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Gulf Central District October 2018 Newsletter

From the District Superintendent 

In a two weeks, our 89 churches will gather together in six regional charge conferences to celebrate our ministry accomplishments for this year and approve administrative reports.  Each Region includes 12-15 congregations.  Each congregation was asked to submit an innovative ninety (90) second video giving us a digital instead of written view of the ministry highlights. We look forward to viewing the combined video of what’s happening in each Region.  Let’s keep exploring innovative ways to engage in digital and mobile discipleship and ministry. I think I will try some 90 second DS messages in addition to written newsletter articles next year.   We will end our Charge Conference season with a District wide Worship celebration that you do not want to miss. 

Our District Worship Celebration will include a 100 voice choir, Latin praise dancing and the melodious music of Tampa Korean singers.  Bishop Carter will preach a powerful message.  After the service we’re planning a reception to appreciate our Pastors for their ministry among us.  Psalms 105:1-2 CEB “Give thanks to the Lord; call upon God’s name; make God’s deeds known to all people!

I look forward to seeing you and praising God with you at each of our Regional gatherings.  Let’s celebrate the wondrous works God is doing through our faithful pastors and laity. 

On Mission Together,   


Calling all Gulf Central District Choirs

Choir members invited to join with other choristers from across the District in our Gulf Central Worship Celebration on November 11 at UMC Sun City Center.  

The District Choir will be singing 3 pieces:  

  • "Lancashire" with brass & timpani
  • The new Hayes arrangement of “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” from Hope
  • A final piece (not yet identified) will be sung with the District Praise Team33.

Rehearsal is at 3pm at UMC Sun City Center. 

Please let the District Office know by Monday November 5th if you will have some voices planning to be a part of the District Choir along with an estimate of how many.  Thank you.  This will greatly help with our planning.

Important Dates for your calendar

Charge Conferences - The forms and schedule are live on the conference web page click here

October 28-November 6 we will have 6 Ministry Area Team Charge Conferences

District Celebration November 11, 5 PM at Sun City Center UMC1210 Del Webb Blvd W  Come and bring your church!

SPR Training
November 26 at St Andrew's S Bryan Rd Brandon 6:30 PM click here to register

November 29 at St Paul 1498 Rosery Rd. NE Largo 6:30 PM click here to register

Save the Date for the District wide Learning Event to Connect, Grow and Innovate Saturday February 16  9 AM - 3PM at Anona UMC 13233 Indian Rocks Rd. Largo 33774


October is Pastor Appreciation Month

This month is recognized as a time for congregations to show their appreciation, love and support for their pastors. Click HERE for ideas on how to celebrate your pastor.

Palm Harbor Reindeer Run

Get out your reindeer antlers and dust off those running shoes! Palm Harbor United Methodist Church is hosting the 4th Annual Reindeer Run 5K Saturday, December 1, 2018. The race will kick off at 8 a.m. at Pop Stansell Park, 797 Florida Avenue in Palm Harbor and runners will be able to run/walk up and down the beautiful Pinellas Trail. There will be a 1 mile fun run, chip-timed 5k, a virtual 5k and a tot trot for our youngest runners. All participants will receive a festive finishers medal, t-shirt and post-race goodies. Proceeds will benefit Bridging Freedom.  For more information and to sign up go to and click on the Reindeer Run logo. 

Hillsborough County Faith-Based Community Forum on Opioid Crisis

Attached is a flyer for the Hillsborough County Faith-Based Community Forum on combating the opioid crisis. This free event.

The focus of this forum is to help equip faith leaders to better respond to mental health/addiction issues in the congregation in general and the opioid crisis in particular.

Fresh Expressions

exists for the unchurched and the dechurched. We meet in community centers, bars, restaurants, tattoo parlors, and coffeeshops; we may do yoga together, run together, kayak together, or garden together but we all encounter God together, and people who would not darken the door of a traditional church are finding meaningful relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit has breathed life into this movement across continents and denominations, including our own FLUMC – and now it’s our turn. If you are interested in expanding Fresh Expressions throughout the GCD, please join Michael Beck and Keri LaBrant at the Portico on Nov 8 from 2-3:30pm for coffee and conversation. Both lay and clergy are needed! Out of this group, we will be convening a smaller team to lead this work forward district-wide; this will be more an active and strategizing cohort of missional entrepreneurs than your grandmama’s committee. J  Also, we need a snapshot of the current state of Fresh Expressions in the GCD so please fill out the brief survey .  

