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GCD January 2021 Newsletter

 

 

From the District Superintendent

Cabinet Statement in Response to Rioting at the US Capital

January 11, 2021

The scenes that unfolded in our nation’s capital on Wednesday are troubling on many levels. Images that we never could have imagined happening were on news and media outlets as they documented the chaos and violence wrought by the crowds that gathered. These images captured for us all a clear picture of a broken and disunified nation and the sin of white privilege, as well as the horrific results of disinformation and conspiracy theories promulgated by the president and many others, publicly and through social media. We want to say this is not America, yet what we have witnessed in recent years, and most particularly in these last weeks, compels us to acknowledge that, in fact, this is America.    

Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God,” (Matthew 5:9). Peacemaking begins with individual and corporate confession and asking hard questions with the goal of transformation. Let us examine and compare the events of the spring and summer, in the way people of color protesting peacefully were treated, as opposed to the treatment of white rioters who assaulted the Capitol, the center of our nation’s government. White privilege and white supremacy, undergirded by conspiracy theories, erode the fiber of the true good in our country and in the world. This is not the America that we want to be or the foundational value that we believe America can be.

In response, as the Cabinet of The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, we acknowledge that this is a watershed moment for us all—as disciples of Jesus Christ and as citizens of the United States of America. We have learned from history that people of faith do not always speak out quickly when there is evidence of wrongdoing and abuse of national power. Therefore, in this instance, we wish to point toward what we are doing and will continue to do to live more faithfully and seek a more just world:  

  • Intentionally engage white clergy and laity in acknowledging the reality that “whiteness” is a cultural reality in America’s foundation and has been an oppressive force in our history and culture for over 400 years.
  • Recognize and acknowledge the reality of white supremacy and white privilege as a part of our American history and culture and of our United Methodist Church history and culture. 
  • Invite white people to acknowledge all the ways we are complicit with white supremacy, that we exalt our white privilege, and by default perpetuate harm to people of color. 
  • Acknowledge the need for white people to repent of our misuse of our power and privileges and begin the work of dismantling racism and building a just and equitable kingdom of God.
  • Walk alongside minority communities to understand more deeply their pain and the injustices present in our society and in our institutions.
  • Pray for our leaders and for those charged with our safety and protection, especially during this time of transition.  
  • Pray for the incoming administration, including the preparation for the Inauguration on January 20. 
  • Pray for us to have the will and the courage to work together to dismantle systemic racism present in our churches and in our communities.  
  • Pray for peace, hope, and love among the people in our land.  

One of the phrases that Bishop Carter has repeated over and over, both in written and in spoken word, that rings true in our ears is this: “Antiracism is discipleship. Antiracism is sanctification. Antiracism and our baptismal promises.”  

“Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19  

Grace and Peace,   Florida Conference Appointive Cabinet

From your Gulf Central Anti-Racism Team on Training & Accountability:

One of the Church’s great dreams is to dismantle racism. Many in our congregations are hungry and thirsty for more information, bible studies and safe places to have conversation.

One of the purposes of this team is to help disseminate information about these types of groups by establishing and distributing a district wide calendar of anti-racism studies and conversations being offered. We are now in the process of filling up the calendar for the first quarter of 2021. 

If you have a new small group study coming up in this time frame, and are willing to share that information, here is what we would like to know!

·       The name of the study, or small group, when it’s being offered, and the venue or platform

·       Time span of study or small group

·       Study material/funds needed to participate

·       Link for registration, or information on how to register

·       Registration cap

Be part of the great dream to put an end to racism in our churches and in our world! Please send information to: Kathi Sheehan at gcdantiracism@gmail.com.  Thank you in advance for being an active part of our connection and being willing to share your thirst for knowledge and justice with others.

The Beloved Community's Awareness Team of the Bishop's Anti-Racism Task Forces has put together a toolkit of worship resources for churches to use on Human Relations Sunday, Jan. 17. Because the following day is Martin Luther King Day, there is special emphasis on resources for litanies, prayers, music, and even a full service.  You can register to receive the toolkit here: https://www.flumc.org/awareness

Register Today to Receive Your MLK Day Worship Service Toolkit

Click the link below to register to receive the MLK Day Worship Service Toolkit from the Beloved Community's Awareness Sub-Committee. The toolkit features music from the Bethune Cookman University Chorale, prayers, orders of worship, suggested music and Scriptures for planning a service for Human Relations Sunday/MLK Day.

 

 

 
 

 

 

Florida Conference Lay Servant Ministries Classes - Basic Course | January 19- February 16, 2021

This class is the required first step for those wanting to become a lay servant, lay speaker or a lay minister. It is also a good first step for many laity to begin or pursue a closer relationship with the Lord. The core lay ministries are caring, leading, and communicating. We can all find a calling in one or more of these areas of ministry. This class will familiarize you with these areas of ministry and give you a chance to explore each one. Many journeys of deepening faith and service in ministry have begun with this class. Enjoy and be open to God’s call upon your life!

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 Lay Servant Ministries Basic Course Participant’s Book. You may purchase it at Cokesbury or Amazon.

