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Gulf Central July 2018 Newsletter

A Message from the District Superintendent

My core purpose is to be the chief Missional Strategist who engages, resources, supervises and supports the Pastors and Leaders of the 89 Gulf Central District churches in their work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and the community in which the church resides. Now, that’s a mouthful. But, it is what came out of our Annual Cabinet and Strategic leadership team retreat and its connection to Resilience.  Resilience, as we learned, is the capacity of a person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changing circumstances. 

I quickly acknowledge God has given me clarity of call and a conviction about serving with and leading our team forward in this new conference year.  This is not going to be an easy year for us. Our current reality reflects many struggling congregations, buildings needing maintenance, a reduction in financial giving, shrinking, unmet budgets and pastors and leaders pushing against the inertia drawing the church inward.  Our denomination will have a called General Conference in seven months debating and hopefully deciding on our position on the question of human sexuality and full inclusion of our LBGTQ brothers and sisters.  The climate and culture encompassing the church includes families surrounded by polarizing politics, a growing nationalism, an immigration crisis, global instability, a healthy economy and digital technology enabling us to stay connected to everything and everyone  all at the same time.

What is our message in light of these current realities?  Let’s begin with, God loves the world!!!    What are we going to do? We will innovate and improve our methodologies because unfortunately we have not kept up with all the cultural and technological shifts.  Who are we going to be?  We will be resilient leaders.  Will we prevail?   According to Matthew 16:18-19 we can and will “Prevail”.  Jesus is still building and empowering a church of called out believers to witness and share good news of God’s love through Jesus Christ demonstrated in our actions and our words.  This year we will learn what it means to be resilient leaders, clear on our core purpose, courageously serving on “Mission Together”.  The Pastors and Leaders of our District can still make disciples of Jesus Christ and Transform our world and communities. 

I’m all in.  What about you? Email me at your thoughts about understanding your core purpose and what resilience means to you as a Pastor and Church leader. Note: our core purpose is different from our ministry responsibilities. 

On Mission Together,


 Gulf Central District Fall Clergy Meeting
September 25 9:30am - 2:00pm – First Lakeland click here to register

2018 Annual Conference Highlights
Remembering Who We Are

About 1,600 Florida United Methodists, including 722 clergy and 798 lay voting members, gathered June 6-9 in Lakeland.  Below are some quick links to highlights of AC2018:                           

Click HERE for the Lay Member Summary Report.
Click HERE for 2018 Annual Conference Videos
Click HERE for the AC2018 Website.
Click HERE to purchase a hard copy of the AC2018 Journal.  The deadline is August 31st.  Once it is completed it will be available to download at no cost.

Annual Conference Dates
June 5 - 8, 2019 Lakeland, FL
June 4 - 6, 2020 Location TBD

Congratulations to all the GCD Clergy who were Licensed, Commissioned and Ordained!

Local Pastor
Steve Langford – Lake Magdalene – Tampa
Valerie Goddard – Keeney – Tampa
Zachary Hutchinson -
Linda Johnson – Springhead – Plant City
Peggy Moss – Northeast – Tampa
Katie McNichol Sirmon –Crystal Lake – Lakeland
David Wildes – Bay Hope - Lutz

Provisional Elder
Kevin Grills – First St Petersburg
Jordan Kassabaum – First Land O’ Lakes
Tiffania Icaza Willetts – Seminole Heights - Tampa

Victoria Hughes Harrison – New Hope Brandon


Welcome our Clergy with new appointments July 1, 2018!

