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NCD May 2021 Newsletter

In the District

Dear Pastors and Leaders of the North Central District,

As we emerge more and more from the past year of pandemic and disruption, I find more and more the awareness of how God has carried us through, even in the face of loss and grief, to a new place. We find a changed world and a church landscape that is both uncertain and rife with new possibilities that were not present a year ago.

Isaiah 43:18-19 calls to us:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

The struggles of this past year have not been limited to a pandemic. And so we are continuing to do the long hard work of dismantling racism at the Conference level. We are now in the formational stages of building a NC District Team on Anti-Racism and ask for your prayers as we begin these conversations in earnest in the days and weeks ahead.

The work of the District with Fresh Expressions and Rural Church Ministry has continued as well. Please look for resources located below about the ways your church can connect with these vital and supportive ministries. The NC District has excellent leadership with Rev. Michael Beck and Rev. Sarah Campbell leading these initiatives. They are ready to be a guide and support along the way as we find those new places to be present and at work.

As we move forward, not dwelling on the past, be in intentional conversation, pastors and leaders alike, about the ‘new thing’ the new place where God has planted us for the work ahead—which is sharing the gospel with as many folks as we can who are waiting to hear it. God is making a way and providing the refreshing waters of grace to all who will drink of it and share it with others.

Be ready for Annual Conference coming up June 11 and 12! Get registered now and prepare to attend the District Orientation on Sunday June 6 at 3:00 pm, please click here to register. Three are many other virtual offerings throughout the week prior to beginning on the 11th. All are virtual and you can participate from home!

In the meantime, know that the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, lives and reigns with you in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Go in Peace and Love in the days ahead!


Fresh Expression News!

Being a Hybrid Church

 We opened our doors… and many have not returned. Some have decided they didn’t really need “church” anymore. Others have simply established new rhythms that don’t include attending a worship service. But many more decided that they would prefer to experience church in an online community only. If you are seeking to figure how to adapt to this new reality… the North Central District Fresh Expressions Team would like to walk alongside you!

First, we invite you to join us in the Living Room Church. This is a collaborative Facebook Campus of the North Central District that centers worship, discipleship, and evangelism in the home. This online community is designed to encourage, support, and celebrate its members spiritual growth in the normal rhythms and spaces of life.

There are over 1300 members in Living Room Church… a community to support and celebrate your spiritual growth. A safe zone to connect, discuss real issues, and heal with other imperfect people. A space to reflect on Scripture, worship, learn, and pray together. A church that’s open 24/7, providing relationships and spiritual resources. Located where you hang out every day already… Facebook! Several NCD churches are working together to provide this spiritual community that is open 24/7, seven days a week. District pastors like Patti Aupperlee, Kelly Everling, C.J. Hill, Jack Ladd, Brittany Leclair, Kris Schonewolf, Jill Beck, and others offer daily and weekly offerings alongside a team of dedicated lay leaders. There’s still room for you and your church to add something new!

Next, every congregation has the potential to plant a “digital campus.” 

The NCD FX team wants to offer you some training and support designed to help you plant new online Christian communities. These communities are in relationship with your congregation but exist primarily on digital platforms. Our training ecosystem consists of three levels:

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If you’re interested there are several ways to get started….

I. Imagination… Getting started? We can help!

  1. Local Church Laboratory: An afternoon session, typically following a worship service in which the vision for a digital campus is shared. Designed for a local church to form a team and get started.
  2. Webinar: Digital Dream Session: A one day onsite, online, or hybrid training that offers the why, what, and how of cultivating a digital campus.

II. Experimentation… Already have the makings of a digital community up and running? We can help!

  1. Planters Garden: Bring your team for 3 sessions over 6 weeks by Zoom. We provide coaching in between sessions as you experiment.

III. Multiplication… Lots of new digital things at different levels of development? We can help!  

  1. Coaching: Set up individual or group coaching sessions so we can help you work on the issues and stages most pressing in your situation.

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, May 17th 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. 

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.

Reclaiming Rural can be bought on amazon by following the below link:


To register for the Summer Book Club, please use this 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. 

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.

Fresh Water from The Oasis 

The Oasis at Lowell Correctional Institution continues to expand it's reach to the several thousand women incarcerated there.   At the administration's request, we have recently begun ministry with the dorm which houses women with special needs:  those in wheelchairs, suffering from terminal illness, and the very elderly.  So, our reach currently includes:

*Youthful offenders

*Pregnant women

*Women with special medical needs

*General population

Through Bible studies, guitar & keyboard lessons, worship services, mentoring, counseling, crochet  ministry, and Christian movie nights, The Oasis is flowing through the dorms at LCI bringing the fresh infilling of Holy Spirit and the living water of Jesus! 

With our reach expanding, we are looking for people who are interested in volunteering inside. If you have a passion to follow Jesus' command to "visit the prisoner," please email Pastor Kris at  If you're looking for a missions project, here are some ways you can connect:  

Bishop Carter Announces Full Time Appointment Changes

Bishop Ken Carter and the appointive cabinet of The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, in consultation with the clergy and authorized lay leaders of the local churches, announce full-time appointment changes, to take effect July 1, 2021. This act of ministry is in fulfillment of paragraphs 425-429 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. Click HERE for the complete list, organized by districts. For a reflection on the core values employed in the process of clergy appointments to churches, click here.

