Greetings from the District Superintendent
Pastors and Leaders of the North Central District,
Recently, I saw a television commercial advertising the new SUV, Lincoln Navigator. Many of you have probably seen these featuring the actor Matthew McConaughey as he takes on the silent, cool dude affect. But this particular advertisement caught my attention. He’s driving out to an isolated frozen lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. He parks his car, takes some equipment out and begins to head out on the ice where he cuts a hole to go ice fishing. He goes and sits in the back of the car and waits. Suddenly, there’s a sound and a flag goes up indicating (evidently—never been ice fishing!) that he’s caught a fish. The camera pulls back and you see a panoramic shot of this majestic scene. The name of the model of the car comes up on the screen and underneath it are these words, “The power of sanctuary.” At first, I wasn’t sure I had read it correctly. I grabbed the remote and hit rewind. Sure enough, it said exactly that.
I was stunned by the force of the words. It was a beautiful, serene place. One that would surely cause one to think about the power and majesty of God, particularly for a person of faith. I thought about the Advertising Agency that put together this particular motif. What caused them to name such a place sanctuary and the experience powerful? How would that translate to the viewer? What would it mean to them? Who is the demographic they were speaking to?
Such expensive ad campaigns choose their words carefully. Every word is put there with intention. I wonder if this description is indicative of a crying out, of a longing in our culture for peace, serenity, beauty, transformation, connection to creation, silence, solitude, contemplation and, yes, even worship. I wonder if we have considered the power of sanctuary in our own church contexts and settings? What would it look like for us to claim the power of sanctuary in our lives and ministries?
I think the season of Lent is the perfect time to test out the ‘power of sanctuary’ in our own times of devotion and prayer, contemplation and meditation. It’s the perfect time to make ourselves available to the majesty of God’s creation and the extravagance of God’s love in Christ. It is the time to open up our lives and our hearts for examination that can only happen as we seek the solitude and silence represented in this commercial. Let us be encouraged to contemplate the “Power of Sanctuary” in these 40 days set aside for drawing close to God. May this image guide us as well as we proceed toward General Conference in May. As Jesus headed into the wilderness for preparation for ministry and received power from on high, may you receive the same.
Blessings on you and your ministry in this Lenten season.
Upcoming General Conference Orientation
Pastors and Leaders of the NC District,
You are invited to participate in the North Central District to hear Rev. Alex Shanks (Assistant to the Bishop) present the most current information regarding the upcoming General Conference in May.
Wednesday, March 25th, 6:30pm, Morrison UMC, Leesburg (1005 W Main St. Leesburg FL 34748)
It would be good if every church has representation at one of these meetings. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
FRESH EXPRESSION NEWS!
It’s exciting to hear all the amazing stories happening around the district. From Messy Churches in elementary schools, to Dinner Churches being launched by congregations that already have more new people meeting in them than Sunday morning worship, to a church being planted in Lowell Correctional with 3000 women experiencing incarceration!
This gives us so much hope, and yet the journey of forming new Christian communities can be intimidating. You don’t have to do it alone!
What we are calling a “Studio” is really a way for us to support you on that journey in primarily these four ways…
1. A Map (loving first cycle, see below)
2. Compass (the Godsend App)
3. Guide (Just In Time learning, free coaching from our team)
4. Community (Studio cohort)
We can do this together! The journey to reaching new people in your community is only three simple steps away.
STEP 1: Form a Fresh Expressions Team
Just get together a couple likeminded folks at your church who want to reach new people.
STEP 2: Download the free “God Send App”
Work through the overview modules with your team… the loving first cycle. If you’re not familiar with using apps, just go to https://www.fxresourcing.org/godsend/share/ and print the material.
STEP 3: Bring your team to the first Studio Gathering!
The May gathering has been postponed. This gives you time to do steps 1 and 2. We will meet Saturday September 12th at First Ocala.
If you have any questions, please contact Michael Beck:
|Rev. Michael Beck|
Pre -Annual Conference Orientation
North Central District will hold the orientation on Wednesday, May 27 at First UMC, Ocala at 6:30pm. There is no registration, everyone is welcome to attend.
In light of concerns over the spread of coronavirus in the U.S, and specifically Florida, the Florida Conference has compiled the following information for use in your churches. Click here
Workers Compensation Payroll Audit
Report actual payroll for calendar year 2019. Must be completed between February 1 and February 21, 2020. In order to comply with State of Florida requirements related to workers' compensation coverage, we ask that you complete the brief online payroll form. Please review your payroll records (941's etc.) for the calendar year 2019 and complete the form as accurately as possible. Please note that your responses will not affect your workers' compensation insurance costs for 2020 as this updated information is simply required to comply with State of Florida regulations.
March 31 Reports
The following reports are due to the District office by March 31.
Please email them to Belinda Luquis email@example.com.
The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee and kept in their personnel file. This does not get sent to the District office.
The Fund Balance report is submitted online by Finance. Do not send a hard copy to the District. The form is located in your Church Dashboard on the bottom left. Note: The Disaster Recovery Resource Survey is no longer required.
For detailed instructions on reports, please review the Calendar of Reports.
Licensing School 2020
May 11 - 22, 2020
Licensing School 2020 will be held at Florida Southern College May 11 through May 22, 2020. Click HERE for the link with the requirements for licensing school, the tentative schedule and the revised fillable application.
Please note the cost has changed due to the fact that we have been losing money on this for some time now. It will be $900 per person and $700 for those who are Certified Candidate in the Florida Conference. There is no additional paperwork needed for the $200 reduction in costs. Compared to other schools we are charging significantly less.
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. Click HERE for the application with all the details. Deadline for submission is April 30, 2020.
Questions? Call 866-687-2136.
Important dates in the United Methodist Church
General Conference 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 5 - 15
North Central District Committee on Ministry (dCOM)
| Elizabeth Flynn
dCOM Chair: Rev. Beth Farabee firstname.lastname@example.org
Click HERE to read about the Candidacy Process.
For more information or to schedule an interview, email Elizabeth Flynn email@example.com.
NC dCOM meetings are held at the North Central District Office in Ocala. dCOM dates:
Tuesday, May 5 (Materials due Apr 7)
Tuesday, August 25 (Materials due July 28)
Thursday, December 3 (Materials due Nov 5)