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GCD March 2020 Newsletter

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From the District Superintendent

Confession is Good for the Soul

As our Lenten journey continues, many of us decided to “give up” and “sacrifice” something we enjoy over the next 40 days. Lent invites us to “put aside” distractions and focus our hearts, minds, bodies and souls on our relationship with God and others.

I chose Journey to Transformation, by Bishop Sharma Lewis as my Lenten study. Day three focused on Psalms 51, revealing new insights about the benefits of Confession and Repentance.

Repenting is not easy for some of us. We are aware that we sin, yet our ego and desire to protect our self image can cause us justify and rationalize our wrong doing and how it impacts and harms others. When we finally confess our sins to God and others we often over generalize. We sometimes choose a high level, confession instead of painfully admitting specifically what we’ve done and the harm we’ve caused. Guilt and shame can accompany our sinful actions and both can be very heavy burdens to carry.

The scripture reminds us, “if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” in 1 John 1:9.

Remember confession is admitting what we have done wrong. Repentance is being truly sorry for our sinful actions and demonstrating a willingness to make amends and change our sinful behavior. Through confession and repentance we can receive forgiveness from God, seek forgiveness from others and forgive ourselves.

Let’s remember to confess and repent to others that we have harmed, when possible and doesn’t cause further harm, so we and they can both experience healing. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV

Because God is loving, merciful, and forgiving confessing our sins begins the process of freeing us from the guilt and shame of our sins.

The “ah-ha” moment for me today in reading Psalms 51 was seeing the benefits and gifts awaiting us on the other side of confession and repentance.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalms 51:10-12 NIV

God still wants to create, renew, restore and sustain us even after we’ve admitting we have done wrong. This was David’s request after he sinned. God answered this prayer. David also experienced consequences of his sinful actions. God still renewed, restored and sustained David with God’s Spirit.

May we be convicted today to confess and repent of our sins to God and others throughout this Lenten journey; so that we can also experience the renewing, restoring and sustaining power of God’s love and presence in our lives daily.

Blessings on your Lenten journey,


District wide General Conference & Protocol information Session - April 23rd 2020

On April 23rd - 10am-1pm at Bay Hope Church in Lutz - Clergy & Laity are invited to attend this  information session. Alex Shanks will share about General Conference 2020, the various plans (including A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation) and legislation and resources for how churches can prepare their congregations. Please contact the district office with questions. We are asking you to register your attendance . Click link 

Evening session April 23 - 7 PM First Lakeland room c203 Laity and church leaders are invited and encouraged to attend the morning or evening meeting to learn more about the General conference petitions and the Protocol and other questions or concerns you want addressed. Click here to register. 

March 31 forms/reports

The following reports are due to the District office by March 31.

Please email them to Deb Digman at

Finance Financial Controls, Policies, and Procedures - Review & renew annually. Once in compliance, submit a signed copy of the one page Annual Review and Renewal Document as well as the Document Retention Policy to the district office by March 31.  Click here for Fiscal Responsibility and Management Policies in Local Churches.  

Annual Parsonage Report  Trustees click here

Child and Youth Protection Policy Review & renew annually. Submit a signed copy of the Annual Review & Renewal Signature page of the Child/Youth Protection Policy to the district office by March 31. (Should the policy undergo major revisions, submit a complete copy to the district office.) See Ministry Protection webpage for more information.

Clergy Employee Conduct Policy click here

Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy  click here

The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee and kept in their personnel file. This does not get sent to the District office.

The Fund Balance report is submitted online by Finance. Do not send a hard copy to the District. The form is located in your Church Dashboard on the bottom left. Note: The Disaster Recovery Resource Survey is no longer required.

For detailed instructions on reports, please review the Calendar of Reports click here


Personal Growth:

We are having our annual Seeking Stillness Retreat on May 1 and May 2 at The Portico. I was wondering if it could be included in the District Newsletter and perhaps shared with other District Superintendents. The information is here:


UMCOR – Mission Trips

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” — Matthew 25:35, NRSV

Dear friends in Christ,

United Methodists will celebrate UMCOR Sunday on March 22, 2020. Eighty years ago, World War II was raging. Millions of people, displaced from their homes, sought refuge and hope. The church responded by creating the Methodist Committee on Overseas Relief (MCOR) and supporting MCOR through an annual offering called “One Great Hour of Sharing.”

