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NCD June 2021 Newsletter

In the District

Dear Pastors and Leaders of the North Central District,

After a series of intense questioning and testing on a variety of topics that included taxes and his belief about the resurrection, a scribe came near and asked Jesus, “Which commandment if the first of all?” To which Jesus replied, “The first is, ‘Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The scribe affirms Jesus’ words saying he is right—that God is one and that there is no other and that to love God with ‘all the heart, and with all the understanding and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’” Jesus replied to the scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Nobody dared to ask any more questions, the scripture tells us. (Mark 12:28-34).

What Jesus said to the scribe and what the scribe understood is that drawing close to God, ourselves and neighbor with our whole being is far more important than any act of worship or gift that we can offer. The scribe understood that it was about one’s heart and attitude toward God and the other. Yet, even now, we resist. We resist because we have things—possessions or position or power or privilege that is too hard to release. We resist because the giving up, the letting go seems more than any of us can envision doing. All the questioning directed toward Jesus in the preceding verses was grounded in the pretext having the right answer, the right opinion. The questions were political and theological in nature as they tested him. Such questions were comfortable for folks then as they are now because they distract from the real problem of the heart and get in the way of right relationship with God and neighbor which requires change.

Jesus begins his ministry stating that he has come to invite people to enter the kingdom of God. At least one person ‘got it’—the scribe who drew near that day. To enter the kingdom of God changes people. It changes us. To enter the kingdom of God one’s focus, one’s purpose, one’s life is transformed. To enter the kingdom of God is to see oneself and others in a wholly and holy new light. Transformation is the goal of our life in God. Transformation means change. It means letting go—letting go of things and letting go of the need to be ‘right.’

As we head toward Annual Conference and a new appointment year beginning July 1, I ask you to consider where you are on the transformation journey. What must you release and relinquish in order to more fully enter the kingdom of God? There is a world out there that is waiting for you to do just that. There is a church waiting for you too!


 Rev. June Edwards










Fresh Expression News!

Being a Hybrid Church

As we experience the continuing implications of a pandemic with a long tail, we now find ourselves facing different problems. As devastating as COVID-19 has been, it has also created a kind of un-frozenness for the Church and a whole new world of opportunity.

Barna research suggests that, as in other sectors of life, it will be some time before the Church in the U.S. is back to normal—and even then it will be a “new normal.” This new normal will include a “Hybrid Church” in which onsite and online forms of church are blended together in our continuing mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Many people were already “living hybrid” as our online and offline lives were becoming increasingly integrated. The pandemic accelerated this reality. “Online church” is more than streaming worship services. We have learned that worship, evangelism, and discipleship can occur in digital space.

Want to learn more about being a hybrid church? We have an upcoming webinar June 17th at 4pm. In that webinar practitioners of hybrid ministry will share stories of forming and sustaining Christian community in analog and digital space. We will explore ways we can avoid defaulting back to a normal of decline, and how we can pivot into a thriving future!

Additionally, our district team is prepared to work with your congregation individually through online and onsite training, coaching, or workshops. These services are offered free for North Central District churches. If you’re interested email me at

The Rural Church Ministries Summer Book Club

 The Rural Church Ministries Summer Book Club will begin on Monday, July 5th at 7pm via Zoom. We will be reading Allen Stanton's book, Reclaiming Rural: Building Thriving Rural Congregations. We are looking forward to powerful insights and great conversations about rural church ministry.  

The District Office has copies of Reclaiming Rural available for purchase. The cost is $12 per book, a 50% savings. To order your copy, please contact the District Office at

 Reclaiming Rural's description is as follows:

As rural America continues to undergo massive economic and demographic shifts, rural churches are uniquely positioned to provide community leadership. Leading a rural congregation requires a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing those communities, as well as a strong theological and community-focused identity. Allen T. Stanton describes how in establishing this identity, rural leaders build a meaningful and vital ministry. Reclaiming Rural explores the myths and realities of rural places, and how those common narratives impact the leadership of rural churches. Ultimately, rural congregations must pratice a contextual understanding of vitality, which understands both the strengths and challenges of leading in a rural setting. Arguing for a practice of evangelism imbued with this mission of vitality, Reclaiming Rural promotes the church as a leader in economic and community development, modeled upon a Wesleyan theology of grace. Acknowledging the main challenges facing rural churches, this book is an energetic and encouraging guide to overcoming social and economic obstacles to build a thriving congregation.

