director of communications and interim director of alumni/ae relations at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.