A Message from your District Superintendent
Each Sunday when I pull into the parking lot of a different United Methodist Church (or two, or three), I get the first-time guest experience. Until the pastor announces my presence later in the service, folks don't tend to recognize me or expect that I'm the District Superintendent (which is just fine!)
Finding parking, following signage, hurrying my kids along to find the appropriate Nursery and Sunday School rooms, getting a bulletin, finding a seat, interactions with other worshipers... all of this has given me a real appreciation for those who take the leap of faith to visit a church for the first time, and an appreciation for the importance of hospitality.
As Holy Week and Easter approach, I hope that hospitality is top of mind for you and your ministry team. How easily can folks find your worship times and locations online? How do we welcome guests onto our church campuses? How do we help them find where they're going? How do we meet them (and collect their contact info) without overwhelming them? How do we make kids and families feel welcome, too?
I love the advice toward the end of Hebrews, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so, some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." This verse makes it clear that hospitality is more than a strategy; it is a spiritual practice. When we welcome others in the same ways that we'd welcome an angel (or Jesus himself), we welcome the presence of God.
I'm praying for each one of your churches to have an amazing Holy Week and Easter this month. How exciting to know that you will welcome people into your church who are seeking to connect with the story of Easter, and that your hospitality can make an immeasurable impact on their lives.
A few other key reminders for this month:
* Announcement Sunday is April 24. All appointments are considered projected and kept confidential until that date. If you are a moving pastor, or a SPRC chair with a new incoming pastor, we've already been in touch and you'll be hearing more details for Announcement Sunday soon. Everyone else, you can announce on April 24 that your appointment continues for another year.
* District Presentations on Continuing UMC were extraordinarily well-attended in all 3 locations. If you need specific follow-up at your local church, don't hesitate to reach out. As I said in the presentations, I'd love nothing more than to come and talk face-to-face with your church leaders and help them process this information. A reminder that if your church is considering disaffiliation, Paragraph 2553 will be your guide, along with a disaffiliation checklist that I can provide for you. A Church Conference to consider this matter would need to be requested through my office (Paragraph 248).
* District Clergy Meeting - May 4, 9:30am at Bay Hope. Join us for coffee, fellowship, worship, a food truck lunch, some fun surprises... and HOPE. Unless you are sick, out of town, or have an unavoidable obligation, I'd like all clergy of the District to plan to attend. (I know that extension ministers and part-time pastors may work other jobs that require their presence that day; in those cases, we'd love to see you if you're able but understand if you aren't.) Register here to let us know you plan to attend - https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/DistrictClergyMeeting2022
* Annual Conference will be in-person this year, June 9-11 in Lakeland. Details are here. Pastors and Church Administrators, please make sure that your Lay Delegate(s) is signed up on the Church Dashboard. Need help or have questions? Reach out to Katelyn at email@example.com
I hope you have a wonderful experience of Holy Week, Easter, and beyond.
April Details and Due Dates
Take a breather! The only forms due this month are the Recurring Monthly Reports Please do continue to submit the modified Mission Vital Signs (attendance and offering) each month. Click HERE for details on Modified MVS.
Past Due Forms (March 31):
Employee Conduct Policy Form: Click here for ECP for local church employees. Copies of the local church employees forms should not be submitted to the district office, but should be filed in their employee file at the local church.
Employee Conduct Policy Adoption Agreement: Click here - Adopt the revised ECP and submit a signed copy of the Adoption Agreement to the district office by March 31.
Annual Report to the District Housing Committee / Parsonage Checklist. Review & renew annually. Submit a signed copy of the Annual Parsonage Review to the district office by March 31.
Gulf Central District Office Information
Office Location: St. Paul UMC, 1498 Rosery Rd. NE, Largo, FL 33770. Staff work a combination of in-office and remote hours.
Office Phone: 727.585.1207
GCD Team: Rev. Emily Hotho, Katelyn Dino, Beth Potter (Congregational Vitality Specialist), Deb Digman
New! Buying, Selling, or Renting Church Property?
If you are planning to purchase or sell property on behalf of your church, you will need to be in contact with the District Office, as well as the District Board of Building and Location, chaired by Rev. John Ekers. John has a prior career in real estate, and is willing to offer advice, in addition to the required committee approval. Please let us know early on if you're considering a real estate transaction, so we can walk through the appropriate BOD paragraphs (2540-2543) together.
If you are renting space in your church or will in the future please be sure to use the new Facilities Usage Agreement. This fillable form is a renters agreement between your church and the group renting. The form indicates where to insert your church’s specific information—a tried and true instrument for you to use for many of your rental opportunities. It can easily be found on the Gulf Central District page under Local Church Resources or click here for an automatic download of the document.
Join Bishop Ken Carter for a virtual conversation with New York Times bestselling author, Duke University professor, and incurable optimist, Kate Bowler. They will discuss her book No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) written after Kate was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35. Learn more about Kate at katebowler.com.