To register for the Summer Rural Ministries Book Club, please follow the below link:

Register in advance for this meeting: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Rural Church Ministries Summer Webinar Series

Allen Stanton, author of Reclaiming Rural: Building Thriving Rural Congregations, will present a four-week webinar series specifically designed for the unique needs of rural churches in the North Central District. This webinar complements our Rural Church Ministries Summer Book Club. 

The webinars will be held on the following dates and times:

Tuesday, July 13 at 7pm
Tuesday, July 20th at 7pm
Tuesday, July 27th at 7pm
Tuesday, August 3rd at 7pm

We are excited to welcome Allen and learn from his observations about the importance of building thriving rural church ministries.

Please register for the Rural Church Ministries Summer Webinar Series by following the link below. 

Register in advance for this meeting:  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Annual Conference 2021
A Community of Love & Forgiveness
June 11-12, 2021

Click HERE for the AC2021 webpage. Everything will be posted there as it is available.

Click HERE for the 2021 Voting Items
Click HERE for AC2021 Workbook
Click HERE for 2021 Virtual Expo

Pre-Conference Orientation Webinar, June 1 hosted by Rev. Alex Shanks and Rev. Dr. Sharon Austin, Annual Conference Planning Team co-chairs, and Craig Smelser, interim conference treasurer. Members of the annual conference will have the opportunity to learn about the essential items of business that will be covered during the Annual Conference session. Register here.

District Pre-Conference Orientations, June 6 Join Rev. June Edwards to discuss the Bishop's Initiatives, Resolutions, conference budget and small group discussions.  Please click here to  register in advance.  

Guests of the annual conference are invited to join the Annual Conference 2021 sessions via livestream.

All clergy and lay members to annual conference received emails asking them to register for the Zoom webinar. If you did not receive the email, please email Belinda Luquis at and let her know.

Thank you for participating in the Church Finances webinar with Dr. Lovett Weems and Dr. Ann Michel.
Below you can access the recording along with accompanying documents to support your continuing dialogue and learning in this important work.

Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership were due May 31

If this has not been submitted, please email Belinda and let her know when she can expect it. The form has the ability to be submitted when it is not complete. The form should not get submitted until BOTH the clergy and SPRC chairperson have completed the form.

Be sure to read the Welcome letter from Rev. Sara McKinley and watch the instructional video. All evaluation tools can be found at

This NEW process is fully electronic and you do not have to print and send a hard copy of the evaluation to the district office.

Magellan Member Momentum Engagement Campaign and Webinar

Understanding your teenager’s mental health

Would you want to go back and be a teenager again? It’s not likely you’d want to navigate all those mystifying challenges again—from peer pressures to academic stress to an ever-changing body. Click HERE to learn more in this month’s newsletter.

Monthly Webinar
Helping Your Teen Learn Emotional Regulation │ Wednesday, May 12

Join this webinar to:

  1. Learn how the teenage brain is different than any other point in development
  2. Engage with your teen without conflict
  3. Teach emotional regulation by example
  4. Know when to seek professional help

Click Here to Register

Make time for you

As you juggle your many responsibilities, finding time to care for yourself can be tough. Work-Life is available 24/7 to provide support and tools to help you make the most of your days and time for self-care. Access Work-Life for information on:

  • Practicing self-care
  • Fitness and wellness resources
  • Online communities
  • Relaxation services and tools

Click on the links below for more information.


Getting help online is easy! From webinars, live talks and audio to articles and downloadable guides, Work-Life provides insights andnformation to help you practice self-care. 

United Methodist Connectional Federal Credit Union

See what summer fun your United Methodist Connectional FCU has planned for you.  Car Sales, RV Loans and Refinancing, Home Equity Loans, Discounts on Theme Parks and World Travel, and a NO FEE Credit Card Balance Transfer with a  2.99%APR personal


Update to Missional Vital Signs Reporting

While churches are not meeting in person due to COVID-19, The Florida Conference will use a Modified MVS reporting model. Click HERE for instructions and to report March, April, & May MVS.

If you have data not entered for February or before, please complete the Monthly Data Gathering Chart for each of those months and email it to Belinda at

2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

The conference and district offices will be closed the following days.

July 5
Independence Day holiday
September 6
Labor Day holiday
November 11
Veteran's Day holiday
November 25-26
Thanksgiving holiday
December 24
Christmas holiday
December 27
Christmas holiday
December 31
New Year's Day holiday