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GCD April 2019 Newsletter

From the District Superintendent

The Gospel of Luke recounts one of my favorite Resurrection moments and message.  The moment is when the faithful women go to the tomb looking to care for Jesus’ crucified body. The women found the stone rolled away and entered the tomb.  Only to discover Jesus’ body was not there.  The women were perplexed to find the body missing and terrified by the Angel’s appearance next to them.  The Angel’s message was good news!!!  “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest” Luke 24:5-9 NRSV. 

Many people will visit your church this weekend either in person or online and they are hoping to encounter a moment and a message.  The moment might be experienced with their family, in fellowship with friends, while admiring beautiful Easter lilies or the amazing coffee, donuts or brunch your church will offer.  Let’s create powerful moments and memories this weekend.  People are also hungry to hear a life giving, hopeful, relevant message!!!  I pray your church shares the Resurrection message this weekend through music, preaching, videos, handouts, skits, dramas and any other creative means you and your team envision.  I pray the Holy Spirit fills you and the church with powerful Resurrection moments and messages throughout Holy Week.

Please share with me via email ways the Holy Spirit created powerful moments and messages throughout Holy Week within your local church.

On Mission Together,


District Director of Lay Servant Ministries open to nominees

Are you passionate about your faith in Christ and Lay Servant Ministries?  Do you enjoy teaching and encouraging laity in mission and ministry? Do you have strong administrative and people skills?  Do you have time and sense a call to leadership in lay servant ministries on  a District level?  If you answered yes to at least three of the four questions please contact Maggie Corrigan at to learn more about serving as our District Director of Lay Servant Ministries.  Nominations open until May 15th 2019.

Annual Conference Pre-Conference Session

The District will host two pre-conference sessions for Annual Conference 2019 on Monday, May 14, 2019 at 6:30 PM  St Paul UMC 1498 Rosery Rd. NE in Largo Click here to register and Thursday, May 16 at 6:30 PM St Andrew’s UMC I3315 S Bryan Rd in Brandon Click here to register. All clergy and lay members to Annual Conference are encouraged to attend so you can be prepared for Annual Conference 2019.


  Wanted: Construction Coordinator for the Florida United Methodist Conference Disaster Recovery Group

  • The Florida Conference is looking to hire 2 full/part-time construction coordinators for the Tampa Bay Region.
  • If you're a contractor, handyman or have a good basic knowledge of construction, we could put you to work.
  • Our construction coordinators do estimates, lead volunteer teams and get small projects completed.

If you're interested, know someone who might be or just need more information, please contact:

Tim DuBois  or call 727-365-8511

Fresh Expressions Vision Day

Are you eager to better understand this movement so many people in the conference are talking about? Are you curious about how regular people are jump-starting creative, faith-filled ministry in the community? Are you wrestling with the changes in our cities and our culture and looking for a few starting tools for ministry in a shifting world? This is the deep dive into Fresh Expressions you've been waiting for!

In an interactive format presented with excellence by the Fresh Expressions *national* team, you will have an opportunity to:

  • Hear how Fresh Expressions is renewing the church
  • Talk about the challenges and opportunities for Mission Engagement in your community
  • Learn more about the Mission-Shaped Church, in Florida United Methodist perspective
  • Discover tools to start Fresh Expressions in your area

We hope you will join us on May 11! [Registration link]

Childcare and Spanish translation will be available **if registered and requested by April 29.**
If cost is prohibitive, scholarships are available.

Questions? Contact Keri LaBrant at

Click here to register

The Alturas United Methodist Church, 2745 Oak Drive Alturas,

Presents: the Way of the Cross during Holy Week

They have commissioned local artist Ron Bell to paint 8 Scriptural representations of Jesus’ journey to the cross and will offer a meditative guide for reflection at each station. The Way of the Cross will be open Monday April 15-Thursday, April 18 from 3:00 pm-7:00 pm. For further information, contact the church office at 863-537-1384.

Youth Protection Policy 

The conference updated the policy last year. Local churches and conference-affiliated ministries are asked to review and update policies using this template. Please submit a complete copy of the policy AND the Annual Review & Renewal Signature page to Maggie Corrigan at  by April 30.