Relief Work Support Opportunities
FLUMC Support for Ukraine. Find how you can support by visiting this page
Support the Relief fund for the South West District of the FLUMC by donating to help relieve the Tornado damage. Click HERE
Register Now for Warren Willis Summer Camp
Summer Registration Now Open at Warren Willis Camp. Classic overnight camps last 6 days (5 nights) for rising 4th graders through graduating 12th graders. There is a new tiered pricing this year. See here for more information, and share this information with your Children's and Youth Ministry leaders.
Anti-Racism Team at District Clergy Meeting
You will have an opportunity to meet with the District Anti Racism team at the conclusion of the District Clergy Meeting on May 4 at Bay Hope Church.
After you have enjoyed some time lunching with your fellow clergy friends at the upcoming Clergy Meeting, find the table with a few of Gulf Central’s Anti-Racism Team members. We want to hear from you about the conversations, questions, next steps, etc. that are happening in your churches-what’s working and what’s not. Let us learn from you AND help/support/coach you and others in your anti-racism efforts.
One Board Leadership Model Training
SAVE THE DATE! Have you been considering a “one board” leadership model? Have you stalled in implementing it? Do you need to improve your process and board? Kay Kotan (author of Mission Possible, A Simple Structure for Missional Effectiveness) will be leading a virtual workshop for our District and beyond on Saturday, May 7th. Details will be released soon. Share the date with your board, lay leader, council chair. They won’t want to miss this learning opportunity either.
Summer Pastoral Interns Application Open
This program is for young adults, ages 18-26, who are interested in exploring ordained ministry through 10-week summer internships at United Methodist Churches and other approved extension ministry settings within the Florida Conference. These internships seek to provide a holistic, hands-on experience in pastoral ministry within a variety of areas of responsibility and under the guidance of a supervisor.
Find more information here
Application HERE due April 29
UMW is now United Women in Faith!
On March 13, 2022, the national office of United Methodist Women announced that the organization was taking on a new name: United Women in Faith. It’s the 25th time we have taken a new name over our 153 years.
United Women in Faith will continue to advocate for women, children and youth, but will also focus on nurturing women’s souls and introduce new, more digitally inclusive ways to participate. We are putting new wine into new wineskins ( Matthew 9:17), recognizing that the organization needs to be refreshed while still holding true to its core mission.
To accompany our new name, we have a new logo, a new website ( uwfaith.org) and a new mission statement:
United Women in Faith seeks to connect and nurture women through Christian spiritual formation, leadership development, creative fellowship and education, so they can inspire, influence and impact local and global communities.
2022 United Women in Faith Assembly
Orlando Convention Center
May 20-22, 2022
For more information visit https://assembly2022.org/
Mission U information here for information in Spanish click here
Church Administrator Weekly Call
Are you a church administrator / office manager? This weekly Zoom call is a chance to connect with others in a similar role to ask questions and get support. Church Admins throughout the Gulf Central District meet weekly at 10:30 AM on Wednesdays. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.
Follow the Gulf Central District on Social Media
Instagram (new!) - @flumc_gc
Facebook - Gulf Central District of the Florida Conference UMC
GC District Clergy Group on Facebook
Resources and Learning Opportunities
Lay Servant Ministry classes offered this Spring. Visit the FL Conference Lay Servant Ministry webpage. Download the new 2022 Lay Servant Ministries Catalog.
Church Management Conference - webinars March 23, April 20, April 27 - a partnership of The Florida Conference and the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise. The topics include: Financial Development for the Church, Digital Marketing Strategies for the Church, Conflict Management in the Church. Click here to learn more and register: https://www.flsouthern.edu/events-center/conferences/church-management-conference.aspx
Table talk Anti Racism Team - Join us for a monthly half-hour conversation with various speakers and share your thoughts about anti-racism efforts in our Conference. Hosted by The Beloved Community. Click here for more information.
Lands of the Bible Cruise with Bishop Carter - Join us along with Guest Speaker Bishop Ken Carter on a 13 day Lands of the Bible Cruise aboard the Celebrity Apex, starting at $4,698* from New York, NY departing on September 22, 2022. Journey to places such as Rome, Galilee, Jerusalem, Ephesus, Bethlehem, Athens, and much more! Click HERE for details.
Skycrest United Methodist Church is hiring for the position of part-time bookkeeper. The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about the mission of our growing church, and be able to work collaboratively with the staff team and church leadership team. She/he will have working knowledge of budgeting software such as QuickBooks, banking, payroll, IRS regulations concerning churches, and the importance of confidentiality. Bookkeeping experience, accounting or finance degree, and/ or CPA, all preferred. The rate for the position is $16 per hour, with a work schedule of 16-18 hours a week. Interested candidates can visit: www.skycrest.net/employment for the full posting and submission information.
If you know of anyone fitting for the role, please share this with them. Additionally, if you have a part-time person in a similar role at your church, and they would like to apply, please let us know. If you have any questions please call Ryan Frack at 727-446-2218.
First UMC Bartow is looking to hire a Church Secretary/Treasurer. Please see here for the full job announcement Job+Opening+Secretary+-+Treasurer.docx