For the GCD at-large, training opportunities will be offered in the new year for free or at very minimal cost. More information about fresh expressions and stories of impact can be found here: If you have particular questions, they can be directed to Keri via email at Hope to see you in November!


October’s District UMW Annual Celebration Information

This year’s District Annual Celebration, our big yearly gathering, is set for Saturday, October 20 at St. Andrew’s UMC in Brandon (3351 South Bryan Road, 33511). The theme will be Sacred Spaces, echoing this year’s Conference theme and we will also be talking about preparing for the 150th anniversary of United Methodist Women. The speaker will be Deaconess Kumja Lin. We are planning on having special Gulf Central District T-shirts for sale at the event.

The flyer/registration form for the DAC will be coming out soon as we still need to iron out a few details. There will also be fair trade coffee available at the resource table, among other fine items. Here is a link if you are curious about the coffee (providing fair trade coffee at events is a good idea!):

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

Around the Conference


If you have experience in the building trades, construction, renovation or restoration, you might enjoy being our newest Construction Coordinator for Disaster Recovery! Please visit our website at > Classifieds for more information about this role and the regions that still need your expertise.

Leadership Deep Dive

Leadership in the local church should be a balance of strong committed leaders partnering with their clergy to see through the vision and ministry of the church. For 22 years, Grace Church has been shaping how leadership is lived out on the main campus of Grace Church, as well as four additional campuses. With core values of reach/connect/form/send as a disciple-making system, with covenant and expectations of leaders, Grace uses a team approach for leadership. Come learn more about what it is like to have strong lay leaders, leadership teams that work together, and sharing of tips and failures from the Grace family.

Current Open Registrations:
Systems and Properties - October 30-31, 2018 - New Covenant, The Villages
Finance - November 5-6, 2018 - First UMC Lakeland

Pre-order Vital Conversations 4 Study Guide Today!

GCORR brings new voices on human sexuality to the table with Vital Conversations 4. Videos and study guides will be available for view and free download at the end of October 2018. If you would like a printed hard copy of the study guide, you can pre-order it now.


The Department of Religion and Philosophy


Florida Southern College

Invites you to attend the

Warren W. Willis Lecture in Religion

Joint with the

P. M. and Mary Boyd Lecture in Evangelism

“Hope: The Power of the Beginning, the Power of Endurance”

Jürgen Moltmann

Joy McDougall

Theodore Jennings

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

Florida Southern College

Lectures are free and open to the public.

Contact Renee Vanderslice with any questions:  863-680-4180


Conference Table and Listening Session
Saturday, October 20 First UMC, Lakeland

The Conference Table and General Conference Delegation will host a Conference Table and Listening Session on Saturday, October 20 from 11 AM to 2:30 PM at First UMC in Lakeland. The focus will be on preparing for the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. All Florida United Methodists lay and clergy are invited to attend. There will be an opportunity for facilitated table conversation and for persons to sign up to speak in five minute increments.  Participants must register and plan to bring a donation for the lunch that will be provided. (The Conference Table will convene at 10 am, prior to the listening session.)  Click HERE for registration.  Click HERE for a list of the Florida delegation.


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
Connect:  October 19-21; November 9-11
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


Rev. Kathryn Damiano & Ray Buckley

March 10-15, 2019

Life Enrichment Retreat Center

4991 Picciola Road

Fruitland Park, FL 34731

2019 Florida Conference Women’s Retreats – “…got Joy?”

Please prayerfully consider joining us in 2019 for a glorious weekend, a time to pull away from your daily responsibilities and truly relax in the peace and beauty of the Life Enrichment Center.  Be inspired by the assembly of leaders providing spiritual guidance, and experience the very presence of the Lord.  You will join like-minded women and surely strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

There are 2 sessions from which to choose.  While each session is similar, each has very different speakers who will set distinctive vibes for the weekend.  If you can’t decide, attend more than one! 

