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AC Newsletter December 2021


Thrive!  Rebuilding the Local Church!

Let us, your servants, see you work again;
    let our children see your glory.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval
    and make our efforts successful.
    Yes, make our efforts successful!” Psalm 90:16-17

Dear Sisters and Brothers ~

Happy Advent!  As we step into this Christian New Year, when we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child, we take stock of our lives and make decisions for the future.  It means reflecting on the past and asking God to move in a new way in our lives and churches over this next year.  Moses, the author of Psalm 90, today’s scripture text, asked for God to allow them to see His work, glory, gain His approval, and bless the efforts of His servants.  Moses was being honest before God.  They had been through a lot and needed God to show up in their midst.  It is a prayer for restoration ... rebuilding.

That’s my prayer as well for you personally and your church ... restoration and rebuilding.  As 2021 concludes, amid the uncertainties of which we have no control, our collective hope is that 2022 can be a year that grows the Kingdom of God.  Our individual and collective healing need to happen so that we can continue sharing the Good News of Jesus, using these healing stories to encourage many.

As your church plans for 2022, you are invited to join other leaders from your local church and the Atlantic Central District to “Thrive!  Rebuilding the Local Church” on Saturday, January 22, 2022, from 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM at Suntree UMC in Melbourne.  Pastor Matthew Hartsfield, Senior Pastor at Bay Hope in Tampa, will be our Keynote Speaker. He will dive into what it looks like to thrive, rebuild, and rebirth HOPE into your local church.  You will not want to miss it!  He is awesome and I’m so pleased he will be with us.  Be on the lookout for a registration link in the next two week and a promo video in early January to share with your church.

Also, you will have a selection of practical ministry breakout sessions from which to choose.  Topics such as revitalizing student ministry, fresh expressions of church, discipleship ministries, serving and missions, stewardship, conversation on racial reconciliation, leadership and more will be offered.  Ideally, 1-2 people from your church should attend each breakout so that you can bring back real ideas and take solid next steps forward.  It takes all of us to rebuild the local church!  Please contact Paula at for any questions you may have.

Moses desired to experience God’s glory and I know that is the cry of all our hearts.  We build the church for the future generations.  What a privilege!  Get excited about the New Year and may God bless you this Advent and Christmas Season!

Grace and peace ~

Reverend Dionne C. Hammond 


"Thrive!" Leadership Day 2022

We are excited about the upcoming "Thrive!" Leadership Day event. Planning is underway for our time together. We will begin with worship and the keynote speaker followed by interactive breakout sessions, then a large group gathering to close our day together. Mark your calendar now and plan to join us!

"Thrive!" Leadership Day
Saturday, January 22, 2022
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Matthew Hartsfield, Bay Hope Church
Host Church: Suntree United Methodist Church - Melbourne, FL

Our hope is that every church in our district will ask a team to join us. Registration will open on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. 

Spiritual Leadership Conference 2022




January 13 and 14, 2022

Grace Church  l  Cape Coral, FL

Feeling spiritually fatigued as a leader? Running on empty?

Maybe it's time for a change.

Spiritual Leadership Conference exists for leaders like you. Together, we will spend two full days discovering what it looks like to lead from the abundance of God's grace and presence in our lives. 

Individual and Group tickets are available. 

Click here to for more information and to get tickets for the Spiritual Leadership Conference 2022. 








Conference Offering Local Church Training in 2022

The Florida Conference is offering Local Church Training via Zoom over six consecutive weeks! Each subject will have three opportunities for you to attend: Tuesdays 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM and Saturdays at 9:00 AM. The material will be the same for all three opportunities.

Please share these training dates with your ministry teams at your local church and ask them to save the date for the trainings that apply to their team. Each individual can register for the time that works best for them. 

Registration will open on December 15, 2022. 

  • Finance Teams with Craig Smelser, Conference Treasurer
    • Tuesday, February 8, 2022
      • 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM
    • Saturday, February 12, 2022
      • 9:00 AM
  • SPRC Teams / Human Resources with Lois Durham, Conference Human Resources 
    • Tuesday, February 15, 2022
      • 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM
    • Saturday, February 19, 2022
      • 9:00 AM
  • Board of Trustees with LaNita Battles, Director of Ministry Protection 
    • Tuesday, February 22, 2022
      • 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM
    • Saturday, February 26, 2022
      • 9:00 AM
  • Child and Youth Protection Policy Training with LaNita Battles, Director of Ministry Protection   
    • Tuesday, March 1, 2022
      • 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM
    • Saturday, March 5, 2022
      • 9:00 AM
  • Florida United Methodist Children's Home Local Church Representative with Elisabeth Gadd, Chief Development Officer
    • Tuesday, March 8, 2022
      • 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM
    • Saturday, March 12, 2022
      • 9:00 AM
  • Lay Leader and Lay Member to Annual Conference with Alice Williams & Derrick Scott III, Co Lay Leaders
    • Tuesday, March 15, 2022
      • 2:00 PM or 6:30 PM
    • Saturday, March 19, 2022
      • 9:00 AM

Registration will open soon. Please share these training dates and times with your church leaders. Cokesbury sells Guidebooks for many different leadership roles in the United Methodist Church. Click HERE to see what they offer.


Church and Pastor Profiles due by January 31, 2022

Church Profiles are to be reviewed and updated online annually by the SPR Committees and all Clergy in the Florida Conference. The church profile update should be completed at least one week prior to the DS consultation, if needed, but no later than January 31, 2022 for all churches. 

Pastor Profiles are updated online annually and may begin after December 1, 2021. The Pastor Profile deadline to complete is at least one week prior to the DS consultation, if needed, but no later than January 31, 2022. 

