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.

October 26, 2017

'He Will' by Ellie Holcomb

Elizabeth "Ellie" Holcomb is an American CCM-folk singer-songwriter raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father is noted music producer Brown Bannister, and she was a member of Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, whose frontman is her husband, Drew.

October 24, 2017

Out of Africa: Mulemena finds mission in Amazon

Travelling 5,000 miles from his home in Zambia, Africa, Charles Mulemena found his life as a missionary serving the people of Belem, Brazil. The area is often referred to as the gateway to the Amazon rainforest.

October 23, 2017

East Central District leads Puerto Rico ministry for Florida

It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 Puerto Ricans will relocate in Central Florida in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria. The East Central District is leading a conference-wide ministry to provide school supplies and meet basic needs.

October 19, 2017

'Clean' by Natalie Grant

Natalie Grant is a Grammy-nominated Christian vocalist and multi-Dove Award winner. She is from Nashville, Tenn.

October 19, 2017

Fiendishly tasty treats for Halloween season

Methodists' recipes make it easy to supplement manufactured, store-bought candy with homemade deliciousness.

October 18, 2017

Delivering 1300 pounds of medicine, supplies to Angola

The Rev. Armando Rodriquez Jr. and his wife, Icel Rodriguez, director of Global Missions, recently delivered 1300 pounds of much needed medicine and supplies to East Angola. Transported with carry-on luggage, the Florida Conference team provided mosquito netting and anti-malaria drugs.

October 17, 2017

Open Table offers unconventional service

At Belleview UMC on Sunday afternoons, 5 o'clock goes beyond the traditional dinner hour. Church members have formed a Fresh Expression that includes a buffet potluck meal served on china plates with music and a message.

October 12, 2017

'Hills and Valleys' by Tauren Wells

Tauren Gabriel Wells is an American Christian rock and pop artist and the former frontman for the American Christian pop rock band, Royal Tailor, which produced two albums over a five-year career. The band garnered two Grammy nominations and a New Artist of the Year award from the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards.

October 12, 2017

She walks in Jesus' footsteps every day

For United Methodist missionary, Rev. Kristen Brown, walking in the footsteps of Jesus is an everyday occurrence. As Methodist Liaison to Israel-Palestine, Brown visits biblical sites and crosses through checkpoints. She prepares Christian leaders to serve churches and society in the Holy Land.

October 10, 2017

'Homeless Jesus' sculpture unveiled at First Miami

A life-sized sculpture was unveiled in a special ceremony held October 1 at FUMC Miami. Titled "Homeless Jesus," the bronze artwork was created by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz depicting Christ wrapped in a blanket and lying on a bench. The church also began its new mobile shower ministry for the homeless.

October 05, 2017

'Unconditional' by Urban Rescue

“Unconditional” performed live in Los Angeles from Urban Rescue’s City Sessions album. Urban Rescue is an American Christian music electropop group from Los Angeles, California, that plays Christian pop, Christian EDM and contemporary worship music.

October 05, 2017

Our statement of solidarity with Puerto Rico

As both of our Conferences recover from the devastations of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, we, in Florida, offer our solidarity and love to our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico.

October 04, 2017

Florida JFON advocates for least, last, lost

For those seeking asylum in Miami's backlogged immigration courtrooms, the wait can last for five to six years. Rev. Janet Horman, director of Florida's Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), calls it a legal battle worth fighting.

October 03, 2017

Working for peace and justice in Northern Ireland

Assigned by the General Board of Global Ministries to work at East Belfast Mission, Alison Gilmore returned to her home country of Northern Ireland in 2011. As a mental health counselor, she describes the inner struggle faced by so many to make peace with their past.

September 29, 2017

Clergy Gathering is slated for Oct. 24-25 at Life Enrichment Center

The Bishop’s Annual Clergy Gathering is October 24 and 25, 2017 at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park.

September 29, 2017

Florida churches commit to long post-Irma recovery

Editor's Note: Donate here to the Florida Conference Hurricane Irma Fund to help churches and the ...

