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 webadmin@flumc.org or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.

Image courtesy of www.ChristianBibleReference.org. Copyright © by Cliff Leitch.

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.

August 08, 2017

Trafficking: It's 'right here in our backyard'

Deltona artist Jennifer Houdeshell reveals the seamy side of trafficking in Florida that tourists rarely see. She uses her art to raise awareness of the crime: "I wanted to put a face to human trafficking."

August 07, 2017

Cinema Conversations reel to faith, Christian fellowship

Cinema Conversations is a Fresh Expressions ministry in Leesburg stimulating friendship and talk about the spiritual meaning behind Hollywood films. The group's members discuss films that include "The Circle" and "Wonder Woman."

August 04, 2017

Back-to-School Blessing

With each new school year comes the excitement and anticipation of a new beginning, a new journey, a new chapter. This video meditation features an empowering blessing, written by the Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton, for individuals or groups to use to lift up those involved in all walks of education. You can share or download this video to use in Sunday school classes, before or during worship or in your home.

August 03, 2017

Grassroots faith-based efforts combat human trafficking

An ordained elder and missionary with The United Methodist Church and members of Sun City Center UMC are working to fight a transnational crime. Florida ranks third in the nation for calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

August 03, 2017

Playing for Change: 'Down by the Riverside'

Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. The idea for this project came from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.

July 31, 2017

Science Mike brings religion, science together

Science Mike, aka Mike McHargue, of Good Samaritan UMC in Tallahassee, has become a major phenomenon on the internet. Taking questions on science, faith and life, his iTunes "Top 20" podcast receives 6,500 downloads a day.

July 27, 2017

Andrew Marcus: 'Glory To His Name'

Andrew Mark Marcus is a Canadian worship musician. He has released five studio albums, "Salvation and Glory" (2007), "Emptiness Speaks Volumes" (2009), "Our Conversation Behind the Veil" (2011), "When Winter Falls Summer Springs" (2013) and "Constant" (2016).

July 27, 2017

Commission on a Way Forward issues status report

The Commission on a Way Forward has released a status report to the Council of Bishops and the entire United Methodist Church (UMC), updating the church and the leaders on the faithful work of the Commission after four meetings.

July 26, 2017

Summer BreakSpot sites feeding body and soul

Florida Conference churches and schools have stepped up throughout the summer to meet the needs of hungry children. Many have become hosting sites for the Florida Department of Agriculture's Summer BreakSpot program.

July 24, 2017

Becoming fishers of young men

Many United Methodist Men units in the United States struggle to reach younger men. The group’s recent National Gathering at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis featured advice for how these groups can become fishers of millennials.

July 20, 2017

'Change the World' by Derek Minor

Derek Johnson, Jr., better known by his stage name Derek Minor and former stage name PRo, (born December 16, 1984) is an American Christian hip hop artist, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, and screenwriter.

July 19, 2017

'Feet to the faith' impacts hearts, minds, social justice

From climate change to violent crimes, poverty and social injustice, most of us would agree the world needs positive change. Can our churches make positive differences in their communities? For the 11 million helped by Florida Conference community ministries since 2009, the answer would be yes!

July 17, 2017

First, Port St. Lucie, battles summer reading slump

In the first of a monthly series about School-Church Partnerships, read about volunteers at FUMC in Port St. Lucie who recently collected 1,005 books for children at an area elementary school.

July 13, 2017

'Never Let Me Go' by Fearless BND

Partnering with Swam Dance Crew from New Zealand, Fearless created a cinematic approach to one of the singles released on their 12-month journey.

July 12, 2017

Coffee house ministries brewing Christian spirit

In a throwback to the 1960's, church-based coffee house ministries today are offering teens and young adults something more than fresh brewed beverages. It's a place where God's spirit enjoys a laid back vibe.

July 10, 2017

Ways we can be better neighbors

This author is convinced that if there is a solution to the social isolation, the political polarization and the superficial relationships that exist in our neighborhoods—and in the world as a whole—it is reclaiming the art of neighboring.

July 06, 2017

Hillsong United: 'Heart Like Heaven'

As the sun set over the Sea of Galilee we captured this song: The beauty and the surrealism of the moment, we hope, is compared to our hearts towards heaven. In moments where we have no words, we can sing Holy. --Hillsong United

July 05, 2017

Largo summit addresses caregiving, a $470 billion industry

According to AARP, caregiving is a $470 billion industry. St. Paul UMC in Largo recently hosted the 2017 Family Caregiver Lifespan Respite Summit to learn about the needs of 3 million Florida caregivers.