The 2016 United Methodist General Conference changed the name to UMCOR Sunday to reflect the important work accomplished by the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

UMCOR Sunday calls the church to share the goodness of life with those who hurt. UMCOR Sunday reaches children, families and communities who have experienced devastation in the wake of disaster.

Now is great time to get ready for this Special Sunday. We have created a toolkit to assist you in easy preparation for leading worship, children’s and youth ministries and small-group discussions. We encourage you to promote UMCOR Sunday through social media, videos and newsletter articles with relevant and meaningful messages. Please use and adapt these resources to fit your context and to encourage generous giving on March 22.

Download worship ideas, social media graphics and other resources from our UMCOR Sunday Pastor and Leader's Kit.

If you don’t already have offering envelopes for UMCOR Sunday, please order them today. Call 1-800-991-6011 or order online.

As you prepare for UMCOR Sunday, invite the Holy Spirit to inspire your congregation to give generously and to pray for those who serve — and are served. Through United Methodist sharing, vulnerable people affected by crisis or chronic need witness the love of Jesus Christ. We pray that your congregation will celebrate wholeheartedly.

Dates of the mission are July 16th thru 24th.
Construction projects will be house repair from the hurricane. And REHACE will give us projects that we have the ability to handle.
With the church paying $4500. It will bring our cost to $650 each.
A deposit of $200 each is required by our first orientation meeting. This is not refundable. A payment of $200 is required at our 2nd meeting and $250 at our last.
Meeting dates and times:
Mar. 8th at 2pm in Room 110 at AnonaUMC will be our first orientation meeting. Please bring your check made our to AnonaUMC and Puerto Rico #25800 in the memo line. Also bring a photo copy of your drivers license.
April 5th at 2pm in Rm 110 we will have our 2nd orientation meeting. A payment of $200 is required then. We might need to change the place or time because we will have a lot of paperwork to do.
May 17th will be our last orientation meeting and the last payment is due then.


Our commissioning will be on July 12th

Dates of the mission will be September 12th thru the 19th.
We will depart Anona around 9am on Sept. 12th by bus.
And arrive in Mobile, AL that evening for lodging.
The next morning, September 13th, we depart for Baldwin, LA
Arrive at Sager Brown, settle in and have a meeting with our host.
September 14th make flood buckets.
September 15th make flood buckets.
September 16th free day, go sightseeing after breakfast.
September 17th make flood buckets.
September 18th work until noon, then leave to Mobile once again.
September 19th leave for home.

Price of the mission is $510
Deposit of $130 is due by the first orientation meeting April 19th.
A payment of $190 is due at the 2nd orientation meeting June 14th.
Then the last payment of another $190 is due at our last orientation meeting
August 3rd.
The cost might be less. If so it will come off the last payment.

For more information and space availability please contact Bruce Anderson at email me:    or call 918-341-7276

Warren Willis United Methodist Camp & Conference Center

Experiences in camping are shown to help young people learn independence, grow their communities, and build a strong foundation of faith.

The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church believes that these experiences should be possible for any student, regardless of financial status. In 2019, 749 students were able to attend summer camp because of scholarship support.

If you have seen the impact of camping in your life, or the life of someone you know, would you consider a gift to support these scholarships? Together we can make sure that these sacred moments are available to every Florida camper.

Confirmation Retreat:  March 6-8

Created by God: May 1-3

Creative Spirit: June 29- July 4

Grandparents and Me: July 27-30

Serve: November 6-8; November 13-15

Summer Camp: June 8 - July 25

Yoga Retreat: May 1-3


The Black Methodist for Church Renewal Caucus of The Florida Conference invites the Clergy and Laity of the Conference to join us for a day together to discuss plans and options for the Black Church.

