From the District Superintendent:
As we begin Our 2021 Lenten Season
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our time of searching our souls and as the Prophet Joel says, rending our garments. Throughout the Lenten Season we sacrifice our temporal wants and desires to discover again the deeper needs of our mind, body, soul and spirit in light of God’s eternal perspective. We find the courage to acknowledge our frail mortality and our great need for GOD. We begin this journey by repenting of our sins and silence in the face of the pains and problems of those less fortunate than us. We acknowledge our pride and arrogance over the next 40 days as we enter this time of self-denial, fasting, prayer, alms giving and serving others. Let us hear God speak to us through the Prophet Joel 2:12-14 as the season of Lent begins.
“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your hearts, with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow; 13 tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive.” CEB
What did you give up for Lent? What are you anticipating will happen throughout this 2021 Lenten season? What spiritual disciplines will you engage? What temptations will you resist? To what spiritual longing will you return? Remember Lent is not just an individual time of reflection; it is also a time for us to reflect and respond as a community. As your journey throughout these next 47 days let us also pay attention to the needs and opportunities beyond our personal piety that God may be inviting you to engage.
Yesterday we received a call at the District Office asking “can our choir sing together” in church this Easter? Our response was “not yet” or not like you remember singing during Easters of years past. We continue to encourage churches to follow the CDC and FLUMC Conference guidelines. The good news is we were also able to redirect the caller to many of our churches throughout the district who have discovered ways to safely sing and praise God.
As we enter our eleventh month of the pandemic and vaccines are being distributed, I want to again thank you for your faithful leadership to Christ, the church, the community and to each other. I have seen and heard amazing testimonies of how our Gulf Central Districts Clergy and Church leaders have continued to lead with innovation and live resiliently. We have learned so much about ourselves, our families, neighbors, communities, church and our world in this season. Let’s continue to be diligent in our practices that will help prevent the spread of virus.
Blessings as you Begin this 2021 Lenten Season.
Congratulations to Churches with Special Anniversaries in 2021:
First Riverview (Originally Lesley Chapel)175 Years
Highlands (originally Highlands City) 125 Years
Seminole Heights 100 Years
Palma Ceia, Tampa 75 Years
Trinity, Hope (Originally Newport Richey, Hope) 25 years
If we have missed any churches with special Anniversaries please email email@example.com
Congratulations to Mulberry UMC for being awarded Non Profit Business of the Year for Mulberry!
Local churches won’t bear cost of steep insurance increases We all know the havoc that 2020 wrought upon our state, country, and world. Natural disasters such as wildfires out west and economic disasters such as COVID-19 have led to drastic rate increases in the property and casualty insurance marketplace, ...
NEW DISTRICT CALENDAR. Here is one place to quickly find all the Antiracism Bible studies, small groups and events across the Gulf Central District that are open to everyone. Access here at https://bit.ly/gcdantiracism
Please submit your church’s open events to firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide event name, a brief description, and how to register.
Worship Deep Dive - Both/And, Maximizing Hybrid Worship For Online and In-Person Experiences
For: Worship Leaders and Clergy of small and medium-sized churches (all are welcome)
About: This 2.5-hour workshop will delve into strategies for creating powerful transformative worship where no one feels like they’re an afterthought.
When: Friday, February 19th, 10:00am – 12:15pm followed by Q & A
Thursday, February 25th, 6:30pm – 8:45pm followed by Q & A
(Same event, offered with options for daytime or evening)
Cost: $10. per person
Here is a video promo: https://youtu.be/EYt-Zvia4DY
It will explore:
• Re-imagining worship for Both/And
• How to create interactive Both/And experiences
• Bringing at-home and in-person audiences together in real time
• Alternative opportunities for online viewers watching in-person livestreams
• Repurposing in-person worship for online viewers
• Strategies for adapting practices for Both/And
• Avoiding letting your groove becoming a rut
• And the last 15 minutes for Q & A
Florida Conference Lay Servant Ministries Advanced Course - Accountable Discipleship: Living in the Household of God | March 9 - April 6, 2021
This course may be taken by anyone interested in living as a follower of Jesus Christ in loving accountability with others. For those who have taken the Basic Course and wish to become a lay servant, lay speaker or lay minister, it may be taken as an Advanced Course for certification or recertification. Accountable Discipleship is how disciples of Jesus Christ live in God’s household. It is the living of God’s “household rules” in their daily lives. When asked, Jesus told us that these rules can be summarized as loving God and loving our neighbors. Looking at our biblical and Wesleyan heritage, the author shows us how we can meet the challenge of personal discipleship in loving connection with others, whether in Covenant Discipleship groups, Emmaus Reunion groups, cell groups or other small groups in the church.