Annual Clergy Assessment

This is a reminder that the new 2019 Annual Clergy Assessment forms have been posted on the Office of Clergy Excellence section of Conference website. If you have already started using the old 2018 materials that remained posted on our website through January 2019, please continue to use them! Also, the Spanish materials are a translation of the 2018 materials. We apologize that the new materials have not yet been translated. The assessment forms are not due to your district office until May 31, 2019.

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership - English
Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership - Spanish
There are a few minor changes to the English forms this year. Mostly, these are formatting issues and minor word changes. We have made one change so that the S.M.A.R.T. goals on the SPRC evaluation are the church’s goals and the S.M.A.R.T. goals on the clergy self-evaluation are the pastor’s goals. Both sets of goals are recorded on the Joint SPRC/Clergy Dialogue. But remember, if you’ve already started using the 2018 forms, you don’t have to make the changes!! We’re very flexible!

We are ON MISSION TOGETHER! Please remind yourself of our mission of: equipping leaders to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of communities across Florida and beyond; our vision is to cultivate Courageous Leadership, Missional Engagement and Spirit-Led Innovation; and our 5 mindsets: Future Focused, Wesleyan Rooted, Passionate About People, Strengthened By Diversity and Adaptive. These are the kind of leaders we are looking for!

The Cuba Ministry

Did you know the Methodist Church in Cuba has been growing at about 10% per year for the past 20 years and now has over 400 churches? Have you heard what God is doing through the Methodist Church in Cuba?  Our Gulf Central District just sent down teams to Cuba from Bay Hope, First Lutz, and Lake Magdalene who each had unique and wonderful experiences.  We could share for hours all the experiences they had, but until you’ve gone it’s impossible to really understand, but consider this… One couple, Lynn and Charlie, decided to take their Jr High / High School aged son and daughter on their first international mission trip.  After the trip, their children were so excited to go back to Cuba, as were Lynn and Charlie, but they told the children they didn’t think they could take both a family Cuba mission trip and a family vacation each year.  To this, the children responded, “We’re ok without the family vacation then, let’s do a family mission trip instead.”  A mission trip to Cuba is a life changing experience both for those who go down and those in Cuba whom we go down to meet and serve.

 Did you know it’s a conference goal that every United Methodist Church in Florida has a sister church in Cuba? Did you know all it takes to have a sister church is $300 per year and a church coordinator who facilitates the relationship and prayer between your church and the church in Cuba? Find out how God can impact your church and how your church can impact God’s Kingdom and help others through a relationship with a church in Cuba.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Paul Griffith at 813-431-5692 or

Appointed Clergy serving in the Florida Annual Conference
Do No Harm: Mandatory Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Training

All clergy who are serving under episcopal appointment within the Florida Conference must attend one of the upcoming sexual ethics training events this fall to remain in good standing. This includes ALL clergy serving in extension ministries, retired clergy serving under appointment, all deacons, elders, licensed local pastors (part time and full time). Diaconal ministers and lay supply who are assigned to lead a church. This is required even if you have recently attended the Sexual Ethics training at Right Start or are scheduled to do so this coming May. A different curriculum will be covered in the quadrennial training. Certificates will be provided to those who complete the full 5 hours of training. A copy of your Certificate will be placed in your clergy file.

When & Where?

You may attend a session outside of your appointed district.

  • Tampa at St. James UMC on Tuesday, September 24
  • Jacksonville at Mandarin UMC on Thursday, October 3
  • Gainesville at Trinity UMC on Wednesday, October 9
  • Plantation at Plantation UMC on Tuesday, October 22
  • Orlando at St. Luke's UMC on Wednesday, November 6 

Click here to register


Around the Conference and Beyond

Bishop Carter to Lead 2020 Holy Land Trip

Join Bishop Ken Carter & the Florida Conference for 10 days in the Holy Land, departing February 4, 2020. Click here for more information and registration.


Online Deep Dive - Children's Ministry in the Small Church

Announcing the first Online DEEP DIVE – specifically for the small church (under ~100). 

