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January 2020 NE District Newsletter

Dear North East District Family,

As you no doubt are aware, last Friday, January 3, a group of United Methodist leaders from across various theological spectrums released a Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation. The details of that Protocol include submitting legislation to the General Conference that will allow an end to the decades-long debate over human sexuality and separate the church into potentially multiple new expressions of Methodism. All of the signatories, including representatives of the Reconciling Ministries Network, Methodists for Social Action, the Queer Clergy Caucus, the Wesleyan Covenant Association, Good News, UMCNext, Mainstream UMC, Uniting Methodists, and the Council of Bishops have agreed to no longer to promote their own plans at General Conference and instead push for the adoption of the Protocol. You can find links to the Protocol and a document of Frequently Asked Questions here: and

As you are also no doubt aware, the media has picked up this news and shared it widely. Stories in major news outlets have appeared in varied media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, Fox News, the Florida Times-Union, and local broadcast stations. As I’ve read these stories, some of the information that has been shared is correct, some is not.

There are several things I want you to know:

  • First, I already pray for you every day, but I will be praying for you especially as we all navigate these new waters in the coming months. I invite you to be praying for our church as well. We need it.
  • Second, I am a traditionalist/conservative (or whatever else you want to call me.) That said, I dearly love my progressive and centrist friends. If we were friends and in relationship with each other before this news, please know I am honored still to count you as my friend now. Nothing the General Conference decides will change that. Just because I come from a particular theological stream doesn’t mean that I don’t value yours and consider it an honor and privilege to be your district superintendent. I pray you feel the same way.
  • Third, I have offered to your pastors to meet with your church’s leadership team and share a PowerPoint presentation that will share the details of the Protocol and process at General Conference. I will also be glad to answer questions so your faith community can begin to get prepared for future decisions. Please talk with your clergy if you think this might be helpful.
  • Fourth, I wouldn’t be a good district superintendent and missional strategist if I didn’t say that none of what has just been released negates our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. There are still hurting people in your neighborhoods who don’t know the saving grace of Jesus. It’s our job to meet them at their point of need and offer them Christ. The only one who wins in all of this is Satan if we allow this to distract us. The more vital your faith community is, the better it will withstand whatever is coming denominationally. Please don’t cancel your plans to attend Equip and learn from The Unstuck Group. Please keep your eyes focused on reaching people in your communities. Please keep pursuing excellence and discipling the people in your charges.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to be a non-anxious presence in your church. There is plenty of anxiety in the system. We don’t need to add to it. In Matthew 6:34, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He gave us instructions about worrying and ended them with, “Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Let’s focus on the present and trust that God will be faithful, as God always has, and see us through to a future with hope.

We’re all in this together, and I’m available to help any way I can. God bless you, my friends, and I love you.

All God’s love,



The District Office has ordered copies of the book - The Unstuck Church by Tony Morgan. This is the same book that your church Lay Leader received a copy of at Super-Charged Conference. You can purchase the book and either pick up at the office or reserve your copy to be picked up at the Leadership Event in 2020. Cost is $12.50 per book.

Order Now!

We still have spots available in the Fernandina Beach Lay Servant Ministry Advanced Class entitled "Called to Preach." This class is designed for those who have not completed a formal preaching training, for pastors seeking a basic refresher course, and for others who are called upon to preach in a pastor's absence.

 Classes are on January 16, 23, 30 & February 6 - CLICK HERE TO REGISTER! 

Child Youth Policy Training 

The Florida Conference published an updated version of the Child and Youth Protection Policy in 2019. Since then, we have received numerous calls and emails about the policy changes. Just a reminder that you MUST do a training on this policy with your church each year. This training can serve as your local church training. 

The new policy has many changes in it that affect all the churches in the conference. Rev. Carrie Yoder, Memorial UMC, Fernandina Beach and Corey Markle, CrossRoad UMC, Jacksonville, will lead a training for church leaders on the policy overall as well as offer feedback for questions and concerns.

Those who should attend are:

  • Pastor(s)
  • Youth Leader(s)
  • Children's Ministry Leader(s)
  • Anyone involved in leadership role of VBS
  • Anyone involved in leadership role that has direct contact with children and youth
  • Anyone who has a key to your church and is required to be screened.

Because of the complexity of this policy, we are offering four different training opportunities within the District:

This training is FREE to attend, but please register online so we can prepare enough materials and ensure each space is set up appropriately. 

2020 Lay Leader Training

The District Superintendent will conduct training sessions for Lay Leaders February 4. 2020 @ St Paul UMC, 8264 Lone Star Road, Jacksonville & February 6, 2020 @ Shores UMC, 724 Shores Blvd, St. Augustine from 7-9 p.m. Both training sessions will take place in the sanctuary.

All local church lay leaders and clergy are welcome to attend. This training is free to attend, but please register so we can plan for you. Register here!


Spring Lay Servant Training

Classes will run on Saturday, April 18, 2020 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. - check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.) and Sunday, April 19, 2020 (3 - 5:30 p.m.) with lunch and snacks provided on Saturday. The classes will be held at Spring Glen UMC | 6007 Beach Blvd | Jacksonville, FL 32216. Class sizes are limited to 15 students per class. Cost is $30 per person. Be sure to register early. NO walk-in registrations please. If you want to register by check, please call Pam at the District Office at 904-396-3026 and she will help you get registered.