Date: March 14, 2020
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Host Church: First United Methodist Church
72 Lake Morton Drive
Lakeland, FL 33801

CLICK HERE TO REGISTERDeadline for Registration is 3-6-2020



Apply Now for the Sinclair Scholarship from FUMF

 The Florida United Methodist Foundation is now accepting applications from United Methodist high school seniors for the 2020 Sinclair scholarships, and we need your help to spread the word.

 Applicants must be full and active members of a Florida United Methodist church, have a record of church and community service, and have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher or academic performance that indicates ability to succeed in college. They must also be planning to attend a Florida or United Methodist college or university for the first time this fall.

 Scholarship awards range from $2,000 to $3,000 and are renewable for up to three additional years for students who remain in good standing. The deadline to apply is March 15.

A scholarship application and instructions about other required documents are available on the foundation’s website. More information is available by contacting Nadara Brock at or 866-363-9673, ext. 7113.

 Please consider posting and/or sharing the Sinclair Scholarship flyer with students you feel are good candidates for this opportunity, as well as including it in your newsletters or worship bulletins.

  Apply Now for UMC FCU Scholarships for College Bound Students


Spring is almost here and the UMC FCU would like your help in spreading the word that may bring some “Spring” into a student’s life.

 Our $1000.00 College Scholarship is now opened!  Would you be so kind and include this information in your

  • March and April newsletters
  • Church Bulletins
  • Forward this email to your contacts
  • Post on all your social media platforms
  • Place the Scholarship Applications in your offices
  • Tell every student, 17-35 years old within the United Methodist Florida, South Georgia, North Georgia, and Alabama-West Florida UM Conferences (Church Members, Church Staff, UMC Organization Staff, Family Members of Current UMC FCU Members, UMC Camps). Encourage them to apply. 

Most scholarships aren’t applied for because either the student doesn’t know about it or they don’t think they have a chance at winning.  Your help in spreading the news could make a big difference for them. 

 They can also apply online. APPLY

There will be one winner from each Conference.




If so, please share with these young adults about our 2020 Summer Pastoral Ministry Internship Program opportunity and encourage them to apply, or consider sponsoring a Summer Pastoral Intern for 2020!

Internship Program: Monday, May 25, 2020 through Friday, July 31, 2020
Intern Training Day: Friday, May 22, 2020 (Interns and Supervising Pastors)
Intern Reflection Day: Monday, August 3, 2020 (Interns Only)
Hours:  30 hours/week as scheduled with Supervising Pastor
Housing:  Provided in a congregant's home, if needed
Transportation: Preferred
Salary:  $3,500.00 ($1,500 host site, $1,500 Office of Clergy Excellence, plus an additional $500 if the Intern attends both the Orientation and Reflection Day)

If your church is interested in sponsoring an intern, please email or mail an Intern Job Description to

If someone wishes to apply, please have them register at

For more information please visit our website

If you have any questions, please contact Holly Finley at or Sara McKinley at or by phone at 863-688-5563, ext 134.


Annual Conference 2020

Have you registered for the AC2020 5k? To get you up and going, here is our Couch to 5k Plan

If you have not registered, see the information below:

2020 Annual Conference 5k
Friday, June 5, 2020, 6:30 a.m. start time

Meeting Place and Same Day Packet Pickup
Nina B. Hollis Wellness Center
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801

The Florida Annual Conference 5k is returning to our inaugural sight around the beautiful Lake Hollingsworth at Florida Southern College. This run/walk event is in its seventh year! This is an opportunity to unite our clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference in an initiative to promote faith and fitness in a 3.1-mile fun run/walk. The race will begin on Lake Hollingsworth across from the Nina B. Hollis Wellness Center. It will finish on Lake Hollingsworth Drive near Branscomb Auditorium.
For more information – click below:

Deadlines vary, hurry now!

Alice Garrick who is the leader of an international mission supported by UMW will be visiting Florida after she represents Pakistan Women at the United Nations in March.  She will be available to speak to UMW unit meetings and at other gatherings of women March 26-April 1st.  If you’ve never heard first hand about the plight of the women Alice’s part of the world, consider hosting Alice to hear about her wonderful ministry and how UMW has supported her work.  Simply email or call  Cathy Stone at 813-774-1531 or  Alice will be staying with Cathy while in Florida. Kitty Walker and the St Johns Unit in Winterhaven are already hosting her all day March 26th for those who would like to hear her speak there. 

