From the District Superintendent
When Separation and Restructuring of the UMC is a Faithful Step
On January 3rd 2020, our United Methodist Church shared publicly the results of a mediated and negotiated process which seeks to acknowledge we, as United Methodists, have fundamental differences in our understanding and interpretation of Scripture, Theology and Practice. The leaders who drafted the Protocol also admit the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference did not resolve the impasse related to the full participation of LBGTQIA persons in the life of the Church. This impasse, the Protocol states “is impeding our witness and mission and has injured members of our church”. The document is called the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation, the link for the document is below. It defines “separation as a faithful step with the possibility of continued cooperation around matters of shared interest, enabling each of us to authentically live out our faith”.
This is not the first time the United Methodist Church has separated and restructured due to an impasse. In 1844, the issue of Slavery separated our church and created the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The separation lasted 95 years and apart of the church was reconciled and unified in 1939. Yet, the unreconciled issue of race and the full inclusion of black churches and black members into Methodist Church in 1939, led to a separation and restructuring creating the Central Jurisdiction. This separate and unequal restructuring “lumped” all the black Methodist Churches in one Jurisdiction with accountability structures to Black Bishops and Black District Superintendents primarily. Leaders of the Central Jurisdiction were quoted as saying they “stayed apart of the church through the separation and restructuring as a witness to what mature faith looks like in the face of the church’s failure to acknowledge the sin of racism and the value of equality for all God’s people. The Central Jurisdiction was dissolved in 1968 when the mergers created the United Methodist Church. I’ve spoken to leaders of the Central Jurisdiction who experienced challenges and new opportunities through the season of separation and restructuring. It took almost 30 years for the church and the society to change before the leaders could see the value and strength of a “United” Methodist Church. After 30 years of segregation and separation the leaders of the church decided to “unite” again. I am hopeful that we will see and experience “new life” as we consider this season of separation and restructuring. I pray that we can stay mission focused as we journey towards General Conference 2020.
As your District Superintendent I am encouraging all Pastors and Laity to read the Protocol document and the FAQ document. Both links are here. I also welcome your feedback, comments or questions related to this Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. i can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Bishop Carter has also scheduled a conference wide conversation about the Protocol on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 10am at the meeting of the Conference Table. in Lakeland.
I am here with you and for you as we journey together into this new season of the United Methodist Church.
On Mission Together,
Bishop Carter participates in Global Mediation and interprets this for the Florida Conference
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Florida Conference,
Grace and Peace to you, in the name and spirit of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, in these first days of a new year.
I write to commend to you the fruit of a mediation process undertaken by sixteen United Methodists, entitled “A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.” The eight-page document, linked here, represents work done by a group of United Methodists from across the world who represent many (not all) of the important streams of our church. This work was done in collaboration with Mr. Kenneth Feinberg, noted mediator known for his work with the September 11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, the Virginia Tech and Boston Marathon victims, and the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Mr. Feinberg, who is not a United Methodist, offered his professional guidance to us pro bono.
The Protocol is offered in service to the delegates who will gather four short months from now in Minneapolis for the 2020 General Conference. It is not perfect--no mediation is--but it gives a great deal to each of these different streams, more than I could have imagined at the beginning. All of this has been done—and the word I hear from many is that it is something of a miracle—without harming these persons. I attribute this to the work of the Holy Spirit.
The protocol was unanimously affirmed and signed by the sixteen participants.
Key features of the mediation protocol and proposed legislation that will follow are:
• The ongoing existence of The United Methodist Church
• A gracious way of departure for a traditionalist conservative Methodist Church, with a financial settlement.
• The creation of four regional conferences—Africa, U.S., Europe, Philippines—each with its own ability to adapt the Book of Discipline.
• The removal of restrictive language related to LGBTQ identity and practice in the U.S. post-separation United Methodist Church immediately following the May General Conference.
• Holding in abeyance any administrative or judicial processes regarding restrictions in the Book of Discipline related to LGBTQ persons, as of January 1, 2020.
• Creation of a fund to strengthen the Black Church and ministries with and among marginalized persons.
• No annual conference or local church is required to vote on departure from the United Methodist Church.
• No one is asked to leave or separate from the church.
• Annual Conferences and local churches may vote to depart from The United Methodist Church with their property in order to participate in another Methodist expression.
• Wespath will offer a continuity of service across the various Methodist expressions.
Note: This brief summary is not intended to be a substitute for the actual reading of the protocol. It is simply to encourage United Methodists to develop an understanding of the contents of the protocol. I encourage you to view the following documents:
Much of the effect of this protocol will be how we receive it and how we turn toward each other. It is not about winners or losers, but about how God's promise of grace and reconciliation relates to our structures, convictions, and hopes. It is significant, and at the same time, it is one step in a journey.
For me, this mediation work is in the fulfillment of my consecration vows as a bishop, to seek the unity of the church. And for me, it is in continuity with the work of the Commission on a Way Forward.
• No one has to vote to leave the church.
• No one is being asked to leave the church.