July 04, 2017

Out in the wild: the esssence of wilderness ministry

For nearly 70 years, Warren Willis trip camps have offered summer adventures for generations of youth. From climbing steep rock cliffs to hiking deep into Appalachian mountains, they are experiences in nature long remembered.

June 29, 2017

'Go' by Darlene Zschech

Australian Darlene Zschech is acclaimed all over the world as a composer, worship leader, pastor and speaker, most notably for her involvement in the music from Hillsong Church, Sydney over many years.

June 29, 2017

Florida Southern: A Frank Lloyd Wright treasure trove

Florida Southern College, founded in 1883 by the Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named a National Historic Landmark of the United States. This year, the 113-acre campus also became a United Methodist Historic Site.

June 28, 2017

Prayer vigils have transformational potential

In part two of a story about prayer vigils, one church turned to praying on street corners to remember homicide victims, while the other brought unity following tragedy in a Charleston church 600 miles away.

June 26, 2017

Simple Church model blends dinner, worship and enterprise

Congregants gather for a sacred weekly meal where the conversation serves as the sermon and freshly baked bread provides nourishment, communion and income. Other churches are using their template to replicate the experience.

June 23, 2017

We Are Messengers: 'Point To You'

We Are Messengers is an Irish worship band from Monaghan, Ireland, and they formed in 2015, with vocalist Darren and Heidi Mulligan. Their first studio album, "We Are Messengers," released in 2016, with Word Records and Curb Records.

June 21, 2017

Readying for the storm in hurricane season

The time to prepare for hurricane season is now! Disaster Response Coordinator Pam Garrison and others offer helpful information to ensure your church is ready before the storm hits.

June 20, 2017

Breaking bread in Cuba's house churches

Although the Cuban government still prohibits The United Methodist Church from building new sanctuaries, house churches have become a thriving alternative in the island nation.

June 16, 2017

Prayer vigils impact communities

A two-part story on the impact prayer vigils can have on the communities our churches serve begins with revisiting the vigil held for the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando a year ago.

June 15, 2017

'I'm Still Here' by Mandisa

Mandisa Lynn Hundley, known professionally as Mandisa, is an American gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist. Her career began as a contestant in the fifth season of American Idol, in which she finished in ninth place.

June 13, 2017

AC 2017 closes with spirit of revival

Friday evening concluded with music and revival, and Saturday, June 10, 51 persons were licensed, commissioned and ordained.

June 10, 2017

Keynote speakers champion revival of the Church

Friday's annual conference events included keynote speakers the Revs. Elaine Heath and Kevin Watson addressing the theme, "Revive Us Again," presenting ways to reinvigorate churches today. Orders of business included voting on resolutions and the discontinuance of 16 churches.

June 09, 2017

AC votes on amendments, approves redistricting

Clergy and laity voted on constitutional amendments to the Book of Discipline, approved policy and organizational changes and received an update on the conference's health care costs.

June 08, 2017

Laity call for a future of inclusivity

While lighthearted presentations and uplifting music marked the Laity Session of the 2017 Florida Annual Conference, the underlying message for lay leaders attending the opening event was that inclusivity is critical to the future of the Church.

June 08, 2017

All Sons and Daughters: 'This My Inheritance'

All Sons & Daughters is an American Christian worship music duo, who perform in the styles of acoustic and folk music, originating from Franklin, Tennessee. The group's leads are Leslie Anne Jordan on vocals and guitar and David Alan Leonard on vocals and piano. They are worship leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, which is a non-denominational church.

June 08, 2017

Photos from the Annual Conference 5K in Orlando

The fourth Florida Annual Conference 5K started at the historic Windermere Town Hall on Thursday morning, June 8. Donning coats and umbrellas, participants braved the rain in support of a good cause. Together they raised a total of $2225. Proceeds from the 5K supported the Cuban Pastors Pension Fund.

June 05, 2017

Palm Coast pastor experiences South Korean culture

Described as an academic, cultural and spiritual encounter, the Rev. Kevin James, pastor at Palm Coast UMC, and his wife, Linda, recently returned from an eight-day trip to South Korea. James was one of 19 United Methodist Church pastors selected from across the U.S. to join the mission.

June 02, 2017

Moderators offer views on Mission, Vision and Scope of Commission on a Way Forward

The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward are using a three-part commentary this summer in helping United Methodists throughout the world to understand work of the Commission.

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