Main Menu

Gulf Central District December 2018 Newsletter

From The District Superintendent

As we enter the season of Advent, we know it’s a season of preparation, anticipation, expectation and waiting.  Most of us, if honest, don’t enjoy waiting.  We get impatient waiting at traffic lights, in grocery store lines and we impatiently wait for websites or a videos to load on our computers or devices.  Who has time to wait?  We have a destination even in Advent season.  We want to get to the beloved candlelight Christmas Eve services.  Candlelight Christmas is important and deserves our energy and focus.  I also wonder what else GOD has in store for us each week of Advent.  We can be so focused on our destination that we miss the wonders of the journey. 

I pray as Advent unfolds, the Holy Spirit reveals to us new insight and experiences we can share with others.  As we light the candles of HOPE, FAITH, JOY and PEACE may we be inspired a fresh and a new. 

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel  Shall come to you, O Israel!


I pray we enjoy the wondrous journey of this Advent season. 

 Candace M. Lewis


 Office Closed for Holidays

Due to vacation and holidays, the District Office will be closed from Friday, December 21, 2018 through and including January 1, 2019. We will reopen and respond to all calls and emails on January 2, 2019. 


Congregation Vitality

PASSION for helping churches become more VITAL?  Looking for a way to serve in new and impactful ways?
The Gulf Central Congregational Vitality Team is looking for those wanting to work with our churches-up front and behind the scenes-to help build vital worshipping communities.  Gifts and skills appreciated include coaching, facilitation, analysis, event planning.

Please contact Beth Potter at for more information.


A Gulf Central Learning and Application Event
The Why, What & How with a Mid-and Small Local Church focus
February 16, 2019, 9am-3pm

Anona UMC

    Just a few of our great sessions include:

  • Reaching into your community-The power of Asset Mapping
  • Reaching children through growing School Partnerships
  • Digital & Websites for the novice
  • How to buy Technology smartly
  • Sharing the Gospel when you’re scared to death
  • Keeping our sanctuary safe in today’s world

Child care available

Spanish translation provided

SAVE THE DATE NOW!  Registration opens on January 8, 2019@

Appointment Changes

Shepherd’s Community in Lakeland– We bid Doug Townley adieu and wish him all the best in his retirement and we welcome Kent Crow to the Gulf Central District as he serves at Shepherd’s.

Keystone Odessa We bid Fred Ball adieu and wish him all the best in his retirement and welcome Drew Dancey – Drew was serving at First Seminole.

First Seminole – We welcome Avis Smith to the Gulf Central District as an interim pastor.

Around the Conference and Beyond

2020 Self-Nomination Process is Open

The planning and preparation for the 2019 session of the Florida Annual Conference is well under way. During the 2019 session, we will also be electing Lay and Clergy members to represent our Annual Conference as delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Being elected to serve as a delegate is quite an honor that carries a lot of responsibility.

Who can be elected as a delegate to represent the Florida Annual Conference?

The Florida Annual Conference uses an on-line self-nomination process. Anyone who: (1) senses the leading of God to serve as a delegate, (2) who meets all of the Disciplinary eligibility requirements, (3) who successfully completes the self-nomination process before the February 15, 2019, deadline or (4) who successfully completes the self-nomination process during the Lay or Clergy Sessions on the first day of Annual Conference, can have their name placed on the ballot for election at the 2019 Annual Conference Session in Lakeland, Florida.

How do I know if I’m being called to serve as a delegate? Let me suggest the following:

• Begin with a time of prayer and reflection. Explore your thoughts and feelings with God. Ask God for the wisdom and understanding to know how best to serve.
• Take time to study the issues affecting The United Methodist Church, our Annual Conference, our congregations, and our world. What are the social, spiritual, theological and moral concerns which need to be addressed by our denomination?
• Ask someone whom you trust to help you to discern whether your gifts and skills, intuition and insight, learning and leadership have prepared you to serve as a delegate at this time.
• Reflect deeply on one of the required essay questions. As a delegate, what particular things could/would you do to help The United Methodist Church to fulfill its purpose and mission around the world?
• After having done all of the above, and sensing God’s call to serve, place your name on the ballot by completing the self-nomination process found on the Conference website. Click here to access it. The on-line nomination process will remain open until midnight on February 15, 2019. If you have questions about the eligibility requirements or the self-nomination process, call, write, or email me using the information below. I will assist you in every way possible.


Beth Gardner, Annual Conference Secretary

Church and Pastor Annual Profiles
Due by February 1, 2019

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 after December 1, 2018. 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 after December 1, 2018. 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 February 1, 2019.

2018 Connectional Giving Deadline

Apportionment payments for 2018 must be received in the lockbox at Regions Bank or paid on line by Friday January 11, 2019.  This is not a postmarked by date but is the last day by which monies must be received in the Conference or our bank lockbox to be included in 2018 apportionments receipts.  Any payments received after that date will be applied to 2019 apportionments.  Any payments received between January 1 and January 11 must be clearly marked as to which year they are to be applied.

All apportionment payments should be accompanied by a completed Remittance Report. Click HERE for the report or  Click HERE to pay online on the conference website. 

Any amounts due for Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits at the end of the year will continue to show as outstanding on your statement in 2019.  To ensure proper processing of these payments and avoid errors, payments should contain the following information on the check, check stub or statement:
• Church Name
• GCFA Number
• Invoice Number (include all letters and any 0’s)
• Allocation amounts for each invoice

When mailing payments to Regions take note of the billing address for each of these types of payments.  The last 4 numbers after the zip code are different for each and very important to include to ensure your payment is processed properly.