  • Online via Zoom
  • Five Tuesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Instructor: Rod Groom

CLICK HERE to register for the BASIC COURSE. Credit card payment will be required upon registration. Deadline for registration is 1/11/2021. News from Across the Connection

The following two courses are scheduled:

#1 - The Basic Course
Online via Zoom – January 19- February 16, 2021
Five Tuesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Instructor: Rod Groom
 
This class is the required first step for those wanting to become a lay servant, lay speaker or a lay minister. It is also a good first step for many laity to begin or pursue a closer relationship with the Lord. The core lay ministries are caring, leading, and communicating. We can all find a calling in one or more of these areas of ministry. ?This class will familiarize you with these areas of ministry and give you a chance to explore each one. Many journeys of deepening faith and service in ministry have begun with this class. Enjoy and be open to God’s call upon your life!
 
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 Lay Servant Ministries Basic Course Participant’s Book. You may purchase it at Cokesbury or Amazon.

 


#2 - The ADVANCED Course
Accountable Discipleship: Living in the Household of God.
Online via Zoom - March 9 – April 6, 2021
Five Tuesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Instructor: Rod Groom
 
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.


CLICK HERE to register for the BASIC COURSE.  Credit card payment will be required upon registration.
          Deadline for registration is 1/11/2021.


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: rod.groom@icloud.com.
 

Interesting read: 

Seasonal cultural celebrations calendar - Read it here.

 

 

 

 

It can be hard trying to be a great student and wonder how you’re going to pay for COLLEGE all at the same time. 

Your United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union is here to help your students.  Please add this to your newsletters and social media outlets from now until April. 

Also, please send this UMC FCU Scholarship to your Youth and Young Adult Pastors/Directors  

Apply for our 2021 Scholarship

What you need to know

  • $1,000.00 awarded to one person from each of the United Methodist Conferences (Florida, Alabama -West Florida, South Georgia, North Georgia)
  • Application Open: January 1st-April 30th, 2021
  • Previous Winners are ineligible to apply
  • UMC FCU Members are eligible to apply . Applying online to become a UMC FCU member is easy. Eligibility Requirements  ( Be a Member of a UM Church, or Work for a UM Church or Organization within the four (4) conferences listed above, Have a family member who is already a member of UMC FCU)
  • Application and essay information will GO LIVE on January 1st, 2021 on www.UMCFCU.com website
  • Don’t wait to apply (Applying early does not increase your chances of winning… it’s just good to get things done as soon as possible)   

Should you have any questions, please contact anyone at either the Lakeland, FL or Marietta, GA branches. 

 

 

District Worship Leaders Zoom Gathering

Date: Thursday January 28th       Time: 12:00 – 1:30pm

Join Worship Leaders from across the Gulf Central District for a District Zoom Lunch and Learn. This gathering will be a time to connect, pray together, and share both resources + best practices for worship ministry today.

Moderators:       Meg Roberts – Horizon Church Tampa                                                                                                               Jeremy Hearn - FUMC Lakeland

To RSVP and join this discussion, please email jhearn@firstumc.org to receive the Zoom Link.

United Methodist Women

Here is the newsletter

 Here's the newsletter for this month full of info on our January 23 Leadership Training (note also the registration document below), the March Wonder Walk and training events, and other happenings.

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 41st Annual Wonder Walk/Run. Now considered, “Wonder Walk Season”, this year we have adjusted our event to accommodate the CDC COVID-19 Social Distancing recommendations and so we will host our walk virtually for all participants on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 9am. Teams are encouraged to be creative and find a peaceful place to go for a walk and pray for our families, students, teachers and nation. This event will also include a virtual presentation and silent auction and so we welcome any in-kind donations or gift baskets valued at $75 or more to include in our virtual silent auction.

Please reference the save the date flyer for more information about each event and register online beginning January 15, 2021 at www.cornerstonefamilyministries.org .

Now more than ever before we need you support so we invite everyone to participate at the level they choose. Our goal is to raise $141,000 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 virtual Wonder Walk team, to help raise donations for Cornerstone - CATHY CAN YOU ASK CANDACE TO AGAIN ENDORSE THIS EVENT FOR 2021?  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 - will send by end of Dec.)

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 jhordgesmith@cornerstonefm.org  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!

 

Wespath is having a virtual 2-day afternoon meeting covering pension plans and clergy taxes, clergy wellness, benefit proposal for General Conference 2021, and much more.  There is also an opportunity to schedule a private benefits consultation with a Wespath Benefits staff member. Every clergy person could benefit from this event. The deadline to register is January 29, 2021.

There is a charge to register but materials will be mailed to you that will be needed during the event. Please go to the link below for full details of this 2-day event and to register today!

https://www.wespath.org/about-wespath/events/Delivered-to-You

Clergy Care - Your New Magellan EAP is here!

Lois Durham has worked hard to come up with the new Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for all clergy of The Florida Conference. There are lots of benefits available at no cost to you. Please take a minute to download each of the items listed below, so you don't miss out!

