In the District
Dear Pastors and Leaders,
As September is here, so is preparation for Charge Conferences. As you will see below, there are five dates and locations from which you can choose that best suits your congregation’s needs. Now is the time to begin the Nominations and Leadership process as well as collecting all of the information required for reporting. If you have a particular need to consider a church specific matter, please contact the district office to discuss this further.
A couple of months ago, scrolling through FB, I clicked on a video of baby sea turtles emerging from their nest on the beach. You can see hundreds of them making their way to the waters edge. It was mesmerizing. Maybe you have watched similar as many videos capturing this amazing process are out there. Please click here to see the video that I am referencing. What caught my attention in this video was the commentary of the 16 year old and his dad as they watched this event unfold before their eyes. Pay attention to what you notice—what you see and hear, what comes to mind.
Wow! The wonder of creation! It captured this young man and his dad for these eight minutes. They were witness to a powerful sight and event. What does he say?
- This is Cool!
- I thought it was a giant crab. When I touched it, it was turtles. I was afraid that I had killed them!
- This is wild!
- Look at all of them!
- No! That Dogs going to kill ‘em!
- There’s one way up there
- This is nuts
- Look at how many there are
- Oh my gosh! Look at all of them!
- No, he tells one. That way
But the one that really caught my attention was, “I’ll make sure each and every one of these…’ and we know where he was heading with this when his dad interrupts calling some others over—“Wanna see some baby turtles?”
What we witness in this video is the power of encountering creation. Such an encounter helps us connect to our identity in the world and with God. Think about this unfolding experience—there was Curiosity, Discovery, Wonder, Joy, Excitement, Empathy, Compassion, Purpose, Invitation. Wow! Look! Go that way! Come and See! Protection from the dog. What we see is both the baby sea turtles and the young man and his father living out their authentic identity and core purpose. This is who God has created us to be!
In such difficult and challenging times that we are navigating both in the church and in our lives, it occurs to me that we need to reconnect with the power and wonder of creation—both in the world around us and as created beings of God. It reminds us of our authentic identity and core purpose. It helps ground us (no pun intended!) and puts things in perspective. During the month of September, I encourage you to consider the following questions:
- When have you last practiced curiosity? What did you discover? (Read John 1:35-39--two of John’s disciples were curious about Jesus. “What are you looking for?” Jesus asked. They replied, “Where are you staying?” “Come and see,” Jesus answers. When they followed, practicing curiosity, they discovered the Messiah. Be Curious. Anticipate Discovery.
- When did you last experience Wonder, Joy, Excitement? In your life? In your ministry? If its been a while, How can you connect with that core purpose again? (Read Luke 10, The Return of the 70.) They went out on a mission for Jesus and returned with Joy!
- The turtles and the young man were being their best authentic selves. Exactly who God created them to be. I think of Psalm 139:13-16—"For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Be reminded that you are God’s creation and known intimately by God. Let that be your identity that reminds you of your purpose and reason for being.
In the midst of all that is weighty and weighing us down, may this be an encouragement to you--that God has created us not only for carrying the load, but will lighten the load as we connect and reconnect with our core purpose, our God-wired identity.
Peace to You,
|Rev. June Edwards|
2021 Annual Church Conference
Rev. June Edwards will be the Presiding Elder over five Charge Conferences. There will be appropriate distancing and the expectation that everyone in attendance wear a mask. Click HERE for the Charge Conference Instructional page. Be sure to download the Conference and North Central District specific forms.
- The following reports are due to be emailed to Belinda Luquis firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week prior to your CC: The Senior Pastor's Report, NCD Voting Matters Agenda, 2022 Clergy Compensation form, Housing Resolution, & Accountable Reimbursement Policy. (Signatures are not required at this time.)
- Deacons beyond the local church and Extension Minister's Annual Reports are NOT part of Charge Conference forms. Their Annual Reports are due December 31 of each year. Click HERE for the Office of Clergy Excellence page with those details.
- Clergy who do have reports due to be turned into their Charge Conference for the Fall Annual Charge Conferences are:
Bishop's Fall Clergy Meetings
Dear Florida Conference Clergy:
Earlier this summer, we invited you to meet in person with Bishop Carter at one of four locations in September or October. Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases and recognizing that much of the State of Florida is considered an area with “substantial or high transmission,” we will instead be hosting two Zoom webinars. Your previous registration (if any) will be cancelled and you will need to re-register at the links below. The two webinars will be the same and you only need to attend one.
