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GCD February 2020 Newsletter


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From the District Superintendent




District Wide Training Opportunities/Upcoming Events

 Register today INNOVATIONS 2020:  Feb 22, 9-3 @ Anona UMC, Largo


This year promises to be even more powerful than last year. 

Children—how is your children’s ministry?  Looking for what can make it better?  Reach more children?  YMI-a leading consultant in youth ministries-has also brings their insight and gifted consultants  to  the area of children ministries.  Most small and mid-size churches could never afford to bring this resource to their team.  Most large churches, knowing the value of YMI, are always looking for ways to “tap into” YMI.  February 22 it is yours for just the cost of time.  Register NOW for one or both of their great sessions at Innovation 2020.  Bring your Children and Family Ministry team too and your laity with a heart for children.  DON’T miss this opportunity to learn from the best! 



On February 23, 2020, Christ Church St. Pete 

Christ Church St. Petersburg will celebrate the sale of our parking lot, a major step in financial stability for our community.  Bishop Ken Carter, episcopal leader of the Florida Conference, will be joining us and delivering the sermon.  In this service we will also be joined by teachers, children and families of Hortin Child Development Center as well as our sisters and brothers in Christ from McCabe United Methodist Church. Please, plan to attend and invite, friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to this celebration and reception!  


Women’s Prayer Breakfast

Feb. 29: 9 AM – Noon

St. Paul UMC: Christian Life Enrichment Center: 1199 Highland Ave in Largo.

Cost: $12. Tickets available Tuesday and Wednesday mornings in the church office from 10 a.m.–noon. Tickets can also be ordered by text 727-480-7961 or by e-mailing Last day to buy tickets is Sunday, February 23.

All women are invited to join us for a delicious breakfast by Marguerite’s Catering. Mission booths will offer books and merchandise, with ALL profits going to designated missions. Guest speaker, Rachel Shockey, is the Executive Director of Development for Women in Apologetics (WIA) and has a Master’s in Christian Apologetics from Talbot School of Theology (Biola University). Her talk, “What Do We Do With Doubt?” will explore what doubt is and when we're prone to doubt God. By looking at the doubters in the Bible and how God handles them, her talk will help us to learn how to deal with doubt and how it can lead to a deeper faith.

Life Academy for Spiritual Formation

This will be the 20th consecutive Formation Academy event! The rich and powerful impact that the Academy Experience has had on both Clergy and Laity alike is the fundamental source of its longevity.

As co-leaders for the 2020 Spirit Streams event, we are very pleased to have Dr. Frank Rogers as the faculty presenter on March 12-15, 2020, at the Warren Willis Camp & Conference Center. Dr. Rogers’ topic will center on the interconnection between spirituality, social engagement and compassion--something we believe to be very relevant in these challenging times for our church and our society as a whole. We believe that you will find what he has to offer will fulfill the Academy’s call for a topic that can be taken back and implemented into your ministry setting. Please see the attached brochure for more information.

We are also very excited about utilizing the Spirit Streams retreat format (or 3-Day Academy as some know it). The format relies on the strength of the “rhythm of the day” at the center of what we do. Spirit Streams is also designed as a segue to the Academy experience for those who may not have the time, schedule opportunity, and economic flexibility for a full five-day event. Additionally, it serves as a port of entry for those who have been thinking about an emersion-type formative event but want to “taste and see” in a condensed format.

If you are making plans to attend in 2020, thank you! Please consider a direct invitation to a friend(s), whom you feel would be enriched by this experience, and ask them to come with you! We have discovered from speaking to the staff at Upper Room that this personal invitation counts as a major factor when people are deciding to attend for the first time. Having a friend who knows the ropes can be a comfort and provide the joy of shared experience.

In the event you are unable to join us, we still encourage you to personally invite someone to attend and share your brochure. We suggest you share why this retreat is important to you, and that you are hopeful that they would consider participating. If you have any contacts that you would like to share with us, we will be glad to reach out and invite them as well. Just send long their contact information and we will follow-up!

Sign up now online at Partial or full payments can be made online for your convenience. For a brochure copy click here.

We are hopeful you will be able to join us next March as we celebrate our 20th year! Please don’t hesitate to contact either one of us with any questions or comments that you may have.


Lew Arnold
Co-Retreat Leader

Lucy Wray
Co-Retreat Leader



The accompaniment cd for The Top Twelve.


"Oak Grove UMC is looking for an accompaniment track CD that goes with the collection of praise and worship anthems called The Top Twelve published by Lillenas. We are interested in possibly purchasing or borrowing a few books and the accompaniment CD.  Please call Barbara Mullins, 813-340-8850, if you have copies and would be willing to share or possibly sell.  Thank you."

Episode 18: Interview with Candace Lewis

Bishop Carter talks with Candace Lewis, the Gulf Central District Superintendent, about her recent book, "Resurgence: Navigating the Changing Ministry Landscape," which shares on principles and strategies for churches to find transformation and growth in today's modern season. Discover some of the best practices and new pathways for interrupting congregational decline and creating new vitality in local churches.


We invite you to listen and engage with Bishop Ken Carter’s podcast, On Mission Together, as we move forward together. Our prayer is for these conversations on spirit-led innovation, missional engagement, and courageous leadership to inspire you and your teams to dream about the future of our movement.



Florida Conference Celebrates if 175th Anniversary February 6, 2020

It is with great excitement that I share with you that on February 6, the Florida Conference will celebrate its 175th anniversary! On February 6, 1845, one month before Florida was granted statehood, the Florida Conference held the first session at Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee. Today, your church is invited to celebrate this significant milestone in the life of the conference in your own unique way.

