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AC Newsletter April 2023

Holy Week – Gethsemane Moments

“’Abba, Father,’ he cried out, ‘everything is possible for you.
Please take this cup of suffering away from me.
Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’”
- Mark 14:36 (NLT )

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ ~

As we begin Holy Week and the final leg of the pilgrimage to the cross with Jesus, it is a time for deep reflection and asking the question, “what would I have done if I had been there?”  On Sunday, I heard a powerful message about Mary Magdalene and how she stayed with Jesus the whole way until his body was laid in the tomb.  Never did she waiver.  Yesterday morning, I heard about Simon the Cyrene, a passerby, who was forced to carry the cross with Jesus.  Little did he know that his presence would be helping God himself in his hour of desperation.

Prior to these last difficult moments of Jesus’ life, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The wrestle between submitting to the will of the Father and desperately wanting to live is hard to read.  Knowing he needed his friends, Jesus took Peter, James and John, and Jesus asked them to pray for him while he went to pray by himself.  He was transparent – telling the three that his soul was crushed with grief to the point of death and needed his friends to keep watch.  But they fell asleep, not only once but three times.  They failed him.

I’ve been sitting with this story, asking “why did they fall asleep?”  It’s a hard one.  Time and time again Jesus was there for so many, including them, and in his great need, they fail him.  When I put myself in the story of Holy Week, I much rather think of myself behaving like Mary Magdalene who stayed with Jesus until the bitter end.  I hope I would have the courage and strength.  Bringing it to my daily life, do I have the courage and strength to “not fall asleep” but to serve God through ushering into reality his kingdom here “on earth as it is in heaven”?  Time and time again, Jesus has been present for me and I too fail him.  I love the Apostle Paul’s words that named all of us as “sleepers” encouraging us to be the Light of Christ in our dark world:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you!” Ephesians 5:14 (NIV)

As we make the final Holy Week pilgrimage, I pray that we would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to stay awake and alert, encouraging others to do so as well, so that the message of Easter Hope is spread to many.  May it be so! 

Here are a couple of Atlantic Central District opportunities to be in mission together! 

  • Gleaning with CROS Ministries!  Saturday, April 29 and Saturday, May 6:  Meet from 8:30-11:30 AM in Palm City (Exit 110 on I-95) and pick produce that will be distributed to hungry people.  See below for details and registration!
  • Concert of Prayer!  Wednesday, May 31 at 12:00 noon and 7:00 PM.  Join us on Zoom for a time of interactive prayer as we prepare for Annual Conference, “Abound In Hope.”  Over this District Year of Prayer, many throughout the district have prayed on the last Wednesday of the month, and on Wednesdays during Advent and during Lent.  We will have two special opportunities to pray as the school year ends! See below to register!

With the Hope of Christ ~

Gleaning is the collection of crops either from farmers' fields that have already been mechanically harvested or from fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest, due to low market prices. Partnership with local growers allow us to access the fields with volunteers to recover the produce that would otherwise go to waste. The fresh produce is distributed to food pantries and meal kitchens through distribution partners.

We invite you to join us for a day of gleaning. 


  • Saturday, April 29, 2023 from 8:30 - 11:30 AM in Palm City, FL near Exit 110
  • Saturday, May 6, 2023 from 8:30 - 11:30 AM in Palm City, FL near Exit 110

For more information about Gleaning and the Impact Report, click on the links below.

Gleaning Brochure   l   CROS Ministries Impact Report

To sign up to join us for a day of gleaning, please complete the registration form by clicking here.

All who join us must complete a waiver. Please click here to download and print the waiver, and bring it with you the day of gleaning.


During the AC District Prayer Gatherings, we have had the opportunity to pray together. There is one more opportunity for the Lenten Prayer Gatherings on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 12:00 Noon to join us on Zoom. Please register to receive the Zoom link by clicking here

We will also have one more Monthly Prayer Gathering on Wednesday, April 26 at 12:00 Noon on Zoom. Please register for this gathering by clicking here

Join us on Zoom for a Concert of Prayer on Wednesday,
May 31, 2023 at 12:00 Noon and 7:00 PM for one hour.
This will be a time of interactive prayer as we prepare for Annual Conference, "Abound in Hope."

Register to receive the Zoom link by clicking here

Are you, and the youth, of your church looking for something fun to do this summer? Well, we've got you covered!

Every four years, youth from United Methodist Churches all over the country gather together for a time of dynamic worship, engaging speakers, service opportunities, and so much more ... and we would love to see you there!

This July 25 - 28, 2023, Discipleship Ministries will host Youth2023, at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. The theme for this year's event is "BOLD - Being Ourselves, Living Different" and this event is open to all students in Grades 6 - 12. 

Additionally, if you already have summer plans or a whole week away seems like a little too much, we are working with the team at Discipleship Ministries to have a One Day option to hear the main speaker, Rachel Billups, and to see the band, The Rend Collective. For those who are interested in joining us for the one day option, information will be available after Easter. 

Come and let us help amplify your voice and demonstrate the good that gathering together can bring!

  • Worship with Thousands
  • An amazing Experience
  • Engaging Speakers
  • Impactful Service Opportunities
  • Life-Changing Fun
  • Interactive Leaning
  • Bible Study
  • and Much More!

For details and to register, visit the BOLD website at

Last week, Atlantic Central District Clergy (Appointed and Retired) and Lay Members to Annual Conference (2022) for the Special Called Annual Conference on April 22, 2023, received an email from Paula McDonald. Please respond by completing the form at the link that was provided in the email. It is important that you confirm that we have your correct email address no later than Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

If you did not receive an email and are wondering if you will be voting at the special called Annual Conference on April 22, please email Paula at

For details and information about the Special Session of Annual Conference on Zoom April 22, 2023, please visit the FLUMC website by clicking here

All Annual Conference-related information will be posted on the Florida Conference website.

This year's in-person event will be held June 8 - 10 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Click here for the AC2023 webpage. You will find the schedule for clergy and lay members to annual conference. Information will be uploaded as it is available.

There will be a Pre-Conference orientation webinar on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 6:00 PM. 

If you are interested in serving as an Atlantic Central District at-Large Lay Member to Annual Conference 2023, please contact your Pastor.