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NCD February 2019 Newsletter

 Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Rev. June Edwards


Dear Pastors and Leaders, 

We find ourselves in that place of waiting as the time of the called General Conference quickly approaches. All who love the UMC await the decisions and the outcomes that faithful people, responding to God’s call to serve the church, affirmed by election of delegates from each of our local churches, will make. At times such as these, it is appropriate to focus our minds and hearts upon God using the means of grace which Wesley taught us—reading and meditating upon scripture, prayer, fasting, worship and receiving the sacraments. This is a call to you to draw close to God’s grace through these means. As such, you will find the Florida Conference delegates listed to lift in prayer, as well as a scripture and prayer focus: 




Clergy Lay 

Rev. Alex Shanks Molly McEntire 

Dr. Rini Hernandez Derrick Scott 

Rev. Dionne Hammond Alice Williams 

Rev. David Dodge Mickey Wilson 

Dr. Cynthia WeemsRuss Graves 

Rev. Jaqueline Leveron Jeremy Hearn 

Dr. Sharon Austin Rachel Sumner 

Rev. Joanes Martin Carlene Fogle-Miller 

Dr. Geraldine McClellan  

Janet Earles 

The full list (including alternates) are listed on the conference website under The Way Forward tab. Please pray for each of them by name as you are lead. 

Using Philippians 2:1-11 as a daily scripture focus, let us put on the mind of Christ seeking that ‘same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.’ 

As we pray, may the prayer of St. Francis guide our hearts: 

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;  
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;  
Where there is injury, pardon;  
Where there is doubt, faith;  
Where there is despair, hope;  
Where there is darkness, light;  
And where there is sadness, joy.  

O Divine Master, 
Grant that I may not so much seek 
To be consoled as to console;  
To be understood, as to understand;  
To be loved, as to love;  
For it is in giving that we receive,  
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,  
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.  




**Annual Conference District At Large Delegates 

Pastors please send names of youth and young adults who would be willing to serve as delegates. We would love to fill out the At Large openings with them! 

Also, please take note of these important dates and events that you will want to connect with: 

Feb 21st—Building Bridges in a #metoo world First Orlando UMC, February 21, 2019 

March 2—Bible School and Beyond - Best Practices for Family Ministry, First Ocala UMC

 Rev. Michael Beck

Fresh Expression 

Dear people of the North Central District,

Last month, people from all over the US gathered at the Lake Deaton campus of New Covenant UMC for the first session of our Pioneer Learning Community. Pioneers are “dreamers who do,” people who see a vision for what can be and work to make it a reality. I’m excited to be a part of a district with so many pioneers, moving us forward into the future, “where no church has gone before!”

It’s been interesting to watch how churches are being impacted by planting fresh expressions in the community, declining churches are starting to experience revitalization, plateaued churches are finding new life, and growing churches are being released to thrive in new ways in the network society.  

The NCD FX team is here to be a free resource to help your church along the pioneering journey in any way we can! Please click here to see a video on North Central District Fresh Expressions.

Here’s three ways we can help: 


1. Coffee and Conversation: February 12th 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 learn 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.

If you have questions just let me know.


Rev. Michael Beck


Co-Pastor Wildwood UMC 

Director of Re-Missioning, Fresh Expressions US

North Central District Cultivator of Fresh Expressions

Florida Conference UMC Cultivator of Fresh Expressions

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Congregational Vitality

Rev. Sarah Campbell

I would like to thank Lee Deadrick from Evinston UMC for sending me the following article by Karl Vaters featured in Christianity Today. Rural church ministries will be a focus in the North Central District this upcoming year. I am looking forward to conversing with our rural church pastors and congregations as we seek to connect, collaborate, and cultivate rural church ministries in the North Central District.

If you have any ideas about improving the health and vitality of rural church ministries, please do not hesitate to contact me at 

Be a Great Small Church

Karl Vaters

Most church leadership principles focus on how to prepare your church for numerical growth. That’s an important aspect of leading a church, for sure. One I want to learn more about. But it’s just one aspect of church leadership. It shouldn’t be the entire menu.

We can’t teach church growth principles at the expense of another set of principles that will be even more important for most churches – how to be a great church while we’re small.

There’s A Lot Of Small Out There

Most churches in the world are small. Always have been. Always will be.

As many as 90 percent of churches are under 200, and 80 percent are under 100. (In America it’s closer to 65% under 100 – still a huge number.)

