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Local Church News

The Florida Conference is home to hundreds of local churches, ministries, clergy and lay members dedicated to making a difference in the world. Check out the stories below to see how they are sharing ideas and making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

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Palma Ceia's iMatter program offers unconditional love

March 02, 2018

Palma Ceia UMC's iMatter program, which includes a unique sensory room with soft music, lights and calming images, was initially formed to meet the needs of those with special needs. Today, it's described as a "multi-ability community that embraces everyone."


American glass artistry on display since 1926

February 16, 2018

Including visits from a Hollywood director and inspiration from a famous author, FUMC St. Petersburg attracts hundreds of tourists each year. But this is not a story about films and books. Ten stained glass windows installed in 1926 provide a glimpse into American artistry at its finest. A team of docents tells their story.


Gift shares offer 'priceless' shopping experiences

February 02, 2018

For Shari Fling of Peace UMC in Orlando having too much "stuff" can be a good thing. Through events called gift shares, Fling helps provide "priceless" shopping experiences to church and community members.


50,000 breakfasts and still serving

January 26, 2018

For Joining Hands Mission UMC in Holiday, serving breakfast for those in need is a way of life. The church parking lot is filled with griddles, gas stoves and waffle irons every Sunday morning.


MLK week revival helps bring unity to Wildwood

January 19, 2018

A recent two-day revival in Wildwood was held to help break down racial divisions. For Rev. Michael Beck, senior pastor at Wildwood UMC, the "Unity Movement" event was part of an ongoing mission that began eight years ago.


She plays the world's largest flute

January 12, 2018

For Paige Long, co-director of music ministries at Palm Coast UMC, playing the flute is no ordinary task. Included in her repertoire is an instrument called the double contrabass. It weighs 30 pounds, stands over 8 feet tall and has 22 feet of tubing.


St. James food pantry offers help in tough times

January 05, 2018

At St. James UMC in St. Petersburg, a monthly food pantry is held in its fellowship hall. Serving an area covering eight zip codes, the pantry offers a way through tough times for those with limited income.


Harry 'Skip' Wilson honored on NHL ice as Community Hero

December 29, 2017

For Harry "Skip Wilson, the retired vice president of Tampa Electric Company and member of New Hope UMC in Brandon, being awarded Community Hero by the Tampa Bay Lightning was a complete surprise. On Jan. 9, a check will be presented to a local Family Promise organization in his honor.


Inspired by Jane Austen, LifeGroup paints Christmas

December 22, 2017

Thirteen members of the Advent LifeGroup at Killearn UMC in Tallahassee found inspiration with a 16 by 20-inch canvas, some paints and the book "A Jane Austen Devotional" by Thomas Nelson. Together, they painted Christmas.


UMCOR meets challenges of 2017 relief

December 15, 2017

Challenged by hurricanes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes, UMCOR faced a difficult year in 2017. Organizational changes are offering greater efficiency in delivering supplies.


Sager Brown dedication remembers longtime friend

December 01, 2017

Central Florida's Sager Brown Mission Team recently dedicated a newly constructed gazebo to the memory of Ed Cepull, who founded the team and served at FUMC in Orlando for more than 40 years.


Cardboard City brings awareness to homeless families

November 24, 2017

Sleeping on cardboard boxes and in cars and tents, members of CrossRoad UMC in Jacksonville recently hosted an event called Cardboard City. The chilly and sleepless night helped raise awareness for homeless families.


'A taste of home' served hot at Filipino potluck

November 17, 2017

They've been cooking up a taste of home for 17 years! Every Sunday at First Church Melbourne an authentic Filipino potluck meal is enjoyed by friends and family. The savory delights of their home country offer good food and fellowship.


Evacuating Hurricane Irma with 18 horses

November 10, 2017

When Rev. Roy Terry of Cornerstone UMC heard a Category 5 hurricane could be headed toward Naples, he and his family really had no choice. They evacuated all 18 of their horses to Georgia.


A pastor reflects on All Saints Day

November 03, 2017

For Jan Richardson, an artist, writer and ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, images and words often come together to form reflections about life. Through a poem titled, "Enduring Blessing," she offers a heartfelt message for All Saints Day.


'Bible, Bikes and Breakfast' riders enjoy God's countryside

October 27, 2017

He's been described as a "casual dressing, Harley riding, high sacramentalist." For Rev. Greg Freeze of FUMC in Spring Hill, combining a passion for motorcycles with his church seemed like a great idea. The end result was a ministry called "Bible, Bikes and Breakfast."


'Childs Park, We Got You'

October 20, 2017

When the power went out during Hurricane Irma, the Childs Park neighborhood in south St. Petersburg came together and found a way to feed 600 residents. Many were without power for nine days.


Prison ministry offers fresh start, faith

October 13, 2017

Crossing a bridge from the island to the mainland makes all the difference for members of St. George Island UMC. Working outside their comfort zone, volunteers are helping county jail prisoners change their lives.


FUMC Wauchula serves 600 meals to first responders

September 29, 2017

Joining a nonprofit called SendMeMissions, FUMC Wauchula opened their kitchen and food lines for nearly 600 linemen, first responders and volunteers working recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma.