Course fee: $25.00 to be paid at time of registration. Please have a Bible, notebook and pen convenient next to your computer. It is recommended that for class work, you use a Windows or Mac computer, and download the free Zoom software in advance. You must complete all sessions to receive course credit.
Materials: Please purchase and read the book prior to class. The book is entitled Accountable Discipleship: Living in God's Household, by Steven Manskar. You may purchase it at Cokesbury or Upper Room Books..
- Online via Zoom
- Five Tuesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
- Instructor: Rod Groom
CLICK HERE to register for the ADVANCED COURSE. Credit card payment will be required upon registration. Deadline for registration is 3/1/2021.
Contact Rod Groom for any questions you may have at: email@example.com.
2021 Seminary Scholarships Available Now
Each year, Hyde Park United Methodist Church demonstrates their support for seminary students through a scholarship program. Seminary students in the Gulf Central District are invited to apply. The deadline is March 31, 2021. In addition, Hyde Park monitors the availability of other scholarships from a variety of organizations. Requirements and deadlines vary. Find details on our Scholarships page
Committee on Native American Ministries
Native Americans play an important role in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. That role is expanding with scholarships and grants to provide the training for greater leadership opportunities.
"Native people have not really been in a position of leadership," said Roger Antworth, Chairperson of the Committee On Native American Ministries (CONAM). "They have been the recipients of the Gospel and not participants. That's the aim of this scholarship, to promote leadership in the Native American Church.
"Just as the body through one has many parts, so it is with Christ. We're using that as the anchor for Native American Christianity."
CONAM advocates for Native American issues and helps provide opportunities for those wishing to become United Methodist ministers or laity. It shares the diverse culture, history, and traditions of Native people.
"Native Americans have a lot to offer to the Church. They have a sense of community, of family, the group rather than the individual," Antworth said.
The scholarships and grants have been a long-standing goal of the Committee. They are intended to strengthen, develop and equip Native American students to attend colleges, schools, or universities affiliated with the UMC's General Board of Higher Education Ministry.
"It's been a long road to get this far," Antworth said. "We just decided this was the time. We're ready to roll it out."
The program is developing and can consist of two grants and two scholarships given annually to Native American students pursuing a degree at an accredited or certified seminary, college, or university.
For Grant/Scholarship criteria and instructions, click here.
To apply, follow this link.
Applicants must be citizens of the United States or permanent residents and born of an indigenous parent from North, Central, or South America.
To receive a scholarship, they must also be pursuing a degree at an accredited or certified seminary, college or university that prepares students for leadership positions within Christian churches.
To receive a grant, applicants must be admitted and enrolled full-time as a college sophomore or higher.
Applicants must be active and enrolled in seminary to receive a scholarship.
Additional information regarding CONAM can be found at https://www.flumc.org/nativeamericanministries
CHILDREN’S WEEK ADVOCACY TRAINING
The Florida United Methodist Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in partnership with our community partner, Florida Impact, convenes in Tallahassee, Florida each year. Our collaboration is entitled Florida Advocacy Day (FAD). We gather for a time of prayer and learning as we prepare to meet with our legislators and advocate on behalf of children and others: "those who cannot speak for themselves."
This year, we will not gather or be able to meet in person to advocate. Most everything will be virtual. Our team is working on what this might look like and you should expect to hear more in the near future.
Children’s Week is a week-long time of awareness and advocacy at the State Capitol. Each year one week is set out to provide a platform and bring advocates together.
This year, the organizers of Children’s Week have developed 5 workshops:
- January 25th: Advocacy Skills, Strategies and Tools
- February 1st: Health Access and the Power of Prevention
- February 8: Early Learning – Building Blocks for Success
- February 15: Youth Development, Afterschool and Community Volunteerism
- February 22: Social Justice and Racial Equity
These workshops are a valuable resource and an important chance to improve as advocates that are now available to us wherever we connect.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOPS.
Day on Campus Goes Virtual! March 27th is the Day!
Each year, one of the most special days in the life of the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home is Day on Campus. We are very excited that this year's Day on Campus will be a virtual event! This will allow us to continue the annual tradition of lifting up the Children’s Home ministry, while also ensuring people can engage from the safety and comfort of their own homes. Day on Campus will be held virtually on Saturday, March 27. It will be broadcast on our Facebook page, and will also be accessible on our YouTube channel following the event.
