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AC December 2018



Pastor Will Finnin shared this story with me, which I had heard before, but had forgotten.

“I Packed Your Parachute”

Ladies and gentlemen... There is a time in one's life when you look back at all the friends and acquaintances you have had along the way.

Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today.”

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said “Good morning, how are you?” or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who's packing your parachute?”

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

This story reminded me of the people who have packed my parachute over the years.  One of those persons for me was Rev. Tom Price.  Tom was my college Chaplain at Florida Southern College and later I worked as his Associate at Winter Park UMC.  Tom packed my parachute in my youth with a listening ear, a mentor/guide to what it means to be a minister/preacher, a friend, a teacher, an encourager, a person who saw my strengths and gifts, and a person who was humble (while being one of the best preachers I ever heard). 

Jesus spent three years packing the disciples’ parachutes for ministry and the disciples did that for those who were called and formed the church.  The church is built upon each others’ love and care. 

So, as we move toward Jesus’ birth, I give thanks for Jesus, the disciples, the mentors and guides and coaches in my life who have been there for me. 

Who packed your parachute for ministry?

Who do you need to thank? 

Let me close with a word from Scripture that when lived out leads to safe landings, meaningful  relationships and a loving witness to the world.  Paul called it the Fruit of the Spirit: ‘…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control’.  (Gal. 5:22)




What an honor for CROS Ministries to be selected as Bank of America's 2018 Neighborhood Builder for Palm Bch County. I am grateful to our Board of Directors, dedicated staff, volunteers and community partners, who work hard day in and day out to alleviate hunger in our community. #BofAgrants #NeighborhoodBuilders #PowerTo #GivingTuesday

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Atlantic Central District 2019 dCOM Meetings

District Superintendent:  Rev. Dr. Gary Spencer (772) 299-0255

dCOM Chair:  Rev. Jeremy Rebman

dCOM Vice Chair:  Rev. Corky Calhoun

dCOM Registrar:  Elizabeth Flynn

DCOM Meeting Location: First UMC, Vero Beach

  • Mon, Oct 15, 2018 (materials due Sept 17, 2018) Local Pastor Renewal
  • Mon, Feb 4 (materials due Jan 7) LPRs
  • Mon, May 6 (materials due Apr 8) 1st Provisional attempt
  • Mon, Aug 19 (materials due July 22) 2nd Provisional attempt
  • Mon, Nov 4 (materials due Oct 7)


Active Threat Safety Seminar

In keeping with our core value of safety and security and to address the continuing instances of tragic shootings around the country, The Florida Conference Ministry Protection Department is offering a free training event for local churches.

We were fortunate to be able to schedule four events before year’s end with one of the pre-eminent active threat training experts in Florida.

Who can attend? Pastors, assistant/associate pastors, youth pastors/leaders, business administrators, trustees, church secretaries, daycare directors and staff, security team members, church ushers/greeters, and anyone else at the local church who is interested in safety. There is a seating capacity for each site, so registration (below) will be on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive an electronic confirmation of your registration.

What will be covered?

  • Interactive training focusing on preparing for hostile intruders, active shooters, or other threats.
  • Formulating plans that can be incorporated into daily routines
  • Developing safety teams and assigning duties within the team
  • Continuing training throughout the year
  • Trauma care

Training Sessions: (the same material will be presented at each session)

  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – First United Methodist Church of Clewiston
  • Thursday, December 13, 2018 – First United Methodist Church of Clewiston
  • Monday, December 17, 2018 – First United Methodist Church of Lakeland
  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018 – Trinity United Methodist Church of Gainesville

Each session will last from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and lunch will be provided.

You can reserve your spot by clicking HERE to register. The deadline for confirming your attendance at one of the events is December 10, 2018, so reserve your space today!

If you have questions about the training events, or need further information, please feel free to contact us at

Your Partners in His Service,

The Ministry Protection Department



Florida is changing it's minimum wage law.  Please make sure you print this out and post at your office. 



Sisters and Brothers in the Florida Conference,
In the last month churches and individuals have sent just over $250,000 toward the needs of our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist churches of the panhandle. Thank you for this amazing response!
As a reminder, the people of the First United Methodist Church of Ormond Beach have challenged us to help through a matching grant up to the amount of $500,000. We are half way there! 
Click here to donate online. Please make checks payable to The Florida Conference Treasurer with Hurricane Michael in the notation line and mail to: Florida Annual Conference, 450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., Lakeland, FL 33815-1522. We ask that all gifts to be matched be given by December 31.
These offerings will be distributed by Bishop David Graves and the cabinet of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference to local churches with the greatest needs.
I give thanks from the depths of my heart for your faithfulness and generosity. 
Please share this news and invite others to participate.
Bishop Ken Carter 



Some of you have been asking for training in the different areas of your church (Trustees, Finance, SPR).  There is webinar training available to those who want to take advantage of it.  Follow the steps below and then select which training to want to accomplish.

WEBINAR Training:

  1. First Step:

UMCDISCIPLESHIP.ORG (doesn’t have to be capitalized)

  1. Second Step:

At the banner at the top of the website page  click on “Leadership Resources”

  1. Third Step:

Click on “Church Leadership” under Leadership Resources

Then click on your area of leadership and register for the webinar.  Most of the webinars are a half an hour or hour.  Watch them at your own leisure in your home.  


General Conference Needs Choirs!

Nashville, Tenn.: United Methodist choirs and worship ensemble groups from around the world may now audition online for an invitation to perform at the 2020 General Conference, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly, which meets in Minneapolis, Minn. from May 5 -15, 2020.

To apply for an invitation to General Conference, groups are asked to submit a letter of application that includes the following: 1) name of group; 2) name of primary contact person along with email address and phone number; 3) brief history/bio of the group including number of members, general age range, group’s location, and any unique characteristics; and 4) a link to a private YouTube video of the group performing.

The application should be emailed to by February 28, 2019.


10 - Missional Vital Signs Due

Please remember to submit your Missional Vital Signs (MVS) each month no later than the 10th of the month. Click here to enter stats.

December 8 - Atlantic Central SPR training

This SPR training is for the committee to come and find out what their responsibilities are.  Meeting will be in the StuMin Center.  This building sits on the corner of Orange Avenue and Herbert Street. Suggest participants park in the lot on Orange Avenue across the street from StuMin Center and adjacent to Administration Office.

December 10 - Atlantic Central SPR Training

This SPR training is for each church to learn what the responsibilities are to the staff and church. 

February 4 - dCOM

Paperwork is due by Jan. 7, 2019

March 16 - Day on Campus

More than 1,000 United Methodist from across the Florida Conference will gather on the beautiful campus of the Florida United Methodist Children's Home in Enterprise.

May 6 - dCOM

Paperwork due by Apr. 8, 2019

May 11 - Run 4 Life 4 Miler - FUMCH

The Run 4 Life 4 Miler begins and ends on the campus of the Florida United Methodist Children's Home in historic Enterprise.  The 4 mile course is on magnificent oak canopy roads along the shore of Lake Monroe.  It is one of the most uniquely beautiful areas and race courses in Central Florida.   The goal of this race is to bring awareness to mental health/depression issues and to raise funds for programs providing support to those in need.  It is also in remembrance of those who were overwhelmed by their struggles and felt suicide was their only option.  All race proceeds will go to FUMCH and other local suicide prevention programs.    Whether you will run or walk, we hope that you will ...