Mary Ashcraft will be serving a new two point charge of Asbury UMC, New Port Richey and Continuing to serve Joining Hands Mission which will move to the Asbury location. 
Nathan Carlson will continue to serve at Oakhurst UMC Seminole however now as appointed Associate 
Patrick Elmore will move from Springhead UMC Plant City to St Mark in Lakeland  

John Griswold will move from Asbury UMC NPR to United Methodist Temple in Lakeland

Ralph Hayes will leave Highlands UMC in Lakeland and serve Thonotosassa

Matt Horan will leave Seminole Heights UMC in Tampa and serve Heritage UMC in Clearwater 
Dan Johnson will leave Heritage UMC in Clearwater and Serve on an interim basis at Pasadena Community UMC St Petersburg
Louis Telcy will leave Mt Zion UMC in Clearwater and serve First Riverview UMC
Tanner White will leave First St Petersburg UMC and serve as senior pastor at Hillsborough UMC
Fred Ball will be serving at Keystone UMC, Odessa
Ian Campbell will be serving a new two point charge of Trinity UMC and Highlands UMC in Lakeland

Scott Farman – East Lake UMC as senior pastor
Tony Fotsch - St. James UMC, Tampa as senior pastor
Victoria Guthrie – First Pinellas Park UMC as senior pastor
Lee Hall-Perkins – Mt Zion UMC as senior pastor
Linda Johnson – Springhead UMC in Plant City
Jordan Kassabaum – First Land O’ Lakes UMC 
Herb Lange will serve Community UMC Oldsmar 
Peggy Moss will serve Northeast UMC in Tampa 
Esther Robinson -  Pasadena Community UMC as associate pastor 
Doug Walker will serve Tyer Temple UMC in Tampa
Tiffania Willetts will serve Seminole Heights UMC Tampa
Steve Langford will serve at Lake Magdalene
Meredith McMillan will serve at Asbury Bartow
Kathi Sheehan will serve at First Seffner


Attention all clergy with new appointments in the GCD
There is an orientation meeting for all clergy with new appointments in the Gulf Central District on Wednesday, July 11th from 10am - 2:00pm at St Paul UMC to register to join us for lunch.

Did you have a change in appointment?  There are some things to be aware of with this new change.  If you had a change in appointment you will need to re-enroll in the UMPIP plan because the change in churches is a change in employers with Wespath.  Therefore it is necessary to complete the UMPIP enrollment form and submit it to Wespath to be re-enrolled in the plan.  The form will also require a signature of the Business Manager or whomever is responsible for your payroll. Please click on the 2018 UMPIP Contribution Form to re-enroll or change your contribution elections.

Are you getting your 1% match to your CRSP pension plan by satisfying your 1% to the UMPIP pension plan?  If you have a parsonage, your 1% will need to allow for the calculation for the parsonage as part of your total compensation package.  Remember, your parsonage is calculated as 25% of your salary.

Some things to consider that could impact your 1% match:

  • Salary change
  • Housing allowance change
  • Moving Expense
  • A change in church appointment


As of 2018 the tax law changed regarding moving expenses.  If you are reimbursed or if your church paid the moving expense directly to the movers, the moving expense is now taxable income and is also pension eligible.  To receive money into your pension plan on the moving expense, please ensure you send in the completed Moving Clergy Expense Form to the district office before the end of the 2018 tax year.  For additional information on the moving expense tax change, please refer to the link on Moving Expense Q&A.  



Lay Servant Ministries  Details soon for our next Training events

Lay Servants:
Praying that all is going well with you and your families. Hope you are able during summer to spend time relaxing with family and friends.  Here is an exercise for all of us; read the verse out loud and add your name to the verse after YOU, to personalize these words from our Lord. Read it again and again raising and lowering your voice almost to a whisper.  (Let us know how you felt.)


UMW -  Summer Fellowship Heavenly Healthy

This year’s Summer Fellowship will be on Saturday, August 25 at Oakhurst UMC from 1 to 3:00. The focus this year will be on self-care and include such topics as spirituality, food, mas-sage, and fitness. The official theme title is “Heavenly Healthy.” As always with Summer Fellowships, light refreshments will be served. Oakhurst would like a count of who is coming before the event, so leaders and individuals interested should contact Lorraine Mayfield-Brown at:


Bishop's Regional Gatherings 2018

The Cross and the Flame:  Conversations with Bishop Carter

Bishop Carter will hold four regional gatherings in September of 2018.