  1. Welcome Email to Members
  2. EAP Flyer
  3. Work-Life Flyer
  4. Legal Financial Flyer
  5. Discount Center Flyer
  6. Clickotine App Flyer

 

2021 W-4  

The IRS changed the W-4 in 2020 and made another change for 2021. Existing employees do not need to complete a new form. If an employee wants to change their withholding elections or you hire a new employee, you must use the new form. Click HERE for the new W-4.

 

Festival of HOMILETICS


"Preaching for the Future Church"
May 17-21, 2021 Virtually

The church is in decline. We need to adapt to survive.

Can the church recapture what it was in the first century -- a distinctive community willing to stand against the status quo, to confront the ways of empire, and to embody the gospel?

Together, we'll explore how the promise of the gospel gives hope and shapes ministry for the church now and in the future. 

There are two ways to participate:

  1. Watch for free: Four to five prerecorded video sessions will be available each day-no cost required.
  2. Purchase a recording package: Gain full access to bonus material and watch sessions at a later time. Bonus materials include additional speaker presentations, live workshops, learning opportunities, and exclusive vendor connections. Receive CEU credit.

Click HERE to register.

 

Conversations about Racism and The UMC: 
A book discussion about I'm Black. I'm Christian. I'm Methodist.

Join us January 19th for an important conversation with ten Black leaders about racism in our churches and religious institutions.

Join the I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist. writers and editor Rudy Rasmus in a robust discussion moderated by GCORR Interim General Secretary Garlinda Burton. 

In the book, ten Black women and men explore life through the lens of compelling, personal accounts. They are leaders whose lives are tangible demonstrations of the power of a divine purpose and evidence of what grace really means in the face of hardship, disappointment, and determination.

This conversation will include topics such as:

  • What Has Racism Cost the Church?
  • Intersections of Race, Gender, and LGBTQIA+ Identity
  • Ministry and Racism



January 19, 2021, 2:00 p.m. CST / 3:00 p.m. EST  

Social Justice Sessions

This fall Heritage United Methodist (predominantly white) and Mt. Olive AME (predominantly Black) churches in Clearwater came together on Zoom in a group to discuss social justice issues. It was a six week discussion entitled Racial Divide in Pinellas County.  Already considered sister churches due to a long history of shared projects, worship and support, members of Heritage UMC and Mt. Olive AME met from Oct through November 2020. Facilitated by Cheryl Fairies, Program Coordinator of “The Church Facing Racism in Pinellas County”,  seven people from each church brought their life experiences to the table.  Anticipation and a type of “social holiness” was in the air.

One of the first activities was to share an item representing each person’s background or culture.  This gave all the participants insight into each other in a visual and personal way.  For example, experiences shared by Black participants about being afraid, as a young person, to drive through parts of Pinellas County, due to the KKK presence brought the reality of our local history to bear.

 The group viewed information about housing discrimination, which lead to studies on inferior employment, education and healthcare experienced by the Black community. National and local data served as a springboard for sharing how the Clearwater community is seen through the two lenses-both black and white.   Analysis of the information was discussed in a way that will eventually lead to a collaborative group service project.  Poverty, Healthcare and employment issues rose to the top of the list as major concerns in the Clearwater community.   Coming together, a number of folks from Heritage UMC participated in community outreach for the hungry, along-side Mt Olive parishioners.

   Solid relationships always take time to build and deepen.  The group agreed that one-on-one relationships are the beginning of understanding between communities, and nurturing closer relationships may take a while, especially in our current Covid environment. Ashley Holmes, from Mt Olive noted “ It was a humbling experience to bear witness and be a part of the unpeeling of perceived notions and taught lessons from our cultures”   There is group energy to be open minded and open hearted, to seek to turn this type of intentional conversation into a  lifestyle.   She said “The understanding gained during the sessions will lead to our future work in breaking down racial barriers, and loving all as God intended”.  Already sister churches, Heritage UMC and Mt Olive AME are moving closer together to spiritually uplift our community through actions of social holiness. We pray God’s blessing and guidance in this endeavor.

Items with Due Dates looming

Church and Pastor Annual Profiles
Due by January 31

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 having. 

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, 2021.

Statistics due February 5

Please visit the Year-End Statistics Instructions website as you begin preparations for reporting your church's end of year statistics.  You will find everything you need for reporting: 

  • Instruction Guides
    • Church Guide for EOY and EZRA Reporting (Login Instructions & Password, Payroll Protection Program (PPP) reporting)
    • Church Table Directions (help text)
    • New Church Development and Year End Statistical Reporting
  • Step by Step Overview of the Year-End Reporting Process

The deadline for submitting Year End Statistical Tables is February 5, 2021.

The information you share gives the GCFA and the conference an opportunity to see how the churches have prospered in the last year. 

Go to the Year-End Statistics Instructions website to get started!
 
Thank you for your help in telling our churches' stories through statistics.

 

2021 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE – District and Conference offices will be closed:

January 18 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

February 15 President’s Day

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

 January 11 - Last Day for 2020 Apportionment payments
January 31 Church and Pastor Profiles Due
February 5 Year End Stats Due
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