She will also bring plenty of beautiful items made by the women she serves.  All proceeds from the sale of those items keep women safe and out of forced home based prostitution. Alice’s ministry and the sale of these items give women in Pakistan hope for their children and families and meet their basic needs.  



Has your church registered for Wonder Walk?

Cornerstone Family Ministries 40th Annual Wonder Walk events are only one month away and they need your support to raise their $140,000 fundraising goal to provide early learning scholarships for their 0-5 year old students. If your church is interested in joining or creating a team you can register online at . Another ways you can contribute are:

  1. Share the Wonder Walk promo video at your church and on your social media pages. Click here to download video file.  – [link to:
  2. Create and donate gift baskets to be included in their Wonder Walk raffle during the events.
  3. Do you or someone you know own a business? Become a sponsor to gain access and exposure to the 600+ wonder walk participants.  
  4. Invite Cornerstone to your group or church to speak to your congregation.

Click here to learn more (link to: about how you can get involved.

YoutTube Promo Video - 

Your support of Cornerstone’s Wonder Walk events will have an immense impact on the education of inner-city children and so our District Superintendent, Dr. Candace Lewis, has challenged each UMC to support this worthy cause. For more information please contact, Jeanette Hordge-Smith, (813)253-3853 ext 301 or .


Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Tampa Celebrating 140th Anniversary.

March 14 & 15, 2020 Members, past and present, will come together to celebrate the 140thHome Coming of Oak Grove United Methodist Church at Habana and Waters in Tampa.

  Saturday the 14th at 2:00 P.M.:   There will be a special get together at the church, with lots of music, seeing old friends and meeting new, and reminiscing.

Sunday, March 15, we will get together for morning worship that begins at 9:30 a.m.

Oak Grove United Methodist Church,   140 Years of sharing Christ’s love to the community. 

For further information: Please call the church office at 813-935-4471 or e-mail us at



General Conference 2020

Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 5 - 15

What is the General Conference of the UMC?

Florida Delegation General Conference 2020

Volunteers needed for General Conference 2020

General Conference 2020 Website

Comparison of Proposals to General Conference 2020

 Here are three ways you can prepare for General Conference:

Go to and read news and other articles. Eventually all proposed legislation will be posted here.
Pray for our Florida delegation. A list of our delegation can be found at If you would like to send a note to the delegation and any comments or questions for them to consider, email Your email will be shared with the entire delegation.
Plan to attend yet to be scheduled webinars before and after General Conference hosted by delegation leaders.
We appreciate your prayers as we approach General Conference. Together we remain on mission together.

Rev. Alex Shanks
Clergy Head of Delegation

Molly McEntire
Lay Head of Delegation


A conversation starter for clergy and key leaders across the Florida Conference.  In the following monograph, Bishop Ken Carter invites us into the difficult work of listening.  Defining and Growing an Inclusive, Gracious and Evangelical Center: The Future[s] of The United Methodist Church, with a forward by Gil Rendle. 


 March 8,2020


April 10 Good Friday

May 25 Memorial Day

July 4 Independence Day Observed July 3

September 7 Labor Day

November 11 Veteran’s Day

November 26 Thanksgiving

November 27 Day after Thanksgiving

December 24 Christmas Eve

December 25 Christmas Day


April 23 - Clergy Meeting - Bay Hope 10-1 (including working lunch) click here to register Alex Shanks will share about General Conference 2020, the various plans (including A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation) and legislation and resources for how churches can prepare their congregations. Please contact your district office with questions .

April 23 - 7 PM First Lakeland room c203 Laity and church leaders are invited and encouraged to attend the morning or evening meeting to learn more about the General conference petitions and the Protocol and other questions (send questions to )or concerns you want addressed. Click here to register.

 May 5-15, 2020  General Conference - Minneapolis, MN

 May 26 - Bay Hope - Pre-Annual Conference Orientation 7 PM  click here to register

 June 4-6, 2020  Annual Conference, Florida Southern College, Lakeland

  July 15-18, 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference ♦ ♦ Lake Junaluska, NC