In the District
Dear NC District Pastors and Leaders,
Dear NC District Pastors and Leaders,
In a conversation recently with my son in law who is attending seminary at Duke Divinity School, the topic turned to that of the church (imagine that!). He shared that he was preparing a paper for a class and that the question to which he was to respond was the following:
“What is the nature, function and purpose of the Christian church? Your account should attend to the church in Christian history, today and in the age to come.”
It occurs to me that at any time in the life of the church this is an important question to consider, but especially in this time it is profoundly important. I thought about how this fundamental question is important for each of us to reflect upon in light of these last 9 months dealing with Covid-19, in light of the racial unrest that is before us, in light of emotionally charged election cycle that has consumed the attention of the nation, in light of the many who have been affected through loss of income, children being schooled at home and the reality of losing one’s home. What is the nature, function and purpose of the church in times such as these? How do we maintain our connection with God, one another and our community when we yearn to be close while proximity has serious risk?
I commend the ongoing work of so many of you ‘in spite of’ these extraordinary circumstances. For weeks and months now, you have continued to worship virtually, outdoors and distanced in your sanctuary spaces, you have distributed food from food pantries, prepared meals for drive through Dinner Church, modified Trunk or Treat outreach for a drive through experience. You have sought to continue to be the church in a myriad of ways. Even so, this is a fundamental question we should always hold before us—in good times, in challenging times, in every time.
The witness and tradition of the history of the Church has much to teach us—when it got it right and when it went oh so wrong. We ignore it at our peril. Each of us, clergy and lay alike should be students of the church’s history in order to be able to discern our task for the present moment and to prepare to be the church for the future. Now is the time to reflect upon how God is calling us to ‘get it right.’ In fact, the world is depending on us getting it right. But in order to do so, we must discover/uncover our purpose and name it.
As we head into Thanksgiving and Advent and Christmas, now is the time for real discernment as to what is the nature, function and purpose of the church which you are called to serve. How will you be present as the body of Christ? How will you function, its many parts working together? How will you fulfill your purpose to be about building the kingdom of God? Good questions to ask, ponder and discuss in the days ahead as many will be looking to each of you for direction and assurance. We all need to write this paper!
Know that I give thanks for each of you and your faithfulness as we serve together for the cause of Christ and the Church!
FRESH EXPRESSION NEWS!
Desperation is the seedbed for innovation. Cornovirarus-19 has wreaked a lot of havoc, but Christ-Followers responded by loving their neighbor through social distancing, resulting in breaking the internet!
Many churches who had never streamed their services before we’re forced to do so under strong suggestions and ordinances. The internet is nothing new, but streaming church services is a new wineskin for many congregations as a response to a global pandemic.
Overnight the Church has been forced into the future. Now as a second wave of the virus strikes, how will the church learn new skills as an old dog learns new tricks? Will these methods continue to change and evolve as the message is proclaimed in new ways?
While this has been a most challenging time for all of us. Many congregations have been able to innovate and continue to reach new people, in new places, and in new ways. How can we walk beside you in this work? Here’s two opportunities…
- Listening Sessions: As the Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the North Central District, I would love to schedule a listening session with your church leadership by Zoom. This would be a time to just share where you currently are and dream together of new possibilities.
- Fresh Expressions Studio: Get together a small team of people and join Michael Moynagh in a free Studio! FX Studios are incubators of collaborative missional mess making and a community of support for your team as we travel uncharted territories together. The Studio is a yearlong journey, in which your team will meet together two times: Studio 1: Saturday January 30th 9am-12pm. Studio 2: Saturday July 17 9am-12pm, with coaching in between.
If you have any questions, please contact Michael Beck: Reverendwild1@gmail.com
Join Fill the Table for the November #HungerAwarenessChallenge
Join us for the month of November and take on the #HungerAwarenessChallenge. Each day has an action step you can take to learn more about food insecurity and get involved! Click the image to download and share! Learn more about our initiative to feed 3 million Floridians by Sept. 2021 at FillTheTableFlorida.org.