"I am grateful for all of the streams of history that have flowed into the present day life of the Florida Conference", Bishop Ken Carter recently noted. "Over one hundred and seventy-five years, our state has changed dramatically and our churches have grown with and adapted to the changing landscape of peoples who have arrived. I am in awe of the faithfulness of laity and clergy who have been an outward and visible sign of God’s grace across Florida."

Have you seen the commemorative video that debuted at Annual Conference 2019? If not, please take a moment and enjoy this informative video that celebrates the Florida Conference. If you have seen it, please watch it again and be sure to share it with your congregation! (Click here to see the video.)

Some ideas for your church to consider ways to celebrate may be through a special music moment in worship, whether it is the children’s choir, chancel choir or praise band playing a worship song that celebrates this anniversary. Or, your church may want to hold a birthday celebration with cake and the singing of "Happy Birthday"! A special prayer or congregational response may be another way to signify the 175 years of ministry in our great Conference.

We do ask that you would send a picture, video, and update to us so that we can post this to the Florida Conference website and other social media so that our brothers and sisters Conference-wide may see how you celebrated! Please send any celebration videos or pictures to

Also, it is always a good time to update the history of your local church. When you can, please send an updated history to the Heritage Center so that we can keep this valuable information for future generations. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Judi at

Make it fun, make it special, and above all make this wonderful celebration a way to give thanks for the countless ways God has faithfully moved to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through this conference that we hold so dear.

In Him,

The Commission on Archives and History for the Florida Conference

Psalm 132:18 "Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord."



A conversation starter for clergy and key leaders across the Florida Conference.  In the following monograph, Bishop Ken Carter invites us into the difficult work of listening.  Defining and Growing an Inclusive, Gracious and Evangelical Center: The Future[s] of The United Methodist Church, with a forward by Gil Rendle. 


Job Opportunity

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church is seeking an experienced, reliable and task-oriented part-time Administrative Assistant in the Episcopal Office of the Resident Bishop.  The Administrative Assistant will work directly with episcopal office staff and other conference leaders and will be responsible for performing a number of administrative duties in support of the work of the full time senior administrative assistant.  The ideal candidate is highly self-motivated, professional and capable of managing their work load and prioritizing diverse tasks in a fast paced environment while upholding a strict level of confidentiality. 
  EOE. Salary commensurate with education and experience.  E-mail letter of interest, with current resume to

 Contact: Diana Welsh

Address: 450 Martin L. King Jr. Avenue Lakeland 33815

Phone: 8636885563

Email: gro.cmulf@tnemyolpme   


UMCFCU 2020 Scholarship Application

United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union Is Offering Scholarships To College Bound Students

The United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union will award four $1,000 college scholarships again this year. Four winning applicants will be chosen one from each of our four conferences Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia and Alabama-West Florida. To apply, you must be a member of United Methodist Connectional FCU between the ages of 17-35.

Application deadline is April 30, 2020. Winners will be announced at each Annual Conference of Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia and Alabama-West Florida. Complete the form below and paste your required essay.


General Conference 2020

Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 5 - 15 

What is the General Conference of the UMC?

Florida Delegation General Conference 2020

Volunteers needed for General Conference 2020

General Conference 2020 Website

Comparison of Proposals to General Conference 2020

 Many of you have asked how you can learn more about the upcoming General Conference in May 2020. All interested Florida Conference clergy and laity are welcome to attend a two-hour informational session on Saturday, February 1st at First UMC in Lakeland, FL. Members of the delegation and Conference Table will be in attendance.

We will begin at 10 AM and conclude by noon (for Conference Table members, our meeting will start at 9 AM). Lunch will not be provided.

Delegation members will describe some of the plans coming to General Conference, including the recently released Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. Breakout groups around legislation coming from the General Board of Church and Society related to the Revised Social Principles and the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, as well as a general orientation to general conference will also be included. We will conclude with prayer for the delegation.

In order to plan for this meeting, please register by clicking this link:

There are plans to video record some parts of this day and share on the conference website. 

Additionally here are three ways you can prepare for General Conference:

Go to and read news and other articles. Eventually all proposed legislation will be posted here.
Pray for our Florida delegation. A list of our delegation can be found at If you would like to send a note to the delegation and any comments or questions for them to consider, email Your email will be shared with the entire delegation.
Plan to attend yet to be scheduled webinars before and after General Conference hosted by delegation leaders.
We appreciate your prayers as we approach General Conference. Together we remain on mission together.

Rev. Alex Shanks
Clergy Head of Delegation

Molly McEntire
Lay Head of Delegation



February 17 President’s Day
April 10 Good Friday
May 25 Memorial Day
July 4 Independence Day Observed July 3
September 7 Labor Day
November 11 Veteran’s Day
November 26 Thanksgiving
November 27 Day After Thanksgiving
December 24 Christmas Eve
December 25 Christmas Day


February 22, 2020 Innovation 2020 at Anona UMC 9:30 -3 PM sign up Click here

April 23 - Clergy Meeting - Bay Hope 10-1 (including working lunch) more information closer to the date

General Conference ♦ May 5-15, 2020 ♦ Minneapolis, MN

Annual Conference ♦ June 4-6, 2020 ♦ Florida Southern College, Lakeland

Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference ♦ July 15-18, 2020 ♦ Lake Junaluska, NC

Annual Conference ♦ June 10-12, 2021 ♦ Lakeland