Greetings from the District Superintendent
| Rev. June Edwards
Dear NC District Pastors and Leaders,
We find ourselves once again in the season of Advent. It is a time of preparation, anticipation and wonder as we open our hearts and minds to the extraordinary notion that God came to live among us as one of us in order that we would know firsthand of God’s great love for each one of us and for the world. And though we’ve heard all of this before, it would behoove each of us to take some time and consider what it truly means that God is with us and God loves us and all of creation.
When God entered the world as an infant, he entered into a world that also was messy. It was a world that was experiencing instability and chaos. Jesus was born in an occupied region with corrupt leaders in both the religious and political realms. There was violence, poverty, injustice, political intrigue, division and great uncertainty. One could imagine that it would be easy to lose hope, to despair while longing for a better time. But in the midst of their current reality, God came and came to stay! And in the midst of our current reality God has come and is with us still.
Especially this Advent season, we are called to be faithful witnesses to the God that has come and is present in our world and in our lives even in the midst of all that is happening around us. And not only is God present with us as our comforter, God is still at work setting the world right. The song that Mary sang in Luke’s gospel, The Magnificat, tells of God’s work that transcends time and place:
“He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:51-55
May this Advent season prepare us all yet again for the present work of God in Christ in real time, now.
| Rev. Michael Beck
Dear people of the North Central District,
Do you realize that together, we have created an entire new district of fresh expressions existing alongside our traditional congregations? Perhaps, you're saying we've heard about fresh expressions, what can we do next?
1. Coffee and Conversation: December 13th 4pm at the North Central District Office. A gathering for lay and clergy persons interested in fresh expressions.
2. Local Church Workshop: A three hour workshop at your church. This is a service provided for free by our district. I will come work with you in your context, to strengthen existing fresh expressions, and/or cultivate new ones.
3. Pioneer Coaching: Are you or someone you know a pioneer? Pioneers are passionate about mission with people outside the church. We would love to come alongside you in this work. Again this is a free service provided by our district.
4. Pioneer Learning Community: January (Jan 11-12, 2019 first retreat and May 31-Jun 1, 2019, second retreat) at New Covenant UMC Lake Deaton in The Villages. This is in our backyard, don't miss it! Please click here for more information and registration.
The fresh expressions movement is really beginning to transform our local churches, communities, and the district overall. It's exciting to see people beginning to understand this is not simply the next newfangled thing the bishop is asking us to do, or a passing fad, but a movement of the Holy Spirit, a new iteration of Methodists taking it to the fields again. It enables us to be church with people who will never come to our Sunday morning services. It is an awakening of the core identity of who we are as the people called Methodists. It is not in competition with our traditional activities as a local congregation, it is a compliment.
Furthermore, it’s not only for large churches with lots of staff and resources. In fact, in England, most fresh expressions are started by smaller congregations. In Mission-Shaped and Rural, Sally Gaze observes that not only are small rural churches cultivating fresh expressions, but the inherited congregations who do so are taking on different forms of revitalization as well.
While the goal of fresh expressions is to reach not-yet-Christians and be church with them where they are—churches that plant fresh expressions are experiencing revitalization.
If I can help you in any way, or if you have questions, please reach out to me.
Rev. Sarah Campbell
The North Central District is comprised of many "small, rural" churches. The ability to engage in meaningful ministry, however, does not depend on the size or location of your church. Every church, regardless of its size or location, is called to reach out into its community, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and help make disciples for the transformation of the world. As we saw and heard at our Super Charged Conference, many of our "small, rural" churches are doing incredible ministries within their communities. I invite you to read the following article by Allen Stanton and discover why and how "small, rural" churches can thrive.
The Congregational Vitality Team is here to help your church increase its health and vitality in its unique missional context. Please call the District Office or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to visit your church and work with your pastor and congregation.
THRIVING RURAL CONGREGATIONS
By Allen Stanton
Recently, I had dinner with a group of rural pastors to hear about their ministries. One by one, the pastors stood, gave their name, their church, and their years of service. Then, invariably, each pastor’s face dropped.