These events are open to all, and there will be an opportunity to submit questions for Bishop Carter prior to the gatherings.

Each event will begin at 6:30 PM and a reception will follow.
•Sunday, September 16 – Killearn UMC, Tallahassee
•Monday, September 17 – First UMC, Winter Park
•Tuesday, September 18 – First UMC, Boca Raton
•Wednesday, September 19 – Harvest UMC, Lakewood Ranch

Click HERE to register and submit your questions.

Florida United Methodist Children's Home (FUMCH)

Believe it or not, a new school year is right around the corner. As Floridians continue to soak up the summer sun, parents and teachers are already preparing for classes. At the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, that means providing school supplies for the nearly 500 children we serve each day. Thus, we are now entering our back to school supply drive for our children. This is a time when generous individuals, churches, and groups collect necessary school supplies for our students and staff.
Click HERE to find the 2018 school needs list for our children. To help us process the items received, we kindly request they be delivered to the Children's Home (Enterprise campus) no later than August 3rd, 2018.
If you have any questions, please contact Lynn Bellomy, Volunteer Relations Supervisor, at 386.668.4774 ext. 2321, or at Thank you for your continued support of our students and the ministry here at the Children's Home.

Legacy Scholars Academy Celebrates Largest Graduation Class
Click HERE to read about the third High School graduation at FUMCH.

Gulf Central District Church Admin,

We know that you are busy with much on your to-do list, however, sometimes we need a break; a chance to catch our breath, share, learn, and enjoy fellowship with others who understand the joys and the sorrows of church work. We encourage all church admin to put either of these dates on your calendar, register online to attend and be there!

*  September 6, at St Andrew's in Brandon 10-2  click here to register

*  September 12, at Palm Harbor 10-2  click here to register

We will cover the upcoming changes to our Charge/Church conferences, what is new with the District, and other items that you submit for discussion.

Lunch will be provided.

Clergy, please encourage your church’s Administrative Professional to attend this FREE event!

2018 Annual Charge Conference

The Gulf Central District will hold Six Ministry Area Charge Conferences this fall.  The schedule is below. Please plan on attending with your church. 


We will then have a wrap-up Whole District Celebration at First Lakeland on Sunday November 11 at 5 pm

