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GCD September 2020 Newsletter


From the District Superintendent

A Good Neighbor

As we continue to journey in this season filled with hope and weariness, uncertainty and challenges, COVID, Racism and Elections; Today, I am inspired by the Good Samaritan and State Farm Insurance.  State Farm’s tag line promises “just like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” and if you’ve ever seen the commercials “Jake from State Farm” seems available at any time of day or night offering a friendly, genuinely helpful response to callers in crisis.      

Jesus shares the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 inviting us as followers to also be “good neighbors”.  In the parable we first hear of a man who was “attacked” “stripped” “beaten” and “left for dead”.  We then meet three people who responded very differently to the plight of the victim in our text.  When I read this parable I always wonder what we tell ourselves when we choose not to “be a good neighbor”.   I wonder what the Priest and Levite told themselves about the plight of the victim that convinced them to pass on the other side.  Did they amplify their own fears, justify their actions by focusing on their privilege and power, or did they choose to shame and blame the victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time?  I wonder what caused the Samaritan to come towards the victim with empathy and compassion sharing his resources to support the well-being and humanity of the injured person.    

In our current contentious society we are seeing victims fall at the hands, words, posts, tweets, comments, videos, and actions of people who are doing harm.   State Farm reminds us being a good neighbor is being present not just in life’s good moments, but also being there when things go completely wrong.  As followers of Jesus, we too can be “Good Neighbors”.  Let’s keep asking ourselves what do Good Neighbors do? Do they avoid the crisis or do they go towards in mercy and compassion?   Jesus affirms the actions of a Good Neighbor as being merciful and compassionate towards those in need and invites us to “good and do likewise”. 

Let’s be “Good Neighbors” across the Gulf Central District allowing the light and life of Christ to shine through us in all we do and say.  In this season, our online and offline communities are looking for “Good Neighbors”. 

We are in this together,


Candace M Lewis

Annual Conference 2020 Update 



To participate in Annual Conference 2020 with voting privileges, clergy and lay members are required to register with a unique personal email address.  The original deadline to register by September 1 has been extended. PLEASE REGISTER TODAY. Thank you to those who have already registered.

For security purposes, a two-step registration process has been established. The first step is to register here. Once your conference membership has been verified by our Conference Secretary and Conference staff, you will receive an email (by September 16) to register for the Zoom webinar. The Zoom registration will have a unique code that is linked to your email address. Please do not share it with anyone. If your spouse is also a voting member, you must register with a separate email address to both have voting privileges. 

Laity who register for September 19 Annual Conference session will automatically receive an email to join the Laity Session on September 12. Emails will be sent by September 10.

As a reminder, guests of the Annual Conference session can view the live stream on September 19.

A list of essential Items of Business that will be covered during Annual Conference on September 19 is now on the website.  Your Annual Conference Planning Team has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions (, which are also posted to the website. If you have a question that has not been answered, please email and it will either be included in the FAQ or answered directly. 

Who has right to voice and vote at AC? Click here.

Annual Conference 2020 will be virtual only on September 19 9:00am - noon. Click HERE for the Annual Conference 2020 webpage. 

  • If you were scheduled to be a Church Lay Member to Annual Conference in June and can not attend in September, please notify your church asap.
  • If you were scheduled to be a District At-Large Lay Member to Annual Conference in June and can not attend in September, please notify Maggie asap

The following events will all be virtual on September 12.
Laity Session - 10:00am - noon
Service of Commissioning - 1:00pm
Service of Ordination - 3:00pm 
Installation of two new District Superintendents - 4:30pm

Gulf Central District is committed to dismantling racism in our communities.  Our district teams are working to discern God’s call on our work and taking action.  If you are interested in joining us, please reach out to

The Public Witness & Policy Team has unanimously voted to support our District’s local churches in expanding voter participation and ending voter suppression.  As you have seen our Bishop’s words (,  voting is a matter of discipleship.  We will be working through the outstanding efforts and grant of Allendale UMC.  Full details will quickly be forthcoming for churches to engage.  In the meantime,  today, you can sign up to get started:

There are so many resources available to you on racism; it can be overwhelming.  We have a GC resource page available to you at: as well as the Conference resource:  If your church is looking for a good introductory book study that will meet people graciously where they are, many are finding Austin Channing Brown’s I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness as a great place to start.

