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.

May 28, 2018

CROS Ministries celebrates 40 years of collaboration

One of the greatest successes has been the transformation of people's lives, from the volunteers to the people we serve. To be able to touch a person's life is an honor and privilege. We are the hands and feet of God, bringing God's love into reality for those struggling with daily living.

May 25, 2018

Bishop Ken Carter responds to Judicial Council decision

Bishop Ken Carter's statement expresses gratitude for the Judicial Council’s work and our continuing commitment to serve and lead our church, as well as providing clarity around the Council of Bishops' motivation for requesting a Declaratory Decision.

May 25, 2018

Countdown to Annual Conference 2018

The annual conference, themed “Remembering Who We Are,” is June 7–9, and it is partly a 50th-year celebration of the formation of The United Methodist Church in 1968 with the union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Here you'll find information and links to help orient you to the event.

May 23, 2018

Picture this! Disaster recovery in action

In these photos, submitted by disaster recovery construction coordinator Hank Lunsford, a spirit of generosity is seen in volunteer teams hailing from across the country as they work hard to put roofs back over people's heads.

May 22, 2018

FUMC Tavares school partnership is jammin’

The church just completed its third year of Jesus and Me, the JAM program, with about 70 students from Tavares Elementary School. Parents get in on the fun and fellowship, as well, through what the church calls FX Family nights.

May 21, 2018

Florida team ministers in Brazilian Amazonia

Using a Methodist-owned boat turned floating clinic, doctors, nurses and other helpers navigated tributaries to the Amazon River and offered health clinics to indigenous populations. All photos by Rev. Armando Rodriguez.

May 21, 2018

ZOE empowers orphans, vulnerable children in Africa

ZOE ’s approach has proven that children living in poverty also hold the greatest capacity to create lasting solutions for themselves, their families and their communities.

May 17, 2018

Asbury, Maitland, launches dinner and conversation

“Constellation” is a Fresh Expression that brings young adults together on Monday nights to enjoy food, fellowship and spiritual storytelling.

May 17, 2018

Displaced Maria survivors continue to struggle

Maria, one of the worst Atlantic storms of the last century, left many Puerto Rican families with little or no possessions. Some still suffer from post-traumatic stress, and all are struggling to figure out their futures.

May 16, 2018

AC theme: ‘Remembering Who We Are’

“The theme ‘remembering who we are’ is about our identity in Christ and, more particularly, our identity as United Methodists within the Body of Christ.” --Bishop Ken Carter

May 15, 2018

Campus ministries growing, spreading the good news

Students across the state rallied in service to those affected by the storms that battered Florida and Texas. They are reaching out to those on their campuses to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Through technology, they are telling that story in innovative ways, as well as old-fashioned retreats and gatherings.

May 14, 2018

Madison Children’s Home celebrates new facilities

A crowd of 300 celebrated the dedication of a new chapel and state of the art counseling center at the facility in Madison on May 5.

May 10, 2018

Exploration helps young adults contemplating ministry

"Although I am still unsure of what exactly my calling is, I do have a better understanding of the fact that God is not looking for me to be a perfect person. Instead He is looking for me to simply say, Lord, do whatever you want." —Catie Hessler

May 09, 2018

Churches play vital role in Irma recovery

More than seven months into recovery, area churches and established businesses continue to play important roles they adopted in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

May 08, 2018

New missional connection brings disciples from Argentina to Florida

The missional roots of the Florida Conference are growing a new discipleship network with Argentina.

May 07, 2018

Seven Comments about the Council of Bishops’ recommendations on a Way Forward

The Council of Bishops recommends the One Church Plan as our best way forward. This vote was by a significant majority. The One Church Plan allows for contextualization of language about human sexuality in support of our mission with all people.

May 04, 2018

United Methodist Bishops recommend a Way Forward

United Methodist bishops, meeting in Chicago, engaged in a prayerful process to discern a way forward. At the conclusion of the discernment process, the Council of Bishops strongly approved the following motion and rationale.

May 03, 2018

‘The Table’ is theme for 2018 summer youth camp

Warren Willis Camp and the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park combine operations, sharing staff and resources and are gearing up for the 2018 camping season.

May 01, 2018

A heart for things to be just and right in the world

UMC members from churches around Hillsborough County, joining with the interfaith group Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality (HOPE), focus on a few issues each year that they believe need immediate attention.

