Jesus: Our Refuge in the Storm
“God is a safe place to hide,
ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protect us.”
- Psalm 46:1-3 (The Message)
Dear Atlantic Central Sisters and Brothers ~
In the aftermath of Ian, I hold the mix of emotions ... perhaps you do too. I am profoundly sad about the devastation and loss of so many and questions on how I can make a difference. And at the same time, relief, and gratitude that I personally came through the storm whole. Today as the clean-up and assessment begins, let’s commit to be the answer to our fellow Floridians’ prayers through aid and help. For starters, below is information on how to give financially to the Hurricane Ian Fund through the Florida Annual Conference. Stay tuned for Atlantic Central District initiatives for you and your church to help with the long-term restoration efforts.
On Wednesday, as we were bracing for Hurricane Ian to make landfall in SW Florida, our prescheduled District Zoom Prayer Gathering happened from 12noon-12:30 pm. Beginning with Psalm 46, we came together and prayed for everyone in the path of the storm, the ravages of poverty, war and homelessness around the world, our local communities and churches, our personal needs, and families. We prayed for The United Methodist Church as we experience stress and anxiety. We praised God for God’s infinite love and care, confessed our sin, made our petitions, and built one another’s faith. As always, God’s timing was perfect when I chose 9-28-22 to be our first District Prayer Gathering.
Why “A District Year of Prayer”? There are many things we cannot control – pandemics, hurricanes, personal tragedy, and denominational future - but we can decide how to use our time and chose to pray. About two months ago, in some despairing moments I was facing, I heard the Holy Spirit challenging me to begin praying and to invite our Atlantic Central District to do the same. Our energy will be spent either negatively – complaining and criticizing – or it will be spent positively – being tenderhearted and honorable. Calling on God and asking the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts is the first step in building God’s Kingdom. Asking, seeking and knocking as Jesus taught us in Matthew 7:7-8.
So I invite you to make the commitment and join me and others from around the Atlantic Central District in the following prayer opportunities:
- Praying together at your Local Church/Charge Conference (please see the link for when your church is having its church/charge conference)
- Monthly Prayer ZOOM Gathering – 12 Noon – 12:30 PM on the last Wednesday of the month (9/28, 10/26, 11/30, 1/25, 2/22, 3/29)
- Advent ZOOM Prayer Study – 12:00 Noon-1 PM Wednesdays 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, 12/21
- Lenten ZOOM Prayer Study – 12:00 Noon-1 PM Wednesdays 3/1, 3/ 8, 3/15, 3/22, 3/29, 4/5
- Weekly prayer videos led by clergy and lay leaders beginning in October posted on our Atlantic Central District Facebook Page
- North/Central/South Spring Concerts of Prayer throughout the District
- Holy Land Journey – April 25 - May 5, 2023
Finally, if you have a specific prayer request or a need that you would like to share with me, please write me at DS-AC@flumc.org. I would be honored to lift you in prayer.
May the God of the Universe Who holds us in the palm of His hand give you the strength and hope for today and tomorrow +
Grace and peace ~
Jesus said to “ask, seek, and knock” and we will “receive, find, and experience open doors!” We are excited to kick off our District Year of Prayer as we seek God individually and collectively. With daily life stressors and other anxieties with which we are faced, our hope is that we will be encouraged personally and we will pause to thank God for his goodness and faithfulness in our lives as well as bring our needs before him.
You and your congregation are invited to join us and others from our District in prayer. The following are the dates and times of upcoming prayer gatherings on the last Wednesday of each month from 12:00 - 12:30 PM.
Wednesday, October 26
Wednesday, November 20
Wednesday, January 25
Wednesday, February 22
Wednesday, March 29
Register for the Zoom prayer gatherings at the link below.
Making a Donation
The Florida Conference is accepting donations to support the mission of local churches most directly affected by the storm. Funds will be distributed by the cabinet under the supervision of the Conference Committee on Finance & Administration.
Checks can be sent to the Florida Conference in the same manner as your church apportionments with the notation of 'Florida Conference - Hurricane Ian.'
Donations can also be made directly to the Florida Conference at the link below.
Damage Reporting and Community Needs
If your church is damaged from the storm, below is some important information.
FLUMC CLAIM REPORTING NUMBER:
If we have damage from the storm, those claims will be handled by a professional adjusting company that specializes in catastrophe claims. Claims will be prioritized by the catastrophe response unit based upon the extent of damage and an adjuster will be dispatched to your location as soon as possible.