Grants for your church to participate in Financial Peace 

Imagine your church becoming the “go-to” place people think of when they want/need help with their financial situation!  In this time of massive job losses and pervasive poverty, you can be a relevant lifeline to your community!  Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, you are invited to partner with Anona UMC to offer Financial Peace University for up to a 90% grant off the subscription fee!  Be one of the 100 churches across the Gulf Central District to join this ministry opportunity.  YES!  100 churches.  Churches looking to start and/or enrich their school connections (public, private, preschool)—offering financial tools and strategies for teachers and staff to change their lives through financial stability.  Contact  Pastor Richard Landon at for more information.

New Pinellas Cares Grant Available 

In an effort to support local businesses and lessen the financial challenges child care providers are encountering, Pinellas County Government has partnered with the Early Learning Coalition to help retain and restore capacity in child care.

The Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants are available to all open, licensed or licensed exempt child care providers. Pinellas County has identified emergency relief funds to support the local businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. These emergency relief funds are available from Pinellas County as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (the federal stimulus package for the County). 

 One of the Pinellas CARES Local Business Grant programs is dedicated to supporting child care providers by offering one-time grants up to $10,000 to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills, rent, and health and safety investments. The emergency relief is targeted specifically to help local businesses impacted as a result of COVID-19 within Pinellas County cover immediate financial needs. Grants are strictly limited to businesses located physically within Pinellas County. These funds can only be used to cover costs not paid by insurance or by another federal program.

No reimbursement is required. Note: Child care providers will not be eligible for the other business grant programs as each local business may only receive one grant type from the Pinellas CARES Local Business Grant programs.

 Applications will be accepted through October 2 until 11:59 PM. 

If you have questions or need assistance completing the application, please contact the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County at 727-400-4436 or For more Information please click here

Part Time Visitation Pastor Position

St Pete First is looking for a Visitation Pastor to visit the shut-ins of our church family.  We are looking for a retired pastor who enjoys bringing grace to individuals and couples who don’t get out like they used to.  This is a 10 hour a week position and includes mileage reimbursement.  Additional time required is a staff meeting every week, visiting with the Senior Pastor once a month, which is compensated.  Becoming part of the worshiping community is also required.

Please send inquiries and responses to Craig Nelson at


Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaders

An Advanced Course in Lay Servant Ministries
Facilitated by Rod Groom, Conference Director
Tuesday Evenings, September 22nd – October 27th
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Click Here to register and pay
Deadline to register is 9/13/2020 

This course will be conducted via Zoom. Participation on online discussion boards will be a requirement of this class. Please buy and read the Participant’s Book prior to the first class. It is available in Print, Kindle and ePub formats through the Upper Room, Cokesbury and Amazon.
The mission of the United Methodist Church is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Where will these leaders come from, and how will they lead movements of hope into a transformed vision of the world? This study will provide lay servants and others with scriptural foundations of Christian transformational leadership, as well as organizational effectiveness principles. The goal is to offer a framework to understand how we can be Christian transformational leaders in their churches, at work and in the world.

For further information, contact Rod Groom at

Cost $25.00, payable to the Florida Annual Conference. CLICK HERE to register and pay. 
Deadline to register is 9/13/2020

A few scholarships may be available. If interested, email



You've spent your summer in the Scriptures with us - now, continue your spiritual growth with an online Bible Study hosted by Bishop Ken Carter and sponsored by Fill the Table! Join Bishop Carter each Wednesday at 6 p.m. beginning September 9 through November 25. You'll hear from biblical scholars, share your prayer requests and learn with fellow Methodists from across the Conference.

