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May 2018 District Newsletter

Message from the District Superintendent

The vitality of our faith communities is of prime importance. Vital faith communities are proactively engaging in strategies to reach the unchurched and dechurched. They are formulating ways to engage their neighborhoods, meeting people at their point of need and offering them Jesus. They are building cultures of generosity. They have systems for making disciples of Jesus Christ that equip people to transform our cities and world.

We take vitality very seriously in the North East District. Last year our Operations Team created a new set of vitality metrics. We measure ten different criteria to help us judge whether a faith community is vital. To be considered vital a church needs to reach seven of the metrics. There is a second way to be considered vital. If a church has reached five or six of the metrics and I know of subjective ways (not measured by the metrics) that the church is vital, I can raise a church into vital status after justifying my decision to the Operations Team.

I want to be clear: BEING VITAL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SIZE. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING A RURAL CHURCH VERSUS AN URBAN OR SUBURBAN CHURCH. We have smaller churches that are vital. We have medium and large faith communities that are not. We have vital congregations in the rural parts of district. We have ones in Jacksonville that are not.

Vitality in 2018 is, in many ways, about Canoeing the Mountains. It’s about understanding that while the message of Jesus never changes…the ways we have to share Him have! It’s about giving up sacred cows and preferences to make sure we’re reaching new people in new places in new ways. It’s about being missional instead of attractional.

This year we are sending the vitality metrics of churches not just to pastors. We are also sending them to laity including lay leaders, church council chairs, SPRC chairs, finance chairs, and trustees chairs. We want to make sure these metrics are disseminated broadly.

My prayer is that you will use the metrics to help guide the ministry action plans of your faith community. Their purpose is not to condemn or be negative. Instead, think of them as a snapshot of where your church is at present so you can know where you need to engage for the future.

If you have questions or would like to discuss them, I’m always happy to talk with. God bless you as you seek to be missional, faithful, and fruitful.

All God’s love,



Clergy Assessments Due

Each year United Methodist clergy are to engage in a process of assessment of effectiveness.  A team from the Florida Conference Board of Ordained Ministry has worked diligently to provide clergy and local church Committees on Staff Parish Relationships with a set of tools that will assist in that process.  Below you will find links to the resources that are to be used in completing the assessment.  It is the hope that each clergy and each SPRC will take this process seriously so that our clergy continue to grow in effectiveness toward our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

All the forms needed to complete the process can also be downloaded below. 

Welcome Letter from Sara McKinley

Instructions for the Process

Clergy Self Assessment of Effectiveness and Goal Setting

Staff Parish Relations Committee Assessment of Ministerial Effectiveness and Goal Setting

Staff Parish Relations Committee/Clergy Joint Dialogue

Clergy Assessment Averaging

All of these forms are due into the District Office only by May 31. Please do not send the forms to the Conference Center or to Clergy Excellence. 

You can send them via regular mail to NE District Office UMC, 1415 LaSalle Street, Jacksonville, FL 32207 or you can scan and email them to Pam Mullay - Please do not try and fax these documents. Our fax machine is not working since we are not back in the District Office.

It is important to submit these reports on time since clergy one-on-one's with the DS begin in June after Annual Conference. Clergy, please be on the lookout for an email from The schedule for one-on-one's is being made through

District Office Update

We are beyond excited that we are set to move into the District Office on May 30. Things are progressing and throughout this entire process, we are grateful to you all for having extra grace and patience with us since the hurricane last September. We shared some photos last week on Facebook and hope you enjoy seeing them as well. 

From May 30 through that first weekend in June, we will be slow to respond to calls and emails. If it is not an emergency, we ask that you hold your calls and emails until the week of June 4. This would be most helpful to us. 

We still look forward to having an Open House once we are settled and get through Annual Conference and all of the appointment transitions in early July. Stay tuned!

Part-time Worship Leader Needed - Fleming Island UMC

We are looking for a part time Worship Leader, who demonstrates a deep and ongoing saving relationship with Jesus Christ and has the ability to coach singers and instrumentalists, find the musical heartbeat of our congregation, and use current technology to help the praise team as well as the congregation use their gifts to grow as disciples. Please send resumes to


One of the changes mandated in the new 2018 tax laws concerns moving expenses. It’s important that everyone understand and plan for the impact of all the financial implications to the clergy and the church:

  • Moving expenses are now taxable income to both clergy and laity. Whether the church pays a moving company directly or reimburses the clergy for the moving expense, it is taxable income.
  • If the church pays a moving company directly, that amount is considered “imputed” income for the clergy’s payroll and they are taxed on that amount.
  • Moving expenses, since now are considered taxable income, are now included as part of the pension eligible earnings and the church will be billed during year. Only General Conference can change the calculation.
  • The health insurance stipend remains pension ineligible.

Be sure to submit your completed form with the moving costs to the District Office by the end of July.  NOTE - for those clergy that are moving in 2018 only. 

DLC Nurse & Learn Graduation Ceremony

DLC is hosting its 2018 VPK & Pre-K Graduation Ceremony 

When: Thursday, May 31st at 6:30pm 

Where: Murray Hill UMC

Come help us cheer on our 2018 graduating class! All are welcome to attend this joyous occasion. 

Annual Conference Information

Please be sure to check out information about Annual Conference 2018 at Florida Southern College. As always, there will be challenges with parking. We strongly suggest that you carpool from the hotel to the college if possible. 

There is not a registration fee to attend Annual Conference itself, only to book a hotel and purchase meals, etc.

Churches - please be sure that your Lay Member to Annual Conference is listed in the church dashboard. We still have a few churches in the district that have not input any church leaders. This will make it very challenging when those folks go to Annual Conference and try to check-in to receive their name tags. Help them and help us to make this an easy check-in process. 


May 2018

May 31, 2018 - Right Start for New & Moving Clergy, 10-4 @ First UMC, Lakeland

June 2018

June 1, 2018 - Right Start for New Clergy (Sexual Ethics & HR), 9-4 @ First UMC, Lakeland

June 7-9, 2018 - Annual Conference, Florida Southern College, Lakeland

June 26, 2018 - Moving Day

August 2018

August 22 - DCOM - Provisional (retrys only) Please contact Elizabeth Flynn for more information -

September 2018

September 12, 2018 - District Administrative Brunch, 9:30-12:30 @ Southside UMC.

September 14-15, 2018 - District Lay Servant Ministry Training @ Ortega UMC, Jacksonville

October 2018

October 10, 2018 – District Ministry Team Meeting, 11:30 – 3 @ Fleming Island UMC – Brown Bag Lunch. All clergy serving a local church are required to attend. 

October 20, 2018 - Super-Charged Conference @ CrossRoad UMC, Jacksonville

October 22, 2018 - District Dashboard Update Day

December 2018

December 12 - Recerts/Certs/LP - Please contact Elizabeth Flynn for more information -


February 10, 2019 - District Leadership Event @ CrossRoad UMC - Save the Date!