YOUR HELP NEEDED - EAST ANGOLA/FLORIDA PARTNERSHIP
In the past seven years, this special fund has provided 31 scholarships (9 of them currently enrolled) to enable East Angola students to pursue higher education in fields like theology, medicine, law, engineering, education and more. Then COVID-19 struck. Students are taking more time to reach graduation as the financial resources dwindle and are insufficient to meet the need. However, the Florida Conference is seeking to address this need, and will DOUBLE EVERY GIFT up to $30,000 received by April 31st. A tax-deductible gift can be given online or by check. For online giving, click on this link: https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/OnlineGiving-EastAngola
Checks should be made payable to the "Florida Conference Treasurer" include "Higher Education" in memo line and mail to: Florida United Methodist Center, ATTN: Icel Rodriguez, 450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., Lakeland, FL 33815.
"Thank you to The Florida Conference for generously supporting this life-transforming ministry." Icel Rodriguez, Conference Director of Global Missions (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For more information regarding our mission to East Angola click on the link... http://flumc-missions.org/education.html
March 31st Reports
The following reports are due to the District Office by March 31. Please send by email to Deb Digman at email@example.com. If you would prefer to mail hard copies please send them to Deb's attention at Gulf Central District 1498 Rosery Rd NE Largo FL 33770-1656.
|Financial Controls, Policies, & Procedures||Finance|
|Document Retention Policy||Finance|
|Clergy Employee Conduct Policy||SPRC|
|Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy||SPRC|
|Annual Parsonage Report||Trustees|
|Child Youth Protection Policy||SPRC|
The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee and kept in their personnel file. This does not get sent to the District Office.
You can find instructions and other pertinent information by reviewing the Calendar of Reports. If you have made revisions to any of your policies, please send the entire document.
The Fund Balance report is submitted online by Finance. The form is located in your Church Dashboard on the bottom left. Do not send a hard copy to the District Office. Note: The Disaster Recovery Resource Survey is no longer required.
Various books and study materials available
For Those Who Serve – devotion for volunteers - 32 copies
Daily Study Series Gospel of Luke - 2 copies
Daily Study Series Book of Acts - 3 copies
DBS 1 Video
DBS Maps – several
DBS pins – MANY
Oxford Bible Atlas - 2 copies
Companions in Christ - MANY books & study materials
Bible Dictionary - 2 copies
If interested please contact: Kim Harcrow Hyde Park United Methodist 813.253.5388, ext. 1221/1291 500 W. Platt St., Tampa, FL 33606
Free to a good home:
Custom crafted, all wood pulpit – free for pickup at Lutz UMC (960 W Lutz Lake Fern Rd., Lutz, FL 33548). Contact Vicki@FantasticFirst.org or 813-949-1751, with any questions. We also have many blue UM Hymnals available for free as well.
First United Methodist Church in Lutz, Florida, is looking for their next Youth Director. The church is passionate, genuine and sincere in their love of the Word and one another. This is an exciting time for First UMC Lutz as we move into a new season of growth. This is a part-time position but one that would increase as the youth ministry grows. The Youth Director works with a strong core of youth and a supportive volunteer base. The Church sits on the northern edge of the Tampa Bay area. This semi-rural community has all of the advantages of a major city in Florida – professional sports, shopping, arts, theme parks, beaches (nearby) and plenty of great restaurants – while maintaining a family friendly environment. Please send a cover letter, and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are called by God to be part of the movement of the Holy Spirit at First UMC Lutz.
2021 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE – District and Conference offices will be closed:
April 02 Good Friday
May 31 Memorial Day
July 4 Independence Day
Observed July 5
September 6 Labor Day
November 11 Veteran’s Day
November 25 Thanksgiving
November 26 Day After Thanksgiving
December 24 Christmas Eve
December 25 Christmas Day
Observed December 27
January 1, 2022 New Year’s Day
Observed December 31, 2021
Calendar of Events
2021 Calendar of reports due https://www.flumc.org/calendar-of-reports-due-2021
Announcement Sunday – April 25
April 27 Clergy Meeting - more info to come - mark your calendar - 9:30 -Noon
Florida Annual Conference 2021 June 10 - 12
General Conference 2020 - August 29-September 7, 2021
September 21 Fall Clergy Meeting save the date 9:30- noon
2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference - November 10-12, 2021