This a great way for local church groups to study the Gospel of Matthew chapters 18-25. We will build in time for intercessory prayer within your small groups during the study. We will celebrate a litany of remembrance for those who have died of COVID-19 and acts of racism on the Wednesday (October 28) before All Saints' Day and we will conclude our twelve weeks with a Love Feast on the night before Thanksgiving (November 25). To follow along, download study guide here.

Click here for more details from Bishop Carter!

Click here to register so that we can keep you up to date via email
There are a few ways you can participate:  

1. Join the Facebook group - Post questions, share your insights, and invite others to participate as well. 

2. Livestream - For this option, you can join online without creating a Facebook account or joining the Facebook group above. 

3. Phone - If you have folks who cannot join online, please contact Shannon Redden for call-in credentials 863-688-5563 ext. 154 or

No matter which way you join, please register to stay connected! 

Can't make it each Wednesday at 6? Don't worry, we'll post each session's recording on Thursdays.

Questions? contact Shannon Redden or Alex Shanks

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership – Due September 30,2020

The completed forms should be emailed to Maggie Corrigan at The clergy assessment process is available on the FLUMC website under Clergy Excellence  Click here.


You’re invited to the FX Studio!

Have you heard all about fresh expressions but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you have started some fresh expressions and are wondering what’s next? Or are you feeling stuck amid the pandemic? The Fresh Expressions Studio is for you…

 Studio Gathering 1: Wednesday September 30, 2020 9am-12 by Zoom.

Studio Gathering 2: Saturday March 20, 2021 (location to be determined)

For more information about the gatherings and to register for these FREE events click below.  


Share what your ministry is doing with the conference

If you have short videos showing your ministry in action, youth activities, feeding the hungry, children’s ministry, etc., you can share them with the conference in our Now Playing feature on the home page at 

Videos should be 4 minutes or less. You can share your video with us here:

 You can also share your photos on our Photos from around the conference page

Click HERE to submit your photos.

2020 Annual Charge Conference

 Click HERE for Charge Conferences forms. Be sure to read all the instructions and click on the Gulf Central District specific forms.

  • All Charge Conference forms are fillable forms and can be signed with ink or electronically. You must download the forms to your computer first and then open them to begin to complete and sign.


Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM)

Heidi Aspinwall has served as YAMM director for six years. She has spent many hours working with and empowering 90 young adults who have gone through this program. Heidi is turning over the reigns to the new director, Martine Marcelin! Heidi is still around, so we will be seeing her!

"I am a living example of the importance of investing in young adult leadership development and how it is necessary in the life of the church," Marcelin wrote in a letter to the YAMM board. "As a youth and young adult, I participated in several young adult leadership programs that opened my eyes to opportunities to serve people within my community." Click HERE to read complete article.  

General Conference 2020 - August 29-September 7, 2021

2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference - November 10-12, 2021



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

Calendar of Events 

September 12 Laity Session for Annual Conference
Laity Session - 10:00 am - noon
Service of Commissioning - 1:00 pm
Service of Ordination - 3:00 pm 
Installation of two new District Superintendents - 4:30 pm

September 16 10 AM an all admin Zoom meeting with Maggie topics will include calendar of reports due, Charge Conference and whatever you need to discuss.  If you need the link please send Maggie an email – it is the same one we use for Coffee with Maggie.

 September 19th in Lakeland Annual Conference

September 22 Clergy Meeting – More info to follow

September 30 Clergy Assessments due in the District office. Click here

October 11 at 1:30 pm Church Conference Team East Hillsborough
October 18 at 1:30 pm Church Conference Team South Pinellas
October 18 at 4:30 pm Church Conference Team Lakeland
October 25 at 1:30 pm Church Conference Team Tampa
October 25 at 4:30 pm Church Conference Team West Pinellas
November 1 at 1:30 pm Church Conference Team North Pinellas and Hillsborough and South Pasco

December 10 SPR Training - Virtual - a sign-up will be sent soon