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. Have a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.
New Year, New Hope for Rural America in the Fight Against COVID
Rural communities are among the hardest hit as another wave of the pandemic rolls across America and Omicron renews COVID’s assault on the unvaccinated.
"What should have been a science class became a politics class"
A message from Bishop Carter as COVID-19 rages: There is resistance to a vaccine. No blame or shame here, just lament. I care about you.
Updated FL Conference COVID Guidance - July 29, 2021
We wrote last week and shared our concerns about the rising COVID-19 cases in Florida. We write again this week because of the continued increase of infections and the updated CDC guidelines related to masks
A Message From Bishop Carter About COVID-19
Dear Florida Conference Clergy and Laity: We continue to pray for you as you navigate this season. We had all hoped we would be through this pandemic by now, but we clearly are not. Like you,...
Annual Conference closes with appointments, prayer, and a challenge
The second and final day of the 2021 Florida United Methodist Annual Conference began with a reminder from Bishop Ken Carter about the primary focus of the gathering. "Some of you may have heard of ...
A COVID-19 update following CDC announcement
Updated COVID-19 Guidance Dear Clergy and Laity of the Florida Conference: We continue to pray for those impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Yesterday the CDC issued new guidance regarding ...
Bishop Carter, Cabinet give COVID-19 update
Conference COVID Update Dear Florida Conference clergy and laity: Blessings to you in this season when we celebrate the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. We thank you for your attention to ...
Faith, hope, love and the vaccine
A medical staff person acknowledges that she will not take the vaccine, because of her understanding of the Book of Revelation. She has chosen to ignore the robust studies of thousands of volunteers ...
Commentary: Hope is the flame that must carry us forward
We are more than a month removed from the election, but it is still nearly two months until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Much like how this year has felt, we once again find ourselves in ...
Should General Conference go virtual?
With no end in sight to the deadly pandemic, a number of United Methodist leaders are urging that General Conference be virtual — if it’s to be held at all next year.
"This is when the church learns how to be the church"
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many pastors into roles for which they were not prepared, and that has led to added stress and the potential for burnout. But this trying period is also an opportunity for church growth and for members to help minister their pastors by taking things off their plates.
Annual Conference focuses on opportunities in the midst of challenges
The Annual Conference is a long-standing tradition in the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Leaders, clergy, and laity from around the state gather in-person for three days of ...
Fires, coronavirus complicate Western disaster relief
The wildfire crisis ravaging California for weeks took a dramatic turn and spread into the Pacific Northwest, feeding off dry conditions and strong winds.
Showing love and support in the face of COVID-19
A repast -- from the Latin word meaning "to eat" -- is often part of any home-going service. It gives the family and mourners a bit of needed closure and fellowship. But how could that happen in the COVID-19 world? When it came time to say goodbye to beloved member Jessie Loretta McSwain Denson, Trinity UMC in Lake City showed it can be done.
In reopening UMC preschools, one size doesn't fit all
Churches in the Florida Conference that operate daycares and preschools have grappled with how to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, or whether to reopen at all.
For the elderly, protection comes at a cost
Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable to the ravages of COVID-19, so they need special protection. But that often means isolation, loneliness, and missing their church and family.
2020 Annual Conference will be virtual-only event
Bishop Carter, the Cabinet, and the Annual Conference Planning Team announce that the regular session of Annual Conference 2020 will be a virtual-only event on Saturday September 19. We had ...
COVID-19 forces churches to grapple about how to continue worship
Some Florida Conference churches have returned to in-person worship, but others either started and quickly shut down or never re-opened at all. It's up to each church to consider the best way to navigate through this time of COVID-19.
Church parking lots fill for COVID-19 testing
More United Methodist congregations are offering space for screenings, hoping to reach groups at special risk.
How a scriptural imagination can help Christians face fear
It is natural to be afraid at a time like this. But the spiritual practice of reading Scripture within a deep tradition can be grounding for us, and can help us be resilient in the face of fear, writes Bishop Ken Carter.
Q&A: What delay means for General Conference
The issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the United Methodist Church to navigate uncharted waters to prepare for General Conference in 2021.
Updated Guidance as COVID-19 Cases Rise in Florida
Dear Florida Conference Churches and Clergy: Last Thursday we wrote to encourage and inform you as you make decisions in the midst of this ever-changing reality. We know there is stress and anxiety in...
FLUMC churches move ahead with re-opening plans
Churches now have the option to reopen for in-person worship. There is a variety of ideas about how to proceed.
Warren Willis camp to remain closed for the summer
The Warren Willis Camp in Fruitland Park will remain closed for the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the state of Florida recently allowed summer camps to open, a message the Camp’s ...
The Color of Coronavirus
How COVID-19 is impacting communities of color and the Church’s responsibility to respond
"They were all together in one place"
As Pentecost Sunday approaches, we may be separated from our church family and others, but God reminds us that His gift of the Holy Spirit will never leave us.
Florida Conference churches respond to their neighborhood food shortages
United Methodist churches New Horizon and Community of Hope are among many Florida Conference churches doing what they can to provide aid during the COVID-19 crisis.
Churches have much to consider before reopening
United Methodist churches across the country face the challenges of reopening.
Korean church kicks drive-thru food pantry into high gear during COVID-19
The Korean UMC of South Florida had a dream to serve as a feeding site for low-income families. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it was time to make that dream a reality.
Preaching Virtually, Not Virtually Preaching
The Institute of Preaching offered a webinar on May 1, 2020 entitled "Preaching Virtually, Not Virtually Preaching" to assist clergy during this time of social distancing. The webinar offers both general guidance and practical tips.
Gator Wesley students maintain community in the midst of COVID-19
For students at Gator Wesley, maintaining community means reimagining connection.
COVID-19 could push the United Methodist Church toward change
The current crisis reminds the Church that we're not in control. God is in control.
Bishop Carter recommends no public worship through May 15
A Pastoral Letter to the People of the Florida Conference Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Thank you for your patience and faithfulness in this season of COVID-19. This virus is very real. We have ...
Centenarian offers words of comfort during pandemic
At 102 years old, Lucille Ellison of Orlando has seen tough times before, including pandemics. Her advice is simple: “There is no sense in worrying because God gives you the strength you need to get through those tough times.”
Feeling stressed? Virtual "Taize Tuesdays" might help
The Portico in Tampa offers Taize Tuesdays streaming on Facebook Live as one way to deal with the anxiety wrought by COVID-19.
A willing spirit of volunteerism inspires Hope For Tampa
Hope N. Griffin had an idea about how to fill the chronic shortage of medical masks. But even she is surprised at how effective Hope For Tampa has been at sewing and distributing free masks for medical workers.
Rural churches are proving they can adapt and overcome obstacles
Small and rural churches can face technology challenges associated with online worship services, but they are rising to the occasion.
“Seminary certainly never prepared me for ministry in times like these"
A pandemic is more than just streaming worship online. Pastors still have to find a way to care for and support members of their congregation in this time of social distancing. It isn't easy, but some say it's also an opportunity.
COVID-19 forces UMC Licensing School online
The danger wrought by COVID-19 has forced churches across the Florida Conference to move worship and other gatherings online, and now the pandemic is changing the licensing process for local pastors. ...
Easter message will be the same, no matter how it's delivered
United Methodist pastors throughout Florida face different challenges to deliver their Easter Sunday worship services.
Palms posted on doors unite Methodists at the start of Holy Week
A simple declarative act by United Methodists throughout Florida on Palm Sunday proved there is a way to find community in the forced isolation wrought by COVID-19.