Bishop Carter Fall Clergy Meeting: A Dialogue with Scripture (Luke 10:41-42)
"Calling, Focus, and The One Thing That is Necessary"
Thursday, September 16 OR Tuesday, October 12
10:00 - 11:00 am
The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.”
Bishop Carter will share and engage in dialogue with clergy around the question: What is our focus as an annual conference? Or said differently, what is the one thing that is necessary? (Luke 10:41).
In preparation, participants are asked to give thirty minutes to a reading of Luke 10:25-42 (which includes the Good Samaritan parable and the Mary and Martha passage) and reflect on the following four questions:
+ What word or phrase resonates with my spirit in this season?
+ What is this teaching of Jesus calling me to do?
+ What is this teaching calling our annual conference to be?
+ What is the one thing that is necessary in the present moment?
When registering, participants will be asked to give their response to the “one thing that is necessary in the present moment.” These answers will frame the reflection shared by Bishop Carter.
These webinars are limited to active and retired clergy. You will receive a Zoom email confirmation after your clergy status has been verified by staff.
Fresh Expression News!
Are you excited about forming church with people currently not connected to any church? Here are three free resources available to you as leaders and churches in the North Central District:
- Living Room Church. This is a collaborative Facebook Campus of the North Central District that centers worship, discipleship, and evangelism in the home. Come experiment with other churches across the district!
- Local Church Workshop: A training session designed for your local context. Typically follows a worship service in which the vision for a hybrid church is shared.
- Studio: Bring your team Thursday Oct 14, 2021 5:30 PM. Each Studio is comprised primarily of these five elements.
1. A shared focus: traveling through the ‘loving-first cycle’ at your own pace.
2. Self-paced discovery: guided through using the free app, FX: Godsend.
3. Community of practice: gather in the Studios twice-yearly for planning, team and personal formation.
4. Support via social media: connect between gatherings in a Facebook Group.
5. Skype/Zoom-based coaching: provided as needed with experienced pioneers.
FX Studios are incubators of collaborative mess-making that provide a community of support for your team. In this focused, structured format, we'll assess where you are in your project and context, generate new ideas, and help you plan your next steps for creating and multiplying new Christian communities. Register here: https://fb.me/e/N5QPBn0N
Before you join:
- Bring your team: Fresh Expressions is not a solo mission! You need a team of like-minded friends to join you on this adventure. Put together a team of individuals who know your context and desire to explore new ways of being the church.
- Join the FX Studio Facebook Group: FX Studio is a workspace that offers continual support. That support is done through your involvement in the FX Studio 2021 Facebook Group. Join the group and become a part of this collaborative experience! Here is the link to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fxstudio2021
Email email@example.com if you have any questions.
Rural Churches Ministries
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Rooted Training Event
For Youth, Children, & Family Ministry Leaders
September 27-28 - HYBRID! Warren Willis Camp
Rooted is designed to connect leaders to each other, to innovative and inspiring training, to resources, and most importantly, to God.
Rooted is the "can't miss" event for anyone involved in Children, Youth, and Family ministry. Whether you are brand new to ministry, a long-time veteran, on the church payroll, or volunteering your time, you will find valuable time in the worship, classes and community at Rooted.
Rooted is proudly hosted by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp and Conference Center, and the Youth Ministry Institute.
Rooted will be a hybrid event. Attendees will be housed at the Warren Willis Conference Center. Our in-person attendees will share in site specific programming options, with COVID safe protocols in place. Those attending the event on-line will be given access to our Zoom rooms for workshops and worship experiences.
Boys Scouts of America and The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
From Bishop Carter, Chancellor Mark Hanley and Treasurer Craig Smelser
Last October, the Cabinet and I informed you that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on February 18, 2020. The BSA is seeking to resolve all victim sexual abuse claims asserted by scouts and former scouts against the BSA and its local councils and to continue forward with its mission.
To give United Methodists a presence in the process, to make sure our interests were adequately protected, an “Ad Hoc Committee” comprised of several Conference Chancellors and other denominational leaders was organized. The Committee retained outside bankruptcy counsel to represent the interests of our chartered organizations in the bankruptcy proceedings.
The Committee believes our interests are not adequately protected under the current Plan of Reorganization. This may change, but until future developments become more certain, the Committee’s advice is to limit exposure to future claims and continue its work within the confines of the bankruptcy proceedings. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE PUBLICATION and link to the Facilities Use Agreement.
