How are some churches discovering ways to form relationships with new people? Last month the Florida Conference launched our first FX Studio gathering with churches representing each district across the state. Those teams, through prayerful collaboration and support, have launched several new communities with those who don’t belong to any church. Want to join into what they’re doing? Grab your team and come to the next Studio Gathering!
Each Studio is comprised primarily of these five elements:
1. A shared focus: Each team is traveling together on the “loving first cycle.” A simple, well-developed process used by tens of thousands of leaders across the world.
2. Self-paced discovery: The free Godsend App and/or the new book “The 21st Century Christian: Following Jesus Where Life Happens.”
3. Community of practice Bi-annual gatherings where teams come together for support, learning, and strategizing. The next gathering will take place Saturday, July 17 9am-12pm.
4. Support via social media: Join the Studio Facebook group and see the plans that other teams across the state are working on: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2241093959355768.
5. Zoom-based coaching: Feeling stuck? Not to worry, get support from experienced coaches willing to come alongside you in your work.
How do we get started?
1. Get together 1 or more people in your church who have a desire to reach new people.
2. Download the free FX Godsend App or access the materials here: https://churchsupporthub.org/fxgreenhouse/
3. Work through the overview units of the Godsend material with your team.
4. Register for the upcoming Studio here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdjy5vVdymQ4M6jkECmWSA0nRR9d2YbihmxXMQ8AneSi99vg/viewform
Please reach out if you have questions, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural Church Ministries Book Club
The Rural Church Ministries Book Club is currently reading Earthy Mysticism by Tex Sample. Earthy Mysticism is a collection of short, personal stories about big life lessons. This insightful book has already sparked profound discussions about our own experiences and ministries. Each chapter is stand alone. We read and discuss two chapters each week. However, you do not need to have read all of the chapters to join us in discussion. Also, Tex Sample is our presenter for the Rural Church Ministries Spring Webinar. Joining the Book Club would be a great way to become more familiar with Tex’s work. The Rural Church Ministries Book meets every Monday at 7pm via Zoom. We would love for you to join us! Please email Rev. Sarah Campbell at revsarahcampbell@gmail for the Zoom link.
Rev. Sarah R. Campbell
Rural Church Ministries Spring Webinar
The North Central District’s Rural Church Ministries Team encourages all pastors and laity to register for its Spring Webinar. Tex Sample, an internationally known speaker and author, will be sharing his wisdom about the importance of the rural church during difficult times. Tex’s speaking style is one of relatable stories and profound spiritual insights. You won’t want to miss this free webinar! Please register by following the instructions on the below flyer.
Natural Church Development
Natural Church Development works to help churches to improve both quality and growth.
Here is a testimony from Rev. Mary L. Mitchell of how Natural Church Development worked for Bartley Temple UMC.
“Bartley Temple UMC’s initial involvement with the Natural Church Development process started in 2015. In our efforts to improve and build the kingdom of heaven, the leadership team chose to take advantage of the opportunity to engage, along with the ministry team, in the Natural Church Development process. We were interested in strengthening our ministry and receiving feedback on the overall health of our church in comparison with other churches across the country. We found our participation in this initiative to be a blessing in many ways. It required the leaders of the church to first look within and respond to a survey that, when compiled, generated a church profile.
The NCD profile identified empowering leadership as one of our minimum factors. Even though, we recognized we have some amazing leaders in the church, we gained a better understanding of how to better empower those leaders and how to encourage others to assume leadership positions. We were able to strengthen the collaboration between the leaders and the pastor in delegating and sharing ministry; as well as implemented more leadership trainings, and spiritual gift assessments. Our communication improved, and our leaders gained more confidence in using their voices and they received reassurance that their voices mattered. In learning how to work as a team, our ministry has grown, and we are more productive.
We were encouraged by our success with the first NCD factor, and therefore chose to address a second factor that was identified in our profile, loving relationships. Our involvement led us to discover the full significance and the positive impact encouraging one another more has on building and sustaining healthy/loving relationships. In working together on this NCD, factor, we were able to recognize the importance for the ministry to develop an atmosphere of trust and to appropriately address conflict resolution in a timely manner.
The Natural Church Development process helped us focus on ourselves first which helped us to be better prepared to disciple, welcome, and embrace others.”
If you would like to try the Natural Church Development process in your church, call or email Larry Taylor at (352)
750-9092 or email@example.com.
Statement from Bishop Carter on the Postponement of General Conference & Special Sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences
February 25, 2021
To the People of The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church:
Blessings to you friends, in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, who journeys with us in these days of Lent toward a garden and a cross, and then an empty tomb and a risen life!
I write to share the news released today of the upcoming General and Jurisdictional Conferences. We live in an unprecedented season. COVID has changed how we work, gather, travel, eat meals, worship, see our families and friends. This week we noted that 500,000 Americans and 30,000 Floridians have died of COVID. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers!
This has disrupted the denominational gatherings held every four years that we know as the General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The Commission on the General Conference and the Council of Bishops have released the new dates for these gatherings, which are linked here and here. In addition, a Frequently Asked Questions document is provided here.