November 3 at 2:30 PM St Andrew's Brandon


November 4 at 4 PM at Bay Hope Lutz


November 5 at 6:30 PM at First Clearwater


November 6 at 6:30 PM St Luke's St Petersburg


November 7 at 6:30 PM at College Heights Lakeland


November 8

at 6:30 PM

at Lake Magdalene

 - Tampa

Cork - Plant City


Asbury - New Port Richey


Aldersgate – Seminole


Allendale – St Petersburg


Alturas - Bartow


Faith Primera Iglesia
 - Tampa

First - Plant City


Bay Hope - Lutz


Anona - Largo


Christ - St Petersburg


Asbury - Bartow


Forest Hills - Tampa

First - Riverview


First - Dunedin


Community - Oldsmar


Clearview - St Petersburg


College Heights - Lakeland


Hyde Park - Tampa

First - Seffner


First - Land O' Lakes


Curlew - Palm Harbor


First - Gulfport


Crystal Lake - Lakeland


Keeney - Tampa

Grace - Plant City


First - Lutz


East Lake - Palm Harbor


First - Pinellas Park


First - Bartow


Lake Magdalene -

Grace Community at Fish Hawk, Lithia


First - New Port Richey


First - Clearwater


First - Seminole


First - Lakeland


Horizon - Tampa

Limona Village Chapel - Brandon


First - Tarpon Spring


Heritage - Clearwater


First - St Petersburg


Highlands - Lakeland


Northeast - Tampa

New Hope - Brandon


Harvester - Land O' Lakes


Mt Zion - Clearwater


Lakewood - St Petersburg


Kathleen - Lakeland


Oak Grove - Tampa



Hillsborough - Tampa


Palm Harbor


Lealman Community -St Petersburg


Lake Gibson - Lakeland


Palma Ceia - Tampa

South Shore - Riverview


Hope - Trinity


Skycrest - Clearwater


McCabe - St Petersburg




Port Tampa - Tampa

St Andrew's - Brandon


Joining Hands - Holiday


St Paul - Largo


Oakhurst - Seminole


Shepherd's Community - Lakeland


Seminole Heights - Tampa

Sun City Center


Keystone - Odessa


Sylvan Abbey - Clearwater


Pasadena Community


St Mark - Lakeland


Temple Terrace - Tampa



Korean - Tampa


Verdad-y-Vida - Clearwater


Riviera - St Petersburg


Trinity - Lakeland


Tyer Temple - Tampa



St James - Tampa




St James - St Petersburg


United Methodist Temple - Lakeland


Wesley Memorial - Tampa







St Luke's - St Petersburg











Wesley Memorial - St Petersburg





 Around the Conference and Beyond

Religious Liberty in the Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism
July 17-20, 2018 - Williamsburg, Virginia

Join United Methodist history lovers from across the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s 15 annual conferences as we meet July 17-20 at Williamsburg UMC, in Williamsburg, Virginia for the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Historical Society (SEJHS) of the United Methodist Church. The event, whose theme is Religious Liberty in the Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism, will be presented by the Virginia Conference Historical Society. You do not need to be an SEJ Historical Society member to attend! Everyone is welcome!

Our guests will enjoy an outstanding agenda of tours and lecturers telling the fascinating stories of Virginia Methodism and will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Uniting Conference forming today’s United Methodist Church. The keynote speaker will be David L. Holmes, Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, College of William and Mary, who will discuss Religious Freedom in the Colonial Era.

We are also pleased to announce that the Rev. Alfred T. Day, III, General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History, will be joining us.

Attendees who participate in all lectures and tours of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the SEJ Historical Society in Williamsburg are entitled to receive one (1) Continuing Education Credit.

Please visit our website at to find a brochure, registration information and speaker bios.

The Festival of Wisdom & Grace
August 13 - 16, 2018 - Lake Junaluska
Theme: The Wise Shall Shine

"Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." - Daniel 12:3

What is true wisdom? How do we receive it, cultivate it and pass it on? You've led a full life. How do you continue to live into that fullness in retirement? Join others in the second half of life for a time of inspiration and renewal in the North Carolina mountains.

Click HERE to register for the Festival of Wisdom & Grace, August 13-16 at Lake Junaluska. The conference includes workshops, worship, guest speakers, entertainment and more. Lodging and meal packages are available.

Life Enrichment Center

Want to help create meaningful experiences for your church's families this year?  Want to encourage your parents to be more active in their kids' spiritual lives?  Be sure they know about LECFamily programs!

Family Camp:  July 20-22
Mom & Me:  September 14-16

Questions?  Email Asa Quinn

Warren W. Willis Camp Retreats & Summer Camp

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

Confirmation Retreat:  October 5-7
Connect:  October 19-21; November 9-11
Rooted:  September 17-18
Summer Camp:  June & July

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.


New logo and branding for Hurricane Relief, "FLORIDA RESTORES"

July 4 - Independence Day Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.

July 11 Gulf Central District New Clergy Orientation and Welcome

All Clergy with new appointments in the Gulf Central District are asked to attend this orientation with the District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Candace Lewis. At St Paul UMC 1498 Rosery Rd NE Largo FL 33770.

September 3 - Labor Day Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.

September 25 -Gulf Central District Fall Clergy Meeting

November Charge Conferences

November 11 Charge Conference celebration