DAMAGE MITIGATION/TEMPORARY REPAIRS:
If your church is damaged by the storm, please take all necessary measures to mitigate further damage to your facility. Please note that you do not have to wait for the field adjuster to arrive at your location to dry out your facility or to make temporary repairs. Keep all receipts for any temporary repairs and photograph or video all damage and have this documentation available for the adjuster.
If there are needs in your community after the storm, please contact Florida Conference Disaster Recovery, using the CAT hotline (855- CAT-FUMC) to report community needs. We have trained volunteers who can assist with clean up, tarping, debris removal, etc.
Cleaning Kits Needed
We are requesting that local churches collect and assemble cleaning kits which will be shipped to those in need to take on the overwhelming task of post-disaster clean-up.
We are asking all churches that collect kits to contact Trish Warren, Disaster Response Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (863) 661-4939, to coordinate shipping. Please be prepared to hold on to the kits until further notice from the Disaster Response Ministry.
Join us for a Dinner Church/Messy Church workshop!
Dinner Church Workshop: Join Heather Evans from the FLUMC Fresh Expressions team and Eat, Pray, Love Dinner Church for a day of inspiration, learning, and team building. We will cover the theology behind the dinner church movement and the basics of how to launch a dinner church fresh expression in your community.
Messy Church Workshop: Messy Church allows families of all ages and stages in your neighborhood to find community, enjoy a meal, experience worship, and learn Bible truths in a fun and interactive way. Your church can easily provide this exciting new way of "doing church" to people that would otherwise not be involved in the life of a traditional church. Let us help you learn how to launch a "Messy Church" in your community.
- Saturday, October 22, 2022 l 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM l First UMC - Port St. Lucie
- Saturday, February 18, 2023 l 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM l Indian River City UMC - Titusville
Register as a team or as an individual. For details and to register, please visit the AC Events and Trainings webpage at https://www.flumc.org/ac-events-and-trainings
The AC District Lay Servant Ministry is sponsoring the following courses:
Basic Course - Lay Servant Ministries (English and Spanish)
Advanced Course - Polity, Practice, and the Mission of the United Methodist Connection (English and Spanish)
These courses will be held at:
First UMC - Port St. Lucie l 260 MW Prima Vista Blvd. l Port St. Lucie, FL 34983
Visit the AC District Lay Servant Ministry website for details and to register by clicking here.
The Florida Conference has been entrusted with the responsibility of discerning and dispersing funds from the Ware Trust. The intended recipients are Florida Conference churches / ministries which reflect spiritual formation or ministry initiatives.
The funds for such initiatives originate from the Rev. H. Melton and Adelaide S. Ware Trust. Many Florida United Methodists are already aware of the contributions of the late Rev. and Mrs. Ware. Their gracious gifts have served to underwrite the cost of the prayer chapel at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park along with this perpetual grant. Their financial and spiritual generosity is intended to enhance the experience opportunities for spiritual formation within our Conference.
Spiritual Formation is the process by and through which individuals live a life of fullness in and for Christ. The formative experience enables persons to follow the Holy Spirit more closely and through the practice of intentional disciplines, receive the blessings that a deeper and richer relationship with Christ affords. Persons who embark on the intentional journey of formation, open themselves to deeper learning, believing, and living the message of the Gospel.
Ministries applying for a grant from the Ware Foundation should seek to embody the sacrificial spirit and generous hearts of Rev. H. Melton and Adelaide S. Ware, who desired to share their generous gifts to make the formational journey available to groups of disciples. The church / ministry group should be recognized by the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and be prepared to submit the name(s) and contact information of the officers or leadership for the ministry and accounting procedures. The individual grant participants should be willing to serve in the ministry requesting the grant. A written submission is required not later than April 30, 2023. The submission should be a maximum of 1000 words, highlighting how the grant recipient has impacted their community.
Completed applications are due no later than October 25, 2022 (close of business) and are to be submitted via the submission link – CLICK HERE.
Note, this is a firm deadline. Applicants will be notified by November 30th, 2022 by email, if they have or have not been awarded the grant. Funds will be received not later than 12/31/22. NOTE: It is your responsibility to fully complete the grant and provide all necessary information. Grant applications may be disqualified for missing information. Please visit our website for more information and past recipient examples by clicking here.
Grant awards will range up to $1500.00. Applicants should take particular care to detail methods to address any shortfall between amount requested and potential amount rewarded. The Ware Trust Committee reserves the right to award or deny any applications, including requests for renewal grants.
The members of the Ware Trust Committee are grateful for your interest and thankful for your leadership!