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.

August 16, 2017

Stirring in soul: Retired teacher reaches out in Volusia County

Retired teacher Mica Roughton's life changed the moment she reached out to help children and families living in poverty. She's now the volunteer coordinator of a ministry called Food Brings Hope, a program at FUMC of Ormond Beach giving families in a local elementary school physical and spiritual nourishment.

August 11, 2017

Legislator: 'I believe God placed me here to help' fight trafficking

"I believe God placed me here to help," says State Representative Ross Spano, R-Riverview. He is working to toughen laws against human traffickers in Florida. This is the final story in a three-part series on human trafficking.

August 08, 2017

Trafficking: It's 'right here in our backyard'

Deltona artist Jennifer Houdeshell reveals the seamy side of trafficking in Florida that tourists rarely see. She uses her art to raise awareness of the crime: "I wanted to put a face to human trafficking."

August 04, 2017

Back-to-School Blessing

With each new school year comes the excitement and anticipation of a new beginning, a new journey, a new chapter. This video meditation features an empowering blessing, written by the Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton, for individuals or groups to use to lift up those involved in all walks of education. You can share or download this video to use in Sunday school classes, before or during worship or in your home.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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.

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

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 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 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 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.

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 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 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 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 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.

January 31, 2017

Debra Susie and Florida Impact - 30 years breaking barriers to hunger

Debra Susie, the longtime president and CEO of nonprofit Florida Impact who stepped down at the end of 2016, said it was love at first sight upon first joining the organization. Her passionate battle for Florida residents living in poverty, especially children, has made a difference.

January 25, 2017

Interfaith gatherings planting seeds for solidarity

Describing it as "something he was called to do," Rev. Josh Bell of Spring of Life UMC in Orlando started an interfaith conversation between Methodists, Jewish and Muslim communities nearly one year ago. Today, those conversations continue - building relationships between different faiths.

January 20, 2017

Miracles: horses, youth and hope in action

In what many consider unconventional therapy, horses are being used at Madison Youth Ranch to help treat children who have been abused or neglected. Two of these equine therapists named Pinky and Sugar are changing lives in powerful ways.

January 18, 2017

New online network connects volunteers, ministries

It isn’t just millennials who want to make the world a better place. It’s an intergenerational aspiration for United Methodists. Learn how you can get involved through Volunteer Connect.

January 12, 2017

Community conversations begin with race relations

Amidst fresh coffee and conversation, an informal gathering was held Jan. 11 at Lakeland's Concord Coffee to discuss race relations issues. It was the start of a new series initiated by Florida Conference Bishop Ken Carter to help form a more inclusive community.

January 05, 2017

From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter: A community discussion with Bishop Carter slated for Jan. 11 in Lakeland

Bishop Carter will lead a community discussion, "From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter," on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 5 p.m. in Lakeland.

December 08, 2016

Holiday ministry opportunities...and more

In the Christmas season, opportunities abound for volunteers to give the gift of ministry in ...

November 26, 2016

One focus for Giving Tuesday is South Florida's Justice for Our Neighbors

South Florida's Justice for Our Neighbors (SF-JFON) is reaching out to hundreds of immigrants facing legal challenges in Miami courtrooms. With Giving Tuesday happening on Nov. 29, the Florida Conference is providing a $10,000 matching grant to SF-JFON, making your gift worth more.

November 16, 2016

East Angola villagers fighting to survive malaria

The husband-wife team of Rev. Armando and Icel Rodgriquez have turned a one-time visit to East Angola into an annual mission. Today, medicine and supplies are giving villagers of Quessua a chance to survive.

November 15, 2016

Bikers, pastors and MAD DADS walk together

During 2016, homicides have set a record pace in Jacksonville, Fla. From prayer vigils at murder scenes to motorcycle rides, a church and local activists from a group called MAD DADS are doing something about it.

November 11, 2016

Mission Honduras: Security a top priority

It has been nearly 15 years since the General Board of Global Ministries deemed Mission Honduras an official initiative of The United Methodist Church. With one of the highest murder rates in the world, security has become a top priority.

November 11, 2016

Missions to Honduras an uphill battle for Cuban nationals

She and her late husband once served as missionaries to Honduras in the late 1990's, helping the country recover from Hurricane Mitch. Now in her 70's, Elina Iglesias wants to return. The challenge is that she is a Cuban national. The Honduran government will not allow her to travel there.

October 28, 2016

Cuban Bishop talks of Covenant changing lives

Bishop Ricardo Pereira of Cuba recently sat down for an interview in Lakeland. With candor and grace, he talks about Methodism in Cuba, sister churches and the challenge to rebuild following Hurricane Matthew.

October 28, 2016

Youth brings clean water to Guatemalan village

Logan Franks, a 16-year-old girl from Jacksonville, made it her mission to bring clean drinking water to the village of Chisec in Guatemala. She started a Go-Fund-Me page, held fundraisers and found a Guatemalan based supplier for the water filters.

October 21, 2016

Engineering a future with clean water

A curious mission team member in a remote Cuban village learns that the tap water is unfit to drink, and providing people with clean water soon becomes the mission of a lifetime.

October 18, 2016

Tallahassee church unites art and soul

Good Samaritan UMC incorporated the arts into its church mission. Today, the thriving program has 150 students and 14 instructors leading the way for many with special needs.

October 11, 2016

Conference responds to Matthew's impact on Haiti

Both UMCOR and UMVIM recommend volunteers to be patient until further communication is established with the Methodist Church in Haiti and the Circuit Superintendents of the affected areas.

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The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin L King Jr Ave
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011