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Churches schedule annual conferences

By Staff
SCHOLAR/AUTHOR CONDUCTS CONFERENCE From left, Gerri Holladay, Leslie Priester, the Rev. Ann Whitaker, Lois Downs and the Rev. Mike Dobrosky show copies of books by Marcus J. Borg, who is nationally and internationally known in academic and church circles as a scholar of Jesus and the Bible. The author of 11 books, Borg will conduct the Seeds of Faith Conference Oct. 18-20 at the Episcopal Church of the Mediator. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Ida Brown / religion editor
Oct. 5, 2002
Fall conferences presented annually by two Meridian churches are scheduled this month. The programs are designed to educate, as well as empower, attendees.
On Oct. 15, the eight-week Divorce Recovery Workshop will be presented at Central United Methodist Church. Now in its 11th year, the workshop is an outreach ministry of the church designed to help divorcees and their children.
From Oct. 18 through Oct. 20, the three-day Seeds of Faith Conference will be at the Episcopal Church of the Mediator. Organized in 1995, the program is geared to the enrichment of spiritual formation.
Here is a look at both conferences.
Divorce Recovery
The last-reported U.S. divorce rate for a calendar year is 0.41 percent per capita, the provisional estimate for the year 2000 from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The total numbers of U.S. divorces (excluding the non-counting states of California, Colorado, Indiana and Louisiana) reported annually are 957,200 in 2000; 944,317 in 1999; and 947,384 in 1998, according to the center.
And the numbers are increasing.
As with the ending of any relationship, divorce can be overwhelming. With one out of every two marriages ending in divorce, help is needed for those recovering.
Central's Divorce Recovery Workshop is designed for people, regardless of church affiliation, who are separated, divorced, divorcing or who have ended a love relationship.
The ministry incorporates lecture, study and small group discussion.
The eight-week Tuesday sessions which will culminate Dec. 3 are scheduled from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. at the church. Weekly topics include Death of a Dream; Unpacking the Boxes; Hiding and Blaming; Unwelcome Anger; Forgiveness; Understanding Personality Types; and Getting Out, Getting Over and Getting On.
A select group of community leaders and presenters will conduct the sessions. They are: Lee Valentine, Primary Care Associates; Jean A. Merrell, certified clinical mental health counselor, Family Counseling Services; Kenneth R. Schneider, Wellspring; Dr. Charles Twente, a Meridian psychiatrist; Wink Glover, a Meridian attorney; the Rev. Jimmy Harrison, senior pastor of Central UMC; the Rev. Patsy Twiner, pastor of Crossgate Methodist Church, Jackson; Diane Wall, Meridian public schools; and Jim Wall, director of Older Adult and Leisure Ministries, Central UMC.
Because adults are not the only ones affected by divorce, the church has also developed a workshop for children whose parents have divorced.
Held in conjunction with the adult workshop, the sessions are open to children in grades first through eight and are described as "a special time of sharing between caring adults and other children who have known the emotional confusion of divorce," according to Ruby Robinson, Divorce Recovery Workshop coordinator.
Presented on the same days and times as the adult workshop, weekly topics for the children's session include Change and Denial; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; Acceptance and Hope; and the Child-Parent Connection.
No additional charge is required for children whose parents are enrolled in the Divorce Recovery Workshop.
Infant and preschool care will be available at no additional charge for registered participants.
Cost of the workshop is $30, which may be paid in installments. The fee includes a study book and resources. Registration will be on the evening of the first workshop session at 5:30. Or call the church office at 693-1521 and provide the secretary the following information: name and address; home and work phone; number and age of children participating; and number and age of preschool children.
Dinner will be served at the church at the second through seventh workshop sessions. Reservations should be made the Monday before the meeting; cost is $4 for adults.
Central United Methodist Church is at 1004 23rd Ave. Workshop participants are asked to park in the lot across from the front of the church, and to enter the church through the 23rd Avenue Narthex entrance.
Seeds of Faith
An outgrowth of the Education for Ministry study group at the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, the annual Seeds of Faith Conference not only informs conference-goers about theological ideas, but also challenges and nutures them, said Sissie Wile, coordinator.
The three-day session begins Oct. 18.
Nationally and internationally known in academic and church circles as a scholar of Jesus and the Bible, Borg is the author of 11 books, including: "Jesus: A New Vision" (1987); the best-seller "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time" (1994); "The God We Never Knew" (1997); "The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions" (1999); and "God at 2000" (2000).
His most recent book is "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time" (2001), which has made Publisher's Weekly "10 Best Selling Books in Religion." The New York Times has described Borg as "a leading figure among the new generation of Jesus scholars."
A fellow of the Jesus Seminar, Borg has been national chairman of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Bible Literature and co-chairman of its International New Testament Program Committee.
Borg earned his doctorate from Oxford University. His work has been translated into seven languages, and he has lectured widely overseas and throughout North America, including for the Chautauqua and Smithsonian Institutions.
The conference schedule is as follows:
Oct. 18: Registration, from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.; conference, "Seeing the Bible Anew," from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; reception, 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 19: "Seeing God Anew," from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.; coffee break, 10:30 a.m.; "Seeing Jesus Anew," from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; lunch, 12:30 p.m.; "Seeing the Christian Life Anew," from 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
Oct. 20: "Open Hearts and Thin Places," 9:15 a.m.; holy Eucharist with Dr. Borg as guest preacher, 10:30 a.m.
The deadline for registration is Oct. 11. Cost is $50 per person for the three days. Checks should be mailed to: Episcopal Church of the Mediator, P.O. Box 3400, Meridian, MS 39303. For those attending just the Friday night session, the cost is $25 (may register at the door).
For more information, call the church at (601) 483-3959, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and from 9 a.m.-noon, Friday. Or, e-mail to cmediator@aol.com.
Episcopal Church of the Mediator is at 3825 35th Ave.