This two-part webinar will be brief and bright with tips and resources for making an impact in your children’s ministry in the small church community. Bob McLeary will be our guest presenter, sharing ideas of starting S.M.A.L.L. What to do if you prepared a lesson for 3 children and 8 show up? How to balance planning with reality and frustrations, and more. Send questions you may have about the webinar or a question you’d like Bob to address to 
Dates:   Thursday, April 25th from 11:30am – 12 noon with time for Q & A
                Thursday, May 2nd from 11:30am – 12 noon with time for Q & A
Click here to register
Who should attend? Anyone connected to children’s ministries in your church.
Each session will have free resources shared and during the last session, we will have a live drawing for 5 churches to receive the new Cokesbury fall curriculum: Deep Blue One Room Sunday School Kit (value $73.49 each).


A Youth Leader Summit 

will be held at Florida Southern College on April 29, 2019, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event is free for church leaders and youth directors and will include worship, workshops and lunch on campus.

The keynote speaker is Mark DeVries, the president and founder of Ministry Architects. Mark has trained youth workers across the United States and Canada, as well as in Russia, Uganda, South Africa, Ecuador, Trinidad, Nicaragua and Northern Ireland, working with a wide variety of denominations. He has taught courses or been a guest lecturer at a number of colleges and seminaries. Click here for his complete bio.

Workshops will be led by Florida Southern professors, and topics include:

  • Basic Christian Beliefs
  • Christian Ethics
  • Communication Strategies
  • Mental Health and the Adolescent Mind
  • Design Thinking.

Click here for the schedule and to register.

A partnership between FSC and the Florida Conference’s Connectional Ministries department has made it possible to offer the event free. The Conference Youth Table is also an event partner.


Church Leaders take advantage to available training.  

UMCom has some great webinars, live and recorded for you.

 Click here to see what is available


UMW - Mission u Registration Available 

Registration is now open for Mission u. This year offers a great range of classes for the July 11-14 event at Lakeland’s lovely Florida Southern College with classes on the Gospel of Mark, a repeat of What About Our Money, and a special course on the 150 years of United Methodist Women. Regis-tration forms are available here: and I will attach a copy as well in the newsletter.


 The 9th Annual Run 4 Life 4 Miler is May 11 at The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. This 4 Mile Event takes you through FUMCH and Historic Enterprise. The goal of this race is to bring awareness to mental health/depression issues and to raise money for programs providing support to those in need. All race proceeds will go to FUMCH and other local suicide prevention programs.

We would love for you to sign up on our team “The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church”. Click HERE to register online. Be sure to click on “join Group/Tame” & register on our team! Attached is a registration form to print and mail in.

Run, walk, or sponsor a child living at FUMCH to participate! Come join us on May 11!


Winter Conference at Epworth By the Sea, January 26-29-2020


We again invite you to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, January 26 - 29, 2020. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia and Florida Conferences. You might talk with some of the over 150 clergy who attended Winter Conference 2019 about their transformative experience. Len Wilson will be the keynote speaker. Below you can find more information.


Click here to register and receive the early bird discount.


Annual Conference 2019 Florida Southern College


Make plans now to attend Annual Conference 2019 by booking your hotel rooms early. A list of hotels and rates can be found HERE. Housing will also be available at Florida Southern College (details forthcoming).


As you make your plans, the Annual Conference planning team wanted you to be aware of the following:

     1)  Our theme is “On Mission Together,” and we will welcome Bishop Will Willimon, missiologist Dr. Dana Robert, along with musical leaders Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson.

     2)  Annual Conference will begin on Wednesday, June 5, with clergy and lay sessions at 10 a.m. We will conclude with the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination on Saturday, June 8, adjourning at 12:30 p.m.

     3)  We will be voting on delegates to General Conference 2020, with chances to meet delegates Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

     4)  All registration will take place at Florida Southern College, as will the clergy and lay sessions.

     5)  Florida Southern has added new parking shuttles and golf carts.

     6)  We will have an air-conditioned tent near Branscomb Auditorium which will be a place to eat and fellowship with other delegates.


Annual Conference is free and open to anyone who would like to go.  However, only Lay Members to Annual Conference 2019 will have a vote.


Youth are encouraged to participate and experience Annual Conference. Housing will be on the Florida Southern Campus, and $170 will cover dorm housing (double occupancy) and 8 meals. Register by May 15, 2019. Orientation will be at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4th , with housing check in immediately before orientation at 2:00 at Reynolds Hall. All youth must check into housing before orientation. Click HERE for youth information and registration.