Three brief words:
The setting of dates for two General Conferences and two Jurisdictional Conferences over the next eighteen months allows the elected delegates, half laity and half clergy, the opportunity to serve the church which has called them. The setting of these dates is very healthy.
The scope of work in the General and Jurisdictional Conferences will be done first in a minimal way, accomplishing what is necessary and what is possible, in 2021. The in-person General and Jurisdictional Conferences, in 2022, will take up the weightier matters which can most appropriately be done when we are together. A fundamental value in the call of the May, 2021 General Conference in particular was equity. It is simply not fair to make long-term decisions about the future of our denomination when many delegates across the world do not have equal access to technology.
We now have a sense, God willing, of a timetable for the next faithful steps in our denominational life. I encourage us, in this interim season, to focus on our most important commitments—to vital and sustainable local churches, on a path back to in-person gatherings; to the work of antiracism as a core matter of discipleship, mercy and justice; and to the health and resilience of our clergy leaders.
For those who want to learn more about the General and Jurisdictional Conferences, the FAQs provide accurate and helpful information.
I am in prayer for you, and I depend on your prayers. Be encouraged and stay safe!
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop, Florida Conference
The United Methodist Church
Greetings in the name of Jesus!
My name is Rev. Clair Carter, and I am honored to walk the journey of faith with you in the North Central district of the Florida Annual Conference. My family and I just moved here from Natchitoches, LA so that I can help launch Circles Gainesville at Faith Mission, a campus of Trinity UMC. Circles is an international anti-poverty initiative with two goals: 1) to empower families to leave poverty and 2) to remove barriers that keep people in poverty. This work of transforming lives is based on the power of relationships, open-minded listening, and commitment to be present to one another.
Although 2020 was a year that brought us so many unexpected things, we know some things for sure about 2021. More families than ever before in our lifetime will be living in poverty in central Florida. As followers of Jesus, we are called to serve our neighbors with love. Circles provides an opportunity to serve beyond the response of meeting immediate needs, and to create pathways for long-lasting, life-changing development.
We hope you will pray for us in our bold efforts.
For the churches near Gainesville, we hope you will be curious to learn more about how you can be involved by joining us for an online information meeting on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 5pm. You can contact me for more information at CCarter@TrinityGNV.org. You can find out more about the program in this video
We hope you will continue to answer the call to be a beacon of Christ’s hope in all situations because God “has given us a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline” so that all may know the hope and joy that we have in Jesus (2 Timothy 1:7).
Peace and blessings,
Rev. Clair Carter
Director of Family Empowerment, Faith Mission
3701 NE 15th St | Gainesville, FL 32609
Day on Campus
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
Mark Your Calendars: Children’s Home’s (Virtual) Day on Campus, March 27th!
Each year, one of the most special days in the life of the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home is Day on Campus. This eagerly anticipated event provides us with the opportunity to both thank our faithful churches and ministry partners and highlight all of the wonderful things God is doing through the ministry here. Normally, we open our gates and welcome guests to celebrate the ministry they have helped to make possible. However, we know that this is not a normal year, and churches and ministries have adapted their work in a way that continues to prioritize health and safety. We have also had to adapt, and we are very excited that we will be holding Day on Campus as a virtual event this year! This will allow us to continue the annual tradition of lifting up the Children’s Home ministry, while also ensuring people can engage from the safety and comfort of their own homes.
Day on Campus will be held virtually on Saturday, March 27. It will be broadcast on our Facebook page, and will also be accessible on our YouTube channel following the event. Similar to the standard program, the virtual event will feature updates from our President & CEO, board chair, and key staff. It will also highlight testimonials from individuals, 2020 award winners, music from our children and staff, and a virtual tour. Our mission has continued to guide the ministry, even in the midst of a pandemic, and we are excited for you to celebrate the ways in which God continues to do great things through the many ministries of the Children’s Home.
For more information on how to view the event, as well as ideas on how to engage, please visit our Facebook page and stay tuned to our email communications. Any questions can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your continued partnership in serving children!
March 31st Reports
There are seven "March 31st Reports" coming due on...March 31st! I have put in ( ) the committee that is typically responsible for completing the reports. Please have one person from your church send all reports in one email to Belinda Luquis at email@example.com.
- Child Youth Protection Policy adoption (SPRC) - Review and renew annually. Submit a signed copy of the (1) Annual Review and Renewal Document. Should your policy undergo major revisions, submit a complete copy of your policy. Click HERE for the Child Youth Protection page on the Ministry Protection webpage.
- (2) Clergy Employee Conduct Policy revised April 30, 2015 (SPRC) - Each year, clergy receive the entire policy. Submit the last page with the clergy's signature.
- Employee Conduct Policy revised April 1, 2013 (SPRC) - Click HERE for the Church Employee Conduct Policy. The church needs to have a Local Church Employee form signed by each employee to keep in their personnel file. The district does not get these forms. The district receives the one page (3) Adoption of Employee Conduct Policy.
- (4) Annual Report on the Parsonage (Trustees) - Review and renew annually. If you have a parsonage, submit the entire report. If you have a parsonage and the pastor is not living in it, we still need the report. If you do not have a parsonage, please print the first page, write N/A across the page and submit that one page.