These stats are true in places where the church is in revival and where it is in decline. Whether healthy or sick, successful or failing, effective or anemic, most churches have been, are, and will be small congregations.Small churches also dominate the landscape in places where church growth principles are known, taught and practiced. Many of those small churches have sought, studied and used those principles to try to grow numerically, but have been unsuccessful at doing so.

What do they do then?

We need to teach church leaders not just how to grow numerically, but what to do if the church gets healthy, strong and missional, but still doesn’t grow numerically.

That’s why we need to teach church leaders not just how to grow numerically, but what to do if the church gets healthy, strong and missional, but still doesn’t grow numerically.

(Yes, that happens. A lot.)

Unfortunately, we’re not teaching that aspect of church leadership very well.

More Options Than Grow Or Die

“Grow or die” seems to be the only message a lot of church leaders are hearing. So when the expected, anticipated, supposedly inevitable numerical results don’t come, they’re left grasping at … nothing.

If over 90 percent of churches are small, we need to do a better job at teaching how to do small church well. What does a healthy, relationship-based pastoring style look like? What kinds of bivocational jobs fit best around a pastor’s schedule? How does a church accomplish great ministry with little or no money?

These are the real-life pastoral skills that will be more helpful to the majority of pastors than how to break growth barriers, what’s the best new lighting tech, and how to go multi-site.

Help Us Be Great

If you write or teach church leadership, this is not meant as a criticism of what you may or may not be doing. It’s a request for help.

Along with teaching us about the latest trends in video streaming, spend some time with local pastors of small churches. Ask them what their greatest needs are, how the challenges of pastoring a small church are changing, and what you can do that will help them the most.

Don’t assume you know. Or that you know better.


Then listen.

They might have something to say that we all need to hear.


Spring Clergy Meeting
February 21, 2019 8:30am - 4:00pm First UMC, Orlando

An Opportunity and An Invitation 

Rev. Bob Bushong, Superintendent of the East Central District, has graciously offered the opportunity for any clergy in our conference to attend this workshop entitled, “Building Bridges in a #metoo World.” It will be led by Dr. Elaine Heath and Jeanine Sparks. This will be a required meeting for pastors in the EC District but it is optional for you. I strongly encourage you to consider attending due to the excellent presenters. Also, later this year, there will be training offered by the Office of Clergy Excellence that will be mandatory attendance.  


Building Bridges in a #meToo World
Dr. Elaine Heath,  Missional and Pastoral Theologian
Jeanine Sparks, Licensed Professional Counselor

ECD clergy serving full time in the local church are expected to attend.  If you absolutely cannot attend, please email Dr. Bob Bushong and request to be excused. 

All clergy in the Florida Conference are welcome to attend. 



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 


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 



Spring Clergy Team Meeting 

**Please be advised we have rescheduled the meeting from March 19th to March 26th, Please save the date in your calendar!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 9:30 am at the new Lake Deaton Campus of New Covenant. This is for all part-time/full-time NCD Clergy. 

New Covenant Lake Deaton Campus address: 6500 County Road 143, Wildwood FL 34785

Please make this time together a priority in your schedule. If you absolutely cannot make it due to a previous commitment, please call Rev. June Edwards to request to be excused.

Lunch will be served at the meeting, please click here to confirm your attendance. 

Change of Date Coming! 

The pioneering work we have done together in the North Central District is having an impact beyond ourselves. The value of a “Steeple to the Streets” model of engaging churches with their communities has been recognized. Though we had set dates for the 2019 “Steeple to the Streets” in March, Bishop Carter has invited all of the churches in the Florida Conference to plan and participate in what will be called an “On Mission Together” weekend in May. More details will be shared in the coming months. Any planning you have done for this year will help you to be ready for the May event. Not only will we as a district go out into our communities and prayerfully listen to what God is up to, but we will be doing this as a whole conference! Get your churches ready for May 3-5, as we go On Mission Together from the Steeple to the Streets! More details to come... 


Nueva Vida Central 

It is a blessing to be able to announce that we have opened the doors of UMC Nueva Vida Central at the former Druid Hills UMC campus.  We are grateful that God has given us the opportunity to serve in this community. We want to extend an invitation to all the congregations that know or have Hispanic friends and family and let them know that ours Church doors, ours arms and hearts are open to serve them in the Love of  Jesus Christ.