Both the Church Profiles and the Pastor Profiles should be an honest reflection of the pastor ministry and the profile of the church. 

Click here for detailed instructions on accessing both the church and pastor profiles. Please follow the step-by-step instructions to access the appropriate profile. If you have any questions about either of these profiles, please contact the District Office. 


Florida Conference Leadership Academy Registration Now Open

The Florida Conference Leadership Academy is ready to launch! We first introduced the Leadership Academy to you at our Annual Conference in June. Enrollment begins today! We invite you to get ready for our first cohort lift-off in January 2022. Be sure to confirm your seat and register before the December 17 deadline! The Academy is open to both clergy and laity.

Click here for enrollment form 

Why the Leadership Academy?
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens a friend.” (Prov. 22:17 CEB) This is a prime time for all of us, as friends and ministry leaders both clergy and laity to be sharp and prepared to effectively continue the mission in these rapidly changing times.       
Program Objectives: 

  • Provide a context for excellence in leadership development, research, and service for our Florida Conference as we integrate the extensive work of the anti-racism task force.
  • Identify, recruit, and equip interested laity and clergy for courageous and transformational leadership in the local church, district, conference, and community. 
  • Inspire participants to reflect leadership skills that honor and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion while being grounded in an understanding of Wesleyan theology and
  • he history and polity of the UMC. 
  • Provide opportunities for participants to grow in intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness through workshop instruction, class participation, and critical engagement with God, self, and neighbor.

Your registration investment of $75, includes all course fees, assessments, and materials. Also included is admission to the Legacy Museum experience in Birmingham, Alabama planned for the summer.
Proposed Session Dates and Times
This program is comprised of six sessions, scheduled bi-monthly (every other month) from January thru October. The sessions will be in hybrid format and will include online coursework, Zoom sessions, and in-person gatherings.
Session 1 will be from 9:30 to noon. All other sessions will be held on Saturdays from 9:30a - 3:30p. With the exception of Session 1, all other sessions will be held on the LAST Saturday of the month. Pre-work for each session will be available in our online platform. Sessions are flexible depending on availability of cohort members.

  • January 22nd (Zoom):  Session 1 – Orientation to the Academy
    • Purpose, Goals, Theoretical Framework 
    • Expectations (participants, facilitators, leaders, instructors) 
    • Structure of the Academy 
  • February 26th (In-person):  Session 2 – Introduction to Leadership 
    • Historical Foundations of Leadership 
    • Leadership in the Bible – Hebrew Bible & New Testament 
    • Denominational Leadership – Leading in the Wesleyan Way 
  • April 30th (Zoom):  Session 3 – Intrapersonal Development 
    • Implicit Bias – Who Am I 
    • Socialization 
    • Power, Justice, & Discrimination 
    • Vision/Values 
      • Developing a Personal Statement 
      • Valuing Self 
  • June 25th (In-person):  Session 4 – Interpersonal Development & Trip to the Legacy Museum
    • Communicating Across Differences 
    • Conflict Management & Resolution 
    • Cross Racial/Cross Cultural Challenges 
  • August 27th (Zoom):  Session 5 – Organizational Leadership 
    • UMC Polity 
    • Organizational Structure 
    • Strategic Planning, Vision, Values 
      • Local Church, District, Conference Boards and Committees 
    • Budget and Fiscal Requirements 
      • Grants and more
    • Training and Development 
  • October 29th (In-person): Session 6 – Community Engagement & Wrap Up 
    • Theological Framework 
    • Justice Advocacy 
      • Previously incarcerated persons 
      • Equal wages 
      • Florida Advocacy days 
      • Environmental  

Next Steps

Take our pre-flight tour to check out our learning platform. Then register now to be on the inaugural flight when it takes off in January 2022!

Prepare for the journey! We look forward to learning, growing, and sharing with you. For questions or more information please contact us at

Program Sponsored by FLUMC Black Methodists for Church Renewal


Annual Conference 2022

The Florida Annual Conference 2022 session will be back to an in-person event and will be held on June 9-11, 2022 (a general schedule will be released in the New Year) on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The theme for Annual Conference 2022 will be: Rebuilding the Church, Re-membering the Body: Creating a Spiritual Home for All.

“We have been through an extraordinary season with many complexities and constraints, and all of this has kept us from the joy of coming together, and we likely have taken this gift for granted,” said Bishop Ken Carter. “I am excited about the 2022 Annual Conference, and I believe God will bless us during these days.”
Thanks to vaccinations and proper protocols, we feel confident that an in-person gathering can occur in June of next year. While we will still offer a livestream option for those not able to be present in Lakeland, voting on Conference matters will only be available to in-person lay and clergy members.
As we have for the past two years, your Annual Conference planning team will continue to follow state and local health guidelines, including those of Florida Southern College as our hosts. It is possible that mask-wearing and social distancing may still be recommended so please watch for more details as we draw closer to June.

For questions, please contact

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2022 Lands of the Bible Cruise with Guest Speaker, Bishop Ken Carter

Join Bishop Ken Carter, Guest Speaker, on a 13-day "Lands of the Bible Cruise" aboard the Celebrity Apex. The cruise departs from New York, NY on September 22, 2022 with fares starting at $4,698*. Journey to places such as Rome, Galilee, Jerusalem, Ephesus, Bethlehem, Athens, and much more! 

For details, visit the Educational Opportunity Tours website at



2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

The Florida Conference and District Offices will be closed the following days:

Friday, December 24, 2021 - Christmas Holiday

Monday, December 27, 2021 - Christmas Holiday

Friday, December 31, 2021 - New Year's Day Holiday