"Our church only worships about twenty,” the first pastor said. The dismay and anxiety rippled throughout the room as each pastor shared their worship attendance. The next church reported an aging congregation of sixty. Another pastor serving on a multi-church charge reported that one of their churches only had about twelve people on a Sunday morning.
The pastors were understandably frustrated. They had tried the latest church growth strategies. They’d read the numerous blogs about leadership and had attended the best continuing education events, none of which really spoke to their contexts. Regardless, the enviable metric of “growth” seemed to elude them.
Please click here to read more.
Active Threat Safety Seminar
In keeping with our core value of safety and security and to address the continuing instances of tragic shootings around the country, The Florida Conference Ministry Protection Department is offering a free training event for local churches.
We were fortunate to be able to schedule four events before year’s end with one of the pre-eminent active threat training experts in Florida.
Who can attend? Pastors, assistant/associate pastors, youth pastors/leaders, business administrators, trustees, church secretaries, daycare directors and staff, security team members, church ushers/greeters, and anyone else at the local church who is interested in safety. There is a seating capacity for each site, so registration (below) will be on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive an electronic confirmation of your registration.
What will be covered?
- Interactive training focusing on preparing for hostile intruders, active shooters, or other threats.
- Formulating plans that can be incorporated into daily routines
- Developing safety teams and assigning duties within the team
- Continuing training throughout the year
- Trauma care
Training Sessions: (the same material will be presented at each session)
- Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – First United Methodist Church of Clewiston
- Thursday, December 13, 2018 – First United Methodist Church of Clewiston
- Monday, December 17, 2018 – First United Methodist Church of Lakeland
- Tuesday December 18, 2018 – Trinity United Methodist Church of Gainesville
Each session will last from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and lunch will be provided.
You can reserve your spot by clicking HERE to register. The deadline for confirming your attendance at one of the events is December 10, 2018, so reserve your space today!
If you have questions about the training events, or need further information, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com
Your Partners in His Service,
The Ministry Protection Department
North Central District - Staff Parish Relations Committee Training
North Central District Superintendent invites all appointed pastors, 2019 SPRC chairpersons, and 2019 local church lay leaders to a special training session. To enhance the value of our time together please come as a team.
January 8, 2019 - Mt. Pleasant UMC, Gainesville - 6:30 pm Fellowship Hall. No registration required.
January 10, 2019 - First Spring Hill UMC. - 6:30 pm. No registration required.
District Training Event
‘Welcome to the Future-Going Where No Church Has Gone Before!’
"Jesus calls his disciples to be First Responders, those who run towards not away from the future. “Welcome to the Future” is a First Responders boot-camp to help you and your church arrive quickly on the scene, assess the situation and assist the Spirit who is the real First Responder. This day is not a crash course in first-aid skills but a first course in how to first-edition faith, first-noel hope, and first-person love in a future that will be some of the greatest churning cauldrons of danger and disaster the world has ever seen." -Len Sweet
DR. LEONARD SWEET, Keynote
Saturday, February 9, 2019
9:00 am to 3:00 pm
First Ocala UMC, Family Life Center
(1126 E Silver Springs Blvd. Ocala FL 34470)
$10.00 Registration Fee
Please click here to register.
TO REGISTER FOR THE BIBLE SCHOOL AND BEYOND, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Dear 14,863 United Methodists of the North Central District,
Our third annual "Steeple to the Streets" week is coming up soon, is it on your calendars yet?
For the past three years, churches of the NCD have been "going outside to play" (Rev. June Edwards) by praying, observing, and engaging. This is a week full of "God moments" and encounters, that helps our churches connect with our neighborhoods. Multiple fresh expressions of church have been birthed out of this week of district-wide mission.
This year, on the week of March 10-17th, can your congregation find one or several days to go out into your communities to do some listening?
Here are some simple things you can do to prepare....
-Form a team and create a "people map" of your community.
-Identify places you will visit and when.
-Organize groups of less than 10 people to go Pray. Observe. Encounter/Engage.
