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 this week's crossword puzzle. 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.

August 03, 2017

Grassroots faith-based efforts combat human trafficking

An ordained elder and missionary with The United Methodist Church and members of Sun City Center UMC are working to fight a transnational crime. Florida ranks third in the nation for calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

August 03, 2017

Playing for Change: 'Down by the Riverside'

Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.

July 31, 2017

Science Mike brings religion, science together

Science Mike, aka Mike McHargue, of Good Samaritan UMC in Tallahassee, has become a major phenomenon on the internet. Taking questions on science, faith and life, his iTunes "Top 20" podcast receives 6,500 downloads a day.

July 27, 2017

Andrew Marcus: 'Glory To His Name'

Andrew Mark Marcus is a Canadian worship musician. He has released five studio albums, "Salvation and Glory" (2007), "Emptiness Speaks Volumes" (2009), "Our Conversation Behind the Veil" (2011), "When Winter Falls Summer Springs" (2013) and "Constant" (2016).

July 27, 2017

Commission on a Way Forward issues status report

The Commission on a Way Forward has released a status report to the Council of Bishops and the entire United Methodist Church (UMC), updating the church and the leaders on the faithful work of the Commission after four meetings.

July 26, 2017

Summer BreakSpot sites feeding body and soul

Florida Conference churches and schools have stepped up throughout the summer to meet the needs of hungry children. Many have become hosting sites for the Florida Department of Agriculture's Summer BreakSpot program.

July 24, 2017

Becoming fishers of young men

Many United Methodist Men units in the United States struggle to reach younger men. The group’s recent National Gathering at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis featured advice for how these groups can become fishers of millennials.

July 20, 2017

'Change the World' by Derek Minor

Derek Johnson, Jr., better known by his stage name Derek Minor and former stage name PRo, (born December 16, 1984) is an American Christian hip hop artist, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, and screenwriter.

July 19, 2017

'Feet to the faith' impacts hearts, minds, social justice

From climate change to violent crimes, poverty and social injustice, most of us would agree the world needs positive change. Can our churches make positive differences in their communities? For the 11 million helped by Florida Conference community ministries since 2009, the answer would be yes!

July 17, 2017

First, Port St. Lucie, battles summer reading slump

In the first of a monthly series about School-Church Partnerships, read about volunteers at FUMC in Port St. Lucie who recently collected 1,005 books for children at an area elementary school.

July 13, 2017

'Never Let Me Go' by Fearless BND

Partnering with Swam Dance Crew from New Zealand, Fearless created a cinematic approach to one of the singles released on their 12-month journey.

July 12, 2017

Coffee house ministries brewing Christian spirit

In a throwback to the 1960's, church-based coffee house ministries today are offering teens and young adults something more than fresh brewed beverages. It's a place where God's spirit enjoys a laid back vibe.

July 10, 2017

Ways we can be better neighbors

This author is convinced that if there is a solution to the social isolation, the political polarization and the superficial relationships that exist in our neighborhoods—and in the world as a whole—it is reclaiming the art of neighboring.

July 06, 2017

Hillsong United: 'Heart Like Heaven'

As the sun set over the Sea of Galilee we captured this song: The beauty and the surrealism of the moment, we hope, is compared to our hearts towards heaven. In moments where we have no words, we can sing Holy. --Hillsong United

July 05, 2017

Largo summit addresses caregiving, a $470 billion industry

According to AARP, caregiving is a $470 billion industry. St. Paul UMC in Largo recently hosted the 2017 Family Caregiver Lifespan Respite Summit to learn about the needs of 3 million Florida caregivers.

July 04, 2017

Out in the wild: the esssence of wilderness ministry

For nearly 70 years, Warren Willis trip camps have offered summer adventures for generations of youth. From climbing steep rock cliffs to hiking deep into Appalachian mountains, they are experiences in nature long remembered.

June 29, 2017

'Go' by Darlene Zschech

Australian Darlene Zschech is acclaimed all over the world as a composer, worship leader, pastor and speaker, most notably for her involvement in the music from Hillsong Church, Sydney over many years.

June 29, 2017

Florida Southern: A Frank Lloyd Wright treasure trove

Florida Southern College, founded in 1883 by the Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named a National Historic Landmark of the United States. This year, the 113-acre campus also became a United Methodist Historic Site.

June 28, 2017

Prayer vigils have transformational potential

In part two of a story about prayer vigils, one church turned to praying on street corners to remember homicide victims, while the other brought unity following tragedy in a Charleston church 600 miles away.

June 26, 2017

Simple Church model blends dinner, worship and enterprise

Congregants gather for a sacred weekly meal where the conversation serves as the sermon and freshly baked bread provides nourishment, communion and income. Other churches are using their template to replicate the experience.