Detecting Disinformation for pastors and church leaders
The Florida Conference is offering four live online sessions on misinformation and the media. The first two have already taken place and may be viewed by Clicking HERE. The remaining dates are November 5 and 12 at 3:00pm. Click HERE to register.
Over four sessions you will learn how to separate online fact from fiction, how to detect fake images from the real thing and how to know when that “perfect sermon illustration” is really social media rumor and nonsense.
You will discover the hidden metadata that travels with every image and document and you will learn new words like “algorithm” and understand how these programs determine what shows up in every Google search or on your social media feed.
We promise these sessions will be practical, highly interactive and useful, regardless of your online and digital acumen. And for once you will be on a Zoom call that is fun!
The sessions are led by Al Tompkins, an award winning investigative journalist who trains journalists around the world. He also happens to be the husband of United Methodist pastor, Rev. Sidney Tompkins. The Tompkins are members of Pasadena Community UMC in St. Petersburg, Florida.
2021 Connectional Giving
The apportionments for 2021 are now available on the conference website. To access your 2021 apportionment information:
- Go to the conference homepage: http://www.flumc.org
- Click on the "Monthly Billing Reports" at the bottom right of the page.
- Click on the first link on the page, "Click here to download monthly reports."
- When you choose a Report, there will be a report on the drop-down menu called Apportionments Report 2021. This link will take you to your 2021 apportionments. You will need to know your GCFA Number to pull your report.
Paychex—Payroll-Processing and Tax-Compliance Solutions
Since June 2018, Wespath has partnered with Paychex to help provide an option for our churches who might be looking to move payroll-processing and tax-compliance solutions to an outside vendor.
- Paychex knows how to suppress the Medicare and Social Security taxes for the employer’s portion
- Paychex knows how to complete the W2 for the clergy appropriately.
- Paychex understands the clergy housing allowance, housing exclusion, healthcare stipends, taxable earnings, non-taxable earnings, deductions as pre-tax, after-tax or Roth deductions for the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan.
- Paychex will automatically send your UMPIP deductions each pay period to Wespath for you.
Paychex has more than 45 years of experience, and currently serves more than 1,000 United Methodist Church ministries. The company has expertise managing withholdings, payroll via direct deposit or check, tax compliance, and timely deposits and filings, in addition to providing custom reports for financial review and facilitating UMPIP contributions. Plus, UMC organizations receive a discount of 35% on Paychex services!
Paychex invites you to visit their virtual booth to learn more about the services they offer.
Click here to view a video featuring Jeff Kohl, the head of the partnership with Wespath, explaining what services are available from Paychex.
How to Get Started Saving 35% on Paychex Services
- Online—go to https://pages.paychex.com/wespath and fill out the contact form.
- By phone—Call the UMC's Account Supervisor, Jeff Kohl, at 1-800-313-0767 and provide code 5704 for a 35% discount.
If your organization is already using Paychex but has not completed a benefits integration with Wespath, complete and return the Addendum.
Ministry Partner Program of the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA)
Church administration is challenging! You have so much on your mind.
Need some help?
GCFA’s United Methodist Ministry Resource Guide features strategic ministry partners who can ...
- Provide for basic church needs with discounted office supplies or building products
- Help you increase tithing and find possible additional income sources
- Upgrade your data management making it easier to report on your church’s finances, attendance, and membership
- And more!
Vetted based on the Church’s social principles, the cost savings from these partners can be budgeted back into your church’s ministries. Take some of the stress out of administering your church.
January 8 and 9, 2021 - Deadline December 1, 2020
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.
2021 North Central DCOM Dates
- Tuesday, February 23 (due January 26) Local Pastor License Renewals
- 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.
Calendar of Events
November 11 -Veteran’s Day
November 26 -Thanksgiving
November 27 - Day after Thanksgiving
December 24 - Christmas Eve
December 25 - Christmas Day