Let us lift these clergy, their families and the local churches in prayer, in the hope that we will more fully participate in our mission— “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” (Book of Discipline, ¶ 120).

Full Time Appointments in the North Central District

First Inverness UMC Michael Kramer
First Williston UMC Jack Ladd
Hernando UMC Eric McCrea
Little Chapel, Ocala/Mt. Zion, Reddick UMC Kirk Lyons
Newberry UMC Ian Campbell
Wesley, Gainesville UMC

Ben Spangler


David Spaulding

Karen Burris

Milford Griner

Frank Phillips

Right Start for All Moving and First Time Clergy is May 27 over Zoom. Click HERE for Right Start details.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Click for a list of videos, articles, poems and resources to celebrate Asian American culture and learn and fight against anti-Asian hate.

Shade and Fresh Water is an advance special (#100170) of The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Our vision is to provide a transformative sanctuary for individuals and their families who are professionally associated with the Florida Conference of the UMC for the restoration of body, mind, and spirit toward more abundant living.

Currently we are serving the individuals and families of the Florida Conference by offering help in ministry areas: personal retreats, clergy covenant group retreats with spiritual and/or group direction, and managing change in new appointments. 

We have received many positive reviews from our clergy covenant group retreats offering individual spiritual direction to participants.  Be sure to check out the latest information under Retreats/Spiritual Direction.

  • Clergy Spouse Retreat will be held virtually on Sunday, May 16 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm Click HERE to register.

For more information: Contact

Webinar for Clergy on Church Finances
Thursday, May 20
9:00am - 10:30am

All clergy are invited to join a free webinar on Church Finances with Lovett H. Weems, Jr. and Ann A. Michel, authors of Generosity, Stewardship, and Abundance: A Transformational Guide to Church Finance (to be released in early May, 2021)

Would you please take this two question survey related to the May 20 Webinar? The survey results will help the presenters focus on the most pertinent issues for our context. Click HERE for survey.

Click HERE to preorder the book. Promotion code: RLFANDF30


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 and information to help you practice self-care. 

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

Click HERE for the AC2021 webpage. You will find the schedule for AC2021 for clergy and lay members to annual conference.

Pre-Conference workshops will be held over Zoom and are open to everyone, not just voting members. Click HERE for a description of the workshops listed below.


  • Poverty Solutions Group Bread for the World's Racial Wealth Gap Virtual Learning Simulation
  • Innovation 2021 Embrace the Journey: Becoming the Beloved Community
  • Fill the Table Equip, Engage, Empower Your Community
  • Financial Services Financial Controls in an Online World/2022 Conference Budget
  • Learning Together Sharing Best Practices for Innovative Ministry During COVID-19
  • One Church, Two Languages Ministry Model 

Run 4 Life 4 Miler
Florida United Methodist Children's Home
May 15

The Run 4 Life 4 Miler begins and ends on the campus of the Florida United Methodist Children's Home in historic Enterprise, Florida. The 4 mile course is on magnificent oak canopy roads along the shore of Lake Monroe. It is one of the most uniquely beautiful areas and race courses in Central Florida.  

The goal of this race is to bring awareness to mental health/depression issues and to raise funds for programs providing support to those in need. It is also in remembrance of those who were overwhelmed by their struggles and felt suicide was their only option. All race proceeds will go to the Children's Home and other local suicide prevention programs.  

Join our 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! 

Run, walk, or sponsor a child to participate!
We are one conference, let us come together as The Florida United Methodist Church
Bring awareness to mental health & suicide.

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. 

Note: This is required for every clergy appointed to the local church. Even if you have a new appointment, the pastor and SPRC are expected to complete it. This exercise will be helpful for the church and pastor as they transition.

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.

Warren W Willis Summer Camp

Classic Overnight Camps
Experience a high-energy, life-changing week at one of our seven weeks of classic overnight camp. Rising 4th-grade students through recently graduated seniors are invited to jump-start their faith while making lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories on beautiful Lake Griffin. Click HERE for details.

The scholarship application deadline has been extended to May 1. Click HERE for details and to download the application.

Warren Willis Alumni

We want to connect with you!

We want to update our database of our former campers, parents, Summer Leadership Team members and adult volunteers so that we can keep everyone up to date on the amazing things happening in this ministry. Please take a moment to update your contact information in our system. Please share with anyone who you know (former team members, adult volunteers, lovers of camp) to help spread the word!

Click HERE to update now.




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

Virtual Spring 2021 ReConnecting Our Faith & Community Conference:
Recovery, Rekindle, Resilience

The Duke Endowment is funding a FREE and digital training for rural churches. It is designed with North Carolina congregations in mind, but is open to all pastors and laity. There will be lots of information and best practices that can be used in Florida. Click HERE for a quick look at the sessions. 


Attend one session or all of them as we highlight on RECOVER (May 11), REKINDLE (May 18), and RESILIENCE (May 25). Over all three days we’ll be focusing on:

  • Empowering the ministry of the laity
  • Racial equity
  • Skillful facilitation & conflict engagement
  • Place-based strategic planning
  • Creative & adaptive leadership, exploring the inner and outer work
  • Community building & contemplative practices


2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference

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

May 31
Memorial Day holiday
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