• And The United Methodist Church, under the cross and flame, will continue to be in ministry across the world.
We were told in the mediation process that if we did not write the narrative, it would be written for us. A culture of trials related to LGBTQ persons in the church becomes the dominant narrative. By holding these administrative and judicial processes in abeyance until the resolution of these matters, we are able to devote our energies to working and walking together to finding reconciliation and grace through structural separation.
I give thanks for those who participated in the mediation and particularly to Mr. Kenneth Feinberg, who led us in this process. I give thanks for all of the people of the Florida Conference, and believe this mediation does no harm to anyone of them. I also place great trust in our delegation to the 2020 General Conference. They are authorized to help our church to move forward into a new season of mission and flourishing.
In the interim, we have much work to do in service to our Lord, in the strengthening of our local churches and ministries. We have an important question to answer: “What kind of annual conference will we be?” And we are in connection with each other, for a larger purpose: “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
This will continue to be my focus, and I ask you to join me.
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop, Florida Conference, The United Methodist Church
First Clearwater is seeking A PART TIME FINANCE / TREASURER Must have experience in:
finance or accounting
good in working with people
ready to be part of a team
Understanding of UMC structure a plus.
Understanding of Shelby system a plus.
Contact Rev. Daphne Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Choir Director opening
Aldersgate UMC in Seminole (in the beautiful Tampa Bay area, just minutes from Gulf beaches) is hiring a part-time Choir Director for our traditional worship service. The Choir Director will work to develop ministry volunteers and teams to fulfill the vision for a growing traditional worship ministry; direct the choir in leading worship services and lead rehearsals; plan and direct musical aspects of all weekly and seasonal traditional worship services, including hymn selections and leading congregational singing during worship services; provide spiritual leadership for the choir and other traditional music teams, offering care and support where appropriate to help them experience God’s love and grow as disciples of Jesus Christ; and assist the Senior Pastor with the visioning, planning, and implementation of traditional worship services.
Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university or equivalent combination of education and experience, computer literacy with a working knowledge of Microsoft Office software, and a strong commitment to the historic Christian faith. Familiar with operation and maintenance of worship equipment and software such as amplification systems, sound mixers, ProPresenter, Planning Center Online, etc. would be helpful. Salary is $13,000-$15,000 depending on experience. Typical week is 8-12 hours per week, including Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Send resumes and questions to Pastor Steve Ezra at email@example.com. The full job description is available on our website at www.aldersgate.com.
Director of Adult Ministries opening
Aldersgate UMC in Seminole (in the beautiful Tampa Bay area, just minutes from Gulf beaches) is hiring a part-time Director of Adult Ministries. This person will work to develop ministry volunteers and teams to fulfill the vision of growing and effective adult ministries that facilitate Christian discipleship; manage the adult discipleship pathway from the new members’ class to participation in intentionally discipling groups (Sunday School classes, small groups, classes, etc.); develop and facilitate Sunday morning hospitality ministry teams and team leaders for both worship services; advise the Office Administrator and communications designer to ensure all external communication channels—from website and Facebook to brochures and flyers—are consistent and updated regularly; and coordinate all missions teams and involvement in missions, serving as a liaison to outward-focused ministries.
Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, or equivalent combination of education and experience; experience in successfully leading and managing people and teams, including planning, team-building, developing and maintaining budgets, and creating and managing plans (previous ministry leadership experience is preferred); and computer literacy, with a working knowledge of Microsoft Office software. Salary is $15-17 per hour, depending on experience. Typical week is 18-20 hours per week, including Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Send resumes and questions to Pastor Steve Ezra at firstname.lastname@example.org. The full job description is available on our website at www.aldersgate.com.
Conference Communicator Position
The Florida Annual Conference is seeking a talented communications professional to lead the development and implementation of effective communication strategies that will raise the visibility of the annual conference in order to further its mission.
The selected candidate will be a creative thinker who understands the needs of the organization and can collaboratively design solutions to achieve objectives. Successful applicants must also demonstrate an ability to develop, manage and carry out multiple communication strategies across various departments concurrently.
Application deadline is January 10, 2020. Click HERE for details.
The Gulf Central District is looking for some gifted Volunteers:
to help with supporting our local churches. Please contact Beth (email@example.com) or Maggie (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested:
Facebook and social media
Short promo videos
Event planning (district worship, learning and other events)
Accounting for financial analysis of local churches
Innovation 2020 Learning “Track” leaders—identifying and coordinating topics and presenters for the specific areas of “Innovation” & “Connect to the community”
It’s Wonder Walk Season!
Cornerstone Family Ministries (CFM) would like to say Happy New Year and Thank You to the all United Methodist Churches who supported our students and families through donations during the holiday season. As you may already be aware, our ministry’s mission is to make a lasting and positive impact in the lives of disadvantaged children and their families in our community by nurturing young bodies, developing young minds, and fostering hope through Christ…One child at a time. It is only with the support of donors like the GCD United Methodist Churches that we are able to make this positive impact.
