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.
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.
The Florida United Methodist Children's Home recently dedicated a new aquatics center and held a groundbreaking ceremony for two new buildings, a chapel and Counseling and Support Services Center.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
A date night at Community of Hope UMC in Loxahatchee offered fine dining cooked by a professional chef, games and strategies for success in marriage. An event held in February included 80 couples and free child care.
The families living in the Appalachian hill country of Beverly, Kentucky, many of whom have no running water or electricity, welcome members of Belleview UMC and others with prayerful thankfulness. Repairing a roof or adding a ramp for a wheelchair can make all the difference.
A Guatemalan man, mentally ill and left chained to a pole for six years, was given new life with the aid of a non-profit ministry and volunteers from Trinity UMC in Tallahassee.
Matt Horan, pastor at Seminole Heights UMC and once a middle school English teacher, is reaching out to local schools. His church recently donated much needed iPads to a Tampa classroom.
Racing on Gasparilla Day has become a family and friends tradition at Hyde Park United Methodist. What began with inspiration during a morning jog soon became a ministry that 13 years later is still running strong.
Having to push his sickly mother in a wheelbarrow across dirt roads to the nearest health clinic gave Kenyan Benjamin Ikirima a dream. An architect and teams of volunteers from First UMC of St. Petersburg worked for five years to make it happen.
As many take Valentine's Day as a traditional opportunity to celebrate important relationships in their lives, a new tradition is popping up where women are celebrating their relationships with each other.
In a mission of love, a dedicated team of local church members visit a place called Salud y Paz year after year. For a retired nurse, a gift donation became a dying wish.
For the second consecutive year, the UMC of the Palm Beaches is hosting their "Night to Shine" prom event on Friday, Feb. 10 for people with special needs. Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, the event is one of 380 celebrations being held worldwide.
Inspired by the ABC television show, "Shark Tank," Southside UMC in Jacksonville turns passion into action, as youth present their visions for missions to their own panel of sharks.
Following a year-long deployment in Africa, Maj. Lance Sellon, director of Go ministries at CrossRoad Church UMC in Jacksonville, returns home to minister to young adult professionals.
Last year, many children at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg were unable to properly read or perform basic math skills at their grade level. Volunteers at a local church intervened by offering their time, patience and love.
For the second consecutive year, Palm Harbor UMC held their annual Reindeer Run on Dec. 3. Designed to bring awareness to the plight of human trafficking victims, this year's race attracted nearly 500 runners and raised more than $8,600.
Two churches, FUMC Orlando and FUMC Winter Park, make visiting and working at Sager Brown an annual pilgrimage. This story offers a glimpse into what it is like to attend a typical mission trip at the center.
For those who have lost someone special in their lives, the holiday season can be a trying time. Trinity UMC recently offered a class titled "Surviving the Holidays." Church member and widower Lynn Cunningham offers thoughtful tips.
Presenting theatrical drama at Christmas can be a challenging but worthwhile endeavor for many churches. A long-time Tampa Tribune writer started writing original plays nine years ago for his church. It's now an annual event.
Replacing their annual rummage and craft sale, Bear Lake UMC in Apopka found a creative and innovative way to raise money for local charities.
Coronado Community UMC has joined the efforts of Cudas Unhooked, a non-profit making a huge difference in the lives of young at-risk high school students. The goal is to help them graduate.
Transforming a former square dance hall used in the 1940's, Good Shepherd UMC in Palm Beach County is renovating the building into an upscale beach house café serving gourmet coffee and live entertainment.
With a crowd of more than 200 attending, Trinity UMC in Tallahassee continued its long tradition in music by presenting "A Night at the Opera" on Oct. 21.
In what was termed a "proactive sign of solidarity," one city found a way to counter recent news events nationwide that only focus on tensions existing between black communities and local law enforcement.
The Laity Sunday sermon's theme was "Celebrating You," and lay leader explained how the acronym FOCUS can guide members in fulfilling the will of God.
The new Tampa campus of Hyde Park UMC is designed to reach across denominations and provide assistance to those in need.
Larry Porter, down to his white beard and twinkling eyes, looks like a cross between Santa Claus and Paul Bunyan as he revs up his chainsaw. That chainsaw technically runs on gas, but it appears to be powered by faith. And it's getting a workout as Porter and hundreds of volunteers, members of faith-based groups from across Brevard and beyond, assist with post-Hurricane Matthew cleanup.
A group of volunteers from First Stuart UMC, referred to by inmates as the "church ladies," have been offering Bible studies, grief share sessions and mentoring for the past four years in an all-girl maximum security facility.
First Inverness UMC recently sent 76 hand sewn dresses and dolls to school children in Haiti.
First UMC of Pahokee helps form an eight-week cooking course for high school students.
Grace at Fort Clarke UMC and Trinity UMC recently competed in a themed bed race at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, helping raise more than $25,000 for the local Family Promise organization.
In a unique volunteer ministry, members of a Ft. Myers church are working to mentor families disrupted by emotional issues, drugs and crime.
Members of Christ United Methodist church in St. Petersburg are moving beyond the walls of a traditional church by visiting area laundromats in a downtown neighborhood.
Coronado Community UMC Pastor, Peter Cottrell, has a favorite saying when looking at projects, ideas and missions of the congregation. Is it "Kingdom Building?" Well, this month, building began with khaki shorts and polo shirts.
Naples school opens at North Naples UMC as part of 10 million dollar Growing Together campaign.
Quinn began his new role as program coordinator at Warren Willis on June 16, with a baby on the way.
The 11 high school students from Brandon who spent the first part of a sweltering July in Costa Rica weren’t at a fancy resort along the coast, snorkeling, sunbathing and playing beach volleyball in the tropical breeze.
Play therapy is a recognized way for children to help their therapists unlock hidden trauma. Sometimes it is the only way.
Palm Harbor United Methodist Church sent more than 60 people (middle school, high school, college students and adults) to Immokalee, Florida for a domestic mission trip. During the week the team ...
Hillsborough UMC's youth group discussed law enforcement this week with Hillsborough County Sheriff's Officer Corporal Preston Hollis. This commentary is based on the author's Facebook post.
A criminal court and state attorney’s office can be a scary place for children who must be there because they are crime victims, and stuffed animals can help lessen their anxiety.
The churches in the Wildwood community include four United Methodist congregations.
You wouldn’t expect to see a rooster and an alligator together, let alone sharing space in a giant mural in downtown Tampa. But the images are there. Depicting the two creatures “living together in harmony,” the mural helps represent The Portico’s mission of fostering conversation and connection.
The church takes up the call of Matthew 25:34-40.
Dan was a leader, a mentor and a guide and has prepared others for taking over the reins. He has helped others prepare to be bold.
“Dios me dia el poder!” screamed the children. God gives me the power! The power to be brave! The power to be obedient! The power to be faithful! This was the theme of our Vacation Bible School ...