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Gulf Central District September 2018 Newsletter

From the District Superintendent 

September focuses on our District’s Vision and Mission. 

"Unless God’s people have a clear understanding of where they are headed, the probability of a successful journey is severely limited.  Vision is more than simply what could be. Vision moves you from passive concern to action. Vision is something that must happen.  It gives you a sense of urgency” George Barna defines vision for ministry as, "a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to God’s servants.  Vision for ministry is based upon an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances.  The Power of Vision – George Barna

 As your Chief Missional Strategist, I’ve assembled a team of twelve lay and clergy leaders who make up our District Operations team.  Using a process called L3 Loving, Learning and Leading,    In this process we focus first on growing in our faithfulness to God and then our fruitfulness for God. This approach is unique in that it starts with a focus on developing spiritually, then builds on that base expanding from growing the participants, to the team, followed by the organization and finally the community.

Together, we’ve developed a vision and mission for our work together as a District. 

Our vision statement for the Gulf Central District.  We envision:

Pastors and laity are loving, learning, innovative, and courageous spiritual leaders.

Vital Churches equip people to encounter Christ in life-changing ways.

Communities transform into places where people are healthier, just, and more like Jesus.


Our Mission defines the how we will work to accomplish the vision.

 Our Gulf Central District Mission is

 “to equip clergy and laity to CONNECT, GROW and INNOVATE”.

Equip clergy and laity to connect with their communities,

Equip pastors and churches to grow in vitality and

Equip clergy and laity to develop innovative ways of making disciples of Jesus Christ

for the transformation of the world.


Clarity of vision and mission will guide and empower our District to move synergistically today and intentionally tomorrow.   I look forward to partnering with you to see God bring this vision into focus and fulfillment.   


District Superintendent & Chief Missional Strategist

Important Dates for your calendar 

Clergy Meeting - September 25 at 9:30 AM First Lakeland UMC please register click here

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

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



You are invited to a Garnet, Gold and Blue Jean Banquet

The Wesley Foundation at Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College will be coming to the Gulf Central District to host two banquets in September. We invite you to come, wear your favorite college team colors (hint: garnet and gold), enjoy a free meal, and learn about the life changing campus ministry happening on campus.

The first banquet will be in Lakeland at First UMC Lakeland on Friday, September 14th at 6:30pm. Learn more about the Lakeland banquet on the Facebook event link here:  

The second banquet will be in Tampa at Hyde Park UMC on Saturday, September 15th at 11:00am. Learn more about the Tampa banquet on the Facebook event link here: 

You can also learn more about both banquets on our website at: RSVP to Christina at (850) 222-0251 or

We look forward to seeing you there!


College:  How To Get There From Here

You are invited to a free seminar to which is designed to help you prepare your family for college selection process.  The seminar will be held on Sunday, October 7th, 5-7 pm at First United Methodist Church of Lakeland.  Knowledgeable presenters will help families learn:

  • How to be academically prepared for college
  • How to select a college that is a best match
  • How to utilize grants and scholarships and how to minimize debt


    This seminar is available to prospective college students, their families and friends. Further information and registration (required to attend) can be found 

    at by September 30.  1st UMC, Lakeland is located at 72 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, Fl.  Questions may be directed to Julie James, 863-686-3163.


“Our Kids Training Plus” which is hosted by the School Church Initiative Team

When: Saturday, September 29th 10am-3pm

Where: St. Luke’s UMC, Orlando, FL

We ask that churches bring a team.

Cost: $25. Per person, max $75 per church. $10. Per additional if childcare is needed.

Link for additional information and registration: Click here.


Discipleship: Learn about North Naples process for making disciples, new members, and continuous spiritual formation. This church has a great way of putting systems in place and wants to share these with you. This is truly a teaching church!

Date: Mon/Tues October 15 & 16 (starting 10 am on 15th, ending before lunch on the 16th)

Where: North Naples UMC, Naples FL

Cost: Only your travel costs

Who should attend? Churches with a team of 3-5 people (clergy and/or staff person, lay volunteer, committee person, etc.?)

Registration link: Click on Discipleship

Deep Dive - Systems and Properties

Learning the complexities of working with the larger church property(s) and even multiple campuses, infrastructure, budget and upkeep of property/parsonage, use by outside organizations, Trustees, staffing complexities, facilities personnel, mergers and acquisitions, cemetery or columbarium, organzational software, relationship to the city, and more. 

 Day 1 starts at 10AM and lunch will be provided by the host church. Day 2 starts at 9AM and ends at 11:30AM. There is no fee for   participation, however, attendees are responsible for their own travel costs including mileage, overnight stay, and meals.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - Wednesday, October 31, 2018

New Covenant - The Villages

To register click here

Deep Dive - Church Finances

Learn from those who are organized about: Reports coming in and going out, endowments and reserves, audits, capital campaigns, when money is tight, staffing appropriate for the budget, and more. 

Day 1 starts at 10AM and lunch will be provided by the host church. Day 2 starts at 9AM and ends at 11:30AM. There is no fee for   participation, however, attendees are responsible for their own travel costs including mileage, overnight stay, and meals.

Monday, November 5, 2018 - Tuesday, November 6, 2018

First - Lakeland
72 Lake Morton Dr.
Lakeland, FL 33801

To Register click here


Greetings from the Commission on the Status and Role of Women,

Grace and peace be with you! We were grateful to be in fellowship with you

during Annual Conference this June. As you may recall, our committee dedicated our

energies towards sharing the stories and witness of women. This was most visible

through our big pink buttons that said #webelieveyou. We celebrate and hold in

prayer the individuals who shared their stories through the Pre-Conference session

“Hearing the Female Story,” our #Metoo box at the COSROW table, and in

conversation with one another.

In an effort to continue to create space for conversation within the local

church, we encourage you to engage with the #MeToo toolkit created by the General

Commission on the Status and Role of Women, which can be found at:


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. As you review the

materials in the #MeToo toolkit, we encourage you to incorporate some of the

helpful worship planning resources into your October worship services.

Be on the lookout for more ways to connect with the Florida Annual

Conference Committee on Status and Role of Women!

In Christ,

Rev. Madeline Luzinski


On behalf of the FL Annual Conference COSROW



First United Methodist Church - Educational Building

455 South Broadway Ave. Bartow, FL 33830

Saturday October 6 10AM to 1 PM

For information, call (863) 608-0459




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!):


Certified Lay Servant Training

October 12 & 13 United Methodist Temple 2700 South Florida Ave. Lakeland to for more information and the registration form click here



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!