This training is open to all. If you are seeking to receive certification of re-certification credits you must attend all 10 hours of the training.

We are offering the following class selections (please note that you must purchase your own book in advance**):

  • Basic Lay Servant Class with Rev. Steve Painter of Spring Glen UMC  - This basic course includes a study of what it means to be God’s called people and how we may be at work for God in our own communities. The course provides learning opportunities in three areas of service for lay speakers: leading, caring and communicating. Required Book: "Lay Servant Ministries" by Sandy Zeigler Jackson/Brian Jackson - ISBN # 978-0-88177-626-3**
  • Fresh Expressions: How Laity Lead in a Changing Culture with Rev. Michael Beck, South Atlantic Coordinator Fresh Expressions US - The course offering will aim to help define the roles for laity, which are pioneer, supporter or permission-giver, with a team launching a Fresh Expression. Laity will develop and identify gifts and graces that can meet the unchurched and begin a discipleship journey. The course will help participants develop a deeper understanding of their Fresh Expression and role within a church movement. All laity and clergy are invited! This is an Approved Advanced Lay Servant Class. A Certificate of Completion for CEU’s will be provided for Clergy. Required book – Deep Roots Wild Branches by Michael Beck. – ISBN #978-1-62824-622-3**  Please note that this class only is open to an unlimited number of registrants. It is not capped at 15.
  • Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaders with Ms. Carol Carroll of Memorial UMC, Fernandina Beach (Advanced Lay Servant) This course will guide lay servants seeking to be more empowered to lead their congregations toward vitality. Required book – Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaaders by Marc Brown, Kathy Merry & John Briggs – ISBN #978-0-88177-881-6**
  • Life Together in the United Methodist Connection with Rev. Jay Therrell, District Superintendent (Advanced Lay Servant) This course gives participants an overview of the structure and organization of The United Methodist Church. A copy of the 2016 Book of Discipline is recommended to bring to class. Please borrow a copy from your local church office for this class. If your church does not have one, please contact the district office to help find you one. Please DO NOT purchase the 2016 Book of Discipline) Required book – Polity, Practice and the Mission of The United Methodist Church by Thomas Edward Frank – ISBN #978-0-68733-531-2** 
  • Public Prayer with Ms. Tina Roach of First UMC, Macclenny (Advanced Lay Servant) Praying in public can be daunting, but prayers is something one learns This course on praying inpublic will help the participant grow in confidence and skill in public prayer and enrich their personal prayer life. Required book – Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession by Samuel Wells and Abigail Kocher. – ISBN #978-0-80287-097-1** 

**Please note all registrants are required to purchase their own book. Books will NOT be provided at the start of the training. Please be sure to order your book early so you can read the text prior to class. Books can be purchased at; and through other sites such as Amazon. 



Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day

For over 80 years God has been using Child Evangelism Fellowship® to bring the love of Jesus Christ to children around the world. The Word of God puts a high priority on children. They are near to God’s heart and we believe that He is uniquely concerned about their spiritual welfare. Without the foundation of a relationship with God and training in Biblical principles for life they are unequipped to face what life will throw at them.

Child Evangelism Fellowship, also known as CEF®, is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the local church for Christian living. CEF was founded by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in 1937. The ministry has grown into the largest evangelistic outreach to children in the world. CEF is currently ministering in countries around the world and in every state in the U.S.


God has given His people a clear commission—to reach every creature with the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our special mission in CEF is to evangelize every child. In the last ministry year our workers worldwide reached over 25.4 million children! As children grow in their relationship with the Lord through meditating on His Word, they develop godly character, which produces much fruit to the glory of God, including spreading the Gospel to their peers.

God has given CEF a number of unique ministries which have proven to be effective tools in our effort to evangelize and disciple children. Good News Club®, a weekly club during the school year, is more popular than ever following the Supreme Court victory allowing Good News Club to take place in public schools across America. Our summer 5-Day Club® outreach takes place over the course of a five-day period, offering a unique opportunity for children to interact with teenagers who receive training in the Christian Youth In Action™ program.

Perhaps God is leading you to become more involved in the lives of children. CEF is here to come along side individuals and churches to train, equip and encourage for His kingdom’s sake. Interested in more information? Please check out our state website at or connect with us at the East Central District Conference in February.


January 2020

February 2020

March 2020

  • March 5, 2020 - Enneagram Insights: Lunch & Learn, 11:30-1:30 @ River of Life UMC, Jacksonville 
  • March 26, 2020 - Enneagram Insights: Lunch & Learn, 11:30-1:30 @ River of Life UMC, Jacksonville 

April 2020

May  2020

  • May 15, 2020 - UMM Methodist Family Night at the Jumbo Shrimp Game

August 2020

  • August 22, 2020 – Igniting Men Conference @ Mandarin UMC

September 2020

  • September 16, 2020 - District Admin Brunch, 9:30-12:30 @ Southside UMC
  • September 19-20, 2020 - Fall Lay Servant Training @ First UMC, Green Cove Springs

October 2020

  • October 17, 2020 – 2020 Super-Charged Conference @ CrossRoad UMC
  • October 28, 2019 – Church Dashboard Update Day