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From the District Superintendent
Our Journey to Pentecost
This month I have been surprised by how late I stay up working, creating a new home project or binge watching a cooking show. I’ve also planted a garden and completed my first fictional audiobook. I’m not surprised that I am still a few minutes late to my first ZOOM meeting even though my work commute is now from the kitchen to the home office. The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted my normal schedule, routines, rituals and orientation. Walter Bruggeman in his book Spirituality of the Psalms explains how we can navigate our seasons of orientation and disorientation as we await a new orientation to emerge.
A season of Disorientation is described as “much more than circumstantial discomfort. It is an inner, personal awareness, and recognition that something is changing, a profound shift is taking place. One does not know what is ending or what is beginning.” During a season of disorientation we learn to manage the things we can control. We also learn to surrender and trust God with the many things beyond our control. What are you experiencing in this season of disorientation? What are you learning about God, yourself and others?
We are so proud of our Gulf Central Pastors, staff, leaders and volunteers. Over the last eleven weeks, even though their previous orientation has been disrupted, our churches have been open and offering an online only worship experience. It’s been amazing to see and hear the stories of new innovative ministries happening in the midst of this disorienting pandemic and sheltering in place. Now most meetings, Bible studies, children and youth ministries, Sunday school and small groups have shifted to various digital platforms because we want to keep people safe. Many churches continue in mission and ministry in their communities offering “to go” meals for our homeless friends and collecting food to feed families in need.
I imagine the disciples might have felt disoriented as they journeyed to the first experience we would later call Pentecost. The life and orientation they knew was disrupted by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Before Jesus’ Ascension he instructed the disciples to go to Jerusalem and “wait” until they received “power” from on high.
In a few weeks our churches will celebrate Pentecost Sunday, May 31st 2020 online. I am praying that God continue to pour out the Holy Spirit upon us in fresh, new, powerful ways. We desire the Holy Spirit to renew and revive us for the days ahead. We desire divine wisdom and insight as we develop reopening plans for churches. We want to see Pastors refreshed and renewed for this next season of life and ministry!!! Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on Us!
We are on Mission Together,
Candace M Lewis
We welcome to their new appointment in Gulf Central
Aldersgate, Seminole Ben Stilwell-Hernandez
First, Clearwater Matt Wallis
First, Lutz Chris Kirk
First, Pinellas Park Chuck Smith
Keystone, Odessa Ricc Conner
Limona Village Chapel, Garrett Rocha
New Hope, Brandon Riley Short interim
Pasadena Community, associate Nicole Logan
St. Andrew’s, Brandon co-pastors Gary and Jayne Rideout
Sylvan Abbey, Clearwater Dario Perez
UM Temple, Lakeland Nikki Taylor
First Seffner - Brian Brink
Forest Hills - Zulma Soba
Crystal Lake - Terry Knight
Clergy meeting info
Have you heard Gulf Central Clergy talking about the April Clergy Meeting? You can hear and see it all! Materials are available on our Conference District page (https://www.flumc.org/clergy-meeting-04-23-2020). Not only are all the slides from the meeting available (Bishop’s, Alex’s and Adam Hamilton’s), you will find the video of the session (including Adam Hamilton-about 30 minutes into the session). AND, Debi Nixon from COR has just forwarded us a timely piece on counting virtual attendance. In this piece you will find great info, for example,
- count attendance ½ way into your worship service for best attendance estimate
- if you don’t have polling information on who is watching with whom, use a 1.8 multiplier
- Our next Clergy Meeting will be September 22 - stay tuned for details
The Mission Continues - Coffee for Sale to support The Portico
Our May sales goal will remain the same: 250 bags. We realize that our #CoffeeOnAMission initiative needs to evolve. In order to help The Portico Cafe meet our sales goal we need to reach more people.
We now offer shipping to ANYWHERE in the U.S. coast to coast.*
Now many more may enjoy our delicious, locally-roasted Portico Blend and Don Carlos Espresso!
Support our Coffee on a Mission initiative:
Buy a Bag of Coffee
Give a Bag or Gift Card
Donate to The Portico Café
*Free Deliveries available in Hillsborough County
Delivery Schedule: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon. Weds. & Fri.
Pick-up Schedule: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon. Weds. & Fri. at The Portico Cafe.
*Shipping rates may vary
Thank you so much for sticking with us. We look forward to supporting each other during these challenging times. The Portico Cafe will re-open on May 18 following Social-distancing and sanitation guidelines.
The takeout window will open 8 a.m - 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Our baristas will serve up some of our specialties:
* Bacon Egg and Cheese
* Morning Cuban
* Lunch Cuban
* Spicy Italian
* Avocado Toast
* Muffins and Cookies
* All Coffees
* Teas and Iced Tea
Check out ThePorticoCafe.org to see our latest cafe offerings and promotions.
we want to invite churches and families to join us on Fridays at 10am for virtual Chapel. Below is the verbiage we use to promote this opportunity along with this youtube video - https://youtu.be/wX8Sr_7rYjI
Join Mrs. Cindy live every FRIDAY at 10am for virtual Chapel.
Please join Mrs. Cindy LIVE from your computer, tablet or smartphone:
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (669) 224-3318
Access Code: 612-615-517
Adjustments to our Wonder Walk events due to COVID-19. You may use the following content blurb as you see fit:
The COVID19 pandemic hit during one of the most crucial fundraising times of the year for Cornerstone Family Ministries. As a result, Cornerstone is encouraging supporters to host virtual walks and submit their donations by April 30, 2020. There is still time to support this ministry, as they need our support now more than ever before. For more information contact Jeanette Hordge-Smith at email@example.com
Annual Conference 2020 Update
We will have a virtual clergy session on Saturday, June 6 beginning at 9:00am. Bishop Carter will make and fix the appointments at the end of the virtual clergy session. Clergy will be emailed a link to join this virtual meeting.
Our Annual Conference event will take place on Saturday, September 19 from 10:00am to 5:00pm. This will be a one day annual conference and the agenda will consist of:
a. Voting on essential items (budget, election of leadership, election of lay leader, etc.)
b. Retirement recognition
c. Service of Remembrance
d. Service of Commissioning and Ordination
We invite all lay and clergy members of the annual conference to plan to attend this one day event. We understand that some may not feel comfortable gathering in large settings at that time. The details, including the location for our September event are being finalized.
District Office Update
Just an FYI that Maggie is working from home and the office phone is being monitored. She is checking the office phone so leave a message and she will call you back. She will be retrieving mail at the office 1-2 times per week. As always, you can reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to do a video call with her just let her know and one can be set up. Church admin please join the conversation “Coffee with Maggie” on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM. Send an email to email@example.com to join the conversation.
2020 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
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