The theme for 2019 is “…got Joy?


Weekend 1 is February 8-10, 2019:


Keynote Speaker - Rev. Emily Knight

Bible Study Leader - Rev. Rachel Hughes 

Music Leader - Cindy & Casey Cleveland & Family

Devotions: Sierra Clarke and Kim Fisackerly

Enrichments: Rev. Jackie Leveron, Rev. Valerie Goddard,

Marilyn King, Margie Anderson, Kimberli Jones, Roxie Haas,


Weekend 2 is March 8-10, 2019:

Keynote Speaker - Rev. Lisa Stamp

Bible Study Leader - Rev. Sara McKinley

Music Leader - Sue Sommer

Devotions: Tabatha Parish and Gladyanne Hood

Enrichments: Rev. Tamara Isidore, Karen Taylor, Rev. Mary Ashcraft,

Margie Anderson, Kathy DeLozier, Maureen Corristan,

Register early to get your preferred weekend.  Registration opens on

1 November 2018.  Commemorative T-Shirts will be available for purchase at the time of your online registration.

Retreat Cost:

LEC cost is $190.00 (per person, based on Double occupancy, including all meals + snacks).

Commuter w/meals is $145

Commuter w/no meals are $95.

You must register online,

It’ll be wonderful to see you there!  If you have any questions, please check the website or contact:

Jennifer McCullough

 4991 Picciola Rd.

Fruitland Park, Fl 34731


 Phone: (352) 787-4345

 Coming Events:


October, 2018

October 28 – Charge Conference at College Heights 942 South Blvd Lakeland at 4 PM (Alturas, Asbury-Bartow, College Heights, Crystal Lake, First Bartow, First Lakeland, Highlands, Kathleen, Lake Gibson, Mulberry, Shepherd’s Community, St Mark, Trinity, and United Methodist Temple).

October 29 – Charge Conference at Lake Magdalene 2902 W Fletcher Ave Tampa at 6:30 PM (Faith Primeria Iglesia, Forest Hills, Horizon, Hyde Park, Keeney, Lake Magdalene, Oak Grove, Palma Ceia, Port Tampa, Seminole Heights, Temple Terrace, Tyer Temple, and Wesley Memorial Tampa).

November, 2018

November 3 – Charge Conference at St Andrew’s 3315 S Bryan Rd. Brandon at 2:30 ( Cork, First Plant City, First Riverview, First Seffner, Grace Plant City, Grace Community at Fish Hawk, Limona Village Chapel, New Hope, Ruskin, South Shore, St Andrew’s, Sun City Center, Thonotosassa, Springhead, and Northeast).

November 4 – Charge Conference at Bay Hope 17030 Lakeshore Rd in Lutz at 4 PM (Asbury NPR, Bay Hope, First Dunedin, First Land O’Lakes, First Lutz, First New Port Richey, First Tarpon Springs, Harvester, Hillsborough, Hope, Joining Hands, Keystone, Korean Tampa, and St James Tampa).

November5 – Charge Conference at First Clearwater 411 Turner Street at 6:30PM (Aldersgate, Anona, Community Oldsmar, Curlew, East Lake, First Clearwater, Heritage, Mt Zion, Palm Harbor, Skycrest, St Paul Sylvan Abbey, and Verdad Y Vida).

November 6 – Charge Conference at St Luke’s 4444 5th Ave N St Petersburg at 6:30 PM (Allendale, Christ, Clearview, First Gulfport, First Pinellas Park, First Seminole, First St Petersburg, Lakewood, Lealman, McCabe, Oakhurst, Pasadena, Riviera, St James St Pete, St Luke’s and Wesley Memoria St Pete).

November 11 Gulf Central District Celebration and Clergy Appreciation 5 PM at Sun City Center 1210 Webb Blvd W Sun City Center. click here for flyer

November 15 DCOM

November 26 SPR Training at St Andrew’s 3315 S Bryan Rd Brandon 6:30 – 8:30PM

November 29 SPR Training at St Paul 1498 Rosery Rd. NE Largo 6:30-8:30 PM


December 13 DCOM

Merry Christmas


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

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 TBD 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