April 26, 2018

Despite Irma, the cross shines brightly from San Marco's steeple

While still in the throes of major renovations to their hurricane-damaged church property, this Jacksonville church continued finding ways to serve the surrounding community.

April 25, 2018

AmeriCorps alleviates burden from Hurricane Irma

The AmeriCorps Tribal CCC (Civilian Community Corps) Program of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in California spent 17 days helping those still dealing with effects from Hurricane Irma. The team worked in Everglades City, 31 miles southeast of Marco Island in Big Cypress National Preserve.

April 25, 2018

Wesley Foundation consecrates new building

A campus presence since 1926, the Wesley Foundation at Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College celebrated its new building consecration on April 21 with Bishop Ken Carter.

April 24, 2018

Boca Raton pastors tutor kids 'hungry for one-on-one time'

In addition to tutoring, Pastors Rachel DeLaune and Tom Tift help out with school book fairs, read in classrooms during literacy week, help students figure out their gift budgets for holiday shopping and bake cakes with them for Mother’s Day.

April 18, 2018

Worship from your paddleboard at 'Adventure Chapel'

Floridians love sunshine and water activities. So, why not bring church worship where the people want to be? This paddleboarding Fresh Expression dubbed Adventure Chapel is doing just that.

April 17, 2018

'Rough Cut Men' offers no-holds-barred testimony, hope

Faced with what was literally a life-defining moment, David Dusek met God on top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Today his ministry, Rough Cut Men, is creating bonds through straight-up testimony and trusting relationships.

April 15, 2018

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, 2018.

April 14, 2018

Appointment-making in a time of mission: 2018

“The Florida Conference Appointive Cabinet meetings have included prayer, discernment, silence, assessment of the gifts of clergy and discussion of approximately sixty congregations (one-tenth of the whole) who are anticipating transitions. We share these core values with you to let you know about how we do this work, and we request your continued prayers." --Bishop Ken Carter

April 12, 2018

Leaps of faith: Florida Conference churches on fastest growing list

According to an annual report by church growth strategist Len Wilson, three Florida Conference churches are among the 25 fastest growing large United Methodist churches in the U.S. This story looks at what they're doing right and how they're serving their respective communities.

April 10, 2018

Sanford outreach: 'more blessings than we give out'

Beyond the town's eclectic shops and 19th-century architecture, Sanford, Florida, has people in need. Churches, a nonprofit with a professional chef and other volunteers have joined to spread gospel through action.

April 06, 2018

Florida pastors inspired by End Racism Rally in D.C.

A half-century has passed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Memphis, but the racism he sought to erase remains a major social issue.

April 06, 2018

Indiana team helps Immokalee Irma survivors

Mission teams that come to Immokalee volunteer to help some of the most disadvantaged survivors of Hurricane Irma. A team of young adults hailing from Indiana saw this devastation and was invigorated to offer help.

April 04, 2018

Alachua interfaith coalition responds to past hatred

Responding to former evangelical Pastor Terry Jones' burning of the Quran in 2010, Alachua County churches and other organizations formed a coalition to create change. They recently completed their sixth Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build Day.

April 02, 2018

Two is better than one: Historic churches form covenant

Two Jacksonville churches were steeped in history but faced financial and structural challenges. They formed a unique covenant and now share a sanctuary on Sunday mornings, along with bills for utilities, insurance and lawn care.

April 02, 2018

Your Easter memories: worship, food and prayer

Easter weekend has come and gone, but the memories we have made together will live on. Thank you for filming and sharing your memories with us. See our Easter highlights reel, curated from your very own Facebook posts.

March 27, 2018

Churches 'show up to be Jesus' in Jacksonville's inner city

Churches in Jacksonville are often challenged to define the role of faith in ministering to disadvantaged neighborhoods. Rev. Juana Jordan, who grew up in the city, says it's really a matter of "showing up and being Jesus" to those in need. Two pastors and one layperson talk about listening and offering a presence in the inner city.

March 27, 2018

Parkland March 'deeply grounded in the way of Jesus'

Christ Church Pastor Brett Opalinski said it was like "sitting across the table from someone and hearing their story of pain." Congregants from the Fort Lauderdale church joined 30,000 others, March 24, in the "March for Our Lives" in Parkland. It was a moment to remember 17 students and faculty who died Feb. 14 and to voice a need for change in current gun legislation.

