News & Views

The Florida Conference is dedicated to bringing you news stories about United Methodists here and beyond. Whether the news is about the global church or the church on the corner, look for it here. You’ll also find thought-provoking commentaries and opportunities for education and fellowship.

In addition, News & Views is pleased to bring you an interactive Bible crossword puzzle, with new puzzles available weekly. Click here to access current and past puzzles. Have a story to share? Email webadmin@flumc.org or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.

Image courtesy of www.ChristianBibleReference.org. Copyright © by Cliff Leitch.

May 24, 2017

Despite the times, Haitian worship is joyous

The flow of Haitian refugees into the U.S. was compounded in 2010 when the country was devastated by a major earthquake that left 1.5 million people homeless. In 2017, Southeast District Superintendent Rev. Cynthia Weems describes Haitian Churches in the Florida Conference as joyful and challenging.

May 22, 2017

Is the Old Testament dying?

“The Old Testament has often had a more insecure place with the Christian tradition,” said Stephen Chapman, professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School. “Even when the Old Testament is known, what’s known is a simplified version.”

May 22, 2017

Virtual gallery reflects homeless perspective

Described as a photography project to bring awareness to the plight of the homeless, My Town: Art from our Homeless Neighbors exhibited 20 juried images at First UMC Lakeland May 5. A photo essay brings the exhibit to readers of FLUMC.org.

May 19, 2017

Dr. Lovett Weems transitions to new role

Wesley Theological Seminary proved the ideal environment for a teacher who loves to learn. “I am always looking for a new way of looking at things, which has helped me move through different phases of my ministry,” Weems said. He is the former director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.

May 18, 2017

Aaron Shust: 'Lead On' (King Eternal)

Aaron Shust is an American contemporary Christian music artist on the Centricity Music label. Shust was named the Songwriter of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards of 2007, and his song, "My Savior My God", received the Song of the Year award.

May 17, 2017

CONAM bridges gap between Christianity and culture

The Committee on Native American Ministries recently held its annual summit meeting at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. Terry Wildman, pastor of Northport Indian UMC in Michigan and a featured speaker at the event, describes his relationship with the American church.

May 16, 2017

U.M. ARMY paints the town, lends helping hands

The U.M. ARMY will march into Sebring June 18-24. Armed with paint brushes and tools, volunteers are lining up for another year of helping those in need in Florida. Lorraine Macpherson, National Growth and Program Manager, says registrations have doubled from those participating in 2016.

May 11, 2017

Jaci Velasquez: 'God Who Moves The Mountains'

Jacquelyn "Jaci" Davette Velasquez is an American actress and Contemporary Christian and Latin pop singer and songwriter, performing in both English and Spanish. Velasquez has sold almost five million albums worldwide,[1] recorded three Platinum and three Gold albums, and recorded 16 singles that hit No. 1 plus six more that entered the top 10. She has received seven Dove Awards.

May 10, 2017

Fresh Expressions grants include surfing pastor, brick oven pizzas

The Florida Conference recently awarded $14,450 to Fresh Expressions startups across the state. Included were an outdoor brick oven and community garden, a college pub group and a Cocoa Beach pastor who brought surfing friends together to talk about "bad religion."

May 08, 2017

Countdown to Annual Conference

The 2017 Annual Conference is less than a month away, being held once again at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando. Here's a comprehensive look at events, registration information and important links.

May 03, 2017

The Fruitful Field: 'a walk in the woods' with food

In 2008, a once dying church decided to plant a community garden on a vacant lot. Today, that rock-strewn area is called The Fruitful Field, a thriving nonprofit urban farm growing more than 7,500 pounds of fresh food, raising honey bees and hiring at-risk teens.

May 02, 2017

Pre-Conference district gatherings will prepare for Annual Conference

To: All Clergy and Lay Delegates of the Florida Annual Conference From: Bishop Carter and the ...

May 01, 2017

Bishop Carter announces full-time appointment changes

The appointment changes will take effect July 1, 2017.

May 01, 2017

Four-year strategic plan bringing new churches

In the midst of a four-year strategic plan to develop new churches, Rev. Dan Jackson, director of New Church Development for the Florida Conference, is preparing for a new phase in the initiative. In 2018, at least nine churches are targeted for new starts.