June 23, 2017

We Are Messengers: 'Point To You'

We Are Messengers is an Irish worship band from Monaghan, Ireland, and they formed in 2015, with vocalist Darren and Heidi Mulligan. Their first studio album, "We Are Messengers," released in 2016, with Word Records and Curb Records.

June 21, 2017

Readying for the storm in hurricane season

The time to prepare for hurricane season is now! Disaster Response Coordinator Pam Garrison and others offer helpful information to ensure your church is ready before the storm hits.

June 20, 2017

Breaking bread in Cuba's house churches

Although the Cuban government still prohibits The United Methodist Church from building new sanctuaries, house churches have become a thriving alternative in the island nation.

June 16, 2017

Prayer vigils impact communities

A two-part story on the impact prayer vigils can have on the communities our churches serve begins with revisiting the vigil held for the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando a year ago.

June 15, 2017

'I'm Still Here' by Mandisa

Mandisa Lynn Hundley, known professionally as Mandisa, is an American gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist. Her career began as a contestant in the fifth season of American Idol, in which she finished in ninth place.

June 13, 2017

AC 2017 closes with spirit of revival

Friday evening concluded with music and revival, and Saturday, June 10, 51 persons were licensed, commissioned and ordained.

June 10, 2017

Keynote speakers champion revival of the Church

Friday's annual conference events included keynote speakers the Revs. Elaine Heath and Kevin Watson addressing the theme, "Revive Us Again," presenting ways to reinvigorate churches today. Orders of business included voting on resolutions and the discontinuance of 16 churches.

June 09, 2017

AC votes on amendments, approves redistricting

Clergy and laity voted on constitutional amendments to the Book of Discipline, approved policy and organizational changes and received an update on the conference's health care costs.

June 08, 2017

Laity call for a future of inclusivity

While lighthearted presentations and uplifting music marked the Laity Session of the 2017 Florida Annual Conference, the underlying message for lay leaders attending the opening event was that inclusivity is critical to the future of the Church.

June 08, 2017

All Sons and Daughters: 'This My Inheritance'

All Sons & Daughters is an American Christian worship music duo, who perform in the styles of acoustic and folk music, originating from Franklin, Tennessee. The group's leads are Leslie Anne Jordan on vocals and guitar and David Alan Leonard on vocals and piano. They are worship leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, which is a non-denominational church.

June 08, 2017

Photos from the Annual Conference 5K in Orlando

The fourth Florida Annual Conference 5K started at the historic Windermere Town Hall on Thursday morning, June 8. Donning coats and umbrellas, participants braved the rain in support of a good cause. Together they raised a total of $2225. Proceeds from the 5K supported the Cuban Pastors Pension Fund.

June 05, 2017

Palm Coast pastor experiences South Korean culture

Described as an academic, cultural and spiritual encounter, the Rev. Kevin James, pastor at Palm Coast UMC, and his wife, Linda, recently returned from an eight-day trip to South Korea. James was one of 19 United Methodist Church pastors selected from across the U.S. to join the mission.

June 02, 2017

Moderators offer views on Mission, Vision and Scope of Commission on a Way Forward

The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward are using a three-part commentary this summer in helping United Methodists throughout the world to understand work of the Commission.

June 01, 2017

'Home' by Chris Tomlin

Christopher Tomlin is an American contemporary Christian music (CCM) artist, worship leader and songwriter from Grand Saline, Texas, who has sold nearly 30 million records. He is a former staff member at Austin Stone Community Church.

May 31, 2017

Inner city churches

Inner city churches face many challenges, not unlike their congregations. In the first of an occasional series, church leaders from Miami-Dade and Broward Counties discuss their roles and how they are making the best of difficult situations.

May 30, 2017

Map and details for proposed eight districts available

Some of the background for the change, a map of the proposed districts and a list of churches by those districts is available.

May 30, 2017

Pastors find strength, balance in their Asian heritage

Numerous churches in the Florida Conference are blessed with Asian-American Christians joining us from places like Vietnam, South Korea and Japan. In this feature, we present three stories that are unique and diverse.

May 25, 2017

Elevation Worship: 'Yours (Glory and Praise)'

Elevation Worship is a contemporary worship music band from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The band's main vocalists are Chris Brown, Mack Brock, London Gatch, Jane Williams, Jenna Winders Barrientes and Jonsal Barrientes, as well as many other contributing musicians and vocalists.

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 04, 2017

Hillsong United: 'Say The Word'

"Say The Word" is from "Empires," the fourth studio album from Australian contemporary worship music band Hillsong United, a worship band from Hillsong Church. The album was released on May 26, 2015.

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.

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