Suntree UMC trucking supplies to Keys

September 22, 2017

For Suntree UMC in Melbourne, devastation in the Florida Keys became personal. The pastors at Big Pine Key and Key West UMC, the Revs. John and Terri Hill, are former pastors at Suntree.


Orange County bridge dedicated to Rev. Ken Crossman

September 20, 2017

Described as an ardent crusader of human rights and civil liberties, recent legislation designated a Winter Park railroad bridge as the "Reverend Kenneth C. Crossman Bridge" in his honor.


Sun City disaster team offers response, prayers

September 15, 2017

The disaster response team at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center has been responding to hurricanes for many years. Always on the ready, volunteers bring tents, sleeping bags, love and prayers.


Pastor brings rap beat to Scripture

September 08, 2017

Rev. Matt Kern, associate pastor at Saint Paul's UMC, brings his own brand of rap music to sermons, baptisms and even funerals.


Epic turnout for end-of-summer bash

September 01, 2017

The annual Epic End-of-Summer Bash was held recently at FUMC in Chiefland. The gathering, which was attended by nearly 1,000 parents and children, helped fill 650 backpacks with much needed school supplies.


ArtWorks colors worlds with brushstrokes of pain, hope

August 18, 2017

For artist Renee Schneider, who started ArtWorks in 2003 as a ministry of St. Luke's UMC in Orlando, painting has taken on a new dimension. It has formed windows of hope to nearly 1,000 children living in poverty or situations of neglect.


Piecing together puzzle of historic Gainesville church

August 11, 2017

In the midst of historical preservation, a Gainesville architect had to begin by piecing together a puzzle to learn how the First United Methodist Church in Gainesville looked more than a century ago.


Teamwork, ingenuity helping hearing impaired

August 04, 2017

Gathering parts purchased at a local audio store, Dave Klaiber and his son Dan invented a system that is helping one church's hearing impaired Sunday School listeners. One in three Americans age 65 and older have hearing loss in at least one ear.


YAMM receives $100,000 Young Clergy Initiative grant

July 28, 2017

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry recently announced its 2017 Young Clergy Initiative Grant awards. The Florida Conference's Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM) received $100,000.


Titusville car care ministry 'serves and gets dirty'

July 21, 2017

Fifteen years ago a retired NASA engineer and his wife started a car care ministry in Titusville. From brake jobs to water pumps and spark plugs, customers are still lining up Saturday mornings for a service that runs like a well-oiled engine.


Students dispel 'Kids These Days' myth on mission trips

July 14, 2017

In the five years we have done this trip, 96 different people have come with us to work, 46 have come twice, 26 have come three times, 13 have come four times, and there are nine that have come on all five trips.


Little Red House embraced by community

July 07, 2017

When Rev. Merrill Frailey was first appointed to serve at College Park UMC in the Orlando area, she felt like the church was "closing in on itself...trying to survive." Then came new life with a place called the Little Red House.


Children learn compassion at Maker Fun Factory

June 30, 2017

First United Methodist Church in Ormond Beach held a Maker Fun Factory Kids Adventure week June 26 to 30. This story posted by the Ormond Beach Observer offers a photo gallery of the event.


Hopes spring high at Studio 150

June 16, 2017

Leaving the spotlights of Broadway behind, Jenny Logus, artistic director of a dance program at FUMC Winter Park, joined a program called Studio 150 in 2015. It's a career move that has children in Florida reaching to new heights.


Hospital, church and college unite for homeless

June 02, 2017

In an article reported by the South Florida Times, Christ Church in Ft. Lauderdale recently joined with FAU's Christine Lynn College of Nursing and Holy Cross Hospital to provide free foot care to the homeless.


Exceptional Entrepreneurs profits in many ways

May 26, 2017

It began in 2012 as a worm farm producing garden compost and fishing bait. Today, the program called Exceptional Entrepreneurs offers 17 developmentally disabled adults productive opportunities.


Jacksonville brewery offers taste of Christianity

May 12, 2017

Mandarin UMC in Jacksonville recently marked its first anniversary for the Fresh Expression Beer and Hymns. Blending conversation, craft beers and singing at a popular brewery, the program offers people a chance to experience Christian fellowship.


Occupy Trilogy for the spiritually curious

May 05, 2017

Ben Collins, director of the Fresh Expressions experiment called The Collective, gathers material for his Sunday sermons from what he calls "the spiritually curious." It all begins on Tuesday afternoons at a local coffee house.


The Portico offers 'big reveal' in April

April 28, 2017

The Portico, a downtown campus of Hyde Park UMC focused on "conversation, connection and community change," offered its "big reveal" April 2. On display was a fully renovated sanctuary and new coffee shop three years in the making.


5K becomes race against world hunger

April 21, 2017

A charity run in Jacksonville has provided nearly 150,000 meals over three years for Rise Against Hunger recipients in developing nations. This year's 5K race by CrossRoad Church UMC included corporate sponsors and meal packaging.


Tuesday Morning ministry wraps arms around homeless

April 07, 2017

Referred to simply as Tuesday Morning, a homeless ministry at Ocala First UMC has evolved into a changing-lives mission. The ministry currently offers everything from bike repairs and free haircuts to hot meals and legal services.


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