April 28, 2017

Bishop Carter and the Council of Bishops respond to Judicial Council ruling

In its decision, the Judicial Council ruled on Karen Oliveto’s election and consecration as Bishop.

April 27, 2017

'Forgiven' by David Crowder

Forgiven! Forgiven! Child there is freedom from all of it, Say goodbye to every sin, You are forgiven!

April 26, 2017

Community conversation addresses climate change

An April 24 Concord Conversation, held in Lakeland, addressed key issues such as climate change, eco-theology and how to promote the stewardship of Mother Earth.

April 25, 2017

'My Town' exhibit features homeless photographers' views

Modeled after similar projects in other cities, the Florida Conference provided homeless persons in Lakeland with Fujifilm disposable cameras and asked them to photograph how they view their town. The project titled, My Town: Art From Our Homeless Neighbors, will hold its opening reception at First UMC Lakeland, May 5 from 1-3 p.m.

April 25, 2017

Bishop Ough calls for unity as church approaches Judicial Council hearing on Bishop Karen Oliveto

I am in daily prayer for all United Methodists as we are being called upon in this critical moment to tenderly hold the unity and mission of the church in our hearts and hands. --Bishop Bruce R. Ough

April 25, 2017

Native American Ministries Sunday offers empowerment

Native American Ministries Sunday is April 30, 2017. Your gifts are much needed to help seminary students honor and celebrate Native American culture in their ministries. You'll also empower entire congregations in finding new ways to minister to the communities they serve.

April 20, 2017

'Start a Fire' by Unspoken

Unspoken is an American Christian band composed of Mike Gomez, Jon Lowry, Chad Mattson, Ariel Munoz, and the newest member, pianist Don Eanes.

April 19, 2017

Disaster recovery still active for 2016 storms

Disaster response is truly a year-round effort in the Florida Conference. With two hurricanes in 2016 that resulted in $1.6 billion in damages, Disaster Response Coordinator Pam Garrison describes the work involved in helping with long-term recovery.

April 17, 2017

April 24 community conversation topic: Creation Care

The third in a series of community conversations initiated by Florida Conference Bishop Ken Carter will be held April 24 and will focus on creation care.

April 13, 2017

'Hallelujah Chorus' by Handel

This version of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" is by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.

April 12, 2017

Bishop Carter: The hope of Easter

The hope of Easter sunrise is found at the tomb amid the darkness and disbelief. The shocking turn of events leads the disciples out of their grief and despair, and Paul claims this reality not only as apostolic testimony but also as existential promise: "When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will appear with him in glory."

April 12, 2017

College Connection retreat attended by 93 students

It's an annual rite of passage. High school students preparing for college can be exciting and challenging. A 2017 College Connection retreat held at Warren Willis Camp was attended by eight Wesley Foundations and 93 students.

April 11, 2017

Planting seeds for sustainability

Creation Care teams across the Florida Conference are taking a stand to protect God's Creation. For one transplant from Atlanta, a code purple smog alert became her call to action.

April 11, 2017

Recent meeting optimistic about future, delves into tough task

The multinational commission held its third meeting April 6-8 at the United Methodist Building in Washington.

April 07, 2017

The ways we die

The last words Jesus speaks in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 33:34 are known as "the cry of dereliction," defined as "the state of being abandoned or deserted." There's no getting around it. Jesus spoke the way we feel but are often afraid to express when he shouted at a silent sky, "My God, why?"

April 05, 2017

Life Skills program offers help, builds hope

The Florida United Methodist Children's Home in Enterprise is offering a Life Skills program that is changing young lives. For a 16-year-old resident, making Adirondack chairs won him more than Best of Show in a county fair.

April 04, 2017

"From the Steeple to the Street"

The North Central district is holding a pioneering event encouraging congregations to step outside their sanctuaries for one day. Led by district superintendent Rev. June Edwards, thousands are being asked to go out in their communities April 8 to pray, observe and listen.

April 03, 2017

Trend: Churches are creating gallery spaces for art

With a few inexpensive moves to turn bare walls into venues, churches are using visual displays for a range of purposes. Some complement lessons taught in worship. Others bridge cultural divides with the secular world.

March 31, 2017

Advocating at legislature a spiritual endeavor

Spirits were high as dozens of child advocates gathered in Tallahassee for the annual march to the Capitol March 28. It was a chance to meet with state legislators on behalf of children in need across Florida.

