News & Views

The Florida Conference is dedicated to bringing you news stories about United Methodists here and beyond. Whether the news is about the global church or the church on the corner, look for it here. You’ll also find thought-provoking commentaries and opportunities for education and fellowship.

In addition, News & Views is pleased to bring you an interactive Bible crossword puzzle, with new puzzles available weekly. Click here to access this week's crossword puzzle. Have a story to share? Email or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.

Image courtesy of Copyright © by Cliff Leitch.

August 14, 2019

Good Samaritan works to close gaps in school needs

Good Samaritan members have organized teacher appreciation luncheons and served as classroom helpers. They have been mentors and reading buddies to the children. They grilled hot dogs at Conley Elementary’s “Back to School Bash.’’

August 07, 2019

Artist’s spiritual gift brings Bible stories to life

Recently in a children’s classroom, William Joyner painted a mural that is roughly eight feet high and 15 feet wide so that three- to five-year-olds can visualize the story of Noah’s Ark.

August 06, 2019

A Call to Discipleship: Living as Disciples of a Non-Violent Lord in a Time of Violence

What is God’s dream for us? How can we become the answer to the words we say in worship, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done”? (Matthew 6). In Wesley’s words, we are being called “to reform the nation, particularly the church, and to spread scriptural holiness over the land.” -A letter from Bishop Ken Carter

August 05, 2019

Summer camps inspire youth to ‘do amazing things’

“I’m always in awe of how many clergy and lay people have heard the call to Christ right here on our grounds. There’s something special about this place that inspires people to go back out to the world and do amazing things.”

July 31, 2019

Two fall gatherings with Bishop Carter are slated

Events are scheduled for October and December.

July 30, 2019

Fresh Expressions thriving at New Hope, Brandon

Beginning in late May, New Hope added four new ministries to its Fresh Expressions lineup: a food co-op, Basketball Church, Meet and Walk and a student-led Caffeine and Christ that meets at a local Starbucks.

July 24, 2019

'Prayers, Pajamas, Preschoolers Party' teaches kids how to talk to God

Citrus Church invited preschoolers and their parents to wear pajamas to the weeknight party at the Summerport Clubhouse in Windermere. Inside, children and parents rotated among eight separate stations that were designed to teach children how to talk to God.

July 22, 2019

Japan team finds their mission bridges cultural differences

The mission to the Asian Rural Institute in northern Japan had “a different feel. We were immersed in a community of people who were on mission themselves. We were brought in and made part of the family.”

July 18, 2019

Bishops call for new ways of embodying unity through mission, relationships

The bishops of The United Methodist Church will seek to strengthen annual conferences in 2019 through the ministries of sending and missional strategy, Bishop Kenneth Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, has said.

July 18, 2019

Mission u: on missions with children for children

At the United Methodist Women's Mission u in July, hands-on mission experiences shaped the lives of the young children and older youth who participated in making a positive difference in other children’s lives.

July 16, 2019

Small churches can make a big difference

Faith UMC, Jacksonville, partners with World Relief Services (WRS) to host a four-week camp for refugee children. This year about 50 children from Asia, Africa and the Middle East attended.

July 10, 2019

Conference is planting a church in women’s prison

Bishop Ken Carter began discussions three years ago about starting a United Methodist church inside the Lowell Correctional Institute in Reddick, about 15 miles north of Ocala. It houses about 3,000 women, the largest female prison population in the United States.

July 08, 2019

Opioid crisis series: Clergy embrace becoming foster parents

The Revs. Matt and Beth Johnson in Morgantown, W.Va., answered the call to become foster parents to children living in what Matt called “a rough situation.” After a two-year process, they were able to adopt the brother and sister they were fostering.

July 04, 2019

Lay ministers are key to congregational care

Certified Lay Ministers serve to enhance the quality of ministry, much like the class leader did in early Methodism, through service in the local church.

July 02, 2019

Sanford Picnic Project is a 10-year-old Fresh Expression

Celebrating their 10 year anniversary this August, the Picnic Project is a free community meal held every Sunday that is served restaurant style inside the First United Methodist Church of Sanford.

June 27, 2019

Mosaic jumps right in to help neighborhood school

Look no further than John 1 3:17 to get inspired for the type of project Mosaic Palm Bay has undertaken: “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?”

June 25, 2019

Community transformation is long-term commitment

Part of St. Luke's community transformation work in East Winter Garden is named “Door to Curb,” and it helps residents improve the value of their homes and the overall community by enhancing pre-designated homes’ curb appeal.

June 21, 2019

The path to increased pastoral agency

Pastors serving in congregations have much more freedom in their daily work routines than teachers ...

June 18, 2019

Feeding Tampa Bay ministry blesses all

Think Proverbs 19:17: Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. Those volunteering for Trinity Café say it goes way beyond that. They, too, receive blessings for their ministry with those seeking a hot meal.

June 12, 2019

Bishop Carter's sermon: A New Evangelism, A New Connection

Sisters and brothers, we have to “up our game.” Many have settled for a kind of generic, industrial kind of church. What would it mean for those of us who are leaders in the church of Jesus, which would be all of us, to up our game?

June 11, 2019

A celebration of spirit-led innovation

Friday’s Annual Conference worship service included ministry reports, along with many and diverse choirs and bands.

June 10, 2019

Annual Conference concludes with ordination

Annual Conference 2019 concluded on Saturday with the ordination, commissioning and licensing of 52 persons, and on Friday members discussed and voted on eight resolutions.

June 10, 2019

Remembrance Service photo essay

Photographer Lance Rothwell captured the reverence of Remembrance Service attendees as they celebrated the saints who passed away over the past year.

June 07, 2019

AC Communion sermon delivered by Bishop Willimon

Retired Bishop Will Willimon delivered the communion sermon Wednesday evening at Annual Conference 2019.

