Greetings from the District Superintendent
|Rev. June Edwards|
Dear Pastors and Leaders,
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” Mark 9:13
At the recent clergy team meeting, I shared this scripture has been my prayer focus during this Lenten season. It was a text that came to me during and following the Called General Conference and filled my spirit on Ash Wednesday. Here Jesus is referencing Hosea 6:6, the prophet’s word to the unfaithful and unrepentant Israel and Judah telling them that their right practices of sacrifices and burnt offerings are not what God desires. What God desires is steadfast love. Lent is a time to reflect upon our mortality and total dependence on God for life, love and forgiveness as those undeserving through our own merit or effort. It is also a time to examine our lives for what is getting in the way of receiving that love. Both Hosea and Jesus speak into our lives at a time when it seems so many are clinging tightly to the need to be right—whether in opinion or in practice/praxis, whether it is concerning ‘right’ theology or ‘right’ worship or whatever the ‘rightness’ is that we hold with such ferocity. It is a time to be reminded that it is a short leap from thinking that rightness in our religious practices make us worthy of God’s love rather than offering our steadfast love and devotion in response to God’s love.
Easter tells us that in spite of all of our ‘best efforts,’ there is nothing we can do that can ‘out do’ God’s love for us. I love the words of the communion liturgy—“Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. That proves God’s love for us. In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven!” To become aware of the lengths to which God will go on our behalf in order that we would know that we and, in fact, all persons are God’s beloved is the message of Easter. Easter affirms that there is none, no one, that God does not love. Or to put it positively, God loves all people. The task for the church is not to focus on being right. The task of the church is to focus on loving right, to love as God has loved us as demonstrated in the cross and in the power of God to resurrect us into new life now.
We have work to do. Of the 625 churches in the Florida conference, 472 report flat or declining numbers in their average worship attendance in the last 5 years. 242 LOST 20% in worship and 272 churches had 0 or 1 baptisms in 2017. 304 churches declined in attendance in areas that are growing in population! My hunch is we are too focused on being right rather than loving right. This Easter is a great time to offer the invitation to for all to come and hear of God’s great act of love. And so I return to Jesus’ words:
“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” Mark 9:13
May this Easter be not only a celebration of God’s victory over death but a renewed passion for the clarity of our mission--of going forth to share the unbelievable, amazing, extravagant, magnificent Love of God with the World, Everyone, All!
With Easter Joy!
|Rev. Michael Beck|
The North Central District is going "From the Steeple to the Streets" once again! This year, we will be joining the Conference wide On Mission Together inititative. We are encouraging every church in the district to find one weekend in the month of May to create the OMT experience using the following framework.
Here is a brief timeline for you to plan your experience:
- By now probably you received a planning packet — the planning packet will include necessary information for taking the next step to start an OMT Weekend. If you haven’t received please contact Belinda at email@example.com and request a copy.
- Once you have confirmed that your church will be hosting an OMT Weekend experience, we will send you an OMT Experience Box at the beginning of March, which will contain all of the resources and tools for hosting the event.
- We will have an OMT Weekend Training Webinar for all church leaders participating in the experience.
- Begin designing the experience with your team to launch in any weekend in May.
If you haven’t already done it, click here to let us know you will be joining us!
Looking forward to a great 2019!
Child Youth Protection Policy
The conference updated the policy last year. Local churches and conference-affiliated ministries are asked to review and update policies using this template. Please submit a complete copy of the policy AND the Annual Review & Renewal Signature page to Belinda at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30.
Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership
Due May 31
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.
Click HERE for all the forms needed to complete the process. The completed forms should be emailed to Belinda
Annual Conference 2019 set to take place at Florida Southern College
Make plans now to attend Annual Conference 2019 by booking your hotel rooms early. A list of hotels and rates can be found HERE. Housing will also be available at Florida Southern College (details forthcoming).