September 28, 2017

'Mountaintop' by The City Harmonic

The City Harmonic is a Canadian Christian rock band formed in 2009 after having served together as the house worship band for an inter-denominational "worship and mission" event for students in Hamilton, Ontario. Here they perform "Mountaintop" live at the Relevant Magazine studio.

September 28, 2017

Shaping the Bright Future of America

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate a unique melting pot of cultures and diversity within the Florida Conference. Hispanic and Latino Americans describe the challenge of creating unity within traditional churches without losing the rich diversity of different regions.

September 27, 2017

Helping schools part of Newberry culture for decades

For Newberry UMC, helping schools is part of the town's culture. We continue our school-church partnership series with a program that has thrived for decades.

September 26, 2017

First regional meeting addresses recovery, Way Forward

In the first of three scheduled regional meetings featuring Bishop Ken Carter, topics addressed included the need to reach out to those trying to recover from Hurricane Irma and challenges faced by the Commission on a Way Forward.

September 26, 2017

Workshop postponed for 'Our Kids Training Plus'

The first in a planned series of training workshops for school-church partners, "Our Kids Training Plus," has been postponed until further notice. The event, originally scheduled for Oct. 7, is being rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts.

September 22, 2017

Bishop Carter's regional gatherings will be livestreamed

For those unable to attend the regional gatherings, the Florida Conference is livestreaming the events.

September 21, 2017

Florida needs volunteers now!

Volunteers will be needed for team coordination, logistics, call center, work teams and in their local communities connecting to survivors.

September 21, 2017

The Brilliance: 'Does Your Heart Break'

In 2015, The Brilliance performed "Does Your Heart Break" from their album "Brother" live for Relevant Magazine.

September 20, 2017

LEC, Warren Willis house power crews during Irma

It began the Thursday before Hurricane Irma made landfall. Power trucks from as far away as North Carolina rolled into the Life Enrichment Center and Warren Willis Camp as they opened their doors with hospitality. The facility housed up to 800 linemen in the days after the storm hit.

September 19, 2017

Claim form online; Irma information and resources available

New this year, the Florida Conference churches can report Irma damages using an online claim form.

September 19, 2017

Foster Family Event fills backpacks, raises awareness

Eight churches in Brevard County, including three United Methodist congregations, recently participated in the annual Foster Family Event at New Covenant Fellowship Church. Along with filling backpacks for children starting a new school year, this year's gathering helped raise awareness to the needs of foster families.

September 14, 2017

Desperation Band: 'Take Me to the River'

Desperation Band was first formed in 2001, when New Life Church pastor David Perkins suggested that Jon Egan, Jared Anderson and Glenn Packiam play together with their bands at the first Desperation Conference. Held annually in June and July, Desperation Conferences draw thousands of college and high school students.

September 13, 2017

Cleaning up after Irma: steeples, trees, flooding

Editor's Note: Donate here to the Florida Conference Hurricane Irma Fund to help churches and the ...

September 12, 2017

Young clergy reflect on changing church landscape

Five young clergy from the Florida Conference, all under age 35, reflect on ministering to congregants in the 21st century; the changing landscape and future of the Church.

September 07, 2017

Hillsong Young and Free: 'When the Fight Calls'

Young & Free is a collective of young people who come together to make music for youth and young adults everywhere. With hearts to bring truth to this generation, they sing passionately of their belief grounded in the love, grace and freedom found in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Their dream is that through the message that they bring, people everywhere would discover the very reason that they were created.

September 05, 2017

Hurricane Irma information and resources

Dear Church: Based on the forecasts from the National Weather Service and all relevant hurricane ...

September 01, 2017

UMCOR on Harvey: prayer, donations, relief kits needed first; volunteers later

UMCOR is currently working with disaster coordinators and early response teams in Louisiana and Texas to provide relief to the many people whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storm Harvey. They will continue to update this page and UMCOR social media as they receive new information.