-Distribute the bulletin inserts? (attached)
-Instruct people how to report their findings back to leadership (see inserts, the District FX Team would love to have a conversation about your findings).
For FSTS Bulletin Insert, please click here.
If you have any questions, or I can help you in any way, don't hesitate to reach out!
Warren W. Willis Retreat
Warren W. Willis is not just for Summer Camp...although that is an amazing time! Click on any of the following links for information on the wonderful programs you and your church can attend.
Plan Your Own Church Retreat: Who doesn't love WWW? Why not plan your own retreat
January 29 - February 1, 2019 - Epworth By The Sea
In lieu of our Clergy Gathering which had been tentatively scheduled October 23 - 24, 2018, we are inviting you to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, January 29 - February 1, 2019. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia and Florida Conferences. Dr. Tod Bolinger, author of Canoeing The Mountains, will be the keynote speaker.
Be sure to register soon as we expect this to be a sold out event.
Click HERE to register. Click HERE for the flyer.
CCYM - Dare to Explore
February 15 - 17, 2019 - Warren W. Willis
Dare to Explore is a student leadership retreat for students by students. This is a great event to bring your student leaders (or those whom you'd like to become students leaders) to, in whatever form that takes in your local church. For some that is their whole youth group, for others it is a core group of student leaders. The registration is $90 per person. Click HERE for the Dare page. Registration will open in October. We can't wait to see you and your team. No matter where you are on your spiritual walk, be prepared to explore!
The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation
The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation team is pleased to announce that registration is open for the 2019 Academy to be held March 10-15, 2019 at the Life Enrichment Retreat Center in Fruitland Park.
The Academy is a program of the Upper Room and The Florida Conference. Faculty members this year will be Ray Buckley, who is Director of Native People Communication Office of UMCom, Director of Connectional Ministries and Native Discipleship for the Alaska Missionary Conference and Kathryn Damiano, a Quaker and lifelong contemplative. She has served as spiritual director at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center for study and contemplation.
The descriptive brochure and more details for this opportunity are available at www.flumc.org/fivedayacademy
Gator Wesley relies on the prayers and financial support of those believe in our mission of leading students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We hope that you will want to help continue the amazing work being done in the lives of students now and in the future! Learn about ways to give by clicking a button below. Thank you for your generosity.
ONLINE GIVING --- CREDIT / DEBIT
GIVE VIA VENMO @GATOR WESLEY
North Central District - DCOM Date Information
District Superintendent: Rev. June Edwards (352) 789-6981 firstname.lastname@example.org
dCOM Chair: Rev. Beth Farabee email@example.com
dCOM Registrar: Elizabeth Flynn firstname.lastname@example.org
DCOM Meeting Location: NC District Office, First UMC, Ocala
- Mon, Dec 10, 2018 (materials due Nov 12, 2018)
- Thurs, Feb 28 (materials due Jan 31) Local Pastor Renewals
- Thurs, May 9 (materials due Apr 11) 1st Provisional attempt
- Thurs, Aug 22 (materials due July 25) 2nd Provisional attempt
- Thurs, Dec 12 (materials due Nov 14)
December 13, 2018 - Coffee and Conversation - Fresh Expression- District Office at 4:00 pm. A gathering for lay and clergy person interested in fresh expressions.
January 8, 2019 - SPRC Training - Mt. Pleasant UMC, Gainesville - 6:30 pm Fellowship Hall. No reservations required.
January 10, 2019 - SPRC Training - First Spring Hill UMC. - 6:30pm. No reservations required.
January 11-12 Pioneer Learning Community (First retreat and May 31- June 1, 2019, second retreat) at New Covenant, The Villages UMC Lake Deaton Campus. For more information and reservations, please click here.
February 9, 2019 - NC District Training Event "Welcome To The Future" , First Ocala UMC, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
March 2, 2019 - Bible School and Beyond - Best Practices for Family Ministry
9 am - 3 pm - First Ocala UMC - Family Life Center, please
click here for more information.
March 10 - 17 - From the Steeple to the Streets