As you make your plans, the Annual Conference planning team wanted you to be aware of the following:
1) Our theme is “On Mission Together,” and we will welcome Bishop Will Willimon, missiologist Dr. Dana Robert, along with musical leaders Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson.
2) Annual Conference will begin on Wednesday, June 5, with clergy and lay sessions at 10 a.m. We will conclude with the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination on Saturday, June 8, adjourning at 12:30 p.m.
3) We will be voting on delegates to General Conference 2020, with chances to meet delegates Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
4) All registration will take place at Florida Southern College, as will the clergy and lay sessions.
5) Florida Southern has added new parking shuttles and golf carts.
6) We will have an air-conditioned tent near Branscomb Auditorium which will be a place to eat and fellowship with other delegates.
North Central District will have two Pre-Annual Conference Orientation on Monday, May 6th at First Ocala UMC, Family Life Center and Tuesday, May 7th at Mariner UMC at 6:30 pm.
Rev. June Edwards will discuss 2019 Annual Conference and give a report of the 2019 General Conference.
Online Deep Dive - Children's Ministry in the Small Church
Announcing the first Online DEEP DIVE – specifically for the small church (under ~100).
This two-part webinar will be brief and bright with tips and resources for making an impact in your children’s ministry in the small church community. Bob McLeary will be our guest presenter, sharing ideas of starting S.M.A.L.L. What to do if you prepared a lesson for 3 children and 8 show up? How to balance planning with reality and frustrations, and more. Send questions you may have about the webinar or a question you’d like Bob to address to email@example.com.
Dates: Thursday, April 25th from 11:30am – 12 noon with time for Q & A
Thursday, May 2nd from 11:30am – 12 noon with time for Q & A
Who should attend? Anyone connected to children’s ministries in your church.
Each session will have free resources shared and during the last session, we will have a live drawing for 5 churches to receive the new Cokesbury fall curriculum: Deep Blue One Room Sunday School Kit (value $73.49 each).
Run 4 Life 4 Miler
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
The 9th Annual Run 4 Life 4 Miler is May 11 at The Florida United Methodist Children's Home. This 4 Mile Event takes you through the FUMCH and Historic Enterprise. The goal of this race is to bring awareness to mental health/depression issues and to raise money for programs providing support to those in need. All race proceeds will go to FUMCH and other local suicide prevention programs.
We would love for you to sign up on team The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click HERE to register online. Be sure to click on "Join Group/Team" & register on our team! Click HERE to print a registration form to mail.
Run, walk, or sponsor a child to participate!
We are one conference, let us come together as the UMC and help prevent suicide!
The North Central District is glad to announce Rev. Michael Beck's first book on Fresh Expression entitled,
Deep Roots, Wild Branches: Revitalizing the Church in the Blended Ecology
Churches around the world are discovering that revitalization comes when we get back to our roots.
The book is available at the District office for $10.00 and $2.00 for shipping and handling.
Please make check payable to the North Central District.
North Central District
1135 E. Fort King St.
Ocala, FL 34471
Look What Is Happening at Nueva Vida Central - Ocala
Nueva Vida Central new church members.
Please click here to see a video.
Bishop Carter's Invitation to 2020 Holy Land Trip
Clergy and laity are invited to join Bishop Ken Carter and Dr. Bob and Jeanne Bushong, for 10 days in the Holy Land, departing February 4, 2020. You will walk the shores of the Sea of Galilee, study the scriptures in the synagogue in Capernaum, pray on the Mount of Beatitudes and renew your baptism at the Jordan River. Click HERE for more information and registration. Click HERE to download the brochure.
The Fourteenth Annual Native American Gathering
April 26-28 - Warren W. Willis Family Camp
The Conference Committee on Native American Ministry (CONAM) has been active within the Florida Annual Conference since 2005. Growth and progress has been steady as we continue toward our goal of positioning a Native American Ministry representative in each District and Our Mission: “To communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Native American people in a culturally relevant way; disciple Native people in a culturally affirming way; encourage Christ-centered worship in a culturally redemptive way; and facilitate a Native presence in the wider church in a culturally appropriate way, while building our ministry by having a Native American representative in not only every District, but every local church in the FAC.”