March 30, 2017

For King and Country: 'No Turning Back'

"The power of music can impact our mood, emotions, our day. But when you merge the strength of music with the heart, hope and passion of the Gospel... it has the ultimate power not only to change someone's day, but to impact them for eternity. This is why we write music and sing songs - we hope that people will be moved, encouraged and stirred to live a life for Someone greater than themselves." --For King and Country

March 28, 2017

Program gives teens a crash course in homelessness from those who know it best

Flipping the script on who gets to tell the story of the disenfranchised, common cathedral's CityReach program in Boston empowers people who have experienced homelessness to serve as trusted experts on life without shelter.

March 23, 2017

Jason Gray: 'Remind Me Who I Am'

Jason Gray was born and raised in Southwestern Minnesota where he spent six years in youth ministry before going into full-time music ministry in 1999 as an independent artist. He lives near the Twin Cities area.

March 23, 2017

Second community conversation addresses immigration

A public forum sponsored by the Florida Conference addressed the topic of immigration March 21. It was the second in a series of community discussions on society and culture.

March 21, 2017

Habitat faith build is a symbol of love

A recent Habitat for Humanity build in Miami brought three faiths together with one common goal: to build a house. In the end, the day's success was measured far beyond the concrete blocks, wood panels and nails used in construction.

March 17, 2017

Churches: 'Do not withhold good...when it is in your power to act'

Amidst political turmoil, churches are opening doors to immigrant refugees. Most are fleeing countries where the violence of wars and despair of poverty are the norm.

March 16, 2017

'Never Stop' by Urban Rescue

Urban Rescue is a revival band from Los Angeles and the first ever act signed to Rend Family Records – a partnership between Irish celebration band Rend Collective and Capitol Christian Music Group. Fronted by Jordan Frye, Urban Rescue is on a mission to inspire the next generation of believers to see their churches, communities and cities awakened by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

March 15, 2017

Faith Mission forming roots in east Gainesville neighborhood

Serving an east Gainesville neighborhood that is home to more than 700 families, Faith Mission is finding ways to belong. The program was established in 2014 and is located in what was once Faith United Methodist Church.

March 13, 2017

Mar. 21 community conversation to focus on immigration

Immigration will be the subject of the March 21 conversation, and on April 24 the focus will be creation care.

March 09, 2017

Tenth Avenue North: 'I Have This Hope'

Tenth Avenue North is an American contemporary Christian music band from West Palm Beach, Florida that takes its name from an east-west road in Palm Beach County. The group was formed while members attended Palm Beach Atlantic University. "I Have This Hope" is from their album "Followers," released in September 2016.

March 08, 2017

The challenge of leading together

Melissa Cooper, program coordinator of the Life Enrichment Center, offers the second in a two-part essay series on the state of intergenerational ministries. She takes a critical look at the challenges of leading together in the 21st century.

March 07, 2017

Taking inspiration from legacies in London monastery

For Miranda Harrison-Quillin, staying at Lambeth Palace has been a life experience. In her third post about living in a monastic community in London, Miranda examines the legacies of John and Charles Wesley and the rules that guide her as a member of St. Anselm.

March 03, 2017

Methodist Day planned at Jet Blue Park on Mar. 20

Cypress Lakes UMC in Ft. Myers will host the Red Sox event, which will include lunch and author Tim Kurkjian of ESPN speaking about his new book, "I'm Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies."

March 03, 2017

Way Forward group looking to get feedback

The commission, which held its second meeting Feb. 27-March 2 in Atlanta, must develop proposals aimed at keeping the multinational denomination together despite deep differences around homosexuality.

March 02, 2017

Hillsong United: 'Heaven Knows' from 'The Shack' movie

"It was an honor to write a song for the soundtrack, something we have actually had little experience in. We hope, as with everything we do, that people take away a portion of the greater message about Jesus!"

March 01, 2017

Giving voice to our children: Florida Advocacy Days 2017

With state legislators preparing for a busy 50-day session, members of the Florida Conference are ready to march on Tallahassee once again. This year's Florida Advocacy Days takes place March 26-28. It's an opportunity to give voice to the poor and disenfranchised, especially children.

February 28, 2017

Commentary: Working to make ends meet in Central Florida

Rev. Scott George, senior pastor of Pine Castle UMC in Orlando and the development director of Orlando Hope calls for healing and wholeness for all.

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