To be considered a 100% connectional church in the Florida Annual Conference Journal, 100% of 2018 apportionments must be received by January 11, 2019, and all outstanding Ministry Protection and Health and Benefits obligations must be received by December 31, 2018.

2019 Florida Minimum Wage

The Florida minimum wage is increasing to $8.46 per hour, effective January 1, 2019. Please Click HERE for the minimum wage poster for 2019. This needs to be posted for all employees to see.



Active Threat Safety Seminar

In keeping with our core value of safety and security and to address the continuing instances of tragic shootings around the country, The Florida Conference Ministry Protection Department is offering a free training event for local churches.

We were fortunate to be able to schedule four events before year’s end with one of the pre-eminent active threat training experts in Florida.

Who can attend? Pastors, assistant/associate pastors, youth pastors/leaders, business administrators, trustees, church secretaries, daycare directors and staff, security team members, church ushers/greeters, and anyone else at the local church who is interested in safety. There is a seating capacity for each site, so registration (below) will be on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive an electronic confirmation of your registration. Deadline to register is December 10. Click HERE for details. Click HERE to register.

Professional Administrators of United Methodist Connectional Structure
February 16, 2019 - LEC

If you are in an Administrative role in the local church, we hope you will join us at the 45th Annual Seminar of the Florida Chapter PAUMCS. This seminar offers a chance to renew and refresh at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. We have a great day planned for you that includes information, rest & relaxation. Registration beings at 7:30am in the Lee Pearson Building. The seminar will be from 8:45am - 4:00pm. Click HERE for the details and registration form. Questions? Contact Lynn Campbell

Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats

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

Confirmation Retreat:  February 15-17, 2019, March 1-3 & 15-17, 2019, Sept 27-29, 2019
College Connection:  January 25-27, 2019
Created by God:  April 26-28, 2019

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


Clergy Gathering
January 29 - February 1, 2019 - Epworth By The Sea

In lieu of our Clergy Gathering which had been tentatively scheduled October 23 - 24, 2018, we are inviting you to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, January 29 - February 1, 2019. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia and Florida Conferences. Dr. Tod Bolinger, author of Canoeing The Mountains, will be the keynote speaker. 

Be sure to register soon as we expect this to be a sold out event.

Click HERE to register.  Click HERE for the flyer.


CCYM - Dare to Explore
February 15 - 17, 2019 - Warren W. Willis

Dare to Explore is a student leadership retreat for students by students.  This is a great event to bring your student leaders (or those whom you'd like to become students leaders) to, in whatever form that takes in your local church.  For some that is their whole youth group, for others it is a core group of student leaders.  The registration is $90 per person.   Click HERE for the Dare page.  Registration will open in October.  We can't wait to see you and your team. No matter where you are on your spiritual walk, be prepared to explore! Protection Policy Update

Since 1996, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church has required that each local church congregation have a child/youth protection policy (CYPP).

The Florida Conference has been a pioneering force in implementing this mandate and establishing a template for local church use that would highlight our core value of safety and security; acknowledging that all people, especially children, are important to God.

A strong, broad-base policy template was developed and then updated in 2009. Since that time, we have collected questions, concerns and suggestions from many sources around the Conference.

Using this valuable input and guided by Scripture, the Book of Discipline and civil law, we offer this latest update to the CYPP Template. Changes to the 2009 template appear in the update in red. (Click here for the 2018 document.) The template will be available in Spanish and Creole by 12-01-18 and will be posted on the Ministry Protection web pages of the Conference website.

Local churches and conference-affiliated ministries should use this template to update their own policies by April 30, 2019. Copies of updated church policy Adoption Agreements (page 13 of the template) are to be sent to the church’s District Office by that date.

SPECIAL NOTE: Florida Statute 943.053 now mandates a minimum fee per name submitted for a Florida Criminal History Database check; that fee is $24.00. Additional fees may apply to perform a national criminal background screening; however, access to the Sexual Offender Registry remains free.

Should you have questions on the template update, please feel free to contact us at

Coming Events


December 13 DCOM

Merry Christmas District office closed December 21 - January 2


January 1 – Materials due for Local Pastor License Renewals – meeting January 24

January 11 - Final day for 2018 Apportionments to be received in Lakeland.

January 17 Clergy Meeting at Lake Magdalene, 2902 W Fletcher Ave Tampa 9:30 -2PM working lunch

January 24 DCOM – at St Paul 1498 Rosery Rd. NE Largo


February 16 District Learning Event at Anona 13233 Indian Rocks Rd Largo 9AM – 3 PM


April 4 – materials due for 1st Provisional attempt meeting May 2

April 25 Clergy Meeting Location Heritage 9:30 -2PM working lunch


May 2 DCOM Meeting 1st Provisional attempt materials due April 4


June 5-8 Annual Conference at Florida Southern in Lakeland


July 11 materials due for 2nd Provisional attempt meeting August 8


August 8 DCOM meeting for 2nd Provisional attempt


Clergy Meeting Location TBD 9:30 -2PM working lunch


October 17 materials due for November 14 DCOM


November 7 materials due for December 5 DCOM meeting

November 14 DCOM Meeting


December 5 DCOM Meeting