A Gathering is held each April to bring together Native Americans throughout the Florida Conference. This year’s annual Gathering is April 26-28, 2019 at the Warren Willis Family camp in Fruitland Park, Florida. Click HERE for more information and registration.
Questions? Please contact Ed Taylor, CONAM Chair firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apply Now for UMC FCU Scholarships for College Bound Students
The Florida United Methodist Connectional FCU is once again offering scholarships to 17-35 year-old college-bound students in our connection. Four winning applicants, one from each of our four conferences - Florida, North Georgia, South Georgia, & Alabama-West Florida - will each receive a $1,000 scholarship. Click HERE for complete rules and full essay submission criteria. Deadline for submission is April 30, 2019. Click HERE for the application.
If you have any questions regarding the scholarship, call 866-687-2136.
Warren W. Willis Camp
Check out Warren W. Willis for many opportunities to reflect & fellowship!
Summer Youth Events at Lake Junaluska
Bring your youth group to Lake Junaluska this summer for worship, spiritual growth and adventure in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Every event includes energized worship with great speakers and bands, small groups, vespers and workshops. Youth also can choose to participate in mission projects and recreational activities such as rafting, ziplining or swimming. Find more information at www.lakejunaluska.com/summeryouth.
Event 1: June 15-19 – Rev. Andy Lambert with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show, outdoor movie and Sunday morning worship in Stuart Auditorium
Event 2: June 20-23 – Rev. Juan Huertas with Abbye West Pates and a talent show
Event 3: June 23-27 – Guest speaker Stephanie Caro with Abbye West Pates and a talent show and outdoor movie
Event 4: June 27-30 – Rev. Janjay Innis with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff
Event 5: June 30-July 3 – Rev. Jeremy Steele with Zachariah Suggs and illusionist Josh Lozoff
Event 6: July 10-14 – Rev. Kevin Wright with Jimmy Atkins and the Light ’Em Ups and a talent show and comedian
Appointed Clergy serving in the Florida Annual Conference
Do No Harm: Mandatory Quadrennial Sexual Ethics Training
All clergy who are serving under episcopal appointment within the Florida Conference must attend one of the upcoming sexual ethics trainings this fall to remain in good standing. This includes ALL clergy serving in extension ministries, retired clergy serving under appointment, all deacons, elders, licensed local pastors (part time and full time). diaconal ministers and lay supply who are assigned to lead a church. This is required even if you have recently attended the Sexual Ethics training at Right Start or are scheduled to do so this coming May. A different curriculum will be covered in the quadrennial training. Certificates will be provided to those who complete the full 5 hours of training. A copy of your Certificate will be placed in your clergy file.
When & Where?
You may attend a session outside of your appointed district.
- Jacksonville at Mandarin UMC on Thursday, October 3
- Gainesville at Trinity UMC on Wednesday, October 9
- Plantation at Plantation UMC on Tuesday, October 22
- Orlando at St. Luke's UMC on Wednesday, November 6
North Central District - DCOM Date Information
District Superintendent: Rev. June Edwards (352) 789-6981 email@example.com
dCOM Chair: Rev. Beth Farabee firstname.lastname@example.org
dCOM Registrar: Elizabeth Flynn email@example.com
DCOM Meeting Location: NC District Office, First UMC, Ocala
- Thurs, May 9 (materials due Apr 11) 1st Provisional attempt
- Thurs, Aug 22 (materials due July 25) 2nd Provisional attempt
- Thurs, Dec 12 (materials due Nov 14)
April 19 - Conference & District Closed
April 28 - Announcement Sunday
May 3-5 - "On Mission Together" - May 3-5 Weekend!
May 6 - Pre-Conference Orientation First Ocala, Family Life Center at 6:30 pm
May 7 - Pre-Conference Orientation Mariner UMC, at 6:30 pm