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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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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.

Serving the poor in Appalachian hills

March 24, 2017

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.

Samuel's story

March 17, 2017

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.

Ministry for runners making God’s love real

March 03, 2017

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.

Kenyan's dream to build health clinic becomes reality

February 24, 2017

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.

'Night to Shine' prom event lays out the red carpet

February 03, 2017

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.

Raising the grade at Melrose Elementary

January 13, 2017

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.

Reindeer Run benefits human trafficking victims

January 06, 2017

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.

An annual rite of giving at Sager Brown

December 30, 2016

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.

A gift to those surviving the holidays

December 23, 2016

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.

Long-time newspaper writer tells a different story

December 16, 2016

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.

Helping 'unhooked seniors' graduate

December 02, 2016

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 1940's building into a beachside cafe

November 25, 2016

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.

A night at the opera

November 18, 2016

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.

New Horizon helps create unity in Haines City

November 11, 2016

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.

Brevard disaster relief an ecumenical effort

October 21, 2016

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.

The 'church ladies' reach out in maximum security facility

October 14, 2016

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.

The secret is in the sauce

September 30, 2016

First UMC of Pahokee helps form an eight-week cooking course for high school students.

Churches race to support Family Promise

September 23, 2016

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.

Mentors help reunite families

September 16, 2016

In a unique volunteer ministry, members of a Ft. Myers church are working to mentor families disrupted by emotional issues, drugs and crime.

Boys and girls start the school year right

September 02, 2016

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.

'A joyful overwhelming'

August 19, 2016

Quinn began his new role as program coordinator at Warren Willis on June 16, with a baby on the way.

St. Andrew's youth take testimonies to Costa Rica

August 12, 2016

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.

Youth change lives during a domestic mission trip

July 29, 2016

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 ...

A laying on of hands

July 22, 2016

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.

Stuffed animal ministry calms child victims

July 22, 2016

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.

Downtown Tampa mural graces The Portico

July 15, 2016

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.

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