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GCD May 2019 Newsletter

From the District Superintendent

As I watch the news unfold on television and on social media, May 2019, is filled with change and transitions.  We have students graduating from local high schools and colleges.  We announced new clergy leaving and coming to churches in our District.  Families are experiencing transitions in light of births, deaths, and illness, and employment, financial, marital and spiritual changes impacting lives daily.   Even our denomination now finds itself in the midst of change and transition post recent General Conference and Judicial Council decisions. 

Transitions bring with them expected and unexpected emotions and actions.  Wisdom is needed as we navigate. William Bridges, author of the book Transitions reminds us that every transition includes “the difficult process of letting go of an old situation, suffering the confusing nowhere of in-betweenness, and of launching forth again in a new situation”. 


The Message translation of Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us of the importance of discernment related to the actions needed at this time. 

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

It is my prayer that we recall “God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time”. Let us seek to be helpful partners with God and people who are in the midst of the sometimes “confusing in betweenness” of change and transition. Remember, helpful people are non-anxious listeners, seekers of truth and the common good, courageous, trusting God and loving all of God’s people, following the example of Jesus. 

We are On Mission Together,


 We say a fond farewell to:

Cory Britt - St Peter's, Wellington Atlantic Central District
Kent Crow - First Hudson  North Central District
Ryan Hall - Wesley Melbourne Atlantic Central District
Frank Reynolds - Spring Lake North Central District
Becky Rokitowski - Associate St Paul's Tallahassee North West District
Bo Sim Associate Englewood South West District
Kim Uchimura - Emmanuel Bradenton South West District 

And a Happy and Healthy Retirement to Diogenes Hernandez, Dan Johnson and Jerry Partney

We Welcome: 

Tracie Ashley - Co Pastor Grace Community, Fish Hawk
Pam Everhart - Shepherd's Community, Lakeland
John Frank - Riviera, St Petersburg
Kevin Grills - First Land O' Lakes
Rini Hernandez to the Conference Director of New Church Development and Hispanic/Latino Ministries
Corey Jones - Pasadena Community, St Petersburg
Keri Labrant - Clearview, St Petersburg
John  Legg - Temple Terrace, Tampa Ernesto Machado - Faith Tampa
Sarah Miller - South Shore, Riverview
Jacob Park - St James, St Petersburg and First Gulfport
Garrett Rocha - Associate St Andrew's, Brandon

click here for a full list of the announced appointment changes

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.

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.

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!

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

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.


Lay Servant Ministries Training

 Pasadena Community UMC St Petersburg June 14-15  click here for the flyer


 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


The Cuba Ministry

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Paul Griffith at 813-431-5692 or

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]

Questions? Contact Keri LaBrant at



If so, please give them the attached application for the 2019 Summer Pastoral Ministry Internship Program and encourage them to apply!


If so, please sponsor a Summer Pastoral Intern for 2019!

Here are the quick facts for hosting an Intern. Attached is a more detailed program description.
Internship Dates  Monday, May 27, 2019 through Friday, August 2, 2019

Intern Training Day   Friday, May 24, 2019 (Students and Supervising Pastors)

Intern Reflection Day  Monday, August 5, 2019 (Students Only)

Hours    30 hours/week as scheduled with Supervising Pastor

Housing   Provided in congregant’s home, if needed

Stipend    $3,500.00 ($1,500. host site, $1,500. Office of Clergy Excellence, plus an additional $500 from the Office of Clergy Excellence IF the Intern attends both the Orientation and Reflection Days)

Detailed Program Description

Summer Pastoral Ministry Internship Application

If interested, please email or mail an Intern Job Description for your church. Please feel free to contact the Office of Clergy Excellence if you have any questions about the program.

Please feel free to contact the Office of Clergy Excellence if you have any questions about the program.
Holly Finley at
Rev. Sara McKinley at 

Office of Clergy Excellence
450 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33815

Fall Clergy Meeting – September 19 – Lake Magdalene

 Registration available soon


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.


Church Leaders take advantage to available training. 

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

 Click here to see what is available


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.


 Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats


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

Confirmation Retreat:  Sept 27-29

Rooted: September 16-17

Summer Camp

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


 Clergy Day Apart – September 17 in Lakeland

Clergy, mark your calendars for a clergy day apart with Bishop Carter on Tuesday, September 17, from 10:00am - 3:30pm in Lakeland. We will not hold regional gatherings this year, so this is your chance to spend time with Bishop Carter, who will speak about resiliency in the midst of our changing context. We hope all clergy will plan to attend.


SEJ Clergy Women’s Event – “Uncharted”

The website is LIVE!!! Which means registration is OPEN!!
Share the website link far and wide to every SEJ clergywoman you know so we can get the word out! Also encourage them to "Like" the Facebook page ("Uncharted Conference 2019") to keep up with any updates!


 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).


Conference and District offices will be closed

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

December 26             Day After Christmas




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 25 materials due for 2nd Provisional attempt meeting August 22


August 22 DCOM meeting for 2nd Provisional attempt DATE CHANGE


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 - Click here to register.


December 5 DCOM Meeting