Spanish Service are Sundays 9:00 am 


Natural Church Development Survey 2019

It has been almost two years since the North Central District  churches completed the Natural Church Development (Nat Ch Dev) Survey; developed your action plan; and put into action that plan to improve your minimum factor.  This year’s Nat Ch Dev survey will be conducted on a voluntary basis.  If a church wants to check its progress, it can request the survey and the District will play the $170 for the survey.  The process for obtaining the survey will be to call or email Larry Taylor.  He will obtain the Nat Ch Dec survey and make sure the survey gets to your church with the appropriate survey instructions.  Why take the Nat Ch Dev survey again?  It will show you how effective your efforts were in raising your minimum factor rating.  Remember – if you raised your minimum factor, all your other seven quality characteristics should be better than they were.  For more details or obtain a survey contact Larry at 352 750-9092 or email


Annual Conference 2019 set to take place at Florida Southern College

Make plans now to attend Annual Conference 2019 by booking your hotel rooms early. A list of hotels and rates can be found HERE. Housing will also be available at Florida Southern College (details forthcoming).

As you make your plans, the Annual Conference planning team wanted you to be aware of the following:
     1)  Our theme is “On Mission Together,” and we will welcome Bishop Will Willimon, missiologist Dr. Dana Robert, along with musical leaders Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson. 
     2)  Annual Conference will begin on Wednesday, June 5, with clergy and lay sessions at 10 a.m. We will conclude with the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination on Saturday, June 8, adjourning at 12:30 p.m.
     3)  We will be voting on delegates to General Conference 2020, with chances to meet delegates Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
     4)  All registration will take place at Florida Southern College, as will the clergy and lay sessions.
     5)  Florida Southern has added new parking shuttles and golf carts.
     6)  We will have an air-conditioned tent near Branscomb Auditorium which will be a place to eat and fellowship with other delegates. 

North Central District will have two Pre-Annual Conference Orientation on Monday, May 6th at First Ocala UMC, Family Life Center and Tuesday, May 7th at Mariner UMC at 6:30 pm. 

Rev. June Edwards will discuss 2019 Annual Conference and give a report of the 2019 General Conference. 


Professional Administrators of United Methodist Connectional Structure
February 16, 2019 - LEC

If you are in an Administrative role in the local church, we hope you will join us at the 45th Annual Seminar of the Florida Chapter PAUMCS. This seminar offers a chance to renew and refresh at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. We have a great day planned for you that includes information, rest & relaxation. Registration beings at 7:30am in the Lee Pearson Building. The seminar will be from 8:45am - 4:00pm. Click HERE for the details and registration form.

Questions? Contact Lynn Campbell


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


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.





North Central District - DCOM Date Information 

District Superintendent:  Rev. June Edwards (352) 789-6981

dCOM Chair:  Rev. Beth Farabee

dCOM Registrar:  Elizabeth Flynn

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)



Wespath Benefits and Investments developed a partnership with Paychex to provide United Methodist Churches with Payroll and HR solutions for 2019 and beyond. 

Struggling with clergy payroll? UMPIP deductions? Filing quarterly tax forms? Preparing year-end W2s?  This could be a great way to improve your processes!

With this new partnership, Paychex can send 403b/UMPIP contribution information to Wespath to debit you for the corresponding amount, saving you time and ensuring the accuracy of information. 

Paychex will handle your quarterly tax filings and year-end reports.  Managing your payroll can become easier and more accurate and you ensure your church is financially compliant.

All you’ll have to do is report salaries and hours worked and Paychex will do the rest!  You will also receive a 35% discount for the duration of the partnership between Paychex and Wespath. 

Jeff Kohl is the designated Paychex/Wespath representative for all UMC churches nationwide. For more information about Paychex payroll, human resources, time & attendance and other services, call Jeff Kohl at (561) 907-7402, email him at or visit




February 9, 2019 - NC District Training Event "Welcome To The Future" , First Ocala UMC, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
February 18 - Conference & District Office Closed 
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 26 - Clergy Team Meeting - New Covenant Lake Deaton Campus at 9:30 am 
May  3-5 - "On Mission Together" - More details to come... 
May 6 - Pre-Conference Orientation First Ocala, Family Life Center at 6:30 pm
May 7 - Pre-Conference Orientation Mariner UMC, at 6:30 pm