August 31, 2017

'Rivers of Babylon' by Playing for Change

This video is Rocky Dawuni, Mermans Mosengo and Jason Tamba performing “Rivers of Babylon” live in the desert at Joshua Tree.

August 31, 2017

Four generations of Native Americans come together

Several generations gathered for stories, song and fellowship at the Native American Summer Conference held July 28-30 in North Carolina. The event was part of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association for Native American Ministries.

August 30, 2017

Sides recipes for Labor Day barbeques and picnics

After such a hot summer, you deserve to top off the season with a great Labor Day break. Whether you...

August 29, 2017

'Feed my sheep' with 16 gallons of soup, sandwiches

At the Kitchen of Clay County near Jacksonville, volunteers from three church denominations feed the hungry Saturday lunch with 12 to 16 gallons of homemade soup, sandwiches and cakes. It's a ministry that began in 2009.

August 28, 2017

2018 apportionments are available

Apportionments for 2018 are now available on the conference website. Please contact your district first if you have any questions regarding your apportionments.

August 25, 2017

Registration open for 'Our Kids Training Plus'

Organizers are encouraging Florida Conference church pastors, staff and laity to register now for the first school-church partner training session. "Our Kids Training Plus" will be held Oct. 7, 2017 at St. Luke's UMC in Orlando.

August 24, 2017

'Glorious Day' by Passion

"We believe God is calling out a generation of college students committed to the glory of His name in all things. God longs to bring awakening to every campus, mobilizing the students of today to finish the task of global evangelization in this generation. God is calling us out for this purpose, in this moment, for His renown." -Passion

August 24, 2017

Holy grounds connect neighbors through gardens

Churches are connecting with their neighbors with the help of mushroom compost, collard greens, tomatoes and a lot of green thumbs. Whatever the season, community gardens are becoming a hot trend across the Florida Conference.

August 22, 2017

Mobile showers ministry aims to restore dignity

Methodist churches located in urban areas, such as downtown Miami, have recently embraced a new kind of street ministry: mobile showers for the homeless. Pulled with a truck, it's a trend quickly taking hold across South Florida.

August 17, 2017

'Death Was Arrested' by Aaron Shust

Aaron Shust performs “Death Was Arrested” in Nashville as a part of his live album, "Love Made A Way."

August 16, 2017

Council of Bishops president denounces Charlottesville violence

"Let there be no excuses or political justification for the evil that was on full display in Charlottesville last Saturday. Nor, let us forget that many such displays of white supremacy, racism and hatred go un-reported or under-reported in many places. White supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies are abhorrent and entirely inconsistent with the Christian faith."

August 16, 2017

Stirring in soul: Retired teacher reaches out in Volusia County

Retired teacher Mica Roughton's life changed the moment she reached out to help children and families living in poverty. She's now the volunteer coordinator of a ministry called Food Brings Hope, a program at FUMC of Ormond Beach giving families in a local elementary school physical and spiritual nourishment.

August 14, 2017

Celebrating history: 'Well done, good and faithful servants'

Four conference churches--Mount Pleasant (Gainesville), St. Catherine, Bronson and First, Bartow--celebrate 150-year anniversaries in 2017.

August 14, 2017

Peterson: Christian life looks a lot like being a good neighbor

A conversation with the author of "The Message," Eugene Peterson, about really following God.

August 11, 2017

Generous orthodoxy: a theological resource for a Way Forward

What great things God could accomplish if we rediscovered an orthodoxy in service of the healing (and not dividing) of our bodies, that is, our churches?

August 11, 2017

Legislator: 'I believe God placed me here to help' fight trafficking

"I believe God placed me here to help," says State Representative Ross Spano, R-Riverview. He is working to toughen laws against human traffickers in Florida. This is the final story in a three-part series on human trafficking.

August 10, 2017

'I Got Saved' by Selah

Selah is a contemporary Christian vocal trio consisting of Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry. They have won seven Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and sold more than 4 million album and single units combined.

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