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UMC.org adds services for local churches

3/25/2003 News media contact: Kathy Gilbert (615) 742-5470 Nashville, Tenn.

NOTE: A photograph is available.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - UMC.org, the official online ministry of the United Methodist Church, is providing local churches with free resources for their print and Web publications.

The newest offerings include reviews of current films; an audio-feature titled "UMC.org Profiles," highlighting noteworthy United Methodists; and Spanish-language portions of The Book of Discipline, the book of United Methodist law.

Once a month, UMC.org reviews a current film in wide release. The featured movie for March is "The Quiet American," starring Michael Caine, Brendan Frasier and Hai Yen Do.

"Films are viewed through a spiritual lens, as opposed to focusing on the art form itself; they are assessed for their spiritual and social elements," said Matt Carlisle, executive producer of UMC.org, a unit of United Methodist Communications in Nashville.

"The intent of 'Movie Reviews' is not simply to promote the film, but to encourage small-group interaction and discussion," he said. "Along with each review comes a list of study questions, providing a basis for further examination."

Lynne DeMichele, a professional writer and former director of communications for the United Methodist Church's Indiana Area, and her husband, Mardon DeMichele, a filmmaker, professor and on-air critic, write the reviews.

To subscribe to the print syndication of "Movie Reviews," visit http://www.umc.org/movie_reviews/print_syndication.asp and follow the instructions. Subscribers will receive the latest review and appropriate artwork by e-mail during the second week of each month.

UMC.org is also offering "Movie Reviews" for Web site syndication. Web developers are able to cut and paste the provided HTML code, which will display a "Movie Review" graphic or text image, promoting the month's review on their site.

"This step is only done once.UMC.org will replace the graphic each month in a timely manner," Carlisle said.

UMC.org will provide the service in two display options, a graphic image or a text-only image. The HTML code can be retrieved by going to the Web site given above.

"UMC.org Profiles" are monthly, audio faith stories about United Methodists. The service is free to United Methodist-related Web sites and is accessible to anyone with a 56K Internet connection or faster. Adding the HTML code to one's site provides a preview of each month's profile and links visitors to the 10-minute feature. "UMC.org Profiles" also provides downloadable PDF transcripts of the program, as well as available resources from agencies and ministries of the church.

Past profiles have included:
· The Rev. John Eades, a pastor who specializes in counseling people with gambling problems - and is a recovering gambling addict himself.
· Janette Carter, the daughter of country music legends A.P. and Sara Carter.
· Lina McCord, former executive director of the United Methodist Church's Black College Fund and one of the first black employees hired at the Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
· The Rev. Janna Tull Steed, author of the recent book Duke Ellington, a Spiritual Biography.
· The Rev. James Lawson, a pastor who worked with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement and continues to be an advocate for justice issues today.

In light of its global audience - and the United Methodist Church's growing Hispanic membership - UMC.org has recently started making portions of the Book of Discipline available in Spanish. For more information on Libro de la Disciplina en Espa√Īol, visit http://www.umc.org/esp/churchlibrary/discipline/default.htm.

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