March 21, 2018

Methodist students detour spring vacations for Hurricane Irma recovery

United Methodist Students at Marshall University sacrificed their spring break for power tools and grout to help Big Pine Key recover from Hurricane Irma.

March 21, 2018

Miracle Village story takes center stage off-Broadway

For nearly four weeks, New York theater-goers received an intimate look at life in Pahokee, thanks to an off-Broadway play, "America is Hard to See." A talented cast portrayed the heart and soul of Miracle Village, a place where many of its residents are convicted sex offenders.

March 20, 2018

Thousands of United Methodists to join rally against racism

The events begin with a briefing on alleviating racism and injustice in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, the media, healthcare, voting, civil and human rights, environmental justice, education and immigration. Led by the General Board of Church and Society, the briefing will be held April 3, from 1 to 2 p.m., at the Methodist Building at 100 Maryland Ave., NE, in Washington, D.C.

March 19, 2018

Food for Thought rebrands, brings 'stories to the table'

Raised in a Southern Baptist church, Associate Pastor Rob Tucker of Suntree UMC wanted to explore a more "grace-filled and personal" God through Fresh Expressions. In what was once a fireside chat on the church lawn, today's Food for Thought brings spiritual messages to tables filled with sushi and other delicacies.

March 15, 2018

Disaster Recovery team is an answer to prayers

During spring and Christmas breaks when many of their classmates are enjoying recreational activities, young adults from campus ministries and others seeking a nontraditional holiday, come to Florida to do mission work.

March 13, 2018

Bay Hope multiplies disciples, expands with multisite campus

Bay Hope Church, located in the Tampa Bay area, will expand to a new multisite campus with a grand opening ceremony March 18. Serving Westchase, Town 'N Country and Citrus Park, the expansion includes a $500,000 facelift of the former Wellspring UMC campus.

March 13, 2018

Parkland tragedy, heart for change inspires '5000 Letters'

Calling the Parkland tragedy a "burning bush moment," Bishop Ken Carter and Florida Conference churches went beyond prayers and vigils and formed a letter-writing campaign to federal and state lawmakers. The 5,000 Letters initiative achieved its goal, but many consider it just the beginning for needed change.

March 09, 2018

Volunteer lands his dream job as Irma construction coordinator

It's not often that someone lands a dream job at age 76, but that's what happened to Lunsford when he started in the coordinator position on Dec. 26, 2017. “The first paycheck I got, I felt like it was sinful to take it,” he said. “I never dreamed that God would get me a job that I loved so much. I spend the whole day doing things for people who can't do for themselves.”

March 07, 2018

Prison ministries offer unconditional love, spiritual freedom

For the pastor of a church in Oviedo, it started with a simple letter to a prison inmate. When her words were returned with a heartfelt reply, both lives were changed. Prison ministries throughout the Florida Conference offer unconditional love and support. One volunteer calls it a "ringside seat to miracles."

March 06, 2018

Church in a high-rise: FUMC Miami reinvents, rebuilds

Steeples and bell towers will soon be a thing of the past at FUMC Miami. In an innovative move to reinvent itself, the church plans to transform its place of worship and relocate to an ultramodern 64-story high-rise on Miami's famed Biscayne Boulevard.

March 01, 2018

Bishop Carter gives Commission on a Way Forward update

I hope we will see this time as a gift from God. God has given us the gift of an extraordinary movement of thirteen million people across the world, under the cross and flame, who seek a more faithful way to follow Jesus and a stronger connection as his body on this earth. I see this faithfulness and connection in Florida.

February 28, 2018

Author Brian McLaren helps Collective with 'spiritual migration'

The author of 15 books advocating "a new kind of Christianity," Brian McLaren attended a weekend conference late last fall at The Collective in DeLand. Rev. Ben Collins, calling McLaren an "itinerant inspirer," sparked discussion about relationships between the institutional and the emerging Church.

February 28, 2018

United Methodist Irma recovery work continues

Part two of a two-part series by Joey Butler of UMNS, reports on efforts to aid those trying to recover from Hurricane Irma across the state.

February 26, 2018

Igniting Men roundtable discusses need for racial unity

In an effort to find solutions to end racism, a roundtable discussion was held at a recent Igniting Men conference at Mandarin UMC. Christian leaders addressed a need for racial unity and focused on building relationships that model the love of Jesus.

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