Note:  This does not make them a Voting Member at Annual Conference.


District Orientations -Everyone is welcome to attend any of the orientations. Click HERE for the list throughout the conference.


Florida Credit Union 2019 Annual Scholarship

for people ages 17-35.

Share this 2019 UMC FCU SCHOLARSHIP link with UMC people looking for Scholarships they can apply online

Please note that scholarship applicants are required to be UMC FCU members and we’re happy to open the account (Membership Application can be found online in the scholarship area) with the $5.00 required amount for them.) 4 $1000.00 Scholarships will be given.  One for each Conference at each Annual Conference. April 30th is the deadline for Application Submission.


Festival of Wisdom and Grace 

Aug. 5-8, 2019

The Festival of Wisdom and Grace is a UMC SE Jurisdictional retreat held annually at Lake Junaluska, NC. This is a conference geared toward older adults in finding purpose and renewal in the second half of life. This year's conference will be an exciting one. The theme is Growing Deeper Roots. The featured speakers will be the Rev. Dr. Frank Allen and Dr. Richard Gentzler. Plus there will be a host of workshops on a variety of enlightening subjects. The Festival has added other optional activities such as field trips and a mission project.

The event is a wonderful opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery of western North Carolina, while being spiritually enriched by great speakers and workshops that are offered. Plus it is an opportunity to meet others in the Southeast Jurisdiction that area passionate about spiritual growth and about older adult ministry

Visit Festival of Wisdom and Grace 2019 for more information, or click here for the brochure


 Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats


Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect & fellowship!

Confirmation Retreat:  Sept 27-29

Created by God:  April 26-28

Rooted: September 16-17

Summer Camp

Plan Your Own Church Retreat:  Who doesn't love WWW?  Why not plan your own retreat?


 Marriage Enrichment Retreats at Lake Junaluska

 We are created for a lifetime of love and intimacy, but relationships can be hard, even for the happiest couples. Distance, frustration and disconnection can enter through any number of life's events.

Come to a Christian-based marriage retreat at Lake Junaluska to better understand your partner and learn to cultivate a warmer, more joyful and loving relationship.


 How to strengthen essential psychological and spiritual foundations for healthy, happy relationships

How to stop rigid negative patterns in communication that lead to frustration and disconnection

How to be more accessible, responsive and engaged in your relationship

How to better understand your partner and help them to understand you

How to share your deepest needs for support, love and affection and respond to those same needs in your partner 

Pastoral participants earn 1.5 CEUs for participation in this program. This retreat is perfect for pastors who regularly do marriage counseling, or anyone who wants to strengthen the bond in their marriage.

Cost:  Marriage Enrichment Program for two people: $350 

Two nights lodging for two people and five meals (Monday breakfast through Tuesday lunch) for two people (required): $319


-           August 18-20, 2019

-           September 29 - October 1, 2019

Learn more at or call 800-222-4930.


Summer Youth Events at Lake Junaluska

Bring your youth group to Lake Junaluska this summer for worship, spiritual growth and adventure in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Every event includes energized worship with great speakers and bands, small groups, vespers and workshops. Youth also can choose to participate in mission projects and recreational activities such as rafting, ziplining or swimming. Find more information at


Bethune- Cookman 2019 Exploring Gifts and Graces

We are pleased to announce our 2019 Exploring Gifts and Graces: Summer Adventure in Theology and Leadership (EGG) program for high school students. EGG is a nine-day, all expenses paid, residential summer experience for high school juniors and seniors from all over Florida to explore their faith, learn more about themselves, and to think deeply about their dreams, their goals, and their gifts. The goal of the program is to help career-bound high school students better utilize their summer months to gain career exposure and guidance in order to improve the way they make informed career and educational decisions about their lives and future. This year we have designed a fun, educational, and innovative summer program that will support high school youth in their exploration of vocational choices in faith-based services, education, and ministry.

 EGG is held on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University from July 13-July 21, 2019. It will offer students the opportunity to build friendships, participate in community service projects, and gain leadership skills. Participants will also take a day trip to a unique eco-adventure ropes and zip-line challenge course to work in small groups, learn leadership and communication skills, as well as practice team building exercises.