- Financial Controls, Policies, & Procedures (Finance) - Review and renew annually. Once in compliance, submit the (5) Annual Review and Renewal Document and the (6) Document Retention. Should your policy undergo major revisions, submit a complete copy of your policy. Click HERE for the Fiscal Responsibility & Management page of the Finance webpage.
- (7) Fund Balance Report (Finance) - This report is found in your Church Dashboard on the bottom left. Please enter your 2020 balances and remember to click "Submit Fund Balance Data". This is submitted online. Do not send the Fund Balance Report to the district.
You can find instructions and other pertinent information by reviewing the Calendar of Reports. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Annual Assessment of Clergy Leadership
Due May 31
Finally! It is here! The new and revised Annual Clergy Evaluation Form! There is ONE online form that the clergy and SPRC chair both complete online and submit online!! Be sure to read the letter from Rev. Sara McKinley and to watch the video on the link below.
The clergy assessment process is available on the FLUMC website under Clergy Excellence. Appointed Clergy and the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee should meet annually to complete this process. Continuing Education is now completed in conjunction with the Annual Assessment above.
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.
Clergy/Students Can Now Apply For Grants
Deadline is April 30
The PASSING THE TORCH FUND, a collaborative grant program between the Florida United Methodist Foundation and Florida Conference, is now accepting applications for two grant opportunities.
RENEWAL LEAVE GRANTS
The fund awards grants that provide financial assistance to Florida Conference clergy in full connection who are planning to take renewal leave. Up to $10,000 per grant may be awarded.
STUDENT OF CULTURE AND COLOR SEMINARY SCHOLARSHIP
The fund awards a seminary scholarship to a qualified student of color and culture who is planning to enter United Methodist ministry.
Applications for both grants will be accepted until April 30.
Complete the application online (under #4 Passing the Torch). For more information, please contact Holly Finley, Office of Clergy Excellence, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-282-8011, ext. 134.
ABOUT THE FUND
The Passing the Torch Fund was launched in 2015 to provide training, financial assistance and leadership development support for conference clergy and those preparing for ordained ministry in the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church.
It is administered by the Office of Clergy Excellence and funded by the Florida United Methodist Foundation and conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
In addition to the grant opportunities, individuals ordained deacon or elder in full connection will receive $5,000 from this fund at annual conference to help alleviate educational debt. The fund also supplements the Ministerial Education Fund assistance provided to clergy and cooperative grant efforts through the Office of Clergy Excellence.
More information about recipients of the grants and how the fund has been used is available through these articles:
Clergy scholarship recipients have passion, hope for future church
Grants help clergy dream big, focus on God’s call
Helping the helpers
Scholarship helps candidate fulfill passion for ministry
July 8 and 10, 2021 - Deadline June 1, 2021
Please see the Candidacy Retreat Checklist to ensure all necessary items are completed. The checklist outlines all the steps need for Candidacy.
My Faith Meets My Privilege
3/22/2021 - 3/26/2021
5 Days 0.5 CEUs
Status: Scueduled and ready to go
Administrative fee ........ $15.00
Instructor’s fee................ $5.00
Ocala 1st discount............ $0.00
Public unrest over public health and policing has brought the topic of privilege, and lack of privilege, to the forefront in American society. Statistics seem to show that less-privileged persons are more likely to suffer both from COVID-19 and from police misconduct.
But privilege is not just a social issue. For Christians it is also a faith issue. This brief course offers a non-judgmental setting in which participants begin to assess their own privilege in the light of their faith.
No attempt will be made to “fix” participants, and shaming will be forbidden. The course is meant as a tool and not as a scold.
Apply Now for UMC FCU 2021 Scholarship
Application deadline: April 30, 2021
What you need to know:
- $1,000.00 awarded to one person from each of the United Methodist Conferences (Florida, Alabama -West Florida, South Georgia, North Georgia)
- Application Open: January 1 - April 30, 2021
- Previous Winners are ineligible to apply
- UMC FCU Members are eligible to apply. Applying online to become a UMC FCU member is easy. Eligibility Requirements ( Be a Member of a UM Church, or Work for a UM Church or Organization within the four (4) conferences listed above, Have a family member who is already a member of UMC FCU)
- Click HERE for application and essay information
- Don’t wait to apply (Applying early does not increase your chances of winning… it’s just good to get things done as soon as possible)
Should you have any questions, please contact anyone at the United Methodist Federal Credit Union 863-687-9725.
2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference
The conference and district offices will be closed the following days.
2021 North Central DCOM Dates
- Tuesday, May 4 (due April 6) 1st Provisional/LP/Cert
- Tuesday, August 24 (due July 27) 2nd Provisional/LP/Cert
- Tuesday, Dec 7 (due Nov 9) LP/Cert/Recerts
DCOM Chair: Rev. Elizabeth "Beth" Snarr - email@example.com
DCOM Registrar: Elizabeth Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org
DCOM Meeting Location: District Office, Ocala FL
For information how to begin the Candidacy process, Click HERE.
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 email@example.com.