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.

November 30, 2017

Irma recovery will need massive support of volunteers and donors

A photo essay showing the destruction Irma left behind in Key West underscores how massive the storm was and illustrates how large volumes of resources, including donations and volunteers, will be needed to help survivors and their communities recover and rebuild.

November 29, 2017

'The Florida Project': movie about our 'hidden homeless'

Few realize there's a hidden world where homeless families live along U.S. 192 near Disney World. With help from Rev. Mary Downey, executive director of the Community Hope Center in Kissimmee, the film, "The Florida Project," is raising awareness to a complex issue.

November 24, 2017

Donate to Irma Fund on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28

Support the disaster recovery efforts for the 2.6 million survivors of Hurricane Irma.

November 22, 2017

Prayer feathers, ancient flute, carry voices of Native Americans

November is Native American Heritage Month, and for Dock Green Silverhawk, it's a time to celebrate the past and embrace his own heritage following heart surgery and nearly losing his life. Through the melodies of an ancient flute and a prayer feather, Green and others give thanks to being Native American.

November 21, 2017

Man Cave Renovation Retreat ignites spiritual growth

After 69 years of men's retreats in Leesburg, the Florida Conference recently brought welcome change with a "Man Cave Renovation" gathering Oct. 13-14 at the Life Enrichment Center. A 26 percent increase in attendance over the previous year was reported.

November 20, 2017

Florida holds first Spanish ERT workshop

As the Florida Conference continues to reach out to those facing recovery from the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria, an Early Response Training (ERT) for Spanish-speaking volunteers was held recently at FUMC Kissimmee.

November 17, 2017

A Way Forward: general directions from the most recent meetings of the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops

Bishop Ken Carter provides a sketch of general directions from the most recent meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops.

November 17, 2017

Bishop Carter's Thanksgiving message: All can help with Irma restoration

The post-Irma journey toward restoration is just beginning. Bishop Carter asks that members of the Florida Conference offer themselves to be used by God in this great work, with our prayers, our financial gifts and our working hands. Please share these video messages with your congregation.

November 16, 2017

'Pure Religion' by Liz Vice

Elizabeth Lorraine Vice is an American gospel music recording artist and musician from Portland, Oregon. Her music career started in 2015, with the studio album, There's a Light, with Ramseur Records.

November 16, 2017

Hurricane Irma claims update: a fast-track to recovery

In an effort to expedite claims filed by churches for damage incurred during Hurricane Irma, the conference is providing a fast-track process to help speed recovery. The system targets churches with less than $50,000 in damages where no flooding was involved.

November 13, 2017

$1 million UMCOR grant offers bridge to Irma recovery

UMCOR recently announced a $1 million grant award to the Florida Conference as a "bridge to recovery" from Hurricane Irma. There were 48 counties in the state that received damage from the storm.

November 09, 2017

'Love Has A Name' by Jesus Culture

Jesus Culture Music is the music label for the Jesus Culture Ministry. Its albums feature the worship of the Jesus Culture band, performing a mix of original and cover songs. Youth worship leaders Kim Walker-Smith, Melissa How and Chris Quilala, long active with the youth group at Bethel Church in Redding, became the core of the Jesus Culture band. Jesus Culture states the purpose of music in their movement is to "ignite revival in the nations of the earth; to compel the Body of Christ to radically abandon itself to a lifestyle of worship; to encounter His extravagant love and raw power."

November 08, 2017

Bishop Carter elected as President of Council of Bishops

Florida Area Bishop Kenneth H. Carter today was officially elected as the next president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church in Lake Junaluska.

November 08, 2017

Equipping congregations for 'Dinner Church'

As part of the growing Fresh Expressions dinner church movement, Grace Trinity UMC recently hosted a statewide church dinner encounter. Held Saturday, Nov. 4, the event was designed to encourage off-campus ministries modeled after a program that originated in Seattle.

November 08, 2017

From ships to desert cold, military chaplains serve 24/7

They serve in desert cold and on ships, often in foreign countries. Military chaplains are in ministry with their parish 24/7. In the words of one chaplain, "we go when and where it matters most."

November 06, 2017

UMC provides Giving Tuesday resources

The denomination provides Giving Tuesday resources in five languages.

November 03, 2017

Report on the Commission on a Way Forward's most recent meeting

The Commission on a Way Forward has drafted an interim report to share with the Council of Bishops in its task of finding a way forward for The United Methodist Church (UMC).

November 02, 2017

'Prove It' by David Crowder

Few artists have been more successful at blurring musical boundaries than David Crowder. The "Prove It" video is a recent release. Historical facts about the broken chains at the feet of the Statue of Liberty follow the lyrics.

November 01, 2017

Haitian-born Global Mission Fellows head for Motor City

For recently appointed Global Mission Fellows Lynda Sylvain and Grace Okerson, experiencing Detroit's winter is only one of many challenges they'll face during the next two years.

October 30, 2017

'Small steps' changing lives in Fruitland Park

For two decades, volunteers from Community UMC in Fruitland Park have been taking "small steps" to make a difference at the school next door. Many lives--both the children and volunteers--have changed for the better.

October 27, 2017

Six ways the Reformation affects our world

When Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, he hoped to spark a theological conversation about repentance. Five hundred years later, Christians — and not only Protestants — are still living with the changes wrought by the Reformation he started.

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 ...

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