June 07, 2019

Record breaking: all 2020 delegates selected by Thursday

On Thursday, Conference members selected eight clergy and eight laity delegates to represent Florida in the 2020 Jurisdictional Conference and alternates for both groups. It is thought to be unprecedented for the Conference to complete the entire roster of delegates for General and Jurisdictional Conferences in two days.

June 06, 2019

Bishop Carter emphasizes unity, acknowledges differences

Reflections with the Clergy Session of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, shared...

June 06, 2019

Conference selects full 2020 GC delegation

Wednesday highlights included the clergy and laity meetings, the Strategic Leadership Team and lay leadership reports and the selection of several 2020 General Conference delegates.

June 05, 2019

Annual Conference off to a running start

The event is designed to promote faith and fitness among clergy and lay people.

June 03, 2019

Riverside members’ homes bring ministry to community

Even though it has only about 70 members, many of them just as poor as the surrounding community, Riverside has three buildings on a sizeable lot. They have little money, but they reach out with what they do have—their time, their buildings, a parking lot and even their own homes.

May 31, 2019

Local partnerships boost Hurricane Maria recovery

As many as 3,000 people lost their lives in Puerto Rico—a number that is believed to be severely under-reported in the early days of the aftermath. The island, already in economic distress before the storm, still struggles with recovery.

May 29, 2019

‘On Mission Together’ unites divergent churches in ministry

“Tear down the barriers, and we are one church. It was simply about all of us doing the work Jesus set out for us to do.’’ -Kay Wingard, Covenant UMC Port Orange

May 28, 2019

The purpose of a Just Resolution to a complaint and the purpose of the Annual Conference session

The Just Resolution process takes inspiration from scripture (Matthew 18: 15-16). The Message translation reads: “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you,” before taking a complaint to the whole community.

May 24, 2019

A Memorial Day remembrance

Two poems are offered to commemorate Memorial Day.

May 23, 2019

Countdown to 2019 Florida Annual Conference

Conference members will be choosing from over 100 clergy and lay nominees for 44 slots for delegates to the 2020 General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences. Elections begin Wednesday afternoon.

May 21, 2019

It’s hurricane preparedness season, again

Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science expects as many as 12 named storms with five or more becoming full-fledged hurricanes. They predict that at least two will become major hurricanes with wind levels reaching Category 3 or stronger.

May 17, 2019

Innovation creates an autism-friendly service for children

The Azalea Park UMC kids run the full autism spectrum from high functioning to those who need to wear head protection to avoid injuring themselves. Pastor Andrew Miller said he learned to think in terms of ability level instead of linear age.

May 14, 2019

Lifesong, Orlando, receives lemons, makes lemonade

Lifesong’s The Table is a Fresh Expression ministry of the Florida Conference. Fresh Expressions find a different way to form faith communities that reach new people, in new places, by new ways. Some churches host singing at local pubs, kayaking for Christ, bicycling events, or canoeing on a river on a Saturday morning.

May 10, 2019

Bishops offer pastoral word; make key decisions in May meeting

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church completed its May 2019 meeting held outside Chicago with a pastoral and prophetic word in response to the decisions of the Special Session and the codification of some of those decisions in the Book of Discipline.

May 09, 2019

Miami Lakes youth mission: the Holy Spirit in action

“I have been on a lot of mission trips,’’ said Rev. Stuart Bodin, pastor of Miami Lakes UMC. “But I’ve never had a better experience than this one. It was remarkable to feel the Holy Spirit in action and experience that level of faith and love.’’

May 07, 2019

‘Volunteer Village’ eases volunteer housing crunch in Keys

The housing for disaster recovery volunteers was created by the Monroe County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG), an organization founded in February of last year and consisting of faith-based organizations, including the Conference, non-profits, businesses and government agencies.

May 01, 2019

Faith UMC: reaching new people in new ways in new places

Faith United Methodist Church volunteers lead church in Bay Vue Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bradenton.

April 29, 2019

Prison ministry leads to ‘House of Hope’

The Hillsborough House of Hope assists women who battled substance abuse or were arrested for prostitution and other crimes.

April 28, 2019

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, 2019.

April 25, 2019

No matter size or location, congregations need care

Congregational Care Ministries (CCM) is a program aimed to empower lay people to work alongside their ministers. They perform services such as hospital visits, leading grief and divorce groups and even administering communion to home-bound people.

April 23, 2019

FUMC Gainesville school-church partnership is hands-on

Metcalf Elementary School is small with about 200 students, 98 percent qualified for free and reduced-price lunches. Many students come from single-parent homes, which limits parental volunteerism at the school.

April 18, 2019

CROS Ministries launches mobile food pantry

In its first three months, 860 individuals were served, 28 percent of whom are children. It reaches an array of people in need: the homeless, the unemployed, the elderly and the working poor who experience food insecurity.

April 16, 2019

Suntree is ‘a gift of the highest’ to elementary school

When a majority of the school’s students needed new backpacks, Suntree UMC collected 400 backpacks filled with all the official supplies required at every grade level.

April 15, 2019

A pastoral letter at Holy Week from Bishop Ken Carter

Holy Week is a complicated series of actions, with every variance of human emotion and failure. Life in a denomination can be complicated, but no more complicated than a local church or a family. The same Jesus who is surrounded with imperfect followers is the one who prays for their unity (John 17).

April 12, 2019

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Discipleship Ministries and United States agencies provide a wealth of resources for observing the month in services or classrooms.

April 10, 2019

Camp is an ‘Oasis’ for urban kids

“From being a kid and a camper at Oasis, my biggest takeaway was getting to unplug from that city urban environment and going somewhere where you could be more open and reflective.”

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