Here at Cornerstone we are preparing for our 40th Annual Wonder Walk/Run. Now considered, “Wonder Walk Season”, we have five walks this year. Two are virtual walks that are held at two separate private schools, and the remaining three are on-site public walks in the month of March. Please reference the save the date flyer for more information about each event and register online at www.cornerstonefamilyministries.org .
We invite everyone to participate at the level they choose. Our goal is to raise $140,000 to provide very important scholarships for each and every child that attends the Rosa Valdez Early Learning Center, as each child currently is on at least a partial scholarship.
In addition, the Gulf Central District Superintendent Dr. Candace Lewis, has challenged every church in the district to have a Wonder Walk team at one of the three Wonder Walk events, to help raise donations for CFM. We ask that you invite church members to join your team in walking and/or giving/recruiting donations. Also, if appropriate, please ask your members to consider the Wonder Walk sponsorship opportunities. (Download Sponsorship Brochure)
If your church is interested in participating as a team and would like to schedule a training for your congregation or unit please feel free to contact Jeanette Hordge-Smith at email@example.com or call 813-253-3853 ext 301.
We are also exited to announce that the Conn Memorial Foundation will again match up to $10,000 this year for all NEW sponsors, teams and individual walkers!
If you are interested in participating as a Wonder Walk Team please complete the following interest form: https://form.jotform.com/200073873663153
The Annual Native American Gathering is sponsored by the Committee on Native American Ministries, a ministry Florida United Methodist Conference.
The rich culture of Native Americans is celebrated during the Gathering through worship, prayer, music, singing, dancing, teaching, workshops and fellowship. In these and other activities we pray that Jesus Christ will be glorified in a way that is culturally appropriate. All are welcome to come and take part in the celebration.
We are honored to have as our guest speaker, Barry Lee (Munsee) of Spirit Wing. Barry Lee will speak about the Wampum belts of Pennsylvania and William Penn’s agreements with the Lenape (Delaware) and other Pennsylvanian native tribes. These belts made from quahog clam and welk shells are a lasting record of the agreements made between the Native people and the new settlers from Europe. Barry Lee is the Executive Director of Circle Legacy Center, an organization to promote and assist Native Americans in the Southeast Pennsylvanian region. He is also lead singer and guitarist for the musical group, Spirit Wing. Spirit Wing also includes Barbara Gregg Andrews-Christy; vocals, flutes, percussion.
Church and Pastor Annual Profiles
Due by January 31, 2020
Church Profile – reviewed and updated annually.
These forms are to be reviewed and updated annually by all church SPR Committees and all clergy in the Florida Conference. All church SPR Committees must update online annually and may begin now. The Church Profile deadline requires it be completed online no later than one week prior to the pastor’s DS consultation if they are having one.
Pastor Profile – reviewed and updated annually.
All pastors must update online annually and may begin now. The Pastor Profile deadline requires it to be completed online no later than one week prior to the DS consultation. Though you may not anticipate a move, it is important that both the Pastor Profile and Church Profile be current and up to date at the first appointment-making session of the Cabinet. The reports should be an honest reflection of the pastoral ministry and the profile of the church.
Click HERE for the detailed instructions for accessing both the Church and Pastor Profiles. Follow the step by step instructions to access the appropriate profile. The final date to update Profiles is January 31, 2020.
Government Payroll Changes for 2020
Effective January 1, the new Florida Minimum Wage will be $8.56 per hour. Be sure to increase any employee making below this amount for the first paycheck dated in January, 2020.
Effective January 1, the new guidelines for salary exempt status goes into effect. The new minimum salary for an exempt employee is $35,568 ($684 per week). You have two options regarding this change:
- Option 1. The employee can remain at their current salary and be reclassified as a non-exempt employee, at which time, the employee will have to track their hours and be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 hours in any week. We recommend a timecard or timesheet be turned in weekly and retain on file.
- Option 2. Increase the employee’s salary to the new exempt minimum of $684 per week.
- Clergy Exemption – Clergy are exempt from the salary requirement; HOWEVER, Lay Supply Pastors ARE NOT covered by the exemption and must follow the new guidelines for salary exempt status.
Effective the first day of your first payroll run of 2020 all new hires MUST complete the new 2020 W-4. Click HERE for the NEW W-4.
Current employees do not need to complete the new W-4 unless they want to. It is supposed to allow for a more accurate tax withholding. Any employee that only completes Sections 1 and 5 (both mandatory) will be treated as a single filer with the highest tax rate with no adjustments.
Click HERE for FAQ’s from the IRS to help answer your questions regarding how to properly complete the new W-4.
Tax Withholding Estimator
The IRS suggests employee should take the time to use the Tax Withholding Estimator to determine if they need to make any adjustments to their tax withholding for 2020. They may also want to consult their tax professional.
General Conference 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 5 - 15
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: https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/2020GeneralConferenceInformationalSession
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 https://www.resourceumc.org/en/churchwide/general-conference-2020 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 https://www.flumc.org/florida-gc-delegation-2020. If you would like to send a note to the delegation and any comments or questions for them to consider, email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Lay Head of Delegation
2020 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
January 20 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
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