Since the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti on August 14th, 2021, they have experienced at least five aftershocks. Haiti's Civil Protection Agency said Sunday that the death toll from the earthquake has grown to 2,207, with 344 people still missing. 12,268 people were injured and nearly 53,000 houses were destroyed by the Aug. 14 quake.
Hospitals were already overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, and now with some damaged during the earthquake, their healthcare system is even more strained. The need is so great, that they are having to airlift patients, through Haiti Air Ambulance, to hospitals over two hours away. One of those hospitals, New Hope Hospital in Plaine du Nord, has been a ministry partner with the conference. Dr.Eugene Maklin MD recently wrote these words “We ( a team of 5) will be in the south this week to help the earthquake victims there. People don't stop calling us asking for help. We will distribute hygiene kits, etc, and do 2-3 mobile clinics there. I will share pictures while I'm there this week. We will start bagging things for the trip tomorrow. Please say a prayer! Usually, we see 50 and up patients on a daily basis.” We are sending them money to care for the patient who was airlifted from the areas hit by the earthquake and for their mobile clinics.
The current need is financial support through donations made by visiting https://florida-reg.brtapp.com/FLUMCHaitiHumanitarianResponse.
The financial support will allow us the opportunity to provide on the current, frequently changing, needs on the ground.
We are also sending support to Eglise Methodiste d Haiti, The Methodist Church of Haiti, is supporting the recovery efforts with food, medical supplies through our clinics, materials for temporary shelters, and water filters for their water.
We are in conversation with other partners on how we can best support them. For more information check out our Haiti Florida partnership page https://www.flumc.org/haiti-florida-partnership. You will be able to see the amount of money raised/donated, information on our partners, resources, and frequent updates.
“We claim these promises. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46). And Jesus is with us in the midst of the storm (Mark 4). May we draw near to God and to one another in a spirit of generosity toward our neighbors in a moment of crisis and with faith that God will provide.” Bishop Ken Carter (Update 8/24/2021)
Hurricane Ida Relief Efforts
We are supporting the recovery efforts in Louisiana by asking people to make a contribution to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Advance #901670 or donations can be given directly to the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church by texting 'relief' to (800) 500-5858.
Local authorities are asking people to stay off the roads as rescue and recovery efforts are continuing and first responders need access to those areas. For that reason, even those in the Louisiana Conference have been unable to respond to those hard-hit areas.
It is likely that there will be great need in the near future, and the recovery efforts will last years, so once those needs are communicated to us, we will be sharing that with our churches.
Please contact Trish Warren, Disaster Response Coordinator if you have questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (863) 688-5563 ext 148.
NOW & NEXT
How the church is changing for good
In a recent research study, you told us you’ve been working hard to adjust to the changes that came so quickly. Right now, you’re providing worship alternatives, maintaining community, and providing care to meet the growing needs of your people.
But you’re also looking at what’s next. You’re unsure how long this will last, how to stay connected and in relationship with your faith community, or what kind of impact this will have on giving.
In the middle of it all, innovation is happening at speeds we wouldn’t have thought possible just a few months ago. The church is changing, quite possibly for good.
Join us and our panels of pastors, church leaders, and subject matter experts as we not only tackle the big challenges in authentic ways, but also find great, new opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world.
We can do this - together. Click HERE for on watch on-demand videos.
Magellan member Momentum Engagement Campaign and Webinar
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss and that we are pleased to present this year’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Campaign, SPEAK. Speaking out about suicidal thoughts can be both overwhelming and frightening and knowing how to start a conversation can be difficult.
In the last decade, conversations about mental health and suicide prevention have become more prevalent. In 2018, more than 10 million Americans had serious suicidal thoughts.1 These thoughts often arise in response to stressful or challenging life situations, including physical or mental health problems, trauma, abuse, loneliness, and isolation. According to the CDC, suicide remains the second leading cause of death among Americans ages 10 to 34. Suicide is a major health crisis—and it is preventable.
During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we would like to remind you that your program provides resources and services to help you and your household members. Suicide is not inevitable for anyone. Understanding the issues surrounding suicide and mental health is an important way to participate in suicide prevention, help others in crisis and change the conversation about suicide. Click HERE for the September 2021 newsletter.
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.
2021 Holiday Schedule for The Florida Annual Conference
The conference and district offices will be closed the following days.
Labor Day holiday
Veteran's Day holiday
New Year's Day holiday