Happy New Year 2019!!
As this New Year begins some are experiencing the “best of times” because of their life giving relationships, resources, and circumstances. I am also keenly aware of others who are experiencing the “worst of times” because of their challenging, life draining experiences in relationships, resources and circumstances. There are also many of us who are living within the tension of the “best of times and the worst of times” as Charles Dickens shared in his novel A Tale of Two Cities.
This year began with new people coming to faith in Jesus Christ through our local churches. This year also began with a government shutdown and furloughed employees who are not sure when they will receive their first paycheck. The best of times and the worst of times. Of course I could go on and on offering my examples of the tension in which we live and lead today.
Instead, I have one ask of you.
Here is what I ask, can we continue to grow in our awareness and ability to relate to people whose life experiences may be different from ours. We have the ability to acknowledge the tension and all the places in which people find themselves. This acknowledgement enables us to listen attentively, learn with humility and live compassionately offering healing instead of further polarization. The world is watching the church and church leaders. We can grow in our empathy and ability relate and respond to people and circumstances different from ours.
I will close with words of wisdom found in the first chapter of James.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I look forward to all God has in store for us in 2019. I also look forward to partnering in mission and ministry with each of you.
On Mission Together,
Maybe you've heard the flutters of conversations, or maybe you've been part of them, but Fresh Expressions are stirring in the GCD. Pastors and lay folks are starting to plan together in St. Pete; Clearwater is seeing church happen in running groups; dinner church is on the move; and yoga enthusiasts and woodshop hobbyists are meeting Jesus in Tampa and Largo - and that's just the beginning! If you're committed to this work of church outside the walls and want to see it grow in our district, our first *monthly* FX team meeting will be January 24 at the Portico from 1-3 pm.
Still have more questions or want some help building FXs through your congregation? We'll have two different workshops at the district training event on Feb 16 at Anona from 9am-3pm. - Questions? Keri LaBrant is the GCD FX Cultivator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 have been received by December 31, 2018.
As we approach 2019, we want to invite you to put an exciting experience on your calendar. Bishop Carter is asking if your church would join us in setting aside one weekend in May to align your church around God’s mission.
We are building a dynamic, customizable On Mission Together Weekend where you can bring your congregation together to connect with one another, your community, and the mission that we share to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.
We will provide you with a loose structure, agenda, and content for the experience and you will have the opportunity to tailor it to your context. We envision three movements to the weekend that you can adapt:
Friday – Movement 1: Kick the weekend off with a time of connection. This could be a Love Feast, Concert, or Celebrate Recovery event. It is a time to enjoy one another and celebrate our shared mission.
Saturday – Movement 2: Saturday morning will be a time for missional engagement where participants will serve together in the community. Take some time to rest and reflect in the afternoon and then gather the group for dinner and intentional, courageous conversations.
Sunday – Movement 3: Sunday morning will be a normal Sunday service with a focus on grace, lay testimony, and an invitation to follow Jesus. After church, the On Mission Together Weekend would close with a lunch sharing some of what participants learned and God-sightings. This could also kick off a small-group study or some brainstorming around how the church can continue living out the mission, vision, and mindsets. Click here for attachment.
This note is to get you excited, ask you to save a weekend and let you know more resources and ideas will be coming your way soon. Will you consider joining us? We think this will be a great time to rally together around our passion for Jesus and his mission to the world.
Your next step might be to start conversations with your leadership and begin forming a team who can make this idea a reality. Keep in mind that we will be providing great resources for this event, but you will have freedom and flexibility to adapt it to your context for maximum impact.
Click the “Count Me In” button below to let us know when you are planning on having your On Mission Together Weekend.
Let’s do this!
It is with overwhelming sorrow that the conference Ministry Protection team shares the sudden passing of Brian Donivan, the Florida Conference Senior Claim Specialist. Brian was at home with his wife Sue when he died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve. We ask that you please keep Brian's wife Sue and their sons Ian and Connor in your prayers.
Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect & fellowship!
Plan Your Own Church Retreat: Who doesn't love WWW? Why not plan your own retreat?
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 soon. We can't wait to see you and your team. No matter where you are on your spiritual walk, be prepared to explore!
2019 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
January 21 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 18 President’s Day
April 19 Good Friday
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
January 11 - Final day for 2018 Apportionments to be received in Lakeland.
January 17 Clergy Meeting Cancelled
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
September 24 Sexual Ethics Training - Location TBD
September 26 Clergy Meeting Location Lake Magdalene 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
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin L King Jr Ave
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011