 Attached you will find an electronic copy of the brochure which contains program information. Please feel free to promote the EGG summer program through your church newsletter, weekly Sunday bulletin, and websites as well. Complete program information is available on our website:

 The application form and instructions are also on the website and there is no application fee. Applications must be submitted by May 3, 2019.

 EGG is developed by Bethune-Cookman University School of Religion and funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Foundation


Event 1: June 15-19 – Rev. Andy Lambert with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show, outdoor movie and Sunday morning worship in Stuart Auditorium

Event 2: June 20-23 – Rev. Juan Huertas with Abbye West Pates and a talent show

Event 3: June 23-27 – Guest speaker Stephanie Caro with Abbye West Pates and a talent show and outdoor movie

Event 4: June 27-30 – Rev. Janjay Innis with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff

Event 5: June 30-July 3 – Rev. Jeremy Steele with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff

Event 6: July 10-14 – Rev. Kevin Wright with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show and comedian

 Applications for the renewal leave grants will be accepted until May 31. 

The Florida Conference Passing the Torch Fund is now accepting applications for grants that provide financial assistance to Florida Conference clergy in full connection who are planning to take renewal leave. Up to $10,000 per grant may be awarded.

The Passing the Torch Fund was launched in 2015 as a cooperative effort between the Florida United Methodist Foundation and the Florida Conference’s Office of Clergy Excellence and Board of Pension and Health Benefits. It provides training, financial assistance and leadership development support for Florida Conference clergy and those preparing for ordained ministry. Funding is provided through 2019.

Complete the application online (under #4 Passing the Torch). For more information, please contact Holly Finley, Office of Clergy Excellence, at or 800-282-8011, ext. 134.


Development Fund offers 2.25 percent interest

The Florida United Methodist Foundation’s Development Fund is now offering an annual interest rate of 2.25 percent on deposits to the fund. Any Florida resident, business or church can invest, benefitting from that competitive rate. Here’s how it works: the Development Fund receives deposits from investors and then makes low-interest loans from those investments to United Methodist churches and affiliated faith-based nonprofits for new construction, expansion and renovation. Those investments are protected by nearly $500 million of value in church buildings and property through mortgages with the foundation. And deposits can be withdrawn at any time — unlike CDs and other investment options that have time requirements. Money can be deposited today and withdrawn the next week. And it only takes a minimum investment of $100 to open an account. For more information, contact the Rev. Mark Becker at 866-363-9673, extension 7125, or For an application to open an account, request one by sending an email to or go online at The Florida United Methodist Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3).


April 19                       Good Friday

May 27                        Memorial Day

July 4                           Independence Day

September 2               Labor Day

November 11              Veteran’s Day

November 28              Thanksgiving

November 29              Day After Thanksgiving

December 24              Christmas Eve

December 25              Christmas Day



April 4 – materials due for 1st Provisional attempt meeting May 2

April 24 - Administration Appreciation day 

April 25 Clergy Meeting Location Heritage UMC 2680 Landmark Dr. Clearwater 9:30 -2PM working lunch  Click Here to Register

April 28 Announcement Sunday


May 2 DCOM Meeting 1st Provisional attempt materials due April 4 - Portico 1001 N Florida Ave Tampa

May 14 Annual Conference Orientation meeting location St Paul UMC Largo Christian Life Building Click here to register

May 16 Annual Conference Orientation meeting location St Andrew's Brandon Sanctuary Click here to register


June 5-8 Annual Conference at Florida Southern in Lakeland

June 14-15 Lay Servant Training - Pasadena Community UMC  Click here for more detail


July 11 materials due for 2nd Provisional attempt meeting August 8


August 8 DCOM meeting for 2nd Provisional attempt


September 24 Sexual Ethics Training - (Clergy Only) Location St James - Tampa click here to register

September 19 Clergy Meeting Location Lake Magdalene 9:30 -2PM working lunch - registration will open closer to the date.


October 17 materials due for November 14 DCOM


November 7 materials due for December 5 DCOM meeting

November 14 DCOM Meeting

November 18 - 21 SEJ Clergywomen's Event - in Jacksonville FL - registration link coming May 1.


December 5 DCOM Meeting